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Album Reviews : Direblaze – Smelted, Reformed and Doomed EP

By on February 8, 2018

When the esteemed moderator and grand pooh-bah of this excellent site asked me to look into reviewing Smelted Reformed and Doomed, an EP from Melbourne based speed metal diabolos Direblaze I had neither a clue or any background on the band. What I can tell you after a thorough listen to the EP is that I am now a fan and die-hard supporter of Direblaze to the point where I would invest in stocks if the band were a publically listed company on the ASX of heavy metal.

I have listened to this four-track EP through my Bose headphones whilst inwardly headbanging and having a few extra cold Gose beers, over iPhone speakers completing household tasks and also through the family vehicle’s 2008 vintage stereo system driving my daughter through roads bordered by cane fields to school (she prefers Confidence Man but occasionally gives me the ‘ok’ to air some choice metallic cuts…)

My point in all this is that Smelted Reformed and Doomed is an EP that works in a variety of settings. I am guessing that is probably entirely unintended by the EP’s architects, nevertheless here is why I believe the EP has found a place in my day-to-day and is such a strong release.

I place great credence in offering platitudes to the memory of ‘the greatest’ AKA Chuck Schuldiner. The vocals across the EP don’t so much ape the great man as they do pay homage, think Spiritual Healing (Death– ’90) and you are close. The guitarist(s) are particularly skilled in offering lessons in the dark art of very fast down picking with alternate picking strokes keeping pace with the galloping bass drum. At 2:14 of the killer title cut a guitar and bass passage reminiscent of Paul Hinojos and Jim Ward’s isosceles interplay through some of the best moments on Relationship of Command (’00) from At The Drive-In signal that the band is serious about songcraft… this is a passage I was not expecting yet it works so very well.

Direblaze’s guitarists own take on the vicious death thrash and soloing of the Hoffman brothers ‘Jeff Hanneman on amphetamines’ efforts across Once Upon the Cross (Deicide- ’95) is another worthy feature throughout Smelted Reformed and Doomed. Deicide’s seminal material is very important to a great deal of death metal fans even if it is overshadowed by the virtuosic Ralph Santolla masterwork that is The Stench of Redemption (’06) and the albums he appeared on beyond… if you are a fan of Jurassic era Slayer and the spawn of Hanneman’s creation then you will surely appreciate the efforts Direblaze’s guitarists have gone to producing solo’s and white-knuckle riffage on the cuts on the EP.

The drumming and percussion is an extraordinary feature. Very few black and death metal drummers can truly swing and bring a sense of occasion to heavy metal but the drumming alone on Smelted Reformed and Doomed could be isolated and enjoyed as a musical offering unto its own. I can name Mayhem’s Hellhammer, Morbid Angel’s high priest of percussion Peter Sandoval as notable contributors so maybe it is time add Direblaze’s formidable sticks-smith as capable of a genuinely musical extreme heavy metal drumming and percussion performance.

I am short on a bio so I can’t name check the album’s architects, however, the band is to be congratulated for distilling the essence of great death and thrash metal and retooling the production mechanism to create some wonderfully catchy speed metal. A great deal of attention has been offered to ensuring each riff and turn around add value to each song so that no song is merely a collection of riffs. Heavy metal is as dependent on great arrangements as it is on the quality the riffs something that Direblaze understand.

If Direblaze has a show local to your location I do not hesitate to suggest that you will witness a stellar live performance of some of the best straight-up heavy metal created in years. Let’s just hope they have enough merch…

Band: Direblaze
Album: Smelted, Reformed and Doomed
Year: 2017
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Australia

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith