Nostalgic Corner of Thrash Nostalgia

Powermad, Part II

Powermad, cover image (hi res)Powermad has a new album coming out; here’s info about that.

Here’s where I wrote about Powermad almost five years ago.

Their full catalogue is now available to buy. No more piracy for you, unless that’s your thing. They’re the pinnacle of the thrash-metal “movement” of about 1990, which “nadir”-ed once grunge blossomed to the point of being on the cover of Time magazineAbsolute Power is a great record. Listen to it. Love it. Buy it, you piece of shit– you have nothing more holy in your life.

B-level Late-80s Thrash, Including (Deep Breath): Razor, Xentrix, Hallow’s Eve, Blood Feast, Laäz Rockit, Voivod, Destruction, Panic, & D.R.I.

I got the cassette of Razor’s Violent Restitution in a trade for something around 1989:

The cassette and its J-card smelled like the mildew and incense of Dave’s house, where I got it.  (Originally released late 1988.) Decibel magazine’s Top Thrash of all time ranked it as #31.

Enjoy some lyrics:

“Here I come… now you’re dead… got your woman… in my bed… now I laugh… while you cry… it’s been fun… now you die!”

“Out of the Game” opens with a great thrash riff, and continues the barbaric-if-awesome theme so far established….

Britain’s Xentrix (“Eccentrics”) and their 1990 release For Whose Advantage? comes out of the gate like a B version of …And Justice For All; title track is pretty great; 20 years later, I still remember the whole version of “Questions,” lyrics and all, as well as the the title track….

Atlanta’s Hallow’s Eve and their third (1988) release, Monument, rocked me well-beyond-all-pertinent/modest -boundaries. The first side I still remember note-for-note, including “Speed Freak,” “Sheer Heart Attack” (a Queen cover),”Rotgut,” and “Monument (to nothing).” The riffs and lyrics were B- at best, but they were as great as B- can be (which is surprisingly awesome). I clearly remember how the Enigma/Metal Blade J-card smelled; even typing those song titles makes me nostalgic for high school and jamming with drummers who only knew one (and this mediocre) beat pattern.

“Drink the Blood of Every Corpse,” (nostalgia portal here) was writ large on the backs of a few black t-shirts from my high school days– this, an epigram of the awesomeness of the “east coast version of Slayer,” Blood Feast, and their 1987 thrash-nearly-death album Kill for Pleasure.

It’s terribly-produced, furious, they-are-obviously-doing-this-for-love hyper-early-highly-primitive death/ thrash metal. Please enjoy their ecstatic rage in this Youtube link….

Lääz Rockit were one of the original (though lesser-known) San Francisco bay-area thrash metal bands; their sound was one of the more distinct of the metal bands of any time, heralded by their ultra-ultra-high-gain guitar tone (sounding similar, if more raw, to prime-era Exodus)– to me, Annihilation Principle (which I bought on cassette the same day I bought Fates’ Warning’s No Exit, minutes before being late to my guitar practice) is their pinnacle, containing “Fire in the Hole,” a cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia,” and “Chasin’ Charlie”– and there’s also a great, undeniably-metal-tastic cover.

We can talk about Quebec’s Voivod all day in terms of their overall metallic-influence, but I’m only dealing with their late-80s output, specifically what I liked:

“Forgotten in Space” and “Ravenous Medicine” from 1987’s Killing Technology (which I got on a green cassette, unlabeled, dubbed from a kid named Kevin in my freshman high school biology class), and “Tribal Convictions” from 1988’s Dimension Hatröss, via one particularly-awesome episode of Headbanger’s Ball (which also debuted Testament’s “Trial by Fire” video).

Destruction, being one of the three “Teutonic Greats” of late-80s thrash metal (beside Sodom and Kreator), released three records definitely worth revisiting: the Mad Butcher ep (1987), complete with awesome title track and Plasmatics coverRelease From Agony (1988) with its awesome cover, as well as its sonic highlights “Release From Agony,” and “Dissatisfied Existence“… finally, there’s 1990’s Cracked Brain— enjoy, in particular, the title track and the strange-yet-fun cover of “My Sharona,” a cover from The Knack, of all people.

Next to last, via Seattle, and produced by te H-team , Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt of Exodus, we’ve the thrash band Panic and their debut Epidemic, particularly their single, “Blackfeather Shake,” and its great-hooks-via-video….

And finally, we finish with the fathers of Crossover (i.e., punk via metal, i.e, thrash metal), D.R.I., and their singles “Suit and Tie Guy” from 1988’s Four of a Kind, and “Beneath the Wheel,” from 1989’s Thrash Zone.

Here then, is the sum total of what I love. Enjoy the video images:


Cassette of the Week/ Nostalgic Corner of Thrash Nostalgia: Devastation, Idolatry

Not only did I see them open for Death in 1991, but I wore their tour shirt in open, sullen defiance of the “shirts versus skins” rule in Gym II. Fuck you, Coach Hallisack.

Christian-lyriced, breakneck-paced Texas thrash metal. Criminally-underrated.


Get you some.

Havok’s Time Is Up & Helstar’s Glory of Chaos: A new version of classic, and a classic version of new

Havok are bay area thrash throwbacks/ revivers, i.e., youngsters playing the old stuff: Helstar are old-school power/thrash metal: their new album’s out now.

Both Havok’s Time Is Up and Helstar’s Glory of Chaos have wonderful production: clear, powerful without clipping…. Both have great overall musicianship; speaking as a 25-year guitarist weaned on bay-area thrash metal, thrash can be very difficult shit to play, especially as a group. Both bands do well here, and seemingly easily.

First up: the newbies from Denver, Havok, and their second LP (after 2009’s Burn), produced by James Murphy: Time Is Up drops March 29. (more…)

Cassette of the Week/ Nostalgic Corner of Thrash Nostalgia: Epidemic, Decameron

Yep, they realized that thrash was passé (in 1988) and were one of the first segues into death metal: Decameron– replete with blast beats and references to Boccaccio.

Like Sodom and Slayer, and to a lesser extent Kreator and Destruction, Epidemic are the missing link between the speed of thrash metal and the brutality of death. (more…)