Fearless Undead Machines Deceased  - Fearless Undead Machines (Relapse Records) 1997

1.       The Silent Creature (8:40)
2.       Contamination (2:13)
3.       Fearless Undead Machines (7:50)
4.       From the Ground They Came (2:16)
5.       Night of The Deceased (7:53)
6.       Graphic Repulsion (5:03)
7.       Mysterious Research (7:59)
8.       Beyond Science (4:55)
9.       Unhuman Drama (5:16)
10.     The Psychic (6:13)
11.     Destiny (9:45)

"It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder."
This quote taken from the zombie, cult, classic movie "Night of the Living Dead" opens "Fearless Undead Machines" and establishes the theme of the album.

Formed in 1985, Deceased hail from Virginia and toiled in obscurity for years before finally signing with Relapse Records in the 1990's. "Fearless Undead Machines" is the band's third full-length release. The band's style had morphed from primal death metal to an aggressive style of thrash metal, that incorporates plenty of classic heavy metal influences. Deceased drummer and vocalist King Fowley spouts out the lyrics sounding a bit like Cronos, while the guitar tandem of Mark Adams a nd Mike Smith recalls the spirit of Sherman/Denner, Gorham/Robertson and Murray/Smith. No where is this more apparent than in the album's lead-off track "The Silent Creature". After the short intro, the song kicks off with a lick that is reminiscent of Maiden's "Wasted Years" before blending in some Venom style aggression and vocals.

As might be expected by the album title and band name, the theme of the day is zombies, zombies and more zombies. The band makes no apology for their love of movies like "Dawn of the Dead", "Day of the Dead", etc. and even say so in the liner notes. Throughout the album the band adds clips from classic Zombie movies like "Night Of The Living Dead" and "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie". "Contamination" is a spoken word track that has Fowley continuing the theme of the album, He speaks in a frantic, paranoid tone about friends and neighbors rising from the grave and fearlessly searching out the living. "For they just keep coming, and coming, and killing... like some type of Fearless Undead Machine..." This basically works as the intro for the title track, an epic, vicious thrash song. Fowley's desperate, throaty vocals seems tailor-made for the stories of the walking dead hunting the living. The songs flow nicely without becoming boring. Being old-school metal fans, Deceased understand how to keep songs interesting by changing tempos and not just "thrashing for thrash sake". This is saying a lot, considering the album is over an hour long and never reaches that point where it becomes boring. (That cannot be said of many modern metal bands.) The album finishes off with a nearly 10-minute long tale of living and dying. It opens with an eerie piano/keyboard intro before bursting into another Venom-meets-Maiden inspired heavy metal tune. "Fearless Undead Machines" is raw, pure, unadulterated heavy metal.

Riskin' It All
Deceased - Supernatural Addiction
(Relapse) 2000

1. "The Premonition" (5:35)
2. "Dark Chilling Heartbeat" (6:26)
3. "A Very Familiar Stranger" (5:18)
4. "Frozen screams" (5:04)
5. "The Doll With The Hideous Spirit" (5:34)
6. "The Hanging Soldier" (4:20)
7. "Chambers of the Waiting Blind" (7:50)
8. "Elly's Dementia" (7:42)

King Fowley

Many years ago I owned a death metal album called "Fearless Undead Machines" by a band called Deceased. At the time I remember really liking the music but being a bit turned off by the "Dawn of the Dead" type lyrics. At that point in my life, I was only listening to "Christian metal" and couldn't enjoy fiction-based lyrics. Well, many years have passed since then and I rediscovered this band again. Deceased can no longer be classified as a death metal band; rather they now play straightforward heavy metal with some slight thrash influences and even a touch of Voivod type experimentation here and there. King Fowley's vocals are not of the cookie monster growl type. Rather he steers this heavy metal ship with his gruff and grim vocals. The songwriting here is, as I said, pure heavy metal; melodic leads, catchy guitar riffs, pounding drums, and heavy, anthem based songwriting. To me it sounds like the band was equally influenced by the like of Iron Maiden and a horde of thrash bands like Whiplash and Kreator. As usual, the lyrics are based on fictional horror, zombies and such. My copy is autographed by ringleader and head zombie King Fowley.

