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A more disciplined thrasher emerges. - 91%

hells_unicorn, January 11th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, Triple X Records

They say that with age comes wisdom, and with a little under 2 years since their intense, core-thrashing debut Corrupt Minds was unleashed, mid-western upstarts Acrophet found themselves out of high school and playing in the big leagues. Though they came upon their unique blend of metal and punk largely independent of the burgeoning Bay Area scene, by the time they landed on their 1989 follow up Faded Glory, which was impressive enough to be picked up by Roadracer Records (later Roadrunner Records) the following year, this Wisconsin-based quartet had all but wholly adopted the same basic format that put the aforementioned San Francisco scene on the map a few years earlier. Between an amped up production sound that could put the likes of Testament's Practice What You Preach on notice and a newly cemented, heavier assault that would draw more comparison to such certified thrash beasts as Sacred Reich's Ignorance and Exodus' Fabulous Disaster from a standpoint of sheer aggression, all of the stars seemed to be fully aligned for this band to become a slightly crossover-leaning competitor to some of the major players on both coasts.

It may seem like a bit of a tired cliche that is often trotted out when a band unleashes a sophomore effort, but this album is definitely marked by a higher degree of maturity. Though not bereft of the chaotic hardcore elements that came close to defining this band's last studio installment, they have been directed in a more organized fashion that speaks to a tempered kind of punk-infused delivery, bearing some degree of resemblance to D.R.I.'s Thrash Zone, along with the groovier stuff that would come out of Prong and Suicidal Tendencies in the early 90s. This becomes particularly noticeable during the slower moments of otherwise swift slayers like "Dependency" and the bass-happy blur of riffing madness "Dead All Day". Relative to the last album, front man Dave Baumann's bass work is a tad less animated yet still quite active in the shaping of these songs, while his vocal assault has taken on a slightly deeper gruff tone that's more in line with where Phil Rind was on the thrash spectrum. Truth be told, while the overall impact factor hasn't really changed too much, there is a slightly greater emphasis on songwriting over individual performance flair, and even the lead guitar work sees a slight reduction in activity.

All of those various points considered, this is a generally well-rounded yet high octane thrash metal affair that is fairly appropriate for the late 80s, though it tends a bit towards the more methodical and slightly less frenetic character that thrash became in the early 90s, as exemplified in such offerings as Vio-Lence's Oppressing The Masses and Defiance's Void Terra Firma. Ripping thrash anthems such as "Legend Has It" and "Independence At Its Finest" make effective use of a more mid-paced assault that allows for those needed peaks and valleys that make a full fledged thrash anthem, leaning ever so slightly towards that sweet spot that Anthrax would hit soon after with Persistence Of Time while still not skipping up on the intensity factor. But the absolute coup de grace of thrash excellence achieved by this band is this album's partially ballad turned galloping riff monster of a closer "Haunting Once Again", which goes so nuts in the riffing department that it all but predicts what Iced Earth would bring to the style in the early 90s and even features a wild guitar solo segment that is fairly close to Randy Shawver territory.

Ultimately this band would end up collapsing not too long after the 90s fell upon the metal world, despite plans for a follow up to this masterpiece being in the works and it still being a good year before the style would be almost killed off by changes in mainstream sentiment. It's an all too common story in thrash metal history, especially for a band that didn't really hit their stride until the late 80s and just barely had their foot in the door by the time said decade had drawn to a close. For what it is worth, the recent revival of interest in old school thrash metal could well justify these Wisconsin boys coming out of retirement, and Metal Mind Productions did the next generation of head-bangers a massive favor by reissuing this album and its predecessor back in 2008. Those who are so inclined as to want to relive the glory days of Bay Area thrash will find something quite conducive to said sound here, far more so than the raw debut that could perhaps be better described as a quirky crossover offering that bridges the gap between early Suicidal Tendencies and some mid-80s Bay Area elements. Thrash metal, like any sub-genre of metal, lives on in the memory of its adherents, so get thee to the nearest online vendor and try to nab a copy of this fine batch of grade A member berries.