US Power Metal • United States
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Lethal are an American power metal act with progressive metal elements formed in 1982 in Hebron, Kentucky. The band was formed by the Cook brothers Eric (on guitars) and Glen (on bass). The band's original drummer was Adrian Powers while Tom Mallicoat took care of the vocals in the band. The lineup was completed by Dell Hull on guitars. The first release by Lethal was the 1987 Arrival demo. The band then scored a record deal with Metal Blade Records and released their debut full-length studio album Programmed in 1990 (with new drummer Jerry Hartman). Guitarist Dell Hull left Lethal shortly after the release of Programmed and started working for a company in California who made album cover designs. Dell Hull had designed the cover artwork for Programmed.

Lethal recruited new guitarist David McElfresh to replace Dell Hull. It would be five years before another official release by the band
Thanks to UMUR for the addition and Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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LETHAL Discography

LETHAL albums / top albums

LETHAL Programmed album cover 3.88 | 9 ratings
US Power Metal 1990
LETHAL Poison Seed album cover 2.92 | 2 ratings
Poison Seed
US Power Metal 1996

LETHAL EPs & splits

LETHAL Your Favorite God album cover 3.33 | 2 ratings
Your Favorite God
US Power Metal 1995

LETHAL live albums

LETHAL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

LETHAL The Arrival album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Arrival
US Power Metal 1987
LETHAL Demo album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
US Power Metal 1991

LETHAL re-issues & compilations

LETHAL singles (0)

LETHAL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

LETHAL Reviews

LETHAL Poison Seed

Album · 1996 · US Power Metal
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"Poison Seed" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Kentucky based progressive power metal act Lethal. The album was released through Massacre Records in 1996. Despite being formed as far back as 1982, Lethal´s output had been relatively sparse, and it took the band five years to release something new (the 1995 EP "Your Favorite God") after the release of their debut full-length studio album "Programmed" from 1990. "Poison Seed" being released only a year after "Your Favorite God (1995)" could have been a sign, that Lethal would increase their release cycle, but it ended up being the last studio recording by the band in their initial run.

"Programmed (1990)" was a high quality US power metal album with progressive leanings, and fans of artists like Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, Heir Apparent, and Crimson Glory should feel right at home with that one. "Your Favorite God (1995)" displayed a slightly more progressive contemporary heavy rock/metal sound, and that tendency is continued on "Poison Seed".

Although at the core the music on "Poison Seed" is still 80s oriented US power metal, Lethal have injected huge amounts of alternative heavy rock/metal elements to their sound, which ultimately makes it a bit of an odd combination of musical styles. Think what it would sound like if you combined the sound of Queensrÿche/Fates Warning with the sound of Soundgarden/Alice in Chains. It definitely could have been an interesting experiment, but it does end up sounding a bit directionless. It feels like the band are trying to hold on to their roots while adjusting to the contemporary musical climate, and in the end it sounds forced and calculated. Another issue here is that the songwriting is a bit uninspired and very few tracks stick after the album has finished playing.

...and it´s really too bad, because the elements for success are there in abundance. High level musicianship, a professional and detailed sound production, and musicians who are obviously capable of writing effectful music. They just hit the buttons wrong here. When that is said "Poison Seed" is still a quality release on many parameters and a 3 star (60%) rating may be in the low end if you take the positives into consideration, but the songwriting and the awkward mix of musical styles just don´t work and end up dragging the rating down.

LETHAL Your Favorite God

EP · 1995 · US Power Metal
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"Your Favorite God" is an EP release by US progressive/power metal act Lethal. The EP was released through Massacre Records in 1995 and bridges the gap between the band´s debut and second full-length studio albums "Programmed (1990)" and "Poison Seed (1996)". There´s been one lineup change since the debut album as guitarist Dell Hull has been replaced by David McElfresh. The original version of the EP featured 5 tracks, while the 1997 reissue features the bonus track "Balancing Act".

The music on the EP continues the progressive US power metal style of "Programmed (1990)" but adds a more heavy and dark edge to the band´s sound. Progressive metal had changed rapidly in the years between the band´s debut album and "Your Favorite God", and while Lethal still sound like themselves (guitar/vocal driven progressive power metal rooted in 80s heavy metal), they´ve clearly also listened to the contemporary version of progressive metal and developed their own sound with it. Hard edged chugging riffs weren´t exactly the order of the day on "Programmed (1990)", but you´ll find plenty here.

