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DEATH DEALER
DEATH DEALER
Coercion To Kill
(Sonic Age Records / Cult Metal Classics)
61:46min

More than 20 years have passed since the creation of these songs. To be honest, it would be a shame if they'd get lost in nowhere. So, this is being re-released (and it has already been available on limited vinyl, which is already sold out) for the enjoyment of the new generations. Enter Canada's DEATH DEALER. I can easily recall the name linking it to another band, DEAF DEALER that released a quite enjoyable album in the late 80s. The reason is simple: it is actually the same band, only in an earlier incarnation. But let's go back to DEATH DEALER. Although some time has passed by, and maybe some information has been lost through the ages, these are actually the demo songs the band recorded in early 1982 and 1983. As you can see, they were quite prolific, as we have here, over an hour of songs. The first thing that strikes me is the production. Although it was a demo, they were dedicated enough to go for a more "demo-album" approach, thus giving attention to all the details that a Heavy Metal band needs, meaning an up-front guitar sound, a powerful rhythm section and the vocals with the right amount of volume. There was a re-mastering involved, but I might remind you that the original tapes were quite good sounding. Now, let's talk about the music. DEATH DEALER was a pure Heavy Metal band, although sometimes verging on the edge of Speed Metal, meaning they manage to have some up-tempo songs, but also leaning in some small places to a more hard rock approach. References might be made to IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and many other NWOBHM bands. They rely a lot in a double guitar attack, whereas they are not afraid to use it in a way to pull out many tricks which sound convincing, yet they are very direct. Although they didn't went as far as doing a ballad, they do have some more slower-paced songs like 'Occident Tale'. The vocals here were done by André Larouche, who has a quite adequate voice for the musical style, having a melodic yet also at time raspy voice, which sounded like a bastard son of Lemmy and Joe Elliot. Not exactly what I would call an outstanding vocalist, but damn, he pulls it right. I am appreciating the production of these songs more and more, as I have heard many albums of the same years that would be longing for at least half this production values, and I must remind you this is way before computers can make a lame band to sound like pros. In 1982, Heavy Metal and Hard Rock were like twin brothers and actually outside of the serious fans, the casual listener would think of both as the same. This come in reference to songs like 'The Screamer' that if it was the only song you get of the band, you will wrongly categorize them as a Hard Rock band. Later on, the band would go more for the style of songs like 'Death Dealer' with a more heavy and pounding rhythm that is predominant in most of the compositions. Yes, they were able to create some really good songs, and there was a LOT of future in the band. Although, some songs tend to sound a bit alike, the potential was there, and may I remind you this was a demo. They appeared on one of the Metal Massacre compilations and were handed a record contract with Metal Blade Records, and if I am not wrong there were some other big labels lurking behind. So, what happened? First, they got rid of the vocalist and some time later the drummer (who were both brothers by the way) and they changed the name to DEAF DEALER. They released a very good Heavy Metal album (with their "American" names by the way!), where they almost got rid of the Hard Rock influences... another record was done and then they disappeared. Now after almost 30 years, we learn that their demise was quite weird, as they just loose their momentum by not signing a contract a year earlier, and maybe keeping the lineup intact. In retrospective, I am sure they would be one of the Canadian Heavy Metal monsters, that would probably have ended up doing some later great albums, and then after a couple more creating some crap albums, before calling it quits or trying to recapture their glory of the past. But as that did not happen, this is left as a legacy of a future that never was. This reissue contains besides a massive 20 page booklet with lyrics, pics and many info, a video for the song 'The Faddist'. For those who seek what was Heavy Metal at the early 80s, this is the right place to start. www.sonicagerecords.com

Julián Núńez

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