Monday, April 02, 2007

New Blog Underway

I've been lame about posting new demos for the past few months, mainly because I'm trying to put together a bigger better framework for blogging about all aspects of heavy metal life. I've been converting these demos to .RAR files and transferring them, and within a week of now everything should be racing forward instead of gathering even more dust. Basically, I've got 6 demos digitized, and 1,000 more to go...

UPDATE: Okay, it's ready -- goodbye, Blogger, and


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hot Hot Heat

100-degree weather in the city doesn't seem so bad compared to being incinerated and cremated for an eternity in the imaginations of these deathly Italian thrashers. The cover art features a smoke monster worthy of Super Mario World, while the handwritten cassette card shouts out Incinerator's good pals in Schizo. This demo is kind of a Kreator-influenced mess, but the juicy synths on the intro "Crematorium," the finger-tapping guitar solo on "Mass Genocide," and the tender acoustic intro to "Incinerator" are all hidden stashes of gold coins -- or more like baby steps in the evolution of extreme European metal. I've never heard the 1989 album on Sonic Attack Records -- it's called UH!?! -- guess it got too hot to talk in complete words?

INCINERATOR * "Live Into the Crematorium" demo 1986
1. Crematorium
2. Mass Genocide
3. Incinerator
4. Terminal Vivisection

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lords of All Terror and Plagues

Here's a sure sign of a rescue mission -- when I popped this cassette from its case, the label flew off the tape with a puff of dried glue dust. I'm surprised that this demo isn't already out there, but crime of all crimes, even Holy Terror's two excellent records and Terror & Submission and Mind Wars don't seem to be in print on any legitimate label.

Formed from refugees of L.A. metal mills Abbatoir, Agent Steel, and Dark Angel, these guys were burnt but brilliant. I saw them open a bill for DRI and Kreator, and singer Keith Deen spit his vitriol through the entire show while crouched and kneeling -- not a typical posture for a metal hero. They had true dirtbag grit, but their excellent speed metal was also filthy with smart melodic flourishes, worthwhile guitar solos, and good lyrics about disease and religious decay.

This demo falls in the same field as Slayer and Megadeth demos, which were basically just underproduced versions of what appeared on album. Great, great stuff.

Holy Terror * 1986 Demo
1. Blessed Sacrament
2. Black Plague
3. Distant Calling
4. Guardians of the Netherworld

I think the band is currently coming down off an ill-fated early 2006 reunion attempt with a new singer. This upbeat drug and violence-laced account of the band's late '80s escapades explains a few things, and is chock full of runaway tour busses, FedEx fixes, and British people being punched in the face.

Hearty MEGA-thanks to drtboi from for volunteering to host these sacred songs!


I know that's not exactly a raging recommendation, but for a time it seemed every banger on the block except me was shaking their head to this greasy batch of Philly cheesesteaks. But c'mon -- "Anvil Bitch"? Why not "Exciter Slayer" -- or "Razor Ratt"? They were rewarded nonetheless with a New Renaissance Records contract that spawned the Rise to Offend album (last mention of that demo-raiding label this month, I swear.) I like the second two tracks on this first demo the best -- evilized generic Kill 'Em All thrash to the max!

Anvil Bitch * 1985 4-song demo #1

1. Neckbreaker
2. Apostle of Hell
3. Time to Die
4. To the Grave

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Buggery & Thrashcore

Jetting along with punky speed thrash in the vein of RKL, Blacktask, and hometown heroes Slayer, INSECTICIDE is a textbook example of the 1987 U.S. metal underground. The clean snarling vocals, Kreator riffs, and mosh parts are pure thrashcore -- even if the cassette is labeled "INSECTICIDE - U.S. Power Metal." (Let that be a reminder: if you argue over genre definitions, you are an idiot. They can change overnight.)

I appreciate how the frantic guitars and bass blur together to sound like swarming wasps and bees. The short instrumental "Buzz" is a brief glance of the blast-beat grindcore that would begin taking over the underground in 1988. Another demo and an album or two also exist -- along with the obligatory New Renaissance compilation appearance.

