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Dead Man's Hand
The Combination
February 2009
Released: 2009, Agonia Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Norway has not only become known for its huge and influential black metal scene over the years, but also for a host of other quality metal acts as well - being it power/trad metal (Artch), death metal (Myrkskog) or thrash metal (Blood Tsunami).



What comes to the Norwegian thrash metal scene, out from secrets corners of that country´s capital, raises up a 5-man deathly thrash combo under a Dead Man´s Hand moniker that has been around since 2005, and who recorded only one 3-song demo in 2006.



The Polish label Agonia Records snapped up these Oslo-based thrashers a while ago, and got the band busy for some time to record their debut full-length album for the label, titled THE COMBINATION.



As this promotional copy of the CD states loudly and proudly, Dead Man´s Hand want to thrash to the bitter end, whatever does that mean actually? The music is pretty frenzied thrash, and the band has quite a lot of emphasis in their songs on the aggressive, yet nicely flowing guitar riffs that tend to carry the songs amazingly well and far in my opinion. Heavy riffs after heavy riffs - courtesy of the band´s dynamic guitar duo, Jon and Martin, this pretty tight fivesome pushes forward, getting a nice backfire from Dag´s raspy and harsh vocals (that sound a bit like Alex Blume´s in Ares Kingdom), Jostein´s somewhat earthbound drum parts and Stig´s almost nonexistent bass lines. I don´t know whether it´s Stig also who does the death grunts on this album (there´s no mention about that in the credits though), but that they are really deep growlings altogether and seem to fit well into Dead Man Hand´s sound. Those death grunts - plus some of the downright heavy riffs, also lean them towards death metal´s direction quite a bit, so it´s probably rather reasonable to describe their stuff as a combination of both thrash- and death metal. Obviously 100% thrash they are not despite the ´thrash metal to the bitter end´ text on the back sleeve of this promotional CD.



Despite a few minor flaws here and there within their stuff - especially production-wise, Dead Man´s Hand succeeded in impressing me quite a lot on their debut album. They will probably never hit it big with the type of stuff they do, but they will surely please many underground thrash fans all around the world. And that should be enough, I gotta sincerely believe.
Track Listing

01. Capaci Bomb
02. Body in the Barrel
03. Hostile Respect
40. The Last Stand
05. Bloodstained Hands
06. Castigate
07. Guillotine
08. Taste the Metal
09. Knuckledusted
10. The Combination

Lineup

Dag Schaug Carlsen - Vocals
Jon Schaug Carlsen - Guitar
Martin Kandola - Guitar
Stig Sætevik - Bass
Jostein Køhn - Drums


Next review: » Dead Man's Hand - The Combination
Previous review: » Dead Man In Reno - Dead Man In Reno

Dead Man's Hand
The Combination
September 2009
Released: 2009, Agonia Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Dead Man’s Hand is a Norwegian band that have just released their debut album THE COMBINATION. Formed in Oslo in 2005, the band has strayed from the typical Scandinavian path of Black Metal or Swedish Death, and instead plays a hybrid mix of North American Thrash and death metal. The results are an interesting combination and the albums most magical moments are when these elements are combined with a sense of groove and melodic riffing.



Drummer Jostein Kohn sets the bar high on the Testament-influenced opening track, “Capaci Bomb”. The rest of the band nearly keeps up, but Kohn steals the show as he beats his way through an album of compressed aggression, finishing in about 35 minutes with only one song over the 5 minute mark. One of those magical moments I mentioned appears in the middle mosh of “Body in the Barrel”, and on this track the vocal style of the album is established with Dag Carlsen singing a section in a thrash/black metal style and following with a deep death metal cookie monster growl. This call and answer vocal style is somewhat unique, but does not always work. The album’s showcase track is “Last Stand”, where the full realization of the bands vision is most evident with a pummeling slow grind in the middle and a melodic slowdown.



For the most part, THE COMBINATION is a mid-paced thrash metal album with a slew of complicated riffs, weird time signatures and an occasional melodic passage. Lyrics and song titles like “Bloodstained Hands”, “Guillotine”, “Knuckledusted” and the previously mentioned “Body in the Barrel” are laughable. The band just might be in on the joke, but these are hard to take seriously. Don’t look for poetic majesty and inspiration in the lyrics department. Despite the piss-poor album art and lame song titles, THE COMBINATION is a snarling, angry album that should satisfy the inner aggression of Testament, The Haunted, and Cannibal Corpse fans. One dimensional? Yeah, sure. Still this is definitely listenable and better than much of what is out there today.
Track Listing

01. Capaci bomb
02. Body in the Barrel
03. Hostile Respect
04. The Last Stand
05. Bloodstained Hands
06. Castigate
07. Guillotine
08. Taste the Metal
09. Knuckledusted
10. The Combination

Lineup

Dag Carlsen: vocals
Martin Kandola: guitar
Jon Carlsen: guitar
Stig Sætevik: bass
Jostein Køhn: drums


Next review: » Dead Shape Figure - The Disease of St. Vitus
Previous review: » Dead Man In Reno - Dead Man In Reno





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