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VEKTOR Terminal Redux Album Cover Terminal Redux
4.42 | 19 ratings
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VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss Album Cover Dimension Hatröss
4.24 | 37 ratings
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CORONER No More Color Album Cover No More Color
4.23 | 28 ratings
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MADROST The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh Album Cover The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh
4.41 | 7 ratings
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WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance Album Cover Control And Resistance
4.20 | 25 ratings
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VEKTOR Outer Isolation Album Cover Outer Isolation
4.16 | 34 ratings
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VOIVOD Killing Technology Album Cover Killing Technology
4.14 | 30 ratings
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INVOCATOR Weave the Apocalypse Album Cover Weave the Apocalypse
4.23 | 7 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) Album Cover Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)
4.19 | 8 ratings
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VEKTOR Black Future Album Cover Black Future
4.06 | 36 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA In a Mirror Darkly Album Cover In a Mirror Darkly
4.16 | 8 ratings
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CORONER Mental Vortex Album Cover Mental Vortex
4.03 | 24 ratings
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SADUS A Vision of Misery

Album · 1992 · Technical Thrash Metal
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"A Vision of Misery" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in March 1992. It´s the successor to "Swallowed in Black" from 1990. Sadus had been relatively successful with "Swallowed in Black (1990)", but gained even further notice from the metal scene when bassist Steve DiGiorgio was asked to join the recording lineup of the groundbreaking "Human (1991)" album by Death. After finishing up his work with Schuldiner and co., he was back in Sadus for the recording of "A Vision of Misery".

Stylistically the music on "A Vision of Misery" continues the furiously fast-paced, aggressive, and technically well played thrash metal style of "Swallowed in Black (1990)" (albeit with quite a few more mid-paced sections than before). It´s slightly less frenetic this time around though, and there is a bit more sophistication to the songwriting too. The guitar solos are for example a bit more memorable than on the predecessor and occasionally even feature a hint of melody. The tracks also feature more catchy hooks, although it wouldn´t exactly be the truth calling this accessible music. This is still first and foremost very aggressive thrash metal played with great technical skill. In other words, it´s unmistakably the sound of Sadus. They are branching out a bit though and tracks like "Machines" and "Deceptive Perceptions" show a side of them we haven´t heard on the preceding releases. A less aggressive, more atmospheric and varied side.

As mentioned the musicianship is on a high technical level. Sadus are a really well playing act, from the pounding aggressive drumming, to the razor sharp fast-paced guitar riffs, to the rapid dog snarl of the vocals, to the fretless bass playing. Everything is delivered with tight precision yet with great organic sensibility. The well sounding production follows suit. It´s raw, organic, and powerful sounding. Quite a bit more detailed than the sound on the predecessor, and upon conclusion "A Vision of Misery" is a step up from the previous releases by the band. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SADUS DTP Demo 1986

Boxset / Compilation · 2003 · Technical Thrash Metal
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"DTP Demo 1986" is a compilation album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The compilation was released through Hammerheart Records in May 2003. "DTP Demo 1986" features the 6 tracks from the 1986 "Death to Posers" demo, and 2 tracks from the 1987 "Certain Death" demo. Some of the tracks would make it unto Sadus debut full-length studio album "Illusions (1988)", while others are exclusive to the demos (and now this compilation, which features remastered versions of the original demo tracks).

Stylistically the music on the compilation is furiously fast-paced and aggressive thrash metal with a snarling and screaming high pitched vocalist in front. It´s like listening to a steroid pumped and out of control version of Slayer/Dark Angel. Sadus were arguably rather extreme for their time. The 8 tracks on the 27:46 minutes long compilation aren´t terribly original in style, and Steve DiGiorgio´s future dominant bass attack, is only heard sporadically on this release, but the high quality of the performances, the solid songwriting, and the relatively well sounding production, are positive assets, and it´s certainly a worthwhile release for fans of the band. The more casual listener is advised to start with one of the studio albums before giving this one a listen.