The musicianship is on a very high level, which is no surprise if you´re already familiar with "Programmed (1990)". Lead vocalist Tom Mallicoat is still a great asset with his high pitched singing style, but he is actually a bit more varied on this release using lower registers and a more raw singing style too. Lethal is a very sophisticated band in the way they arrange their tracks and in how they incorporate details, but structurally this is still pretty basic vers/chorus based tracks, with the rare excursion into more progressive territories. The first four tracks on the EP are heavy and dark, but "The Real", which closes the original version of the EP, is a power ballad type track, which is slightly lighter in mood.

"Your Favorite God" is a well produced release with a dark and heavy sound, which suits the heaviness of their "new" style well. While I´m not completely sure that I prefer this new heavier progressive/US power metal sound to the more melodic US power metal style of Lethal´s debut album, I understand the need to change with the times and add some heaviness to their sound. Not that it did anything for them commercially, and artistically they still lack a 100% unique sound to elevate them to a higher level. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

LETHAL Programmed

Album · 1990 · US Power Metal
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"Programmed" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Hebron, Kentucky based progressive/power metal act Lethal. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 1990. Lethal was formed by the Cook brothers Eric (on guitars) and Glen (on bass) in 1982 and after a couple of lineup changes and the release of the 1987 "Arrival" demo, they got signed to Metal Blade Records for the release of "Programmed". A promotional video was released for the "Immune" track.

The music on "Programmed" is a guitar/vocal driven type of progressive power metal, not far removed from the 80s releases by acts like Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, and Queensrÿche. In addition to the artists mentioned above I´d also add a slight Iron Maiden influence when describing the music.

The 10 track, 46:54 minutes long album is loaded with well written material. Each track is intricate, relatively catchy, and melodic yet heavy when that is called for. Lead guitar themes and solos are a major part of the band´s sound as well as a tight and well playing rhythm section. It´s mostly the very high pitched vocals and ornamented vocal melodies by Tom Mallicoat, which are in focus. With a vocalist like that fronting the band it´s nearly impossible to focus on anything else when he sings. A passionate and very convincing vocal delivery throughout. The instrumental part of the music is also very well played and it´s clear from the opening notes of album opener "Fire in Your Skin", that we´re dealing with a professional and talented band.

I called the music progressive power metal above, but in this case the word "progressive" doesn´t mean complex song structures or demanding instrumental sections, but rather just that the compositions are quite intricate and played with a rare sophistication (although most tracks do feature some pretty demanding playing). When examined a bit closer most of the tracks are actually pretty regular vers/chorus structured.

Overall "Programmed" is a high quality debut release by Lethal, and while they never broke through commercially and is seldom mentioned as one of the seminal progressive power/heavy metal acts from those days, the album is still highly recommendable to fans of the genre. Definitely a high quality release deserving more attention. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

LETHAL Programmed

Album · 1990 · US Power Metal
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Time Signature
Fire in your ears...

Genre: progressive power metal

"Programmed" is obviously inspired by Iron Maiden and other classic metal acts, but nonetheless semi-original teeming with catchy melodies, rhythms and proggy tidbits here and there, and I think that this release is comparable to the early releases by prog metal giants Fates Warning.

Just check out tracks like the epic sounding "Fire in your Skin" and the odd-metered "Programmed", "Arrival", and "Obscure the Sky", and the mighty "Killing Machine" (which is an original track and not a cover of Judas Priest's classic track).

"Another Day" is a "Parallels" era Fates Warning-like ballad which does not work as well as it could. The other ballad "Pray for Me" works much better.

Tom Mallicoat's operatic vocal style rivals that of even Jon Arch, and it suits the progressively inclined power metal on this release quite well. While the music certainly is very good, it is the vocal acrobatics that sends shivers down the listener's spine (it's essentially the vocals that carry tracks like "Plan of Peace", "What They've Done" but on the other hand, the vocal acrobatics are perhaps to much for "Another Day".

This is recommended to fans of early Fates Warning and power prog metal in general.

LETHAL Movies Reviews

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