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Too bad this band is split now. Why? Because these guys could change the world if they kept releasing albums like this. “Above The Ashes” is a compilation of demos recorded at 1985 (Note: Before RiB, Darkness Descends, Ride the Lightning and Spreading the Disease) and 1987 (when Testament, Vio-Lence and Heathen were the reigning kings of the second wave of thrash) and is up there (or is even better) than the efforts of the bands mentioned above.
This is so accurate. It seems that the band had an obsession for perfection, as nothing here sounds out of place. You can’t find one foul up here. It’s all calculated and really does blow these boring technical albums out of the water. There’s a whole lot of catchiness that shows the perfect ability for meshing these two facets that make a thrash album memorable.
The production helps this album a lot. The guitars tone is so sharp, distinct and clean. The drums have the perfect mix, unlike some bands that overemphasize the cymbals and the snare has also a good sound, never interfering in the riffage. The double bass is my only complaint, because it does not have that “click” sound, present in albums like “Tara”. You can distinguish every instrument easily, and that includes the bass. Really amazing work.
There’s a lot of technical playing here, and that’s shown by the riff work. Each song has lots of them and of all styles. The speed is mostly high, although there are lots of midpaced moments, where the more complex riffs lie. The faster ones are responsible for the most exciting passages. For example, the first song, “Terrorist Attack” has great, catchy fast riffage in its first moments. They are far from being straightforward: The aforementioned song has so many different sections and all of them are memorable in some way, be in the nice palm muted riffs or in the melody hints. These abound here, although this album is not as melodic as something like Heathen.
It’s a pretty short album and every song is a highlight. “Terrorist Attack” is at the top20 thrash songs ever created. “The Reich” is notable by the extremely tight performance. It has so many ideas that won’t degenerate into self-indulgence. “Lake of Fire” and “Leviathan/Above the Ashes” are simply amazing. “Leviathan” is an instrumental introduction with a really nice melodic riff that is also featured in “Above the Ashes”, which other than the usual riff mayhem has a really good solo. The other two tracks have lots of catchy riffs and end the album in a great way.
You need to listen to it to believe. Extremely enjoyable and competent, it’s one of the best thrash albums ever released. Try your hardest to find this forgotten gem.
HOLY MOTHER OF LUCIFER...
...Is all I had to say after hearing this masterpiece of an album, and it's a shame that this band didn't keep on going with their thrash madness.
This album features 7 Ulysses Siren songs that were written in 1985 and 1988, with the first three tracks being written in '85 and the last four written in '88. It also features some of the fastest, catchiest, and most kickass thrash ever heard.
The album kicks off with "Terrorist Attack." Sound swells, then the speed kicks in with a vocalist that sounds reminiscent of Mr. Baloff. This track fatures some nice catchy riffs, and some drum rhythms that are unique. Good way to open an album.
Next is "The Reich", which features an opening riff that sounds like Metallica's "The Four Horsemen", but this riff wipes the floor with Metallica's. Pace slows down, then features a nice sounding solo. Triplets then ensue, and another solo is heard. After this solo, it goes back to that opening riff, and then the song ends.
"Lake of Fire" is track 3. This song is a great thrasher, with a kickass Bay-Area, Death Angel feel to it. The vocalist really shows some aggression in this song. Get up and headbang.
After track 3 comes "Leviathan", which is a heavy instumental song. This song features some catchy harmonies over a heavy palm-muted riff. The track then leads into the next song...
...entitled "Above the Ashes". Make sure you are ready for this song, because it will definately kick your fucking ass. This song goes from complete thrashing madness, to heavy mid paced riffing, and back to thrashing continuously. It also features wicked cool solos and leads. Leviathan/Above the Ashes is easily my favorite song on the record.
After that monster of a song, "The Ressurection" comes knocking at your door. The volume starts low, then rises to normal. Then the double bass kicking, E-string masturbating thrash assault commences. Though not as good as the title track, this song still delivers the aggression effectively. Again, bang your heads.
