We Sell the Dead: Heaven Doesn't Want You And Hell Is Full
It might be a stretch to describe We Sell The Dead as a supergroup, but there's still a good chance you know who these guys are. Made up of Niclas Engelin (In Flames), Gas Lipstick (ex-HIM), Jonas Slättung (Drömriket) and Apollo Papathanasio (Spiritual Beggars/Firewind), there's real pedigree here. Although it doesn't always show.
The initial idea behind the band and album Heaven Doesn't Want You And Hell Is Full, was 'what if Jack The Ripper was in a metal band?' How would it sound and what would their motivation be? Well, quite rightly you might be thinking, what a ridiculous notion and in truth, other than theatric, dark, modern(ish) metal, by album's end there aren't really any clear answers. Not that it diminishes a selection of songs that in places are gritty and bluesy and in other areas deep and gothic. It may however, be the perfect example of how too many bands seem to be over thinking why they exist in the first place. Surely all that matters is that they play good music that people connect with?
Thankfully you'll find a fair amount of that here, although the opening mid-paced stomp of "Echoes Of An Ugly Past" may not be the best example. A dirty, grungy sound doing little to entice you in after a silly fairground intro has also led you astray. Thankfully the brighter but no less threatening "Leave Me Alone", where an insisting bite of guitars actually reminds (as much of this album does) of more recent Europe, proves this lot can be dark, twisted but still accessible. In this light WSTD hit hard and make memorable forays that offer intrigue and depth without over egging the theatrics.
Papathanasio has long been a vocalist I've enjoyed hearing and he's a real asset here, his hugely melodic delivery still adaptable enough to offer up all manner of different variations. Melancholy and majestic on "Turn It Over", smooth and almost hypnotic on the otherwise dowdy "Too Cold To Touch". In fact, without his classical (not operatic) mastery on closer "Silent Scream", it might be in danger of tumbling into the area of non-entity. And that's the rub here, for while much of what HDWYAHIF serves up hits hard and proves memorable, there are more than a couple of moments where there seems to have been a tendency to overthink things and leave the results convoluted and cold. Maybe if they can ditch the daft starting point and just write some more killer tunes, album number two won't be quite so hit and miss.
1. The Body Market
2. Echoes of an Ugly Past
3. Leave Me Alone
5. Turn it Over
6. Too Cold to Touch
8. Pale and Perfect
9. Silent Scream
Added: February 24th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: We Sell The Dead at Facebook
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