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A pleasant surprise from the 80s underground - 87%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 16th, 2009

Formicide is just one drop in that ocean representing the bands that never succeeded in releasing an album back in those days in which thrash metal was strong. Like it happens for many cases, also for Formicide a compilation was published in order to get together all the demos the bands pulled out, from 1987 to 1989. These are very good things because you cannot find the demos anymore even if the small label couldn’t put out lots of copies, due to the reasonable lack of money.

However, we begin with “The Omen”, that is a song directly from the 1987 demo. Since the very first notes we can understand the skills of this band in raising hell. The up tempo is always present and the riffs are fucking bludgeoning! I mean, the power that comes out from the amplifiers is something that you ideally relate to the most famous bands in this field, not to a small band like Formicide. The tempo changes are always well-done and the vocals are aggressive, nasty even if not that screamed. The structure is terrifically heavy and incredibly mature. We go on with “Perfect Race” and its relentless riffs that accompany the furious restarts. The galloping riffs are perfectly executed with style and technique, as the most mid-paced moments are just like a panzer.

The production is not the best because it’s a bit fuzzy; however the instruments are all distinguishable and powerful! We continue with “Them” and it immediately shows the bass power to sustain a quite dark intro, soon followed by the guitars. The groove is more present but the galloping riffs are literally levelling anything they meet. The fast sections are always great and really catchy and we must also remark the tempo changes and the duets in the middle section. The last track from this demo is the classic crazy shrapnel and it’s called “The Spell”. The speed is definitely higher but the dynamism is something not common here. All in all, this demo is something fantastic and so far, I would destroy the labels that refused them to sign a contract.

The 1988 demo opens with the riffs assault of “Frozen Death”. The production is now far more polished, from the riffs to the drums sound. The vocals are now better to hear in their great tonality that shows also a bit of old Artillery influences. The tempo is always impulsive but the fast tempo changes are always done greatly. “No Escape” shows more fast riffs but a few sections are a bit less impulsive even if it’s a matter of seconds. The solos are shredded, fast and brutal. “Await The Awakening” is more mid-paced and grooving even if the riffs and the drumming are heavy as hell. “Dead Man” follows the same style with more grooving but the overall approach is pissed off and fucking brutal, with some fast restarts to put an end to another great demo.

The third demo was supposed to be published in 1989 but some problems avoided its release and with this compilation we can listen to it, finally. “Prey to Pieces” enters and the first thing we can notice is the quite unclean production. The sounds are worse than the ones on the debut demo, also because the guitars now lack a bit of power. The band always plays fast and brutal, with great structures and fast tempo changes, but the less powerful sounds are not good for this style. However, a song like “Dying System” is able to be always brutal in its mid-paced progression and “Platten #2” features a hint of punk attitude in the riffs. The bass is great at doing lots of scales under the guitar riffs as we proceed on mid-tempo and we need the last “Nocturnal Justice” to return to high intensity moments in up tempo.

This last demo already showed few signs of the groove virus that was infecting the thrash at the end of the 80s but it’s always good. Let’s say that the first demo is the best if we consider the songs but the second one is great for the production. Yes, even the songs are very good. At the end we can also find another version for two songs we already met before, “Prey to Pieces” and “Dying System”; while “Scientific Alternative” is another good example of ultra heavy riffs with a hammering drumming. Well, if you come across this compilation, get it without fear because old demos like these are not so common. Thrash on!