Deceased - Corpses, Souls & Other Strangeness (Relapse) 2003

1. "Fading Survival" (2:59)
2. "The Cemetary's Full" (3:05)
3. "Experimenting With Failure" (2:25)
4. "Futuristic Doom" (3:19)
5. "Haunted Cerebellum" (2:54)
6. "Decrepit Coma" (3:05)
7. "Shrieks From The Hearse" (3:24)
8. "Psychedelic Warriors" (5:14)
9. "Feasting On Skulls" (3:40)
10. "Birth By Radiation" (4:17)
11. "Gutwrench" (2:00)
12. "The 13 Frightened Souls" (3:09)
13. "Robotic Village" (3:03)
14. "Voivod" (2:56)
15. "Planet Graveyard/Nuclear Exorcist" (9:50)
16. "The 13 Frightened Souls" [alternative version] (3:13)
17. "Robotic Village" [alternative version] (3:05)
18. "Fading Survival" [live] (3:00)
19. "The Cemetery's Full" [live] (2:53)

"Corpses, Souls & Other Strangeness" is a compilation of the early death metal years of Deceased. This CD compiles all tracks from the "Luck of the Corpse" album, the "Thirteen Frightened Souls" EP, as well as some bonus demo and live tracks. Personally I like the "Luck of the Corpse" tracks the best. This is old school death metal at it's finest. It's heavy, memorable and not overly technical. One of my favorite tracks, however, is the Voivod cover. King Fowley is a big Voivod fan. Kudos! Voivod rule!

Rotten to the Core Deceased - Rotten To The Core (Malt Soda) 2004

1. "I'm Not Jesus" [Ramones] (2:47)
2. "Here To Stay" [Sheer Terror] (2:17)
3. "False Prophet" [English Dogs] (2:34)
4. "Ultra Violent" [N.O.T.A.] (1:50)
5. "Nothing" [Plasmatics] (3:31)
6. "World Peace" [Cro-Mags] (2:02)
7. "Eliminator" [Agnostic Front] (3:15)
8. "You Stupid Jerk" [Angry Samoans] (:19)
9. "Corporate Deathburger" [MDC] (1:17)
10. "Right Brigade" [Bad Brains] (1:56)
11. "Violent World" [45 Grave] (1:58)
12. "V.A. Rocks Your Liver" [Verbal Abuse] (1:36)
13. "California Uber Alles" [Dead Kennedys] (3:06)
14. "Social Security" [Excel] (3:33)
15. "State Oppression" [Raw Power] (1:28)
16. "Bodies" [Sex Pistols] (13:27)
16. "Subliminal" [Suicidal Tendencies/hidden track]
16. "Madman" [D.R.I./hidden track]

It's not unusual for heavy metal bands to cover punk songs. As a matter of fact, it almost became a trend in the late 80s and early 90's with thrash bands to cover punk songs. However, I never would have expected Deceased to do a CD of nothing but punk covers. I guess I have this mental image of King Fowley of being the heavy metal die-hard. I would have much more expected a CD full of underground heavy metal covers. However, much to my delight, this CD freakin' slays! Yes, Deceased do an excellent job of putting metallic touches to these classic punk songs. King's gravely voice actually works well with a a majority of the material here. Standout tracks include "Ultra Violent", "Corporate Deathburger" and The Ramones' "I'm Not Jesus". The hidden track at the end was a nice inclusion as well. Despite the fact that Suicidal went on to play metal and thrash, their first album is a punk rock classic. There is also another punk song after the Suicidal song that I am unfamiliar with. If anyone knows the name of this track, let me know.

As the Weird... Deceased - As The Weird Travel On (Thrashcorner Records) 2005

1. "The Kept" (7:53)
2. "The Funeral Parlour's Secret" (6:29)
3. "A Witness to Suspiria" (4:02)
4. "Unwanted Memories (It Always Ends In Tears)" (4:31)
5. "Missing a Pulse" (5:41)
6. "Craving Illness" (4:22)
7. "A Visit From Dread" (7:21)
8. "Fright" (8:12)

King and his horde of zombies come roaring back after a few problems that would have been the end of many bands. Of course Deceased split with longtime label Relapse Records, and even more scary, King Fowley nearly died of a stroke the year before. However none of these things stopped Deceased from continuing on. After all these guys have been around for nearly two decades. So what of the music? Well, Deceased used to be labeled death metal, but "As the Weird Travel On" is far from this. Rather what we have here is great thrash metal with classic metal riffing, some melodic flourishes and King's firey bark. King's vocals are a bit more 'deathy' here than with his speed metal band October 31, who also released a new CD titled "No Survivors" not long ago. Unlike that release, "As the Weird Travel On" wasn't as immediately infectious. It took me a few listens to begin really hearing the hooks and for the songs to begin standing out on their own. I really hope this is the direction that the band will continue to take. While I liked their older albums, I am far more a fan of thrash and classic metal. Who better to do that style than Mr. Metal himself, King Fowley?

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