Archive for Thrash Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Anthrax- State of Euphoria

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

It really perturbs me when an album following one that is considered a pinnacle album for said band is slated for not being as good. It seems it was the case quite often in 1988. Slayer’s “South of Heaven” got undeserved crap because the band slowed things up after “Reign in Blood.” Some even said that David Lee Roth’s “Skyscraper” album was far below the bar set by “Eat’Em and Smile,” I never thought so. You can include Celtic Frost among those as well. The same thing was said about Anthrax’s “State of Euphoria” album. In their case, it followed on from two super albums, “Spreading the Disease” and “Among the Living.” Measuring any album by those two is a difficult task in itself. However, while I don’t think “State of Euphoria” quite reaches that bar, it’s still a good album.

The first two tracks waste no time in assaulting delicate ears with their power thrash which made “Among the Living” such a great album. Those fast and furious tracks get the blood pumping and on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” Dan Spitz really rips a cool guitar solo. Something I noticed about the album is that Anthrax attempt to fuse the power thrash of “Among the Living” with the more melodic speed metal of “Spreading the Disease.” I think it works fine but some out there didn’t agree.

Now I get personal. I saw Anthrax three times in the 2010’s and while they kicked ass each and every time, I must say that I was slightly disappointed that they never played my favourite song from the album, “Making Me Laugh.” Those who know me know that I like just about any song which takes a swipe at television evangelists but Anthrax do it with such powerful finesse that this song really rocks! Joey’s constant change up on the vocals is done masterfully. It’s a total headbanger but I guess I will never get to hear it played live.

Following on is one I have heard them play live, “Antisocial.” Of course, I loved it when I heard it live and listening to it not live, I can easily see why it sounds so good live. What I didn’t know is that it’s actually a cover of a song from the French band, “Trust,” who I know from the soundtrack of the film “Heavy Metal.” I’ve never heard the original but this cover is brilliant. On “Who Cares Wins,” the band prove that social topics can be covered in thrash metal songs without the message behind the song getting lost. It’s a hard hitting song highlighting homelessness in America. It also confirms what an underrated bassist Frank Bello is.

Anthrax appear to bring a little horror into their metal on “Now It’s Dark.” After a haunting intro, the guitars kick in and just increase in speed. The song was inspired by the film, “Blue Velvet” and especially the sexual depravity of Frank Booth played by Dennis Hopper in the film. However, that isn’t the only film inspired song on the album. “Misery Loves Company” was inspired by the Stephen King novel and movie, “Misery” and this is what people forget about this album. Anthrax take some interesting topics and make them come alive through their thrash/speed metal approach. Hell, these guys should be praised for this effort! In between those two songs is the hidden gem, “Schism.” It’s a powerful thrash song which tackles racism. This is exceptionally important in 1988 when thrash metal was accused of being too white. Another at-a-boy goes out to the band here.

Track Listing:

  1. Be All, End All
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  3. Making Me Laugh
  4. Anti- Social
  5. Who Cares Wins
  6. Now It’s Dark
  7. Schism
  8. Misery Loves Company
  9. 13
  10. Finale

Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

So, “State of Euphoria” isn’t quite as good as the classics which came before it. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great album in its own right because it is. Any band who can take topical issues and films and bring out the message through thrash metal deserves the utmost respect.

Next post: Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

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

To give Bruce Dickinson his knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Celtic Frost- Cold Lake

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2022 by 80smetalman

When I announced that my next post was going to be “Cold Lake” from Swiss metal band, Celtic Frost, I was warned that there was a lot of controversy surrounding the album. Reading the behind the scenes part of the making of the album, I am not surprised. Celtic Frost had actually disbanded following the disheartening end to their previous tour. However, at the request of the guitarist, Oliver Amberg, and producer, Tony Platt, lead singer’/guitarist, Tom Gabriel Warrior recruited new musicians and the album was made.

“Cold Lake” veers away from the thrash metal sounds of albums like “To Mega Therion” and the band’s early EPs and goes down a more traditional metal path. To be honest, it took me a couple of listens to get into it. Being used to the pounding thrash metal from those earlier albums, the slower, less aggressive sound took some getting used to. In fact, the band sound like they want to go back to their thrash roots on a lot of the songs but hold themselves back. A prime example of this is the track, “(Once) They Were Eagles.” The song sounds like it should be played at double the speed and the backing vocals sound less aggressive than what I was used to with Celtic Frost. Still, the musicianship on the song is top notch which is why I still like the song and the album.

