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Annihilation Complete - The Early Years Anthology
April 2009
Released: 2009, Stormspell Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Undoubtedly one of the most respected forces in (progressive) thrash, Missouri-based Anacrusis recorded 4 albums during their existence, lasting 7-8 years. It was their debut album, SUFFERING HOUR (released on Axis Records in 1988) that brought them to everyone´s lips around the world due to its raw speed. Their debut album has also remained amongst some of the fans of the band as that very special album which they remember Anacrusis mostly from.

Anyway, here´s more sweet candy for the Anacrusis fans that have been mourning the split-up of this fine US progressive thrash band for all these years. ANNIHILATION COMPLETE - THE EARLY YEARS ANTHOLOGY, as the title already suggests, features the complete Anacrusis 9-song demo titled ANNIHILATION COMPLETE (voted as the best demo of 1987 in UK´s now defunct Metal Forces magazine), their 1st 2-song demo from 1986, old rehearsal songs from 1986-1988 - plus if that wasn´t enough, even a DVD with both Anacrusis live footage from 3 different shows and Kenn´s previous band, Heaven´s Flame. Wow, quite a hell of a package here anyway. Stormspell Records (who else!) - as well as the band´s vocalist and guitarist Kenn Nardi, have both done an excellent job for putting this release together in collaboration. Not only Kenn has selected and remastered the songs for this release, but has also designed and written the 16-page booklet for it. The rest has been taken care of by Stormspell Records, and if a word ´perfect´ could be used for a release, then I´d more than willingly use that word for this particular release in question.

I think it´s quite irrelevant to describe how Anacrusis sounds like actually. Everyone must have heard a song or two from this highly popular, progressive thrash act. If you are yet to find out what Anacrusis are all about musically, then I warmly suggest that you pick up just ANY of their releases because they are all very good for what they are, even if slightly different compared to each other (just go and get them for yourself, ok?). This CD+DVD combination, however, might be the best way to start knowing Anacrusis a bit more if you want to get to know this awesome band in chronological order release-wise. The band blends thrash, speed, heavy and progressive metal in a very unique way, not putting weight on any standard and easily-adopted ways to churn their stuff out. There´s just a bit more in them than just surfing across the safe seas, if you know what I mean by this.

As for the DVD itself then, I was personally very curious to see Kenn´s previous band Heaven´s Flame in action. It´s a amateur-ish footage, filmed by someone from the middle of the audience. The live footage is pretty bad, but the music sounds killer. They even play "Fighting Evil", which most people know as an Anacrusis song, I believe. Then we get 3 Anacrusis live footage parts that are all shot from amongst the audience, but neither the picture nor sound quality in any of them is much better compared to Heaven´s Flame´s performance. But despite a bit of poor quality (with jumping, unstable camera angles and everything), they are all rather enjoyable to watch after all. Perhaps their performance at Bridgeton Community Center is most enjoyable to watch in my opinion because it has more close-up footage of them live. Nevertheless, Anacrusis killed live, so I´m glad Stormspell Records wasn´t afraid of releasing all these amateur-ish footages from them as a DVD, as part of the package.

Anyhow, a mandatory package summing up Anacrusis´ history perfectly. Just get it. There´s no way that you would regret it afterwards - just believe me.
Track Listing


Tracks 1-9: 1987 ANNIHILATION COMPLETE demo
Tracks 10-11: 1986 Original 2-song Demo
Track 12: 1986 Rehearsal
Tracks 13-15: 1987 Rehearsal
Track 16: 1988 Rehearsal

01. Disemboweled / Annihilation Complete
02. Imprisoned
03. Pendulum
04. Fighting Evil
05. R.O.T.
06. Frigid Bitch
07. Vulture's Prey
08. Apocalypse
09. Injustice
10. Frigid Bitch
11. Pendulum
12. Imprisoned
13. Fighting Evil
14. R.O.T.
15. Injustice
16. Powerhouse



Tracks 1-6: 1986 Heaven's Flame - Turner's Hall
Tracks 7-12: 1987 The Sports Palace
Tracks 13-20: 1988 St. Charles West Auditorium
Tracks 21-26: 1988 Bridgeton Community Center


Kenn Nardi - Vocals & guitar
Kevin Heidbreder - Guitar
John Emery - Bass
Mike Owen - Drums (1986-1990)
Chad Smith - Drums (1990-1992)
Paul Miles - Drums (1992-1993)

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