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Onslaught - Live Damnation (CD)

Live Damnation
by Grigoris Chronis at 14 August 2009, 6:32 PM

(Review by Alekos Hawk Τouloumis)

Year 1983 was the one a band from Bristol, Great Britain was formed, consisting of four young guys playing a mix of Hardcore and Punk music; the name was ONSLAUGHT. Following the recording and release of a couple of demos, the band changed direction 180 degrees, due to the influence of the ongoing Thrash Metal tornado, and released their debut official album -circa 1985- called Power From Hell. An album of vicious and raw Thrash Metal music which - due to the specific production featured - still sounds rather primitive and 'cult', bearing in mind the occult/satanic thematology inside, making many mouths yelling the band's name.
It was the next year that, with the addition of a new singer, ONSLAUGHT succeeded in releasing the (probably) best album in their career, The Force. Their blend here is more in-your-face, the technical ability of all the members is in a higher level, the song-making results in less tunes in number but more in average duration, resulting in the worldwide Thrash Metal community bowing to the adequacy and plenitude of this LP, which still sounds as hot as hell and fits for some perfect headbanging. Following the big impact that The Force had, ONSLAUGHT hit the studio soon again to record their next opus, In Search Of Sanity. Unfortunately, the label supporting the band at that time, London Records, was not satisfied by Sy Keeler's vocals suggesting ONSLAUGHT should move towards a more 'mainstream' direction; so, they proposed the one and only Steve Grimmett (GRIM REAPER, LIONSHEART, GRIMMSTINE) should handle the singing in this one, baptising him as the new official member.
Eventually, In Search Of Sanity was released in 1989, due to the re-recordings of the vocals sessions plus a new mix. The result was a more commercial album, full of technical moments and some soaring singing by Grimmett; still, core ONSLAUGHT fans abjured the LP since they did not seem to approve Grimmett's involvement, accusing ONSLAUGHT of being METALLICA copycats…and the album went unnoticed. ONSLAUGHT called it quits in 1991, but - suddenly - 15 years later the rumours for the British Thrash Metal legends getting back together with their original singer grew bigger and bigger and it was 2007 that ONSLAUGHT returned to discography with a very good album named Killing Peace, creating some unexpected joy among their fans. Ever since, the band does some non-stop touring and seems rather in a good mood on-stage.
Guitarist Nige Rockett and drummer Steve Grice (both founding members), having Κeeler back again behind the mic, decided to do a live recording of their November 22nd, 2008 gig in Leeds, UK.; the result, herein reviewed, is called Live Damnation. The setlist is scorching and the band presents an amazing performance, as if they never did have to disband. Iinitially swallowing the demonical crimson artwork featuring an angel standing among the ruins, you should be ready to listen to some classics like Let There Be Death, Metal Forces, Demoniac and Power From Hell from the band's first two LPs played and sounding damn great, plus Killing Peace, Burn, Seeds Of Hate and Destroyer Of Worlds from their comeback CD; the band honors this latest release and that's a good thing since this album is rather impressive. Still, from the controversial In Search Of Sanity album ONSLAUGHT decide to include nothing (maybe those days still haunt the band).
I drink to  Live Damnation's value, for all thrashers concerned, since ONSLAUGHT is a band that still has it and the members' performance can be compared to a steamroller assault. I admit I was not prepared to be left nearly speechless. OK, ONSLAUGHT never made it to the Top 10 Thrash Metal bands list (victims of circumstances in my opinion) and have little of chance to be featured among the Thrash Metal idols in related mags, even if veterans; this should - by no way - diminish their value and ability to still offer what they really still create. Notable and, most of all, honest Thrash Metal music.

4 Star Rating

Killing Peace      
Let There Be Death      
Destroyer Of Worlds      
Metal Forces      
Seeds Of Hate      
Power From Hell
Sy Keeler - Vocals
Nige Rockett - Guitar
Andy Rosser-Davies - Guitar
Jeff Williams - Bass
Steve Grice - Drums
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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