Dead Samaritan

Album Title: 
The Only Good Samaritan...
Release Date: 
Monday, January 28, 2013
Review Type: 

(Foreword :  We just received a reply from the band about the review of their album, notifying us of a couple of factual errors made in it. Rather than re-writing the whole article, I decided to ad a couple of post-scriptums, notifying where they apply within the article. I leave it up to you to read the article correctly)

The history of this Tampere, Finland based quintet (composed of singer Valendis Suomalainen, guitarists Marko Saarinen & Matti Viholainen, bassist Eero Virtanen, and drummer Janne Honkanen) goes back all the way to 2001, when the band was formed under the monicker of The Beauty Of Dying, releasing their debut demo First Kill, with a Death-Thrash sound, that same year. Followed lots of rehearsals, quite a bit of gigging, and in 2003, the band's second demo, Dark Matter.

Some time after that (in fact not so long after), the band (then consisting of Marko, Janne, second guitarist Teemu Raunio, bassist Markus Moberg, and singer Pasi Lehtinen) changed its name to the current one, and went on to record and release a first demo, entitled Bone Hill Revelation (* → see P.S. 1), as Dead Samaritan...after which the band put itself on a self-imposed hiatus. That came to an end in 2008, when the band again [in their current line-up? I'm afraid an actual time line is unavailable Some background details? Matti and Eero (the latter under the assumed name of deatHolic) are formerly of the Pirkanmaa based Melodic Death Metal act Standard Issue Death, which released demos in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Last but not least, singer Valendis is still active in Stoner/ Sludge/ Doom Metal act Herem (released 2 demos in 2006, then had official full-lengths released in 2008 and 2011). Returning to Dead Samaritan's original members, I can tell you that Matti is also formerly of Tampere based Black/ Death Metal duo Suffering (demos in 2002 & 2003), where he played bass as well as guitar, and sang under the assumed name of E. Tingander (at least, if I got my info correct * → see P.S. 2). Janne is also formerly of Mystic Opera] threw itself on the live circuit, playing key gigs and doin' festival appearances, as well as writing and rehearsing new songs...which first brought us the 4-track demo Counting The Body Toll in 2010, and eventually culminated in the recording of an album's worth of material between October and December of 2011.

About the album can be said that two songs were formerly on the demos (“Laid To Waste” was on the 2010 demo, “Bleeding Ground” goes back to 2004), but when you listen to the album you wouldn't be able to discern those tracks from the 10 others. Meaning, that there is a consistency in the band's output, or...that those two songs were adapted to the band's current style. Whatever is the case, The Only Good a very furious and aggressive affair altogether, combining Death Metal and Thrash with a somewhat Blackened singer. The man (* → see P.S. 3) doés get some backing in a couple of songs (“DB13”, and album closers “Into The Shadows Of The Mind”, “Welcome To The Death Zone”, and “Into The Stellar Night” * → see P.S. 4), mainly by his bandmates Eero and Marko, but there's also a guesting position in two of those songs by one Dimitri DimmuMartinov (about whom I found no additional info * → see P.S. 5). In truth, only during “DB13” are there actual backing vocals; during “Welcome...” the vocal contribution is in the form of Russian “clips”, during “In The Shadows...” it's whispers, and during “Into The...” it's a spoken word addition.

Those little details dó bring some diversity to the tracks towards the end of the album, and although that is welcome, it's not really needed to make this a truly good album. Check out some tracks at the band's MySpace, or other website pages you usually visit.

P.S. 1 : Teesu Raunio did nót play guitar on the Bone Hill Revelation demo, as he wasn't in the band anymore. The actual second guitarist on that recording was one Jussi Lappänen.

P.S. 2 : E. Tingander ('E' standing for Eeru) was not a homonym for Matti Viholainen! In fact, he is a completely different individual. Awkward part is, both played in The Suffering in the past, and Eeru was also part of Dead Samaritan during a period between 2003 and 2005.

PS. 3 : Singer Valendis Suomalainen is really a woman, and not, as I thought, a male vocalist.