RECIPIENTS OF DEATH, Recipients of Death (1988, Wild Rags)
A standard issue horny skull impaled on an upside down cross. This whole thing screams “1988!” One thing that I do like about hand-drawn covers like this is how the logo and the title are worked in as components of the art. No Photoshop layers here: you get it all in one glorious shot. I wonder, was this photocopied straight off someone’s textbook wrapper (do kids still wrap their books?), or was it redrawn from that original and inked in sharpie for the final art? The skull-cross, evidently the band’s totem or mascot, would make a second appearance on the band’s next, and last release, this time in a much finer, painted form, but where’s the charm in that?
As goes the cover, so too, the music: this is as generic a slab of late 80s Angelino thrash as you could imagine. Dark Angel is a good starting point, with a little Slayer thrown in for good measure, although I do detect a tiny hint of the groove that would creep into thrash as the 90s approached, especially from up the coast, and more than a hint of California hardcore. The playing is decent and the production is more than good enough, especially for a Wild Rags release. The vocals are the weak link, naturally, delivered with a crossover sneer obviously modeled after Kurt Brecht. When the basketball beat goes full-court-press, these overly wordy, barked vocals really underscore the monotony of the material. There’s a reason why this band only managed to eke out a couple EPs, but I’d still rather listen to this than Municipal Waste or Toxic Holocaust.
— Friar Johnsen