Released: 2017, Hammerheart Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Swine Plague is a seventh album released by Dutch thrash metal pioneers Dead Head. Going for nearly 30 years, they describe themselves as being the heaviest thrash can ever get without becoming death metal (they seem to have a real bee in their bonnet about this – they mention it in their press release, on their Wikipedia page – evidently they don’t want to be mislabelled…). They’re one of those bands I’ve been aware of but not really into for a long time, which is nobody’s fault but my own.
From the very get go this is a heavy album. There’s no messing about with ‘Helhuizen’ being a driving and powerful opener. There’s a certain amount of diversity on this album that you don’t always get with thrash bands (let’s be fair, it can get a bit samey after a while), but these guys experiment with some rhythmic variation, which I really like. Top pick is definitely ’Dhur’, which has some classic thrashing solo action throughout. There are some surprises in there too, like ‘The Reformation’ – a growling acoustic, atmospheric number that leads into ‘The Gates Beyond’ beautifully. I like it when an album does something surprising.
Swine Plague is a little bit like my penis, in that it’s impressive at first and is also definitely a grower. Any thrash metal fan will like this, and I think there’s enough there to satisfy people who aren’t usually fussed by the genre. I’ve not listened to the other six albums enough (yet) to say whether or not this is their finest work, but from what I’ve heard this is at very least a great contribution.