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They Rise
(Ibex Moon Records)

Kam "The Tyrant" Lee, THE godfather of Death Metal, has finally returned to the scene with his first musical sign of life since MASSACRE's 1996's infamous "Promise" album and the DESTRUCTION cover that he recorded with KAULDRON a couple of years later for the Dwell Records compilation "Armageddon: The Tribute To Destruction". His new musical home is entitled DENIAL FIEND, already toured Europe with MASSACRE recently and next to Kam also features Terry Butler (ex-DEATH / ex-MASSACRE, SIX FEET UNDER) on bass, Curtis Beeson (NASTY SAVAGE / LOWBROW) on drums and Sam Williams (Down by Law) on guitar. Kam's die hard fans most certainly already noticed about the existence of DENIAL FIEND way back in 2006, as the band had made three songs of their April 23 rehearsal officially available for download through their website. A real demo quickly followed in December the same year (later to be re-released as an EP) and now their debut full length "They Rise" has finally been issued via Ibex Moon Records. Except for 'The Thing With 100 Eyes' (from the rehearsal) all of the other songs also appear on the album now and impressively showcase a band that is totally old school in their musical attempts, yet sounds surprisingly fresh! Due to Kam's unmistakeable, unique vocal style and the overall simplicity of the material, comparisons to old MASSACRE obviously come to mind very easily. And the good thing is: DENIAL FIEND can indeed compete with that overmighty shadow from the past! Except for the quite unusual backing shouts (in 'Flesheater', 'Son Of The Creature From The Black Lagoon', 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things' and the album's title track), which are a bit irritating, the whole record perfectly captures the essence of the early days of Death Metal, when Thrash Metal was still a big part of that genre. My personal highlight is (of corpse) the old MANTAS classic 'Legion Of Doom' (entitled 'L.O.D.' on this record), which previously had already been covered by PERDITION (on the "Unforgotten Past - In Memory Of Chuck Schuldiner" DEATH tribute) and PENTACLE (on their "Ancient Death" CD). But this version blows them all away, I'm afraid! I still hope that Kam will re-record all those old MANTAS / DEATH demo classics in a proper studio someday... that would be a dream come true for sure! From the original DENIAL FIEND material 'Cover Me In Blood' personally impressed me the most, probably because the band has it in their set for so long now that it could be improved constantly until it finally ended up on the album. Lyrically the entire material deals with classic Horror / Zombie movie topics, which is also reflected in the comic book type graveyard scene on the album's cover. The CD comes in a deluxe looking digipak and also includes a free DVD (playing time: approx. 20min) that shows us the band (and friends) in their homebase Florida, talking about the whole Death Metal / Tampa phenomenon and performing 'Cover Me In Blood' in their rehearsal space (well, just visually, the music seems to come from the album). So, all in all this is THE album that MASSACRE unfortunately never came up with after "From Beyond" thus highly recommended to fans that dislike modern technology in Death / Thrash Metal, such as pro-tools, triggered drums, digital recordings and all that bullshit. Great one!

Frank Stöver

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