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

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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

My Favorite Megadeth Records Ranked

Megadeth-RustInPeace

  1. Rust In Peace: I read an article from the Onion about how no more art needs to be created, because of the fact that Megadeth has already created the perfect album as well as the cover to go with it. I think the author was correct.
  2. So Far, So Good… So What!: This was the album that introduced me to the band. Great set of songs here from “Set the World On Fire” to “Hook in Mouth.”
  3. Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!: I love the rawness and the sheer power of Megadeth’s debut in 1985.
  4. Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?: Peace Sells is a great raw Thrash Metal record, although, the sound quality isn’t the best. This album alone has influenced so many bands in the Heavy Metal world. 
  5. Countdown To Extinction: The album that should’ve been number one over the Black album by Metallica. The music on this album was so far advanced and so far ahead of the time. It’s perfect! 
  6. Dystopia: Dave Mustaine still can throw out solid songs and this 2016 release is proof of that.
  7. The System Has Failed: This album is killer from start to finish. I love the cover as it speaks the truth about our politicians.
  8. Cryptic Writings: A nice solid effort by Megadeth. Megadeth is moving into another direction which would bring about change. 
  9. Youthanasia: This was the follow up to the “Countdown to Extinction” album. This album also has some pretty decent tracks on it. 
  10. The World Needs A Hero: I think that this album deserves a little more respect than what it gets. Also too, many critics out there get caught up by the tide and quickly disprove this album. 
  11. Endgame: This was a good album, although, it was more or less the same as “The System Has Failed.”
  12. United Abominations: This record here is pretty solid. But again, this also seems to be more or less the same as “The System Has Failed.”
  13. Th1rt3en: Another solid release by Dave Mustaine and his band. Some nice tracks here, but not favored by many in the Heavy Metal world.
  14. MD.45 – The Craving: Although, not a Megadeth album, it does feature a few songs which were to be Megadeth songs.
  15. Super Collider: Although, not a Thrash Metal album, this album does have it’s high points along with some low points. It’s not a bad Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album. The banjo work on “The Blackest Crow” was awesome!
  16. Risk: I did like certain aspects about this album, even though, it was more or less Disco season.

Danger-Us: Wrathchild (America)

Rating: 85%

322836After recording with Kix, Brad Divens and the gang created Wrathchild which would soon be called Wrathchild America. They released their 1983 demo “Danger Us” which is pure Heavy Metal leaning toward the Hair Metal genre, but without going full force. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this demo on Youtube and was able to download it into my collection.

It’s interesting to hear how Wrathchild sounded so close to KIX, but much heavier. It’s got screaming vocals, great riffs, and sweat leads. It also has a lot of fast tempos which could  boarder line Thrash Metal. It also has that New Wave of British Heavy Metal feel to it. You can hear it on the song “Metal Madness.” Something good is happening as the pot stirs which in a few years later would lead into “Climbin’ the Walls.”

Track listing:

1. Danger-US 03:39
2. Heartache Queen 04:29
3. Metal Madness 02:45
4. Roll the Dice 05:03

…And They Shall Take Up Serpents: Byzantine

CoverbyzserpentsRating: 90%

I have always enjoyed the Heavy Metal scene in the region. For me, growing up, bands like Wrathchild America, Clutch, and Kix among others was a good thing. Well, Byzantine is no different hailing from Charleston, WV. They have a unique style that take Thrash, Groove, and Prog Metal and blending it together to make their sound. “…And They Shall Take Up Serpents” released in 2005 is the second studio album by the band. It literally can stand up and go head to head to In Flames, Pantera, and or Mastodon paying homage to the 1990’s Groove Metal.

Musically, the tempos are slower than that of Thrash, more aggressive and tight. It has some outstanding rhythms and leads. Some of the scales are interesting. The riffs are very heavy, but polished. The vocal style is very close to In Flames where the main verse is harsh with clean chorus lines. Lyrically, the album talks about life in West Virginia from the “Redneck War” when the coal miners rose up against coalmines themselves to the religious practice of taking up serpents in the name of God.

The musicianship is pretty tight overall. You have Chris “OJ” Ojeda on vocals, guitars, and piano. Tony Rohbrough on guitars as well as bass. Matt Wolfe on drums and acoustic guitar.

Track listing:

1. “Justicia” 4:07

2. “Taking Up Serpents” 3:12

3. “Jeremiad” 6:00

4. “Ancestry of the Antichrist” 5:54

5. “Temporary Temples” 4:59

6. “Five Faces of Madness” 5:29

7. “Red Neck War” 5:39

8. “Pity None” 3:58

9. “The Rat Eaters” 4:31

10. “Salem, Ark” 4:31

Souls At Zero: Souls At Zero

souls at zero.jpgRating: 90%

After being drop from their record label in 1992, Wrathchild America changed their name for a fresh start. The end result was Souls At Zero. The new album was released in 1993, the third for guys, the debut for the new name. Losing more of the Thrash Metal sound and faster tempos, Souls At Zero began experimenting with Groove Metal with the Prog influence. The end result is a record that falls perfectly in line with Wrathchild America’s “3-D” which is where this album picks up as.

Brad Divens sounds the same with his graspy vocal style. His bass playing is killer. He really lays down some funky bass lines. Guitarists Jay Abbene and Terry Carter play some very tight riffs that has a bit of crunch. You can hear more of an experimental with other genres of music in the guitars. The guitar leads and fills are top notch. Shannon Larkin just kills it on drums. For an older band with a new image and name, these guys are playing tighter, more aggressively than previously. The Thrash element has almost ceased to exist.

Track listing:

1. “Frustration” 4:37

2. “Never” 5:22

3. “Look” 4:16

4. “Hardline” 4:40

5. “Lost” 6:19

6. “Checkin’ Out” 4:20

7. “Souls at Zero” 5:37

8. “Grey World” 4:28

9. “Not You” 6:10

10. “Crowded Head” 4:35

11. “Welcome to the 90s” 4:18

12. “Mind’s Eye” 8:34

Refuge Denied: Sanctuary

Rating: 85%

Sanc_refdenied.jpgIn 1987, Sanctuary released their debut record, after being discovered by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. When this album was released, I was blown away. It was the most original sounding metal I’ve heard. It was fresh.

Musically, this is just good ol’ Heavy Metal that some Thrash and Power Metal influences thrown in. It’s well balanced and very creative. If you were looking for a band that was going for the middle ground of what was out there at the time, but trying to separate themselves from the mainstream, then this was the band. It has many good riffs, killer leads and solos. This album has very interesting tempos. It also has some great offbeats that seems to give an edge to the music, making it a great listen. Awesome screaming high pitched vocals that range upwards to the soprano levels considering the vocalist is a natural baritone.

The musicianship is very good. Warrel Dane is one hell of a front man. His style actually comes from his training as an opera singer. Be cause of that, his vocal range is very broad. Guitarists Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosl are dominating this album with fast riffs and excellent lead solos. You can almost describe their style as classical. Bringing up this rich sounding rhythm is bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Dave Budbill.

Track listing:

Side 1
1. “Battle Angels” 4:52
2. “Termination Force” 3:40
3. “Die for My Sins”  3:42
4. “Soldiers of Steel”  5:30
Side 2
5. “Sanctuary”  3:57
6. “White Rabbit” 3:10
7. “Ascension to Destiny” 4:57
8. “The Third War”  3:52
9. “Veil of Disguise”  5:55