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Unrelenting brutality - 92%

TheBurningOfSodom, August 6th, 2015

It's always a bold statement to affirm that a demo is maybe the best thing ever put out by a band. Especially when the guys in question are the extreme thrash masters Demolition Hammer, and can count on one of the pinnacles of brutality in all music, namely the cannonade called Epidemic of Violence. All this being said, since everyone is entitled to his own opinion, I would like to advocate the overlooked Necrology. Though the band's absolute debut, Skull Fracturing Nightmare, was a very good beginning anyway, but ultimately nearly forgotten, except for the reworking on the masterpiece 'Cataclysm', this second demo contains some of Demolition Hammer's most famous songs on Tortured Existence, only sped up and peppered with the juvenile anger of a band from the Bronx at their beginning. So, what on earth could go wrong with this?

The answer is quick: nothing. If you feel Tortured Existence could be more violent than it is already, give this a spin and I assure you'll never feel the need to listen to the full-length again (unless you really love 'Paracidal Epitaph' or 'Gelid Remains', that is). Just compare, as an example, the two versions of 'Crippling Velocity': I simply cannot stand the Tortured version of this song anymore, it seems so watered down and ultimately boring, while Demolition Hammer has always been all about frontal aggression. I came across this by chance since the old recording of 'Neanderthal' was the first Demolition Hammer song I have ever listened, but I'm glad I did, because normally I don't mind digging through a band's roots and their often immature demos. This marks truly the exception to the rule.

So, this is better than the following release. It's also better than the previous one, since the band completed their (what could be called) 'classic' lineup on here: kicking out John Salerno and welcoming the never forgotten Vinny Daze, along with a second riff machine found in Derek Sykes, teamed up with James Reilly and hateful vocalist/bassist Steve Reynolds (who fortunately picks up all vocal duties this time). No longer a trio, Demolition Hammer started to refine the six songs on here until they became some of the most intense and brutal compositions to be ever heard: each one contains at least 5-6 riffs, and most of them are likely to severely damage your neck. Some of the best examples can be found in the aforementioned opening track, 'Crippling Velocity'. The riffs are the main force here, so the solos aren't particularly long, with the obvious exception of '.44 Caliber Brain Surgery', my personal pick for the best track of the whole, which has a nice slowdown after the amazing chorus and a savage, but still sweet solo. Clearly every song is cut out of the same cloth, so there are no real bad songs, and each one has something to give. 'Mercenary Aggression' has plenty of hardcore gang shouts and some of the best drumming too; 'Infectious Hospital Waste' is malevolent just like the others, if not more. The part after the solo is sheer violence at unprecedented level, though the double bass would later benefit from the Tortured Existence treatment, luckily.

Thanks to a production and mixing which are quite enviable for a demo, also the bass is easily audible, and the lack of punch in the guitars is a venial sin ultimately forgivable. Reynolds' voice has nearly reached its full potential, as Necrology sees him escalating towards his trademark brutal bark which would be perfected on Epidemic of Violence. He is the essential addition to the sound of the band, as truly no one else could bellow out these lyrics full of gore and medical terms in such a malicious manner (and without twisting his tongue...). Try not to be scared when he drives one of the most furious songs in entire history, namely the hyper-fast closing track 'Hydrophobia', to its chaotic ending, with that 'YOUR LAST MORTAL HOURS SPENT BOUND TO A POST!'. Chilling. Not to forget the real step forward from the previous demo, which would be the drumming of Vinny Daze, heavy on powerful double bass parts and clearly light years ahead in terms of precision and technique if compared to John Salerno, who at least will be remembered for being replaced by maybe one of the best drummers at the time. Blame a globefish for his untimely and tragic death, in 1996, which extinguished every hope of a reformation, after the schism between the members and the disappointing Time Bomb (1994), the logical offspring of its time, coming from a band which was among the last ones to surrender to the '90s trends.

Closing, I strongly doubt that Demolition Hammer fans haven't heard of Necrology, but in this case, and also for all thrash lovers, don't overlook this, as it's really worth a listen, from the beginning to the end. Six old school slugs fired by a shotgun loaded with violence and death: that's the most inspired DH can get.