Review: The Slow Death – No Heaven

If you enjoy listening to “zero fucks given” punk whilst experimenting with how many beers you can ingest before you can’t see than The Slow Death are an essential addition to any soundtrack of alcoholic self-destruction. Eschewing tales of alcoholic excess, The Slow Death’s raucous and rollicking punk sound comes with infectious party vibes in tow, albeit the kind of party where you wake up with no trousers, covered in someone else’s blood with a convenient amnesia as to what the hell got you in such a predicament.

Sporting vocal chords blackened by infinite cigarettes and the burn of cheap whiskey, frontman Jesse Thorson is the epitome of gruffness- his voice straining in its ragged delivery, flecks of lung accompanying every gurgled holler. And whilst their riffs and chord progressions echo that of every other up-tempo punk band of the past thirty years, The Slow Death make a noble drive towards the anthemic. ‘I Need A Drink’ is every punk’s new drinking anthem – the caveman chorus chant of “goddamn I need a drink” a rallying call for a night of unbridled debauchery. Vocal purity is injected into the mix courtesy of Annie Sparrows of The Soviettes fame, her no less forceful vocal delivery sounding downright angelic next to the gravel tones of Jesse, giving those sing-along choruses on ‘No Heaven’ an extra boost. The furious pace slackens only once, for the measured motivational advice of ‘Raise Your Head Up’, where Jesse spurts the familiar “the world sucks but keep your head held high” shtick.

There’s very little on No Heaven that we haven’t heard before from various guises. This is simple four-chord major-key punk with a positive message tucked somewhere between all the allusions to filling your veins with as much alcohol as is medically possible. The Slow Death stick resolutely to the traditional punk formula and there ain’t a curveball in sight. Yet, the energy levels remain intense and The Slow Death are clearly intent on playing until their fingers are bloody stumps and voices are as ragged as someone on a diet of tarmac and sandpaper. Get the beers, put No Heaven on full volume and prepare to wake up naked in a puddle of your own vomit.

3 out of 5 high fives!

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