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15 Times Dead – Metasultra

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15 Times Dead could be described as metal’s ultimate “nearly men”.  The Glasgow based band initially formed as a 5 piece back in 2004 and built up a strong following, gaining great critical reviews for their live performances that lead the band to the UK finals of Bloodstock Festival’s Metal To The Masses competition in 2008 before taking an enforced hiatus shortly after.  They returned as a 4 piece in the May of 2009 refining their sound and growing stronger as a result.  This renewed strength and vigour allowed them to win the inaugural Highway To Hell Competition in 2010 gaining them a slot on the bill for Hard Rock Hell IV that same year. Now, on the cusp of releasing their first full length release, Metasultra, the band have had to get over another hurdle as long time front man Scotti Watson had to leave the band for personal reasons.

Choosing to open the album with Bullethead is an inspired one by the band.  It is like listening to Ride The Lightning era Metallica thrash coupled with machine gun vocals. The track thunders along with great duelling guitar work from Scotti and Tam, held together by the tight rhythm section of Wullie and Andy.

There is a distinct nod to the old school method to song writing on tracks such as Girth Giver, Pray and Driven by Hate.  These are all classic sounding metal songs, with simple song structures, great riffs and killer solos – why make it any more complicated?  When it works, it works.

That’s not to say that they can’t break the mould and give us something different either.   Sleep is a stunningly ominous track, with an intro reminiscent of Creeping Death which shifts neatly into a slower grinding song with real doom/stoner influences.  Down as well is another slow burner that could easily have been written by the song’s namesake band.

15 Times Dead also have a go at being political on this album.   Rape Of A Nation is a thundering song about the bands views on the treatment over the years of their homeland.  But it is not an all out political rant like some others have done in the past, so you can easily listen to the song without feeling like you’re being preached at.

When you’re dealing with a band that love to play live as much as 15 Times Dead do then it’s always a bit touch and go when they try and recreate that sound on an album, however, on tracks like Through These Eyes and Dying they have done a pretty decent job of it.

As much as I have enjoyed listening to this album, there are some negatives.  The key one for me is song length.  I don’t know if it’s been trying to capture that live sound that songs have just evolved to become as long as they have or if it’s been something else, but several of the songs here could be shorter and not lose anything. Also, I got the feeling that sometimes they were almost trying to hard to create a live sounding album.  These songs really do work well in a live environment (and lets be honest it’s where metal is experienced best!!), but it has left the album with an almost flat sound in places.

All that aside, Metasultra is a great album and, if you are a fan of the much missed classic metal sound then this album is definitely for you and I strongly urge you to go and see 15 Times Dead live as you will not be disappointed.

This is a strong first offering from the band, and I shall be awarding it 7.5/10.

15 Times Dead will release Metasultra through Casket Records, and is available now direct from the band with the official release on October 29th via the usual channels.

Track List
1. Bullethead
2. Sleep
3. Girth Giver
4. Deception
5. Through These Eye’s
6. Dying
7. Rape Of A Nation
8. Pray
9. Down
10. Driven By Hate
11. No Friend of Mine 

15 Times Dead

Album Line Up:                                                                 Current Line Up:
Scott Watson – Guitars/Vocals                                        Dan Dean – Guitars/Vocals
Andy Ritchie – Bass/Vocals                                              Andy Ritchie – Guitar/Vocals
Tam Ritchie – Guitar/Vocals                                            Tam Ritchie – Guitar/Vocals
Wullie Brownlie – Drums                                                    Wullie Brownlie – Drums

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Del Preston