SLAMMER

KERRANG! ISSUE 284 APRIL 1990

SLAMMER – Boston Arms, Tuffnell Park

THERE IS nothing intrinsically ‘wrong’ with Slammer. Dull, fabricated and desperate, maybe, but Thrash’s biggest losers do not really deserve the derision that has been heaped upon the young Bradford quintet in recent months.

And Slammer’s only crime thus far? Probably just failing to fulfil hysterical expectations. In case you blinked Slammer signed the golden deal and released an average album as their major label debut that showed promise if not originality.

In a word Slammer are f**ked!

Tonight – just hours after the promoters went bankrupt – the public are being fleeced for an outrageous £6 to witness the Slammer laxative. Flushed through the system and back into the toilet within six months.

Unbelievably the boys seem surprised and narked that their supposed loyal fan-base stayed home in their millions. But the Boston Arms is cold and cavernous. Slammer, meanwhile, are just back-pedalling through crap.

Slammer’s real problem is that they don’t really want to be a Thrash band at all. A cynicism and arrogance permeate the one-dimensional riff theatre of Hellbound and Razors Edge’, justified with big buck backing but now merely stubborn.

Slammer work to formulas and smack of impersonation as a result of that. Paul Tunnicliffe battles bravely to save face. Someone even optimistically stage-dives into open space.

Ultimately, however, and just as the record sales proved, Slammer offer nothing new to an overcrowded market. They close with ‘Tenement Zone’ and encore (!) with ‘Born For War’ before packing it all away into shiny flight cases that only serve to reinforce the charade that Slammer have become.

Slammer’s deal marked the end of UK Thrash. Tonight was proof.

CHRIS WATTS

WITCH MASTER GENERAL

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

WITCHMASTER GENERAL

Formed in 1986 by Mark Beaudoin (lead guitar) and Tom Kavanagh (drums), WITCH MASTER GENERAL are a power metal band based in Ottawa, Canada.

The band’s current demo was recorded in October last year and features five songs “October Frost”, “Scarlet Fever”, “Reduced To Ashes”, “On The Warpath” and the title track “Winds Of Salem”.

Musically, the band, whose line-up is completed by Randy Chase (vocals), Dan McNamara (rhythm guitars) and Bryant Dale (bass), mix early METALLICA and SABBATH influences with injections of thrash and enhanced with a strong sense of melody. Vocalist Randy Chase reminds me a lot of Ozzy Osbourne with a touch of CANDLEMASS’ Messiah Marcolin thrown in, which suits the complex story structures perfectly.

On the evidence of this tape, WITCH MASTER GENERAL have some strong material especially “October First” and the pacey “On The Warpath”, which displays excellent musicianship and a desire to be creative and original, and hopefully they shouldn’t have too many problems in securing a record deal in the near future.

BERNARD DOE

FATAL

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

FATAL

Reading based FATAL are a young British metal band who’ve been together for a little over a year and consist of Yeti (vocals/bass), Dave Caton (guitar) and Nigel Farrow (drums).

The band have already supported the dreadful TATTOOED LOVE BOYS which seems a complete mis-match because FATAL’s music is at the heavier, bordering on thrash, end of the metal spectrum.

FATAL’s three song demo kicks off with the title track, “Lynch Law”, a pacey MAlDENesque affair, well structured with some great guitar fills. In fact, guitarist Dave Caton plays with a lot of feel and melody, especially on “First Born”, which puts an exciting edge to bands music. Unfortunately, the final song “Passive Aggressor” is none too clever, sounding like a disjointed early CELTIC FROST, but if FATAL can polish up their song writing a little and get some decent gigs under their belt then they could well be a band to look out for in the future. The band are already planning to record a new demo so l look forward to that with interest.
BERNARD DOE

ADDICTIVE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

ADDICTIVE


With the expected interest in MORTAL SIN in the coming months, there’s sure to be a sudden interest in Australian thrash metal. And there’s no doubt dozens of bands are waiting in the wings for the door to open.

Well, one such band that could well be making their own headlines in the near future are ADDICTIVE, a Sydney based quartet who’ve recently released a highly promising five song demo entitled “Ward 74”.

