Words Dave Mullins.
King Parrot have one of the fiercest and most prevailing reputations in heavy music right now. Their wild live shows serve as ‘how-to’ for other would-be metal acts, and their fandom within the Australian music scene is astoundingly inclusive – their appeal seems near-universal, fans emanating from punk, hardcore, metal and every genre in-between. It’s an impressive feat in the age of elitism and internet outrage culture.
Dead Set, the second album from the Melbourne-based metal heads is an interesting piece of work. It encompasses the straightforward, no-fucking-around traits of grind and thrash incorporated into short and intense bursts of mania that typically befit hardcore and punk bands, rather than your typical modern metal acts. And that’s all part of what makes the album so great – it’s short, it’s fast and it‘s unfuckwithable. The beauty lies in that while this album would have felt perfectly at home originating from the Bay Area thrash scene of the 80s, it never feels stale or derivative. The undeniable energy and ferocity of the music pushes past the tropes of its metal roots and gives us a brand new attitude for a familiar sound.
Musically the album floats a fine line between thrash and grindcore – never quite becoming one or the other, but a flirtation with both. The intense riffs drive like thrash songs, but collide with the drums to arrive at a sort of punk rock intensity. Everything maintains a refreshing rawness throughout the record, never feeling over-produced or unnatural, the drums embracing a ‘right in the room with you’ sound that emphasises the performance rather than relegating it to the background like so many recent metal records.
Thematically, the album never pushes too hard in any one direction, despite its aggressive nature, the music maintains its levity. There’s a persistent, underlying playfulness that makes the whole experience delightfully enjoyable. No matter what the theme, be it light or dark, the music is constantly and irrevocably upbeat. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when the enjoyment of the band bleeds through the music in such a pervasive manner. But it doesn’t mean that the topics themselves can’t be serious. Track 4, Like a Rat, delves into the destructive nature of addiction and the devastating effect it has on a person’s behaviour. In typical King Parrot form, it’s unashamedly brash and is never shy making its point. Once again, vocalist Matthew takes to point-of-view storytelling for a number of songs on the album – songs like Sick in the Head which channel the mindset of a serial killer – something he previously did with the track Bozo of their previous release Bite Your Head Off.
All in all this isn’t a game-changer of an album, it’s not an ambitious masterpiece and that’s the point. This was never meant to be a finely crafted microbrew – this is 120 proof grappa fed intravenously into your eardrums. The album never loses its energy, it never over-reaches into pretentiousness nor does it fail at anything it aims to achieve – if the band was aiming to create a 10 track album that you can party your ass off to, they succeeded.
I give this album 4 and a half VB longnecks out of 5.
King Parrot’s ‘Dead Set’ is available to buy HERE now.