ONSLAUGHT, What Lies Ahead (1983, demo)

The skull:
Yet another cracked up skull on a demo. Yawn. There’s a certain desperate look to this guy, though, that I like. A sadness, even. He knows he’s in a bad way, but he lost the ability to reason when his brain leaked out. Wracked with confusion, he’s only just realizing he can’t even scream “FUCK!” without lips. If he knew that what lies ahead is like four more demos of this shit, well, I think he’d completely wig out.

The music:
I’ll admit that I’m not a great fan of the first two Onslaught albums, which are held to be classics by many people. I vastly prefer their third album, the shamelessly Metallica-inspired In Search of Sanity, which also features one of my favorite British metal singers, Steve Grimmett, formerly of Grim Reaper. But, even were I fond of Power from Hell and The Force, I don’t think I’d particularly love this demo. It’s as much punk as it is metal, sounding like a Discharge cover band that also loved Venom. That’s not entirely a bad thing, and I can at least appreciate the energy on display, but the execution is just too raw for my tastes. A lot of the songs on this demo made it to the band’s proper debut, and while they don’t change much, the shift from hardcore to thrash is striking. Going from the demo to the album, the vocals changes from barking to snarling, and the guitarists learned how to properly speed pick for their LP while on the demo they’re just strumming their simple chord progressions. But if you like crusty pseudo-thrash along the lines of Hellbastard, or if you like Power from Hell but not as much as you love Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing then maybe What Lies Ahead is worth a listen.
— Friar Johnsen

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