I don’t want to like this album as much as I do. Just look at that circa 1984 beaut of an album cover up there. That’s a studded-chain-covered fist punching its way out of a guy’s mouth, taking the teeth along for the ride. Maybe a bodyless head, given how there’s what looks like another hand holding up the head by its hair? Who thinks this is awesome? I guess somebody who hasn’t lived through it and seen it taken to its natural extreme with this Brujeria album cover. (Mental note: File the inappropriate-for-kids CDs away somewhere, starting with that one.)
Anyway, back to the album. So let’s get what I don’t like out of the way first. And it’s completely obvious, just like the album cover. And it’s just like the album cover. I mean, if you were going to do a parody of 80’s thrash metal, it would sound a lot like this album. This is the only album the band did with vocalist Neil Turbin, and he is one screamy, high-pitched singer. It’s like Ronnie James Dio sped up. And really, with the exception of some clunky (“I’m Eighteen”) and cliched (almost everything else) lyrics, that’s it…it’s really hard to get past that cover and the vocalist.
But, being raised on 80’s metal, I think I have a bit more stamina for this kind of thing than most, so, with a little effort, I can get past it. It was encouragement that Anthrax would go on to have a great career starting with their next lead singer, Joey Belladonna, who was still pretty screamy and high-pitched.
So after pushing my way through it a few times, I started to hear the great songs. And there are some monster riffs on here. I was introduced to “Deathrider” and “Metal Thrashing Mad” on The Greater Of Two Evils, so I knew there was at least some merit here. I did not expect, however, that I would be giving 80% of the album full hearts. This ends up just being solidly good thrash that basically served as a template for the genre for the next several years. Well, I don’t really know if it did, but it certainly could have. I mean 1984 (January no less)…that’s way before I was aware of this genre being any kind of a thing. I bet that just about every thrash band from the 80’s and 90’s knew this album by heart.
– “Deathrider,” “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Panic,” “Subjugator,” “Soldiers Of Metal,” “Death From Above,” “Anthrax,” “Howling Furies”
– “I’m Eighteen,” “Across The River”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Deathrider – Good, but I’m pretty sure I like the John Bush (?) version better. I don’t even know if I’d realize how good a song this was if it weren’t for that newer version.
- Metal Thrashing Mad – Ditto, but I think I’d actually recognize this was a good song without the Bush version. That opening scream is awful but after that it settles down into pretty unambiguous awesomeness.
- I’m Eighteen – How old were these guys when they wrote this song about being 18? This has some awesome parts. Some ridiculous parts, but some awesome parts nonetheless.
- Panic – Like their version of “Battery”. Pretty awesome opening. Probably the best song on the album, though “Anthrax” challenges it.
- Subjugator – Some serious sound issues (popping) on this track and prior. The intro to this song might be the best part on the whole album.
- Soldiers Of Metal – Serious popping issues continue.
- Death From Above – Two bands now have this as their name.
- Anthrax – This and “Panic” are my faves on the album. Great opening riff.
- Across The River – Instrumental. < 90 seconds. Mostly just fast guit riffing.
- Howling Furies – Pretty standard fare, but still pretty good.