St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Dialing-up DEATHWISH for some wicked UK death-thrash! We’re close to the spiritually acceptable cut-off for “old metal” with this 1988 release, but because the band has been inactive for so long I think this fits the bill quite nicely.
Demon Preacher was the band’s follow-up to their equally fun (and equally obscure) 1987 debut At the Edge of Damnation. The term “UK Thrash” seems an apocryphal contrivance, and indeed I’m having a hard time coming up with too many peers for DEATHWISH as I write this outside of the famed and mighty ONSLAUGHT. It seems then that DEATHWISH was condemned to seek inspiration on distant shores for their riff-heavy aural assaults, and I believe a listen to the disc here will prove they were quite successful.
Ah…for once an opening worth hearing: brooding, tense and an excellent contrast to the massive mania of the title track “Demon Preacher.” What a monster of Hall of Fame riffs this track is. And not only riffs! But twists upon twists of riffs, a furious orgy of high-speed thrash riff acrobatics, topped with that strained and throaty, semi-melodic voice. Why aren’t these guys at least a little better known? Perhaps the obscurity of their home scene was one thing keeping them down.
Part of it may also be the mediocrity of bits and pieces following that phenomenal start. “Carrion” is a bit repetitive, and flat, although with a decent (generic) thrash break; “Visions of Insanity” is a nice churning monument; a decent BLACK SABBATH cover gets a play, and then we’re back to something just a riff or idea or two shy of greatness. You get the gist.
But if you are digging it, the best part is — lucky you — this one is available at the store after a long hiatus, courtesy of pretty cool US imprint Divebomb Records. Check out their bevy of eclectic re-releases while you’re there, then stop by Into the Void Records to pick up some SOLSTICE (US), FORTÉ, DEATHROW and many other pieces of niche metal history they’ve faithfully restored and we’ll happily pass on. Don’t forget to get your hands on ONSLAUGHT’s The Force or SEPULTURA’s Schizophrenia (again on vinyl!) to keep those blazing thrash wounds open, as well.
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