VA – Thrash Never Dies Comp CD
Thrash Never Dies Comp 2006 CD
This is an 11-band compilation of worldwide thrash metal bands put together by Thrash Never Dies portal, a site dedicated to documenting and promoting the original sound of Thrash Metal as heard with earlier incarnation of Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Megadeth of the early to mid-80s.
For many these were the golden years, the period where offshoot terms such Death Metal and Black Metal were still in its infancy. It was the days when Metallica’s (now dear-departed) bassist Cliff Burton was still “Pulling Teeth” and Exodus’ Bonded By Blood bonded us all for a circle pit.
I remember those days well. The 11 bands here could be anyone of those local bands sweating up the walls of small clubs in Kuala Lumpur in the mid-80s; all the Punishers, Nemesises, Picagaris of yesterday. This is nothing but an exercise in nostalgia. There’s no concession allowed for new ideas, or aural progression. It’s a time-travelling hole in the wall where you go in and found yourself in California’s Bay Area of 1984.
Looking at the state of worldwide metal these days, where glorified MTV bands such as Korn, Slipknot, Hawthorne Heights and Funeral For A Friend are considered as “metal”, I can’t fault the need for the die-hards to retreat back to the days of yore when “metal up yr ass” was the preferred t-shirt and lice-ridden unkempt long hair was the creed.
All I’m saying is this is REAL. There’s no Brylcreemed hair insight and no red-neckties and no white belts. In fact some of the bands here are so poorly recorded in some cramped humid jam studios I can smell their dirty sneakers. And most importantly I can smell their sweat.
Yes, the concept sounds cool but in reality this compilation needs a lot of work. Understandably when bands all over the world sent in their songs for this comp there’s the issue of sound quality. The 11 songs here are not primed proper, no remastering, not even sound levelling. So one nicely produced song can segues into a blaring mess and then segues into a muddy mix. Usual pitfalls for such a worldwide DIY compilation project.
And of course, there’s no money in this at all. A right labour of love this is but if I’m the guy, I would at least spend a lot of time selecting the tracks, get somebody with a cheap computer to level the sound and yes, get a good artist to do the CD sleeve.
With all that outta the way, lets concentrate on the music and the passion within. First of all, do keep in mind that these bands featured are not old bands. They are all currently active bands, most consisting of guys who were still wrapped in diapers back in 1984.
The CD opens with T.B.S. from Norway with an instrumental titled “Thrasher”, one of the muddier tracks on the comp. With buried drums and bass, I can’t vouch much of its qualities. It is actually the most un-thrashy of the songs here. More like an unfinished and moody mediocre faux-industrial tune with widdly metal solos and bowed basslines.
American band Rizen however quickly lifted us up from the that dire opening. With the production top-notch and crispy, Rizen’s “Master of War” harks back to the days when a more dark and evil vocals came into the Thrash Metal picture, bringing for the new term Death Metal. Here the mechanical double-pedal goes overboard and the solos going for the epic. It reminded me of earlier practitioners of Death Metal, such as Possessed, Slayer and Obituary. Good shit.
Next we have two Colombian bands, both suffering from muddy incoherent production. Victimized offered a relentless attack of Exciter-style primitive speed metal complete with a bit of the classic mosh bridge. Ubergehen, the other Colombian band, also mines the same influences, and I suspect they may even share same band members. Both could be new incarnations of the earliest version Exodus, good songs, good musicianship etc. If only they have the money to invest in a proper recording.
The fifth song is titled as “When The King Dies”, another very bad recording but it features a harsher climate of raw vocals and raw guitar couple with intense speed bordering on primitive Black Metal feel. The band is called Mercy Kill from Norway and they bulldozed through the song with much density and relentless power. An excellent band where the passion shines through the awful recording.
When 1428 come on, the air cleared and it goes crispy again. Coming in from the States, 1428 features more Bonded By Blood-style thrash and also bits of Anthrax (without the Belladonna hi-pitch singing tho’).
Australia’s Sabretung followed with the strident Suicide Terror, a headbanging mixture of mid-period Slayer with early precise Coroner. Again a very capable band but there’s a lack of recklessness though, I mean it’s a bit too finely rethreaded, too nicely done that it lost the old chaos.
Sabretung is followed by another good recording via Greece’s Violator, a band that so closely resembles Paul Balloff’-era Exodus that it throws the senses a bit when there’s an Araya yelp inserted the middle. The band also features a bit of that NYHC singalong choruses which is pretty nice to hear nowadays.
Austria’s Epsilon sounds the most “modern” of all here. In fact it’s not really “thrashy”, more like a collection of heavy, mid-tempo riffage punctuated by jagged Prong-like shouts. Good foot-stomping heavy but a bit out of place with the other selections here.
The curiously named Pace of Hearse from Germany follows and it’s like early Venom meets Exciter, very primitive speed metal that kinda killed itself with an awful ballad-style middle part. Not great but good once-over fun.
The whole she-bang closed with an offering by Czech Republic’s Hypnotic Face, a band that could be mining an older area of metal, the days of the British New Wave of Heavy Metal. Their song Trash is a mid-tempo groover with neo-Metallica choruses and chunky riffage. There are moments to it which would bring a smile, but generally pretty tired.
So there. Good intention by the compilers but it is brought down by the sound quality, uneven volume and the awful sleeve! That said, those who love the 80s should give it a listen and check out how’s the “Thrash Metal revival” thing is going.
Me, I would rather spend my time with Mastodon, the only recent metal band which I love to bits. Yeah, they are a huge band now but just like Slayer, they hasn’t disappointed me yet.