The album then comes to a close with "No Trace of Shame". This song has a catchy galloping riff that kicks off the song, which leads in to another catchy, insane riff. At 2:32, the song slows down to a crunching riff with some great double bass kicking on the drums. Then at 3:59, Ulysses Siren speed things up with another catchy thrash riff, which will carry you to the end of the song.
Fans of thrash and speed metal will love this album, but it is pretty rare and will be hard to find. But try as hard as you can to get this.
I can understand that with all the bands taking part in the Bay Area thrash scene, some of them would have to have gotten lost in the shuffle. I mean, you had Metallica, Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Vio-Lence, Heathen, Sadus, Forbidden, Possessed, and many many more – to say nothing of the popular out-of-towners Slayer and Megadeth. It was inevitable that some of the bands would drift into the fog.
But WHY THE FUCK did it have to be THIS band?! These guys are great!
Yeah, so Ulysses Siren are awesome, neckbreaking Bay Area Thrash, more technical than most. Above the Ashes is a compilation of tracks from their first couple demos, remastered to 21st century standards and released by Relentless Records because you can never have too much Bay Area Thrash on the market. And it kicks ass – Heathen's neckbreaking slightly melodic awesomeness meets Vio-Lence "schizoid thrash on crack" stylings. Oh yes, how it kicks ass.
"Terrorist Attack" kicks things off with a riff reminiscent of Satan's "Trial By Fire," and shreds right through from the start. The vocalist sounds vaguely like Paul Baloff, but with more melody and more shrieks. The first of fucked-up, unnatural time signatures that will pop up throughout the album appears at 1:25 for the chorus, and at 3:15 or so, a great supercharged gallop riff kicks in.
"The Reich" is a riff-fest with some nice dual lead work scattered throughout, and "Lake of Fire" shreds throughout without a thought of slowing the frenetic pace for more than, oh, two seconds of stacatto single notes. The second half is all solos and riffs, and what fucking solos and riffs they are. "Leviathan" is a very well-done two-minute instrumental track, which shows that you can build atmosphere and suspense without resorting to keyboards, pussy studio effects, or indeed anything other than the Power of the Riff.
"Leviathan" kicks right into "Above the Ashes," which opens with a high-pitched shriek that puts "Angel of Death" to shame. A fast-paced thrasher spotlighting some fine screams and an epic-sounding thirty-second ending sequence. "The Resurrection" is a solid track, notable for the BAD ASS drumming and some great dual lead work three and a half minutes through. Oh yeah, and a fucking shitload of riffs, but that applies to everything on here.
And now comes the closer, "No Trace of Shame." Recently, while listening to this song, it occured to me that this is one of the best songs ever, and thus I have edited this review to describe, in great detail, the next five minutes and eleven seconds of ungodly metal glory. "Shame" has a really weirdly constructed opening that is damn near impossible to calculate how to headbang to right, but then another of those crazy shrieks announces a main verse riff that is, by contrast, impossible NOT to headbang to. The drumming is absurdly complicated, and that goes along nicely until about the two-minute mark...
...and then at that point, prepare to shit your pants and the pants of everybody within fifty yards–even those who are not wearing pants, as this part of the song will cause pants to sprout for the express purpose of being shat on. Awesome fucking riffage over a fist-pounding riff, best shrieks on the album, and yet more crazy Robocop drumming. This is one of the top moments of thrash metal, and thus by association this is one of the top songs of thrash metal.
AND IT'S NOT OVER! Cool mid tempo bit with great vocal lines "But who will point the fingers for the maimed?" and then yes, more riff breaks from the bowels of lunacy! It has no solo–IT NEEDS NO SOLO. In fact, if this song had a solo it would probably defy federal anti-awesome statutes and Ulysses Siren would be hunted down and shot for being too goddamn awesome. Instead, we thrash merrily along to the end of the song on the power of rhythm guitar and drumming and the ludicrously complicated basswork which I seem to have neglected to mention. You get the point.
So basically, if you dig heavy metal, you will like this. If you dig thrash metal, you will LOVE this. If you dig Heathen and Vio-Lence, you will bow down and worship this. It's a shame these guys never really got anywhere, because this album is fucking AWESOME. You can order it from Relentless Records, and I highly suggest you do so. I mean, NOW, motherfucker.