Holy Moses – Queen Of Siam
Female thrash singers in ’86 were firmly making their mark on the scene and Holy Moses’ Sabine Classen was no exception. At this stage, Holy Moses were no great shakes in the songwriting department but what they lacked in dynamics was made up for with blunt force riffing and those throat-shredding vocals!
The rapid fire Venom-isms of “Walpurgisnight” and opener “Necropolis” indicate the influence the more ill-refined members of the NWOBHM had on these Germans and coupled with the unholy racket conjured by Sodom etc at the time, these ‘black’ metallers (Holy Moses’ words not ours!) were already catching up with the Teutonic three of Sodom, Kreator & Destruction.
While Queen Of Siam could never be described as the definitive Holy Moses release (that honour surely goes to 87’s rabid Finished With The Dogs), there’s a primitive charm on display here that rewards the listener to this day.
Finally, this may be a throwaway comment, but could Queen Of Siam be described as one of the earliest death metal releases? Sabine Classen’s vocals would certainly suggest so!
Deathrow – Riders Of Doom (aka Satan’s Gift)
In ’86, Deathrow were a whirlwind of hyper thrash and almost unrecognisable to the band that would release the more refined Raging Steel and the challenging progression of Deception Ignored just a few years later.
At this stage, Deathrow had more in common with the flurries of violence administered by Exodus, Razor and Dark Angel than the blackened fury conjured by their peers and perhaps that’s why Riders Of Doom – for the most part – remains a sadly undiscovered gem. Lost in the mire of high profile releases such as Kreator’s Pleasure To Kill and Destruction’s Eternal Devastation, Deathrow seemingly bubbled away under the surface releasing quality albums but to little or no avail. However, fans will know that with Riders Of Doom, the band had actually delivered an album strong enough to level the playing field!
The triumphant triumvirate of “Spider Attack”, “Slaughtered” and “Violent Omen” form an impressive centrepiece; the sinewy strands of “Spider Attack” entrapping the listener before “Slaughtered” ups the shred levels and “Violent Omen” offers mid-tempo respite that still leaves you bruised and battered. A truly imposing trio of tracks and enough alone to warrant semi-clasic status. The remainder of the album doesn’t disappoint either!
Cyclone – Brutal Destruction
Belgium’s Cyclone weren’t particularly active – just 2 albums in a 9 year career – but they were the instigators of some distinctive riffage and Brutal Destruction remains an underrated collection of tenacious, tightly focused and terrorising thrash anthems.
Admittedly, Brutal Destruction may sound antiquated to modern ears but this semi-forgotten title had some clout in ’86! Slightly dubious title aside, “Incest Love”(?!) remains one hell of a closer while the razor-sharp riffs and unrefined shrieks found on “Long To Hell” and “Fall Under His Command” still leave scars!
One of those albums that belongs in a true thrashers collection – even though it may not receive a regular airing – Cyclone’s sound was more mid-level American than European and for this reason alone, Cyclone were up against it; they were never going to make an impact in the US when bands of this calibre were already ten a penny.
Regardless, Cyclone had much to offer and no more so than on the outstanding Inferior To None that followed 4 years later!