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Mendeed - "The Dead Live By Love" (CD)

Mendeed - "The Dead Live By Love" CD cover image

"The Dead Live By Love" track listing:

1. Burning Fear
2. The Fight
3. The Dead Live By Love
4. Fuel The Fire
5. Gravedigger
6. Our War
7. Blood Brothers
8. Through Dead Eyes
9. Reload 'N' Kill
10. Take Me As I Am
11. It's Not Over Yet
12. Thirteen

Reviewed by on March 12, 2010

"Mendeed's 'The Dead Live By Love' is filled to the brim with the band's attitude and aptitude."

It's always regrettable when a band as talented as Mendeed breaks up — especially when it comes as a result of a fight with management. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened to these Scottish slayers in the wake of the release of "The Dead Live By Love," the band's third album. But what a parting shot "The Dead Live By Love" is.

The press materials for the album state that the band wanted to "cross-pollinate the metalcore scene even further," and certainly Dave Proctor's lead vocals have more than a little metalcore growl. Instrumentally, the band draws liberally from other metal styles, most especially power metal in the arpeggiated fills and solos guitarist Steven Nixon fires off at every turn.

Nixon's guitar is the first sound you'll hear on the album, with a squealing intro to "Burning Fear" that promptly launches into a lightspeed assault on the senses. Certainly, Nixon's wailing guitars are the featured instrument, but it's only the solid foundation provided by rhythm guitarist Steph Guildea, bassist Chris Lavery and drummer Kevin Matthews that keeps this one from flying off the rails. As it is, it's a pleasantly white-knuckle experience with several interesting speed changes.

The ass-kicking continues with the similar-sounding "The Fight," which has some interesting dual-guitar work, as well as great vocal interplay between Proctor and Lavery, who provides backing vocals. The song's a little long, but that's not much of a knock.

The title track, "The Dead Live By Love," has the band slowing down for the intro and it's a good chance to take a breath before we once again try to break the guitar speed record. The chorus is a great shouter that once again features Lavery's great backing vocals.

By the time "Fuel The Fire" hits, you might be getting a little weary of the speed-at-all-costs the band seems to be taking. Sure, there are slow sections to many of the songs, but the fast sections start to blend together a bit, and there's starting to be an over-reliance on Nixon's solos.

With its doomy intro, "Gravedigger" aims to fix that, with a slow thrash feel that reminds me of stuff like Anthrax's "Keep It In The Family" in parts. Unfortunately it then launches into warp speed, but this time Proctor's vocals have a raw fury that keeps you hooked. Still, it'd be nice to hear the band stay slow for more than 20 seconds or so at a time. Then again, if you had a drummer who could jackhammer away like Kevin Matthews does on "Blood Brothers," you'd probably never slow down either.

"Through Dead Eyes" takes the intensity down a notch, and it's a welcome respite from the fury — which returns in the wonderfully titled "Reload 'N' Kill."

The rest of the tracks keep up the speed, with the closer, "Thirteen" most successfully blending fast and not-quite-as-fast together. I particularly enjoy the way Nixon's lead part hovers over the rest of the players in parts, not quite soloing, but still standing out.

Mendeed's "The Dead Live By Love" is filled to the brim with the band's attitude and aptitude. If I found myself wishing for a bit more of a respite from the speed and fury, it's partly because the band delivered it so well. If the band had to break up, this wasn't a bad note to go out on.

Highs: "Burning Fear," "The Fight" and "The Dead Live By Love."

Lows: A bit of an over-reliance on speed.

Bottom line: A genre-bending album that mostly succeeds, but could've benefited from a slower song or two.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)