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Another overlooked power/thrash classic - 90%

Jophelerx, January 12th, 2014

If you're a fan of tech thrash or power/thrash, chances are you've at least heard the name Realm, and you might even know their two full-length albums, Endless War and Suiciety. The former in particular often gets praised for being one of the coolest tech thrash albums out there, while the latter has a slightly more mixed reception. But what about this little gem? None of these four songs appeared on either full-length, making it completely its own entity, yet I've never heard it mentioned when the band is discussed. For '85, this is actually pretty advanced, complex power/thrash (hell, any form of power/thrash is relatively early for '85), and as far as I'm concerned it's leagues ahead of both full-lengths, albeit with only four songs.

The band lineup here is identical to that of the two full-lengths except we have Doug Parker on vocals rather than Mark Antoni. Both are good in different ways; Antoni is more of your standard tech thrash high-pitched shrieker a la Mike Sanders (Toxik), while Parker has a slightly deeper, grittier tone. Parker still has a pretty high voice, just not as high as Antoni's, and he doesn't use his upper register quite as much (although there's still plenty of kickass falsetto, not to worry). His style isn't unusual for USPM-type stuff, but I can't think of too many vocalists that sound really similar to him. He's sort of like a standard shrieker combined with a slight German influence such as Rock n Rolf on RW's debut. He also reminds me quite a bit of Patrick Brown from Oblivion (FL), but that's a pretty obscure reference.

Despite having the rest of the lineup, the sound is definitely different than that of Endless War or Suiciety. Not radically different, but whereas those albums are primarily thrash, I'd call this about equal parts power/thrash, with some speed thrown in as well. The production is fantastic for an '85 demo from a relatively unknown band - I'd say even better than that on Endless War. The guitar is big and crunchy, the bass has a pretty nice presence, which is good as it's often doing it's own thing musically as well. The drum sound is nothing exceptional but nothing annoying, either. The most important part, of course, is the riffs, which are almost constantly excellent. Dark, speedy, and aggressive, with everything turned up to 10. Every part of the band is on fire on this release, and I can't really pick a favorite tune; they all kick ass. Seriously, just listen to the whole demo if you're a fan of tech thrash or power/thrash or USPM, you definitely won't be disappointed.