DERANGED, Premonotory Nightmare (1988, demo)

The skull:
He wakes up in a sweat and rolls over to embrace his wife. He is shaking and clearly disturbed.

He: Baby, I had the scariest dream. It was a premonotory nightmare.

She: Oh, babe, don’t you mean “premonitory”?

He: Yeah, that’s what I said.

She: No, you said “pre-mon-OH-tory.” It’s “pre-mon-IH-tory”

He: Whatever. You’re the English teacher. Anyway…There I was, inside this dome of bone, trapped and desperate to escape. I pounded and pounded at this bone-dome —

She: Hee-hee!

He: I know. Anyway, I finally crack through this dome to find I was trapped inside of a skull! It was so weird! And by the time I emerged I was pretty much dead, one of my eyes was dangling out of its socket and I was vomiting blood! Ohhh, baby, it was AWFUL!!!

She: Sounds really scary, babe. But what’s so premonitory about it?

He: [fuming now] Never mind…

The music:
Not to belabor the theme too much, but I’m guessing the guys in Canada’s Deranged weren’t the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, know what I’m sayin’? As far as I have read, and even observed first-hand, Vancouver, B.C. is comprised mostly of straight-up English-speaking denizens (and lots of Asians, but these guys look caucasian). So, with the misspelling in the cassette title, and the song title “Different Executioning,” you gotta wonder if any member of this five-piece band owned so much as one single dictionary among them, or made it past the 6th grade? But hey, let’s give ‘em some slack and get into the meat of the music. What we have here is some incredibly raw and vicious thrash metal that reminds a lot of early Sadus (D.T.P. demo, Illusions), Pleasure to Kill-era Kreator, Gammacide’s Victims of Science, and Morbid Saint’s Spectrum of Death. With the later receiving enough posthumous acclaim that the band reunited, you hope that eventually this demo and and the next one, 1989’s Place of Torment (which is even better and more intense than this), would find a proper reissue and repackaging. I would totally buy it. The riffs are good, some are even unique enough as to be memorable, the energy is very high, the playing is pro, and Scott Murdoch’s vocals are absolutely maniacal. They may have performed poorly in English class, but they were experts in the ways of ultra-intense thrash metal, and for that, I give them a solid A grade.
— Friar Wagner


RETALIATOR, Comando das Trevas (2005, demo)

The skull:
Quickly hand-drawn in black crayon, cut out and pasted onto black construction paper, the Retaliator skull is not at all happy about this. Nor is he pleased with the Egyptian headdress he was forced to wear. It’s very uncomfortable. And so hot. He’s sweating underneath it, which is remarkable considering his lack of skin and pores. He was promised to be the central figure on a cover “that would rival the Egyptian majesty of Powerslave!!!” Clearly, this was an empty promise. It’s no wonder his expression is all “good grief…” We hear ya, buddy. We’ll use our connections in the skull world to find you an agent who can maybe secure a better gig for you, maybe with Krokus, or maybe if Crossfire reunites…we’ll do what we can, man. We feel for you.

The music:
Also known as Retaliador, these Brazilians wear Angel Witch, Hellhammer and Possessed shirts, and are exactly that old-school in their own musical approach. They sound very Brazilian, and very 1985, and they rip ass pretty well, sounding like early Destruction in both riffing and production style. It’s like an alternate-world version of the Sentence of Death EP, although some of the attempted melodic vocals would have never come from Schmier’s throat. In fact, there’s a decidedly Sarcofago-ish bent to the vocals, which means they sound completely untrained, unchained, and insane. The other reference point would be, surprise surprise, Sodom! And lo and behold…It’s not like we needed another cover of Sodom’s “Blasphemer,” but Retaliator have delivered one anyway. Yes, we’ve heard all of this before, and this is basically useless and pointless, but hey, if you dig the earliest crud by Destruction, Sodom, and Sarcofago (and I say “crud” with great affection, because I’m one of those), then this is worth one spin. But probably only one.
— Friar Wagner


MALICIOUS ONSLAUGHT, Thrashed Black (1988, demo)

The skull:
Crude lo-brow artwork here, but it’s a death/thrash demo cassette from 1988, what do you expect? This poor guy is hanging on desperately to his remaining eye and hoping for no more damage. Here’s been through enough already. An eye out and a cleaved skull that slices his head from the upper left side almost clean through to the opposite eye. There’s hardly a demo cover more crudely cult-looking than this!

The music:
I love all those old bands whose name or album title tried to exactly describe their music. Albums like Extreme Aggression or Intense Brutality. Thanks for letting us know! Does Malicious Onslaught deliver a malicious onslaught? Yes they do! It’s pretty raw, which is appropriate for what they’re doing: a fusion of Show No Mercy-era Slayer with the caffeinated aggression of early Sadus and R.A.V.A.G.E. Only without the same skill level. You can hear these guys are pretty green on this tape. It’s a bit junky, a bit malnourished. But I like it. An otherworldly vocal approach would have worked better — this dude sounds too hardcore, in the D.R.I. vein. More Petrozza and less Brecht would’ve been cool. There’s a weird part in “Revenge of the Innocent” that brings in a cosmic element, followed by a short passage that gets back into metal but stays weird, then it goes all too quickly back to thrashing and crashing. Interesting stuff that I’d recommend to fans of the aforementioned bands, and anyone into madcap Florida band Hellwitch too. Glad I stumbled upon this — it’s not as bad as expected. I thought maybe it would be second-rate death metal or clunky necro black metal, considering the labels that later released their records (JL America and Unisound, respectively), but it’s more interesting than that, and a little weird at times. They did change quite a bit by the time of the death-swamped Brutal Gore album (more truth in advertising), but Thrashed Black is just good harmless intensity. Some of the clumsy playing actually adds to the strangeness and charm.
— Friar Wagner