The track where they finally hit their groove is “Cherry Orchards.” It’s reminiscent of some of the slower parts of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Join the Army” album and it sounds really good, possibly the best song on the album. Oliver Amberg rips a good guitar solo on this one. “Juice is Like Wine” is similar to it, although they speed it up a little. However, I will take “Cherry Orchards” over it.

Celtic Frost from the earlier albums

Another point of interest is that Tom used the new lineup to change the image of the band. On their earlier albums, the band had a more gothic, scary look but on this album, they go total glam metal. Some would argue that the music from the album doesn’t fit the image of the band but for me, who cares? I never really cared about physical appearance of any band, it’s what they put down on record is the only interest for me and “Cold Lake” has grown on me. I won’t put it in any of my top album lists but it’s still a good listen. It would have been even better if they left out the opening track. What were they doing there? Trying to rap or something?

Track Listing:

  1. Human II (Intro)
  2. Seduce Me Tonight
  3. Petty Obsession
  4. (Once) They Were Eagles
  5. Cherry Orchards
  6. Juice Like Wine
  7. Little Velvet
  8. Blood on Kisses
  9. Downtown Hanoi
  10. Dance Sleazy
  11. Roses Without Thorns
  12. Tease Me
  13. Mexican Radio

Note: The last two tracks were only available on the CD version.

Celtic Frost in 1988

Tom Gabriel Warrior- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, effects

Oliver Amberg- lead guitar, backing vocals, effects

Curt Victor Bryant- bass, effects, backing vocals, lead guitar on track 11

Steven Priestly- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Michelle Villanueva- backing vocals on track 5

Brian Hewitt- rap on track 1, backing vocals on track 2

Xavier Russell- backing vocals on tracks 1 and 11

Right after the album was released, Oliver Amberg was fired from the band, the reason isn’t revealed to me. I have read that many Celtic Frost fans call “Cold Lake” an underrated album. I wouldn’t disagree. It just took some getting used to after the material they had put out on earlier albums.

Next post: David Lee Roth- Skyscraper

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

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Slayer- South of Heaven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2022 by 80smetalman

For some, Slayer’s “South of Heaven” album was controversial back in 1988. Some of the die-hard Slayer fans were put off because it was slower than the previous three thrash-fest albums while others were impressed that Slayer was able to slow it down a bit. Reading a little of the history, I can see where the band was coming from when they recorded this album. They didn’t want the album to sound exactly like their previous “Reign in Blood” album, no matter how fantastic that album was. Therefore, they slowed it down quite a bit.

That slow down comes through with the opening title cut. Doom metal wasn’t a thing back in 1988 but if doom metal bands wanted something to base their music on, then the song “South of Heaven” provided the perfect blue print. In spite of it being many miles an hour slower than what Slayer fans were used to, it has this hypnotic vibe which you can’t help bobbing your head along to. While not as slow, the best known song from the album follows along this path. However, the fact that they played “Mandatory Suicide” three of the four times I saw them live and they might have played it the fourth time but I only caught twenty minutes of Slayer at Download 2017. The post on that day explains why. Anyway, while not quite as slow as the opener, it still draws you in with those hypnotic chords and while it might not sound like thrash metal Slayer, the lyrics let you know that it is indeed a Slayer song. Not many other bands would sing about such topics back then. While not as spectacular as “Mandatory Suicide, ” “Live Undead” is in the same vein although the speed does increase in places, especially at the end.

With everything said, Slayer don’t totally abandon the sound which made them a household name in thrash metal. “Silent Scream” bears witness to that and while I wouldn’t call “Behind the Crooked Cross” a thrash song, it is still faster than many of the other songs and it’s a good metal tune in it’s own right and the King-Hanneman guitar solo trade off is fantastic. They do go more full thrash on “Read Between the Lies,” which is another song which takes a dig at TV evangelists. Well, they made themselves a prime target for metal bands. I do love the guitar work on this song and Dave’s drumming is noteworthy here as well.

