German thrash metal!

Satan's Gift
Deathrow - Satan's Gift (Displeased) 1986/2008

1.    Winds of Death (1:24)    
2.    Satan's Gift (4:13)    
3.    Riders of Doom (5:12)
4.    Hell's Ascent (5:57)    
5.    Spider Attack (05:58)    
6.    Slaughtered (4:07)
7.    Violent Omen (4:49)
8.    Dark Tales (4:06)    
9.    Samhain (6:25)
10.  Hell’s Ascent [demo] (5:33)
11.  Samhain [demo] (6:51)
12. Riders of Doom [demo] (5:06)

Raw, raunchy production. Noisy, chaotic, relentless, pounding, fast, faster, fastest, German speed metal. These are just some descriptions I would use to describe this thrash metal platter from Düsseldorf, Germany’s Deathrow. Satan’s Gift was originally released in 1986, then retitled to Riders of Doom, complete with new album art. I assume that the idea was to hit a wider fan base than they could have with the intentionally offensive album cover art from "Satan’s Gift." Either way, Deathrow’s debut album stacks up to anything released by the Big German Trio; Kreator, Sodom and Destruction, during this same time period. What Deathrow offers, however, is a bit more variety in the vocal department than the average thrash band. Milo’s vocals have a distinct and obvious German accent which only adds to the appeal and the overall heavy feel of this album. Also, the band was just slightly more melodic than bands like Destruction. Still, it’s pretty obvious that this album was just as much about speed and attitude as it was about musicianship and songwriting. Early German thrash was nothing like the early U.S. Thrash metal. As such, the songs don’t have any immediate hooks, though there are plenty of interesting riffs to please even the most casual thrash metal fan. Within a few listens songs like "Spider Attack", "Satan’s Gift" and "Violent Omen" started to stand out from the pack. Overall, however, I think this CD was a good start for a band who would release even better things in the future.

Reissued in September 2008 on Displeased Records with bonus tracks from the Samhain "The Lord of the Dead" demos from 1985. The Displeased reissued contains both covers and makes it so that either can be displayed in the jewel case. The booklet contains lyrics and a lengthy interview with the band. (Thanks Olaf)

Raging Steel Deathrow - Raging Steel (Noise) 1987

1. "The Dawn" (1:24)
2. "Raging Steel" (4:13)
3. "Scattered By The Wind" (5:12)
4. "Dragon's Blood" (5:57)
5. "The Thing Within" (5:58)
6. "Pledge To Die" (4:07)
7. "Mortal Dread" (4:49)
8. "The Undead Cry" [instrumental] (4:06)
9. "Beyond The Light" (6:25)

"Ragin Steel" is Deathrow's sophmore release, and possibly their heaviest thrash metal platter. They have much in common with Kreator, Destruction and possibly Slayer as well. "Raging Steel" is one of the rarest Deathrow CDs as well. I have seen copies on eBay selling for clost to $75. I'm curious to find out if this one was officially released on CD or not. So far I have only ever seen two copies, mine and a friend's and both appear to be bootlegs, even though they both display the Noise Records logo. The cover art and insert are professionally printed (not laser printouts) but include no information or lyrics on the inside. My copy is pressed on a silver disc with nothing a black Deathrow logo and the title of the CD printed on the front.

Bootlicker Deathrow - Deception Ignored (Noise) 1988

1. "Events in Concealment" (5:32)
2. "The Deathwish" (4:28)
3. "Triocton" [instrumental] (8:11)
4. "N.L.Y.H." (3:12)
5. "Watching the World" (4:51)
6. "Narcotic" (9:21)
7. "Machinery" (7:03)
8. "Bureaucrazy" (4:19)

To be very honest, I had never heard of this band before obtaining this disc, so I did a little research on them. "Deception Ignored" is their third album. Apparently their first two albums are in the style of early Slayer­noisy, German thrash typical of bands like Iron Angel, Kreator, and Destruction. This was a time in the late 80's when speed, aggression and attitude were more important than musicianship and songwriting. This album, on the other hand, sounds nothing like those descriptions. "Deception Ignored" moves the band into more progressive, technical and structured thrash metal that became the standard for the early 90's. Since this release came out in early '88, I suppose that would make Deathrow one of the originators of the style, rather than a follower. The epic length instrumental in this disc is fabulous, showing off both the band's incredible musicianship as well as their talent at songcraft. After this disc the band released a final album called 'Life Beyond.' Apparently on their last effort the band stepped it up yet another notch but with little backing from their label and poor sales, the band broke up. Too bad because 'Deception Ignored' is top notch German thrash metal. It's a shame they didn't become more well know, for who knows what they could have been capable of in the future. Judging from this release, they could have been quite influencial in a scene that was only just beginning to explode in 1988. N.L.Y.H. stands for Never Loose Your Humor.

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