Archive for Thrash Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Testament- The Legacy

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2022 by 80smetalman

So far, I have posted about several bands whose albums caught my attention, or in most cases, my sister’s attention, but came an went with little notice, only to remain in my memory. However, some bands made their debut in 1987 and have hung around since, thrilling us with many great albums and live performances. Testament was one of these bands who launched their debut album, “The Legacy,” and have continued to enthrall us since.

By 1987, thrash bands were coming out of the woodwork in every direction and it would have been easy to simply say Testament were just another thrash band. The thing is, they weren’t and are still not just another thrash band. Not only that, they, along with Exodus, are constantly mentioned when there is talk about expanding the Big 4 to the Big 5. Actually, I would include both bands and make it the Big 6. Then again, I would also include Kreator to make the Big 7. I’m digressing again but with their album, “The Legacy,” it is plain to see why Testament deserve such honours.

“Over the Wall” begins Testament’s full frontal assault on your delicate ears. It is exactly what an opening track to any thrash album should be. It begins with a flurry of speedy riffs before going mad with pounding guitar, bass and drum. Chuck Billy’s vocals blend right in and of course, there is a cool guitar solo. It has everything an album opener needs to make the listener stick around.

The intro of the second track, along with the title gives the impression “The Haunting” is going to be some black metal type of song. The opening riffs are reminiscent of a King Diamond song but things speed up and you are looking for a mosh pit. We also get the first guitar solo trade off between Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick. A song which could be more akin to black metal, at least with the intro is “Burnt Offerings.” It’s intro sounds very haunting until the guitars really kick in and go total speed metal. There are several good mosh parts as well. Eric and Alex are in tune with one another on the rhythm guitar parts just as much as when they trade off solos.

No haunting intro on “Raging Waters” as it goes straight forward thrash. Still, the theme doesn’t go away as Chuck sings about ‘the devil’s triangle’ and sacrifices that must be done. All of which are done at breakneck speed. The speed only increases on “Curse of the Legions of Death.” With a title like that, you know it’s going to be murderous thrash song, which it is. After an unintelligible spoken word, the drumming of Louie Clemente dominates “First Strike is Deadly.” You could apply the deadly to Chuck’s screams as well.

Maybe because it was the track on the tape Dawn sent me but for me, the song of the album is “Do or Die.” It could also be that many years ago, I had the tape set to go off to my alarm clock and it was on this song. Later that day, my ex wife, asked me what crap I was listening to and told me not to use it to wake up to again. Then again, it does slow down so you can hear the line in the chorus, “I’m the hunter you’re the prey,” sung clearly. Furthermore, it’s a very fast song with some cool guitar solos.

The riffing continues on the penultimate “Alone in the Dark.” I do like how melodic the vocals are at the chorus. Closing track, “Apocalyptic City” starts as if it’s going to be a ballad before some heavy guitars kick in. Then things go total thrash and then a great guitar solo trade off. I won’t get cliche and say it’s a great way to end the album because it makes you remember the entire album.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Wall
  2. The Haunting
  3. Burnt Offering
  4. Ragin Waters
  5. Curse of the Legions of Death
  6. First Strike is Deadly
  7. Do or Die
  8. Alone in the Dark
  9. Apocalyptic City
Testament

Chuck Billy- lead vocals

Eric Peterson- guitar

Alex Skolnick- guitar

Greg Christian- bass

Louie Clemente- drums

Loudwire cited “The Legacy” as the third best thrash album not made by the Big 4 of all time. Listening to it, I find the statement hard to attack. But it’s easy to see why Testament have stood the test of time and are still around today and would make a welcome addition should they ever expand the Big 4.

Next post: TT Quick- Metal of Honor

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Exodus- Pleasures of the Flesh

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I heard that Exodus had come out with a new album in 1987, my first thought was to whether they would still astound the world with their extremely fast playing. With their debut album, “Bonded By Blood” and seeing them supporting Anthrax the year before, I was astounded that mortal men could play so fast. A point I made in “Rock and Roll Children.” Therefore, when I got to listen to “Pleasures of the Flesh,” I did so with that thought in mind.

