Dead Cowboy’s Sluts – The Hand of Death Review

Dead Cowboy’s Sluts are a metal band from Paris, formed in 2010. They recorded their first album at the Studio St. Marthe in august 2011 called The Hand Of Death and were promptly signed to French label M&O MUSIC for the release of said album in 2012.

Their style brings to mind Slayer at their best, with lyrical content surrounding subjects such as serial killers, madness, religious and general extremists excesses.  This stuff is dark and disturbing indeed if you let it get to you.  More importantly though, it’s also a huge debut album from these French metallers, with no more than fourteen tracks packed into just under an hour’s playtime.

I mentioned dark and disturbing above and I have to say that their opening intro track, B.T.K, gave me the absolute heebie-jeebies! Ain’t no way on earth you would ever get me listening to this in the dark, eyes closed, headphones on, with nothing but the sound of this track. It sets the atmosphere and tone of the album in a huge way and perhaps it does overstay its welcome, but more so because it makes you feel distinctly uncomfortable… and then the brutality reigns with Asylum Breakout, kicking in like a mule with something akin to Slipknot meeting Marilyn Manson. There’s an almost underlying Gothic tinge to this track in places, but it has brutality stamped all over it. There’s some great pace and riff changes, giving you some indication of what’s ahead on the album while Benjamin Leclerc screams and growls his way through the track in a Rob Flynn meets Phil Anselmo style.

The album continues in a similar mould, be it the more conventional run and gun thrash of I Will Hunt You Down and Lusk that bring to mind this genre at its height in the nineties, or the tribal feel of Must Be Broken as it stomps all over your ears from start to finish. This is technically proficient metal that has one helluva thrash kick to it. It’s relentless in its pace, aggression and riffage, especially in following track Criminal (probably my favourite track on the album, although final track Backdraft runs it very very close), which I reckon would produce an absolutely epic moshpit. So far I feel like I’ve been grabbed by the balls by a huge iron fist that doesn’t want to let go and it’s feeling good!

The second half of the album gives the band a chance to stretch their musical wings further. They’ve shown they can do speed throughout the first half but now they crank the groove up a good notch in Purify By Fire that has some great melodic interludes while still letting the reigns off on Mathieu Leclerc and Pierre Plathey’s technical shredding. It segues beautifully and violently into This Hate, that has a stupendous thumping breakdown thrown into the mix.

You’re then stunned with an atmospheric interlude, Gates of Perdition, that is beautiful and melancholic with touches of flamenco come mariachi styled play. It only paves the way though, for you to be bludgeoned to death, with the wholly evil Skull Crusher (interestingly it has the same kind of feel as Overkill’s same titled track from Years of Decay) and the rather wordy Life, Death and Its Painful Intervening Period.

Title track, The Hand of Death, centering around the satanic cult of the same name I’m assuming, is almost progressive in its approach with part one setting the tone before part two rips in and rips you apart in the process. A fitting end to the album you would think but no, Dead Cowboy’s Sluts manage to eke out one final hurrah with a sludge induced, southern groove of a closing track with Backdraft that brings to mind Load and ReLoad era Metallica if Anselmo was to take up the vocal mantle.  And wring out what they can of this album they do, with this final track showing another fine side to their musicianship.

Is it wrong to say that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the brutality of Dead Cowboy’s Sluts? For a band to produce a debut album of this quality both technically and musically is nothing short of superb. It’s positively brimming with hostility, aggression, atmosphere and a gut load of bonecrushing tunes. It’s no wonder M&O Music grabbed these guys up. If you like wrapping your ears around the likes of Machine Head, Slipknot, Pantera and those of similar ilk then this is without a doubt for you. If you hadn’t guessed, I liked this.  Yeah, I liked this a lot.

The Hand of Death is available from September 10th through M & O Music.

Rating: 10/10

Track Listing:
1. B.T.K
2. Asylum Breakout
3. I Will Hunt You Down
4. Lusk
5. Must Be Broken
6. Criminal
7. Purify By Fire
8. This Hate
9. Gates of Perdition
10. Skull Crusher
11. Life, Death and Its Painful Intervening Period
12. The Hand of Death Pt.1
13. The Hand of Death Pt.2
14. Backdraft

Dead Cowboy’s Sluts are:
Benjamin Leclerc – Vocals
Mathieu Leclerc – Guitar
Pierre Plathey – Guitar
Morgan Djinadou – Bass
Guillaume Thiébault – Drums


About Scott Watson

Part time guitarist and wannabe rock star. Long time lover of metal, xbox, football and my family while writing and editing for