Death thrashing legends DECEASED have been inducted into Decibel Magazine’s popular Hall of Fame series with a seven-page feature about the making of their 1997 classic “Fearless Undead Machines.”
The feature can be found in Decibel Magazine’s April 2012 issue, which is on newsstands now and can be ordered directly here.
Formed in the Virginia/DC area in the mid-’80s, a region then more known for its hardcore punk than metal, Deceased slowly built a loyal local fan base as that decade came to an end, kids attracted to the band’s unique take on the nascent death metal sound. All the shows and demo recordings would eventually lead to Deceased becoming the first act to sign with upstart label Relapse Records after it was created in 1990. A series of releases would follow over the next five years, including the full-length debut Luck of the Corpse and its 1995 follow-up The Blueprints for Madness, as the foursome of drummer/vocalist King Fowley, guitarists Mike Smith and Mark Adams, and bassist Les Snyder slowly continued to hone their own sound amidst the early ’90s death metal explosion.
After years of trying to sound “brutal,” the eureka moment for Deceased came when they realized how pointless it was to follow the death metal bands’ leads, and how good their music sounded when incorporating elements from the music they grew up on—that being classic heavy metal and early thrash from the first half of the 1980s. It would all build up to the kind of perfect storm every band strives to achieve: the concept was inspired—the Night of the Living Dead-style storyline had never been attempted in such detail—guitarist Mike Smith emerged from out of the blue to become an absolute riff machine, Fowley’s arrangements and lyrics were stronger than ever, and the band was very tight thanks to constant rehearsing over the course of two years. The end result would be 1997’s stunning Fearless Undead Machines, as unique a hybrid of early death metal, thrash and traditional heavy metal as there ever was, the product of hard work, greatly matured songwriting skill, a big argument over the artwork, and some truly bizarre recording sessions held in rural Maryland featuring a band that didn’t know how to make an album sound right and a flaky, shoe-throwing producer from California whose mind was clearly elsewhere. It’s only fitting that an album so one-of-a-kind was created under such odd circumstances, and all four musicians who played on it, some scattered as far away from Virginia as Texas and the Virgin Islands, were more than happy to tell the inspiring, often hilarious tale of how this Romero-esque masterpiece was brought to life. And, now to the Decibel Hall of Fame.
These long-running metal maestros have kept the faith since 1985, summoning a slew of cult releases and building up an immensely dedicated fanbase that has followed the band merrily into hell and back. Their most recent album dropped in 2011, as King Fowley and his band of ‘bangers returned with Surreal Overdose, their first full-length of all-new material since 2005’s As The Weird Travel On. Armed with a May 13th, 2011 release date, the album was unleashed by the Northeast’s gnarliest, PATAC Records. Buy the record on the PATAC website.
The band is still streaming two of the new songs – “Kindred Assembly” and “The Traumatic” – on their official website. Take a listen here.
“Surreal Overdose” track listing:
01. Skin Crawling Progress (7:00)
02. Kindred Assembly (4:30)
03. The Traumatic (5:30)
04. Cloned (Day of the Robot) (5:40)
05. Vulture Shock (4:55)
06. In the Laboratory Of Joyous Gloom (6:55)
07. A Doom-Laden Aura (1:20)
08. Dying In Analog (7:50)
Ringleader King Fowley triumphantly returned to the drum kit for this recording, handling both drums and vocals. The band also welcomed in longtime live member Shane Fuegel on guitar (replacing long time band member Mark Adams who retired from music in 2007), while Mike Smith continued on studio guitar alongside longtime bassist Les Snyder.
The new record was recorded at Assembly Line Studios in Virginia with Kevin Gutierrez engineering and King Fowley producing. The CD version is available from the band’s own label, Shrieks from the Hearse Records, alongside PATAC Records. Hell’s Headbangers handled the the 12″ vinyl edition, available here.