Formed in November1987, and with a line-up of Greg (vocals/bass), Joe and Mick (guitars) and Matt (drums), ADDICTIVE are obviously influenced by the likes of METALLICA and especially TESTAMENT, and although the material isn’t mind blowing or particularly original, it is delivered with plenty of power, precision and conviction to suggest that they could well develop into a class thrash unit in time.
BERNARD DOE



NO DIRECTION

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

NO DIRECTION

Originally based in Knoxville, Tennessee but now residing in Seattle, Washington, NO DIRECTION are a five-piece outfit whose mixture of speed metal and hardcore reminds me a lot of Chicago’s underrated AFTERMATH who appeared on the MF “Scream Your Brains Out” compilation album last year.

NO DlRECTlON have been together in some shape or form since ’87 and their current line-up reads: Tim Allen (vocals), Hank Bate (lead guitar), Lenny Burnett (guitar), James Atkins (bass) and David Knight (drums).

The bands four song demo is well produced and the material is fairly strong, ranging from the thrashcore frenzied “Circle Of Fear” to the more metalized “Brain Daze” with brutal METALLICA-like rifling. “Blind Reproach” is a punchy plodder with some blatant SLAYER “Reign In Blood” era riffs, whilst the more pacey “Gestures Of Faith” ends a promising enough tape.
BERNARD DOE

HOLY TERROR

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

EXODUS/NUCLEAR ASSAULT/HOLY TERROR
Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy
I’ve got to say that this gig had all the ingredients for turning into a “Fabulous Disaster” itself and considering the trauma’s suffered throughout the day by bands and crew alike, I was very relieved when it had actually got underway.

On arriving mid-afternoon at the Rolling Stone, a seedy but fairly amiable venue close to the centre of Milan, it became apparent that all was not exactly what you would call…er, well. Problem. The truck carrying all the equipment, PA, amps, etc had not yet turned up and as far as I could make out, nobody seemed too sure about its location either. As time drew on faces grew longer and longer, including my own. By now plans were afoot to hire gear locally, an idea not relished by most, but something that looked like becoming a reality and better than not playing at all.

Moving on to the early evening, things were still unchanged and with proceedings meant to commence at 8 o’clock then time was running very short, However, shouts of ‘the truck’s here’ and a general buzz which suddenly spread around the hall, signalled time for a mad panic in order to get the gear in and setup.

Admirably enough, soon after eight, HOLY TERROR broke the strained atmosphere by promptly strolling out onstage and shredding the crowd with their excellent and I think very underrated set of songs and although this was not one of their better shows, it was still well above average. The sound was pretty dismal which was hardly surprising and it was this factor that did most damage to the songs – a lot of them being pretty unintelligible. That said though, HOLY TERROR possess some truly excellent material, particularly tine stuff from most recently, “Mind Wars”, combining interesting and cleverly constructed song structures added to relentless thrash rhythms. “Judas Reward” managed to rise above the messy P.A. sound just long enough to grab tine crowd’s shell-shocked attention before disappearing once again and, alongside “Do Unto Others”, about which vocalist Keith Deen declared “you may like it, or you may not”, were the two standout numbers for me.

That quote from Deen though probably sums up HOLY TERROR, because they are a band whose music needs to be worked at before it can be fully appreciated and they don’t follow any real speed metal clichés. Based around the razor sharp guitar axis of Kurt Kilfelt and Mike Alvord then coupled to the blitzkrieg of the Flanary/Mitchell rhythm section, topped off by the snarling vocals of Keith Deen, who’s more of a shouter than a singer but fits in well all the same, HOLY TERROR have some way to go before they reach their full potential and faced with opening up a show like this, may not have excelled quite as much as they may have wished. I’d like to see this band given a tour of their own ideally, because they have the ingenuity, yet more importantly, the ability to turn into something really special.

After the show I asked Kurt Kilfelt what he thought of the show and the audience? “God, it ruled actually man, it was a really happening crowd. The crowds are real good in Europe, they really go for it, you come over here and it’s like ‘Wow, we’re really somebody’.

What’s happening after this tour? “I think we stop in Frankfurt, after that we’re supposed to play over in the U.K., now l don’t know whether that’s going to happen for sure, I mean, we only got one weeks notice about this and all the posters say other bands are supporting so the promotion’s been nil, it’s the second time we’ve been over here with no promotion, but that first tour was pretty happening too.”

