Sad news to report as Marsha Zazula, the legendary co-founder of Megaforce Records which launched the careers of Metallica, Anthrax, King’s X and many others, has died. She was 68 years old. News of her passing was shared by her daughter Rikki, writing: “RIP Mom April 21, 1952 -January 10, 2021 Your love, Your strength, Your memory and Your music has changed lives and will continue to FOREVER.”Marsha formed Megaforce with her husband Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula in 1983, as metal music lovers and entrepreneurs with no prior industry experience, but founded a brand that will always hold an iconic place in the hearts of metal fans and band. In Jonny’s 2020 memoir, he largely credited a lot of the success of the label to Marsha. The label released Metallica’s first two albums, 1983’s “Kill ‘Em All” and 1984’s “Ride The Lightning”, before the band signed to Elektra. Other bands they fostered and worked with included Testament, Overkill, Ace Frehley, Ministry, Stormtroopers Of Death, Raven, and many more. The Zazula’s latest venture was Breaking Bands, a music management, and services company run with Chuck Billy of Testament and Maria Ferrero. RIP Marsha.
Look, the world is completely in garbage mode at the moment, but would new music from one Mike Patton make waking up less dreadful? How about Patton fronting a Thrash metal act? Sweetens the deal up a bit, right? Fortunately for all of us Mike Patton has reactivated Mr. Bungle, recruited a couple of talented newcomers in Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo, and decided to re-record the 1986 demo The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny (Ipecac).
I wish I could say I knew Jonny Zazula back in the day, but I wasn’t quite old enough. Sure, I had heard all the stories. As a major Metallica and Anthrax fan, Jon and his wife Marsha’s life stories are Metal history as much as any riff, album or chorus. I bumped into Jon about twelve years ago at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. I was there to see a Testament headline show. Jon and Eddie Trunk, who owes his career to Jon and Marsha to an extent, walked right by and I totally fanboyed out. I’m pretty sure I blurted out something lame like “Holy shit, Jonny Z! Thanks for everything!”, since that what was in my heart. He gave me like a half-pat on the arm, half a “hey dude I need to get by you” move and slipped past me on his way backstage. Trunk just smiled. That was my in-person brush with him, until a recent phone interview (coming soon) for this book release. The book is a memoir about an enterprising music lover who put a genre or two on his back and raised up everyone around him toward greatness.
Crossover Thrash legends Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.) have a clothed action figure coming this December from NECA Toys. The “Sgt. D” 8″ clothed action figure will release this December. Sgt. D graced the covers of the bulk of the band’s releases and also took on a life of his own through their songs. The upcoming figure comes after the recent collaboration between Anthrax/Stormtroopers Of Death guitarist Scott Ian and NECA for a figure of himself.Continue reading
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are, apparently, at war. Not the sort of war that has been on your television news broadcasts, but with technology and appliances the world over. So say the slightly crazed minds of the creators behind Killer Refrigerator. The Fridge And The Power It Holds (Independent/self-released) is KR’s second album of scatalogical humour set to an old school death and thrash metal soundtrack that is every bit as bonkers as you might have already begun to suspect.
Kicking off with ‘Terrorvision’, I had a mental image of black drainpipe jeans, white high tops and old Stormtroopers of Death t-shirts as the band dive headlong into an absurd, whirligig of frenetic thrash metal and punky vocals . We move into more mid-tempo classic thrash territory of ‘Slaystation’ which is eerily like early period Nuclear Assault and no bad thing in my mind. ‘Shower Thrashing Death’ is two minutes of aural stupidity but I mean that warmly. Let’s be fair, any band that calls a song ‘Shower Thrashing Death’ and has a lyric that proclaims the coming of the “toilet gods” and how we will all “bow down to the toiletries!” is not exactly taking itself too seriously. And neither should we.
There’s an echo of Kerry King running through ‘Slave to the Easy Bake’ and a bassline that DanLilker would have been proud to call his own. On the title track, it’s totally apparent that this band have a complete love of thrash and death metal that despite the obviously stupid nature of all of this, it’s done with a large degree of love and affection.
