Re-Animator - Condemned to Eternity/Deny Reality (Under One Flag) 1989/1990
1. "Low Life"
Hey a surprise CD from a friend in Norway! (thanks kmorg) Gotta love surprises, especially when they are CDs. Anyhow, "Condemned to Eternity" is a smokin' thrash album with some tight leads, fast, furious and crunchy guitar riffs and aggressive vocals. The closest comparison might be Nuclear Assault's "Survive". I prefer the faster, thrash tracks on this disc to the more experimental stuff. Songs like "Low Life" and "Chain of Command" absolutely annihilate! "Chain of Command" in particular has a killer thrash break during the chorus, and the riffs are pummelling. "Room 101" is an epic track that is equally as strong. The title track, however, is an 8 minute instrumental that gets a bit monotonous, and although it isn't bad, is not quite as enjoyable to my ears. "Shock Treatment" and "Buried Alive" returns to the more aggressive thrash, which is what I enjoy about this CD. Overall, a good thrash disc. Unfortunately there were so many good thrash bands around in the early 90's that many good bands like this were overlooked. It's too bad this style all but disappeared a few years later because I can't get enough of it. Pop this one into your car deck and try to do the speed limit. This CD re-issue also contains the EP "Deny Reality."
Re-Animator - Laughing (Under one Flag) 1991
My first exposure to Re-Animator was their full throttle thrash assault "Condemned to Eternity". After that I was on a search for their other two albums and stumbled upon "That Was Then...This Is Now". The two albums were vastly different from each other. I sort of imagined "Laughing" to be a transition album between the two. However, "Laughing" is almost nothing like the debut and sounds much closer to the experimental sounds of "That Was Then...". The album opens up with two tracks that still retain some aggression but are more mid-paced and rely more on groove than speed and aggression. "Kipper 'N'" is an acoustic track that is actually one of the best songs on the disc. I remember hearing another English thrash band called Detritus mixing in some acoustic passages with their otherwise thrashy music and really digging it. However, this song doesn't really blend or become anything heavier, it's just an honest to goodness, acoustic based rock 'n' roll song that just works well for the band. "Research" is a full throttle thrasher. It's just sort of strange that it took four songs to get something this fast and furious from a band that is usually labeled thrash. "Another Fine Mess" is a tribute to the unique comedic stylings of Laurel & Hardy. This many not be the usual fare for a thrash metal, but I still enjoyed the song and the lyrics. "Too Drunk to F..K" is done is a reggae style. This is one experiment that didn't work to well in my opinion. "Monkey See" is a mixture of thrashy, buzzsaw guitars and a bit of funk, not unlike you might expect to hear from Wrathchild America. "Don't Patronize Me" is another more straight forward thrash song complete with out of control guitar solos and those fun mosh beats that no thrash song is complete without. "?" is probably my favorite song on the album. While I am not a huge fan of instrumental albums, I do enjoy the oddball instrumental here and there. "Pass the Buck" is an atrocius attempt at funk complete with horns. Argh! These guys need to stick to heavy metal and thrash. Thankfully the last two tracks return the band to just that, heavy metal! Hidden at the end of song is a little acapella version of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" thiat is an amusing way to finish off the album. I must also make note that this album sports one of the worst album covers ever. Otherwise and enjoyable album for those who enjoy a bit of diversity within their thrash.
Re-Animator - That Was Then...This Is Now (Under One Flag) 1992
1. "Take Me Away"
This one is a bit more diverse than the band's slightly more popular "Condmned to Eternity". While that was straight forward thrash from beginning to end. "That Was Then, This is Now" contains an excellent cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" an acoustic song ("Sunshine Times") complete with female backing vocals and horns as well as a good variety of tempos within all the rest of the tracks. The addition of horns here and there, is actually pretty surprising, especially since they don't sound out of place as I would have thought. Even the title track has a slight punk edge to the uptempo parts. There are planty of thrashers as well, like the furious album closer "D.U.A.F.". Sounds to me like Re-Animator were trying to break out of the mold, which isn't neccessarily a bad thing. Compares to bands like Wrathchild America and perhaps Sacred Reich at times.