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Long forgotten Bay Area thrashers - 75%

Oxenkiller, February 9th, 2008

This is one of those obscure, long forgotten bands from the much hyped “Bay Area Thrash” scene of the 1980s, who for various reasons never got that far. Which is a shame because this is quite a good demo for what it was. Burnt Offering played a sort of melodic speed/thrash metal, with an obvious nod to Exodus and Slayer but a bit more melodic and arguably not quite as “angry” as either of those bands. You could probably compare them favorably with fellow Bay Area thrashers Forbidden, and L.A. scene-sters Agent Steel and Abbatoir as well.

There are six songs on here, two of which (“Running Blind” and “Frightmare”) are more mid-paced, power metal sounding stompers, while the other four are more balls-out thrashers. There is nothing too fancy or technical here. It is worth mentioning here that the band were for the most part, still in high school, so a little roughness around the edges can and should be expected. Although to be fair, bands like Death Angel and Possessed were already producing much higher quality releases at this age. But remember, this is only a demo. The sound is not bad; yes, it is raw, but all the instruments can be heard pretty clearly, and the mix is decent. Maybe the bass could have been a bit louder, but that’s about it. I would have honestly been interested in hearing what a properly produced album would have sounded like, because as basic as these songs are, most of them work rather surprisingly well.

It works because its catchy. “Death and Violence,” “Animal Instinct” and the instrumental “Dead Walk The Earth,” the three best tracks on here, feature powerful aggressive speed/thrash riffing overlaid with melodic guitar leads, adding a distinctive, vaguely Iron Maiden-ish flair to the intensity. We’re not talking late 90’s Sweden here, but rather mid -80s California, with more hyper speed than death-crunch. The leads are pretty basic, but yet, they work well with the music and counterpoint the riffs nicely. Vocals are your basic thrash metal/punk style shouts, pretty non-descript which honestly isn’t really a bad thing. I’d probably compare this guy to the first Dark Angel vocalist. (Don Doty) The drumming is good too. Nothing too technical, but he can definitely keep a good fast thrashy beat. On an interesting trivial note, Autopsy/Abscess drummer Chris Reifert played in this band for a while, and allegedly wrote (or co-wrote) a couple of these songs, but I am not sure whether he actually played on this recording or not. This was a young band, and like many other such bands they seemed to have gone through quite a few line-up changes before calling it quits. A recording of this may be impossible to find, but its definitely worth checking out if you can get a hold of one and are into the early speed metal stuff. If these guys had gone on to do an album, I think it probably would have been well received along with releases by such bands as Forbidden, Vio-Lence, and the like.