The material from "Death to Posers (1986)", which is the oldest material on the compilation, is surprisingly the most well produced, while the 2 tracks off the "Certain Death (1987)" demo aren´t as well sounding, but still decent in quality. Upon conclusion a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

SKEPTOR United We Stand...Together We Fall

Album · 2014 · Technical Thrash Metal
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"United We Stand...Together We Fall" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based power/speed/thrash metal act Skeptor. The album was independently released in January 2014. Skeptor were formed in 2011 and disbanded in 2015, making "United We Stand...Together We Fall" their sole studio album release in their original run.

Stylistically the music on "United We Stand...Together We Fall" is technical US power/speed/thrash metal and artists like Watchtower, Toxik, and Realm, are all valid references. This sounds an awful lot like it was released in the late 80s, so if that´s the sound Skeptor went for, they should be applauded for their efforts. It´s as authentic sounding as it gets 25 years later. The band are very well playing, delivering sharp thrashy riffing, melodic leads, and technical drumming, and lead vocalist Steven Villa is a powerful singer who hits some exceptionally high notes. He reminds me of Alan Tecchio (Watchtower, Hades, Non-Fiction), as he has a similar rather extreme way of performing high pitched screaming vocals.

The material on the 7 track, 34:21 minutes long album is well written, intriguing, and powerful. It´s fairly technical in nature, but not at the expense of raw and energetic speed/thrash metal power. "United We Stand...Together We Fall" is also well produced and upon conclusion it´s a very promising debut album by Skeptor. With it´s relatively long intro track "Turn It Off" and the "Savage Metal" instrumental track placed later on the album, it´s slightly disjointed and could probably have prospered from a better tracklist flow, but it´s a minor detail when the songwriting, sound production, and performances are as strong as they are here. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SADUS Illusions (Chemical Exposure)

Album · 1988 · Technical Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While all thrash bands were clearly influenced by the likes Venom, so too were the big four of Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax and Slayer game changes as they ratcheted up the extreme elements and took it all to the next level, however it was Possessed who took things even further and unleashed their highly caustic “Seven Churches” upon an unsuspecting world and in the process provided breadcrumbs that would lead into the next phase of thrash transmogrification into the death metal scene. While Possessed would devolve back into the rather customary thrash metal followup “Beyond The Gates” as the band went for the more commercial route rather than continuing their sui generis brand of balls to the wall proto-death metal, it wouldn’t take long for another Bay Area thrash band to pick up where “Seven Churches” left off and once again blur the distinction between the status quo thrash of the 80s with the more gritty heft of what would become 90s death metal.

SADUS actually formed in 1984, the year before “Seven Churches” was released but after a few years of honing their chops and releasing a couple cassette only demos in the form of “Death To Posers” and “Certain Death,” the band renewed the fiery spunk that Possessed had suddenly dropped. Augmented by the over the top bass antics of Steve Di Giorgio and percussive explosiveness of Jon Allen, SADUS had achieved a more aggressive and extreme metal sound that wandered far beyond the parameters of the competition and like many underground extreme metal bands of the era found a cult following before a debut album was even released. After the 1987 compilation “Raging Death Vol. 1” which has been called the ultimate proto-death goldmine, the quartet that consisted of Darren Travis (lead vocals, guitar), Steve Di Giorgio (bass, backing vocals), Jon Allen (drums) and Rob Moore (guitar) put the finishing touches on their debut album ILLUSIONS with the assistance of Metal Church’s guitarist John Marshall and the album was released in 1988.

ILLUSIONS was released independently and the chaotic tremolo fueled lightning strike made quite the impression as it not only unleashed an unrelenting technical thrash blitzkrieg to the senses that took the unbridled fury of Possessed but also added a touch of the technical prowess of bands like Watchtower. The album’s metallic fury caught the attention of Roadracer Records who re-released the album under the title CHEMICAL EXPOSURE in 1991 (which offered two bonus tracks from previously released demos). After the introductory brevity of an atmospheric synthesized drone, ILLUSIONS explosively bursts into metallic bombast that doesn’t let up the attack on the senses until the closing title track which ironically contained both release titles neatly packed into one, thus “Illusions (Chemical Exposure)” which must’ve been the inspiration for bands like Esoteric to delve into the freeform surreal metal paradigms of what sounds like the radioactive decay of isotopes after the nuclear impact of the orotundity that preceded.

