Meliah Rage - Kill to Survive (Epic) 1988
1. "Beginning of the
"Kill to Survive" is heavy and aggressive heavy metal sounding a bit like a combination of early Metal Church and Testament. Unfortunately Meliah Rage never quite reaching the level of popularity of either band, despite being on a major label. Regardless of their popularity, this is a good debut and one that I do listen to quite a bit. By today's standards "Kill to Survive" would be considered an EP. Unfortunately the band was releasing this album in the midst of the whole PMRC controversy in the late 80'. Because of this songs that were originally intended for this album, including the title track were left off the record. The seven songs that remain, however, make for a solid listen. Every track on here walks a fine line between speed metal and old school power metal. Everything is in line, from the crunchy guitar work,to the excellent riffs, right down to the tight rhyhtm section. Opening track "Beginning of the End" is one of the strongest songs on here sets the tone for the whole album. While the band has never claimed to be a thrash band, this song sure sounds like a thrash song to me. "Bates Motel" is one of Meliah Rage's signature songs and continues with more of the same aggression. "Deadly Existence" this is heavy and chaotic. This song also rides the fence between thrash and old school heavy metal, save for the middle section which speeds up and is a full on thrash assault. "Enter the Darkness" is pure heavy metal. Unlike much of the thrashier material on this album, this song reminds me of early Laaz Rockit, Griffin or Grim Reaper. This song is more immediately likeable than anything else on the CD and has some wonderful melody. If this song wasn't picked as the single for this album, I'd be surprised. "Impaling Doom" and "The Pack" are fast speed metal and probably the two fastest songs on the album. So, while this album is short in songs, it still remains a solid metal platter. Essential to fans of the late 80's Bay Area thrash bands or any fan of classic heavy metal.
This disc was out of print and for the most part, out of circulation as well. In 2000, "Kill to Survive" was re-released with a slightly altered front cover and with the first four tracks from the "Solitary Solitude" album added as bonus tracks.
Five fast and furious tracks recorded live in front of a loud and rowdy crowd at Detroit's Harpos on 4/15/89. I have never heard of this club, so I can only assume it's some heavy metal dive. The band sounds tight and are obviously ready to pummel the ears of each and every rivithead in attendance. Must say that some of the talking in between songs is rather silly but besides this minor irritant, this is a pretty nice live EP. Funny though, that less than one year later after the release of the band's debut it was ok to release "Kill to Survive" on this EP, yet they took it off the studio release. Hmm...
Meliah Rage - Solitary Solitude (Epic) 1990
1. "Solitary Solitude"
Heavy Judas Priest/Iron Maiden inspired metal meets the thrash metal of Testament. The early 90's were overwhelmed with this brand of full tilt thrash metal and it was readily available as well. Check out the record label. Too bad albums like this didn't go over better because certainly this is one crushing metal experience.
Meliah Rage - Death Valley Dream (Backstreet) 1996
1. "Death Valley Dream"
Hmmm, Meliah Rage resurface after almost six years of silence and actually put out a disc that is BETTER than any of their earlier discs. This is pretty rare. Usually when band's reform and 'update' their sound I tend to like them less, but in the case of Meliah Rage's 'Death Valley Dream' the band seems less concerned with the thrash metal polka of the past and more concerned with writing quality, hook-laden heavy metal, yet still retaining much of the aggression and fire of the past. Unlike much of their earlier material, songs like the title track and 'Stranger' have riffs that will stick in your head long after you turn the CD off.
Meliah Rage - Unfinished Business (Screaming Ferrit Wreckords) 2003
1. "Mind Stalk"
"Unfinished Business" contains material written and recorded in 1992 but not released until 2002 privately by the band. In 2003 Screaming Ferrit released "Unfinished Business" with new cover art and an interview with founder/guitarist Anthony Nichols. According to the band's website, this disc is a limited edition release. Sully Erna, now of Godsmack plays drums on this disc. The music contained is straight up heavy metal, with a thrash metal sheen, which is exactly what I was hoping it would be. Lots of speed, crunchy rhythms, speedy solos, etc. I wish there were more bands playing this style of music in 2003.
