This is one of the very few albums that can be cited as a classic speed metal album in the fullest sense. Speed is really one of the key attributes on this album.
More specifically, this is a speedy melodic thrash metal album. Calling it a Thrash/Power (US) album would also be quite accurate.
Back in the day, this album created a lot of stir. For starters, this album was the only album that received a 6K rating (out of 5) in the (then) very influential Kerrang! magazine. It was also the album that made Jason Newsted known to the metal audience before he joined Metallica. Another notable characteristic was Eric AK, the band's singer, who puts on a very impressive performance, especially with his high pitched screams, which he utilizes a lot, according to some, perhaps too much (not me!). But above all, it made quite an impression for its unique style and excellent songwriting.
What is really impressive about this album is the sheer ambition displayed by the group. This is highlighted by the two epics featured in the album, the self-titled track and Metalshock, clocking over 9 and 8 minutes respectively, which is quite impressive considering they are both speed metal numbers. Both songs showcase the band's strongest attributes: Excellent musicianship, brilliant songwriting and tons of character, greatly supported by the warm sound, courtesy of Metal Blade's prominent producer, Bill Metoyer. They also share structure. Both begin by beautiful acoustic intros that build up to a speed metal frenzy, a middle solo section and a climactic ending. Look out for the bass part in Metalshock by Jason Newsted, a groovy speedy riff that is joined and accentuated by the guitars to create a really memorable section.
Equally memorable are the opener Hammerhead (a speed thrash dynamite that immediately displays all classic Flots elements), Iron Tears (with the indulgence in Eric's screams in the intro!), the true thrash banger Der Fuhrer (perhaps the solo section in the intro could have been a seperate track) and the (once again) speedy narration of the Lizzy Borden story, where Eric AK steals the show, what an outro!
The CD version also contains the instrumental Flotzilla (originally released on a seperate EP on vinyl), which is a great collection of characteristically Flotsy(!) riffs that represents the green monster of the same name. Flotzilla is featured on the album cover crashing Satan, in a very Maiden-esque fashion. The instrumental and the two epics mentioned above also form a trilogy, beginning with the birth of Flotzilla (Metalshock) and the fight against the devil in the post-apocalyptic world depicted on the cover. Quite naive and deliciously absurd in the lyrics, Flotzilla is born because of power metal (in 1986 power metal in the US meant Ride the Lightning...) and the power chords raise the dead! Then the monster crashes satan and all is well. Amazingly, the absurdity of the lyrics is equally matched by the sheer speedy brilliance of the band's perfomance.
This album can also be considered Jason Newsted's highest moment. A real shame that he was so underused in Metallica. Newsted was the main songwriter on this album and he also co-wrote some of the best songs in the following album, No Place for Disgrace.
On a more personal note, Doomsday for the Deceiver is among my top metal albums ever.
A must-have for the fans of old school speed/thrash with an affection for US Melodic metal.