Alice In Hell
September 12, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: Never, Neverland.
Thrashmetal filled with love and butter ?
1990, the immortal pillar for intelligent thrashmetal. Quality and exquisite musicianship. After terrorizing the scene since 1983, thrashmetal was by now, a fine oiled-machine, with commercial incentive and even some MTV-appeal.
Canada land of poutine, maple-syrup and the speedmetal of SACRIFICE, VO¤VOD, RAZOR, INFERN─L M─JESTY and ANNIHILATOR. More then a one-man band, Jeff Waters and crew left Alice in hell and were off to never, neverland. Album #2, singer #2 ...enter Coburn Pharr.
The punchy riffing of "The Fun Palace" takes a bite, sink it's teeth's and doesn't let go. Clever guitars and Euro-powermetal vocals, a lethal solution. This track's follow-up would incarnate itself on 1999's Criteria For A Black Widow CD in "Back To The Palace". Impact is imminent on the don't drink and drive PSA "Road To Ruins", while the catchy single video-cut for "Stonewall" is a superior powermetal / thrashmetal anthem. Environment-themed lyrics in thrash, smart metal-topics for 1990, just like with SACRED REICH and NUCLEAR ASSAULT.
Aggression and melody ? yes it is possible and proudly displayed on the title-track. A full 5:30sec of power / thrash exhibition. A mix you won't find in typical American thrashmetal, you really have to go up North to find these goods. Speaking of goods, let the water boil and inject some beloved "Kraf Dinner" within. Speedmetal-delicacy in the most culinary-way. A fun thrash sing-along with the coolest subject in mind. Mr. Waters is a born genius and street-poor rock-dude, one cannot not like this track ...mosh along macaroni maniacs !
Recorded by Glen Robinson, Never, Neverland is one top-class melodic thrashmetal feast. Unfortunately a little late to the party, as 1990s scene was way saturated by bands mixed with the mathematical fact that Roadrunner Records was still an independent label, with limited means to break this band into the paths of the current METALLICA's and SLAYER's.
The mini live-CD In Command shows that the boys can do it outside the studio too. The band would return in a grunge-infested crowd in 1993, with album #3 and singer #3, on the even more melodic Euro-metal CD: Set The World On Fire.
Humanity is stupid, remember that: We're our own worst enemy !
Stonewall = video
Interview in 1990
Live in Belgium in 1991
June 1, 1999 - 2019: 20 years of: Criteria For A Black Widow.
Alice's nightmare became true: Randy Rampage is back !!! ...not only the thrashmetal reunion of the decade, but a solid riff-fiesta return from top to bottom.
The 90s were really rough on the thrashmetal genre, as most acts whimped-out, died-out or simply turned into laughing-stock ...yes we are looking at you, the once mighty MEGADETH and SEPULTURA. Albeit these, by the very end of the millennium, a handful of core thrashers still had some interesting material to offer to the die-hards: OVER KILL, GRIP Inc. VO¤VOD, TESTAMENT and ANNIHILATOR.
Ottawa's legendary thrashmetal outfit, led by axe-master and one-man-band visionary Jeff Waters, have been representing Canada on the map since 1985, but the real deal was put to reel with 1989's classic mosh-massacre debut: Alice In Hell. Since then, Waters has used the services of 3 other lead-singers, including himself, to fill-in behind the mic ...but in 1999, after a couple of phone-calls, the classic line-up was once again a band.
The guitar-maelstrom opens-up with "Bloodbath", the massive rotary-riff intro surrounds you and when the beat kicks-in, body-parts fly as Rampage goes on a rampage ...instant classic: THEY'RE BACK ! Immediately "Back To The Palace" picks-up were 1990's "The Fun Palace" left us: speed, aggression, more speed and more aggression, all wrapped with machiavellian-melodies ...a Waters trademarked riff-pattern.
The title-track sets the tone for another musical murder, the sick vocal-line draws you down and jack-hammers you to the floor, begging for more. "Loving The Sinner" is a personal song about the lead-guitarist's recent divorce and "Sonic Homicide" slaps us in the face with yet another speedmetal wrist-warmer, an old demo-track revamped with current technology, one of the most sincere blazing aural-assault ever released by ANNIHILATOR.
We finally get to close the chapter with "Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III", the missing link from 1989's "Part I & II" ...and this is were Jeff proves, once again, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he is one of heavymetal's most fierce and creative 6-string genius. Riffs abound left and right for a full 5:53sec of pure clinical-precision guitar mayhem and thrashmetal explosion.
20 years later, Black Widow is a record that hasn't aged, since the material was, is and shall always be, fresh and relevant in this genre. It also stands as the band's second most brutal offering right after 1989's Alice In Hell LP ...featuring you know who on vocals ! One cool fact on this opus, beside the drums, all was recorded at Waters's condo on portable-equipment as Rampage was shouting along and the record was then assembled with these raw cuts. Sadly on tour, the reunion abruptly ended in real-life rampage as a drunken Randy went berserk on the other people on the bus: he was let go in the middle of the night at some local bus-stop in Europe ...how rocknroll !!!
RIP Randall Desmond Archibald (1960-2018)
Tour rehearsal in 1999
Live in 1999
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