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

Product of Imagination: Paradox

Rating: 75%

Product_of_Imagination1987, saw the debut release of the German band Paradox, “Product of Imagination.” This proved that the Thrash Metal scene was being picking up in Europe. I remember buying the on cassette when it first came out.

Paradox is four simple men, who show the world that they can wail just as fast and heavy on their instruments, as their American counterparts. Vocalist & guitarist Charly Steinhauer sure can throw out some powerful riffs. His voice seems to be a bit higher than most Thrash Metal vocalist. Think Metal Church. Throwing out those riffs as well is guitarist Markus Spyth. Between these two, they know how to shred on those strings. The leads are very powerful. With these two, their guitars are almost the ones setting the tempo and the bass and drums are catching up. On bass is Roland Stahl. His bass sound is clearly heard. He helps to maintain those timing signatures and complex tempos and melody changes. The backbone seems to fall on the shoulders of drummer Axel Blaha.

Although, this is a Thrash Metal album with mid level tempos being pushed to the point where Speed Metal takes over, there are some very melodic sections to the song structures. The overall sound is pretty decent. I must admit, that I prefer the first side of this album. It seems to flow nicely, where as the second side seems to loose some of its lust. To be honest, it was great hearing this classic Thrash Metal again on YouTube as I lost my cassette many many years ago and never got around to looking it up on CD.

Track listing:

1. “Opening Theme” (instrumental) 1:24
2. “Paradox” 4:16
3. “Death, Screaming and Pain” 5:09
4. “Product of Imagination” 7:15
5. “Continuation of Invasion” (instrumental) 2:13
6. “Mystery” 5:05
7. “Kill That Beast” 4:27
8. “Pray to the Godz of Wrath” 4:44
9. “Beyond Space” 4:48
10. “Wotan II” 0:18

Death and Glory: Running Wild

Rating: 95%

dog200In 1989, Running Wild unleashed “Death and Glory” which is an album that focuses on history and the high seas. The sound is incredible.  It’s clear, clean, and crisp. Musically, it’s a well balanced of Speed, Power, and Epic Metal that makes this Heavy Metal album brilliant.

The song structures are wonderfully done. The melodies and harmonies sound great. The song concepts are very original, and yet they compliment those former Heavy Metal legends such as Iron Maiden. This isn’t recycled crap in order to make an album. There was a lot of artistic thought that went into the creation of the album.

Guitarist & vocalist Rolf Kasparek, guitarist Majk Moti , bassist Jens Becker, and drummer Ian Finlay produce this rich sound. Vocally, this album sounds very epic and powerful. Even the backing vocals are very powerful. There are plenty of tight riffs and fast lead solos. The leads are just fantastic. The guitars have a rich, clear sound. The two guitars harmonizing together provides this duel guitar slinger type of atmosphere. It’s exciting and entertaining. The bass is outstanding as well. It thunders through the music and is clearly heard. The drums are great. There lots of great tempos being used which gives this album plenty of backbone and power.

Track Listing:

1. “Riding the Storm” 6:27
2. “Renegade” 4:29
3. “Evilution” 4:43
4. “Running Blood” 4:29
5. “Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight)” (instrumental) 4:51
6. “Marooned” 5:12
7. “Bad to the Bone” 4:46
8. “Tortuga Bay”3:16
9. “Death or Glory” 3:56
10. “Battle of Waterloo” 7:50
11. “March on” 4:08

Fist Full Of Metal: Anthrax

Rating: 90%

anthraxfistfulofmetalIn 1984, Thrash Metal giants Anthrax released their debut “Fistful of Metal.” Although, not completely a Thrash Metal album, this record holds right up there with Speed Metal with lot’s of New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences. One thing is for sure, this is NOT your typical Anthrax album. The sound and style is completely different than their signature sound you hear on the 1985 release “Spreading the Disease.”

Anthrax consisted of vocalist Neil Turbin. His screaming vocal style works well with the formula of the music on this album. Then you have lead guitarist Dan Spitz. His leads, solos, and fill ins are incredible. Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian lays out a series of simple riffs that aren’t to complex in nature, not like they would be later on. Bassist Danny Lilker seems to be more in tuned with the speed of the guitars rather than the tempos of the drums. Drummer Charlie Benante lays out a series of fast and mid tempos drums lines.

