Just because most of us are currently unable to do most of the thing we want to do, it doesn't stop us from listening to music that is manifestly prepared to get alcohol poisoning on our behalf. Fans of scuzzy street doom will already be aware of R.I.P. and their self-evident quest to make the most joyously wasted and lead-heavy music possible. The band's previous three albums absolutely nailed that lobotomized, getting-fucked-up-in-the-desert vibe, with just enough heavy metal oomph and PENTAGRAM panache to make the Portland quartet stand out from the doomy crowd. In truth, what R.I.P. are peddling has very little to do with the artsy, post-metal set or traditional doom's unremitting SABBATH worship. Instead, this is doom metal reimagined for GG ALLIN and DWARVES fans: a blistering, amoral and wildly entertaining soundtrack to driving like a maniac and ending up in a cell for the night, with two black eyes and a sore dick.
There is absolutely no point in fiddling with a winning formula. "Dead End" picks up where 2017's "Street Reaper" left off, with an invigorating flurry of rabble-rousing, gutter-level doom anthems. The syrupy horror synths of the opener have more in common with ACID WITCH and NECROPHAGIA's aesthetics, but when "Judgement Night" kicks in, we are instantly onboard a runaway train of dirty doom. The riffs are thuggish, the message is psychotic gibberish and the overall vibe is akin to being sucked back in time to the early '70s and being given a jolting dose of whatever BOBBY LIEBLING was having back then. This time, however, throw in some of LEMMY's speed as a chaser.
Bolstered by a bass-sodden, KYUSS-like guitar tone and vocalist Fuzz's blearily soulful screech, songs like the hell-for-leather "Nightmare" and the lumbering, ominous "One Foot In The Grave" subscribe to a largely retrogressive code, but there's so much feral energy driving this thing forward: "Dead End" never sounds like a salute to the past, but a celebration of doom's timelessness and enduring relevance. After all, if 2020 has proved anything, it's that we're all righteously fucked.
Further analysis is arguably pointless. R.I.P. don't exist for the beard strokers. If you want cerebral, look elsewhere. If you want riffs, chaos and a kamikaze sprint to the edge of the abyss, "Dead End" has you covered.