Dead Serious

Album Title: 
It's A Nice Day
Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Review Type: 

[short review on an older release, but it’s worth waiting for, because it’s my review, haha]

No, I am dead serious about this, since it’s a nice day today…

During the (late) Eighties and the early Nineties, several Extreme Metal genres were conquering the globe; think Death, Black, Doom and Thrash Metal, amongst others. When it came to Thrash Metal, people knew several hands full of bands from the U.S. especially, or from Germany, the Netherlands, enfin, you get the picture. The Belgian scene, however, was not that ‘huge’ back then, at least seen from international point of view. Yet somehow we did house quite some excellent combos back then, like Target, Evil Sinner, Channel Zero (during their earliest years), Decadence, Asphyxia, and of course Cyclone. Personally, I could also appreciate the likes of Chronic Death, Deadly Intentions, Battalion, Chemical Breath or Spithead, amongst others, but I do not think they reached a level of popularity ‘beyond proportions’ (unfortunately).

Way too underestimated too was the combo called Dead Serious, born out of the ashes of Explorer and Trial. As a five-headed speed-monster, Armando, Marc, Jan, Ivan and Gunther recorded and released two demo-tapes at the end of the Eighties, and in 1990 they did enter an Antwerp-based studio to record their first (and sole) full-length album. That one was (and still is, of course) called It’s A Nice Day, but the (German) label involved did not give the necessary (and deserved) support to promote this material. That was kind of sad, for the result was, seen from qualitative point of view, worth being compared to the bigger names from international soil.

The band soon disbanded, after the passing of their drummer (Marc Vereecken died in a motorcycle accident in June 1993). The members went their own ways, and most of them (singer Armando Thiebaut too left the spheres of the living a couple of years ago) are currently active in Cult Of Scarecrow, in case of interest.

And then, suddenly, Erik Depoorter shows up. This guy behind the Hell Diest community started a label in 2020, meant to focus on quality above quantity, and the promotion of our (local) scene. Some (great) new recordings were released via this channel (like Ill, Demenzia Mortis or Psychisme; and some fabulously compiled samplers were created to support our rich scene), but Sounds Of Hell took care as well of the reissue of this semi-legendary album by Punk-ducks Dead Serious. All together: thank you, Erik! The whole, by the way, got decently remastered by Tony de Block, whom you might know from his work with e.g. Exoto, Oceans Of Sadness, Chalice or Artrach, amongst many others.

It's A Nice Day comes with photos from ‘back then’, as tribute to the band and to the members (they will never be forgotten this way). It consists of twelve anthems, clocking forty minutes. And as from the beginning, you will notice the high standard delivered by this Flemish horde. The quintet brings ‘traditional’ old-styled Thrash Metal with a universal approach, i.e. that they are not limited to any (narrow-minded) scene especially. It’s up-tempo and energetic for sure, with the ‘usual’ ingredients, such as anthemic chants and rough shouts, piercing and fiery solos, well-thought changes in speed and structure, and the addition of some acoustic excerpts. Indeed, one cannot say that Dead Serious did reinvent the genre (at all). But is that a problem? No, not at all, for what they bring (brought) is, as mentioned before, of a high and professional level. These lads knew what they were doing.

Despite the professional song-writing and crafted execution, one must not take it all too seriously, at least when it comes to the lyrics. It’s partly a slaughterhouse for ducks and ducklings; take titles like What The Duck Is Going On or Beware Of Ducks. Also the not-poultry-inspired texts are of the ironic or sarcastic kind; the physic revival of dad in Daddy Goes To Disneyland, the testosterone-driven ‘dance moves’ described in Stagedive To Heaven, or that tribute to malt and ale in Beerdrinkers. And don’t underestimate the value of the outro either! Hmmm… Roasted duck isn’t that bad at all…

I have to mention the flexibility and open-mindedness too. The ‘core’ of Dead Serious’ material indeed is old-schooled Thrash Metal in essence. But there are several crossover elements; think about certain rather grooving pieces (like those funky elements in The Look, with a huge dose of self-mockery), harsher chapters,  details from Punk, Proto-Sludge (don’t laugh; it exists as from now, for I just invented it) (the opening sequence of Being A God (Is No Sin), for instance, reminds me of Axeman from Amebix) and / or Speed / Heavy Metal, the aforementioned (semi) acoustics, several highly technical fragments, and a hand full of slower parts. But it’s more than a collection of try-outs and experiments, for It’s A Nice Day sounds very coherent and recognizable. As said, Dead Serious were not the most original act around, but they sort of created an own characteristic face for sure.

This said: highly recommended to all undogmatic, unprejudiced thrashers all around…