Released: 2009, AreaDeath Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Tragedy hits some bands harder than others. The death-toll in Cali-based Insanity went up to 2 band members on 14th November 2007 when Insanity´s longtime drummer Bud Mills passed away, suffering from esophagal cancer (stage 4). According to the band´s Myspace site, they are luckily getting back to their feet again, slowly but surely anyway.
CHRONICLES OF THE CURSED by Insanity, is the most luxurious product from a rising Chinese underground metal label AreaDeath Productions / Xmusick League; a 2-CD digibook compilation featuring Insanity´s material from 1985-94 - this including their impossible-to-find DEATH AFTER DEATH album (originally released on M.B.R. Records in 1994), a 4-song re-mastered 8-track recording, the band´s most classic 3-track demo from 1985, many live + rehearsal songs, etc. - basically covering the band´s entire catalog perfectly. Plus, this 36-page hard cover digibook comes with liner notes (written by Exhumed´s Matt Harvey and Napalm Death´s Barney), a long and in-depth interview of Insanity vocalist & guitarist Dave Gorsuch, lyrics written both in English and Chinese - and all this added with tons of killer photos from the band´s past years, some of them being really rare and probably even never published before prior to this fantastic release.
But that´s enough about what this release contains and how it overall looks. What about Insanity´s music then, I am already hearing you whining anxiously? What?! You haven´t heard of Insanity before? Are you kidding me? Oh my, shame on you! Well, let me just say that when Insanity started back in 1985, they were one of the most relentless, vicious and aggressive death/thrash metal bands on the face of the earth. No kidding! In fact, I would say they were right there with bands like Possessed, Hellwitch, Slayer, Exodus, etc. – playing a high-velocity death/thrash metal with such intensity and aggression that absolutely dropped some jaws wide open. The music was pure brilliance in terms of their very well executed and skilfully played songs that got many people to bow in front of them in sheer amazement. Songs like “Blood for Blood”, “Ultimate Death”, “Fire Death Fate” and many other Insanity songs became instant classic numbers among their fans that they always demanded Insanity to play live. For those who never got an opportunity to see the band live, I think it was a very good call from the band to include some of that live material for this luxury compilation CD, just giving a taste of how tight and aggressive they already were when playing live shows back in the day. The sound quality of those live tunes varies quite a lot, but that´s only a minor point because Insanity truly slaughtered live.
However, much like Hellwitch from Florida, US, Insanity never got a chance to take those few, last important steps to bring them to the same league as bands like Possessed or Exodus, but they always stayed more or less as a relatively unknown underground force that somehow missed all opportunities to bring things to the next level. Signing a deal with the German M.B.R. Records wasn´t probably one of their best choices they have made in their whole career, but at least they got their debut album released eventually unlike many of their fellow bands from those days.
CHRONICLES OF THE CURSED is nothing but a mandatory package for every Insanity fan – and actually for everyone else for that matter, who can still appreciate the past times of some of these finest and most talented underground metal bands that quite never made it big for themselves, but whose destiny was to stay as an underground act for their entire lifespan. Get this while you still can because this is limited to 1000 copies only – and probably a very limited die-hard version (a fancy-looking box, limited to 200 copies; including also an Insanity patch, a longsleeve shirt and a button) is already sold out.