NUCLEAR ASSAULT

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

EXODUS/NUCLEAR ASSAULT/HOLY TERROR
Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy


I’ve got to say that this gig had all the ingredients for turning into a “Fabulous Disaster” itself and considering the trauma’s suffered throughout the day by bands and crew alike, I was very relieved when it had actually got underway.

On arriving mid-afternoon at the Rolling Stone, a seedy but fairly amiable venue close to the centre of Milan, it became apparent that all was not exactly what you would call…er, well. Problem. The truck carrying all the equipment, PA, amps, etc had not yet turned up and as far as I could make out, nobody seemed too sure about its location either. As time drew on faces grew longer and longer, including my own. By now plans were afoot to hire gear locally, an idea not relished by most, but something that looked like becoming a reality and better than not playing at all.

Moving on to the early evening, things were still unchanged and with proceedings meant to commence at 8 o’clock then time was running very short, However, shouts of ‘the truck’s here’ and a general buzz which suddenly spread around the hall, signalled time for a mad panic in order to get the gear in and setup.

And so to NUCLEAR ASSAULT. Well, as I’ve said before, these guys are just so much fun and have some crushing songs that you can’t fail to enjoy. The set featured was a very familiar one featuring all the old faves, one of which I was particularly interested in seeing what sort of reaction the Italian crowd would give it, They must have had a few doubts about playing “Hang The Pope”, but actually it went down surprisingly well, as did the other quickies “My America” and “Lesbians”. NUCLEAR ASSAULT managed to entice the odd stage diver or two and also succeeded in whipping those down the front into a frenzy. With “Butt***k” we got the usual looning around on stage, promptly copied by the crowd out front, but sound wise it was still a bit of a disappointment – but then I haven’t yet seen a NUCLEAR ASSAULT show where l thought that the sound was excellent.

Whatever, it didn’t matter to the crowd and we got some barnstorming versions of songs that have now become like old favourites. what the band lacked in clarity they made up for in pure. raw energy: “F Sharp”. “Game Over”. “Nuclear War”. “Fight To Be Free”, all manic run throughs which gave the cue to go berserk and it looked like NUCLEAR ASSAULT had succeeded in winning the crowd over. “This one goes out to EXODUS,” announced Dan Lilker before the band burst into “Justice”. With a brutal version of “Vengeance” and the quick inclusion of crowd pleaser “Good Times, Bad limes” this was a set that offered few surprises, but gave the Italian crowd just what they’d hoped for, expected and got, so despite the iffy sound I’d have to say NUCLEAR ASSAULT 10, The Pope 0.

After the show I asked guitarist Anthony Bramante whether the band have been at all worried about doing “Hang The Pope”? “At first I was and then I said to hell with it, they wanted it, they asked for it and they got it”

So how do the Italian audiences compare to elsewhere? “This has been our best so far, no bullshit, after we record our next album in May ‘89 maybe we’ll come back. As of now we have about five songs together, it’ll just be as heavy, maybe a little more progressive, with a little more taste and style,”

Have the band suffered because of the equipment hassles’ ‘Well, we did the show even though we didn’t have our road crew here, we still did the best we could do but we’ve only got two guys, no monitor man, no sound man, y’know, but we still did it and got the best response, so it was fun.”

ROB CLYMO


 

EXODUS

METAL FORCES ISSUE NUMBER 37 MARCH 1987

EXODUS/NUCLEAR ASSAULT/HOLY TERROR
Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy


I’ve got to say that this gig had all the ingredients for turning into a “Fabulous Disaster” itself and considering the trauma’s suffered throughout the day by bands and crew alike, I was very relieved when it had actually got underway.

On arriving mid-afternoon at the Rolling Stone, a seedy but fairly amiable venue close to the centre of Milan, it became apparent that all was not exactly what you would call…er, well. Problem. The truck carrying all the equipment, PA, amps, etc had not yet turned up and as far as I could make out, nobody seemed too sure about its location either. As time drew on faces grew longer and longer, including my own. By now plans were afoot to hire gear locally, an idea not relished by most, but something that looked like becoming a reality and better than not playing at all.