Now it’s time for the song which I not only consider the hidden gem of the album but the hidden gem of the entire Slayer discography. I’m talking about “Ghosts of War.” Most people associate anti-war songs with a hippy type playing an acoustic guitar but Slayer proves that you can use thrash to get your point across. “Ghosts of War” is the thrashiest, headbanging song on the album and I love everything about it. From the cool intro to the pounding chords, Tom’s vocals being as good as ever, the guitar solo tradeoff and even when they slow the song down toward the end, that power is not lost. Okay, it’s my all time favourite Slayer song and I admit that I was a little disappointed, (I stress a little), when they didn’t play it any of the times I saw them live.

For me, the final three songs, while all good song, aren’t as strong as the rest of the album. Saying that, “Cleanse the Soul” has a cool intro before going more traditional Slayer thrash metal. Following that is a cool cover of Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor.” They do it justice. The album closes on a slower note with “Spill the Blood.” It opens with a very un-Slayer like acoustic intro before heading back into the realms of doom metal. Believe me when I say that it’s a smashing way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. South of Heaven
  2. Silent Scream
  3. Live Undead
  4. Behind the Crooked Cross
  5. Mandatory Suicide
  6. Ghosts of War
  7. Read Between the Lies
  8. Cleanse the Soul
  9. Dissident Aggressor
  10. Spill the Blood
Slayer

Tom Arraya- vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

Here’s a little hint when listening to “South of Heaven:” Forget “Reign in Blood” or any of their previous albums and listen and judge it on its own merit. While not a thrash fest, I think it’s a great album, even if Kerry King doesn’t think so.

Next post: Mass- Take You Home

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

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dream Death- Journey Into Mystery

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

Here’s another album my sister passed onto me, probably because she wasn’t impressed with it. After my Wrath post, she stated on Facebook that the album was given to her to review for her college newspaper and she disliked it so much that she said the band should have paid her to listen to it. Dawn was never into thrash so that is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that she didn’t like Dream Death’s “Journey Into Mystery” album.

What I found was cool about the record when I took it out to play was that it was blue. I never saw a record coloured other than black before then so I really liked the light blue see through record. If it wasn’t so much trouble, I would go up into my attic and get it for all to see. In addition, when reading the credits on the album, it has the usual ‘Special Thanks’ part but it also has a ‘No Thanks’ section. Making that list was the band’s high school in Pennsylvania, trends and trendy people, conformists and other wankers. I could agree with the band on all of those. Now onto the album.

Doom metal wasn’t a term back in 1987 so Dream Death could be credited as being a pioneer of the sub-genre. “Journey Into Mystery” is a unique blend of doom and thrash. The album comes rocking out with the more thrash, “Back From the Dead” and then goes more doom with “The Elder Race.” The slower power chords are almost hypnotic in some places on that track.

Track three, “Bitterness and Hatred,” has a Suicidal Tendencies feel to it. It starts out doom metal and going mid tempo metal and then back to doom for the chorus but thrash speed in the middle before slowing down to the doom metal conclusion. This was something Suicidal Tendencies did with their first two albums and Dream Death do a good job on this track. The changes keep one interested. However, “Black Edifice” sounds like it wants to go off at 800 mph but the band manage to keep it reigned in and give you a more doom metal track. It does follow the formula set down by its predecessor where they speed it up in the middle. It’s the first song to have a really cool guitar solo.

Side two does start off with some powerful thrash only slowing down to catch its breath between verses and taking off again. “Divine In Agony” is a good way to kick off the second half of the album as the three remaining tracks are all strong tracks. “Hear My Screams” has a horror movie type intro before going more thrash. They go more thrash with this one but the doom metal returns on “Sealed in Blood.” This has a Black Sabbath type intro and then when it kicks up, it doesn’t go thrash. This track could be a blueprint for future doom metal merchants to take from. It has a cool guitar solo backed up by a cool rhythm section.

The album closes out with my favourite track on the album, “Dream Death.” This is a great thrash song and because I wasn’t sure about the record after the first few listens, it was this track that kept me coming back to it. It starts mid-paced but quickly increases its speed. The steady rhythm between the first and second verses and before the guitar solo make a good headbang. However, it does slow down to give a cool doom metal bridge. The track punctuates what the band was attempting to do throughout the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Back From the Dead
  2. The Elder Race
  3. Bitterness and Hatred
  4. Black Edifice
  5. Divine in Agony
  6. Hear My Screams
  7. Sealed in Blood
  8. Dream Death
Dream Death

Brian Lawrence- lead and backing vocals, guitar

Terry Weston- guitar, backing vocals

Ted Williams- bass, backing vocals

Mike Smail- drums, backing vocals

My sister might not have liked “Journey Into Mystery” but I do. The album demonstrates how a hungry band will just pull out all stops and go for it. These days, I will hold it up as a blueprint for doom metal.

