Dead Allies Deliver Heavy Words In New Album

The latest album from Dead Allies is a journey worth taking. So come along as we break it down track-by-track.

Dead Allies Deliver Heavy Words In New Album
Dead Allies new album HEAVY WORDS.

We often evangelize how much talent there is in our scene, which remains one of the main driving forces behind the work we do here at Scene Pensacola. When you see a hometown band killing it on stage, or hear original music that is SO good being created right outside your door, you make it your mission to get everyone else to hear it too. This is one of those scenarios. This is a great album.

Sam McClead and James Cameron Smith of Dead Allies.
Sam McClead and James Cameron Smith of Dead Allies.

Hailing from Niceville FL, power duo Samuel McClead and James Cameron Smith make up alternative rock outfit Dead Allies. They've recently returned with their sophomore album Heavy Words, coming two years after their debut release Weathered Hearts.

What's The Inspiration Behind Heavy Words

I started writing most of these songs while I was finishing up our first album. The first album was mostly a collection of songs that I wrote over the years, and I brought James in to add drums to mostly already written songs. This album was truly, I feel, a collection of songs that James and I wrote together. -Sam McClead
Samuel McClead onstage at the Handlebar
Sam McClead (photo: S. Thompson Photography)

Where Did The Title Come From?

The album title, Heavy Words, came from the fact that all of the songs are on heavy topics, such as depression, bad friends, love. Heavy Words just felt right to me. -Sam McClead
The album cover we wanted to keep similar to the first one and liked the idea of keeping the polaroids as the "theme". When we came up with the name Heavy Words we wanted an anchor somewhere in the artwork and the tattoo flash sheet seemed to be the right way to go. @heatherheatwavetattoo killed it IMO. -James Cameron Smith
James Cameron Smith and Sam McClead.
James Cameron Smith and Sam McClead (photo: S. Thompson Photography)

What Was The Recording Process?

Thankfully we have years of experience together that working in the studio is like second nature. We know what to expect from the other person and what they like or how they operate in a studio environment, so that made things smooth and easier to handle. -James Cameron Smith
The recording process was a smooth one cause like James says, we work really well together. It just took me forever to finish mixing and mastering the album cause I had other projects going in with my studio, and I kept pushing our album back. Thankfully, James didn't give up on me, and I feel we have a product that we are both very proud of -Sam McClead
We started recording the album in 2022, not long after the first album was released. The first album, Weathered Hearts, was sort of a collection of old songs brought back to life (and recorded the right way, if I must say so). While recording that first album we already had song ideas in mind. When it came time to record Heavy Words, we already had 75% of the songs worked out lyrically and structurally, so we were able to basically create demos of those songs and use those to help record the final product. I moved out of state in the middle of 2022, so the last week in town I spent 7 days recording the drums, piano, and my part of the vocals. Some of the vocals were redone at a later time, some of them a year later. All in all, we did get to finish tracking the album in a fairly quick amount of time, but I'm glad we sat with it and kept fine tuning them into what they are today. I couldn't be more proud to have my name attached to something, and I couldn't be more proud of my best friend for producing such a high quality album!! -James Cameron Smith
James Cameron Smith and Sam McClead
James Cameron Smith and Sam McClead (photo: S. Thompson Photography)

The Songs

Scene Pensacola staffers Andy Hudson and Tim Schaffer were given early access to the recordings and sat down to give it a proper, honest listen. They break it down track-by-track, and have included the official lyric video for each song so you can listen along, which we highly recommend! They approached each track focusing on 3 things: The musicality, the lyrics and the overall impact. So let's get to it.

The back cover of Heavy Words.
The back cover of Heavy Words.


Breakdown by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

This song eases you into the album with a gentle choir before kicking you in the face with the main riff. Probably the most light, warmhearted and upbeat track on the album, which should tell you where things are headed. Good choice as an opener as it sets the stage for what's to come.

Andy: This is how I like albums to start. Kick me in the face or GTFO.

Tim: Hard deep riffs. Gives me Offspring vibes.


Disappear by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

Starts off with a short badass drum solo before kicking into what we can only describe as the riff from hell. Heavy, riffy, and groovy as all get out. Gives us serious old school Silverchair vibes. Probably the heaviest track on the album. Drums are menacing and driving. The guitars will cause your face to immediately scowl while nodding to the tempo. The lyrics are personal, relatable and they let you live vicariously through the writers pain and struggles. Combined with the music, this song doesn't just slap. It punches.

William Faucet of the band Spiral makes a guest appearance here, providing additional vocals.

"This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and not for the reason you might think. The drum parts in this are super fun to play, but they're not quite original. This song is a nod to old friends of Sam and I who had a band called BloodStainedGrace. They were criminally underrated and I straight up stole the intro (to the best of my ability) from one of their songs. This is a tip of the hat and, in my eyes, a continuation of the passion they had as a group"
- James Cameron Smith

Speak Soft

Speak Soft by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

This song slows things down a bit. The lyrics are politically and socially charged and wouldn't feel out of place in a Rage Against The Machine song. Spiral's William Faucet also guests on this track with additional vocals.


Paranoid by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

This song opens with a silky guitar intro, reminiscent of something Velvet Revolver or Garbage would have written. Self loathing, loneliness and heavy melancholy make up the lyrical content. We both had this in our top 3 favorites from the album. We loved the progression of the song and the overall arrangement.

