Saturday, August 11, 2018

The story of the Proto-Speed/Thrash Metal PART IV

Hey brutalbangers,
after many many months from the third part of the proto-speed/thrash metal story, here you are finally the 4th part, where we'll face the gestures of the fastest bands that released their albums in 1983, that's the year in which the thrash metal genre was officially founded by Metallica and Slayer.

I advise you that this 4th part is a little bit particular because I have divided it in two articles. Additionally, every band will be faced in a faster way, in according to the more direct and shorter reviews that I am writing ultimately. The reason of all these decisions is that there are now a lot of bands around the world to talk about, otherwise this part could be an endless and boring mega-article.

So, I hope you liked also this part...and I hope I'll write the 5th one as soon as possible (FUCK, I started this story one year ago and I have still to finish it!)!

Let's start already with an act of pure cult: Acid. This is a Belgian band that was so extreme in terms of speed to support, along with the Dutch maniacs Picture, nothing else than Venom when Cronos and co. went to destroy some asses in Belgium for a skullcrushing live gig in 1982!

Acid released three albums until 1985 but two of them were published in 1983, showing, in both the cases, an incredibly aggressive speed metal with a raw and breathtaking approach very influenced by the same Venom and Motörhead. All this is completed by funny lyrics that deal with Satanic and motorbiking themes and by the basic vocals of the gentlewoman in dominatress suit Kate de Lombaert. The punkish "Acid" and the more metallic "Maniacs" (both released by Giant Records, the label of the same band) represent something very close to the thrash metal genre, even though they don't still reach the violence and the complexity of the early Metallica and Slayer.

Another band arose in 1983 from the Belgian underground metal scene with a promising debut album: Crossfire.

Started in 1981 as a punk band with the absurd moniker of Onion Dolls, Crossfire shows in "See You in Hell" (Mausoleum Records) an approach more inspired to classic monsters such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with some hard rockish tunes like in "Killing a Cop". The strict speed metal songs are few ("Demon of Evil" and the same titletrack) but, to say the truth, Crossfire plays in a good dynamic way, as perfectly exemplified by the most structured and longer numbers like "Magnificent Night" and "Starchild" (where there is a part that seem to be taken from the Iron Maiden's "Prowler"!), so they are able to disseminate some speed metal explosions throughout the album.

The Benelux area was really vital in terms of fast'n'furious bands during those years. In fact, the Netherlands produced an act that, despite its ridiculous moniker (Sad Iron), released a very angry debut album called "Total Damnation", that shows, additionally, how much the Satanic lyrics were going to be trendy back then also due to combos like Slayer, Mercyful Fate, Oz and others.

Well, "Total Damnation" (Universe Productions) is basically raw and fast from start to finish by expressing a style close to Jaguar in songs such as "Demon's Night" or "Prisoners" while "Hellfighter" and "Rock'n'Roll Rendezvous" are truly unchained rock'n'roll anthems. Moreover, there is also a not so effective attempt to play dark as the 9-minute tour de force "We All Praise the Devil". This last one is incredibly useful to show the cheesy nature of the Satanic lyrics sang by a vocalist "a little bit" clunky but, apart all this, "Total Damnation" is fast long enough to be loved by the speed maniacs.

Vopo's from the Netherlands , that are still active today in some ways, have a strange story: they were founded in 1978 and, after three years, they released a debut album that was into the post-punk spectrum with the addition of socio-political lyrics. After a while, Vopo's lost their minds so to become a crushing sort of band able to combine the speed metal with the hardcore punk à la Discharge.

Even though Vopo's aren't so known, their style into "Conquer" (Solid) is quite innovative since it has been one of the first true attempts to mix metal and hardcore, especially in episodes like "Speedbanging Babies" and "Nuclear War".

In Spain there weren't only the supersonic trio Mazo to destroy the metallic ears of those years but also EVO!

Founded in 1981 as a female-fronted act, they released an outstanding debut album titled "Animal de Ciudad" (Odeon). Ok, maybe its cover artwork is somehow absurd but, sonically, this album is memorable because of 4 speed metal songs (out of 10) that are true punches in the face since they spew forth a good fury, fast and hysterical riffs, squealing vocals, and refined guitar solos with enviable neoclassical touches in a proto-power metal vein. Hence, we're talking about 4 guys that offered a perfect balancement between aggression and technical skills along with a nice melodic taste. Incredibly, the last track of the album is the intense ballad "Maldita Soledad"!

An Argentinian band took its moniker from the engine used today, for example, by the muscle cars... and believe me that no name was righter than this!

In fact, V8 released a 9-song debut album called "Luchando por el Metal" (Umbral Discos & Cintas) that is a muscular demonstration of speed in every possible sense! This for two reasons: the first is that even 5 tracks such as "Destrucciòn" and "Brigadas Metalicas" spew forth a fast'n'furious Motörheadian style; the second is that this album is so rapid to last only 26 minutes also thanks to the presence of numbers like "Hiena de Metal" that consists of only 100 supersonic seconds of pure massacre.

Despite the sound of V8 is direct and raw, some songs surprise the listeners through a more unpredictable approach, as perfectly shown by the 6 minutes of the fantastic "Se puedes vencer al temor", which ranges from '70s horror and eerie moments to speed explosions.

Comprising of fighting lyrics also to celebrate the heavy metal music until death, "Luchando por el Metal" is surely one of the most violent albums released in 1983. And I think this was natural for a metal band whose country lived under a ferocious dictatorship sadly famous for the drama of the 30.000 desaparecidos just until 1983!

Instead, 3 guys from Brazil that were still living a dictatorship were known as Karisma.

It's incredible how much influence Motörhead exercised over the International metal scene back then! In fact, the only album by Karisma, the self-released "Sweet Revenge", contains a cover artwork where there is a sloppy and absurd version of...Snaggletooth! And there is even a track called "Stairway to Heavy" in homage to Led Zeppelin!

But what's about the music? Well, "Sweet Revenge" starts at full speed with "We Are Here to Fuck Your Ears" (what a fukken title!), and "On My Bed". Here, the music is a fast and raw metal characterized by chaotic vibes mostly due to an uncontrollable guitarplayer that plays plenty of guitar solos in every song. Instead, the second part of the album is lesser focused on speed, apart in the case of the same "Stairway to Heavy".

Now, the sound is interesting but the problem is that the songs (especially the mid-tempos) are repetitive and boring while the basic vocal department isn't so expressive and effective. At least, the glorious tradition of the furious South American extreme metal go through also bands like Karisma!

"Satanic Rites": without any fukken doubts, this is the most extreme metal stuff released in 1983, also because it directly influenced future genres to come like black and death metal, so these Swiss demons known as Hellhammer surely represent a strange thing into this story mostly composed of acts with a typical heavy metal education.

Essentially, "Satanic Rites" is a 12-song abominable demo strongly influenced by the mighty Venom but the sound of these British monsters is extremized a lot by Hellhammer. The production (if we have to call it in this way!) is obscene, the guitar solos are total chaos, the vocals of Satanic Slaughter seem to be a more possessed version of Cronos with the addition of spectral clean voices and, in general, the music is really revolting, broken and alien! And there is also a memorable alternation between thrashing explosions of hate like "Messiah" or "Maniac" and frightful doomish numbers full of apocalyptic tunes such as "Buried and Forgotten" or "Triumph of Death".

In practice, Hellhammer isn't a proto-speed/thrash metal band in a strict sense but, surely, they represent perfectly the will , back then, to make more extreme the heavy metal music.


No comments:

Post a Comment