Release date: November 3, 2017
In all honesty, I was underwhelmed by some of the early tracks from Dead Quiet’s second LP Grand Rites, which I felt were lacking the first album’s fiendish intensity. Hands up, I was wrong.
The Dead Quiet boys have knocked it out of the park with this album. Hearing each track in its proper place, there is a demonic vibe that runs through the album and is only underscored by the less heavy tracks, such as ‘Spiritual Abuse.’
That track, in particular, highlights Dead Quiet’s willingness to explore new sounds on this release. Starting out with a sparse, acoustic arrangement which spotlights singer Kevin Keegan’s[LINK] signature vocals, the song slowly gathers momentum — eventually kicking in around 1:30 with a thump that will leave your eardrums rattling.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though; ‘Spiritual Abuse’ is the eighth of nine tracks on Grand Rites. The opener, ‘Moon Curser,’ starts things off strong with the kind of riffs we know and love from Dead Quiet. That is soon followed up by some delightfully creepy keys from Justin Hagberg, leading into prime headbanging material.
Justin’s keys bring significant added depth to this album, leaving it much richer. Joining the band too late for the first, self-titled album, this is the first time we have seen what Justin’s inclusion can really bring to the band – and it’s a lot. Kevin also acknowledges what the keys have brought to the album.
‘Moon Curser’ clocks in at 8:27 on an album where there are three other 8-minute-plus tracks and several longer than six minutes. Those longer songs contribute to Grand Rites‘ epic feel. (In contrast, the first album’s songs ranged from 3:38 to 6:28.) With a total runtime of 65 minutes, the album feels nigh operatic and more than a little bombastic.
It is thematically epic, too, with lyrics about souls sold, oaths sworn and, of course, demons invoked. That is all classic heavy metal subject matter, and as a whole, this album has a more classic feel (although Dead Quiet put more than enough of their own into Grand Rites to stop it feeling derivative) than the self-titled LP.
Throughout the album, Dead Quiet keeps us on the ropes with a one-two punch combo of heavy patches of gnarly riffs interspersed with the chilling intensity of the quieter portions. In this way, Grand Rites builds a juggernaut momentum, carrying the listener along with it as a dazed but willing participant in its debauches.
At no point does the album feel overlong, though. You’ll be too busy rocking the fuck out to notice over an hour of your life has gone missing. With Grand Rites, Dead Quiet has pulled off a rare feat with regard to second albums — retaining everything that was great first time around, the band has added to and improved upon that foundation.
Grand Rites comes out on November 3 via Artoffact Records on CD, two-disc vinyl (black or see-through blue) or digital download. Buy it on Bandcamp.
See Dead Quiet live at the Rickshaw on November 17 along with Waingro, We Hunt Buffalo, Heron and Black Thunder.