Album Review: Dead in 5

Hard. Loud. Dirty. That's the way rock'n'roll is meant to be, and Detroit's Dead in 5 delivers all three in spades.
It's no secret that rock music has taken a beating on mainstream radio. In fact, when Nikki Sixx was recently asked if Motley Crue would accompany their final tour with a new album, his response was something about not having beards or banjos leads to not being played on the radio these days. While I couldn't agree more with Mr.Sixx about this fact, it doesn't stop me from finding good rock music and raising people's awareness about where they can get their hands on it.

Are you a fan of Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Guns'n'Roses, and Led Zeppelin?  I have good news. What if I told you that I came across a band that sounds like all of those bands put together? If you're interested, and you should be, read on. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I present to you the hottest thing to come out of Detroit since a 1968 Camaro Z28: Dead In 5.

Their self-titled EP rocks so hard that I was disappointed when I got to the last track. As an album reviewer, this doesn't happen often, trust me. Songs like "Black Swamp Bride" and "Shadow of a Thin Man" instantly had my attention due to the vocals. If you can imagine a cross between Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, and Sammy Hagar, you've got an idea of what lead singer Robert Libres sounds like. Raw, compelling, and melodic is the best way to describe the vocals of Dead In 5. Brent "Lucky 7" Hall's and Peder "The Terminator" Seglund's guitar work reminds me a lot of Jerry Cantrell's work, but they bring in a dash of Jimmy Page as well, which coupled up, offers a unique sound with solos that are fluid, well-timed, and not gratuitous in any way. This is not Jack Black from School of Rock. There is no unnecessary wailing and noodling - everything played adds to the song in question, and as a result, to the EP as a whole. The rhythm section is held down nicely by the ass-kicking drum capabilities of Ryan "Schimdog" Schimming and the stellar bass playing of Dana "Deadly" Forrester. 

"Breathless Weapon" is very Zeppelin-esque, but the band manages to maintain its own unique sound, which is really difficult to do when being Zeppelin-esque, and I'm speaking from experience. No one wants a Jimmy Page clone, because at the end of the day, every artist wants to be known for their "own thing". Dead In 5 manage to warp all of their influences up into a signature sound that is something only the Motor City can produce. Case in point is the song "Outlaw Hell Ride #9". The connection between cars and rock and roll has existed since the 1950's, and "Outlaw Hell Ride #9" should not be listened to while driving in the vicinity of any speed traps. Its upbeat tempo and pedal steel-like guitar solo work will surely get you nailed by the cops. 

That being said, this band is not a one trick pony. "Pressure Head" and "Burn My Eyes" made me wish I was in a huge arena, circa 1988, yelling out the chorus while being surrounded by other like-minded rock'n'roll lovers. Dead In 5 takes the best of what 70's, 80's, and 90's rock had to offer and hands it over to the listener to rock out to in a package that is uniquely a 21st century sound. To make another car analogy, imagine taking an old Vega and stuffing a Big Block engine into it. Fast, hard, loud, and dirty. Just like the music of Dead In 5. They've served their Detroit roots well, and I can't wait till their new album,"Wreck Your World" comes out on March 1. We'll hopefully have a review of that record as well, so stay tuned.

Check our page in the upcoming week for an exclusive interview with the band. In the meantime, if you can't wait to hear more, check the band out on Facebook and Twitter, and grab a copy of the EP over on iTunes or CDBaby.