Moving on to the early evening, things were still unchanged and with proceedings meant to commence at 8 o’clock then time was running very short, However, shouts of ‘the truck’s here’ and a general buzz which suddenly spread around the hall, signalled time for a mad panic in order to get the gear in and setup.

Within a very short space of time, something that was not at a premium, headliners EXODUS emerged and made everything seem worthwhile after the past days events leading up to the gig, which had at first made for rather a bleak picture what with the all round chaos and confusion. Nevertheless, this was an important gig for EXODUS, one they couldn’t afford to miss, and with a mere hours worth of playing time left you could tell they didn’t want to hang around.

Opening up with “Last Act Of Defiance” Messrs Sousa, Holt, Hunolt, Hunting and McKillop turned the place upside down, although one thing did become immediately apparent the gremlins were still at large. Lack of soundcheck cannot have helped matters much and the problems continued to affect the sound right thorough the title track from the new album “Fabulous Disaster” and the somewhat older, but nonetheless effective, “‘Till Death Do Us Part”, guitars being buried in a sea of drums and bass. By “Braindead” things have begun to improve, in fact, this song as with all the other numbers from the “Pleasures Of The Flesh” album sound a hell of a lot better live than on record, they take on whole new dimension, perhaps because they’re endorsed by the lunatic behaviour of the band on stage, having got their act these days, well and truly together. You can’t fail to be grabbed instantly by the vocals of Steve Sousa, this guy has really developed an incredibly gruff style, one which is all his own and anybody who still yearns for Baloffs growl must surely now be convinced that Sousa is the perfect successor, having plenty of aggression yet being musical enough to handle a touch of melody here and there, when and if it’s needed.

EXODUS are fast emerging as one of the tightest thrash outfits currently on the circuit and although some say they took a step backward with “P.O.T.F.”, I think songs such as “Chemi-Kill”, which went down a storm here, only help to give their show a new and varied dimension, plus the songs are that much heavier live any way. All too much obviously for some of the more adventurous in the crowd with the odd one or two fans making a break for the stage only to be quickly restrained by the rather lacklustre bunch of security guys.

Guitarists Holt and Hunolt are always entertaining, particularly Hunolt who was performing some bizarre leaps to the front of the stage while peeling off some ever impressive solos. Old favourite “And Then There Were None” was an instant success which only served to strengthen the crowd’s enthusiasm, so much so that a stage diver managed to land practically on Sousa’s head – a perfect lead up to the “Toxic Walt”. With the sound having improved we got “Like Father Like Son” and the mayhem of “Deliver Us To Evil” at which point the PA. suddenly decided to emit some appalling feedback before cutting out entirely! At first the band seemed unsure of what was happening and the crowd reacted similarly, a shame, but they recovered well and when the PA. did finally cut back in again the sound was altogether better, better than it had been all evening, so the band grabbed the chance to tear through “Parasite” and “Strike Of The Beast” before being told that was it… or was it..? What else, but one of the all time classics, “Bonded By Blood”, a track that sounds as fresh now s when it originally appeared, brilliant and what better way to round of the show.

I asked Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa if he thought the show had been a success?

“It was f*cking heavy. You can tell I’m losing my voice ‘cos this is the ninth
show in a row, tonight was the heaviest so far, the Italian crowd was amazing, these kids are like relentless. As soon as we do another album we’ll be back.”

Could you hear the problems with the P.A. up there on stage? “I could hear a little bit through the monitors, but the thing was that our equipment got held up at the border and we didn’t get it until about 7 o’clock tonight and there wasn’t a soundcheck, so we went on there in like a suicide pact, we didn’t know what was going to happen, we just went up there and did it. For the first song or two it was not miked at all, so when the guitars aren’t miked and the vocals are loud it’s trouble, but by “Braindead” things got ironed out. On the first song, I don’t know if you noticed, but we were all looking at each other like ‘what the f*ck is this sound like?’ and then about “Braindead” it started to click in, you could really hear it.. that’s just what happens on the road in rock’n’rolI! But we were definitely happy with the crowd and the show. The Italian crowds are completely nuts for thrash metal and we gave it to ‘em!” Miss them at your peril.
ROB CLYMO


 

ACID REIGN

APRIL 1990

ACID REIGN Devondale Hall, AIloa

TO SAY the least, Acid Reign are a tad confused.