"Paranoid is a stream of consciousness style conversation I had with myself. I was feeling lost and stuck in a rut. I am often my own worst enemy, and writing out these questions helped me to realize how I was actually feeling about myself. Which isn't cheery, I know, but it was honest and heavy."
- Sam McClead


Someone by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

We both had this in our Top 3 songs from the album. Relatable lyrics. Everyone wants someone to live for. Someone to share life with and take on the world together. Starts off mellow but the chorus takes it to another level.

Andy: Favorite song on the album. Opening reminds of U2's With Or Without You. Overall a simple song, but sometimes the simple ones are the ones that leave the biggest impression.

Tim: The beginning of this song reminds me of the intro to a Final Fantasy boss battle. Great song to play on repeat. Catchy melodies and vocals. Soft to heavy transition works really well together. An ear worm.

"Someone is a funny song to me. I wrote it in 2012 while I lived in Houston, and I challenged myself to write a love song. However, I didn't have anyone to write a love song to. It's also funny because James and I almost cut this song so many times. We experimented with this one as well, and we didn't know if it all worked. But it seems as though it is a lot of peoples favorite song or at least top few songs off the album. Which continues to surprise both of us."
- Sam McClead


Regret by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

This song starts out with a nice, happy, strummy intro that leads into a heavier, not as happy chorus. Vocals are reminiscent of Wes Scantlin a bit. Straightforward Rock n' Roll this one.


Broken by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

We both loved this song so much. If you added some twangy guitars, this could be a hit country ballad. Great guitar and vocal melody. Tim thought it was reminiscent of an Alter Bridge song. The track has universal appeal, and we can't imagine anyone not liking it. It crosses genres, and is very easy to listen to. Lyrically it's emotional, taking the listener through the devastation of a bad relationship. All the feels. A pleasure to listen to.

"This song is an accumulation of stories and a reflection of them all collectively. It sort of touches on all of the past relationships I've been in, in a few different ways. Without getting too specific, some of the phrases in the song were actual words used against me or words said between an ex and myself. This is the first full song I've ever written on a piano. Once I had the melody, words just started to come out of me. I'm lucky it happened like that."
- James Cameron Smith

Hold On

Hold On by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

This song comes in gently with piano and soft vocals before the drums takes the track to another level and really gets grooving. The drums really standout in this song. Lyrically, the message is hopeful, but also kind of sad. Upbeat, but melancholy. Great vocals and harmonies. Overall, props on the writing and arrangement. This song was a nice change of pace, and further emphasizes the range Dead Allies possesses, and the progressiveness of this record.


P.O.S. by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

Well, there's no misinterpreting the message here. The writer clearly has a bone to pick with the subject of this song. And if you didn't catch that from the title, the lyrics are pretty on the nose. Bluesy guitars and drums lead you through lines like "You're a piece of shit. I think you should eat shit. You look like shit.". Doesn't get much clearer than that guys. Tell us how you really feel, Dead Allies.


R.B.F. by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

Punk rock drums. Check. Tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Check. Short and sweet. Check. Reminded us of those short joke songs you'd find randomly on Blink-182 records that we wish more bands would do. Further proof that this album has a little bit of everything.

"This is a song about my resting bitch face. James and I were talking about how someone didn't like me cause I always looked mean. And I had the idea to write this little song. I wrote it and presented it to James in a rehearsal as a joke. He liked it, and we actually recorded the drums for it in that rehearsal. We also thought it would he funny to have a song like the short songs Blink-182 does. I'm not saying we ripped them off, but I'm not saying we didn't."
- Sam McClead


Deadweight by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

The return of heavy, riffy guitars. Tim got TrustCompany/Trapt vibes. Andy got Breaking Benjamin/Silverchair vibes. All good things! Main riff is fire. Drums are ON FIRE in the bridge. Aggressive lyrics. Almost wish some dirty vocals were thrown in at the end to really slam the gauntlet down, but regardless this song kicks ass. Hell yeah.

"Once we got everything finished it was the same thing that I'm sure most musicians experience. Do we re-record things? Do we even like this song? Lets scrap that song... Okay never mind, let's keep it... This is the final mix... no wait, THIS is the final mix...  I did actually persuade Sam to let me re-record Deadweight in late 2023 sometime, and I can truly say it was worth it."
- James Cameron Smith

Let's Go Home

Let's Go Home by Dead Allies (official lyric video)

Gin Blossoms and Offspring vibes abound. Sassy lyrics. Blunt, uptempo and just a fun song. Who can't relate to lyrics like "I can't wait to go home, where I can finally be alone. I don't have to feign interest, and I can finally take off my pants". Down with leg prisons! We both liked how it ended the album on an upbeat note after taking us on a journey across high peaks, and low valleys.

 "I really wanted this drum beat to make a statement. I wanted something that sounded iconic and inspires everyone that listens to air drum along."
- James Cameron Smith

We also noticed, if you play the album on repeat, the end of this song goes into the beginning of the first track perfectly. Brilliant way to wrap everything up, and tie a little bow on a badass work of art. Well done Dead Allies. We're big fans of this album, and look forward to hearing it live.

If you missed our recent interview with Dead Allies in the Scene Pensacola studio, check it out below!

Dead Allies interview with Tim Schaffer in the Scene Pensacola studio.

Learn more about Dead Allies in our Band Directory:

This is: Dead Allies
Dead Allies Genre: Punk, Alternative Rock, Pop Punk Hometown: Niceville, FL Dead Allies is an alternative rock band based in Northwest Florida. Comprised of Samuel McClead on lead vocals and guitar, and James Cameron Smith on drums and secondary vocals. Sam and James have over 10 years of shared stage

Dead Allies Band Directory listing