Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Terrahsphere - Third In Order Of The Sun [1991]

Though the 90's obviously did not provide with a wealth of thrash that was half as prolific or good as the 80's, emergent acts that culminated during 1990-1993 no doubt have a colorful, even mercurial appeal that I sometimes find to be superior to those of their more olden counterparts. I'm not claiming that New Hampshire thrashers Terrahsphere were bringing a slab of utmost distinction to the table, but they were certainly an enlightening band to come across during the years which thrash was slowly being torn asunder. Terrahsphere's sole album ''Third In Order Of The Sun'' was conducted by the underground entrepreneurs New Renaissance Records, which previously released an abundance of excellent underground obscurities from Soothsayer, Amulance, At War, Blood Feast and Dream Death to name a few; and I believe they found their perfect fit with Terrahsphere, a bristling, busy quartet of madhouse fugitives who don't shy from exposing their sympathy for science-fiction. Well, almost perfect.

You could really assert that the group is drawing influences from a number of suspects: early Toxik, Realm, Megadeth, Norwegian obscures Equinox, Sacrifice, and so forth, but to me they seem like an almost direct translation of Invocator's clinical, surging debut, only stripped up of some of the punch that really rendered the debut so hostile and raucous. Ah yes, the punch. Probably the sole thing that made me malcontent, but thankfully, the band deploys such a myriad of carnal, technical speed/thrash interpretations that it becomes nearly impossible not to succumb to the brisk, curving bevy of sci-fi induced grapple hooks, which take numerous forms of hostility over the coarse of the record, and what's more is that Terrahsphere have a manic vocalist behind all the superfluous machine-gun fire of acute tech-thrash spurts, a frenzied madman whose rupturing vocal cords gyrate between Flemming Ronsdorf of Artillery in his more rowdy days, Jacob Hansen of Invocator and Voivod's Snake. So whether it be the robotic tapping riffs of the opener, the Voivod-like chord progressions of ''Scioreality'' or the finalizing, frivolous leads of ''What Was And Will Be Again'', you've got yourself a genuine futuristic minefield, and every moment is explosive.

The single flare of the opener, ''Re-Emergence Of Atlantis'' is enough to inform the the listener that he/she has just stepped into the chamber of the sovereign of demented pandemonium, but bear in mind that Terrahsphere is not completely about razing, guitars and frenetic vocal output. Terrahsphere set the incomplete fundamentals of a sub-genre that could not reach large heights and would have otherwise boomed into something even more exciting. Sure, technical thrash metal with just faster tendencies is hardly a novel, even for the people of 1991, since Watchtower, Toxik, Deathrow, Hexenhaus and Mekong Delta dropped their pioneering works in previous years, but with the extra aid of fluttering craze behind technically adept guitars something truly attractive could have been born, but the number of bands worshiping the aforementioned acts are low today, so a tiny kindle in the lesser parts of the underground seems to have almost no impact at all.

And perhaps the blossom of such a sound would have occurred in future years by its creators, but unfortunately, Terrahsphere did not live long enough to shed more light on their aesthetics. ''Third In Order Of The Sun'' has its flaws, no doubt, mostly that it lacked the meat it needed to pack a proper punch and because, despite the proficiency of the guitar work, it's still somewhat held aback, a merely combustive fragment of the albums it vaguely tries to exemplify, but through a voluptuous, though not brutal vortex of cavorting intricacies, bound to each other by cajoling elements extracted from outer space, it makes for a highly vibrant and enjoyable listen, and a reasonably good achievement considering the year it was released. Fluent debut which is second in order of the tech-thrash constraint, bested only by the initiating masters of the sub-genre.

''New Clear Day'''
''Re-Emergence Of Atlantis''

Final Rating
Awesome [8.2/10]

Friday, January 4, 2013

Savage Death - Crucified After The Genocide [2010] (Compilation)

Perhaps one of the most staggering and resonating sojourns into the mid 80's reservoir of extremity can be attained best through the unearthing of classic demos that no doubt had their impact on the local scene, but where later on deterred and trampled into submission with the rising of stronger, to be mainstream acts, but I still feel such obscurities stuck in amid the very ooze of time bear the essence of the true energy of their period. Really, any underrated demo could have served the purpose here, but in this case I've chosen one of my underground favorites, Savage Death. While band's body work is short; only two demos ranging at about 35 minutes, F.O.A.D Records has blissfully uprooted the band from their subterranean prison and has brought the two works of savagery to disposal, all the better for collectors of unveiled antiquities.

And delving into the demos, you'll find that Savage Death's material is hardly a novelty for anyone who has the slightest idea what crudities were being churned up in the US scene back then, but even so compared to many of its contemporaries' axe-work circa 1985-1986, this carries a reasonable level of aggression, extremity, along with all the fundamentals that comprised the anatomy of an average speed/thrash neanderthal. In fact, had the group started their endeavors a year or two earlier, they might have surpassed their fellow countrymen Possessed, all thanks to a roiling, gyrating tone to serve as an arboretum to Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and even some of the earliest crossover thrash examples that laid in the very heart of the US. That being said, Savage Death's compositions are hardly sentient interpretations of precision. The tone is highly muscular in contrast to speed metal bands who took their respective influences from primal power metal and NWOBHM footings, but at the same time it's twangy, high-pitched and takes up the majority of space in the mix, the other quadrants unequally given to the dissipating, feral inflection of the vocals and the raw clangor of the drums.

Despite all the one-dimensional perspective of acquiring belligerence through meat, bones, grime and evil that are highly prevalent in both demos, the 1985 ''Mass Genocide'' and the 1986 ''Crucified In Hell'' have their vague differences that help butter up and radiate the emergence of diversity on the entire compilation of songs. One of the core reasons for this implicit difference may be the change in drummers; as Eric Young picks up the drum sticks in the stead of Dave Marks to do some snare-battering action on ''Crucified In Hell'', a distinction in percussion ambiguously forms, and additionally, the ever schizoid Joe Barrows also makes some slight changes in his rancorous toning. ''Crucified In Hell'' features a stockpile of tremolo wails too, unlike its predecessor, and on the same demo, the band begins a tighter focus on traditional crossover aesthetics, as seen on ''I Impaled Your Mother'' and ''Kill The Posers'', while ''Mass Genocide'' was almost purely devoted the meaty, grinding edge of its hostile brute blade, swinging voluptuously.

It seems like these vandals could have burst and released an expunging debut just a year after their second demo, but sadly, their brief discography never saw the light of a full-length that would have even trebled their potential for creating unbridled blitzkrieg. Yet, I suppose we should be thankful the band released two demos of sheer mid 80's speed/thrash excellence. Even for a critic who takes all his/her music quite seriously, this is a traumatic, raw onset of nostalgia, in which case translates simply into interaction, interaction and interaction. Certainly a sumptuous feast for anyone who gets pleasure out of early Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, DRI, Possessed, and primordial South American textbook examples of death/thrash like Sepultura, Vulcano, Attomica and Dorsal Atlantica circa 1986-1987.

''Mass Genocide''
''The Advisory''
''Evil Dead''
''Savage Death''

Final Rating
Mediocre [7/10]