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Onslaught - In Search Of Sanity (Reissue)

In Search Of Sanity (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 July 2017, 12:50 PM

I guess that there is going to be a small debate over this upcoming written word due to this one being one of the earlier British icons of Thrash Metal, let’s see how it goes. “In Search Of Sanity”, dating back to 1989, of the ONSLAUGHT clan possibly turned a few tables over the supposed notion that a business move was made with the signing of the band to a lucrative label for the album’s release. The band has already been changing its lineup rather frequently, yet the substitution of the vocals position was different due to an involvement by the new label to bring someone that is more melodic, and to put it bluntly, a person that sells. Steve Grimmett, which has been already been making an impact with his own Heavy Metal band GRIM REAPER, was recruited to front the Thrash beast. At the end of the day, an album that is less devilish, somewhat less aggressive, was issued.

Though being accustomed to the band’s violent and malevolent nature, based on the two earlier albums in the mid-80s, I didn’t find it hard to accept “In Search Of Sanity” as the lesser evil, the polished “Master Of Puppets” driven album that got ONSLAUGHT closer to the plate and a little far from the maw of the underground. Certainly not afflicted by presence of Hair Metal that swept North America, but very much sounding equal to the Bay Area Thrash Metal, which in its base is in the NWOBHM vein anyway. The songwriting resulted in lengthier tracks, sometimes a factor that made the songs sound if as if were forced to be in length, and with minimal assorted elements, nevertheless, most of the way impressive. The musical approach was still bound by overpowering rhythm based heaviness aggression with occasional solid speeding beats, nevertheless taking on a rather noticeable melodic form that shared the band’s scene’s classic heritage. To call “In Search Of Sanity” commercialized would be an insult, I think that referring the material and overall feel as polished would be proper as ONSLAUGHT never really left the underground despite being a part of a bigger label.

To date, the epos tune “Welcome To Dying”, which prior to the album was released as a single along with a few covers, is considered by yours truly as a good turn of events for ONSLAUGHT. It is not doubt that there is a vast classic METALLICA spirit through it, nonetheless with Grimmett on the charge of the vocals, it sounded much more. I enjoyed the various riffs, traditional soloing that fit the profile and the general atmosphere that shaped up. The AC/DC cover of the 1976 classic “Let There Be Rock” was a bit of an identity loss for ONSLAUGHT, as I thought that it would sound a lot in the Thrash bent, on the other hand, it still sounded robust and solid Metal, of course not as the original form of the rocker. From the get go I perceived it as a version of GRIM REAPER. “Shellshock”, “Power Play” and “Lighting War” delivered American Thrash Metal that is strong and fierce, restrained on a positive note to the old tradition with a mixture of powerful riffs and fine touch of Grimmett’s melodic vocals as a notable contrast.

As bonus for this special version made by Dissonance Productions, you will find a well-made cover for the NWOBHM icons ANGEL WITCH, and a live recording of the band’s show for the album’s promotion at Bristol’s Hippodrome venue. I gather that it was quite an important show. The recording itself was adequate, sometimes uneven to say the least, but in overall it provided a decent pictorial of the “In Search Of Sanity” era right before the band disbanded for the first time two years later.

“In Search Of Sanity”, with all the business politics around it, actually made ONSLAUGHT a bigger name, with it reaching the UK charts. Since the 00s, they returned to their monstrous self.


3 Star Rating

1. Asylum
2. In Search Of Sanity
3. Shellshock
4. Lightning War
5. Let There Be Rock (AC/DC Cover)
6. Blood Upon The Ice
7. Welcome To Dying
8. Power Play
9. Confused (Angel Witch Cover)
10. In Search Of Sanity (Live)
11. Shellshock (Live)
12. Fight With The Beast (Live)
13. Blood Upon The Ice (Live)
14. Metal Force (Live)
15. Lightning War (Live)
16. Welcome To Dying (Live)
17. Let There Be Rock (AC/DC Cover) (Live)
Steve Grimmett - Vocals
James Hinder - Bass
Nige Rockett - Guitars
Rob Trotman - Guitars
Steve Grice - Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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