Original album cover

Even before the album came out, there was some turmoil and controversy. First, lead singer Paul Balof was fired from the band and was replaced by Steve Souza. Then there was the controversy of the album cover. The one directly above was the cover the band intended to use and it was the one which appeared in metal magazines when the album was announced. However, it was changed to the cover at the very top of the page. I’m not sure if the change was the record company’s idea because they got cold feet about the original cover or it was something else. I see nothing wrong with the cover.

Now to answer the question: Did Exodus continue to astound the world with extremely fast playing on “Pleasures of the Flesh?” My answer that in the case of the first three songs, the answer is a definite yes. All three of those songs are at the breakneck speed that Exodus was becoming famous for. In addition, Souza’s vocals was able to keep up with the rest of the band. He proved to be a welcome change. However, the band actually slow right down to a more mainstream metal sound on the fourth track, “Brain Dead.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an excellent song and it’s good that they change it up a little but in Exodus’s case, it’s almost going totally the other extreme. Maybe they intended it as a shock effect after the furious mosh of the first three songs.

One reason why it might have been a shock trick is that things go back to extreme metal speed on “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be.” This one is probably the fastest song on the album and the band handles it all quite comfortably. Plus there is some cool guitar solos at the end. That has me wondering about the seven plus minute long title track. Was this meant to be their concept song? There are lots of animal sounds at the beginning before it goes into a fast but not too fast intro. While fast in many parts, the speed is not sound barrier breaking and some might say that guitarists Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are trying to show off what they can do. If that’s the case, they do it very well but what really impresses me is the bass line from Rob McKillop. He does lay down a solid beat while Rick and Gary shred about the place.

Even more perplexing in things Exodus is their brief acoustic instrumental “30 Seconds,” which is actually forty seconds long. I have no complaints about it as it is played well. Again, that only serves to be a brief break in the action as they go back to thrash although, “Seeds of Hate” isn’t as speedy as many of the other tracks. It’s more Metallica “Black Album” speed. Nevertheless, it begins wit a very cool drum roll from Tom Hunting and the song delivers. Then “Chemi- Kill” begins with some way out guitar effects. For me this dispels the myth that Exodus are a thrash band only capable of playing three chords. They can play more, they choose to play those chords very fast. They still do so on this track, except there are some more way out parts in the middle. But Exodus don’t let you forget they are a thrash metal band as the closer, “Choose Your Weapon,” goes out in full Exodus thrash fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. Deranged
  2. Til Death Do Us Part
  3. Parasite
  4. Brain Dead
  5. Faster Than You’ll Even Live to Be
  6. Pleasures of the Flesh
  7. 30 Seconds
  8. Seeds of Hate
  9. Chemi- Kill
  10. Choose Your Weapon
Exodus

Steve Souza- lead vocals

Gary Holt- guitars

Rick Hunolt- guitars

Rob McKillop- bass

Tom Hunting- drums

While my band of choice for making the Big 4 the Big 5 is Kreator, Anthrax’s Scott Ian has insisted that the spot go to Exodus. It’s hard to argue with Scott on this point, especially with albums such as “Pleasures of the Flesh.”

Next post: Candlemass- Nightfall

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2021 by 80smetalman

Back in 1987, there weren’t so many subgenres of heavy metal. Sure, there was glam metal and there was thrash. Anything in between was considered simply to be mainstream metal. While all these subdivisions normally send my head into a spin, in the case of Helloween and their album “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I,” the term ‘power metal’ fits perfectly. Some called them thrash back then because they did play faster than mainstream metal bands such as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. However, they weren’t in the same area as Slayer or Anthrax either. Plus, their image would have been more in line of what is considered the traditional heavy metal look. Therefore, I can say that this album was the first power metal album I listened to.

