The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘1986

Damien Thorne – Sign of the Jackal – CD Review

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Damien Thorne hit the scene in 1986 with their debut release Sign of the Jackal on Roadrunner Records.  At that time thorneRoadrunner had decent distribution and their tapes and records were in most stores.  I am pretty sure a former friend from high school and I were out and about when this one got discovered.  Sometimes it gets hard to remember.  Doesn’t matter.  This was a good discovery.

Damien Thorne fit the category for what I considered speed metal with a hint of NWOBHM in them.  Justin Fates vocals were definitely the high point for me with these guys.  He reminded me a lot of Glen May from Tyrant (LA)…good normal singing voice and great high notes heavily laden with reverb/delay/chorus.  Good times!

Since I was listening to this on cassette for many years, side 2 would be considered my favorite side.  Hell’s Reign, Escape or Die, Siren’s Call and Damien’s Procession (March of the Undead).  Side 1 wasn’t shabby by any means, but the album got better as it went along.

DT had pretty decent riffs and good drumming with some good straightforward double bass stuff in it.  Most of the songs are good mid-paced US metal.

While Damien Thorne weren’t any sort of groundbreaking act, the debut is certainly worth tracking down.  The  CD version was available for a few years but seems to be out of print now.

Tonight was the first time I have spun this in a few years and it really brought back good memories of my high school years (there weren’t many) of hanging out in Churchland with the old crew…

Man, looking back it’s a wonder that some of us are still alive.  Well, sadly, some of us aren’t.  It’s interesting to see who ended up where doing what.

Going back and listening to some of these old albums really sets off some stuff in the brain.  It’s a good stroll down memory lane with some music that always takes me back.  I definitely wore out a few cassette copies of Sign of the Jackal.  Riding around in my 66 Nova II 4dr.  While I generally don’t miss those days, there were enough good times intertwined with friends and music that will never be forgotten.  Luckily I talk to friends that remind me of an album or I listen to an album that reminds me of some old friends.

Download it here. Buy it if you can find it.

Written by The Metal Files

September 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Purgatory – Tied To The Trax (1986)

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Not sure who I first heard this through and it really doesn’t matter.  I do know that they weren’t my discovery within PurgatoryFmy circle of friends but it was one of those albums that everyone seemed to love.  It was really too bad that they didn’t do a follow-up to this one.  I was happy to finally get a CD copy from Sentinel Steel Records about 15 years ago.

This is 80s speed/thrash metal at its finest.  It’s a great album front to back and was only officially released on CD via SPV/Steamhammer forever and a day ago.  Bill at Auburn Reocrds has said that he wants to re-release it but to date it hasn’t happened.  Auburn Records had a few good bands on it like Shok Paris, Breaker, Purgatory and Black Death.  Pity their bands pretty much wavered around in the underground.

But as I was saying, there’s not a bad song on this album.  The singer, Jeff Hatrix, ended up in Mushroomhead as J.Man I believe.  Shame, the dude had a phenomenal metal voice.

I highly recommend that you download and listen to it…over and over.


Panther feat. Jeff Scott Soto

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I picked this album up sometime in 1986 or 1987 and I think I got it at Unicorn Records in Portsmouth, VA.   Not Pantherimportant.  What was important is that it had Jeff Scott Soto on vocals.  I was a HUGE fan of his work on Yngwie’s first 2 albums and randomly finding this in a record store was sweet.  I remember looking at the cover thinking, “Damn, they could have found someone a little better looking.”  ha ha.  Even in those days the big hair didn’t do much for me.  Then turning the album over and seeing that Jeff was singing, I had to have it.  I think I got it for $1.

I’ll be straight to the point…this is not a great album but it is good and a little better than average.  JSS’ vocals are great.  To me he’s one of the greatest singers in metal/rock although I haven’t liked everything he’s put out such as Talisman and Takara.  He did sound great with Journey though!  I wish he could have kept that gig.

Anyhoo…Most of the songs on here are mid-paced metal anthems but all-in-all pretty good.  I can still remember listening to the my vinyl copy and I think this digital version retains much of that vinyl tinniness.  Best song would be “Warchild” and the worst is “Panther.”


