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Blistering Thrash Metal Assult - 95%

Oxenkiller, February 13th, 2008

For starters, it should be noted that there are three versions of this demo floating around out there. Some versions have just three songs ("Chalice of Blood", "Follow Me," and "March into Fire") while some have a fourth song, "Next to Die." Still other versions have yet a different fourth track, "As Good as Dead." I am guessing that all five tracks were recorded at the same time, and for whatever reason, some versions of the demo had one or the other additional track added. Maybe to confuse people, I dunno, whatever. My version has just the three tracks.

So, with that rather uninteresting technical tidbit aside... this absolutely shreds. Both "Chalice of Blood", "March into Fire" and "Follow me" are absolute heavy metal classics. Killer speed riffing, technically precise and complex, yet effective enough to totally carry the songs forward while making you reach for that tennis racket to play air guitar with. "Follow Me" starts with a great arpeggiated lead that breaks into a neat mid-paced bridge section, then builds its way up into a climactic finish, powerful and heavy all the way through. "March into Fire" is total speedcore, punctuated with great lead playing and balls-out rhythems. "Chalice" has some great fast crunching rhythems and is bursting with aggression. The riffing is deceptively complex, but (unlike many modern bands) not in a way that halts the flow of the song or creates the dreaded "too many notes" syndrome. It just thrashes along nicely.

From a technical standpoint, the band couldnt have done a better job. This is VERY professionally recorded, in an actual studio ("Studio 5" whatever that was) with a good sound engineer, and it shows. The guitars have this blazing, crunchy sound, loud and upfront, while the bottom end is still loud enough to add depth and heaviness to the music. All the other instruments are mixed nicely as well. The playing is flawless of course; very tight sounding. Russ Anderson's voice is a nice touch to this recording as he has a very powerful heavy metal voice. The vocals on "Follow Me" for example really show off his talents well. Drummer Paul Bostaph, of course, went on to play in several other famous bands after this one, and already he was showing his star potential here. In fact, I actually prefer these versions of the songs to the ones on the LP which came out a year or so later. The full length is also reccommended of course but even if you've already got that, then this tape is worth hearing. It was certainly no surprise that they got offered a deal as a result of this tape.