After short introductory opener in line with their previous album, “Walls of Jericho,” the album goes speeding through the next three tracks. The question of how new singer, Michael Kiske, would sound on the album is quickly answered. He was brought on board because Karl Hansen stepped away from vocal duties as he found it difficult to sing and play guitar at the same time. On a separate note, that explains why good shredders such as Dave Mustaine and Mille Petrozza demoted themselves to rhythm guitar. Anyway, those songs cast aside any worry that Kiske wouldn’t be up to the job as his vocals are just superb. Another positive from Karl stepping down from vocals is his being able to solely concentrate on guitar results in some great solos, especially on “Twilight of the Gods” where he and Michael Weikath do a cool guitar solo tradeoff.

Helloween must have recognized that we the listeners needed a short break after those opening songs as things slow right down for the ballad, “A Tale That Wasn’t Right.” It’s a decent power ballad but not totally mind blowing. The band do everything right here, vocals, bass line and a cool guitar solo but it doesn’t catapult it into greatness as far as great power ballads go. However, following “A Tale That Wasn’t Right” is the best song on the album, “Future World.” Lyrically, it sounds like a song for kid’s show and with some of the laser sound effects in the middle, it sounds like it even more. But with the great power chords and massive guitar solos, it is a phenomenal song.

What I hate about listening to the album on Youtube is the fact that the only the cut for video portion of “Halloween” is played. Therefore, eight minutes are cut from this thirteen minute long blockbuster. Fortunately, I have that full length version of this great song elsewhere, which makes up for it. Even though “Halloween” is so long in length, the constant changes in tempo and swirling guitar solos as well as the power chords make it no less interesting. The other good thing is that after such a long song, the album goes out very appropriately with a closer that is less than two minutes long.

Track Listing:

  1. Initiation
  2. I’m Alive
  3. A Little Time
  4. Twilight of the Gods
  5. A Tale That Wasn’t Right
  6. Future World
  7. Halloween
  8. Follow the Sign
Helloween

Michael Kiske- vocals

Karl Hansen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Weikath- guitar, keyboards and backing vocals

Marcus Groskopf- bass, backing vocals

Ingo Schwichtenberg- drums

I figure that if “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I” was my introduction to power metal, then I have had a great introduction. Thank you Helloween.

Next post: Black n Blue- Nasty Nasty

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Destruction- Mad Butcher

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2021 by 80smetalman

Thrash bands seemed to be coming out of every corner in 1987 but it seemed even more the case they were coming from what was then West Germany. Historical note: East and West Germany didn’t reunify until 1990. In any case, we had the likes of Helloween and my favourites, Kreator, and touring with the latter in that year was another German band called Destruction. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see them when they came to London, but I was treated to their 1987 EP, “Mad Butcher,” which offered some consolation.

Things begin with the title track which after a brief intro, goes full thrash. There are thrashing guitars and pounding bass and drums as Schmier sings or nearly screams, “The Butcher!” Then we have some guitar solos which sound like a trade off but according to Wikipedia, it is Harry Wilkens which does all the lead guitar work. It comes to an interesting end when the song appears cut off but then there is a little twist where the band plays the “Pink Panther” theme with a cool lead guitar accompanying it.

Next up is a cover of The Plasmatics classic, “The Damned.” While I am tempted here to do another “Original vs Cover” post with the song, I have to say that I still prefer the original over the cover. Saying that, Destruction don’t ruin the song, they pay Wendy and company fair homage with their version, especially with the solo from Wilkens and there is a nice little bass part before the song fades away.

Third is what has been called a thrash ballad with “Reject Emotions.” It starts with a ballad like acoustic intro but that doesn’t last long before it goes much heavier. Maybe another reason why it was dubbed a thrash ballad is that the song is slow enough for me to catch more of the lyrics, especially at the chorus. However, it also contains a rather long mosh part towards the middle of the song and opportunities for more lead guitar work. God, I am really beginning to appreciate Harry Wilkens as a lead guitarist. The song also makes up over one-third of the EP, clocking in at nearly seven minutes but those seven minutes do not drag.

