Dread - Brace for Destruction (independent) 2010
1. Intro [instrumental] (1:59)
2. Dawn of the Dread [instrumental] (:58)
3. When Dreams Lie (6:02)
4. The Pharaoh's Ceremony (5:30)
5. Brace For Destruction (5:18)
6. Slay the Kings (4:30)
7. A Crack in the World (4:30)
8. Excommunication (3:13)
9. Tuck You Into Death (6:22)
10. Killer Moose (3:01)
11. Nuclear Rain (4:01)
Dread were a thrash band from Albuquerque, NM that were making some waves locally and in the new wave of thrash metal scene in general. They were young and full of fire. On stage they had an energy that reminded me of the golden days of thrash metal in the 80's. They were constantly gigging and shared the stage with bands such as Exciter, Fueled by Fire, Vindicator, Vektor, Hirax, Havok, Ultimatum among many, many others. Few bands could top their infectious live energy. They had the looks, they had the moves, they had the riffs, they even had a vocalist whose vocals were glass shattering high at times. However, what they did not have was a decent demo or album. Finally in 2010 the band announced that they would be self-producing and self-releasing their first album.
"Brace for Destruction" was that album and it is indeed a very independent release. As they were on stage, the demo captured a raw, young and energetic thrash band whose heart lay in the classic 80's. The band writes some riffs that are downright infectious and coupled with the fast and furious rhythm section will cause whiplash if you are not careful. Unfortunately the recording is a bit amateurish sounding, and not in a good way like Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" or the early Raven records. Rather it's just lacks any sort of punch and robs the band of their "heaviness". As well, the band really need help refining and putting structure to their songs. For example, the album opens up with nearly two-minutes long instrumental with clean, acoustic guitar and a slight flamenco flair. It's a nice opening to the record that you would think would lead into a fast thrasher but instead leads into yet another minute-long, groove based instrumental. The follow-up song "When Dreams Lie" is nearly six minutes long and has over a minute of instrumental opening before we finally get to hear the siren sounds of Taylor Dread on vocals. Frankly, the first two instrumental tracks could have been left off or moved to another part of the album. With nearly five minutes of intro instrumentals opening the album, it becomes a bit tedious to listen to. As well, the song itself could have used some refining as it lacks any sort of memorable chorus or hook. I'm positive the band was trying to avoid the typical verse-verse-chorus structure, but without any discernible hook the song becomes mostly forgettable despite the thrash metal polka that the band often rides.
Track four does the same thing with nearly a minute and a half of instrumental introduction before another siren scream is heard from Taylor. Again, the same problem is apparent in this song with no obvious hooks or chorus. Once again the headbanging riffs are there, as are the shredding leads. It's not until track five, "Brace for Destruction" that we get a chorus that can be shouted along to with fists in the air. BRACE FOR DESTRUCTION! Follow up track "Slay the Kings" repeats the same problem with nearly a minute and a half of thrash instrumental before we finally get to hear vocals. Beside shattering glass, Taylor's falsetto vocals could leave King Diamond coughing and gasping for air in the corner during the chorus of this song. Unfortunately the chorus, or hook in this song is only heard once in the middle of the track and never again.
It's unfortunate that this band broke up not too long after this CD was released as Taylor's vocals were unique, the band certainly had the chops and they really were a site to be seen on stage. With some refinement in songwriting and someone to help them record properly these guys could have annihilated.