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Chemical Annihilation
Why Die?
April 2009
Released: 2009, Stormspell Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Thrash from Portland, Oregon. Don´t remember this Oregon-based thrash act Chemical Annihilation ever crossing my path during my active days in the tape trading scene back in 1985-1993. Chemical Annihilation released two demos within the year 1989; a self-titled 6-track demo and a bit later another 6-track demo, titled WHY DIE? The band was only formed in 1988, so their whole career was extremely short-lived as they split up sometime around 1989-1990.

Musically they come from the same (old) school as bands like Gammacide, The Horde of Torment, Revenant and False Prophet/Infernal Heirarchy, playing a pretty technical, nasty and evil old school thrash metal that surely is not meant to remain unrecognized by the thrash metal loving community of people. When they still existed, they played the kind of thrash that could be described as a heavy, strongly riff-based and mostly mid-paced thrash. It was kinda unusual for a thrash band at that time, however, that the band´s drummer Mike Pfau also sang while tormenting his drum arsenal in a live situation. His vocals remind me greatly of Henry Veggian (Revenant) and Paul Ray (False Prophet/Infernal Heirarchy) in case you are looking for some comparisons just to get an idea.

Both of the band´s demos have been digitally remastered, but in all fairness the contrast between their 2nd demo WHY DIE? and 1st demo is huge from every single aspect, in favor of their 2nd demo, which beats the band´s debut demo six-zero.

The DVD. It´s rather professionally shot by 3 or 4 different cameras, although the quality of the picture ain´t that great. But considering the times when DVD technology was still minimalistic and nowhere near as advanced as it is today, this footage looks very acceptable in that sense after all. All that intensity the guys in Chemical Annihilation managed to pull out from themselves in a live situation, was also nicely delivered to their audience. There´s some occasional stage diving as well as some circle moshing to be seen on this DVD, which also pretty much describes how people openly enthusiastically tend to act back in the day when attending to a thrash concert.

As a kind of extra for the fans of the band, Chemical Annihilation also performed a couple of new songs in this 5-song live footage that are not to be found on any of their 2 demos, those songs being titled "Dying Rights" and "Anguish and Insanity". Both songs actually sound quite near the material they recorded for their 2nd demo effort, WHY DIE?, i.e. heavy as shit, nasty and pretty complex structure-wise. All in all, this whole live footage was really cool to watch, and it´s a very nice bonus to sum up the band´s entire history as well. Kinda pity they never got a chance to record a full-length album because they indeed were a fuckin´ talented thrash bunch.

Moreover, when you get everything very professionally and neatly packaged for a relatively reasonable price, and are a serious collector of quality thrash metal, nothing should stop you purchasing Chemical Annihilation´s CD-DVD package for your metal collection. Another gem of underground metal has again been brought back to the daylight - sincere thanks go out to Stormspell Records for understanding the true value of releases like this.
Track Listing


01. Darkness Before the Dawn
02. Baptism of Fire
03. Why Die
04. Resurrection
05. Nuclear Proliferation
06. Contamination
07. Armageddon
08. Condemned by Violence
09. Terrified Conformity
10. Sands of Illusion
11. Final Breath
12. Mind of Crazies



01. Contamination
02. Baptism of Fire
03. Dying Rights
04. Anguish and Insanity
05. Why Die


Mike Pfau - Vocals and drums
Ryan McFarren - Guitar
Jeff Vance - Guitar
Kris Merkel - Bass

Other reviews

» Why Die?
by Luxi Lahtinen

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