Sure to have broken nearly every decency law imaginable, German pervs Dead have been choking their chickens through 20 years of death, grind and rock & roll that leave most reprobates in the genre seem like petulant babes glued to their pacifiers. Their audience has always been admittedly niche, what with songs like "Glamorous Teen-Specialist in Gang Bang City", "Bodily Fluids are My Favorite Fetish" and "Polesmoker" not exactly bred to exercise the intellect. Nevertheless, they've yet to surrender their deviant dreams and take themselves too seriously, and really, no one else should either. The past few years have seen Dead ramp up productivity, with three full-lengths in the span of two years (compared to three others since 1991), and clearly they are not finished letting their fluids fly across the fans who have adhered to their lewd gluttony.
As with past records, the Germans seek to fuse guttural mayhem with a current of driving rock and grind ethics, and both influences are still felt, even though the actual riffing seems more of a straightforward death metal, as in "The Fineribber" with it's old school tremolo breaks and the squealing breakdowns of the bridge. Or "Wall of Flush", which is pretty much straight thrash and death with a few more of their signature grooves and bends. But Hardnaked doesn't stick to any one formula, and there are lighter hearted compositions like the dirty death-rock of "A Beer", or the down-tuned groove metal of "Liquor Store Goddess", with spikes of Southern doom at its midpoint. Some of the songs feel like a pure 90s death/doom, like the fart-sampling "Perfumes of Doom" or the closing title track, both of which contain elements of Boston's Grief or Australian scum Blood Duster.
I must be honest that Hardnaked but Dead! sounds a little dated, like something that might have arrive in the mid to late 90s and caused a bit more of a stir due to its vulgarity. Then again, that might be exactly what someone's doctor ordered. The riffs are well enough managed so that their music is constantly bouncing like a pair of inflated breasts, rather than boring, but you can't help but feel some familiarity throughout the album and there's a real dearth of memorable note progressions. A lot of the songs like "Tits" or "Possessed Soldiers of Luv" attempt to lure you along with pedestrian thrash rhythms and then level you with some climactic breakdown groove or lead, but these are never themselves all that impressive. Don't get me wrong: they can play, and at times, even shred, but the music is pretty forgettable even in such cases.
Ultimately I didn't come away from this album feeling particularly revolted or penetrated by its sounds, and it feels like a poor man's Carcass if they had written Gorefest's divisive groove heavy records like Erase. Even the cover art seems tame, though this has been the case for several albums (since Whorehouse of the Freaks in 2006) and they're going for more of a vintage smut appeal. But at the same time, I can't really say that there's anything truly wrong with Hardnaked but Dead. The guttural vocals might feel monotonous, the songs never that great, but they're executed with honesty enough set of hooks that might appeal to loathsome porno-grinders who want a break between faster, more relentless releases (including a few of Dead's own past conceptions.)
Verdict: Indifference [6/10]