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


BEYOND THE SILENCE, Soulless Entity (2010, self-released)

The skull:
A snake crawling out of a socket, a giant eyeball, and a logo that screams “crappy deathcore,” this is clearly a cover that takes sucking very seriously. Rendered in the government-issued browns and yellows that are the official colors of BDS nation, this skull futher attempts to gild the shitty lily with some kind of faux-halftone screen effect, for some reason. Probably because the guy who was tasked with assembling the disparate elements of this ur-generic cover just learned how to do it in Photoshop. “This will look great in my portfolio, and will demonstrate to clients and employers my facility with the many functions of CS5,” you can practically read in a thought bubble above some terrible designer’s head. Translated from the original French, of course.

The music:
Super sloppy melodic death metal with gurgly, low, brutal death metal growls, Beyond the Silence appear to be trying to inject some early 90s style Swedish death metal into the melodic framework of modern deathcore. This is neither a good idea nor defly executed. The drummer is the hapless hero here: he consistently reaches for beats and fills well beyond his ability, and his constant flubbing lends the music a shot of honest naivety. He never elevates the proceedings to even the lowest reaches of what could be considered “good,” but there’s something about an old-fashioned Russian Dragon that delights the death metal nostalgist in me. The breakdowns and the burpy vocals, however, dispel that goodwill rather quickly, as do the utterly generic riffs. Beyond the Silence emerged from the French ether to issue this lone EP in 2010 and have evidently done nothing since, so I can now attempt to revert to my natural state of not knowing or caring about them.
— Friar Johnsen


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