Next post: Guns and Roses- Appetite for Destruction

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

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Wrath- Nothing to Fear

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2022 by 80smetalman

By the end of the 1980s and well into the 90s, my sister Dawn was not only making heavy metal tapes and sending them to me, she was also offloading albums she was no longer interested in onto me. Actually, she sent me this album in 1989 but learning from past mistakes, I have learned to check the release dates and so I know that “Nothing to Fear” by Chicago based thrash metallers, Wrath, came out in 1987.

I feel a need to cut right to the chase here. Let me ask you all out there, have you ever started listening to a band and you are totally digging the music and then the lead singer starts singing and become turned off? This has been the case with this album. Let me be clear, I am in no way saying that Gary Golwitzer is a bad singer. In fact, he does have a decent voice. However, I do not think his vocals are suited to thrash metal. For me, he is too high pitched for thrash and there are times when I find the vocals a little annoying. He would have been better suited for a straight forward metal band. I’ll can close my eyes and even hear him singing prog metal but not thrash.

Admittedly, it is a big shame because the other four members of Wrath really know how to play. Guitarists Scott Nyquist and Mike Nyrkkanen make an excellent guitar duo. Their guitar solo tradeoffs on many of the tracks are just downright superb! The most notable being on “Painless,” where the tradeoff isn’t the normal one guitarist plays the first solo and the second one plays the other. No, these two trade back and forth throughout the solo and to me it just sounds fantastic! Plus, they play some great opening riffs on that track and on “R.I.P. (Ripped Into Pieces)” as well.

Naturally, we can’t forget the rhythm section either and I can honestly say that Gary Modica and Mike Fron make a very good one. Gary’s bass lines are great and he does a little solo on “Painless.” Hell, it just took over as my favourite track on the album. Because not only the musicianship is ace but Gary Golwitzer’s vocals aren’t annoying. Then again, this number goes a little slower almost blues like. Still, I should mention the song it replaces, “Hell is Full.” Again, Gary’s vocals do fit the song and I love the acoustic intro before it blasts off into the ionosphere and a great guitar solo. Oh yes, back to the rhythm section. Let me simply say that Mike Fron makes his mark all over this album. One notable effort is on “Fear Itself” but he is another reason why “Painless” goes to number one. I’ll go out on a limb and say in the category of thrash drummers, I put him up there with Lars Ulrich, Charlie Benante, Dave Lombardo and Ventor.

Track Listing:

  1. R.I.P. (Ripped Into Pieces)
  2. Mutants
  3. Hell is Full
  4. Painless
  5. Fear Itself
  6. Sudden Death
  7. Incineration/Caustic Sleep
  8. When Worlds Collide
  9. Victims of the Void

Note: I have discovered that “When Worlds Collide” was on the soundtrack of the 1990 film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (Leather Face).”

WRATH

Gary Golwitzer- vocals

Scott Nyquist- guitar

Mike Nyrkkanen- guitar

Gary Modica- bass

Mike Fron- drums

Here’s a better picture of how they looked back then

I honestly think that if Wrath had a singer with a voice more suited to thrash, then they would have gone a lot further because they sure as hell can play. “Nothing to Fear” proves it.

Next post: Dream Death- Journey Into Mystery

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

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Bitch- The Bitch is Back

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2022 by 80smetalman

Talk about a snowball effect! Two posts ago, when I reviewed Lizzy Borden, it was pointed out to me that singer Betsy Bitch sang on one of the tracks of the “Terror Rising” album. Now, the name was known to me back in the 80s, (it’s hard to miss such a name), but I never got around to listening to any of her music. You know, the normal excuse of too much music and not enough time. Therefore, I decided to investigate Betsy and her band, Bitch, and I learned that they put out an album in 1987 called, “The Bitch is Back.” I’ve given it a few listens and I pretty much like what I’ve heard.

