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Dead End : The Mind's Asylum

Basic, unsubtle and brutal - Dead End's sophomore ticks the right boxes for a veteran Death/Doom act.

Formed in Holland back in 1988, Dead End took a lengthy hiatus from 1993, before returning in 2015 with a compilation of their early material. They finally released their first full-length album, the aptly named 'Reborn from the Ancient Grave' in 2016, and have now re-emerged from their ancient grave once more with this, their second full-length. Released a full 30 years after their formation, 'The Mind's Asylum' is a landmark album for these Death/Doom veterans.

Dead End may have been round the block a few times, but 'The Mind's Asylum' demonstrates very clearly that their fire remains undimmed. They have once again created a cacophonous Death/Doom racket brimming with aggression and unrestrained fury. Beginning with a voice sample from the movie There Will Be Blood ('I am a false prophet, God is a superstition'), opening track, 'Avarice' is a ferocious statement of intent that quickly builds into a relentless Death/Doom powerhouse with brutal riffing and fearsome growled vocals. It's not particularly fancy or ground-breaking, but it's delivered with such intense energy that it's impossible not to be swept along for the ride.

The high energy levels and snarling aggression is maintained throughout the majority of the album, albeit the pace slows down on penultimate track, 'Wartime in Eden'. Led by piano effects and featuring spoken world vocals, it provides a change of pace, but not necessarily a welcome one. It doesn't dilute the ferocious assault on the senses that the rest of the album delivers, but it does sound somewhat incongruous with the rest of the material on 'The Mind's Asylum'. The strength of Dead End lies in their crushing power, with no finer example than 'Goddess of Fire'; an imperious Death/Doom attack worthy of any deity, but would, I'm sure, please a flaming Goddess.

'The Mind's Asylum' is basic, it's brutal, it has little concern for subtlety, but sometimes that just hits the spot. It would, perhaps, be an ideal workout album for Doom fans starting the new year full of good intentions after indulging too heartily in the yuletide spirit last month. With Dead End driving you on, it would be easy to ignore the pain and harness their driving aggression. Perhaps the fact that it took 28 years for the release of the band's first full length has given fuel to their sound; there's an urgency to it, as though it's a form of relief to be able to unleash their material on the world. Regardless, Dead End have created a fitting tribute to their 30th anniversary with this sophomore full length. Let's hope for more to come soon.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Avarice
2. My Malady
3. Backfire
4. Goddess Of Fire
5. Marked Again
6. Restless Waters
7. Wartime In Eden
8. Folly of Man

Duration : Approx. 41 minutes

Visit the Dead End bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-02-17 by Nick Harkins
Aesthetic Death
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