Well this song, Grave Slave, came as a surprise. I remember hearing about Dead Cross but that was a fairly long time ago and certainly didn’t expect to get a new song suddenly appear in my music account. Dead Cross are a super group. Originally the band consisted of Mike Crain (Retox), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Head Wound City), Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Head Wound City).
The album Dead Cross was due out in 2016. A track called We’ll Sleep When Their Dead was streamed in March 2016 and then Gabe Serbian left the band. Dead Cross, the album, didn’t get released and then silence ensued. Suddenly in December 2016 Dead Cross announced a new singer to replace Gabe. None other than the living legend, Mike Patton (Faith No More).
The band decided to rerecord and rewrite the lyrics for the whole of this debut album and it is now due for release on the 4th of August this year. It will be released jointly via Patton’s own Ipecac Recordings and Pearson’s own Three One G label.
Grave Slave is not your typical Mike Patton fare. This is metal, but at it’s most creative. Slightly unstable, very raw and basically bonkers. At just 2 minutes long, it is like a short trip through the mind of a mad man. Starting straight off into a verse of high pitch shrieks over loosely smashed drums, it certainly makes you sit up and take notice. The guitar hook is just as nutty with short ascending rhythms played quickly.
We have squeals and shouts in a high tone and the occasional gruffer backing shout. It is a genuine “what the fuck” start to a song. The chorus is simple with fast drum rolls and more crazy riffing with slides and squeals from the guitar over lower toned, more familiar vocals from Patton. The vocal style switches up regularly and is often paired with contrasting backing vocal tones. The song is fast and there is a quite heavy section near the end with deep vocals that end in a crazed shriek that leads into a whispered vocal section over an odd synth noise.
Essentially Grave Slave is inventive and a little insane. There is all the eccentricity of Faith No More mixed with a good dollop of System of a Down and the essence of Suicide Silence’s Doris. A strange mix indeed.
That mix, this nuttiness, is going to split fans right down the middle. You are going to like this or hate it. It is raw, unpolished and more than a little messy. It is incoherent at times and often sounds confused and weirdly enough, I really like it.
I am not sure why, just like I am not sure why I liked Doris so much, but I found myself smiling and thoroughly entertained throughout Grave Slave. It is nuts and it is different so give it a go. It might just work for you too.
Check it out for yourself here. You can preorder the album, Dead Cross now from Ipecac Recordings on band camp. You can pick up Grave Slave and more from Dead Cross via the links below too. Check the band out on Facebook and Twitter as well for more information.
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Grave Slave by Dead Cross (Dead Cross)
The Final Score - 8/10