In the spirit of the old school, I pulled out some tapes from a box labeled “Open only in case of musical emergency”. Now I’ve got a stack of interesting nuggets to nosh upon. I’m just grabbing at random with no plan of attack.
So first up is Demolition Hammer with Epidemic of Violence, their second release after Tortured Existence, which I thought was bad ass at the time. I have that one in this pile as well. I think I bought this in Houston, at the Cactus Records and Tapes on Alabama, next to the old Alabama theater, about the time it was released in 1992. Loved the cover art, which I’d seen before on the cover of a H. P. Lovecraft compilation I read to pieces as a kid. These dudes were from New York but hardly Suffocation clones; this was more like a weird crossover of thrash and death.
The thrash is the vocals and the arrangements. But there is a hint of something darker in the instrumentation; not so much downtuned guitars and blast beats, but a death metal attitude. The song titles read like a death metal album: “Skull Fracturing Nightmare”, “Carnivorous Obsession”, “Pyroclastic Annihilation”. So do the lyrics, generally; it’s slightly more Carcass than Slayer. And there are moments when they slow down a tad, hit a groove before a vicious breakdown (like in “Aborticide”) and I think, yeah, I know why two of these guys went and joined Solstice, a death metal band from Florida.
This is some pretty furious thrash. Great guitar work from James Reilly and Derek Sykes, Steve Reynolds holds down the bass and singing, and Daze is a beast on the drums. Daze died of globefish poisoning in 1996 while traveling in Africa, at least according to the dweeble dorks over at Wiki-wiki-pa-tang. (“Ni!” “Ssshh!”)
I remember thinking this was all tits when I got it and listening to it a bunch while driving around Houston. It was good Houston driving music; fast, relentless, brutal, but listenable. Once you learned the lyrics to “Aborticide” it was a real sing-along joy fest. At least for me! Others in the car might not have been so high on good old Demolition Hammer.
So after this came out, they changed members and made Time Bomb, which I have a PR copy of somewhere. It failed to deliver on the death and went in a nu-metal direction, and then they were done. So Epidemic of Violence and Tortured Existence are the only record of a band that flirted with death but never quite made the jump. Too bad. I’d love to hear these songs with a good grunter hamming it up.