Last up is the instrumental, “The Last Judgement” where Harry gets to showcase all of his guitar talents. I like how he combines acoustic elements with guitar solos and backs it up with a strong metal rhythm guitar. According to the blurb, Harry does all the guitar work here. However, it would be amiss of me not to point out the rhythm guitar work by Mike Sifringer on the other tracks. He does lay down a good rhythm which helps Harry do this thing.

Track Listing:

  1. Mad Butcher
  2. The Damned
  3. Reject Emotions
  4. The Last Judgement
Destruction

Schmier- bass, vocals

Harry Wilkens- lead guitar

Mike Sifringer- rhythm guitar

Oliver ‘Olli’ Kaiser- drums

Some say that because of their composition, Destruction was the German Slayer. I won’t go that far and after listening to “Mad Butcher” again, while I regret not seeing them in 1987, I would have hoped that Kreator was the headliner with Destruction as support but that’s must my personal preference. “Mad Butcher” is still a cool EP.

Next post: Vow Wow- V

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Sacrifice- Forward to Termination

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2021 by 80smetalman

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when I discovered Briar in 1987 but it wasn’t the case for Canadian thrash band Sacrifice in the same year. To my regret, this band and their second album, “Forward to Termination” totally passed me by. It was mostly down to the fact that I was already established in the UK and while there were so many great thrash bands coming out of the US and UK at the time, like in many instances, Canadian bands seemed to get ignored. Listening to this album, I think this is something that needs to be addressed.

Let’s get right to the point, when I listened to the album, I wasn’t thinking that this was some great new strain of unique thrash but what they do on the album is done very well. I hear influences of both of two of my favourite bands, the Stormtroopers of Death and Suicidal Tendencies in the music of Sacrifice. The album begins with riffs associated with ST but goes straight into some hard core frenzied thrash reminiscent of S.O.D., especially the way the opening title track, which is an instrumental, goes right into the next one. In fact, the first three songs are one massive thrash affair where the band show case their talents. We get a solid rhythm section but unfortunately, there is no indication as to which guitarist plays the solos on the songs. Whoever does so on “Reanimation” rips a really cool solo. My only minor concern is the vocals of Rob Urbanati. When he sings straight up thrash, he sounds okay but when he tries to go for the high notes, there are times when he sounds like a cat being strangled. Maybe that was the intention.

After the opening three tracks comes my vote for song of the album, “Afterlife.” This is the cleanest sounding track and everything is not only done right but to perfection and the influences of the two S bands come through. While I don’t know for sure, I think the two guitarists do a solo trade off on the track and it sounds good. The slow down parts are only there to let you catch your breath before the manic thrash bombards your ear drums into submission. Also Rob lays off the falsetto attempts making his vocals sound that much better.

Following after is the seven minute long “Flames of Armageddon.” I like the way this track goes back and forth between hardcore thrash and more mainstream metal. While the solo is cool, it could have been a little longer, I think the rhythm guitar is truly fantastic on the song. What is also good about “Flames of “Armageddon” is that in spite of the length, it does not get repetitive as there are constant changes in tempo with vocals and guitar solos and a foreboding, impeding doom bass line from Scott Watts. It’s another great track.

Some cool guitar riffs start the second half of the album on “The Entity” and that sets the stage for the remainder of the album. What you get is Sacrifice honing in their craft, which pays dividends. More cool song opening riffs, great rhythm work, including the guitars and some cool guitar solos. If I went through each of these songs, I would simply be repeating myself for the most part. There is an interesting rhythm guitar part before the solo trade off on “Forever Enslaved” and the intro on “Cyanide” reminds me of the S’O.D. classic, “The Pre-menstrual Princess Blues.” Plus there is some more rhythm and lead guitar work on it but when Rob screams the song title, there is more of the strangled cat. They do change things up on the intro of “Light of the End” where you get a short but definitely to the point guitar solo before going nuclear. Then the album goes out in a mad thrash rage that is “Pyrokinesis.”

