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Who says thrash has no humour? People who haven't heard these guys (or possibly Anthrax), that's who. Lawnmower Deth take all that is conventional in thrash, lyrically at least, and toss it out the window, creating this sonic mish-mash presented before the befuddled thrasher like myself. To make a LD album, you need some lyrics first of all. Politics? No. Social ills? Fuck no.Well then it's gotta be "The Establishment", that old punk-thrash chestnut. Not even remotely close. No, my friends, you write lyrics about lawnmowers, British things, aliens and of course that certain devilish springboard. Then, you serve this S.O.D.-style over crossover riffage and instrumentation. Naturally, it's a pretty idiosyncratic mix, a never before attempted joke-thrash sound.
I don't know much about the history of the band, but I know that this is their 1.5th album, after a split with the equally comedic Metal Duck, who not only have a great band name but also one of the funniest titles in metal, their side of the split being named Quack 'em All. Anyway, Qualcast Mutilator (oh yeah, all the members' stage names are derived from lawnmowers, by the way), who regularly switches his stage name between that and "Koffee Perkulator", derived from a joke made by Blackfire of Sodom, saying he'd change his stage name to "Coffee Perculator", delivers a truly odd vocal performance, ranging between low-pitched yelling, noises and high-pitched singing. There is deranged riffing from Concorde Faceripper and Schizo Rotary Sprintmaster on guitars, frenzied bass from Mightymo Destructimo and somewhat restrained drumming from Explodin' Dr Jaggers Flymo. Of course, the production is crap, but that's what we expect from '90s English thrash, particularly a debut.
Behind all the humour, there are some great songs in here, like mega-highlight "Satan's Trampoline", one of the greatest thrash songs of all time, which soars above everything else here in terms of quality. There's songs which you'll like 'cos they're funny, like F.A.T. (Fascist and Tubby) and my personal favourite song-title ever, "Can I Cultivate Your Groinal Garden?", on my iPod because the title, even though there's only 7 seconds of it, and there's the weird, utterly gripping opener "Spooky Perv Happenings in the Snooker Hall", which just draws you in to this album when you don't really want it to. I've been calling it thrash up to now, but we must also consider a crossover tag, given the punkishness of this and thrash metal from the UK generally, so if that isn't your bag then this won't satisfy, but fortunately for this reviewer I do like crossover, so no complaints from me.
I will complain about the amount of pointless tracks however. Before angry hordes rush in and say, "Joke tracks are the point of this, fucktard", they aren't. Just because S.O.D. did it well with their debut doesn't mean all future parody thrashers must use that trope. I get that there's punk influence, so songs are gonna be short, and I don't have a problem with that, neither do I have a problem with joke tracks but when roughly a third of the songs are jokes, that's too far. Also, a little seriousness wouldn't kill them if displayed on occasion, like "Satan's Trampoline", proving they can craft an excellent song.
But really, the moans are minor, it's only really that there could be longer tracks which could get this a higher rating. However, it is an acquired taste, you do need a liking for thrash, crossover and an understanding of hardcore to really "get" this. As I said earlier, if you don't like crossover, this isn't for you, and if you can't put up with strangeness, this isn't for you. To sum up, this, for all its faults, is still better than 90% of the stuff clogging up the crossover circuit right now. So yeah, it's good if, like me, you're into that stuff.
To start off this review I'm going to say this as simply as possible - THIS FUCKINGLY AWESOME BAND IS AWESOME AND TOTALLY UNDERRATED. I can't believe how just a few thousand people know about this band. Or do I get the wrong impression? Nope. This band is totally not mainstream and certainly not well on the screens.
It's a shame really that LD didn't quite succeed in spreading their awesomnes throughout the world. Pure punk and thrash combined with some awesomely hilarious and funny piano buzzers that make you spread out your eyes like you're a retard. It's simple really. LD is a band, which plays punk in a metal kind of way, From the first recording till the last, they're consistent in what they do, the songs are fairly good, moshy, bangable and somewhat epic.
