By Sean Palmerston
Deceased is a band like no other. Together now well over twenty years, the band continues to make important, integral metal albums that are always better than the last. While many bands of their age and importance merely release a new album that’s alright or average in comparison to their high water marks, Deceased always manage to take things up a notch each time. I thought there was no way the band could do one better than 2005’s As The Weird Travels On, one of my favourite albums of that year, but here we are six years later and they’ve done it again.
Led by the always entertaining King Fowley, this motley crew is as dedicated to metal as any group you are going to meet. These guys know their stuff inside, outside and upside down, with King himself being a fucking walking dictionary of obscure and not so obscure eighties and nineties metal unparalleled, not to mention his immense knowledge of horror movies – another factor that has great importance in the Deceased universe. Unsurprisingly, Surreal Overdose does have a number of songs that delve into the realms of horror, zombies and b-roll science fiction. From the lead-off “Skin-Crawling Process” to “The Traumatic” to “Cloned (Day Of The Robot)” these are songs that are well thought out narratives, each their own little self-contained horror story. For me, Deceased really first perfected their craft with 1997’s Fearless Undead Machines and here they prove that they can still write an album’s worth of excellent, horror-filled heavy metal songs that are as interesting lyrically as they are exciting musically.
The most surprising thing about Surreal Overdose however is the fury that this album contains. When I picked up my copy of this album off King at Maryland Deathfest, he told me he thought this was their most explosive album yet. At first I thought he was just blowing smoke up my ass, but I have to agree. This is Deceased at their fastest, most aggressive yet. Fowley himself is back behind the drumkit here, furiously bashing away for the first time on a studio recording since 2000’s Supernatural Addiction, and this is the first album to feature new guitarist Shane Fuegel side-by-side with veteran Mike Smith (who is now only a studio member of the band). I’m not sure what has pushed the band to such an extreme this time around, but this is one vicious album by a band that never fails to surprise. If you liked the last one, you’ll love this one.