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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Death Dealer

Hallowed Ground

Review by Mike Korn

Death Dealer is a pure metal band made up of some of the most seasoned pros in the business. Guitarist Ross the Boss was legendary for his stints in Manowar and The Dictators, while bass player Mike Davis played with Halford and Lizzy Borden. Singer Sean Peck is one of the busiest and most sought after vocalists in all of metal. This year alone he has sung lead for Death Dealer, his long running band Cage and the new Denner/Shermann band featuring the former guitarists of Mercyful Fate. The band’s new drummer is Steve Bolognese formerly of Into Eternity, and second guitarist is Australian axemaster Stu Marshall from Empire of Eden and Dungeon.

The band made a sizable impact with their debut War Master, but Hallowed Ground is the all-important sophomore release. These guys have nothing to worry about. The new album is more intense, more cinematic and every bit as metallic as their first strike. With thirteen lengthy songs, it almost borders on being too much metal to handle! But I’m sure you iron warriors will be willing to try! So prepare for battle and get ready to step on Hallowed Ground.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review

A bombastic and very soundtrack like intro ushers us into the Death Dealer world. It almost sounds like a full orchestra is playing here! Then a screaming fast metal riff comes blasting in, and the intense vocals of Sean Peck take over. This guy can really only be compared to the likes of Ripper Owens and Ralph Scheepers of Primal Fear. This cut comes across like a cross between Manowar and “Painkiller”-era Judas Priest with a sizable injection of Hollywood soundtrack..

Break the Silence
This is just a pure metal anthem with super catchy mid-paced riffs and insane screaming vocals from Sean Peck. It’s clichéd, sure, but it’s the kind of cliché that gets you banging your head and pumping your fist. Frankly, this is heavier and more anthemic than anything on Priest’s Redeemer of Souls album, with fantastic dual guitar work from Ross the Boss and Stu Marshall.
Plan of Attack
Racing speed metal is on tap here. It’s a bit on the generic side, but tightly played, and the sheer energy makes it enjoyable. The lyrics seem to be inspired by Marvel’s Iron Man.
More cinematic tones begin this track. Peck delivers some of his best and most diverse vocal work here. His range is astounding. The song itself explodes into pure crushing thrash not far from what you might hear from Testament or Exodus, but mixed with a more melodic chorus.
Llega el Diablo
This is a brief instrumental featuring some absolutely scorching acoustic Spanish guitar licks. I don’t know who the guitarist is here, but he smokes that guitar like nobody’s business.
Way of the Gun
The previous tune bleeds directly into this song. It seems to be another Western-flavored tune in the vein of “Gunslinger,” but not as speed-oriented. The vocal lines here do have a kind of Western touch to them, and the backing vocals add a nice melodic icing. New drummer Bolognese gets a spot where he can show his chops. I actually prefer this tune to “Gunslinger.”
Straightforward blasting thrash is the name of the game here. The chorus is pretty lunkheaded and simplistic. It’s an effective tune but not exactly a Death Dealer standout.
I Am the Revolution
Another anthemic tune that showcases Peck’s fabulous vocal range, which goes from throaty low tones to absolutely glass-breaking falsettos. This is another track that has heavy overtones of Judas Priest and Primal Fear.
Total Devastation
This starts with cinematic music that sounds like it could be from a Conan soundtrack, but a deafening scream ushers us into another heavy metal bruiser. I get a strong Manowar feeling from this one, which is pretty natural considering Ross the Boss is jamming on it - and jamming hard!
The Anthem
There’s not much of a mystery about what kind of tune this is. It’s another fist-banging cut in the tradition of Priest’s “Living After Midnight” or Helloween’s “Heavy Metal Is the Law.” It’s not exactly what you would call a deep or thinking man’s rocker, but the chorus is ridiculously catchy, and the lead guitar soloing rips.
Corruption of Blood
Another combination of thrash and power metal, this is very similar to “Total Devastation.” In fact, I have a hard time telling them apart. The sheer heaviness and Peck’s amazing vocals lift this above the also-ran status.m.
Skull and Bones
Arrr, mateys, get ready for a metal soundtrack to “Pirates of the Caribbean” here. This lusty track hits you with so many pirate clichés, you’ll have an eye patch and a hook hand by the time it’s done. Another cinematic opening leads to a swift galloping riff that reminds me of Iron Maiden. I really like the vocal hooks here, and the song is Sean Peck’s best effort on a record full of great singing. Even pirate metal masters Running Wild might have to tip their caps to Death Dealer here.
What better way to conclude such a bombastic album can there be than with a tale of a Nazi submarine captained by the Devil himself? This is quite the epic, with a slower and moodier feel to much of it and killer riffs. It’s kind of tedious to repeat but there’s more great screaming vocals and sheer metal overkill. This song is an example of all the sonic and lyrical excess that makes heavy metal so great and it’s a perfect conclusion to the albu
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