  1. First There Was Rock
  2. Desire
  3. Danger
  4. Deliver The Axe
  5. Warchild
  6. Panther


Written by The Metal Files

July 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm

The torture never stops!

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This album can do no wrong.  Seriously.  This was another one that I first heard through a former friend from high school.  I was 16 (1986) and drove my ’66 Nova 4dr to his house to hang out.  I believe this was the first time that we hung out and I was in awe of his record collection and his bedroom walls filled with cool metal posters.

I’m flipping through his crate of records and see the WASP S/T album and asked him to play it.  I’d seena nd read about them in the ‘zines but hadn’t put ears to it yet.



Being blown away doesn’t really even mildly describe how hard this album hit me upon my first listen.  WASP was different, especially coming from the LA scene where lipstick and hairspray was ruling the scene.  I never really got into that look or sound that came along with it except for the early Crue stuff.

Sure WASP had hairspray and makeup, but it wasn’t the same.  There’s not a bad song on this album at all.  Sure, School Daze had some goofy lyrics, but it is still a great jam.

Blackie Lawless has a very haunting quality to his voice.  It’s vicious at times.  These guys were the perfect combination of power, dark tones and tasteful metal.

When I put this CD in my car, it generally stays in there for a few weeks.  I never grow tired of listening to it.  If I have to pick my favorite cuts on this they would have to be Hellion, Sleeping in the Fire, Tormentor and L.O.V.E. Machine.


And let’s not forget what W.A.S.P. stands for.  If you look on the inner ring of the actual album, it’s spelled out as “We are sexual perverts”.

That rules.

My current guitarist saw their first 2 shows in LA…@ the Troubador I believe.  There’s some footage of these shows on YouTube I believe.

"There’s no message here; you’re gonna screw up your needle, asshole."

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“I have got a secret hidden behind my eyes
A violation tragedy of violence hate and lies.
Locked deep within a chamber, dark recesses of my mind
A tribute to insanity, through hours days and time.”
Overkill’s Feel The Fire came out in 1985 and I first put ears to it in 86 via a schoolmate of mine. My junior and senior years at a Catholic high school were tolerable because I finally had another metalhead to commiserate with. He turned me on to a lot of metal that I hadn’t had a chance to hear yet. Thanks Bill, forever grateful.
Anyway, back to this album. He loaned this and Savatage’s Dungeons Are Calling to me for a weekend and took them over to Kelz’ house to check them out. Now if you have been paying attention, Kelz’ mom and my mom thought that heavy metal was evil. OK, they were on to something in a way but evil music didn’t make us bad kids. We were just kids who liked to rock out with our big white hi-top sneakers with the pant leg of our acid washed jeans tucked in behind the tongue. We weren’t out to harm anyone or ourselves, but I guess parents have a different perspective. Our dads were pretty cool about the whole thing but generally went along with what our moms said just so they wouldn’t have to hear any excessive bitching. I remember my dad once saying, “Son, listen to what your mom says then go do what you want. Just don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.” Sonofabitch, pops was right again. He was awesome. RIP, man. You were the coolest.
OK, so, back to this album. Kelz’ record player was in his attic so we went up and put the Overkill on first. Remember, we were zit faced 16 year olds. I snuck the 2 records in under my arm wrapped in a flannel shirt. I’m sure his mom knew I had records but she wasn’t overly nosey that day.
We put the needle on and heard the creepy intro. It was pretty wild. We had never heard Overkill and the opening track kicks in with a wicked evil laugh from Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. Were a little freaked out but the whole thing just crushed. We were also tripping out on the backwards masking at the end of the album. A year or 2 later we figured out that it said, “There’s no message here; you’re gonna screw up your needle, asshole.”
We spun the record once again. Completely badass…and evil. Perfection. Gustafson’s riffs, rat Skates’ frantic drumming and DD’s clanky Rickenbacker bass tone made for a perfect background for Blitz’ vocals.
There’s not a stinker on here and I will forever recommend it to any metalhead…although if you were a true metalhead, you’d already own it. Right? Right!
By the way, I don’t think we ever spun the Savatage, which is a good record in its own right, but it’s no Feel The Fire.

Written by The Metal Files

August 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Posted in 1986, heavy metal, kelz' mom, overkill

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