“Cosmic Conqueror”

By Dr. Abner Maity

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for bands with a medical theme and Dr. Living Dead fits that description to a T. This is a seasoned medical team specializing in using a thrash metal technique to either kill or cure the patient…or maybe both at the same time. Skull-faced and immaculately dressed in surgical scrubs, Dr. Toxic and his team have a high mortality rate.

For the first two-thirds of “Cosmic Conqueror”, these fiends unleash a precision thrash attack that will increase the amount of neck braces being sold by about 150%. In a year full of good new thrash like Mason and Game Over, Dr, Living Dead is at the top of the heap. “Coffin Crusher” leads things off and man oh man, old time thrashers are gonna swoon when they hear this! A perfect blending of D.R.I. and Anthrax riffing at a blistering pace! And so the record goes from there. The band draws influences from all phases of thrash…bloodthirsty Germanic stuff, Bay Area bounciness and highspeed crossover. “The Summoning”, the title track and “Disease To Exist” all totally rip, with killer riffing, solos and a mostly clean vocal approach from Dr. Toxic. On some tracks such as “Can’t Kill The Dead”, there’s a dreamy, almost pop quality to the vocals that totally works.

When “Cosmic Conqueror” gets to the last third, a funny thing happens. The album runs out of gas like a car trying to cross a desert on a quarter tank.  After the melodic, bluesy interlude “Into the Eye”, the pace starts to drop. There’s some pretty cool chunky riffing on “Moment of Clarity”, but the record just flattens out on the last two cuts “Cyber Crime” and “Lack of Life”, both of which sound almost identical right down to the low-key intros and plodding riffs. I have never seen a more extreme example of a band running out of energy.

I still recommend “Cosmic Conqueror” for the excellent first two-thirds of the album, but if they had maintained the quality all the way, this would have been the thrash album of the year, if not longer. A mixed diagnosis from Dr. Mality…