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Feel the hand of doom. - 90%

Diamhea, February 4th, 2018

While Boston's Meliah Rage segued into thrashier territory with the admittedly-spectacular Solitary Solitude, their finest moment has to be the debut Kill to Survive. This record is a stone-cold heavy metal classic, fusing classic-sounding riffs with incendiary thrash intensity, epic vocals and an acrobatic, multifarious grasp of the disparate elements that contribute to the overall sound. I would say that Kill to Survive feels a lot like Metal Church, but there is some Metallica sprinkled in there as well amid an ephemeral smattering of Flotsam and Jetsam's eccentricities. A very compact listen at only seven tracks including the lengthy instrumental eponymous cut, there is no reason not to give this on a whirl. So let's see what we have here.

Three all-time classics for sure, those being the stage-setting riff powerhouse "Beginning of the End," the more classic-sounding gruffness of "Enter the Darkness" and my favourite: the swirling, thrashing madness of the spectacular "Impaling Doom," which shuffles through snappy, direct riffs while Mike Munro's threatening howl commands instant moshing: "Feel the blade tear through..... you!" Deviations from this norm do exist, like the slower, lyrically atypical "Bates Motel," whose conceptual influence is clear as day, and the instrumental "Meliah Rage," which does get quite fucking heavy in spots despite feeling a bit redundant on the whole. I would have rather liked to see these riffs in proper confines - it falls prey to the common instrumental pitfall of sounding like a dumping ground for riffs that wouldn't or couldn't fit elsewhere.

Regardless, it's just a fucking cool style, with song structure that feels influenced more by traditional heavy metal than thrash, although the riffs have that spastic edge to them that spices up the already competent cultivation of atmosphere. Munro certainly doesn't wax philosophical or anything - Meliah Rage don't have much of a message outside of banging the head that doesn't fucking bang. Absolutely nothing on this record even comes close to sucking, and the late '80s production really gives the grafted-together genre fusion a stable sonic footing. This is one of the better guitar sounds I have ever heard, tailor-made for the more trad riffs but loose enough to open up during the thrashing.

Kill to Survive shouldn't be missed, being one of the most consistent, compact and virulent records in my collection. It never fails to put a smile on my face and can easily be spun front to back without the need to exercise the skip button. The band throws a few curve balls, inter alia the analog of heavy/thrash hallmarks and spunky, thrown-together quality of the riffing construction, and no quarter is ever taken. A forgotten classic, without a doubt.

A trully hidden masterpiece - 100%

Ragereviews, June 2nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Epic Records

During the eighties many thrash metal bands gained a lot of popularity like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Yeah: "The Big Four". Also during those years younger bands erupted expanding the style with a slightly different approach that mixed traditional metal elements to the original thrash metal formula.

I always loved Meliah Rage since I've bought this CD on a tiny specialized metal store in Argentina (My country) during early 1993.

This Boston outfit was signed by Epic Records: not too bad for a newer band!. "Kill To Survive" contains seven tracks that shows an exquisit balance between traditional heavy metal - Riot and NWOBHM are quite remarkable influences - and 1983-1986 Metallica era. Guitarrists Anthony Nichols And Jim Koury are the cornerstone of the band with their constant rhytmic attack using energetic/melodic riffs. A trully solid tandem that also plays excellent solos during the whole CD!.

Mike Munro with his vocals offers an astounding performance sounding like a melodic version of James Hetfield.

"Beginning Of The End" it´s the first song of this work and shows the most "melodical" side of the band. The rest of the album lacks of fillers and goes succesfully to the point, "Bates Motel" - as we can imagine - it's a tribute to Norman Bates and contains brilliant arpegios specially during the last two minutes.

"Meliah Rage" is the only instrumental on "Kill To Survive" and shows more speed, energy, and five talented musicians in their executions.

The opening riff of "Enter The Darkness" reminds me some Raven influence and the song it's plenty of well placed hooks and tempo changes.

