31 Years Ago: WATCHTOWER release Energetic Disassembly debut

Austin’s WATCHTOWER released their debut album on the unknown Zombo Records (3500 copies) on this day in 1985.

It was really like a demo album. We accomplished. We did not loose. We lost lots of money but we didn’t loose, in one way, because we accomplished what we were looking to do which was to get our name out – get the style of music that we are out. You can’t describe our music. You just don’t know what to call it. I call it “Space Metal” sometimes. Its weird.

“Energetic Disassembly” is the government term for the detonation of a nuclear warhead. And you have to match a code. You have to match this certain code to set off a certain silo and a certain missile. And if you mess up that code, you’re going to set off the wrong missile and blow up somebody you didn’t want to blow up. Its a technical thing, ya know? A lot of kids don’t know the process, the things you have to do, and the things you have to know. There are people out there who are paid to sit in these silos in-case of attack or something. These people are paid to kill just like when you go in the army, you are paid to kill. But with this, its millions of people with one button. Its just talking about it, its not really about a war. Its like the process of what happens. A bomb goes off, your skeleton appears, then the land is waste. Its kind of like the process of what happens when you’re exposed.

– Jason McMaster / Watchtower interview, Metal Meltdown zine #1 1987


31 Years Ago: WHIPLASH first time live in New York, CBGB

Live on this day in 1985, New Jersey’s WHIPLASH. This was their first show in NY.

Portaro introduces “Stage Dive” as a ‘new one’ — this gig was a few months before the release of their classic debut LP Power and Pain.

Tony Portaro – guitar and vocals
Tony Scaglione – drums
Tony Bono – bass

30 Years Ago: DARK ANGEL release Darkness Descends

Many classics mark their 30th anniversary this year, and this was one of the best! KILLER!! Released by Combat on this day in 1986.


Topics on Darkness Descends ranged from euthanasia and the very real pain of losing a loved one (“Death Is Certain”) to the hypocrisy existing in a beloved book – the Bible (“The Burning of Sodom”) to Karma, reincarnation and possibly a different answer to the question concerning afterlife (“Hunger of the Undead”) to “Judge Dredd” issue #3 (“Darkness Descends” – beat you to it, Anthrax!) to Nostradamus, the prophet and his horrifying predictions of the fate of man (“Black Prophecies”) to having no choice in the matter, but to follow orders adnd be one of the first to drop bombs (“Perish in Flames”) to thrashing in the front row (“Merciless Death – gasp! How original!!…).
– Gene Hoglan / Dark Angel interview, Grey Matter #2 1987


30 Years Ago: EXUMER release Possessed by Fire (…and the flames are burning higher!)

Our current manager, Matthias Prill, knew Tommy Ziegler, the head of Disaster, so he invited the guy to the show. We brought Warfare over from England and we really played our hearts out; the offer came from that night.
…we did receive some other offers, but I won’t say from who. We thought Disaster was better for us because we could be more individual if we were on a different label to all those bands who were getting signed by the two labels [SPV and Noise] you mentioned.

Released by Disaster on this day in 1986, EXUMER’s classic debut Possessed by Fire.

Harris [Johns] and Tommy Ziegler worked together for many years when they used to bring out punk music on Disaster. They are very good friends and Tommy knows Matthias, so he suggested Harris to us. We’re pleased with the production because it’s really good for our style.

A lot of German bands aren’t really raunchy enough, and we told Harris that we wanted a dirty guitar sound. This is also part of the US sound that the band likes listening to.


“No special thanks but pure hate goes out to Ralf Ludwig for cheating us and all the people who ordered our demotape.”

Well, as the message on the back of the album says, our old manager Ralf Ludwig cheated everybody. We got a lot of orders for the tape but he took all the money and never sent any tapes out.

At the time reviews often drew comparisons with EXODUS:

It’s not just Exodus they talk about you know, it’s Nasty Savage, Slayer etc, etc. How would I react? Well, it’s not like a copycat thing; you can’t say that we put on a record and say ‘we’ll change this around and play it like this’. I think a lot of people overdo this charge of bands copying other bands. We listen to a lot of stuff and I can guarantee that on any album you could say ‘that sounds a bit like Slayer or Metallica or Exodus’. Maybe a few of our riffs are written in the same style as Exodus, but it doesn’t mean to say Exodus wrote them and we played them does it. Ray loves Exodus, especially Bonded By Blood (1985), but that doesn’t mean Exumer are Exodus. We are trying to do what we want just like anybody else, and I hope everyone understands that!

– Paul Arakaki, Syke Bornetto / EXUMER interview, Metal Forces #23 1987

30 Years Ago: VIO-LENCE complete their second demo

We’re influenced by a lot of stuff. Sean listens to a lot of Alice Cooper and stuff like that. Slayer. Me and Phil basically listen to anything and everything. We listen to everything, from all boundaries of music. Deen listens to DK’s. We all pretty much listen to the same stuff. Sex Pistols, you know. Lot of punk. Lot of metal. Whatever. Even Guns N’ Roses ain’t half that bad.
– Robb Flynn / VIO-LENCE interview, Out of the Underground zine #1 1989

Recorded in late July but not mixed until this day in November 1986.

“This pre-“Eternal Nightmare” demo from 1986 is a prize for 2 reasons: not only does it contain the original-lyric version of “Bodies On Bodies” (It was decided that some lyrics were too “controversial”, so select lines were altered for the album), but the demo also features the track “Paraplegic”, deemed altogether too controversial for inclusion on their debut album. Sean often doubled his vocals for an eerie effect. Two different versions of this demo exist, as Sean re-recorded the vocals.” – from the old official website (now offline)

This is the first recording with Sean Killian on vocals. Troy Fua is one of the guitarists. Fast-forward sufficiently and get to a hidden track: “Gutterslut” live from 1985, the Eastern Front compilation track. – VIO-LENCE fan site discography

30 Years Ago: SLAYER live at The Stone, San Francisco

Live on this day, SLAYER in San Francisco (the first of two nights at The Stone). Reign in Blood had been a released a few weeks earlier and this was an early date in the supporting US tour, with OVERKILL as opener. This tour ended in New York in early December. The next mini tour began in January ’87 supporting W.A.S.P. and RAVEN. The European Reign in Blood tour followed in mid April that year.

Louder sound lower quality picture:

33 Years Ago: MERCYFUL FATE release Melissa

I was doing all the music at that time, so I just kept composing, kept composing because I loved to compose. Get up in the middle of the night. I remember when I did “Satan’s Fall” that was maybe within a week or two. Every night until 3AM, I was sitting with my guitar and then taking, finding the next part. Back to bed and up again. That was cool.
– Hank Shermann, 2015 Loudwire

33 Years Ago: ONSLAUGHT release What Lies Ahead demo (Protest… but who said you’ll survive?)

No idea how valid this is, but at least one source gives today as the date this demo was “released” in 1983. Sold by the band through zines, tape trading etc. Known as What Lies Ahead, the demo was a collection of rehearsals and live recordings.
Anyway, a chance to remember the punk roots of ONSLAUGHT – DISCHARGE, GBH, EXPLOITED all clear comparisons.
Despite the image and lyrical changes on the first album Power From Hell, ONSLAUGHT continued the sound you hear on this demo. Getting faster and heavier in the way bands like BROKEN BONES were around the same time.
Early ONSLAUGHT is killer, and they continued to kill as they became the black thrash cult heard on The Force with new vocalist Sy Keeler. Throughout that period Nige Rockett on guitar and Steve Grice on drums.