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Yeah, this will rip your face off - 86%

robotiq, March 17th, 2020

This is one of those demos which has found near legendary status as one of the first 'death metal' recordings. Certainly, this is some of the most intense metal you'll hear from 1985. It is a terrifying and ungodly racket. Imagine listening to two Slayer albums simultaneously, say "Hell Awaits" in one ear and "Show No Mercy" in the other. Add some horrendous, banshee-like screaming into the mix. That is what this demo sounds like.

"Fire Death Fate" is a decent opener, it shows the band in their full fury, it also has a catchy chorus which you can latch onto. "Ultimate Death" is the highlight, it starts with an amazing three-quarter speed riff (straight from the Slayer handbook). The crunching riff just after the two-minute mark is fucking righteous. Everything slows down and suddenly it all gets more menacing. "Blood For Blood" speeds things back up and heads into almost grindcore territory before pulling a recognisable chorus from the madness. The drumming throughout is phenomenal and is the main reason Insanity sound so powerful. The production is what you might expect from the time, but clear enough that you can hear what you need to hear. There is no muddiness at all, not much distortion, not much bass, but the overall sound works because the band is tight and talented.

Is it death metal? For 1985 it is damn close, near the top of the class (which would contain contemporaries like Archenemy and Devastation). In my view there are a couple of recordings from the period which have a more distinct death metal 'vibe’. Insanity don't have the same 'swirling riff-vortex' of the best moments from "Seven Churches", nor do they have the bone-crunching death metal feel of Terminal Death's "Faces of Death" demo. Insanity seem more aligned with the (very) extreme thrash of later bands like Morbid Saint. Still, who cares when the music hits as hard as this?

80's Death Metal Demo Series: #1. Insanity - 96%

UncleMeat, May 5th, 2009

In 1985, most death metal bands were still in their early stages, playing a much more simplistic version of the death metal sound that would emerge a short while later. Death/Mantas, Possessed, Master/Deathstrike, Black Dethe, etc. are all examples of this. Insanity however, had something else brewing in their rehearsal space - something much more technical, faster, and savagely brutal. It’s hard to believe this was actually recorded in 1985, as this band was incredibly ahead of their time, and thus makes this recording the perfect choice for being the first review in my "80's Death Metal Demo Series".

Regarding the production on here, well there really isn’t any. This was recorded in their rehearsal space (probably a garage) straight to a two-track tape recorder. The only piece of equipment they really had other then the tape recorder was one stereo microphone, meaning no mixer, no mastering job, and no studio touch ups. So knowing this, before hearing the recording yourself, one would expect something about as bad sounding as those early Death rehearsal tapes, but you will be surprised, and pleased, to find out that the sound on here really isn’t that bad. You can hear every riff, bass line, solo, drum fill, and growl perfectly, making this one fine specimen of death metal in its earliest stages from one of the most ripping bands of that era.

Joe DeZuniga, the band’s original vocalist who died in 1987, has an excellent voice. He utilizes a higher, raspier growling screech type of voice that really sounds like his jugular is being ripped from his throat as the recording is going on. One element that really set Insanity apart from all the other proto-death metal recordings from the mid-80’s was the technical riffing. Obviously it was not as intricate as what would later develop on the bands debut LP, but keep in mind, this was 1985. And while Death and Master were busy making simplistic, yet still awesome, Venom-worshipping proto-death metal, Insanity were busy constructing riffs that could easily take everything else from that era and blow it out of the water in terms of intensity, technicality and construction. Bud Mills, the drummer, who also died a sad, unfortunate death, really makes his skills apparent as he beats the SHIT out of those skins, with an equal amount of energy as the rest of the band is carrying out.

Insanity have remained a criminally underrated band for 24 years, and it blows my mind that when the discussion of pioneering death metal bands comes about, this band is rarely mentioned (well it really depends on who you’re talking to, if you know what I mean). But luckily, they do, and always have had a considerable cult following, as they rightfully deserve it, so finding reissues of their material is not very hard. And for this reason, I highly advise you to purchase everything and anything you can find. Highly recommended to those who like their death metal ancient and evil.