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Re-Animator > Laughing > 1991, CD, Under One Flag > Reviews
Re-Animator - Laughing

Hardy har har. - 60%

Diamhea, September 7th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1991, CD, Under One Flag

I really came in pumped and primed to slog the shit out of this one, but Laughing has forced a sizable volume of words back down my gullet with a killer instinct not too far removed from the band's one true magnum opus (can we even call it that?) - Condemned to Eternity. Re-Animator were obviously a bit late to the party, but enjoyed the blessing (or curse) of calling one of the less active scenes their home. I was with the band all the way through the debut (as most level-headed thrashers should be), but a chance meeting with That Was Then... This Is Now some time back soured my taste regarding these guys to the point of mental trauma. I mean, how could the band have possibly fallen so far in just two years time? Were they huffing the fumes of their quickly-evaporating potential in the studio? It didn't help that Lee Robinson is one of the worst vocalists to ever don the tight jeans and sneakers, coming off as a laugh-out-loud lampooning of Hetfield's soured rasp of the time period.

Drawing influence from Metallica in 1992 is hardly a novel or atypical conception, but Re-Animator truly took a hard left turn here a year beforehand, suddenly sounding more like Anthrax with an album that takes very little seriously and distances itself markedly from the earlier material as such. The best way to describe Laughing would be Spreading the Disease-era Anthrax meets Blind Illusion along with some of the more progressive outfits of the period. For 1991 this is already dated to begin with, but the band tries to adapt by injecting what oftentimes sounds like pop-punk elements, what with groovy bass-driven breakdowns along with more conventional songwriting. It helps that Ingleson is still here, as I have come to appreciate his youthful yowls over what came after him. To bring up Anthrax once more, parallels can be drawn to a less-polished Belladonna with a pinch more grit. The overuse of gang-shouts is endearing and helps drive home many of the choruses, so in the end I can appreciate the vocal performance on here as much as anything Re-Animator ever put out.

What almost kills it is the band's preoccupation with the experimental. I can comprehend what they were trying to pull off here, but these guys simply lack the compositional clout to shoot from the hip with any degree of accuracy. "Kipper 'N" is sort of cool for what it is, being a short, emotive acoustic number, but what about the arbitrary mess that is "Time and Tide?" All I can say is "What the funk?" I really dig some of these tunes though, as they boast much of the punk-infused joviality these guys clearly owe much of their sound to. The Dead Kennedys cover is no mistake in this regard, but my favorite track here is probably "Big Black Cloud," which sounds like "A.I.R." meets "Birth of Tension." In fact, a fair aggregate of the band's best material is present on Laughing, including "Another Fine Mess" and "Don't Patronise Me."

Worth making a final note of is "Research," which is somewhat more ambitious and sort of hails back to the riff-soup amalgam that was "Condemned to Eternity." Re-Animator isn't working with much innovation regarding the riff set this time around, but they definitely know how to the thrash the fuck out when pressured, which goes a long way to solidify their standing on thrash's second-line along with countrymen Xentrix and the like. Laughing is very much a fun listen at times, but it is still irrefutably flawed. The samples are just too much to handle, and if the band disposed of these along with the more experimental numbers, we would have an EP superior to Deny Reality. As it stands, most can do without this one, but fans of the debut would be wise to at least give this a cursory glance.