Betsy Bitch

The rest of the band kick off the album with a bass solo followed by a guitar solo on opening track, “Do You Want to Rock.” However, it’s only a few seconds later when Betsy comes in on the vocals and any idea that her memorable name is used to disguise a lack of vocal talent is smashed to bits straight away. Betsy has the voice! I give a definite “yes” to the question the opening track is asking. Things speed up on the next track, “Hot and Heavy,” almost to speed metal and this is the track which proves that the rest of the band is just as capable as their singer. It’s definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album.

As I listen to “The Bitch is Back,” the more impressed I become with guitarist David Carruth. His riffs and solos are top notch and I find it difficult to believe that his talents have been hidden for so long. He really shines on “Me and Boys.” He singlehandedly saves a song with predictable lyrics from being filler. Bitch goes doom metal on “Storm Raging Up.” There’s a really gloomy sounding intro before turning total metal and the musician to note on this one is drummer, Robby Settles.

You might have noticed the title of the album is an old Elton John song and there is a cover of it on the album. I don’t know how Elton might have felt about it but I like it. Betsy’s spin on the song is very cool and her father plays saxophone on it. Not the best song on the album though definitely not filler, it brings out another positive point, there is an air of humour to the album.

I can’t leave out the bass player as Ron Cordy puts down some good bass grooves. His turn to shine comes on “Head Banger.” His bassline while David hammers out his solo brings an extra dimension of cool to the song. Then the pace picks up on “Fist to Face.” This is one to get a mosh pit going as it nears the borderline of thrash metal. “Turns Me On” has a slower, bluesy feel to hit and David works his guitar magic on it. However, they step on the gas and go out at thrash metal speed on the closer “Skullcrusher.” It does end the album on the right note.

Track Listing:

  1. Do You Want to Rock
  2. Hot and Heavy
  3. Me and the Boys
  4. Storm Raging Up
  5. The Bitch is Back
  6. Head Banger
  7. Fist to Face
  8. Turns Me On
  9. Skullcrusher
Bitch

Betsy ‘Bitch’ Weiss- lead vocals

David Carruth- guitar

Ron Cordy- bass

Robby Settles- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mick Adrian- additional backing vocals

Joe Romersa- keyboards on “Hot and Heavy,” “Storm Raging Up” and “Skullcrusher,” additional backing vocals

Stanley ‘Dad of a Bitch’ Weiss- saxophone on “The Bitch is Back”

One reason I think Bitch didn’t become more well known is the already mentioned over saturated metal market at the time. However, if I was to find one fault it’s the song writing. The song subjects and lyrics are typical of the time. Saying that, if Bitch had been able to mature, then they could have been a force to be reckoned with in the metal world.

Next post: WASP- Live in the Raw

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Sending the Love to Crawling Through Tartarus

Posted in Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

I was very saddened to learn of this:


One Dead, Four Injured In Shooting at Death Metal Show

According to NBC Los Angeles, a shooting at a death metal show in San Bernadino this Saturday left one dead and four injured.

The shooting took place around 9:30pm at the Marquis Lounge at 1036 W. Highland Avenue in San Bernardino. When police arrived at the scene, they found one person already dead, and three other people suffering from gunshot-related injuries. A fourth victim with a gunshot wound drove to the hospital on his own (damn, hardcore), making for a total of five shooting victims overall.

As reported by Blabbermouth, the show at which the senseless act took place was that of Los Angeles death metallers Crawling Through Tartarus, whose vocalist Matt Holzboog was hit by two bullets and eventually had to undergo surgery. Meanwhile, CBS Los Angeles identified the deceased victim as 32-year-old James Vincent Dickson.

It has also been reported that as of Monday, all victims of the shooting are in stable condition.

The investigation of the shooting is underway, with no suspects of possible motives currently available.

Matt Berg, a friend of the band, posted the below images to Facebook, including as picture of Holzboog in the hospital, writing:

“Prayers for my boys in Crawling Through Tartarus after a violent shooting during their set last night in San Bernardino. Zander Dixon was a brother to Jack Berg and me growing up and it’s terrifying to see the video of somebody opening fire. Their vocalist Matt was hit by two rounds and is dealing with surgeries now. Make sure you send lots of love their way. Share their music with your friends, buy some merch, wish them well etc.”

