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  #261  
Old 09-10-2013, 05:38 PM
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Primal Scream - Volume One - January 13, 1987

In a scene as crowded as the NYC one was, already boasting the likes of Overkill, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and Carnivore, it must have been difficult for a band like Primal Scream who, while not awful, didn't exactly have it all put together like those other bands. Primal Scream were one of those meat-and-potatoes thrash bands, who thrashed hard and probably lived much the same way.

Like many of their New York brethren, Primal Fear had more of a punk vibe than their West Coast counterparts with Rob Graham (or was it Steve Alliano? I have no idea) bellowing Cro-Mags-style over some pretty quick riffs. Probably the most striking song on the album though, is when one of those aforementioned vocalists actually decides to sing over some more melodic instrumentation in "Kill the Light". At any rate, Primal Scream's one and only volume is an enjoyable enough experience, as pedestrian as it may be.

Standouts: Kill the Light, Ignorance is No Excuse

Score: 6/10
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  #262  
Old 09-17-2013, 05:37 PM
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Vendetta - Go and Live... Stay and Die - February, 1987

If you were to put me in a time machine and send me back to say, March 1987, and then ask me who I thought was the best German thrash metal band at that point, I'd be hard pressed not to say Vendetta. While their brethren in bands like Kreator and Destruction were pushing the boundaries of extreme metal, Vendetta were clearly paying attention to what was going on across the Atlantic as they sounded much more like bands playing in California rather than Germany.

Right from the start, there is a clear emphasis on riffs. With a crisp and clear production, there are passages that are as fast as any, but the band also demonstrates a clear understanding of dynamics with chugging, grooving parts that echo some of the better offerings by bands like Metallica and Exodus. Vendetta even border on prog at some points, keeping the listener wondering with riff and time changes throughout the album's 38 minutes.

It's baffling that Vendetta didn't make a bigger name for themselves, because this is a very excellent addition to the thrash metal story. Sure, the vocals aren't anything special but certainly don't take away from the music, and while some songs seem to meander or lose their way at times, they are definitely well-executed for the most part. This is probably the best yet of those diamonds-in-the-rough that have made this exercise so damn enjoyable.

Standouts: Systems of Death, Revolution Command, Go and Live... Stay and Die

Score: 8.5/10
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  #263  
Old 09-17-2013, 07:07 PM
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Primal Scream: This is the first time in a long time I've seen a wicked thrash album cover from the 80's of a band I've never heard of. Will look into this!

Vendetta: This was supposed to be reissued (along with Brain Death), but I think Massacre Records is just sitting on it right now. Everything I've heard from this album is insanely good though.
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  #264  
Old 09-17-2013, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
Primal Scream: This is the first time in a long time I've seen a wicked thrash album cover from the 80's of a band I've never heard of. Will look into this!

Vendetta: This was supposed to be reissued (along with Brain Death), but I think Massacre Records is just sitting on it right now. Everything I've heard from this album is insanely good though.
Primal Scream is OK, nothing brilliant. I keep coming back to that Vendetta record though, pretty fucking excellent.
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  #265  
Old 09-20-2013, 05:35 PM
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Blood Feast - Kill For Pleasure - February 13, 1987

Enthusiasm. Blood Feast does have that going for them, at least. They play heads-down thrash, fast and dirty with vocals just about as shredded as Possessed or Kreator, but the material presented here is just not that good. The songs blend into one -- a blur of furious riffs, over-the-top vocals, and their best attempts at Slayer-inspired guitar solos. The band snaps you out of your thrash-haze every now and then with slower, darker riffs but it doesn't last very long. Heavy and fast this is, important or worthwhile, not particularly.

Standouts: Kill For Pleasure, Suicidal Mission

Score: 3.5/10
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  #266  
Old 09-24-2013, 06:54 PM
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Overkill - Taking Over - March, 1987

It's funny the way you place things in your mind when you haven't put a whole lot of thought into where those things go... I always thought Taking Over was a bit of a step down from Overkill's brilliant debut, but upon further listening and really doing a hard comparison of the two, it's a real tough call. Taking Over is at least Feel the Fire's equal, and maybe even a couple points better!

The overall sound on Taking Over is the same as it was on the debut, which is no surprise given that a lot of these songs were written around the same time as those on Feel the Fire. The guitar tone on Taking Over is heavier though, and the band sounds tighter as a whole while retaining Overkill's already trademark reckless snarl. Songs like the opener, "Deny the Cross" as well as the eyebrow-raising tandem of "Use Your Head" and "Fatal If Swallowed" string neck-snapping riffs together in an almost organic fashion, making this one of the more complete and developed albums in the major growth period of the genre.

There are some weak points of course, like Blitz's vocals at times which seem to be just too clean, most notably on "In Union We Stand", though this is certainly not the rule but the exception. Overall, it's a very solid thrash album, and if nothing else, listening to it a few times with such a critical ear made me realize that my favourite band is even more awesome than I originally thought!

Standouts: Fatal If Swallowed, Deny the Cross, Use Your Head

Score: 9.5/10
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  #267  
Old 09-24-2013, 08:13 PM
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Everything about that album is godly.
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  #268  
Old 10-06-2013, 05:16 PM
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Didn't think I'd be waiting this long to get to Among the Living.
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  #269  
Old 10-06-2013, 07:24 PM
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Didn't think I'd be waiting this long to get to Among the Living.
Yeah, life happens, my friend. You can expect it in the next couple days.
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  #270  
Old 10-07-2013, 06:40 PM
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Anthrax - Among the Living - March 22, 1987

After two full-length releases, Anthrax have proven that they are quite capable of writing music that is catchy as hell while remaining every bit as heavy. Their second album, Spreading the Disease featured whiplash-inducing thrash riffs coupled with infectious choruses infused with gang vocals and lead singer Joey Belladonna's soaring vocals -- the latter being a feature that separated them from the rest of the thrash metal pack, who's lead vocalists could usually be heard shouting, screaming or growling over the same type of riffage.

Enter Among the Living. The vocal approach has remained largely unchanged from Spreading the Disease. Belladonna is still truly singing over thrash riffs with barely even a hint of gruffness to his voice. The gang vocals seem even more prevalent however. It's almost as if Scott Ian has heard the Metallicas and Slayers of the world, and decided to add some sandpaper in the vocal department to match the ridiculous heaviness of the instrumentation, which is indeed ridiculous. There are very few albums at this point in time that sound as bone-crunchingly heavy as Among the Living does. "Caught in a Mosh" in particular embodies the Anthrax sound -- heavy as all hell, but every bit as catchy as anything Motley Crue could write. Songs like "Indians", "One World" & "NFL" follow suit, thrashing like mad and engraving themselves into the minds of bangers the world over.

There is a problem, however. That problem is filler. Songs like "A Skeleton in the Closet", "Horror of it All" and even the title track certainly present heavy enough music but are too simplistic in their riffage, so much so that the overall result is rather underwhelming. The feel is more punk than metal, more "go through the front door" than "find a second-floor window and kill 'em from there". There is a savage cleverness to albums like Ride the Lightning and Peace Sells, but that attribute is not always here. Anthrax writes front-door, smash-you-in-the-face riffs, and that's it, and it's OK for the most part. If this is Anthrax's finest moment (which, in the eyes and ears of many, it is) then it is no wonder that they are condisered "Band No. 4" in the Big Four.

Standouts: Caught in a Mosh, Indians, One World

Score: 7.5/10
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