ALBUM REVIEW: Anacrusis – Suffering Hour/Reason (Reissues)

One of the lesser-known names of the 80s/90s thrash scene, St. Louis act Anacrusis still managed leave quite an impression on the genre. Combining lightning speed with intricate and progressive song structures, the band released four albums between 1988 and 1993. Only previously available from certain online marketplaces at inflated or stupidly high prices, the band’s discography is finally being made available from label Metal Blade.

Recorded in a week for a meager $1200, the band’s 1988 debut Suffering Hour (Active) is simply one of the best examples of mid-late eighties technical thrash metal out there. What the record might lack in production quality, it makes up for with riffs, riffs, speed, and more riffs. Songs shift from high-velocity rippers like ‘A World To Gain’ to slower, groove-oriented beasts like ‘Imprisoned’. Each track rarely stays at one tempo and the guitars are razor-sharp with solos that shred like motherfuckers, but it’s arguably the bass work which impresses the most. Although replete with thrashers of the highest order, the undisputed highlight has to be the monstrous ‘Annihilation Complete/Disemboweled’. A relentless burst of furious energy with a frenzied guitar solo to almost rival the one at the end of Angel of Death by Slayer, it surely has to go down as one of the best album closers of the genre. Featuring bonus material including four demo tracks, and a drunken cover of ‘N.I.B.’ by Black Sabbath, Suffering Hour is a worthy addition to any thrash fan’s library.

8 / 10

 

Whereas the debut was clearly a thrash album with one foot in progressive metal, the 1990 follow-up, Reason (Active) was the sound of a band diving headfirst into swirling waters of prog. Unfortunately, many fans of their earlier sound turned their backs as the band favoured odd time signatures, bass breakdowns, and slower, more thoughtful sections over aggression and speed. Puzzling really as the thrash riffs of the debut are still plainly there, in abundance and with better production. ‘Terrified’ is a great example, featuring some excellent technical playing and an unhinged vocal performance by Kenn Nardi at its climax. ‘Not Forgotten’ switches between bass-driven jazz runs, melodic passages and serious groove thrash, ‘Wrong’ and ‘Silent Crime’ are complex and occasionally disjointed but feature some truly exceptional moments, some parts of ‘Vital’ are pure Tool, and there’s more than a little future System of a Down in ‘Killing My Mind’. A less visceral experience than their rawer debut, but still an interesting and worthy follow-up.

7 / 10

GARY ALCOCK

Purchase your copy now at Indiemerch in the USA or Kingsroad in Europe.