Welcome To Hell: Venom

Rating: 90%

Venom_WelcomeThe year was 1981, and with the release of their debut in December, Venom would take the world by sheer force. They rode the tide of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal before becoming a critical key element with the creation of many sub-genres of Heavy Metal. Their brand of Heavy Metal music would go onto influence Speed Metal and Black Metal. But later would influence Thrash Metal as well as Death Metal.  I like the reissues of this album complete with bonus tracks re-release by Castle/Sanctuary in 2002.

The musicianship at times can be a bit sloppy and yet tight. The production sounds like shit, almost demo quality, but that is what makes this album sound very raw, intense, and aggressive. I have always loved the style by Venom. The tempos are fast, but not crunchy like that of Thrash Metal or even the more later or second wave of Black Metal. Venom’s marksmanship is spot on in the delivery of their music and that is why they are considered the craftsmen of Black Metal and also Speed Metal.

Venom is made up of three musicians. You have bassist and vocalist Conrad “Cronos” Lant, guitarist Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn, and drummer Tony “Abaddon” Bray. These guys throw out some great riffs, solos, and drumming. I also want to say that the bass has proven itself as a lead instrument as well. I’m thinking of Lemmy of Motorhead style, but much darker.

Track listing:

Side A
1. “Sons of Satan” 3:38
2. “Welcome to Hell” 3:15
3. “Schizo” 3:34
4. “Mayhem with Mercy” 0:58
5. “Poison” 4:33
6. “Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)” 3:59

Side B
7. “Witching Hour” 3:40
8. “One Thousand Days in Sodom” 4:36
9. “Angel Dust” 2:43
10. “In League with Satan” 3:35
11. “Red Light Fever” 5:14

Bonus tracks in 1985 re-release by Combat Records
12. “In Nomine Satanas” 3:28
13. “Bursting Out” 2:56

Bonus tracks in 2002 re-release by Castle/Sanctuary
12. “Angel Dust” (Lead Weight version) 3:03
13. “In League with Satan” (7-inch version) 3:31
14. “Live Like an Angel” (7-inch version) 3:54
15. “Bloodlust” (7-inch version) 2:59
16. “In Nomine Satanas” (7-inch version) 3:29
17. “Angel Dust” (Demo) 3:10
18. “Raise the Dead” (Demo) 3:29
19. “Red Light Fever” (Demo) 4:51
20. “Welcome to Hell” (Demo) 4:57
21. “Bitch Witch” (Out-take) 3:08
22. “Snots Shit” (Out-take)

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Ticket to Mayhem: Whiplash

Rating: 90%

Whiplash_tickettomayhem.jpgReleased in 1987, two of the three Tonys were back at it with the second release by Whiplash. “Ticket to Mayhem” was my second introduction to the band and I must say, this was a very good follow up to their debut “Power and Pain.”

Lot’s going on in this album, so let’s begin to break it down. It’s got that strong Thrashy feel to it along with the speed. The vocals are also border line deathy. So, what we have here is a Death Thrash Metal album with some Death Metal influences. Overall, this to me is what Thrash Metal was all about back in the 1980’s. I remember when this album was released and how I hurried to the record store to get it.

The band is a duo of Tonys. You have guitarist and vocalist Tony Portaro, bassist Tony Bono, and drummer Joe Cangelosi who replaced Tony Scaglione. For a three piece band, you have such an original, powerful, and raw sound. The music and tempos are speedy and heavy. The guitar work is very riffy and leads are fantastic.  The guitar has this almost progressive and precises feel to it. The bass is very in your face playing along with both the guitars and drums. The drumming is heavy as hell. This is just a very creative album.

Track listing:

1. “Perpetual Warfare” 1:41
2. “Walk the Plank” 4:23
3. “Last Nail in the Coffin”  4:30
4. “Drowning in Torment”  3:48
5. “The Burning of Atlanta” 4:51
6. “Eternal Eyes (Last Nail in the Coffin Part 2)” 3:20
7. “Snake Pit” 3:52
8. “Spiral of Violence” 5:44
9. “Respect the Dead” 3:09
10. “Perpetual Warfare” 1:3

Raging Violence: Hirax

Rating: 90%

Raging_Violence.jpg1985, Thrash Metal was booming out of California’s Bay area. It’s roots nestled from the sounds of Hardcore Punk, Speed Metal, and NWOBHM. This paved the wave for many Extreme Metal bands to be recorded and find success. Thrash Metal, Death Metal, and yes Black Metal all are cut from the same family tree.

