CARRION, Evil is There  (1985, demo)

The skull:
Peekaboo, I see you! How cute, this bashful little skull peering out what looks like a broken window, rendered in a quick sketch by someone who was probably asked by the band, “Hey, we got a demo to release, you want to draw something?” Seven minutes later, Carrion have a demo cover. But if evil was the intent, they hired the wrong artist. He looks envious of the other child-skulls playing in the park while he mopes inside his shabby little ramshackle house. This shy little child-skull is hardly even old enough to know evil — he’s still wearing braces, for Pete’s sake. No, evil is not here.

The music:
This is the band that morphed into the better-known Poltergeist, one of the earliest signings to Century Media. Back in 1985, Carrion epitomized early speed metal, that place where fast traditional metal and true thrash metal meet. This is clearly German (well, Swiss), but more in the vein of Iron Angel, early Blind Guardian, and even a speedier Oz. Even a bit of a Hallows Eve Tales of Terror vibe here. They don’t quite have the memorable songs or purposeful thrust of those four bands, but it’s okay nonetheless. Nostalgia-wise, it wins a few points — it totally drips “1985,” if you know what I mean. This demo was truly a testing ground for the band’s first album, released in 1986, also titled Evil Is There! (with an exclamation mark), as the track list for album and demo are almost identical. The album cranked up the velocity and intensity by a few degrees, which I guess explains the added punctuation mark. If you’re an aficionado of German speed/thrash (and you better be!) the album is probably a good addition to your collection. Even if they’re Swiss, their German connection and their sound itself makes them the EF Band of the first-wave German thrash movement. The demo is simply an interesting relic, nothing more or less.
— Friar Wagner