INSECTICIDE - 4-song demo 1987
1. Overpowered
2. Phobia
3. Buzzz
4. Proven Guilty

Just to prove nothing is sacred, here's Insecticide's MySpace page with some scans of old photos and flyers from shows with heavy hitters like Process Revealed and Tyrannicide.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Keith Alexander, R.I.P.

Here's another mid-1980s thrash demo with a slight hardcore punk orientation. Brooklyn's PRIMAL SCREAM were on the same page as Prong, Cro Mags, and Sheer Terror. Much as the UK band of the same name combined shoegazer guitars and club beats in the 1990s, PRIMAL SCREAM united political lyrics with an afinity for wearing animal furs. Guitarist Keith Alexander formed this trio after getting the monumental funfest of a band known as Carnivore off the ground. Keith was an early entry on Carnivore leader Petrus T. Steele's (aka Peter Steele of Type O Negative) shit list, but he didn't care. Debuting with his own band in 1986, the beef-armed pro-anarchy ranting against the government with flangy Sabbath-inspired metal riffs was certainly a product of the times:

PRIMAL SCREAM - "The Outrage Continues" demo 1986
1. Poisoned
2. Last Breath
3. State of the State

On a sad note, I say "was" because Alexander was killed in a freak bicycle accident in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in July 2005. No mafia hit and run -- he faltered on a brand new high-end mountain bike, smashed his head into a fence, and very sadly died. He had played for a while in Dee Snider's SMFs, but gone on to greater area notoriety through his piercing studio/tattoo shop. His thoughtful technology blog survives, as does this demo and a solitary album from Primal Scream -- Vol. 1, on New York's adventurous Celluloid label.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Welcome to Demo-Lition...

The underpinnings of much of heavy metal's past is rotting away on cassette demo tapes, and we're here to help. Let the rare punk wars continue, and watch the lawyers of aging funksters litigate! We're distributing a kind of brain-rattling information that always was free, and still wants to be. There are over 1000 original cassette demo tapes here at Demo-lition HQ, and each deserves a dose of preservation for one reason or another.

What better place to begin than with the most-heavily traded metal band of all time? No, not Death, Master, or Necrophagia, but a more controversial name by today's standards: Metallica. Before relocating to San Francisco and famously founding Bay Area Thrash, the pimply teens were doggerel NWOBHM rejects toughing it out in Los Angeles. The drummer traded tapes with a guy who was starting a record label, launching with a compilation called Metal Massacre.

At the start of 1982, "Metallica" had about three songs written, and could play a couple of covers by Savage and Sweet Savage. Nobody in the group could play a guitar solo, though, so to seal their spot on Metal Massacre they pulled in a ringer, Jamaican-American guitarist Lloyd Grant. He lived in Pasadena where Eddie Van Halen reigned, so he had to be good. He quickly ripped out the solo break to "Hit the Lights" that essentially is still used to this day, then disappeared.

Fast forward to 1985, and Metallica were fast conquering the metal world. Even Grant's replacement in the band, Dave Mustaine, quit and got massive frequent flyer miles with his new band Megadeth. The Metallica name had a royal touch... but nobody remembered poor old Lloyd Grant. Then, stabbing out of anonymity, Lloyd emerged from nowhere in 1985 with DEFCON.

While not the most tightly-formed thrash assault unit on the block, DEFCON on its first demo more than warranted the Metallica pedigree. There are lots of killer moments here, held in place by catchy songwriting and propelled by enthusiastic guitar and drums. Uninitiated listeners will howl at the occasional outdated vocal shrieks, but I should point out that spoken style on most verses was inspired by hardcore and ahead of its time. Someone should have signed these guys immediately, and slapped on a sticker that read: "EX-METALLICA THRASH: Not as good as Megadeth, but way better than Assassin or Mandator!" I think DEFCON's only appearance on vinyl was on a cheaply-pressed New Renaissance Records compilation.

DEFCON * 5-song demo 1985

1. Red Light
2. Dungeon of Evil
3. Descenders from Hell
4. Sniper
5. War of the World

Thrash! One happy postscript: After 20 years, Lloyd Grant has just surfaced wearing a knit rasta cap and playing "a wide spectrum of dark sounds with a positive message" in his new band Pharoah.

So welcome to Demo-lition, and special thanks to John Alderman, Dianna Dilworth, and Metal Forces magazine.