“You’ve had fun songs, serious songs, stage-diving and politics. Nothing like all-round entertainment!”

Tonight midget nice-geezer H is known simply as ‘Humpty’. Cheeky chappie that he is, he’s managed to squeeze his trouser-worm into yellow Lycra shorts and now looks like a scholarship candidate for the University of Harvey Proctor. But Acid Reign pride themselves on their graceless exposé of Thrash’s po-faced intricacy and inherent doominess. Yet now they seem dissatisfied with the tag of simple court jesters. Tonight there is an uncomfortable feeling that Acid Reign might have overstepped their limits.

This, the first night of an extensive club tour promoting the ‘Obnoxious’ album, finds Acid Reign in a distant Scottish village. Attendance is, urn, respectable but hardly likely to rival Live Aid. Within the first 60 seconds the majority of the crowd are on-stage and wreaking havoc.

For 45 minutes Acid Reign excel in their role of piss-taking, hi-NRG vaudeville. Sloppy, madcap and boisterous Thrash with tongues firmly in cheeks. Kev – Hicksville farmboy turned guitar killer – square-dances and high-kicks with all the precision of a Sunday Sport new exclusive.

Beside him ‘Humpty’ is the mischievous and demented pivot of the Acid Reign freakshow. As the band plough through ‘Joke Chain’ and ‘Creative Restraint’, H is a blur of yellow buzzing from every corner of the hall and every inch of the stage. He surfs across the crowd like a human battering-ram, ocean-sized grin fixed in place, quick-fire quips rousing the crowd to mob lensman Paul ‘Well Baggy’ Harries.

Yet following the blitzkrieg bomb-run of ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ – the closest Acid Reign will ever get to screwing Debbie Harry – the pace slackens and the humour grows tiresome.

H precedes the epic and multi-tempoed ‘Thoughtful Sleep’ with an apology, as if he realises the imminent battle that Acid Reign face if they want to be taken seriously. The brooding soundscape sits uncomfortably, sandwiched between impromptu impersonations of Mike Patton and the 30-second gem that is ‘Big Fish’ (‘Big teeth, swim like ‘f).

Acid Reign wind things up with blundering versions of ‘Trumpton’, ‘Postman Pat’ and Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. A rare moment of sincerity follows with Kev’s brief speech on the Poll Tax before ‘Suspended Sentence’ closes the curtain on Acid Reign’s current confusion.

Ultimately Acid Reign are gonna have to decide whether they are mere politicians or merry prats. I really do hope they settle for the latter.

CHRIS WATTS


Links:
1. Acid Reign @ Wiki
2. Acid Reign @ Myspace
3. Acid Reign @ Metal Archives
4. Acid Reign @ Spirit of Metal

WRATH

APRIL 1990

WRATH- The Fiesta Palace, Waukegan, Illinois

WRATH HAVE been lurking around the fringes of the Thrash Metal scene for a few years now, compiling a small, loyal following and garnering a decent amount of positive press in the process.

Their third LP is called ‘Insane Society’ and it’s undoubtedly their most accomplished, which is why tonight’s hometown gig was weighed heavily in favour of tunes from the new disc.

Stylistically and even visually to some degree, Wrath are comparable to Testament. Chunky rifts dominate the proceedings, and MC-ing the musical attack is new singer Kurt Grayson, whose full-bodied roar and imposing physical presence definitely recall the Bay Area quintet’s Chuck Billy.

Wrath carry their own though, and the bands excellent guitar team pull off a number of rifts of great complexity which still catch one’s ears. Helped by a fairly crisp sound mix, the group flexed considerable live muscle on cuts like ‘Insane Society’, ‘Panic Control’ and ‘Test Of Faith’.

Yet throughout the evening, I never felt that Wrath unleashed their full potential. It may be that they’re just rusty and need to get a good-sized tour under their belts. Or perhaps the relative calmness of the audience (except for the first few rows) didn’t provide the right vibe for the musicians to play off. Still, this was a tight, biting performance from a band more Thrashers should know about.

DON KAYE


Links@
1. Wrath @ Myspace
2. Wrath @ Metal-Archives
3. Wrath @ No Life Til Metal