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Good, yet so terminal the band exploded - 80%

Gutterscream, September 9th, 2013

“…speeding my way through the blindness…”

Blown in over the three years gapping this ep and Bloodlust’s ’85 debut, Guilty as Sin, is a three-fifths change-up: new vocalist, guitarist, and drummer - Steve Gaines, John Lisi, and Craig Kasin. Most eyes and ears will firstly be drawn to Mr. Gaines, the owner of the most recognizable name of the bunch, once a rising star of mid-priced speed/thrash outfit Abattoir, now fallen as one of its casualties. The others seem to be rather new to the field that guitarist Earl Mendenhall and bassist Sandy K. Vasquez have been playing on (together) for a few years, but a few spins of this four tracker tells me this renewed line-up hasn’t missed a bloody beat even with the new talent.

Caked into a production apparently baked to death in the same oven as the full-lengther is a lustier vengeance on aggression, one that huffs closer to the more violent crevasse of thrash metal while not totally crossing the bridge. Fortunately, kept over the crevasse of time and new personnel is a healthy-sized smattering of their old catchiness as well as the continued reluctance to totally abandon their traditional leanings. With that aural picture soaking yer head, one may press an ear to the wax and find things close to Breaking Point-era Heretic, Blessed Death thickness with more interesting foliage, debut Abattoir, and the rhythmic ingenuity of at-heart traditionalists like Liege Lord and Ulysses Siren (or at least an underclass of their styles).

If anything glares its absence from this ep (and the band as well), it’s the imposing, almost three-tiered vocal array of Guy Lord, the main man of Guilty as Sin and eventual founder of yet another kingdom where Lord, the band, brandish The Second Coming, a same year full-lengther which looks as D.I.Y. as the day is long. Gaines tries filling these underrated, yet sizable shoes most of the time with a noticeably deeper register and harsher, more unforgiving demeanor than what sold on Vicious Attack, however aside from a few impassioned screeches, screams of a soprano size have clearly shrunk. I’ll give him the nod, ‘cause if he’d had the mike on the debut instead of Lord and performed as he did on Vicious Attack, we’d have no reason to question his resolve.

Their lack of ‘lust’er album jacket ideas would run out here in ‘88, so Vasquez and Lisi give in to demo-entrenched Last Rites, then Lisi over for an ep with Recipients of Death and Vasquez stinting with early Anthrax screamer Neil Turpin. Kasin is a future Nitro guy, the band with the highest hair anywhere. Steve goes on to do all kinds of shit including revisit his old slaughterhouse hang-out. Mendenhall seemingly goes up in smoke.

One of the many on indie monster Wild Rags!