MONSTER MASH, He Gambled with Satan and Lost (2009, demo)

The skull:
It feels like it’s been a long time since we had a nice, simple, skull-on-a-table type cover, so today’s BDS is a comforting one indeed. I guess this guy wagered his teeth when he placed his bets with the devil. Or maybe it was, “If I win, you fix the teeth my ex knocked out with a hammer, and if I lose, then you can condemn my skull to an eternity on the cover of a South American thrash demo.” Either way, the title gives away the ending.

The music:
This is odd thrashy power metal with melodic high vocals that sound like a spit-take on James Rivera’s warble (although he sounds more like Kai Hansen when he does his weak falsetto scream). There’s actually another singer who is a dead ringer for this guy (or vice versa, I guess), but he’s so generic and without defining character that I can’t actually summon the name to memory. It’ll come to me one of these days. Maybe. Musically, I’m reminded in places of pre-Dark Saga Iced Earth, but of course Monster Mash are not as together as Shaffer’s troupe. The drumming is a mess, and a lot of times, it feels like the band is only barely on the same page. That said, for a band called Monster Mash, they’re not entirely bad, and with some practice they could possibly shape up into something rather decent. There’s certainly a shortage of bands like this, walking the fine line between speed and melody, and it’s always nice to hear a thrash band with a proper singer. That’s something that used to happen all the time, and now it’s exceedingly rare.
—Friar Johnsen

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