A gem this album is, but it fell short due to the next series of Anthrax albums that had a more metallic and Thrash Metal sound. Neil Turbin and Danny Lilker was only featured on this album. After it’s release, Anthrax would be bring the replacements in what I would call the true line up that would last well into the 1990’s. Because of that, this album falls short. For me, I enjoy the hard hitting, super fast music that makes up this album. It’s a fist of metal, that’s for sure.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Deathrider” 3:10
2. “Metal Thrashing Mad” 2:39
3. “I’m Eighteen” (Alice Cooper cover) 4:02
4. “Panic” 3:58
5. “Subjugator” 4:38
6. “Soldiers of Metal” 2:55
7. “Death from Above” 5:00
8. “Anthrax” 3:24
9. “Across the River” (Instrumental) 1:26
10. “Howling Furies”3:55

Show No Mercy: Slayer

Rating: 90%

Slayer_-_Show_No_Mercy.jpgThe year was 1983, and Thrash Metal greats, Slayer released “Show No Mercy.” This album along with Metallica’s “Kill’em All” changed the course of Heavy Metal forever as Thrash Metal was born. This album was also one of the hardest pounding records released to date, harder than Metallica’s “Kill’em All.” Slayer consisted of bassist & vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Jeff Hanneman & Kerry King, and drummer  Dave Lombardo.

This album is a big influence in the Heavy Metal world. Although, the production is flawed, I do like the rawness, the speed, and the intensity of the music. From the opening notes to the final note, this album wails and just doesn’t stop. It’s like a freight train moving 200 miles an hour. If fact, I love the opening riff followed by the scream on  “Evil Has No Boundaries.” That sets the pace for the entire record. From there the album becomes almost one continuous song.

There’s a ton of fast, crunchy, gritty, aggressive, and raw riffs. The two dueling guitars perfectly in tuned during the scales and rhythm sections are incredible. This album is full of fast leads and fill in solos. I love the use of the whammy bar on many of leads. The bass lines are full. The vocals are eerie. The tempos of the drums are just super fast.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Evil Has No Boundaries”  3:09
2. “The Antichrist” 2:49
3. “Die by the Sword”  3:36
4. “Fight Till Death” 3:37
5. “Metalstorm/Face the Slayer”  4:53
6. “Black Magic” 4:03
7. “Tormentor” 3:45
8. “The Final Command” 2:32
9. “Crionics”  3:29
10. “Show No Mercy”3:06

Ride With Death: Speedwolf

Rating: 80%

314452.jpgIn 2011, Speedwolf released their first album. Inspired by Punk and Metal, this release is pretty awesome. Heavily influenced by Motorhead’s speed, Venom’s sound, and Sodom’s attitude, “Ride With Death” is full of brutality and speed. It’s like a time trip back to the mid 1980’s.

The musicianship is pretty good. Reed Bruemmer’s style of vocals is almost gritty and sludgy. Throwing out the fast riffs is Kris Wells on guitar. He’s got a lot of great work throughout this album. Then you have drummer Richie Tice. His drumming is pretty intense. I love the cowbell on the first track. Throwing down on the strings of thunder is bassist Jake Kauffman.

This album features a Punk flavored Speed Metal that is a blast from the past. Tight melodies, great riffage and decent solos. The bass has this heavy distorted sound that just doesn’t quit. The vocals are a tad on the dirty or harsh side. The drums are all over this album. This is what Speed Metal is and what it should sound like.

Track listing:

Speedwolf 5:28
Up All Night 2:48
Out On Bail 2:44
I Am The Demon 3:37
Time To Annihilate 3:43
Never Twice 3:39
I Can’t Die 3:55
Death Ripper 3:22
Hell & Back 2:38
The Reaper 3:29
Ride With Death 3:51
Denver 666 2:23

In War and Pieces: Sodom

Rating: 85%

InWarAndPieces.jpgIn 2010, “In War and Pieces” was released by Sodom. Now, I must admit, as I went into the 2000’s, I kind of forgotten about this band. That was until I was looking around the record store and saw this album. I thought to myself, damn, these guys are still around. I thought what the hell, I’ll pick it up and see what Sodom sounds like today. Well, this band still has it, even though, Tom Angelripper is the only original member. The line up for this album has bassist and vocalist Tom Angelripper, guitarist Bernd Kost, and drummer Bobby Schottkowski.

Musically, this album is very good. It’s Thrash Metal that sounds just as good today as it did back in the 1980’s. The overall sound of the band is a bit lighter than their earlier stuff. It’s a bit more polished. This album does boarder along the lines of Speed Metal. It’s totally brutal. This album has got some really good tempos and melodies. The lyrics still deal with themes surrounding war.

It’s got plenty of fast, heavy, aggressive, and killer riffs. There are some great leads. I would have to say, that if you’re into playing Thrash Metal on your guitar, well, Bernd Kost pretty much dominates it and hits it out of the park. The vocals are still gritty. The bass sounds really good. Plenty of hard hitting drums. The has been made, that Sodom is still a contender in the age of modern music.

Track listing:

1. “In War and Pieces” 4:11
2. “Hellfire” 3:07
3. “Through Toxic Veins” 4:43
4. “Nothing Counts More Than Blood” 3:49
5. “Storm Raging Up” 5:08
6. “Feigned Death Throes” 3:59
7. “Soul Contraband” 3:50
8. “God Bless You” 5:10
9. “The Art of Killing Poetry” 4:38
10. “Knarrenheinz” (German Lyrics) 3:20
11. “Styptic Parasite” 5:13
12. “Murder One (Bonus Track)” 3:27