The last track it's one of the burning moments of the CD, "The Pack" explodes in your face with solid and constant melodic hooks balanced with thrashy riffing plus a brilliant performance of Stuart Dowie on drums, he shines in his amazing solo at the closer end of the track.

I always considered them highly underrated and some comparisons with Metal Church don't make justice with them. Here we have more elements: sense of melody mixed with palm-muted riffing and very epic songs. Iron Maiden it's another source of inspiration.

Unfortunately this album has only seven tracks, the reason was that Epic choose to put aside the title track "Kill To Survive" because they considered that the lyrics were too violent and they don't want any kind of law suit. I strongly reccomend this work to listeners that like Metallica, they are their most bigger influence.

Meliah Rage offered a tremendous compendium of powerful and inspired songs. Killer album for sure and ESSENTIAL!

The Purest Kind of Raging Heavy Metal. - 88%

Metal_Jaw, December 30th, 2013

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts is one of the many faces in the legion of unsung heavy metal heroes, Meliah Rage. Cut from a similar cloth of fellow USPM peers like Jag Panzer, Metal Church, Griffin and Vicious Rumors, yet considerably thrashier than any of them, their fairly obscure debut "Kill To Survive" is an album close to my heart. While far from a terribly original effort, this album pretty much perfectly exemplifies the face of pure, unfiltered, raging heavy metal. It does everything right and then some, basically making for one hell of a good listen if you dig your US power metal with a side order of thrash.

Though not exactly technically proficient, the bandmates in this lineup know how to rock your house down with pure, carnage-fueled energy. Mike Munro keeps his vocals at a belligerent, booming howl throughout the album; not really a varied performance, but a vital one all the same. The guitar team of Jim Koury and Anthony Nichols are arguably the driving force that makes this album so purely metal. While most of their solos aren't really noteworthy, it's these guys' pounding riffs and stomping, never-stopping rhythm lines that send this ferocity of this record beyond the stratosphere. The rich, robust bass of Jesse Johnson adds a great deal of texture to the mix, and he even gets to let his solid skills shine of tracks like "Enter The Darkness" and "Impaling Doom". Finally the drumming of Stuart Dowie; he's pretty good himself, attempting variety in his drumming and trying to be creative with it.

From beginning to end, this sucker rages mightily. Speaking of beginnings and endings, how about the intro track "Beginning of the End"? A familiar stock riff carries the listener through a pounding mid-paced affair with a bit of NWOBHM spunk and a slight thrash attitude. Next track "Bates Motel" continues the mid-paced trend, though this one is meaner and more aggressive than "Beginning of the End"; imagine 80's Priest or Accept injected with a lethal dose of early Metallica or Exodus and you'll get the picture. The epic instrumental title track speeds the album up a bit with numerous different schweet riffs and what feels like ten dozen time changes. If I had to pick a weak track on "Kill To Survive", it would be "Deadly Existence". A boiling cooker of a thrasher, though it doesn't quite leave as much of an imprint as the rest of the tracks on here.

Luckily the album is backloaded with the three best songs. "Enter The Darkness" is the face of pure heavy metal. It should be considered a classic along with "The Trooper", "Breaking The Law", "Balls To The Wall" and so many others. With its driving, pounding rhythm lines, fluttering bass, steady-beat drumming and catchy riffage, it's nearly a mini-masterpiece in standard heavy metal fare. Then we have probably the best on here, "Impaling Doom". A gnarly cut of speed-thrash, this song leaves its mark with a fearsome ear-worm guitar hook that pops up throughout the song, high octane drumming, pentatonic shredding and even a short, moody bass break. Then that fucking chorus! "Feel the blade rip, feel the blade slice, fell the blade tear through...YOU!!!" FUCK YEAH! The fantastic "The Pack" ends the record on a high note. While the song does have its moments with nice riffage and overall speed, it's the solo in this one that cooks the most; it's friggin' killer, easily the best on the album, showing the guitarists putting their best strings forward.

