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Descent into Psychotic Dramas and Banished Utopias - 92%

bayern, June 28th, 2017

Another unsung hero from the US metal underground that are trying to have another go at it in the new millennium with a string of demos, singles, and compilations of unreleased tracks; all of those of a fairly high quality, if you ask me, all very good reminders of a legend that never really managed to leave the underground. A legend that left one full-length, one EP, and several demos dispersed throughout the late-80’s/early-90’s...

it’s the second demo that is reviewed here, the one that shifted the band’s delivery from the warmer, more epic power/speed metal sound on their official releases, to a more aggressive and more technical approach which nearly elevated them to the rank of a premier technical/progressive thrash metal outfit alongside Blind Illusion, Realm, and Toxik. “Warrior Unknown” is a great opener, a sharp cutting technical speed/thrasher with a choppier rhythm-section and mazier spiral-like arrangements served later the latter not far from Realm and Deathrow at their most puzzling. “Immortal” “flirts” with more melodic configurations at first, but expect smattering guitar pyrotechnics to follow suit with near classical virtuosity achieved akin to Helstar’s “Nosferatu”, the guys speeding up more in the second half, the dazzling leads “duelling” with the brisk intricate riffage this compelling “tussle” supervised by the highly emotional dramatic vocals of the newcomer, Larry Betson, who replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Ski. The man does a fairly good job all over presiding over the eventful rifforama which acquires more orthodox, also more aggressive proportions on “Still in Vengeance” Betson trying to insert a more memorable chorus line in-between the belligerent musical “excursions”. “Strange Twist of Fate” has a more laid-back epic “twist” as “an appetizer”, but there’s no complexity lost on it as the classical acrobatic swagger of Helstar comes to the fore again mixed with more engaging progressive decisions ala Toxik’s “Think This” splitting the song into two.

The better known “Psycho Drama” demo was a logical elaboration on the one here although the musicianship here is superior the guys putting more vigour and exuberance into the proceedings. Regardless, both works could have been combined into a sophomore opus that would have placed the band on the front row of the technical/progressive thrash metal wave that had its several months of fame at the dawn of the new decade. It beats me why bands sometimes release a number of demos in quick succession the style being quite similar, rather than presenting them as one whole and put them on the official release stage… there must be some financial rationale behind this quite frequent phenomenon… or who knows what.

The band’s reformation attempts so far have been well noted, and hopefully all those efforts are going to culminate into another album; or in the worst/best case scenario into another trail of striking short, momentary outbursts of creativity.