For Hirax and their 1985 debut “Raging Violence” proved to be another great example of why Thrash Metal was so good. The music was raw, fast, heavy, and violent. Fast tempos and tight riffs from start to finish certainly is one important ingredient for the band. It’s full of great solos. However, the soaring vocals are another important ingredient for the success of Hirax.

The musicianship was solid. You had vocalist Katon W. DePena, guitarist Scott Owen, bassist  Gary Monardo, and drummer John Tabares. These four guys proved just how talented they are and how original their brand of Thrash Metal could be. This album is just an overall great example of a debut record that is solid and strong.

Track listing:

Side A
1. “Demons – Evil Forces” 3:25
2. “Blitzkrieg Air Attack” 2:08
3. “Guardian Protector” 1:37
4. “Bombs of Death” 1:47
5. “Defeat of Amalek” 3:08
6. “Raging Violence” 2:53
7. “Call of the Gods” 1:20

Side B
8. “Warlords Command” 2:39
9. “Suicide” 2:37
10. “Executed” 1:40
11. “The Gauntlet” 2:03
12. “Destruction and Terror” 2:33
13. “Destroy” 1:07
14. “Bloodbath” 1:55

Stress: Stress

Rating: 90%

stress.jpgSo, the year was 1982 and the country was Brazil, South America. The sound of Heavy Metal would change forever. It would become more aggressive, more violent, and more faster with the release of the debut record by Stress. Stress built upon the sound and style of the NWOBHM by combining it with the Garage and Psychedelic music of the 1970’s. The end result is an album that would be essential to Speed Metal and help with the creation of the Thrash Metal genre. That’s right, this album was released one year before Metallica’s Kill em’ All. So let’s begin breaking this album down.

The band itself is a simple four piece band. It consists of vocalist and bassist Roosevelt “Bala” Cavalcante, guitarist Pedro Lobão, drummer André Lopes Chamon, and keyboardist Leonardo Renda. The musicianship is pretty amazing. The band plays extremely tight. These four guys are creative and skillful which is the key to the originality of their music. They tip their hats to all of the Heavy Metal greats that stood before them and you can hear their influences really shine through the music. the instrumentation is well balanced and solid.

Musically, picture Ted Nugent’s speedy vocals with the tempo of Judas Priest or Venom’s music. Now, throw in some Deep Purple and Motorhead. You now have the band Stress. The tempos are fast. The guitar riffs and solos are great and have this certain classic early 1970’s fuzz. The drums and bass are fantastic and colorful. And yes, the keyboards are a nice touch to the overall sound. Lot’s of interesting melodies and tempos being thrown out. There’s not one shapeless note being played here.

To me, this is a forgotten Heavy Metal band. The overall album is a diamond in the dust. It’s a shame that it’s one of the most forgotten Speed Metal albums out there. This album mixed with what was coming out from Europe paves the way for the creation of Thrash Metal in the early 1980’s.

Track listing:

1. “Sodoma e Gomorra” 4:09
2. “A Chacina” 4:19
3. “2031” 4:17
4. “Oráculo do Judas” 5:53
5. “Stressencefalodrama” 5:33
6. “O Viciado” 4:06
7. “Mate o Réu” 3:54
8. “O Lixo” 4:14
9. “Inferno Nuclear” (Only in CD version) 4:33

Violent Restitution: Razor

Rating: 90%

Razor+violent+restitution+'88.jpg1988 and where was I at? Jamming it loud and proud with all kinds of Death and Thrash Metal. It was a good year and this release by Razor was no exception. It’s funny how almost 30 years later, we only hear about the American Big Four, whom we won’t mention by names.

Musically, this album is very meaty, it’s full, and rich. And yet, as good as the sound is, it’s still raw, powerful, and energetic. It’s got huge crunchy riffs which are very choppy at times. Those riffs is what makes this album very exciting to listen to. The leads solos are phenomenal and explosive. The backing vocals are strong as are the lead vocals.