Track Listing:

  1. Forward to Termination
  2. Terror Strikes
  3. Reanimated
  4. Afterlife
  5. Flames of Armageddon
  6. The Entity
  7. Forever Enslaved
  8. Cyanide
  9. Light of the End
  10. Pyrokinesis
Sacrifice

Rob Urbinati- vocals, guitar

Joe Rico- guitar

Gus Pynn- drums

Scott Watts- bass

Honestly, I wish I had heard “Forward to Termination” back in 1987, I would have been seeking mosh pits. But they say better late than never and even my 60 year old ass can fully appreciate the pure thrash of Sacrifice and state that Canadian bands should have been shown more respect.

Next post: Destruction- Mad Butcher

To buy Rock And Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Kreator- Terrible Uncertainty

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2021 by 80smetalman

Everybody in the metal world has their own choices as to which bands should be added to make the Big 4 the Big 5 and beyond. Nuclear Assault was one suggestion I have heard as was Venom but for me, if there was one band I would add, I would choose German thrashers Kreator. By 1987, after three albums, including this 1987 “Terrible Uncertainty” album, and an EP, I was definitely a Kreator fan. Sure, there were those who didn’t take them seriously and I know of one guitarist who reckoned Mille Petrozza had only been playing guitar for six months, not true, but I never let any of that spoil my enjoyment of this band.

“Terrible Uncertainty” opens with the organized chaos which is “Blind Faith.” This song just goes for it and lets you, the listener, know that Kreator aren’t going to take prisoners. It’s just one big enjoyable thrash stew which has me wanting a most pit each time I hear it. But they weren’t simply going to rest on the laurels of their previous smash album, “Pleasure to Kill.” That continues through the next song as the intensity doesn’t not let up. To quote the song title, Kreator are definitely “Storming with Menace.” On the subject of “Pleasure to Kill,” there are similarities between the title track of that album and this one. Like the previous, they slow things down slightly and the melody is similar. Plus, Mille shreds away like a demon on it, after which, there is a great rhythm guitar mosh part. However, the song begins with a bass line from Rob Fioretti and it’s nice to hear his four string here.

Mille shares lead vocal duties with drummer Ventor on “As the World Burns” as well as Ventor delivering some cool drum fills in the middle of the song, which gives way to another Mille shred. The track is ‘slower’ than the previous song but no less ferocious. Pounding drums and bass backed up with some great thrash riffs introduce “Toxic Trace.” Again, the drum fills supplement my argument that Ventor is a very underrated drummer. The track also returns the album to more speedier territory in parts and is the longest song on the album clocking in at just over five and a half minutes. It is followed by the second longest track, “No Escape” which is just over five minutes. It keeps the album on boil before it overflows with the thrashing speed of “One of Us.” Mille produces an intriguing guitar solo here and it should dispel any thoughts that he was only playing guitar for six months.

For me, Kreator save the best for last with the closer, “Behind the Mirror.” Newly added guitarist Jorge Trzebiatowski makes his debut by playing the doom infested intro to the track and he shows here that he was a welcome addition. When his intro is over, Mille and co go total thrash metal nuts. If one is energy depleted from the rest of the album, this song provides the rejuvenation needed to carry through to the end. It’s a great way to end the album, especially with Mille’s guitar solo.

Track Listing:

  1. Blind Faith
  2. Storming With Menace
  3. Terrible Uncertainty
  4. As the World Burns
  5. Toxic Trace
  6. No Escape
  7. One of Us
  8. Behind the Mirror
Kreator

Mille Petrozza- lead vocals, guitars

Ventor- drums, co-lead vocal on “As the World Burns”

Rob Fioretti- bass

Jorge ‘Tritze’ Trzebiatowski- guitar on intro to “Behind the Mirror”

“Terrible Uncertainty” fully established Kreator as one of the greats of thrash metal, at least in my mind. They proved they could thrash with the best.

