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The most powerful, thrashy doom metal album ever - 88%

UltraBoris, March 6th, 2003

This is one of the finest doom metal albums ever made, for the simple reason that it knows when to throw in the well-timed thrash riff. Usually it plods along in a slow, heavy-as-fuck manner, smashing the opposition directly in front of it with its brutal guitar tone and insane vocals, but every once in a while it speeds up and you get something not all that far removed from Vio-lence. Given that this came out in 1984... this is quite the accomplishment! This is heavier and darker than Ride the Lightning and even Chemical Warfare.

First... The Tempter. Slow "Black Sabbath"-like intro goes into the main verse riff. BANG YOUR FUCKING HEAD!!! This riff staples a fucking chain to the side of your skull and forcibly agitates your cranium at 216 beats per minute until you expire at least three or four times. Combine that with the midpaced break riffs, including the total Mercyful Fate-esque middle part under the solo, this is one fucking riff monster of a song. It manages to be epic, thrashy, slow, fast, heavy, brutal - a total mishmash of ideas, and it manages to pull them together very competently.

Then, Assassin starts off pretty fast with a typical power-metal melody, except that insane guitar tone and the sheer riffage tells you that this is sort of like Ample Destruction... sort of. More like "completely far more destruction than you would ever need, and then a whole fuckload more, and oh yeah while we were there we ate your grandmother too".

Victim of the Insane starts off more slow and brooding, though still not quite a Sabbath crawl - until the second riff set under the verse, which is total Tony-Iommi-and-friends worship. This continues for a few minutes before leading into a great solo section - which then explodes with a scream into total fucking thrash riffage!! If they had kept this style for an entire album, they would've come up with something that rivalled Kill 'em All, especially if they had gotten it out in 1981-82, when most of the stuff was written. (In fact, at some point in 1983, James Hetfield went to a Trouble show, and ran onto the stage to try to discern the amp and effect settings that resulted in that vicious heaviness!)

Anyway - back to track four. This is apparently a Christian song. Oh well, doesn't bother me. They could be singing about the fucking Energizer bunny - with riffs that strong, it would make no difference. This song has some solid groove which then goes into destructive riffage at around 2.15 in, and then a solid fucking metal riff that Pantera wishes they could've come up with... the most groove ever - Overkill kindly lifted it for Spiritual Void, but this one is about a billion times heavier. "We don't need no sympathy!!!" Then another slower section. The juxtaposition of fast and slow parts is done incredibly well - this isn't just the "let's speed up a bit in the middle" of Overkill "The Answer" or whatnot, it's far more complex and very effective.

Bastards will Pay - strong speedish thrash riff opener, not all that much removed from a Megadeth "Peace Sells" era riff, or perhaps some Metal Church work. This is pretty evident in the main solo as well. Then about two minutes in, we get some more Black Sabbath-like work, which goes back into more speed metal insanity. "You fucking bastards, you're gonna pay!!" Excellent stuff.

The Fall of Lucifer is more thrash riffage from the beginning, with some more power-metallish riffs thrown in - imagine Artillery "Back in the Trash" from the power/thrash masterpiece By Inheritance. It's close to that, though a bit less overtly melodic. Then a total change at around 3.15 in results in a riff that is not unlike Tony Iommi on one of his faster days, before slowing down somewhat (the riff, not Mr. Iommi!) and going into an insane solo part to conclude.

Endtime is a bit more out there in the beginning, almost going into an "I am Iron Man!!!" moment a few times, before a monster riff explodes out of nowhere, teasing the listener for a few seconds before going back to a slower doom riff backbone over deranged, psychadelic soloing. This would be a direction the band would pursue extensively later in their career. The riffs come in earnest around 2.40 in, solid doom riffage that slowly folds, spins, and mutilates the listener before supergluing his eyelids together and leaving him to die in a gravitational field just outside a 12th story window. Excellent stuff.

The title track starts off with some random spoken vocals, which then goes into a midpaced, bludgeoning thrash riff - something not all that far removed from the first Artillery demo, or even Fear of Tomorrow. More insane vocals follow a generally straightforward approach to this song which then turns into an all-out thrasher around 2.19 in with some fast riffs alternating with some crazy soloing, before the leads continue, but over more midpaced riffing this time. Then a second section starts with some more choppy riffing, not all that far removed from the middle section of Overkill "Horrorscope" - again, Pantera wish they had this much groove without any of the stupidity of a riff like "This Love".

The last song is a bit different, as it is a cover... the late 60s classic rock riffs totally come to light here - still, Cream was pretty much a metal band, and this song is very fucking heavy. The vocals are brought into a slight bit more prominence, and there is nearly constant soloing to match some interludes. Probably the most experimental song on here, in that late 60s LSD sense of the word. This is a very good choice of a cover song, especially given Trouble's later direction.

So note that in most of my references, other than Black Sabbath, I alluded to LATER bands. Yep, this album was way the fuck ahead of its time. A monster combination of doom and thrash, with a lot of mid-80s power-metal riffage thrown in, just with a heaviness unknown to any band except Sabbath of course. If you like that, or Overkill, or just in general classic HEAVY FUCKING METAL, this is completely down your alley.