"Necrology" is the 2nd demo release by US thrash metal act Demolition Hammer. Since the release of the "Skull Fracturing Nightmare (1988)" demo, the band have become a four-piece. Original drummer John Salerno has been replaced by Vinny Daze and the band have also added a second guitarist in Derek Sykes. The usual suspects are James Reilly on guitars/riot vocals and Steve Reynolds on Bass/Lead & Riot Vocals. The former performed lead vocals on a couple of tracks on "Skull Fracturing Nightmare (1988)" but on "Necrology" Steve Reynolds sings all lead vocals.
The music on "Necrology" pretty much continues the vicious thrash metal attack of "Skull Fracturing Nightmare (1988)" but it´s even more aggressive and there´s also an added brutal edge, which often earned Demolition Hammer the death/thrash label back then. The decision to let Steve Reynolds sing all lead vocals was a wise decision IMO. He possesses a caustic snarl yet pronounce the words in a way that enables you to catch and understand every phrase. And there are lots to enjoy if you dig into the lyrics. They are actually pretty quirky and evolve around everything from rabis, plague and Neanderthals. All written in a clever way miles ahead of the lyrics of most of their contemporaries. The absolutely adorable lyrics about fear of bacteria (typically associated with Obsessive–compulsive disorder) for "44 Caliber Brain Surgery" (that song title is so successfully tongue in cheek that I smile everytime I read it) takes the prize though. There´s that bizarre yet extremely charming "Carcass" wit about them, that few artists are able to produce.
It´s not only the vocals which are sharp and aggressive, the music certainly follows suit. Nice variation in pace and rythms, fast and intriguing guitar solos and one aggressive and brutal thrashy riff after another. Everything is helped along by a powerful and raw sound production that doesn´t necessarily have demo recording written all over it. In other words a very professional sounding release considering the time it was released.
There are six tracks on the 24:04 minutes long demo. All six tracks would be included on the band´s full-length studio album "Tortured Existence (1990)" in re-recorded versions. These demo versions are pretty close to the studio versions albeit delivered in a slightly more raw and unpolished fashion.
For me to justify giving a demo release a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating, it has to be something special and "Necrology" certainly is. Excellent musicianship, a personal sound in a genre where many artists have a tendency to sound a lot alike, a powerful and raw sound production that sound better than a lot of studio releases from those days and songwriting to die for. "Necrology" are simply among the elite when it comes to demo releases in the more brutal end of the thrash metal spectrum.