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Rigor Mortis was never really a top-tier thrash band, but all of their releases to date have been enjoyable. My favorite is this album, which sees the band's punk influences bubbling to the surface, leading to a much looser, more fun feel. Witness the hardcore-tinged speed metal of "City of Fear" or the mid-tempo proto-groove of "SOG", then cringe at the unnecessary cover of the Ramones' "Psycho Therapy". Despite the more prominent punk feel, there's still plenty of pure thrash to keep the diehards happy: "Mummified" and "Asphyxia" rage just as hard as anything on the debut, for instance. The band balances the punkier stuff with the straight speedier stuff throughout Vs. the Earth. Vocally, this isn't too dissimilar to their previous work (raspy thrash vocals), although bassist Casey Orr gets more mic time here. Lyrically, the band is still sloshing around in blood and guts, with maybe a little more humor present compared to the straight-faced first album. Ironically, though the music has gotten looser here, the sound itself has tightened considerably. The slushy production of the debut has been jettisoned in favor of a crisp, clear sound that allows space for everything to be heard. All in all, for the speed metal collector or hardcore fan looking to cross over, Vs. the Earth is worth tracking down. It's no Reign in Blood, but it's good entertainment. Great music for jogging, or for mowing down joggers with your car.