Living Dead


Slovak death metal band SURGERY have come to eat your brains on their third full-length "Living Dead".
February 14, 2024

Here's your geography lesson 101.  Slovakia is NOT the same thing as Slovenia.  For one thing, they both have Austria and Hungary standing in their way.  For another thing, one in twenty Slovenes is a bee-keeper.  And, lastly, Andy Warhol's parents are Slovaks, meaning no one from Slovenia gave birth to the father of pop-art.  And neither did Slovenia give birth to the zombie loving Slovak death metal-thrash band SURGERY, who released their third-full length album "Living Dead" back in October of last year.  Slovenes may be rolling in the honey, but they certainly aren't feeling the metallic sting of this quartet from the foot of the High Tetra Mountains.

There's nothing ground-breaking here. SURGERY is paying homage to the death metal and thrash metal greats of yesteryear like CANNIBAL CORPSE and KREATOR. From the gloriously cartoonish album cover to the phat old-school riffs that have been etched into the darkened grooves of the vinyl, "Living Dead" is a rehash of what these Slovaks have clearly been consuming their whole lives, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that.  But if you want to stand out from the maddened crowd, you need to make sure people know the difference between their Slovaks and their Slovenes.

The album starts in a rainstorm, with a single, ominous drone. The death groove shortly follows, a gritty, sludgy, core-adjacent riff from guitarist and founder Rado, and Robert Hanecak's bass tone is full and punchy. It's nothing special musically.  It's like your little brother trying to write something extreme and shocking, but it's just about zombies.  And then you steal his drummer and his girlfriend.  The album is like that: it teeters on the edge of being interesting, but the songs don't seem to go anywhere spectacular.  SURGERY can certainly lock into a rumble and write a simple, catchy riff, but Tomas Hudac's vocals can be a little annoying.  More variation- or at least some other musical element- might make the box their own rather than the same one that countless bands before them have used as well.

"Intruders from Other Space" (great name, by the way) is a highlight of the album, and showcases the band at it's best.  Hanecak's bass sounds like an out of control train, and Rado's riff cuts through the skin like a dull, rusty knife. There's a punk rock attitude that permeates the song, a sense that the band isn't taking itself that seriously, a bit of a sneer in their heavy metal step. The other album highlight is the penultimate tune "Terror at Night" which starts with a radio dial being turned before the band collapses into a down-tuned stomp.  A mid-tempo groove gives a way to a punk-inspired thrash riff, a la 1991. A cool driving riff brings the song to a close as it fades out and the last song "A Day to Die" begins with Peter Husak's rolling toms and a flattened picked tremolo riff from Rado.  Sludgy and nasty, the song ends with the sounds of what are clearly the incisors of the undead biting into the flesh of the future undead, and the album comes to a close.

SURGERY proudly fly the flag of Slovak death metal, and in a country that has less people than New York City, that's an admirable step to take.  All countries need a few soldiers to fight the war against the normies with the hopes that they'll be able to win some of them over to the dark side.  While "Living Dead" isn't do anything you haven't heard a gazillion times before, that's not the purpose of SURGERY. They are doing it for the sheer joy (or agony) of being on the side of the hordes of Eastern European zombies, and that's probably enough to sate anybody's appetite for brains.

5 / 10









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"Living Dead" Track-listing:
  1. Living Dead
  2. Zombie Influence
  3. Violence
  4. Intruders from Other Space
  5. Last Chance
  6. Death in You
  7. Terror at Night
  8. A Day to Die
Surgery Lineup:

Tomas Hudac- Vocals

Peter Husak- Drums

Radoslav Body- Guitar

Robert Hanecak- Bass

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