It’s pretty hard to believe that King Parrot has only been around since 2010 when you think about how much they’ve achieved in the last five years. This is one of the hardest working bands in heavy metal and their dedication to this project is what has got them to where they are in such a short amount of time. These guys truly live and breathe King Parrot. They’ve toured all over their homeland Australia, North America, Europe, and Asia, they’ve even played big festivals like SoundWave, HammerSonic Jakarta in Indonesia and SXSW in Texas which is insane for a band that is almost brand new. King Parrot was also a finalist at the 2013 Australian Music Video Awards for their hilarious video “Shit on the Liver.” From what I hear their live show is just incredible, they give everything they have, every single night and that along with being very original, really is their secret to success. I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a King Parrot live show yet but that will change in the very near future I’m sure. Their originality, disturbing (but hilarious) sense of humor, insane live show and determination has really put King Parrot on the map quickly. When you take a look at how far they’ve come and how impressive their list of accomplishments is, it’s almost unbelievable that Dead Set is only their sophomore album. A band with a portfolio like King Parrot usually has been in the game a long time and released quite a bit of music.
King Parrot was formed in Melbourne, Australia by Matthew “Youngy” Young (vocals), Ari “Mr. White” White (guitar), Matthew “Slatts” Slattery (bass guitar), Ed Lacey (guitar) and Matt Rizzo (drums) in 2010. They released their EP The Stench Of Hardcore Pub Trash in 2011, and then their first full length, Bite Your Head Off in 2012, which they recorded and released independently. By 2013 King Parrot had made quite a name for themselves with their awesome live show and extensive touring. They were picked up by Candlelight Records who re-released their debut album Bite Your Head Off making it available worldwide. Since King Parrot’s formation they have gone through a few lineup changes. One of the founding guitarists, Ed Lacey left the band in 2012 and was replaced by Andrew “Squiz” Livingstone-Squires. Also in 2012, founding drummer Matt Rizzo decided to call it quits and his replacement Matt “Skitz” Sanders left King Parrot in 2014, which in turn brought in Todd “Toddy” Hansen to take over the drummer role. King Parrot got the attention of the one and only, Mr. Phillip H. Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual, Necophagia, etc.) who interviewed them on his Housecore Records YouTube channel and then later signed them to his label under the same name (Housecore Records). Phil has always expressed how much he enjoys the grindcore genre and it only makes sense that King Parrot would make a connection with him sooner or later and who better to have your back than one of the most influential and interesting personalities in heavy metal. Phil even makes a guest appearance in their music video for “Like A Rat” which you can check out at the bottom of this review.
King Parrot’s sound is definitely a grindcore base with heavy thrash influence and even a little hardcore thrown in just to keep listeners on their toes. It’s hard to classify them as pure deathgrind when they incorporate so many different elements into their sound. Matthew “Youngy” Young has a pretty unique style of vocals, at times he sounds similar to Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan) but then he throws in some growls and screams that make his style one of a kind. In comparison to King Parrot’s first album Bite Your Head Off, Dead Set is a completely different monster. While Bite Your Head Off is still undeniably King Parrot, Dead Set just feels more natural and confident, almost like they have translated the energy and power of their live show into the studio. Whether that’s just from extensive touring and experience, teaming up with Phil Anselmo, natural progression, or whatever the case may be, they really have stepped up to the plate and hit this one out of the park. That ridiculously hilarious sense of humor is still there along with their unique sound, they’ve just gotten better as musicians.
Dead Set opens with a track called “Anthem Of The Advanced Sinner” that lasts a total of one minute and thirty-five seconds which is pretty normal in the grindcore genre, short and straight to the point. It’s an awesome opening track with all the right ingredients to get a grindcore fans attention, a relentless onslaught of blast beats, dirty guitar riffs and a unique vocal delivery. It’s heavy, it’s fast and if your musical taste is anything like mine it’ll get you pumped for the rest of this album. From there Dead Set jumps into “Need No Savior” a track with a healthy mix of grind and thrash elements that gives you a fairly good taste of how King Parrot has grown into their sound. The music has a really nice flow to it and the riff transitions are seamless. There’s a few tracks on King Parrot’s debut album Bite Your Head Off that had some awkward sounding riff and tempo changes, almost like they just forced riffs to work together. Perhaps Phil Anselmo has something to do with their new found song writing ability or maybe they just figured out how to make things mesh better with experience, whatever the case may be it’s an improvement in my opinion. “Hell Comes Your Way” is another track with a healthy dose of thrash influence. This is by far my personal favorite track on the album. I love the gang-style vocals during the chorus, the riffs, the awesome drumming of Todd “Toddy” Hansen and lyrics are entertaining to say the least. “Like A Rat” has a very hardcore style sound to it. Although the song only lasts a total of one minute and forty-four seconds, the riffs and overall feeling of the song is undeniably hardcore at the foundation. Track five is another favorite of mine on Dead Set, a track titled, “Tomorrow Turns To Blood.” This is one of the heaviest songs on Dead Set, it is packed full of guttural vocals, death metal style guitars and drums, and it will crush your skull with its heaviness. It is one hundred percent deathgrind metal made to open up the pit and scare the shit out of people around you, a perfect song. “Home is Where The Gutter Is” is another pretty brutally heavy track that I’m digging quite a bit. It has a slower tempo than “Tomorrow Turns To Blood” but is very much in the same style, just pure deathgrind with a slightly more complex musical direction. “Sick In The Head” and “Punisher” are in a very similar style to “Need No Savior.” With a healthy mix of thrash and grind elements, they just have that undeniable King Parrot sound. “Reject” is another hardcore influenced track, even the vocal delivery has a hardcore or punk style to it. Clocking in at a whopping four minutes, it’s the second longest song on the album behind the title track “Dead Set.” “Dead Set” is the last song on the album and probably my least favorite song of the bunch. Not that it’s a bad song I just felt like it was a little repetitive and unnecessarily long. There’s some pretty cool guitar work and the song ends with a snippet of the band having a conversation and it is classic King Parrot humor, so it’s worth a listen.
Musically Dead Set is very solid and anyone who is a fan of any kind of extreme metal will find something they like about this album. The guitar riffs are well written, for the most part, the bass is groovy and easily heard, the drumming is efficient and impressive throughout the album and the vocals are brilliant. I can see how some people will not enjoy the vocals as much as others but it’s undeniably original and for me it’s one of my favorite things about King Parrot. Matthew “Youngy” Young is one of a kind and I think he is absolutely hilarious and incredibly awesome at the same time. I feel like Dead Set is a big step forward from Bite Your Head Off for King Parrot, they’ve really got a chaotic deathgrind sound that is their own and they seem to fine tune it for the better with each release. My only complaints would be that the album feels like it’s over way too soon, but that’s a fairly normal feeling after a grind record, and also that they would explore a little more musically. That being said, they are getting better with each release and Dead Set is a vast improvement from Bite Your Head Off from a musical complexity point of view. Dead Set features ten tracks and was released on May 15th. It’s available through Housecore Records and you can pick up a copy through the Amazon link in the sidebar. Overall I give Dead Set, King Parrot’s sophomore album 665/666 horns way up in the air. I absolutely can’t get enough of this album. King Parrot are truly one of the most original bands out right now and their deranged and disturbing sense of humor combined with their unique music is sure to gain the favor of anyone who enjoys extreme metal.
Shawn “Short-Fuse” Carter