Sunday 16 April 2017

Dead Ranch - Brumation (Album Review)

Release date: April 14th 2017. Label: Sunmask Records. Format: DD/Cassette Tape (June 2017)

Brumation – Tracklisting

1.An Awkward Moan 05:26
2.Blood Staff 05:46
3.Tarred and Feathered 04:08
4.Garrulous 04:11
5.False Negative 03:09
6.The Skinning 03:31
7.Maple Ape 06:13


Chad Alsop-Guitar/Vocals
Andre Cornejo-Guitar/Vocals
Ryley Devine-Drums
Alana Mercer-Bass/Vocals


Canadian Hardcore Sludge Bruisers – Dead Ranch – return with their 2nd full length album – Brumation. A rousing slab of heavy Sludge/Stoner Metal driven numbers inspired by High On Fire and early era Mastodon. You want a heavy assault on the senses with twin guitars blasting fast-paced Sludge/Stoner riffs. Well Dead Ranch are the band for you.

I'm a huge fan of their debut album – Antler Royal – released way back in 2013. It's good to see their sound remains the same as that album contained a winning combination of Punk and Hardcore vibes merged with the heavy sludge driven sounds.

Opening track – An Awkward Moon – shows the band have a keen talent for dramatic progressive flair with elements of Progressive Rock/Metal being the main focus of their music. Touches of Remission-era Mastodon can be seen but with the band opting for a more modern stoner based sound. The vocals from Chad or Andre (sorry I don't know who is the primary vocalist here) have a certain hardcore punk based edge. It's quite melodic in parts with Dead Ranch showing they know how to play a mean pissed off riff.

Second track – Blood Staff – is reminiscent of the Sludge Metal sounds of the past decade or so but don't let that put you off as Dead Ranch inject a few tricks of their own to the mix. The vocals once again remind me of early-era Mastodon but with the more ferocious riffs that High On Fire are known for. Dead Ranch start creating their own sound when they start playing a thrashier and punk style of sound. The guitar solos are very precise with twinges of Psychedelic Rock finally making an appearance.

Third track – Tarred And Feathered – sees Dead Ranch opt for a more Hardcore Punk style delivery. The stoner grooves can be heard at different parts of the song as the band add superb psychedelic instrumental sounds into the mix. The most addictive part of this song is when the band play some epic guitar solos and the intense drumming from Ryley make this one of the standout tracks on the album.

Fourth track – Garrulous – has a stop-start approach with the riffs. As the band play short and brutal riffs before slowing things down and then exploding into a more faster style of pissed off Sludge Metal. The vocals veer into almost Death Metal style growls and whilst it's good to see the band being more adventurous with the vocals. I prefer the cleaner style vocals heard earlier on the album. Apart from that minor complaint this is another superb track on the album.

The final 3 tracks on the album follow the same path as earlier songs with the vocals impressing yet again. The music is more daring here especially on the 5th track – False Negative.

Brumation is a powder-keg of emotions with Dead Ranch playing a pissed off style of Thrash, Sludge, Stoner and Hardcore Punk all colliding for one manic testosterone fuelled ride of extreme riffage.

Words by Steve Howe