Morbid Saint: Spectrum Of Death

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By Sean Palmerston

Reissue junkies alert: here is a great find, a US thrash band that isn’t over-hyped but definitely created some solid, speedy, brutal thrash metal. I’ve had this album for quite a long time now, I was sent it to review for Metal Maniacs back in January just before the rug got pulled out and had meant to write something up about this before but am finally getting off my ass now. Better late than never and, as you’ll find if you decide to check this one out, although it was recorded something like twenty-one years ago this speedy little platter still sounds great today.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s Morbid Saint somehow fell through the cracks despite releasing an absolute cracker of a debut. Originally released in 1989 by a Mexican based label called Avenzada Metalica, this eight-song effort is an absolute face-ripper that will appeal greatly to fans of Dark Angel, Kreator and especially late 80s Razor. The songs are well written, the riffs are lightning fast and they possessed a vocalist in singer Pat Lind that could have easily subbed in for Mille in Kreator if the need ever would have arisen. Spectrum Of Death starts strong with the 3:30 “Lock Up Your Children” and doesn’t let up. Only the album’s instrumental offering “Spectrum Of Death” drops the brutal pace of the other seven tracks. There was no slacking around for these Wisconsin thrashers and listening to this album now, it’s somewhat surprising that this album hasn’t received more fanatical attention over the years, because it really is a great Euro-inspired slab of American thrash.

New York based Power Play Records has done a great job reissuing this platter for more widespread consumption. With new cover artwork smartly replacing the album’s original cover (which is a little bit too close to an Iron Maiden cover and would surely attract their legal team in this day and age), this new version also includes newly published photos of the band, a two-page introduction by their former manager/producer that explains more about the band’s brief history and how he feels that he never did right by them the first time around. I’m not sure if the album has been remastered, I am going to assume that it hasn’t, as there are a few drops in sound levels when you listen to it through headphones, but to be honest I am not sure that it needed it as it’s a pretty solid recording to begin with. What’s more important here is the music and Spectrum Of Death delivers that in spades. If you are a fan of late eighties Teutonic thrash, definitely search this one out.

(Power Play Records)

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.