Dead Asylum has been an integral part of Vancouver’s metal community since their inception in 2011. They released their debut album ‘General Carnage’ in 2013. Since then there has been a lineup change and new blood to the fold, with Eric Morrison (Expain) and Roger Mowat (God Said Kill) rounding out the ranks.
‘Death Always Wins’ is Dead Asylum solidifying their combined talent and creativity, producing a tight-knit metal alchemy of melodic death/thrash metal with scorching neoclassical undertones. They hit the nail right on the head, and keep on hammering throughout this disc. Mike Listers’ commanding vocals - akin to Randy Blythe (LOG) range, to a demonic Chris Valago –“The Heathen” (WOH) baritone. Combined with Samantha Landas’ solid and versatile backbone on the drum kit, newcomers Roger Mowat (Bass/Vox) and Eric Morrison (Lead Guitar) add a rich texture and distinct contribution.
From the opening track ‘Defiance’, delivers a face melting FU we won’t run, the heavy metal exuberance begins to flow. Twin guitar attack’s sneak and snarl within the melody. As a wall of sound as powerful as Amon Amarth, dominates your speakers. The title track ‘Death Always Wins’ is a catchy melody that erupts with explosive appeal. Fast pumping chorus and manic guitar runs that meld in unison, creating an epic anthem.
‘Between Me And The Grave’ starts off slow and ominous, then opens the floodgates to a progressive assault of technical/death metal anarchy and Eric’s crisp fret board talent. Strong rhythm awakens with ‘Bury The Living’ delivering a speed metal intro breaking into a cool groove akin to Devildriver or perhaps a Goatwhore tune. A real head-banger! I definitely appreciate how every track on this album has its own life and signature, never sounding repetitious or monotonous.
One my favorite tracks on this album is ‘Forgotten Sacrifice’. It has a-huge powerhouse deliverance, dark and dirty, yet uplifting at the same time. With an exquisite dual guitar-master plan that flows like lava and gels in a balanced way. ‘Bred To Die’ is a fast thrashing death metal opus that is best played very loud in your car with your twin 12 inch subs rumbling in the trunk on any given Highway. The pedal to the metal, your knuckles numb on the wheel and your head banging all along the way. Best I can describe it. \m/
The second last track entitled ‘Welcome’ could have very well been the opening number. As it sets the tone with a meandering guitar interlude that grows into a mid-tempo Gatling gun assault - of metal tapestry. Perhaps it is more of a refrain that is well positioned in its latter spot on this disc. Segueing into ‘Inmate 666’ the mosh-pit portals from hell will open with smoke and flame. Surely to be a crowd favorite at shows and festivals. This track has it all, Intense and intricate brash and full of heavy-metal thrash, a stellar song from a fitting album.
I would strongly suggest you get out and pick up this heavy-metal gem 9/10
2. Death Always Wins
3. Between Me and The Grave
4. Bury The Living
5. Forgotten Sacrifice
6. Bred To Die
8. Inmate 666
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Chat with Dead Asylum Drummer Samantha Landa
I started playing at age 11 when I joined the school concert band. In the first few years of drumming I was listening to Green Day, Gob, Blink-182, Tool, Kittie. Mercedes Lander was my first real drummer influence.
How did Dead Asylum form?
Mike and I knew each other from the Vancouver metal scene--our old bands had played together a few times. We started jamming and writing. And when we were looking for a lead guitarist and a bassist, we posted an ad on Craigslist. One of the responses was from another pair: the original lead guitarist/vocalist and bassist who had been writing together for years. The four of us got together and jammed each other's songs and it was pretty comfortable from the get-go.
What do you feel are Dead Asylums memorable high points or personal accomplishments you've experienced within the band thus far?
We've supported some awesome artists like Soulfly, Soilwork, Warbringer, Anvil and Toxic Holocaust. Our last US tour really pushed us outside our comfort zone and get tighter as a band. We're really excited about our new album (Death Always Wins) and our upcoming US tour this fall.
Since your debut album General Carnage (2013) and your new release Death Always Wins (2017), did you approach the writing/ recording process any differently?
The recording process was very similar, but we write more as a unit now. Before, someone would bring more of a completed song to the table, and we'd add our parts and tweak things here and there. We wrote half of this album in a matter of weeks (right after bringing on a new lead guitarist) and it felt more like a collaborative effort. Mike would bring in riffs or a framework for a song and we'd jam on them, and the tracks really came together organically.
Describe the content or ideas, that went into writing this new record. Is there an overall theme that flows through Death Always Wins, that you are conveying to the listener?
I could give you an overview, but since I didn't write any of the lyrics I think Mike can better answer this question:
"A lot of it came from the idea of being alone and isolated, where no one can hear your screams or cries of pain. I wanted to convey a very dark asylum feel to the album. It came about during a period where the other members were quite busy with other projects--Sam with Nervosa, Eric with Selfist, and Roger with God Said Kill--so I found myself alone jamming quite often and I guess this is what lies in the dark recesses of my head. I would come up with the basic shell of the songs then email them out to the others and they would send back ideas on the riffs or changes that they thought should happen. The common theme with this album is no matter the chaos going on outside, the chaos within is much more troubling."
Your favorite songs on Death Always Wins and why?
My personal favorites are 'Between Me And The Grave' and 'Defiance'. We wrote Defiance a few years ago and I've been itching to record it. But the song 'Death Always Wins' is also fun to play and I really like the unconventional guitar leads in it.
Have you had the chance to perform any of the new material live and will there be a album release show?
We did a 'test run' of the new songs at a small show in Maple Ridge a few months ago and they were very well received. We'll be playing the entire new album at our release show June 2 at the Rickshaw Theatre, as well as June 9/10 in Victoria and Nanaimo (all three shows are with Unleash the Archers).
You've recently had the opportunity to play with Nervosa (in their time of need), how did that come about? Can you describe that touring experience with us?
Their old drummer quit the band mid-tour when they were in Europe, saying she'd finish that run of shows but would be going home before the North America tour that was happening right after. It was apparently a mad scramble trying to find a (female) drummer in Canada or the US who could learn the songs and join them for a month with a week's notice. Tony from Municipal Waste recommended me to them, so they got in touch to see if I could fill in. I learned the set and flew out to Montreal a week later. A week into that tour, things were going well, so they asked if I could join them on their European tour with Destruction, which kicked so much ass. There were a lot of firsts for me with that tour, so it's hard to describe in a short paragraph, but I was stoked the whole time. Amazing bands, fans, everything. I didn't want to go home. I walked away with a lot of new friends, new skills and insights, and man, I miss the Nervosa ladies a lot. They'll always be dear friends of mine.
How the the metal scene and overall support in Canada compare to other countries you've visited?
Dead Asylum has just played in Canada and the US so far. I found American fans and the overall vibe in the scene to be similar to ours. I don't think there's any hard and fast rule: metalheads everywhere are passionate and supportive. Metal is bigger in Europe and South America (compared to North America) so the scenes might be bigger as a result, but people are awesome no matter what country they live in.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2017 and beyond?
We're releasing the new album, which is huge for us (it's been four years since our last one, which was our debut). We're playing Loud as Hell Festival in Drumheller, Alberta, which is a first for us. We also have a month-long tour coming up in August/September. We've toured the western US before, but this is the first time we're hitting up the whole thing. We've got a cool show coming up in Vancouver in September (to be announced soon), and then after that we'll be writing and planning our next tour. We have our eyes set on Eastern Canada and Europe at some point.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me and I wish you all the best. Are there any links that you would like to share with us?
Thanks, Stan! We appreciate the ongoing support from Broken Neck Radio over the years.