Great Metal Albums of 1986: Ded Engine

Now to answer the question which has been on everybody’s mind since last post, does Ded Engine really sound like Judas Priest with a head cold? Maybe the head cold bit was a little too harsh as I have listened to it recently but when I first heard it back in 1986, I thought it was the case. On the opening track, “Scream,” maybe they had a cold when they recorded that one and still a little bit when I reheard one of the tracks, “Rabid,” which appeared on the Metal Sister Compilation Tape, the same might apply. But when I heard the other track, “Bloodlust,” I was less inclined to think so. In fact, “Bloodlust” is one of the better tracks on the album.

Listen to the two tracks and judge for yourself:

Whether they had a head cold or not, this album from Ded Engine was definitely influenced by Judas Priest and it can be heard all over the album. The opening track reminds me of “Ram It Down” and the second track starts out with riffs similar to “You Got Another Thing Coming.” Saying that, I hear a little bit of KISS’s “Tears are Falling” in that intro but I tend to lean more towards Priest here, especially as KISS were chasing trends in the 80s, not creating them. The track, “Renegade,” reminds me of “Freewheel Burning” and I am convinced that every track can either be linked to a particular Judas Priest song or you can hear the Priest influence on it.

Being influenced by a great band like Judas Priest isn’t a bad thing. Ded Engine emulate their heroes very well. Lead singer Scott Litz is no Robert Halford but he does his best to try to sound like him and isn’t too bad and you have to give credit to guitarist, Doug Horstman. He can play riffs and solos like both Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, so you can say you have one guitarist doing the work of two. He plays well on the album. For me though, the best track on the album is “Take A Hike.” Probably because I can’t tie it to any particular Judas Priest song off the top of my head. I’m sure if I went through the Judas Priest discography, I would find one but no matter. This song, while still very strongly influenced by that band, probably sounds the most original. Horstman lays down some really great riffs on it.

The great feeling from “Take A Hike” is carried over to “Hot Shot.” There is some originality here and some Litz’s vocals are probably the best on the track and the backing vocals are good. Furthermore, Horstman lays down a cool guitar solo. With all that said, I should declare it the best track on the album but I’m afraid that even with all of those elements, it fails to reach the heights of “Take A Hike.” The problem with the Priest influence is that by the time you get to the last three tracks, it all gets a little predictable, even if the guitar solo on “Young and Hot” is quite good.

Track Listing:

  1. Scream
  2. Kings of the City
  3. Renegade
  4. Rabid
  5. Bloodlust
  6. Take a Hike
  7. Hot Shot
  8. Young and Hot
  9. Reign of Terror
  10. Til Deaf Do Us Part
Ded Engine

Scott Litz- vocals

Doug Horstman- guitars

Marky De Sade- bass

G.H. Chip Lorimer- drums

Final verdict is that Ded Engine’s debut album definitely sounds like Judas Priest but not so much with a head cold as I originally remembered. It’s a worthwhile listen.

Next post: Tony MacAlpine- Edge of Insanity

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16 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Ded Engine”

  1. You can certainly hear the influence in Ded Engine, kind of takes away the originality of the debut, and makes just want to listen to Priest! Nice read x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is not bad. It is just missing something with the vocals. It goes to show how important guys like Ozzy, Roth, Halford, etc are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the punk energy in the first one. I dunno about stuffy vocals, that might just be the live recording. I do hear Priest to it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess Priest was a big influence on this band? Interesting statement about Kiss chasing trends in the 80s by the way, I’ll have to think about that one. I will say though that when they took off their makeup, I thought they looked like any other band from the 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

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