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To Stay Focused and to Achieve a Royal Status - 90%

bayern, April 25th, 2018

This very interesting act can be considered an appendage to both the Italian and the British scene as when the album reviewed here came out these Italianos had already relocated to the UK. They had a short spell under the name Haze at the beginning which produced one demo (“Cataclism”, 1986) of rough intense thrash, and shortly after they were the formidable Lord Crucifiers…

Whatever they came up with, under both monikers, was made in England and this opus here can rightfully pass for one of the more interesting recordings from The Isles. The style remains on the thrash side with bold shades of death metal as the band definitely have ideas to spare resulting in a fairly engaging, albeit slightly dishevelled listen. “Earthquake” opens the album with intriguing semi-technical riffs and intense, nearly proto-death atmosphere which is lost on the stylish lead sections; the tempo changes follow in such a quick succession that the listener will easily get lost way before the end. Interesting, attractive chaos which carries on unhinged on the vitriolic sweeper “The Scarecrow”, a fairly intense basher with bold attempts at death recalling works from the other side of The Atlantic like Gammacide’s “Victims of Science” and Incubus’ “Serpent Temptation” (neither released yet at the time).

“Dope” is a brutal death metal shorter, one of the first genuine attempts at the style, violent, albeit stylish again barrage which gets lost completely on the title-track, a dark jumpy mid-pacer not having much to do with the rest of the material. “Deserter to Freedom” brings the proceedings to the more intricate fast-paced parametres, and “Skullfucked” restores the technical chaotic domination which reaches a climax on the short twisted “Dead”, a precursor to the entangled “ramblings” of acts like Hellwitch and Nokturnel. The best is yet to come, though, the all-instrumental piece “A Weird Guest” which is technical thrash/proto-death at its most hectic, something that Atheist would have been proud to compose on “Unquestionable Presence”. “Family Life” is another pleasant surprise, a slower more tamed cut with great melodic undercurrents the vicious, quite shouty at times, death metal vocals acquiring a more acceptable baritone to also match the more introspective, doom-laden epitaph. Mentioning epitaphs, here comes “Epitaph for a Dead Soldier” which continues in the same direction being a tad speedier and weirder with abrupt more dynamic, not always logical, accumulations that reach a culmination on “Mind of a Child Murderer”, a masterpiece of surreal aggressive thrash with sinister pounding passages alternating with spastic technical jolts.

One can’t help but be bedazzled by such an eventful, maybe overdone at times, fiesta which predated the more complex thrash/death metal hybrids that flooded the scene a few years later. It all has the feel of a jamming session the guys throwing in ideas into the “pot” those taking care of themselves somehow, blending any which way they could. And yet, this mash-mash sounds appealing and totally listenable, following its inner logic, emerging victorious at the end to capture the listener’s attention and to keep him/her focused on the musical fireworks. Although Italy was forming a sizeable technical/progressive thrash scene (Headcrasher, Nuclear Simphony, Jester Beast, Braindamage, Techrome, etc.) in the late-80’s, this outfit would have had problems fitting into it with the exhibited addiction to chaos. Needless to add, there was nothing even remotely reminiscent of this opus released on British soil at the time, either, the other practitioners following more or less well established canons.

The guys only left one more effort for the fans to enjoy, the 4-tracker “Who Do You Trust?”, another great display of their outside-the-box thinking with original decisions galore, more thrash-fixated this time without too many brutal deathy escapades. It’s a real pity that the band disappeared shortly afterwards… the time was the rightest for such “unfocused” life-saving exploits.