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OK - so I am the producer of SPECTRUM OF DEATH...does that mean that if I say it is one of the greatest thrash metal albums of all time that I am patting my own friggin' back? Not necessarily...
It was this very page of Encyclopaedia Metallum that coaxed me into re-investigating an album that I had not heard in years, after reading the three brilliant reviews of it (thanks, metal brethren - I salute your wisdom). In 1996, a former friend of mine named Joe King, who was looking after lots of my music career shit while I was in Europe, stupidly allowed my beloved possessions to be carted off to the dump, and I lost much of my career's memorabilia, including copies of master tapes, demos, photos, etc. (I hope that asshole, who went underground after that - lucky for him - rots in hell) So, anyway, I fucking had to go on the net a couple of weeks ago to buy a Grind Core copy of MORBID SAINT from Wherehouse Records in California. Do I mind, sitting here in 2003, having to pay for a c.d. I produced almost 15 years ago? NO - it was worth every penny, pence, shilling, euro, scrap of bread, etc. to get hold of this nearly flawless work of thrash history.
When I made the album with the band, we were trying to be as raw, dirty, evil and true to the group as was possible. Ultra limited budget. Very few guitar overdubbing and drums that are nearly precision-perfect and unbelievably they are almost all "first takes". I tried for kickdrum cannons, not the cheesy, clicky high-end kicks prevalant at the time (mostly coming out of a certain Florida studio, popular that year) - this is evident on CRYING FOR DEATH, for instance. That's not a fucking drum machine - that's his feet creating a sonic cauldron of explosions. Vocally, there is a lot going on if you listen carefully - backwards use of the 2" tape (ahh the days of tape!), effects, evil voices that underpin the main vocal, strange digital delay timing and panning, etc. Though it is raw, there is actually much more going on than is at first obvious...try and listen to this with headphones for the ultimate in brain surgery and demonic possession at the same time!
Unfortunately my life at the time was chaotic, I was an egomaniacal idiot then, and I couldn't help MORBID SAINT more than a few gigs opening for DEATH, who I managed until 1992, and hooking the master tapes up with a Mexican label, Avanzada Metalica (released by them in 1990) - they in turn did a deal with Grind Core who put it out in the USA with almost no fanfare in 1992. If you possess a copy of this brilliant and one & only release by this fantastic band, you are a rare and lucky son of a bitch!
Is it original? Hardly. Does it take thrash metal in a direction it had never been at the time (late 1988)? Not really. Is it groundbreaking? Probably not. BUT...what it IS is a brutal, honest, pure and perfectly executed evil thrash metal masterpiece by a band who were not posers, but sincere and dedicated masters of mayhem in a State that gave us all Jeff Dahmer and Ed Gien. Where a fridge full of deer guts is a common site along with the Pabst Blue Ribbon. Listen to ASSASSINS - when that change comes in at approximately 1.12, I always feel as if a metallic army of flesheating killers is storming down the hill in front of me, and that's the exact feeling that I had while staring at them playing it through the window from the control room into the studio. The opening part of CRYING FOR DEATH is so fucking fast and heavy that drummer Lee Reynolds could easily have had a duel to the death with Slayer's Dave Lombardo. When those children's voices (or is it??) creep in to your aural cavity towards the end of LOCK UP YOUR CHILDREN, chills come down my spine (even though, of course, I know for a fact that it was really just us making those noises...uh, or at least I recall...). Or the strange voices in DAMIEN. Or...well, you get the picture. This c.d. should sit along with the other thrash gems and it is a fucking shame someone doesn't re-release it just for the goddam sake of it.
Hmmm.....that gives me an idea....
p.s. thanks for inspiring me to re-discover this - even if nobody else ever reads my notes here, it was great to just think about the mighty MORBID SAINT and the making of the glory that is SPECTRUM OF DEATH, for just ten minutes, and Encyclopaedia Metallum gave me that opportunity