In much the same way that Evil Scarecrow have appropriated and twisted the black metal genre then so Killer Refrigerator have taken old school thrash, horror tropes and high school humour and created a small part of the musical universe that is uniquely theirs. It’s unequivocally lightweight and a bit samey in parts: there is only one joke here and whilst it’s amusing enough, you can’t possibly keep on telling it without it wearing a little bit thin. There’s a level of inevitability about that but whilst it’s here, the band are smart enough not to outstay their welcome.
Fresh, stupid, silliness.
My first album review with Ghost Cult Mag, and I’m quickly reminded of the great perk when it comes to this line of work. Finding enjoyable bands you may not of found otherwise. Example being the new LP, Crush the Sublime Gods(Century Media), by Sweden’s Dr. Living Dead. Crush The Sublime Godsis very reminiscent of early work by such acts as Stormtroopers of Death, Anthrax, and Suicidal Tendencies. Dr. Living Dead prove classic Crossover Thrash is as strong as ever, and shows no sign of slowing down. This is by no means anything original or ground-breaking, but don’t take it as I am belittling the band. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what isn’t broken.
With a new vocalist and drummer joining Dr. Living Dead in the past couple years,Crush the Sublime Godsproves they’ve clearly had chemistry from the start. From fast riffs to a slow stomp, gang chants galore, and one track even being a Thrash power ballad (‘Salvation’), this album is a complete package. The lyrical content is a bit tongue-in-cheek as it pays homage to classic 80’s horror films. Most obvious one being the track ‘Scanners’, Inspired by the 1981 filmScanners. One of my personal favorites off the album. The lyrics tell the story of those with incredibly strong telekinetic powers known asScanners, who use their powers to deadly effects. All during fast riffs and a familiar thrash beat. Being a fan of the movie the lyrics “We’ll f**k your brain dry” during a break down was far too enjoyable for me. ‘No Way Out’ slows down a bit with a more melodic groove with clear vocals, overall feel of classic Suicidal Tendencies.
Overall I enjoyed Crush the Sublime Gods, and am now inclined to check out the rest of the discography from Dr. Living Dead. As they only formed in 2007, they easily join modern bands such as Municipal Waste as bands that are keeping Thrash a true force in the metal community. I feel like if this album was released twenty years ago, everyone would of heard of it. It would be surprising to me if anyone that is a fan of Thrash did not enjoy this band or album, so I give a strong recommendation.
WORDS BY DEREK RIX
Being in a thrash metal band sure looks like a hell of a lot of fun. You get to pay homage to the metal greats, incite swirling circle pits and play songs with lyrics ranging from the horrors of nuclear war to the joys of being a borderline alcoholic. It’s no surprise then that the genre is still mightily popular despite not really evolving since the 80s.
In fact, it’s so much fun to be in a thrash band, that for some of those in the scene, one band is not enough. That’s presumably why Tony Foresta and Landphil from Municipal Waste formed Iron Reagan, who differ from their parent band by having slightly shorter songs and a cruder, garage-based approach. Or maybe it’s because they just want to rock the fuck out, which is exactly what sophomore record The Tyranny of Will (Relapse) does in spades.
Less concerned with the goofy, beer-obsessed cartoonish approach that is the MunicipalWaste operandi, Iron Reagan play old-school thrash served up with an unhealthy mix of hardcore punk and the occasional dirty splash of crust and even hints of grind. Imagine the members of the modern thrash scene brawling with the likes of Stormtroopers of Death, D.R.I. and the Cro-Mags in a skate-park covered in flyers for old punk shows and you get the idea of what’s going on here.
There’s some great thrash workouts such as ‘Tyranny of Will’ ‘Close to Toast’ and ‘Miserable Failure’ while the brief yet savage blasts of ‘Glocking Out’ ‘Your Kid’s an Asshole’ and ‘Bored to Death’ will delight those who still scrawl giant X’s on their hands at gigs. Add in some hilarious lyrical concepts courtesy of the dearly departed Dave Brockie of GWAR and it’s no wonder why Foresta et al decided to make Iron Reagan more than just a side-project. And what a good decision that was, for The Tyranny of Will is a blast for all of its infectious 31 minutes.