What happens when some “old” dudes from some of Americas more important thrash bands of the 80’s team up in a get-together in 2007? Apparently they were playing together before they went on to be in more famous bands, so this must be some kind of reunion of a band from the birth of thrash…
Well. to begin with, apart from the vocalists, the names of the band members didn’t ring a bell with me – some of the bands they were in I haven’t listened to for eh-hem maybe 20 years - checking my old vinyl collection brought some recollection of names though: Willy Lange of Lääz Rockit and Phil Demmel of Machine Head and Vio-lence.
I thought the most interesting thing about this release would be the combination between the vocals of Chuck Billy and Steve “Zetro” Souza, and so it is. Steve Souza might not be the best all-round singer in metal, but he was always one of my personal favourites, and I loved his style and approach in the vocal work (and I’m still sorry he couldn’t work it out with the rest of the guys in Exodus). To combine Souza’s screaming style and more high pitched voice with Billy’s primarily deep and (slightly) growling, seemed like an exciting combination. And the cooperation between the two works just fine, they complement each other very well, as they share the vocals where their specific voice (and style) fits the numbers best. And the guitar work of this album is also a highlight, in some of the tracks it really kicks ass!
This doesn’t just sound like old-school, it IS old-school, like it was played when thrash had it’s (first) peak in the 80’s. This might not appeal very much to the new generation of younger metal fans, but there’s some really good tracks on this album for an old thrash fan like me. Even the sound is retro – dense, straight and slightly dirty, very true to the original sound and feeling of harder American metal (read: Bay Area Thrash) of that time.
Except for 3 cover tracks (UFO (Lights Out), Motörhead (Iron Fist) and Thin Lizzy (Cold Sweat)), this is the bands own material, some of it more than 20 years old and some brand new. Cold Sweat always was one of my Thin Lizzy-favourites, and this recording really bring something new to that number.
Two things bother me about this album: First, the album cover, some biker- or gangsta-like lapel badge, doh! The photo on the back with the guys pointing at you, would’ve been a lot cooler for cover… And secondly, why do we have to listen to seven minutes of Indian chanting at the end of the album? Chuck might have Indian blood, and want to make a tribute to those roots, but it doesn’t fit that well (to say the least) on a thrash album – too bad the album ends that way.
This might be a side-project to Billy (and maybe also to Souza), but it doesn’t sound like inferior work or a pot-boiler; and if it was done for fun, I’m glad they took the effort to record it, ‘cause there’s definitely some enjoyable moments on this album. And in my opinion it’s a must for fans of the old fashion style of thrash, and a collectors item for fans of Testament and/or the Souza-period of Exodus and the likes, and also recommendable if you want to hear how two very different vocalists can complement each other to something more than just the two added.
Recommended tracks: Cold Sweat, Unnatural Causes, Mentally Unstable, DDP for Life.