BLOOD TSUNAMI, For Faen! (2013, Indie Recordings)

The skull:
He’s got a mouthful of logo, a fanny pack full of weapons, enough bullets to make, like, two bullet-belts, and a title that invokes Satan in Norwegian. This skull is ready for action! He’ll need some help getting to the action, of course, lacking as he does legs or other means of conveyance, but if you’re willing to carry him, he’ll totally fuck some shit up wherever, whenever! Hey, where are you going? Aren’t you going to take this skull with you? I’m sure he’d really appreciate it. No? Well, fuck you then, the Blood Tsunami skull doesn’t need your fucking charity. Dick.

The music:
Sounding a bit like reunited Destruction but looser, Blood Tsunami bring a lot of speed metal riffs to their thrash metal party, and while there isn’t much of a crossover influence here, the overall vibe leans more toward a DIY/punk aesthetic than the Bay Area nostalgia of your average rethrash band. Maybe they’re just channeling the death/thrash of bands like Destroyer 666 and Desaster. They have some legit black metal pedigree in drummer Faust (ex-Emperor) but the actual black metal content in Blood Tsunami is minimal (though not non-existent). This isn’t bad stuff, and it’s packed with great riffs, but this kind of shambling, fuck-you-all-the-time thrash has never been my cuppa. There’s just something about the attitude that I find offputting, but that’s just a personal thing, and if you like your thrash fast, loud, and rude, then this is probably right up your alley. As an added bonus, the production is refreshingly analog-sounding, without triggered drums or buzzy, overworked guitars. This is bullet-belt metal for sure, and meant for a very specific scene, but if that’s your scene, then you definitely need a piece of this.
— Friar Johnsen


EMERALD STEEL, Emerald Steel (1990, Woodstock Discos)

The skull:
First you’re like, “What’s the worst he can do? Bite me? I can handle one fucking skull in a fight,” and then he shows up armed to the (grinning) teeth, and you’re like, “Aw, shit!”

The music:
How on earth have I never heard this before? I knew the name, and based on the cover, I assumed they were crappy NWOBHM. Instead, they’re more like a crappy Crimson Glory knock-off, which is exactly my kind of crap. Singer Wagner Geronymo (obviously his real name), a Brazilian transplant to Florida, has a strong, piercing high voice, and he delivers his lines with exactly the overblown theatricality you want in an act like this. His pitch sometimes doesn’t quite hit the mark, especially when he harmonizes, but when he lands it, he sounds great. The songs are not classics for the ages (see: “Sex Metal”), but they’re certainly better than a lot of other US power metal bands from the late 80s, comparing favorably with early Heir Apparent, Oracle, Sacred Oath, or others in that vein. If, like me, you already own all the classics, and all the second-tier guilty pleasures, and then all of the third tier junk from the heyday of American melodic metal, then it’s time to open a new tab, bring up eBay, and find yourself a Hot Metal bootleg of Emerald Steel, yet another band that deservedly fell through the cracks but is still kind of okay.
— Friar Johnsen