Released 31 October 2022.
For fans of H.I.M, 69 Eyes, Rasmus
According to the press release, Dead Friends Forever (stylised as ‘D.ead F.riends F.orever’) “are are a bunch of five dead end, fun loving people [from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] that went to Wuhan, China back in 2019 (using money they got from selling things on Craigslist) for some China Dolls and came back in body bags (due to eating some exotic soup because of a stupid dare). They miraculously returned to life and decided to form a rock band with the intention of destroying the mainstream music industry, annoy the living daylight out of every rock/metal elitists! They love the smell of rotting flesh and embraced the human/AI synthesis concept with a vengeance. Their music is a mixture of goth metal with dissonant synthesizers sound, cheesy MIDI Strings section and some seriously bad vocals!”
And there is nothing about that final sentence that I cannot whole-heartedly agree with. Elsewhere, the band describes itself as “the most disgusting band in the universe” and “a goth metal band made up of five zombie cyborgs out to fuck up the mainstream music industry”. To be honest, with vocals like that, I think the mainstream music industry is in safe hands.
I guess there are two ways to look at this band: either they are absolute geniuses who are working on a level that is so above anything that I’ve witnessed before in all my years of singing and playing instruments on stage or… the vocals on this album are seriously terrible to the point that it makes this album almost unlistenable to. And to be honest… well, I think you already know what side I’m falling on.
Musically, this album has a very punk, “Fuck you! We are going to do this our way!” attitude. And while that’s commendable, I think I winced for the duration of the whole album. I honestly felt sick for most of it and by track six I had the kind of intense headache that I had for about five years after viral meningitis.
In those rare passages where there are no ear-abusing vocals, such as towards the end of “T.H.E.M.” (track 6) and the intro to “A werewolf’s blues (coming out)” (track 7) the band does get into a bit of a pleasant, head-nodding groove… but it is always soured by the wannabe-early Depeche Mode keyboard noodling and the atonal vocals—it’s like the vocalist has recorded this in another key. Or all of the keys. Or none. At times the keyboard sounds like a demented children’s toy that is running out of batteries.
I always try to approach these album reviews with an open mind. I love hearing new music, new perspectives, new cultural influences. I love having my musical vocabulary expanded. Obviously everyone has different tastes and different influences. I can safely say that this particular slab of cyber goth metal isn’t for me. The thing is, I’m not entirely sure who it is aimed at, with better vocals they could really make something of this, but currently…
Review score: 10%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Dead Friends Forever’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Dead Friends Forever. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Dead Friends Forever.