Destruction Is All We Know

Almost Dead

When the genres Thrash and Groove Metal pop up in your head, which bands immediately come to mind? SEPULTURA or PANTERA? EXHORDER? Or maybe even MACHINE HEAD? I have a lesser known but equally heavy band for you to try: ALMOST DEAD, a four-man group from the Bay Area of California.
February 29, 2024

When the genres Thrash and Groove Metal pop up in your head, which bands immediately come to mind?  SEPULTURA or PANTERAEXHORDER?  Or maybe even MACHINE HEAD?  I have a lesser known but equally heavy band for you to try: ALMOST DEAD, a four-man group from the Bay Area of California.  They formed in 2002 and have a slew of full-length albums under their belt, including a self-titled debut album in 2007 and “Lay Me Down to Waste” in 2018.  Now, three years after the release of their fifth album “Brutal Onslaught,” ALMOST DEAD has unleashed more intense Thrash/Groove Metal in the form of “Destruction Is All We Know,” which was released last month on January 26th.  It is nine tracks long and clocks up to nearly 40 minutes.  With each track boasting an average of 4-5 minutes long, this record is full of well-balanced Groove Metal–heavily laced with its parent Thrash Metal–that will leave your hearing altered.

Warheads in the Sky” opens with a brief orchestral piece before dissolving into a barrage of Thrash Metal beats from drummer Ryan Glick and heavy guitar riffs from Zach Weed.  We also start to get an idea of Tony Rolandelli’s vocal style, as he uses raspy growls and occasionally higher-pitched shrieks.  While this opening track falls more on the Thrash Metal, the music starts to get groovier on “Commandments of Coercion.”  In addition to slowing down his heavy guitar riffs, Zach Weed also gives us the first guitar solo on the album.  To prove that they can get even heavier, the band uses a Metalcore-style breakdown in the middle of the song too.  “Eight Eyes of Black” hits us with a short blast beat out of nowhere, but the music still maintains a balance of shredding Thrash Metal and mid-tempo Groove Metal while also using another brutal breakdown.  “Nightmare Coming” is Groove Metal all the way, but with multiple breakdowns, occasional blast beats, and another shredding guitar solo.  While I appreciated the heaviness, I didn’t see the need for multiple tempo drops.  The fifth track “Within the Ashes”–one of my personal favorites from ALMOST DEAD’s new album–starts with an assault of hard-hitting blast beats and crescendos into Thrash Metal work similar to that of “Warheads in the Sky.”  “Agent of Chaos” shows the group slightly slowing down the tempo but not necessarily abandoning the Thrash style from the previous song, and I absolutely loved the breakdown near the end, which might be the heaviest breakdown of the entire record.  After “Brutal Devotion,” we get a rather interesting song out of “Selfish Suicide.”  I say it’s interesting because in the midst of another breakdown from ALMOST DEAD, they use an audio sample of a male and a female talking, which I totally was not expecting.  The closing track “Where Sinners Cry” is also the longest at nearly six minutes long.  It is mainly a Thrash Metal track, which includes a mixture of blast beats, skank beats, and powerful double bass from Ryan GlickTony Rolandelli only uses shrieking vocals at first, but as soon as the first breakdown hits, he switches it up and includes some raspy growls.  After a soaring solo from Weed, we receive a couple of more breakdowns which brings “Destruction Is All We Know” to a slow, heavy close.


Destruction Is All We Know” was a great effort from ALMOST DEAD and very creative too, with a little orchestral music and audio samples included with their usual Thrash/Groove Metal.  I was not a huge fan of all the breakdowns that the band used, but it gave their sixth album an extra layer of heaviness, so who am I to judge?  Aside from this slight complaint, the album was brutal from beginning to end with no time to breathe.  Bay Area-style Thrash Metal reminiscent of TESTAMENT and EXODUS combined with the heavy pace of Groove Metal?  This is not something you can just pass up, so don’t miss a chance to listen to ALMOST DEAD’s most recent album.


8 / 10









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"Destruction Is All We Know" Track-listing:

1.  Warheads in the Sky

2.  Commandments of Coercion

3.  Eight Eyes of Black

4.  Nightmare Coming

5.  Within the Ashes

6.  Agent of Chaos

7.  Brutal Devotion

8.  Selfish Suicide

9.  Where Sinners Cry


Almost Dead Lineup:

Tony Rolandelli – Vocals

Zach Weed – Guitars

Ryan Glick – Drums

Felix Portillo – Bass


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