Released: 2008, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
During the golden 80s, all the way from Illinois came this 4-piece speed/thrash/heavy metal act called Fatal Violence that only got two demos out; one 6-song demo in 1985 and their 2nd and last 6-song demo in 1987 before the band came to the end of its road. Again, it´s such a pity that a band like Fatal Violence - having a good grip on things in their stuff generally, never joined the group of album-recording artists back in the day. Life´s rough for some - and for some others, not so.
Stormspell Records steps in, and both of the band´s demos have now finally been released - all digitally remixed and remastered by David Enlow, Fatal Violence´s guitarist. The first 6-song demo from them, is actually nothing that special in terms of song writing or production for that matter. It sounds like it has been recorded in 1985, having lots of drive to stand out on its own merits, but not quite succeeding in that. Then we of course have these exceptions. A song called "Cause for Deliverance" is a positive exception to the rest of the songs, having a really good, haunting and dark vibe in it - and it´s a damn heavy sounding song on this demo, too. Also, I couldn´t avoid recognizing this early-Priest-meets-´83-era-Queensrÿche vibe in "Eye of the Storm". A very cool song all in all. However, a lot of that kind of speed/heavy metal stuff came out back in those days. Griffin, Liege Lord, Tyrant, Omen and some other classic sounding US metal bands would be some of those names that might fall into the same box in comparison to what Fatal Violence did in the mid of 80´s.
It´s the band´s 2nd demo that actually took my attention. It´s a more speed metal orientated type of effort from Fatal Violence compared to their debut demo. Doug´s (Trevisan) vocals are more improved, and they just sound better. Also, the band´s second demo tries to break a mould a little bit for them, kind of like searching for new, unexplored paths to bring the band out more as Fatal Violence itself than any other band, if you know what I mean by this. "Cyanide" is perhaps the fastest song they ever wrote, even crossing over the borders of thrash a bit, and sounding like that kind of a song that made the pit boil whenever they played live onstage. Kurt´s (Fleischer) drumming in this tune is very insane, too. "Friday the 13th" is another a quite spooky and eerie sounding song from Fatal Violence - and probably my very favorite song out of all the songs they ever recorded for their 2 demos. The guitar in this song sounds hypnotizing and Doug´s vocals sound actually quite wicked and evil in it. The 2nd demo was definitely a better effort from them all in all, and it would have been great if they had recorded and got a full-length album out before splitting up for good.
The DVD part of this ´two-in-one´ package, titled ASHES TELL NO TALES, is also pretty entertaining to watch. It features the band´s entire live show filmed at Thirsty Whale Rock Club from 1988, 8 songs all in all, of which 5 are taken from their 2nd demo, one new song "Dropping the Balls" (which is an instrumental tune. A damn heavy, fast and strongly thrash oriented piece of work)" - and two songs, "Ashes Tell No Tales" and "Faces of Death", taken from the band´s debut demo. This has been shot among from the audience, and there´s hardly more than 20-30 people at that show, without any stage diving or anything (only a handful of metal guys trying to do some lazy headbanging). However, there´s a very intimate feeling at that concert, so in that sense I´m sure it was a nice experience for all those people who attended to the show back then. The picture quality is quite good, and the same words can be used for the sound quality as well. I love this type of footage, without too much emphasis put on over-complicated camera angles or anything like that. Then again, this reminds me of those times very strongly as well when new speed/thrash bands were popping up all the time, like fast-growing little mushrooms after a heavy rain.
ASHES TELL NO TALES is undoubtedly a fine piece of long-lost US metal, so simply get it if the 80s era of metal is close to your heart and soul.