Chemical Annihilation - Why Die? (StormSpell Records) 2009
DISC ONE (CD)
1. "Darkness Before The Dawn" (5:46)
2. "Baptism Of Fire" (6:19)
3. "Why Die" (3:51)
4. "Resurrection" (6:11)
5. "Nuclear Proliferation" (3:59)
6. "Contamination" (4:12)
Chemical Annihilation demo
7. "Armageddon" (3:37)
8. "Condemned By Violence" (2:52)
9. "Terrified Conformity" (1:46)
10. "Sands Of Illusion" (1:49)
11. "Final Breath" (2:41)
12. "Mind Of Crazies" (3:10)
DISC TWO (DVD)
2. "Baptism Of Fire"
3. "Dying Rights"
4. "Anguish & And Insanity"
5. "Why Die"
Imagine if Cronos from Venom had joined a young Slayer in 1985 and together the band started writing songs and recording. "Why Die?" very well may have been the outcome of such a partnership. The band has that raw NWOBHM sound that bands like Raven and Venom made famous, only they combine that sound with the West Coast thrash sound. Chemical Annihilation recorded two demos in 1989, both of which are included here on this CD reissue, complete with new artwork, a 12-page, full color booklet and a bonus DVD. The six songs on "Why Die?" are well recorded and digitally remastered, so they sound especially good on this DVD. Unfortunately they six tracks from the self-titled demo aren't recorded as well, so the sound quality drops dramatically in the middle of the CD. Still, the first six tracks are worth the price of admission alone.
The CD starts off with a slow, brooding, almost doomy opening before bursting into a fast, thrash metal number. Images of the two bands I already described come to mind immediately. Slayer-ific riffs; gruff vocals; quick downbeats; stop on a dime riff changes; dark, apocalyptic lyrics; all the ingredients that made thrash metal so much fun in the 80's. "Baptism of Fire" continues the thrash metal onslaught, slowing down the pace only slightly. This song opens with a lengthy, mid-paced instrumental and some steady, double bass before transforming into another head-banging thrasher. "Baptism of Fire" sports more of those crunchy West Coast, Slayer/Dark Angel-inspired thrash metal riffs. If anyone listening has not begun to either bang their heads or mosh around the room at this point into the CD, chances are they are not a thrash metal fan. With the title track the band again picks up the tempo. This song, like the rest of the songs on this CD, rarely stays at one tempo throughout the entire song, instead changing from fast thrash riffs to mid-paced, mosh grooves throughout the song. Likewise "Resurrection", "Nuclear Proliferation", and "Contamination" all twist and weave together tempo changes. "Contamination" has some big, infectious riffs. I particularly like the breakdown in the middle of this song when the band gradually slows the tempo down before picking it back up into a full mosh groove. It is easy to see why they chose this song as the opening number for the live material on the DVD. The bonus tracks from the band's 1989 self-titled demo are less progressive and are shorter bursts of thrash fury. Personally, I like the direction the band was headed with the longer, more technical sound on the "Why Die?" tracks.
It's a shame that Chemical Annihilation didn't stick around a bit long and record a proper album. They certainly had the chops, the skills, the speed and the attitude. As it stands, this CD should please fans of raw, infectious, aggressive, crunchy thrash metal.
The bonus DVD include a professionally shot multi-camera live DVD which features two exclusive songs not incuded on the CD.