ATTAXE, Displaced (1989, demo)
It’s the sleepy eye that makes this cover, as if the skull were thinking to himself, “I got out of bed for this?” Attaxe’s demo before this one also features a less big, but possibly more stupid stull, and I like to think that this guy was the model for that as well. He moved out to California to star in horror movies, but the only work he could find besides waiting tables was appearing on three track cassettes from bands who would never amount to much. It’s no wonder he wasn’t able to muster any more enthusiasm, especially when for this shoot he had a big-ass logo dropped on his head, and those swords were sharp! If the rent hadn’t been due in a couple days, he might not have showed up, but as it was, he didn’t have much choice.
Attaxe were yet another thrash band who were born too late; though their demos were pretty good, they were only just hitting their stride when the metal scene collapsed in the early 90s. This 1989 demo is a nice piece of Bay Area-style thrash (although Attaxe were from Southern California) that reminds me of a lesser Vio-lence. Though well played and unusually well produced for a demo, Displaced is not exactly brimming with original ideas, and Tim Carson’s unnuanced, bellowing vocals (which are clearly modeled after Chuck Billy’s) sell the music a bit short. Still, there’s a lot more going on here than you’ll hear from most new thrash bands, and while (to my knowledge) the Attaxe discography has never been reissued, the band maintains a nice historical webpage where you can hear most, if not all, of their recorded output. If you’re seriously into thrash, you’re sure to get something out of the experience of digging through their archives (and as they went through a lot of singers, some of the demos feature better vocals than the ones here), but if your relationship with thrash is more casual, then it’s unlikely that Attaxe is going to make you fall in love with the genre at last.
— Friar Johnsen