Released: 2005, Thrash Corner Records
I honestly didn’t think I’d see this day, the day we see a new October 31 album (or even Deceased album for that matter). With all the problems King Fowley went through (two blood clots and a stroke) I’m amazed the man has the energy to be in a band, let alone be in two, not only that but both bands have new albums out this year. So coming into NO SURVIVORS I was a little sceptical seeing a couple “new” faces in Jason Tedder on guitars and long time drummer, who has no studio album appearances till now, Dave Castillo.
So what does one get in October 31? What would you expect from King Fowley? This is straight up, no bullshit, heavy metal. Each song is meant for massive amounts of booze, massive amounts of headbanging, and lots of singing along. This is the down and dirty stuff, perfect for someone like King Fowley to sing over and definitely for any fan of old school heavy metal.
The opener “Powerhouse” is just that, a motherfucking powerhouse. Opening up thrashing and screaming the band just tear it up right from the get go. The song is just pure speed/thrash with King spewing forth overtop of those chugging, thrashing riffs before slamming into that gang chorus that we all know and love… “POWER POWERHOUSE!”. King even finds himself screaming his way into and out of the chorus at times adding to energy, giving it that all or nothing feel that many metal bands seem to miss, if you’re going to record it, give it your all or just don’t bother. The solos find themselves ripping, short, yet plentiful; straight to the point yet full of power, just like the song. “River Rat” has a more melodic approach, still metal, still full of energy but the riffing is more charitable in its use of melody. The song is based around a simple structure with a nice thrashing bridge to break things up but it’s the solo that matters here. The solo is just perfect, it jumps back and forth between following the melody of the riff and going off on its own little tangents and I love it.
A nice rocking riff accompanied by a solo starts off “Commit to Sin” before the solo dies down and King’s vocals take over. King’s straight ahead vocal approach rightly fits with the song as it has a no bullshit approach that just screams for King’s vocals and it’s use of gang vocals during the chorus. Not to mention, yet again, an overabundance of solo work which is just well executed and spaced out. The more melodic approach is further explored on “What Waits Beyond” which is certainly not a ballad number and definitely no less metal than prior songs on the album, the song does delve a bit deeper in melody with some nice lead/rhythm interplay through some sections. “Misfortune” is definitely the most mid-paced and ominous of the whole album and, as a matter of fact, wouldn’t be out of place on a Deceased album. The dark feel and lyrics remind me of Deceased, except maybe not as twisted or dissonant in the melody department. The song plods along with some soft melodies and one big doom riff set between the verses until the 3:54 second mark when things shift from a deceiving acoustic section into the upbeat metal riff. Then at 4:31 with the lead guitar work and main music section working together just creates this otherworldly vibe, especially when accompanying acoustic guitar comes in and things just get completely over the top.
October 31’s NO SURVIVORS is straight up heavy metal, just the way it should be done. This is a gritty album that knows when to show its flash and when to take things to the next level in all aspects. The song writing is top notch, not to mention the energy and vigour with which the band plays. Highly recommended.