Overall, "Kill To Survive" isn't really anything very original, I'll admit that. But still having said that, it is still a highly entertaining and well-performed, underrated effort with loads of energy, riffs and aggression to spare. Find it if you can; if you're a fan of speed metal, thrash and the 80's US power stuff, sit back and enjoy!

Old School That Endures! - 84%

overkill67, January 27th, 2007

"It's The Beginning Of The End"! Well, actually this was the beginning of a highly underrated and poorly misunderstood career! Meliah Rage's debut was a killer assembly of old school formulas mixed with the modern day (1988) thrash explosion that was taking place in the notorious Bay Area!

Although only seven tracks were found on this recording, the initial plan was to release this album with eight tracks, "Kill To Survive" being the obvious title track which was unfortunately left out at the request of the record label, due to the violent and graphic lyrics. Which is really too bad, because it was an excellent song, and this album is constantly critisized for being so short. Shame on Epic records!

As for the seven tracks that are on here, they are all worthy to be heard. Believe you, me! Nothing on this disc is skip worthy by any means. The production is phenomenal for the time of its release, and the ability of this band to write hooks, and catchy numbers is something that should be taught to many of todays wanna-be nu-metal/pseudo thrash bands! The interesting thing about this album is the fact that although this band is and always will be labeled a thrash metal band, there formual for song creativity stemmed largely from the NWOBHM. I know that this may seem like a redundant statement, since bands like Forbidden and Megadeth often site alot of these same bands as influences, however they only incorportated certain aspects of NWOBHM style into their own songs, and then embelished them with their own innovative twists. Meliah Rage on the other hand, stuck entirely with the 4 chord progressions, stripped down, bare boned guitar solos (no wankery/no shredding), and for the most part the bands songs are completely devoid of absolutely any progressive elements whatsoever. Yet, the songs still remain interesting and they've managed to endure. In other words, they got their song writting down to a science.

The songs on this album have already been covered in great detail in a previous review, therefore I will refrain from beating a dead horse. However, I will say this, Meliah Rage are one of the most underrated bands of all time! They definately deserve much more recognition and much more praise for their contribution to metal for the past 20 years, as well as their ability to stick to their guns and never compromise their style. This album is a testament to the bands inception into the domineering world of thrash metal and important aspect to the reason that there ever was a Metal scene in Boston and the eastern United States.

I know that this album was reissued around 2000 along with "Live Kill", but do wish that someone will remaster this album and release it the way that it desreves to be heard...one can only wish!

Nicely done speed/thrash - 80%

UltraBoris, December 1st, 2002

There really isn't anything here that hadn't been done before, but it is definitely done well. The band in question is Meliah Rage, and they sound a bit like Metal Church meets Vio-lence meets Laaz Rockit, with some more speed metal moments than any of those.

We start with "Beginning of the End" - one of the strongest songs on here, and this sets the tone for the whole album. "This is the end!" Nicely done speed/thrash - a pretty fast song with some nice headbanging riffs. Then, "Bates Motel" is a bit slower, and has more groove, and if you do not headbang to this, I will come to your house and feed your face to your dog.

"Meliah Rage" is an instrumental - some nice power-metal moments to be found here reminiscent of Blessing in Disguise, and then we get into the awesome "Deadly Existence" - this is fucking insane, fucking heavy, and fucking vio-lent. Especially the middle part, which suddenly hits about 254 beats per minute, and then shoves an entire Sears catalogue full of lawnmower blades down YOUR throat.

"Enter the Darkness" is power metal. This is the antithesis of "Deadly Existence", in that the melody lines are more pronounced. It can almost be compared to Grim Reaper or any other of the heavy 80s metal bands. I think they made a video for this one... this is definitely the hit single of the album. "Impaling Doom" is fast speed metal, as is "The Pack" - the two fastest songs on the album, both having a very definite "Western Alliance" feel to them.

Again, nothing too groundbreaking, but still this is highly enjoyable speed/thrash to be found here.