Next post: Sacrifice- Forward to Termination

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2021 by 80smetalman

My introduction to Nuclear Assault was in 1986 when I was told they were a spin off of the Stormtroopers of Death. However, it’s only the case of bassist Dan Lilker, who was in S.O.D. Unfortunately, that was my only experience of the band and it wasn’t until 1987 that I heard the album, “Game Over.” More unfortunate was the fact that I never got to see them live until Bloodstock 2015 but I can say that they were definitely worth the wait.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd, Bloodstock 2015
Nuclear Assault in full assault

Dan Lilker’s time with the Stormtroopers of Death and Anthrax (Dan was cofounder with Scott Ian) comes through straight away on the album. Like with S.O.D., the albums begins with an instrumental. “Live, Suffer, Die,” is a short sharp shock of moshing thrash for the full minute and eight seconds of the song. Those influences carry on over the next four tracks as each of them are serious hard core thrash. While all of those tracks are good, the one which sticks out is “Betrayal,” probably because of the lyrics singing about a back stabbing whore. This is definitely a song about being cheated on and it proves you don’t need to sing about such subjects in a ballad. However, I also love the guitar solo in “Radiation Sickness.”

“Hang the Pope” might only be forty-six seconds long but it is still an amusing song. I don’t know how those of the Catholic faith feel about lyrics calling on people to go to the Vatican and hang the pope until he’s dead but it is a very amusing, explosive song. Things appear to slow down on the intro of “After the Holocaust” but it is probably the fastest song on the album and that is saying something. The guitar solo from Anthony Bramante is amazing. Then as a break in the action, we get the twenty-two second long “Mr. Softee Theme.” For the non-American readers, Mr. Softee is an ice cream company whose vans drive around the streets selling ice cream. Maybe the Mr. Softee company should have used Nuclear Assault’s version for their trucks. It would have been less annoying.

Things go back to full speed thrash on “Stranded in Hell.” It is on this track I get to appreciate the drumming of Glenn Evans and I will say now that Dan Lilker is a very underrated bass player. He really comes through on “My America.” The closer is a real paradox. While all of the other songs are less than four minutes, several less than three, “Brain Death” is over seven minutes. It starts like it’s going to be a slower metal song with the acoustic intro which is a little hypnotic if you listen closely and the pace only picks up a little when the acoustic guitar goes electric. It is at the two minute mark when the song explodes into full thrash glory, though it’s instrumental part in the middle slows down again and goes on for several minutes before going out in a thrash speed flurry.

Track Listing:

  1. Live, Suffer, Die
  2. Sin
  3. Cold Steel
  4. Betrayal
  5. Radiation Sickness
  6. Hang the Pope
  7. After the Holocaust
  8. Mr. Softee Theme
  9. Stranded in Hell
  10. Nuclear War
  11. My America
  12. Vengeance
  13. Brain Dead

John Connelly- guitar, vocals

Anthony Bramante- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Glen Evans- drums

Calling Nuclear Assault an Anthrax or S.O.D. spin off is inaccurate. Sure, there are heavy influences from both of those bands on the album, “Game Over,” but the album also proves that they are their own band capable of their own brand of thrash.

Next post: Briar- Take On the World

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.998 CD- The Garage Days Revisited

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2021 by 80smetalman

To mark the occasion of their appearance at the 1987 Donnington Festival, Metallica’s UK label, Vertigo, suggested they release new material. However, initial songwriting attempts with new bassist, Jason Newstead, resulted in one demo and then James Hetfield broke his arm in a skateboarding accident. (I forgot about that incident but I remember while on tour, a roadie played rhythm guitar so the tour could carry on.) Anyway, the band decided that instead of trying to write new material, they recorded covers of some of their favourites. Thus, “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was born.

Up first is a cover of Diamond Head’s “Helpless.” Listening to this, if I hadn’t heard of Diamond Head before, I would have thought that this was a Metallica original. Basically what Metallica do here is increase the song to Metallica level and it’s true to what Metallica were doing at the time. Next comes “The Small Hours” which is a cover of a Holocaust tune. Admittedly, I have no experience of Holocaust, that will be rectified, but there is that Metallica “Thing That Should Not Be” aura to it. It’s just slow crunching guitar at the start before speeding up in the middle and a cool guitar solo from Kirk.

