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Dead in the Dirt - "Fear" (Vinyl)

Dead in the Dirt - "Fear" Vinyl cover image

"Fear" track listing:

1. The Screaming Wind (1:50)
2. Bastards of the Bleak (1:38)
3. Disease (1:52)
4. Two Flames (:40)
5. Burden of Life (:37)
6. Can They Suffer (1:33)
7. Biting at the Binds (:18)
8. Sever the Tie (1:18)
9. Skin Graft (:43)
10. Fear (1:17)

Reviewed by on October 16, 2011

"There hasn’t been an EP released in 2011 as dense and loaded with 9.0-magnitude riffs as 'Fear.'"

Why spend 40-45 minutes getting a message across when all it takes is less than 12 minutes? At least, that’s the opinion of Dead In The Dirt and their second EP, “Fear.” Metallic hardcore meets dissonant grindcore in one of the most punishing albums heard since Nails slashed their way onto the scene with “Unsilent Death.” “Fear” is not as hostile as that stunner, though comes close. Dead In The Dirt is fueled by diesel and fist punches to the face, and “Fear” encourages this reckless attitude over what amounts to the average length of a progressive metal tune.

The first third of the album is more of their broad metallic hardcore roots. The tracks hover near two minutes and feature a mix of tempos that get increasingly unstable, but never into the messy grindcore variety. “Two Flames” and “Burden of Life” quickly assert their grindcore dominance over the record, and it doesn’t calm itself from there. The album jumps from track to track with no song breaks, coming off like one momentous beat-down.

Dead In The Dirt’s idea of slowing things down is turning up the distortion and letting guitar notes ring out for a few seconds into the empty beyond. The title track has a nifty breakdown at the end to bring the heaviness up even more, which seems impossible considering how intense the other nine tracks are. This record is not meant to be played in a relaxed state or stuck in mile-long traffic; doing so during the latter may cause vehicular damage from its sonic force.

“Fear” is a bitter, hate-spewing EP that manages to be static joy, without being unbearable to get through. There isn’t a whole lot of substance to their sound, save for the excellent vocal trade-offs between guitarist Blake Connally and bassist Bo Orr. There hasn’t been an EP released in 2011 as dense and loaded with 9.0-magnitude riffs as “Fear.” Dead In The Dirt hasn’t even released a full-length album, and considering how exhausting this EP is, maybe it’s for the best to give a listener sufficient time to recover.

Highs: Best use of less than 15 minutes spent since Nails' "Unsilent Death," metallic hardcore meets grind, great trade-off vocals from guitarist Blake Connally and bassist Bo Orr

Lows: Only a small taste of music, lacks substance beyond being as abrasive as humanly possible

Bottom line: An aggressive, hate-spewing, metallic hardcore/grind ride that lasts ten minutes, yet resonates for much longer than that.

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)