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Demolition Hammer: Necrology

17/12/10  ||  Habakuk

Here goes, another one of my favorite bands being dissected to their very beginnings – almost. “Necrology” is actually the second demo by the brutalestest band on earth, Demolition fucken Hammer, one of the few outfits that would warrant the description of “brutal thrash” in my genre bible. Yeah, in case you wondered: if you don’t like old school thrash, then you need not read on. This will probably get a little in-groupish at times. All apologies.

Unlike the stuff off demo number one (“Skull fracturing nightmare”) whose title and the song “Cataclysm” were the only thing to survive, all of the songs on this demo here were later re-recorded on “Tortured existence”, the Hammers’ studio debut. Why bother with the fucken demo then, you ask? And I say, because these versions are actually better. Gasp! Yeah, that’s old school metal for ya. It can actually profit from not being recorded in a fancy shmancy studio, at least if that’s not done flawlessly. Which it arguably wasn’t for “Tortured existence”, as good a record as that may be. (Not really a 9 in my book, by the way.)

Let’s look for reasons, shall we? Simple: Pushing the rules-defying speed fest of Demolition Hammer into a studio corset didn’t work so well at first try. The demo versions are between 10 and 20 seconds shorter, just because they could be played faster, which seems to be the way these songs were thought out. And mind you, the album wasn’t exactly slow to begin with. Consequently, on the demo everything sounds more natural, more aggressive, more savage than on the actual album. It comes at the expense of a bit of punch, but this is, after all, thrash metal – so punch comes second, and the DIY method maybe wasn’t the worst way to record this sort of stuff.

The instrumental performances are as tight as one can expect at such a high speed, with especially Vinny Daze on drums hanging in there big time. Songs like “Crippling velocity” and “Infectious hospital waste” profit enormously from a bit of extra throttle, while those which worked best on the studio album (“Hydrophobia”, “Mercenary aggression”) just happily accept a bit of extra grit.

So yeah, everyone who doesn’t give a shit about Demolition Hammer or the genre in general has hopefully not read until here. Everyone else who has heard “Tortured…”, but missed out on this demo yet, go get it. You’re definitely in for a treat. Oh, and before you spend those bucks in vain: the demo cannot be found on the Necrology compilation that was re-released a few years ago, for whatever reason that is. The Internet, on the other hand, might be of some help here. And it’s freeeee…!

8.5

  • Information
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: None
  • Website: Demolition Hammer MySpace
  • Band
  • Steve Reynolds: vocals, bass
  • James Reilly: guitars
  • Derek Sykes: guitars
  • Vinny Daze: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Crippling Velocity
  • 02. Infectious Hospital Waste
  • 03. .44 Caliber Brain Surgery
  • 04. Neanderthal
  • 05. Mercenary Aggression
  • 06. Hydrophobia