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Crusty Thrash With A Serious Grindcorish Influence - 95%

Apovlitos, September 26th, 2017

The more one listens to thrash, the harder it becomes to discover something new, something exciting and powerful. One will find uninspired performances and mediocrity stemming usually from blatant copying of previous successful thrash outputs. Of course, there are occasionally bands that have remained somewhat hidden, but possess so much force and attitude that they at last trigger all those familiar emotions.

Epidemic if not hidden, is certainly an overlooked thrash band and it seems to me that its debut record, “The Truth of What Will Be” has gone somewhat unnoticed. The band undeniably developed its own brand of thrash metal and this is reflected on this debut. For such a short record, it manages to encapsulate and it is defined musically by a variety of intra- but also extra- metal influences, without of course ever leaving the domain of thrash metal. Epidemic infuses into their compositions several traits that characterise this variety of genres producing a sound that I can only summarily describe as crusty thrash with a serious grindcorish influence.

The debut features some simple yet incredible thrash passages such as the amazing intro of "In Fear We Kill" which leads to some great and fast tremolo picking 55s into the track. However, the way Epidemic arranges most of the tracks is so unconventional that it has more in common with grindcore than thrash metal bands. Epidemic literally splices into these short tracks explosive passages of instrumental battery which is reminiscent to the structure of a crossover/grindcore microsong. The band carried on this style to "Decameron" which is essentially an extension of the debut record. My review of "Decameron" explores further Epidemic's unconventional structuring of tracks and seemingly disordered performance.

Moreover, it is not just the arrangement of the tracks, but also the overall musical ideas on the record and direct incorporation of specific traits that suggest a grindcorish influence. The wonderful mid – paced griminess from 2m52s – 3m45s on “Hands of Ruby” actually reminded me of the section beginning at 39s from “Human Garbage” and the intro of “Scum” from Napalm Death’s debut album. The track even has a short but very noticeable blast beat from 2m21s - 2m24s. But the most overt grinder on the record has to be "Thigh Rubbage" which straddles somewhere in between crossover thrash and grindcore. Too chaotic to be similar to a Nuclear Assault or S.O.D grinder but not chaotic enough to be straight up grindcore it is, nonetheless, a pure explosion of energy with sudden tempo changes and a heavy usage of blast beats. The vocal performance on "Thigh Rubbage" and "Finer Things in Life" is also indicative of the record's direction as it harks back to the incomprehensible screaming of bands like Sore Throat (a.k.a Saw Throat) and Extreme Noise Terror. I must note Carl Fulli's quite interesting vocals since they do not seem to really fit in any traditional style of thrash vocals. Of course, it is evident that there is a death metal influence to his vocals which becomes much clearer on the next album where the vocals feature more growling.

The production is raw and organic resulting in a very gritty sound marked by Mark Bodine's distorted as fuck bass which boldly at times takes central role on the record (simply listen 32s into "AMX” and from 2m30s - 3m00 on "Hands of Ruby"). The production allows the music to have a greater sensory impact and it is integral to the chaotic nature of the record. It almost sounds like “The Truth of What Will Be” is a recording of a live show because all the aggressiveness and spontaneity of the band's performance can be clearly heard which I readily attribute to the record's unrefined production. I really have to restrain myself from going into a rant about how thrash bands nowadays systematically suck out the energy from their instruments and suffocate their performance by choosing to overproduce their records. What these bands fail to realise is that the identity of their work is somewhat diminished once the peculiarities of their performance are concealed by bloated record productions. In any case, the bottom line here is that Epidemic's debut is not your average sounding thrash record. It is a dirty and noisy record which unashamedly embraces the imperfections of a pure sound and frames incredible thrash riffage within the crustiness of an unrefined production.

Epidemic's debut is a very unique record in the history of the thrash genre and I would further claim, that it is not simply another obscure piece of great thrash but a very important metal record that highlights the close relationship between thrash metal and other punk based genres. Without any reservation or hesitation I recommend this record to every thrash fan, but also any dedicated extreme metal and punk listener. Thus, I hope that thrash fans will be surprised, as I was, with the refreshing intensity and aggressiveness of Epidemic’s debut while extreme metal and punk listeners will expand their musical interests.

Furious and demented thrash - 89%

The_Boss, November 25th, 2008

US's thrash powerhouse Epidemic, started off their career with a full on thrash onslaught that tore the boundaries of speed, something Slayer made famous for, which is obviously the influence to be found here on The Truth of What Will Be. Their 1989 debut is a solid slab of thrash with very little death metal influence, other than the slightly harsher vocals and song structure. Their progression with the following sophomore album, Decameron, is almost a full on death/thrash album, and then their 1994 release was a mish mash of awkward death metal that still flowed in the thrash territory. But here, is where we see Epidemic at their best, their rawest and their most powerful.

A very short release, 9 songs barely making 23 minutes beating Reign in Blood's time, Epidemic's debut is chunky and fast thrash metal much in the vein of Slayer. Hell, even vocalist Carl Fulli SOUNDS like Tom Araya... and it's obviously Guy Higbey is a huge Kerry King fan, with those trademark chaotic solos that sound more like a hyena being stuffed in a fan. Fulli can also go the psychopathic route where it simply sounds like he's just yelling random words into the microphone which I find both hilarious and awesome, see Finer Things in Life; it almost reminds me of when Steve Carrell was getting his chest waxed in the 40 Year Old Virgin.. "AAHAAHAHAH KELLY CLARKSON!" The laughing at the end is truely something I'd expect someone from a mental institution to do as well. The musicianship here is what I would expect from a thrash band; the guitars are a bit sloppy at times, but riffing otherwise is solid; did I mention this was fast?! There are slower mid-tempo breaks at times like in Three Witches which is what of the longer songs that would easily fit well on Slayer's South of Heaven. The bassist makes his presence known with loads of thundering basslines like the prominent In Fear We Kill.

The songs change between under 2 minute all out, guns blaring, thrash assaults; raping your heads like a panda skullfucking Erik Rutan as he rapes good death metal productions. Reminiscent of work found on Fastkill where it's just insanely fast thrash that is almost too hard to distinguish; Epidemic have made a niche for such, which I fucking love. The longer songs (the ones actually passing the 3 minute mark) are the more coherent, more structured songs that actually have pacing that shifts to mid-tempo, with ominious bass and leads that haunt your mind (I'm looking at you Silent Torture. My version is the combined song of the last 3 songs where it happens about 3 minutes in.

Epidemic are somewhat overlooked in the grand scheme it seems, pushed back in the overlying heap of Slayer records and lamer death metal outfits that worked their way into the mainstream. But it seems even Epidemic fell of the path later on in their career, but here on the debut The Truth of What Will Be, is where you can find Epidemic at their most insane, their best and most importantly, their thrashiest! I can't find much to complain with this, it's great Slayer worship that actually sticks out, if you can handle insane thrash with a demented vocalist then Epidemic's debut is for you.