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When we think of German speed/power metal, what usually comes to mind? Helloween, Blind Guardian, etc...sound familiar? Take Walls of Jericho and the Keeper albums by Helloween, Battalions of Fear by Blind Guardian, maybe a great thrash album like Vendetta's Go and Live.... Stay and Die, and combine them into the ULTIMATE power/thrash album! Yes, the keyboard-driven power metal band you might know from the 90's and early 2000's wasn't always that "laid back" (if you want to call it that!). Angel Dust didn't hold back in the 80's and ESPECIALLY not on this album! It has it's super thrashy tracks as well as it's power metal classics scattered all throughout this masterpiece!
To Dust You Will Decay was the follow up to the pure speed metal debut Into the Dark Past. These two albums both share their moments of speed metal glory, but this sophomore release was WAY more melodic and had a new singer by the name of S.L. Coe. Coe had also sang for another great power/speed metal band called Scanner on their second album Terminal Earth. To Dust You Will Decay pushes the limits in every way possible here and really shows what kind of amazing singer S.L. Coe actually was! Terminal Earth was a little more "straight forward" than this. Imagine some of the most tightest riffs imaginable in the genre, crazy shredding solos, super memorable and slightly epic melodies all coming together to challenge the best of the best! This album is so monstrous that I wouldn't be surprised if Kai Hansen himself was awed by it's greatness! For all musicians out there, some of these riffs will make your head spin. If you're a guitarist and can pull off the ultra complex thrash numbers like "The King" and the title track "To Dust You Will Decay" than you are officially GREAT. Helloween and Blind Guardian both show some top notch talents, but this takes it above and beyond.
Now let's talk about the songs themselves and the overall production of the album. There are 9 original tracks and 2 bonus tracks called "Flight to Russia" and "Dawn of the End with a grand total of 11 tracks. The bonus tracks are every bit as great as the rest of the album so they fit like a glove! The production couldn't be better also! You can really tell it is a product of the late 80's with much reverb unlike the more "dry" debut. I think the reverb sounds great here giving the songs more atmosphere. Everything on this album also sounds very clear, which is really great because there are so many notes and runs crammed everywhere!
The album begins with a nice little epic intro track that shifts quickly into the menacing, yet slightly bizarre "Mr. Inferno". Angel Dust definitely decided to hit us with something thrashy and very unique. Some of these riffs are very odd-timed and just wait till it gets to the chorus! It's powerful and sounds almost apocalyptic! Then it goes to a few more "heavy/power metal" moments rather than the speed/thrash sound of Mr. Inferno. They even did a sequel to their debut album called "Into the Dark Past Chapter II", which sounds nothing like the first album at all, but more of very epic power metal! The album decides to hit you even harder in the middle of the album with "The King" and the title track. These songs are certainly some mesmerizing thrash metal that will leave you dropping your jaw after every riff, lead, and run played ever so tightly! After the album already leaves you wondering, "well, I think I've heard it all, this album couldn't possibly have more to offer... could it??"
The answer is... YES. The album finishes with more classic power metal that always seems to throw in a headbanging thrash riff for good measure. As for the bonus tracks, it certainly adds to the album to make a great thing even better! "Flight to Russia" is a very well-done instrumental and the second bonus track "Dawn of the End" is more of a ballad, but strangely it's a fantastic way to end such an album as this. It's a good way to bring you down easily from all the amazement that has just graced your ears...
This album definitely deserves a perfect score, for it doesn't lack in anything! The songwriting is topnotch with every song being entertaining. In all fairness it's way more entertaining than the debut and personally I wish they would have done more like this... But ah well, Border of Reality was a great comeback anyway, but still doesn't compare to this epic masterpiece! Every track is a highlight!
Now, for those who actually buy their music like me, these CD's have been out of print for a good while. The general price for To Dust You Will Decay is around $30.00, but it is worth 50 or even 100 in my book! There are also some bootlegs that were floating around for a while, my first copy was a bootleg and I purchased it about 7 or 8 years ago. Even though its a bootleg, it's a good one and I might even say that it's better than the original. However, if you're a completist you might have both versions like myself.
Bottom line... GET THIS ALBUM NOW!!! If you like Helloween, Scanner, early Blind Guardian, etc. you can't go wrong!!!