While some have criticized SADUS’ use of speed at the expense of the melodic developments that contemporary thrash metal was implementing at the time as heard by Metallica, Exodus, Forbidden and other Bay Area thrash acts, the truth is that the frenetic nature of this beast simply obfuscates the melodic constructs by creating more angular deliveries and takes a much darker dance into the tortured psyche of humankind which is made all the more sadistic by the psychopathic vocal outpouring of lead vocalist Darren Travis. It’s also very obvious how SADUS were influential for the death metal of Morbid Angel and others to come with a pyroclastic explosiveness of tremolo picked guitar riffs and the squealing solos that erupt like a tortured pig at a Satanic sacrificing ritual. The album perfectly balanced the stable elements of thrash with a reckless sense of unpredictability that made the perfect “dangerous listening” experience. The production while not polished is much better than a mere demo and likewise skirts the fine balance between too primitive and too polished.

While SADUS didn’t quite achieve the commercial success as other Bay Area thrash legends such as Metallica or Exodus, the band nevertheless was quite influential in the underground movement and blurred the distinction between the fledgling metal subgenera that were splintering apart and despite it all sold quite well for a completely self-released underground creation. Violent and psychotically unhinged, SADUS demonstrated that what Possessed had hit upon was worthy of further exploration and with ILLUSIONS demonstrated the musical chops to crank out the blitzkrieg assault of guitar, bass and drums in an incessant speed frenzy that cross-pollinated the world of thrash and the nascent death metal of Chuck Schuldiner’s Death and created pure sonic destruction. While still considered a thrash metal album, it’s not hard to hear that with just a few small alterations such as the Cookie Monster death growls and a little tweaking of the guitar riffs that this would have been considered amongst the first death metal releases. No matter what you call it, SADUS cranked out an amazing delivery of some of the most energetic metal music of the entire 80s with labyrinthine song structures performed with a rather eccentric touch of madness and for that this one holds a special place in history.

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse / None

Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Combo packs are always cool because more often than not you get a good deal that includes some rare or hard to track down tracks that have been out of print for a while but often such compilations throw you a curve ball by advertising one thing and only delivering an incompletion of the entire package. Such is the case with the 1998 MESHUGGAH compilation that combined the 1991 debut album “Contradictions Collapse” with the following 1994 EP “None.” The original release by Nuclear Blast was only available in digipak but has since been released as a regular CD as well as vinyl 12”.

This compilation contains all eight tracks from the original “Contradictions Collapse” plus the extra track “Cadaverous Mastication” which appeared originally on the debut self-titled EP (also known as “Psykisk Testbild”) but has been tacked on to later versions of MESHUGGAH’s debut full-length album. While this is fine and dandy, what irks me is that the EP “None” only appears with the first four tracks while the fifth “Aztec Two-Step” has been eliminated due to time limits since it skirted close to the eleven minute mark. While some have stated they find the track annoying, i personally love it and find the “None” experience incomplete without it. Other than that the album flows along with both releases appearing in order of original release.

One thing i do appreciate about this combo pack is that it represents in full contrast the great leap of technical prowess that MESHUGGAH undertook during the three year period between. The debut found the band still stuck in their early Metallica worship years with many riffs lifted directly from albums like “Master Of Puppets” and “…And Justice For All” although the band was starting to unleash the latent experimental freakery which at the time was still kept on a leash. The difference between the last track of “Contradictions Collapse” and the leading “Humiliative” from “None” is stark as it clearly displays how progressive, technical and experimental the band had become as it shed its thrash dependencies and sallied forth into the brave new world of djent-ology.

Since “None” is incomplete, this is really just an edition of “Contradictions Collapse” with four bonus tracks but four really good bonus tracks that hopefully will lead to acquisition of the actual EP in its entirety. While many may not really care if a mere one track is missing, especially from an EP which is often regarded as supplemental, then this is not a bad way to go but for me, “None” is the far superior release and deserves to be experienced in its entirety. I understand why these sorts of comps are released considering many wouldn’t bother to track down the EPs that lurk between the cracks but it totally irritates me when such comps represent themselves as being the complete editions at hand but take liberties in editing out relevant material. Oh well.

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