A Dead Heavy Day by Poisonblack
Release date : August 2008
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
In mid December 2007, it was revealed that Poisonblack had entered Oulu, Finland's Soundmix Studio alongside producer Kari Vähäkuopus to begin cutting material in support of third full length A Dead Heavy Day. By late December, drums, rhythm guitars and bass had been laid down. At Grooveland Studio in Lahti, the album was mixed by Entwine drummer Aksu Hanttu.
On April 19th and 20th 2008, Poisonblack performed two Greek dates alongside Amorphis in Thessaloniki and Athens respectively. At the time, keyboardist Marco Sneck honoured Canadian dates as part of Kalmah, so in light of this, the outfit utilized the services of Veli-Matti Kananen. “Left Behind” was made available for streaming via Poisonblack's official MySpace page during mid May, and A Dead Heavy Day's track listing was unveiled several days later. Two minute video footage lifted from recording sessions surfaced in mid June. In early July, A Dead Heavy Day's artwork was revealed. Midway into the month, “Hatelove” was made available for streaming through the group's MySpace page, and a studio report additionally materialized. More studio footage surfaced in late August.
Towards June's conclusion, a music video was filmed in support of “Bear the Cross” with the aid of Klaffi Productions. In early August, “Bear the Cross”'s video was released via MySpace. Undergoing Finnish issue on the 13th, “Bear the Cross”'s single release boasted the aforementioned single cut, “Left Behind”, and a semi-acoustic live rendition of “Soul in Flames”. For Gloria, Oulu's Radio Mega, the live number had been recorded on March 27th.
Ville Laihiala misses cutting material as part of Sentenced, and A Dead Heavy Day immediately confirms such suspicions. Initial album Escapexstacy (2003) and sophomore effort Lust Stained Despair (2006) were dark, heavily Goth oriented affairs, though Poisonblack's third album boasts a much brighter and more traditional Metal sound, a sound which recalls the spirit of such acts as Sentenced, and mid-career Metallica. Laihiala continues to supply vocal contributions, as well as shoulder the duties of central songwriter; seemingly, Poisonblack is gradually evolving into Sentenced 2.0. In this reviewer's opinion, this isn't exactly a tragic scenario.
The bluesy intro “Introuder” inaugurates A Dead Heavy Day. Immediately settling Poisonblack upon a new course, “Introuder” catapults away from the brief intro, and launches into “Diane”, a track which boasts a near Thrash ambience. “Diane”'s Thrash ambience backs away, and Laihiala subsequently supplies growling vocals within a tune that features a mammoth chorus hook. Albeit not overtly resembling its predecessor, “Left Behind” follows much the same formula. Collectively, the two cement a fresh sound which may not particularly amuse Poisonblack fanatics. Habitually, an explosive chorus subsequently follows a pummeling, riff-oriented verse, thus comprising a traditional formula which “Bear the Cross”, “Lowlife”, the title cut, and “Human-Compost” continue. In frequent instances, guitars disappear to pave the way for Laihiala's vocals. Initially impressive, this chosen approach proves weary as A Dead Heavy Day gradually unfolds. In this respect, the tracks are extremely similarly structured to much of Sammy Hagar's solo material, despite the fact that the two entities are musically dissimilar.
Poisonblack varies its stylings in select instances however, and as far as repeated listening is concerned, this specific facet is greatly beneficial. “X” is the only composition which exploits sonics prevalent within Poisonblack's initial two albums, and boasts a crooning demeanour that is seemingly not in tune almost. This vocal strain lies somewhere between both Joe Walsh, and Christian Death, albeit not in a great manner. Slightly more radio friendly than its counterparts, “Only You Can Tear Me Apart” is, in all likelihood, A Dead Heavy Day's greatest moment. If “Only You Can Tear Me Apart” isn't the album's greatest highlight in actuality, then the cut certainly proves to be the most dynamic.
Critiqued against Poisonblack's previous releases, A Dead Heavy Day generally possesses much more “Metal” constituents. Whilst that may not inspire the affection of Poisonblack fanatics, Sentenced fanatics will be delighted due to the fact that Ville has returned to his familiar voice, a voice which they've so desperately missed. To date, A Dead Heavy Day is Poisonblack's most pleasing full length. However, the record lacks the overall components which cause an album to be genuinely great.