“Hallowed Ground”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Death Dealer returns for their second assault and show no signs of slowing down.  For the all-important sophomore album, they’ve actually upped the ante in about every way. This is heavy metal will the hammers down and all clichés gloriously intact.

13 tracks this time around and there isn’t one concession made to any form of trend. They’ve got a new drummer, Steve Bolognese from Into Eternity, and he picks up where Rhino left off. You hear just about every form of “real metal” here….Priest-style headbangers, screaming thrash demons, symphonic power metal overkill…but with one important exception: no ballads! I can live with that. Sean Peck continues as the voice of Death Dealer and this guy is ripping the hide off the ball, to paraphrase a baseball cliché. Incredible screaming and multi-faceted vocals in the vein of Halford, Eric Adams, Tate. The only American I can put in the same level is Ripper Owens. Peck really matches the bombastic musical attack behind him…not an easy thing to do.

“Gunslinger” opens with a cinematic soundtrack style intro and then hits a speedy groove. Lyrically, these guys nail every possible heavy metal cliché without apology. There are songs about Western bad-asses, killer cyborgs, pirates, ghosts and even a demonic submarine! Plus the self-explanatory “The Anthem”, which is all about the glory of banging your head to stomping metal! The song has a strong flavor of Primal Fear to it, as does “Breaking the Silence” and “I Am the Revolution”…fist-pumpers all. Speed freaks should dig “Plan of Attack”, “K.I.L.L.”,  and “Total Devastation”. Ross the Boss and  Stu Marshall are on fire throughout. If anything, Ross is getting heavier and more furious with age. In a change from most albums, the best two tracks are the last two, “Skull and Crossbones” and “U-666” (yes, the demon sub song). Peck’s performance on these two is over the top and revels in it.

The album is kind of monolithic if listened to in totality. Basically, it is Death Dealer’s debut “Warmaster” with the dial turned up another notch. Sweaty, high-energy, goofy heavy metal at its untainted best.