Review Summary: Riffception
Slaughter Lord isn’t exactly a name that is known to many. This defunct Australian extreme metal band never actually released a full-length record, rather this is a collection of their demo material.
The year is 1986, and thrash metal is nearing its peak; however while everyone is focused on Metallica, Slayer and the like, a young Australian thrash band releases its first demo “Taste of Blood”. Whilst highly thrash influenced, Slaughter Lord presented their own brand of thrash; one incorporating more aggressive Slayer-esque riffage as well as Bathory style black metal. This demo exploded in the underground Australian metal scene, with the band becoming an instant cult sensation. However with such a small scene, Slaughter Lord were unable to attract label interest, and following another EP in 1987, the band broke up. In many ways it is a shame that Slaughter Lord is an Australian band, for if they were from a country with more prominent metal scene, they may have reached the heights they had the potential to reach.
“Thrash til Death” is an incredibly aggressive and pure metal record. Despite the title inferring that this is a thrash metal band, it would not be entirely accurate to label the band so. Whilst undoubtedly having their roots in thrash metal, Slaughter Lord also dabbles in Black and Death metal (as previously mentioned) to excellent effect resulting in a very primal and satisfying metal record.
The first thing that listener will notice upon hearing album opener “Destructor” is the riffs. Right from the get go Slaughter Lord hits you with riffs tighter than a cold nun’s gash and do not let up. This is a predominately riff based band unlike bands such as Iron Maiden that primarily focus on composition structure and melody; Slaughter Lord let the “axe wielders” do the talking. However do not make the mistake of believing that the other band members do not pull their weight. Vocalist/bassist Tony Noel displays the typical, yet not generic thrash metal “yell” with all the anger and prowess of genre mates Tom Araya and Hetfield. His bass is somewhat lost in the production; however we will touch on that later. Drummer Steve Hughes (now a noteworthy comedian) also demonstrates apt skill with furious double bass pounding, blast and skank beats (yet never really venturing outside of the thrash metal drumming “outline”).
However there can be some repetition within Thrash Til Death. While Slaughter Lord do an admirable job of incorporating black and early death metal into their works, the riffs can start to sound somewhat similar; yet this is rather rare and does not substantially impact on the album. The young band also experience a few refinement and consistency issues, yet these are small gripes that are easily forgivable when compared to the excellent musicianship
Being a collection of underground metal demo songs, the production is not exactly a strong point. Songs such as “die by power” have very fast riff passages that are very well executed, yet distinguishing individual notes can be difficult for the listener because of the sub par production. This also is the case with the bass and drums where the collective sound of all the instruments recorded in (what sounds like) a garage does not sound at all crisp to the listener, and thus negatively impacts on the record as a whole. However the production is not all negative as the rough sound gives this album a very primal and pure feel not unlike albums such as Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger”.
Thrash Til Death is a record that I would advise all hardcore thrash fans to investigate. What you will hear is some of the best thrash metal ever written amongst some less notable songs. Despite the aforementioned consistency and refinement issues, the incredible riffing and overall excellent instrumentation makes for an exceedingly fun (somewhat) blackened thrash metal album that will certainly not be out of place alongside thrash metal’s more respected and popular albums. This is story of an incredibly talented band that crafted some fantastic music that never got the chance to make a career that, no doubt, would have seen Slaughter Lord soar to great heights.
Thrash Til Death is the name of this album, and Thrash Til Death is exactly what it does
Pick it up NOW!