That’s super fucking scary for all involved, and we wish Matt and his bandmates all the best. Check out the band below — while it doesn’t necessarily matter that their shit is cool as hell, it’s certainly nice to find out.

It now seems that you can’t even go to a metal gig in the US without the prospect of being shot. My genuine thoughts go out to the band, their families and those who were at the concert.

Let me add this song by Will Hoge.

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Agnostic Front- Liberty and Justice For…

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2022 by 80smetalman

One year after their controversial “Cause for Alarm” album, Agnostic Front were back with “Liberty and Justice For….” Like with the previous album, the band went through various line up changes and by the time the new album was recorded, the only remaining member from that previous album was rhythm guitarist Vinnie Stigma.

With “Liberty and Justice For…” Agnostic Front continued their crossover from hardcore punk into thrash metal. While I can’t say for 100%, it also seems that they also steered themselves away from right wing lyrics. The album kicks off with “Liberty and Justice” and begins with a classroom full of school children reciting the pledge of allegiance. However, the pledge stops right after “One nation under God” and goes into a massive thrash-out. The children say the final line at the end of the song, “With liberty and justice for all.” Lyrically, the song isn’t right wing but laments how the US is destroying itself while politicians don’t seem to care. Doesn’t sound right wing to me, just a fact.

Like the Stormtroopers of Death and Napalm Death, Agnostic Front launch a short but fatal attack on delicate eardrums with eleven songs in just over twenty-five minutes with no quarter asked for or given. Each and every song is just one massive thrash frenzy. The slowest song on the album is “Another Side,” at least it starts at 1990s Metallica speed before jettisoning into normal Agnostic Front speed. It does slow down in the middle before lead guitarist Steve Martin, no not the comedy actor, plays his best solo on the album. There is a similar vibe on the next track, “Happened Yesterday,” though that doesn’t slow down as much. But like with everything about this album, it’s short and to the point. The only possible exception might be the penultimate track, which is slow enough to hear the lyrics. There’s a definite Suicidal Tendencies vibe on this one. In this case, it works perfectly.

Track Listing:

  1. Liberty and Justice
  2. Crucial Moment
  3. Strength
  4. Genesis
  5. Anthem
  6. Another Side
  7. Happened Yesterday
  8. Lost
  9. Hypocrisy
  10. Crucified
  11. Censored
Agnostic Front

Roger Miret- vocals

Steve Martin- lead guitar

Vinnie Stigma- rhythm guitar

Alan Peters- bass

Will Shepler- drums

Thrash bands came and went in the late 1980s but Agnostic Front kept going. I must warn people, “Liberty and Justice For…” is not for the feint hearted. It’s one speed frenzy almost from start to finish but it’s one thrash party I will attend every time.

Next post: Glass Tiger- The Thin Red Line

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

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2022 by 80smetalman

Could this be a case of looks being deceiving? When you look past the guitar, leather and spikes, you might be inclined to think that this innocent looking young lady sang Taylor Swift type songs. After all, it seems that these days, some female pop singers dress in a neo-metal fashion in an attempt to lure younger metal males into checking out their music. However, metalheads aren’t as stupid as they think. They listen to what’s inside the album and not judge by the cover. With The Great Kat, on the other hand, she is the real deal. What you get from her debut album, “Worship Me or Die!” is a half hour of great thrash metal.

After a great shredding introduction, Kat, (real name Katherine Thomas), declares that she is the “Metal Messiah.” Her declaration is short and to the point with some great power riffs to back her up. After, she lets you know that she is possessed by the devil and you are her little slaves. Her shredding backs up her claim. If that’s not enough to convince you, she power chords and shreds her point in declaring “Death to You.”

Once you are convinced she the possessed metal messiah, you get my favourite track of the album, “Satan Goes to Church.” My amusement for television evangelists is satisfied when the song is introduced by a television evangelist telling us to repent. That is quickly sidelined by a thrash frenzy telling us that Satan is coming into the church and writing his name in blood before burning it down. It’s all tongue and cheek but I bet the Jesus freaks back then got their knickers all in a twist over it.