In the middle of the order is the cover of the Killing Joke tune, “The Wait,” which was left off the British pressing in order to comply with UK laws regarding the length of EPs. When I hear this song, I definitely think that it would have been a perfect fit if put on the “Master of Puppets” album as I definitely get that vibe on it. I can bang my head along with it much longer than its four minute and fifty-five second length. That’s a minute and fifteen seconds longer than the Killing Joke’s version!

Jason Newstead gets to show off his bass skills on the penultimate track, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” a cover of a Budgie classic. I remember when I saw Metallica and Donnington 87, James introduced Jason as ‘the new mother fucker.’ Was there animosity already? I won’t venture a guess but Jason does lay down a solid bass line here, which compliments Kirk’s guitar solo very well. Metallica took a 70s hippy song and brought it into the late 80s.

Ending this five song Metallica party is my favourite song, “Last Caress/Green Hell,” two Misfits tunes combined together. The reason I like it is that any lyrics which stuck it to the anti- rock establishment was cool in my book and “I killed your baby today” and “I raped your mother today” definitely qualifies. I’m surprised there wasn’t any outcry from the religious zealots in the US over it. Still, the fast thrash pace adds to the fun. At the end, there is some riffs to the Iron Maiden classic, “Run to the Hills,” which I also remember them doing at Donnington. Maybe not necessary but it brought back good memories.

Track Listing:

  1. Helpless
  2. The Small Hours
  3. The Wait
  4. Crash Course in Brain Surgery
  5. Last Caress/Green Hell
Metallica

James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newstead- bass, backing vocals

Lars Ulrich- drums

What I didn’t know was that “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was out of print from 1989- 2018 and was considered a collector’s item. Those who had this should consider themselves lucky. While this wasn’t a Metallica album in the proper sense, it was a great bridge between “Master of Puppets” and their next album “And Justice for All.”

Next post: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anthrax- Among the Living

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

Anthrax’s 1987 album, “Among the Living,” which was the follow up to the fame launching “Spreading the Disease” album was one that caught a lot of people off guard. Many people assumed that after the success of the slightly more melodic predecessor, they would continue the same way with the new album. Boy, was everybody wrong! If anything, “Among the Living” was the thrashiest album to date.

This is evident with the very first song, the title track where they do quote the previous album title in the lyrics. This track beats you around the head with two very large blunt objects. It is just hard and heavy, just the way any thrash metal fan would expect. However, Joey Belladonna still has his highly melodic voice, blowing the myth that thrash singers all sound like barking dogs out of the water. If anything, the title track fulfills the speculation of what Joey would have sounded like if he was the lead singer in the Stormtroopers of Death.

Listening to the album again these past few days has brought a paradox to my insane mind. Back in 1987, I accepted the title track as a great opener to the album. However, all three times I saw Anthrax live in the past decade, they opened with the second song on the album, “Caught in a Mosh” and it is a great song to open a show with. Believe me, it gets people moshing but here’s the thing, even though Anthrax opens their live shows with it, it still doesn’t sound out of place being second on the album. God, I better stop thinking about this or my head might do a “Scanners.”

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal. Bloodstock 2016

Another concern, at least for the record company was that a return to a more hardcore thrash style might not be a successful venture. Album sales and the consensus from many in the metal world that this is Anthrax’s best album shoot that down. Although, I am still partial to “Spreading the Disease” but I admit I’m mental. However, further proof is the fact that in February, 1987, while watching the famous UK show, “Top of the Pops” in the student bar, I had the satisfaction to see Anthrax break into the top 40! Okay, it only got to 34 but it was a slap in the face to all the pop loving trendies.

Yet a further element which sets Anthrax apart from many other thrash bands is that their songs are about topical issues. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” is an anti drug abuse song inspired by the tragic death of John Belushi. It is also “nice fukin’ life” spelled backwards. However, Scott Ian still gets asked by the less informed why he wrote a song about the National Football League. I agree with Scott here, listen to the song you asshole! “Indians” is about how badly the Native Americans have been treated throughout the centuries since Europeans came to the Americas. Then there’s my vote for hidden gem, “A Skeleton in the Closet.” This song is about former Nazis who were allowed to come to the West undetected and live among the populace as if nothing happened in their past but are still being hunted by those who won’t forget the holocaust.