Meliah Rage - Barely Human (Screaming Ferret Wreckords) 2004
Meliah Rage 2004 features a new vocalist in Paul Souza, but an old school heavy metal sound. This is one of those bands that has always been hard to describe as they have always walked a fine line between styles, at times sounding like a thrash band, while at others taking a more straight forward, power metal approach al la Metal Church. With "Barely Human" the band continues to crank out some vicious metal, but stick closer to the more mid-paced, heavy metal sound. Meliah Rage founder/guitarist Anthony Nichols knows how to write a catchy guitar riff and doesn't mind using it more than once in a song. Having said that I would like to gripe for a moment about the current state of heavy metal. It seems there is an attitude that if a band doesn't used 365 different riffs in each song and write tunes that are mega-technical that they are not a "quality band". That is the most ridiculous attitude I have seen. It's stinkin rock 'n' roll people, it's not Mozart! Some of the greatest songs ever written are based around one or two riffs. Thankfully Meliah Rage seem to understand this concept and have released as solid album of pure heavy metal from the opening chords of "Hate Machine" to the speed metal of "Invincible", to the anthemic "Barely Human", to the ballad "Ungodly". As well, while vocalist Paul Souza is not Geoff Tate, he knows how to use his voice and it fits the music qite well. He is clean, but aggressive and has a way with melody. The official release includes the digitally remastered version of "Unfinished Business" as bonus CD. This is kind of stange since "Unfinished Business" was released only a year before and was put out by the same record company.
Meliah Rage - The Deep and Dreamless Sleep (Screaming Ferret Wreckords) 2006
1. "Permanently Damaged"
Much like the reformed Metal Church, metal fans debate relentlessly over the new singer vs. the old singer, the new songs vs. the old songs, etc. Meliah Rage are certainly not the same band they were in the 1980's when they straddled a line between thrash metal and what was then called power metal. Also similar to Metal Church, Meliah Rage have gone the way of straight ahead heavy metal, shunning trends and forging ahead despite diminished fan bases and smaller record companies. For this alone I applaud them. Meliah Rage prove they play the music because it is what they love to do, not because it's what's in at the moment. Meliah Rage have always managed to create melodic passages using riffs that are as heavy as a freight train coming at you full speed. The music on "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" is not exception. The song writing doesn't stray into any sort of trends, nor is it overly technical or flashy wankery. Rather, the band sticks to straight forward heavy metal. "Permanently Damaged", "Twisted Wreck" and "Undefeated" are easily as good as anything from the band's past and should please both old and new fans. "Twisted Wreck" is one of those shout along numbers that will most likely be a staple of the band's live shows. I've heard fans debate which Meliah Rage vocalist is best, but regardless of people's biases and opinions, Paul Souza is a more than adequate vocalist whose voice works perfectly on this record. It should also be noted that the recording can be heralded as the bands best produced album thus far. Whether it's better or worse than the band's past catalog is a matter of opinion. Regardless of the debates, "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" is an excellent heavy metal platter.
2009's "Masquerade" is Meliah Rage's eighth release and marks the return of the original Meliah Rage line-up, including vocalist Mike Munro. With Munro returns the dynamic songwriting of early Meliah Rage. On my first listen I found myself enjoying this album. One more quick pop into the car stereo and I was hooked. This is without a doubt the best Meliah Rage. The songs on "Masquerade" offer a bit of diversity, but stay within the walls of classic power metal, like old Metal Church, Vicious Rumors and, of course, Meliah Rage. Basically, Meliah Rage have always walked a fine line between classic heavy metal and U.S. thrash metal. However, with "Masquerade" the songs are a bit longer and slightly more progressive than in the past. That is not to say that "Masquerade" could be labeled prog metal. No, this is still just 100% American, heavy, power metal. "History Will Tell" is a prime example with it's mid-paced groove and crushing riffs. Some of these songs have a heavy vibe like the classic Bay Area thrashers. "Chosen" especially game me that ‘tallica vibe with it’s quick pace and double bass assault. "Dreamer" and "Whatever It Takes" also have that fast, thrash feel. The title track has an eerie Alice Cooper feel to it, while "Seeker" had a melancholy, doomy vibe. Metal Church vocalist Ronny Monroe makes a guest appearance "Last Rites". Monroe even contributes the lyrics for this particular song. Monroe was a great addition to Metal Church and sounds great here as well.