Two amazing things have come out of the Thrash resurgence. First, we get new bands that actually understand how Thrash works (even if a majority of them are fairly un-unique) and secondly, we have some of the underrated Thrash bands from the days of ole coming back with a vengeance. ONSLAUGHT falls into the latter category.
ONSLAUGHT’s comeback album “Killing Peace” in 2007 was not only one of the best Thrash albums of the year but one of the best albums of the year period. Two years later, the band decides to release “Live Damnation” a recording of a live performance from their tours following their comeback album. Normally, I am not a fan of live albums even from bands that I respect and love, but since ONSLAUGHT was unable to actually tour anywhere close to me then I’ll have to take this instead.
Even considering my distaste for live albums, “Live Damnation” is recorded ridiculously well. Whomever recorded these live performances did a damn good job with the production and mixing. Hell, some of the newer tracks almost sound as good as the studio recordings from their last album! It’s that good. So off the bat, I have to give props for that.
Musically, ONSLAUGHT has never sounded better. Whether it’s the new tracks like “Killing Peace” or “Burn” or even the older tracks like “Power Of Hell” or “Metal Forces”, the band is truly on top of their game on these recordings. These performances must have been killer in a live setting and make me want to see them live very badly. There is very little for ‘live’ noises on the record, a few screams here and there, some chanting and the occasional introduction (on the track “Demoniac” for example). With the quality of sound and the lack of ‘live’ elements this almost doesn’t feel like a live album which is a bonus for me.
Since I loved their comeback album, it’s nice to see that half of the songs come from that release and the other half come from their previous life in the 80s. My one complaint with this album is that it’s a very short set list. It’s still over 41 minutes of music but there is only 8 songs represented. I would have liked to see a few more songs added from their earlier career but I’m sure many fans won’t be disappointed with what’s contained on “Live Damnation”.
This is perhaps one of the best live albums I’ve had the chance to hear, and it’s a nice representation of the band’s career and perhaps a solid introduction to those unfamiliar with their catalog. The sound quality and performances are superb (the vocals from Sy Keeler are some of the best I’ve heard from a live Thrash vocalist) even if the track listing is a little skimpy. Definite purchase for longtime fans and recent ones too.
(Online July 14, 2009)