All of these songs are done with the full ear pounding power of Anthrax. Each song has drum fills, pounding bass and a rhythm guitar which can change speed at the drop of a hat. Dan Spitz produces some good solos along with the mosh parts and it is his efforts on “A Skeleton in the Closet,” which makes it my hidden gem. However, in spite of all the hardcore, thrash and speed metal all rolled into one, Joey Belladonna sings through these songs as if it’s just another day at the office. There are also some nice little surprises along the way, for example, the acoustic intro to “A.D.I./Horror of it All.” With all of these element in place, it is little wonder these songs are so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Among the Living
  2. Caught in a Mosh
  3. I Am the Law
  4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
  5. A Skeleton in the Closet
  6. Indians
  7. One World
  8. A.D.I./Horror of It All
  9. Imitation of Life
Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- lead vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass, backing vocals

Charlie Benante- drums

Anthrax proved with “Among the Living” that you don’t always have to compromise your principles to be successful. With this album, they came back harder and faster and for that, the album was very successful.

Next post: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD Garage Days Revisited

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Slayer- Reign in Blood

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2020 by 80smetalman

Two major questions always arise whenever Slayer’s 1986 album, “Reign in Blood,” is mentioned. One, is it the best Slayer album of all time? Two, should it take its place along some of the other great albums which helped pioneer thrash metal in 1986 such as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease” and Megadeath’s “Peace Sells Buy Who’s Buying?” To me, the answer is an obvious and definite, “Yes!” While there is room for debate on question one, there shouldn’t be any on question two. “Reign in Blood” was one of the standard bearers for thrash, not only in 1986 but for all time.

What really amused me back then and further proves my insanity is the controversy some of the songs on the album caused. Take the opener and probably best known song on the album, “Angel of Death.” The song is about evil Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, who performed hideous experiments on inmates at Auschwitz during World War 2. A few idiots suggested that the song was pro-Nazi because the lyrics don’t say what an evil man Mengele was. However, I do like guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s response: “Well, wasn’t it obvious?” No matter though, because like all other songs on the album, it’s one massive thrash-a-thon. It gives you a great introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be like: fast, pounding guitar chords, manic vocals, thumping rhythm section and the classic guitar solo trade-off between virtuosos King and Hanneman.

Of course, if you want to get controversial, then look at “Necrophobic.” I remember religious fanatics spitting out their milk and cookies over this one. Then again, the lyrics are about having sex with a corpse but of all the times I’ve listened to the song, I have never had any inclination whatsoever to do such things. Proof that if the music is good and in this case, the music for the entire album is outstanding, then the lyrics won’t matter much. However, a friend and I were thinking of recording the anti-religious song, “Jesus Saves,” and sending it to Jimmy Swaggart. Actually, if I hadn’t already been in England at this time and got to see Slayer in America, I would have been tempted to record and play it to the Jesus freaks who would have undoubtedly come to the concert to save our souls. It’s the only reason why “Jesus Saves” is my choice for hidden gem because every song here is one.

Slayer, Cardiff 2018

Actually, there’s not much more I can say about “Reign in Blood” because the album speaks for itself. With this album, you have the mold which many thrash bands would try to imitate in the years after. It’s definitely one of the greatest thrash albums of all time and did I say, it’s my favourite Slayer album?

Track Listing:

  1. Angel of Death
  2. Piece by Piece
  3. Necrophobic
  4. Altar of Sacrifice
  5. Jesus Saves
  6. Criminally Insane
  7. Reborn
  8. Epidemic
  9. Postmortem
  10. Raining Blood
Slayer

Tom Araya- bass, vocals

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Kerry King- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

Much to the annoyance of Duranies, Madonna Wannabees and glam rock poseurs, thrash metal had truly found its home in 1986. Fantastic albums such as Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” was the reason why.

Next post: Tobrik- Wild On the Run

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com