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Ludicrous speed achieved! - 85%

hells_unicorn, May 1st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2014, Cassette, Tape Worship Records (Reissue, Limited edition)

There is a case to be made for such things as nuance, subtlety, and a measured approach to rounding out the fits and starts that go into being a thrash metal band. This assumes of course, that one's band isn't a future purveyor of Coroner styled technical thrash named Aftermath and the year is not 1987. Somewhere in the annals of Star Trek lore there is a mission of some galaxy class star ship that had a bizarre issue with their matter/antimatter ratio and found themselves freewheeling across the universe at an exponentially faster speed than maximum warp, and if so, it's likely name would have been the USS Killing The Future. In stark contrast to the forward-looking yet generally comprehensible handiwork that was Watchtower's Energetic Disassembly, this demo somehow manages to exaggerate a straight up thrashing crossover approach that is best likened to the mayhem of Wehrmacht and Cryptic Slaughter to the point of barreling a few years into the future and happening upon some future evolutionary leaps in the metallic paradigm.

There is a somewhat nascent progressive character to this beast, though it isn't immediately obvious to the casual observer, who may just as well figure he's listening to a shorter version of Shark Attack. Upon closer examination, however, there is a certain polish and precision to this band's execution that is a tad too perfect for the sort of slovenly madness that goes with blasting away at the outer fringes of where hardcore ends and extreme metal begins. The sort of quirky melodic tendencies and elaborate development that adorns the intro of the otherwise chaotic "When Will You Die", the gradual build from an upper-mid paced groove to a full out speeding flash at the tail end of "Chaos", and the overall rhythmic contour and accuracy of the frenetic and fleeting shred solos that adorn each of these songs reveals a band that would likely soon become bored with the idea of simply cooking all the time, despite being highly skilled at doing so. Even with only a solitary guitarist playing foil to the rhythm section, these songs are constructed in an elaborate fashion more befitting the twin guitar approach future efforts would employ.

Perhaps the most enthralling element in this otherwise one-dimensional excursion into the zenith of speed metal's potential velocity is the atypical aesthetic that results from the cacophony of drum hits and rapidly struck chords. The crunchy to the point of almost frosty guitar tone meshed with a tremolo-happy riffing style somewhat informed by the likes of Possessed and Slayer, though only occasionally hitting similarly dissonant territory, finds the more overtly hardcore informed songs like "Meltdown" and the faster sections of "Going No Place" listening fairly close to the aesthetic that typified several early 2nd wave black metal bands. To be clear, this seems more the incidental result of pushing the boundaries of thrash rather than something deliberate, but "Meltdown" sounds dangerously close to something that could have been featured on an early offering out of early Gorgoroth or the first three blackened offerings out of Darkthrone, save the gang vocals and Charlie Tsiolis' more straight up rhythmic thrash yell.

Though fans of the more polished and thought-driven character of progressive thrash that this band would come to embody on subsequent releases may find an album like this wanting, it stands as a rather impressive achievement for the thrash style in more of a general sense and specifically within the crossover scene. It clearly wasn't the first outing by a band to fuse a more concentrated punk element into the thrash sound, though it was a bit ahead of the curve within the locale of Chicago and proved to be one of the most competent and utterly fast offerings to come out of 1987, not to mention extremely well produced for an independent demo from said time period. The songs tend to sound a fair bit alike and it wouldn't be difficult to lose one's place and hear this as one continuous 17 minute composition with very few rest points to speak of, but this is a demo that is more than just a historical curiosity and should be heard by anyone with either a taste for unhinged thrash metal or an interest in that time period where the lines that separated said style from its two more extreme offshoots were less clearly drawn.

Nothing sinister, forward thinking or Coroner-like - 80%

Gutterscream, January 26th, 2009
Written based on this version: 1987, Cassette, Independent

With a speed of light, here’s-Wehrmacht-in-your-eye glory, early demo-era Aftermath is poles apart from the more mind-stretched physics contorting their ’94 self-released Eyes of Tomorrow. Well jeez, we’re talking seven years here. Voivod sounded more like deranged Pink Floyd than punk-troubled thrash in at least that much time, but the changes for these Chicago natives actually starts sometime in the two years after this demo’s sonic bullet is fired, but I’ll leave that for the review of ‘89’s Words That Echo Fear.

Killing the Future has five tracks that only irregularly slow down, let alone stop for sodas and snacks along the freeway. If the kids have to go to the bathroom, they’re in shit’s creek unless they want to piss out the window and piss off the cars behind ‘em. Yeah, this flying foursome are tight n’ compact customers, power-shifting with precision between the hairiest crossover and the liveliest ‘happy’ thrash, all the while making sure the trip doesn’t blow by like a laser beam to the core of tedium. A clear production keeps the grit off the windshield and anything else grainy to a minimum.

Charlie Tsiolis doesn’t share the throatshear of Wehrmacht's Tito Matos, but instead owns a normal, hurried ‘core shout that slows only for the street-level, mid-paced ‘core breakdowns that are logically and predictably strewn across this thing. The main allure of Killing the Future is in fact its throttle, usually wide open and unabashed like a bar fight gone to the next level, and again, if I have to wrap a nifty little velocity-wise comparison around ‘em, it’d be those keg tappin’ brothers-in-meth mentioned way above.

Granted, the songs tend to blear into the next unless you can pick out a chorus or two, but if you just take it for what it is at the moment it races across your frontal lobe, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Now on iTunes along with their '86 demo.