Now that Satan has burned down the church, you have no other choice do what Kat says in the title track, “Worship Me or Die!” Kat declares her omnipotence by letting you know that Kat rules, once again backed up by serious thrash chords and more shredding. From there, she goes on a four song death to all march, first summoning demons, then a speed death, a song which seems to go at 900mph. It carries on with killing the Muthers, (I don’t think she’s talking about actual mothers here), before laying it all to rest with “Ashes to Dust,” complete with a funeral service at the beginning. It’s all one big thrash-fest and I must give full credit to the rhythm section for being able to keep up with her.

Kat gets the children involved by playing a sweet little game called, “Satan Says.” Backed by foreboding, slower riffs, she kindly warns the children what might happen if they don’t play. “Satan goes follow me, Satan says ‘Go to Hell!'” The album then closes out with a total metal massacre, with the great shredding in which the album was first brought in.

Track Listing:

  1. Metal Messiah
  2. Kat Possessed
  3. Death to You
  4. Satan Goes to Church
  5. Worship Me or Die
  6. Demons
  7. Speed Death
  8. Kill the Muthers
  9. Ashes to Dust
  10. Satan Says
  11. Metal Massacre
The Great Kat (she doesn’t look so innocent here)

The Great Kat- guitar, lead vocals, violin

Tom Von Doom- bass

Adam Killa- drums

“Worship Me or Die” proves a point I have been making recently here and on other blogs; Back in the 1980s, female shredders didn’t get the respect they so deserved. The Great Kat, I emphasize the great because she was just as good as many of her male counterparts at the time and she should have been taken more seriously.

Next post: Savatage- Hall of the Mountain King

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Testament- Live at Eindhoven

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2022 by 80smetalman

Having conquered America with their debut album, “The Legacy,” Testament took their campaign to Europe. While playing the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Eindhoven, Holland, they recorded this live EP. From a historical standpoint, this was a great idea because in World War 2, Eindhoven was the first major Dutch city to be liberated by the combined force of British XXX Corps and the US 101st Airborne. From what I hear on the EP, the audience were ready for some great metal and Testament delivered.

Before the thrash gets underway, the album begins with Chuck Billy asking the audience why they don’t have any beers in their hands. “Let’s see some fuckin’ beers!” he shouts to the crowd and only when they oblige, does the true fireworks begin. Boy do the fireworks begin! They come out firing on all cylinders with “Over the Wall.” If this song doesn’t get the crowd going, then nothing was going to. I get the impression that it did, at least it got me going.

Alex Skolnick begins the second song with a guitar solo bringing in the King Diamond-ish “Burnt Offerings.” Like it does on the studio album, it lures you in as if it’s going to be a slower song before exploding into space at 900 mph. Alex delivers another great guitar solo. Then in the middle of the order comes the best known song, “Do or Die.” Chuck introduces the song by saying “You got to do what you got to do to survive. You got to do or die.” Listening to the song, I regret they didn’t play it when I saw them live in 2009 because they kill it here. It’s just one big thrash party where the crowd is chanting “Testament” at the end .

Following “Do or Die” is my choice for hidden gem, “Apocalyptic City.” It closed out “The Legacy” perfectly but here it does just as well as the penultimate track. While I was prepared for it coming in like a ballad before going full nuts, it still sounds fresh with some great guitars. Alex and rhythm guitarist Eric Peterson just nail it here. It shows what an underrated combo these two are and as far as lead/rhythm guitar combos go, I will put Alex and Eric right up there with Hammet/Hetfield, Jabs/Schenker and the Brothers Young.

“Reign of Terror” is the closer and it comes in with a pounding drum and more guitar work from the above mentioned combo. I love how the speed of the intro just keeps accelerating before Chuck’s vocals come in and take over. I can’t help thinking that there must have been a mosh pit going when this song was being played. Unfortunately, it’s over too soon. Five tracks, no matter how amazing, isn’t enough and when it’s over, I find myself wishing it was a proper LP.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Wall
  2. Burnt Offering
  3. Do or Die
  4. Apocalyptic City
  5. Reign of Terror
Testament

Chuck Billy- vocals

Alex Skolnick- lead guitar

Eric Petersen- rhythm guitar

Greg Christian- bass

Louie Clemente- drums

What “Live at Eindhoven” demonstrated was that Testament were a kick ass live band and this album helped them make their mark in Europe. It’s also another reason why they should be considered making the Big Four into the Big Five.

Next post: Warlock- Triumph and Agony

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

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson