Brutally Deceased takes its name from a Grave song, and that is not the only thing the band takes from Grave and its Stockholm death metal compatriots. Never mind that Brutally Deceased hails from the Czech Republic, Dead Lovers’ Guide is Swedish death through and through. Before this review proceeds any further, I must disclose that I am a sucker for the Sunlight sound. The chainsaw-like tone of the Boss Heavy Metal pedal is like a drug to me. If Justin Bieber ran a guitar through an HM-2, I would probably listen to his shitty music. I realize, however, that the average fan is probably not clamoring for yet another old-school death metal tribute act. That said, Brutally Deceased does an excellent job of conjuring the spirit of ’91.
Brutally Deceased’s sound is an amalgamation of Stockholm death’s big three, Entombed, Dismember and Grave, possessing the speed and melodic sensibilities of the first two and the visceral brutality of the last. The songs on Dead Lovers’ Guide are all perfect examples of Stockholm-styled death metal. The band plays as if the last twenty years never happened. If one were to slot in the appropriate vocalist, any one of these tracks would fit seamlessly into the running order of classic albums such as Like an Everflowing Stream and Left Hand Path. And therein lies the problem: Brutally Deceased performs flawless mimicry, but the band is wholly lacking a personality of its own. This is exemplified by the band’s cover of Dismember’s “Override of the Overture”, which is so faithfull to the original that it is pointless. Bloodbath, the band that started the old-school Swedish death metal revival, mimicked the Sunlight sound, but the band had a unique compositional voice as strong as that of those to whom it paid homage. The same cannot be said of Brutally Deceased.
While personality might be lacking, there is something to be said for the passion of Brutally Deceased’s delivery: The band absolutely nails this shit. Brutally Deceased does not just tremolo pick itself into the ground; it has mastered all the nuances that made the classics classic: the bends and trills, the sick grooves and cinematic melodies seem to flow from Brutally Deceased as if the band had tapped directly into the source. These songs might not be original, but they are good, damn good. In fact, In terms of execution, Brutally Deceased is the best old-school death metal tribute act I have heard. What Dead Congregation is to Incantation, Brutally Deceased is to Entombed, Grave and Dismember, only more so. If you have room for one more throw-back death metal album in your collection, make it Dead Lovers’ Guide.