The musicianship is really tight. The entire band sounds great. Stace McLaren on vocals are damn fine. The riffs and leads are conducted by Dave Carlo. The bass lines are by Adam Carlo, and the drumming is by Rob Mills.

This album is a fine example of how Thrash Metal was and sounded during the 1980’s. Never mind the Big Four, check out some of the lesser known Thrash Metal bands like this Razor.

 

Track listing:

1. “The Marshall Arts” 2:45
2. “Hypertension” 3:21
3. “Taste the Floor” 2:07
4. “Behind Bars” 2:15
5. “Below the Belt” 2:54
6. “I’ll Only Say it Once” 2:28
7. “Enforcer” 3:44
8. “Violent Restitution” 2:33
9. “Out of the Game” 2:47
10. “Edge of the Razor” 4:15
11. “Eve of the Storm” 3:20
12. “Discipline” 2:55
13. “Fed Up” 2:30
14. “Soldier of Fortune” 2:59

Queen of Siam: Holy Moses

Rating: 75%

Holy_Moses_-_Queen_of_SiamIn 1986, the Speed and Thrash Metal community was taken by a storm with the debut of Holy Moses. But once the dust settled, and the years past, they became one of the those average Thrash Metal bands. Since then, these German musicians have been overshadowed by other bands like Sodom and Kreator.

The musicianship upon first listening is super tight. Vocalist Sabina Classen has that classic Black Metal style. She has the growls, shrills, and the screams down. When I hear this album with her vocals, I think of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. Guitarist Andy Classen knows his ax. He throws out some well though of riffs and leads. His overall sound isn’t as heavy as Sodom or Slayer, but he does sound good. Bassist Ramon Brüsseler can be heard clearly in the back. He adds a certain harmony to the overall melody. Kicking and pounding the skins is drummer Herbert Dreger.

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Lead vocalist Sabina Classen

Overall and musically, this is a pretty solid debut for a mid 1980’s Thrash Metal band. The sound is raw. It does lack a certain degree of aggression to the overall music. A tad bit more effort could have gone into some of the songs. Some of the songs seem more like a filler. But then again, other songs like “Walpurgisnight and “Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” the band just nails it with energy and excitement.

The music itself isn’t full or rich, but it does have that nice thrashing feel to it. The tempos are built upon speed and I do like the guitar fill ins whether they be during a verse or part of the bridge. I do like the vocals as they do add a certain evil feel to the overall music. I think Sabina Classen is talented for that and many female vocalist should look up to her as she was one of the first doing this.

Track listing:

“Necropolis” – 3:39
“Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” – 5:35
“Devil’s Dancer” – 4:20
“Queen of Siam” – 4:24
“Roadcrew” – 3:12
“Walpurgisnight” – 3:21
“Bursting Rest” – 3:39
“Dear Little Friend” – 5:36
“Torches of Hire” – 3:06

Metal Church: Metal Church

Rating: 85%

MetalchurchselftitledAP

In 1984, Metal Church released their debut self-titled album. Metal Church is one of those groups that started out and gained a decent following underground during the Thrash Metal movement. The album features vocalist David Wayne, guitarists Kurdt Vanderhoof & Craig Wells, bassist Duke Erickson, and drummer Kirk Arrington. They contributed much to the Thrash Metal scene. A nice solid album for the time. Musically, it’s filled with Thrash Metal, Speed Metal and just good ol’ Heavy Metal. It’s a decent record filled with tons of riffs and lead guitars. There’s some good drumming and bass lines. I do like their faster version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” “Gods of Wrath” is another good song. It’s got some great vocal ranges. “Beyond the Black” throws out some very thrashy and fast riffs. “Metal Church” is another decent song. The sound is somewhat clean, although, it has that typical 1980’s sound quality. All and all, not a bad record.

Track listing:

1. “Beyond the Black” 6:23

2. “Metal Church” 5:03

3. “Merciless Onslaught” (Instrumental) 2:54

4. “Gods of Wrath” 6:41

5. “Hitman” 4:39

6. “In the Blood” 3:31

7. “(My Favorite) Nightmare” 3:12

8. “Battalions” 4:53

9. “Highway Star” 4:39