Laid to Waste

Innovation, originality, the spirit of independence; traits that are often craved when listening to new music for the first time. But sometimes a band will do nothing more than tread already-trodden ground, often resulting in negative press, or merely finding themselves becoming lost in the endless slurry of new bands who are all trying to break through at the same time. To walk within these well-carved footprints with such admirable levels of conviction that the big players are all but forgotten about, even if only momentarily... that would surely make any such criticism essentially pointless. Dead Samaritan are one of those bands.

Entering the fray with a thick European metal clamour, the band formerly known as The Beauty of Dying appear to have the formula correct from the out. Nothing on this debut release sounds overly complex, yet the musicianship is solid and the band are consistently tight. What they concentrate on is the creation of short, sharp slabs of riff-heavy melodic death metal which, as it turns out, is exactly what they excel in. Valendis Suomalainen is a female vocalist with a growl that will draw obvious comparisons to Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow and that's certainly no slight; Gossow's ferociousness shrivels gonads like Medusa collects stone sculptures. Opener The Monster to Create pulls no punches, setting an abrasive standard which they maintain throughout. The speed is upped at times with a welcome discharge of thrash metal; the brilliantly-titled Royally Fucked not hanging around for more than two-and-a-half minutes yet more than delivering the goods.

The entire album is awash with the kind of conviction that raises eyebrows and nods heads knowingly across the metal world and Dead Samaritan stand out because of it. I can almost see the maniacal grins on the faces of the band as they tear through the likes of Laid To Waste and Hell If I Care. That's not to say the band are full of reckless abandon; the songs are well crafted and devoid of for-the-sake-of-it solos, and executed with tight delivery. The two-minute blast of Thunderbolt comes across like Carcass covering Motorhead with its pummelling rock'n'roll attack; a facet of their sound works staggeringly well and actually gives them an edge over plenty of their peers.

The Only Good Samaritan... is a half hour feast of fun, devil-may-care European metal created by a band who's strength lies in the fact they have no obvious intentions to change the world. Crank it up, soak it up, and enjoy.