King Parrot’s Dead Set: Evil Beats Angry
It would’ve been easy for King Parrot to make the same album over again. The Australian quintet made a big impact with 2012’s Bite Your Head Off, which continues to pick up steam among new fans three years later. They could’ve pumped out another fifteen tracks of passable grindcore and called it a day. But Dead Set, the band’s Phil Anselmo-produced album, is distinctly different than its predecessor. It certainly doesn’t stray entirely from the band’s style — it’s not like this is the King Parrot goth album —but provides enough changes in style and atmosphere to be its own animal.
The two most noticeable changes on Dead Set are sound levels and atmosphere. The guitars sound lusher and less straightforward-chainsaw than they previously did; their integration into the songs feels a little more confident, as though the band wasn’t as worried about sounding evil or hard. The same can be said for the drums, which are less tinny than they previously were. The atmosphere, meanwhile, has a darker menace to it, erring more on the side of metal than balls-out grindcore. There’s a great chance that Anselmo helped the band find that sound, as there’s a certain horror quality to it that speaks to the Pantera frontman’s tastes.
Don’t get me wrong, opener “Anthem for an Advanced Sinner” is as vicious and fast as they come, but “Need No Saviour” has a more wicked depth to it, especially in its diabolical stomp towards the end. “Hell Comes Your Way” and “Like A Rat” continue to with equal parts darkness and fury (the former ends with a nicely barked “CUNT” from vocalist Youngy). “Tomorrow Turns To Blood” and “Reject” are pure death metal, full of creepiness and mouthful-of-guts vocals. Closer “Dead Set” provides the ultimate creepy-crawl track on the record, though; while it starts fast and angry, by the end it has putrefied into an oozing breakdown. The whole thing ends similarly to Pantera’s “I Cast a Shadow,” with a collection of the band’s bizarre quips (“At the very least, I would like…a neck massage”).
Overall, Dead Set is reminiscent of the groovier moments of Pig Destroyer, which, on this site, is no small amount of praise. The band manages to bring plenty of fury, but it’s the slower, more textured sequences that really make the album a standout. Sophomore efforts are often pushed as “harder, heavier, faster,” but here, King Parrot decide not to just be angry all over again, and instead give listeners the evil they crave.