The vocals are pretty basic punk, but still they get 15% in my grading system for a unique voice color. The lyrics are also basic punk and they get 15% for being just what they're supposed to be, humorous and "Everything's funny in the world, so sod off"-british styled pure sarcasm. Although they are what they are guitar riffage seems pretty much well worked over. They really do have some brilliant riffs and rhythm twirls in their songs, and everything seems to stack like puzzles with the guitar sound. So riffage gets epic 20% for being pure epic. As far as bass lines go, they're pretty straight forward and pretty much make everything sound more metal, and for that they get 15%. And drumming, last but not least important, gets 20 % for being a killer rhythm machine and making the band sound like an sarcastic punk beast.
So all in all I recommend LD to everyone who appreciates some good humorous music, some very solid riffage, and all in all insane punk recordings of 5 fellows, 5 very talented fellows.
Comedy bands are nothing new to people. Tenacious D, S.O.D., Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Gwar, all are very tongue-in-cheek slightly-serious-if-at-all artists that most of us are aware of. This album is very special though. What sets this album apart from anything from those artists is very simple: it actually makes you laugh.
I'm sure Gwar yelling about bohabs and meat sandwiches is all very amusing in concept, but rarely will the simple audio get you giggling. That's where Lawnmower Deth becomes useful. The sheer "what the hell is this"-ness of this release makes it hilarious! This band is probably the closest thing to an actual Spinal Tap the world ever did see (they have unfortunately been broken up for a good while). This could be supported by the quirky live tracks on the end of some versions of the album. Furthermore, it's actually pretty damn thrashing and decent to listen to.
The album opens with Spook Perv Happenings in the Snooker Hall. Introducing the song is a sample from some movie, I'm guessing, of a man making a call to action demanding "a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. We're just the guys to do it," following through with a long and drawn out "LET'S... DO IT!!!!" The riffs are great for simple crossover thrash. Vocals work pretty well too, sounds like a higher pitched Lemmy. This song is great because of its very catchy riffs, easily noticeable punk and thrash sounds throughout, and general bizarreness. But this song doesn't even slightly prepare you for what comes later.
Track 3 is Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down, fifteen seconds of one or two shortly played punk riffs. But what the hell? The vocals have been made very high pitch, "chipmunk'd" if you will. There are many other tracks like this, short non-songs with something silly to be found in them.
Then you get Sheep Dip. What the fuck kind of title IS that? As for the song itself, yeah yeah, it's all very epic and fun, great thrash sound. Opens with friendly farm noises and sheep bahs and a melodic intro riff slowly getting more epic and thrashier. Towards the end, though, is a repeating riff interspersed with nonsense ("mehhh", "ariba yariba" "bugger off" and so on). It's all a mowing good time.
The album's highlight song is, without a doubt, Flying Killer Cobs From the Planet Bob. Firstly, it's arguably the catchiest song on the record. But hold on... Out of nowhere comes robot vocals? Could this be space-thrash? I very much think so. It gets especially spacey toward the end when the robot and the vocalist sing in unison. The silliness never stops. It really makes you feel quite happy.
I will stop dissecting the songs of their humor at this point, since going any further would simply be spoiling the album for you. The album goes on, with fun catchy punk/thrash and tons of special surprises to get your pants wet. Honestly, there are a good handful of tracks that are quite throw away, such as Betty Ford's Clinic, Maim Mower Maim, and Rad Dude, but you don't come to humorous album looking for strong artistic merit.
The last song I should point out is the cover of Kim Wild's "Kids in America" which appears on some re-releases of the album. Quite a good cover indeed. I've heard the original many times before. The song was so meant to have a thrashing guitar and hammering drum set driving it and, thanks to the wonderful blokes in Lawnmower Deth, now it does. The pop hit has been made even catchier.
In summary, the album is full of good fun thrash music and is complemented very well by random overtones of various genres at the most unexpected times making for a most bizarre bit of music. There is no common mood or feel, causing the music to change on you at the most random times. It is a mystical lawnmower adventure! Icky Ficky! Go now, and enter the domain of the almighty lawnmower...
[Note: This review has been posted at rateyourmusic.com under the name Total_Disaster]