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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!