Released: 2011, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Meliah Rage the Boston based power/thrash metal act originally formed in 1987, return with their eighth full length album (and first for the Italian true metal label Metal On Metal Records) DEAD TO THE WORLD.
"Up In Flames" starts things off with some old school melodic thrash. This track is built upon a strong foundation of abrasive riffs, pummeling kick drums and the introduction of the band's new vocalist Paul Souza who mixes up his vocal delivery enough to keep things interesting on this five minute album opener.
"Valley of the Shadowless Souls" is next and plays off the strengths of this songs dynamics as an eerie dual-guitar part builds until unleashing a powerful and catchy chorus early into the track. There is also a lot of hooky riffery courtesy of guitarists Anthony Nichols and Jim Koury who blaze out some fretboard pyrotechnics midway through the track. "Absolute Obedience" features a lot of newscast sampling backdropped against dreary, haunting riffs and breakneck thrash eruptions. "Cold Cruel Fate" reminds me a bit of modern day Metallica or perhaps Anthrax in that even though the music is heavy and well thought out, this song seems to ultimately serve as a vehicle for the vocal phrasing where the spotlight shines the brightest and showcases new frontman Paul Souza.
The album's final track "Awaken Sorrow" was undoubtedly the first song recorded for the album as it serves as the swansong of vocalist Mike Munro who makes his final appearance with the band before exiting their ranks. It kind of makes you wonder what DEAD TO THE WORLD would have sounded like had he finished the record with the band. This is also the only track on the album credited to Mike Munro in terms of lyrics and vocal melodies.
The album artwork features a solider basketcased and holed up in a desolate and lonely environment with his trusty machine gun and knife at his side. Some lyrics from the song "Where Nothing Ever Grows" has been scribbled on the wall. The military man appears to be medicating his troubled mind with pills, needles, whiskey, what appears to be a bag of weed and perhaps cough syrup? This guy knows how to party when he is super depressed and distraught and I respect that about him (and we even smokes the same cigarettes Marlboro Reds) I really dig the artwork for DEAD TO THE WORLD. The production employed by the three man team of Dan Dykes, Anthony Nichols and Ted Ostrander is both modern sonically yet true to the ideals of late eighties thrash metal. This is perhaps what an album like Metallica's "...And Justice For All" would sound like were it not over compressed to hell. A fine eight release from metal veterans Meliah Rage and worth checking out for all fans of metal generally speaking.