Friday, April 01, 2011

Forgotten Gems-Executioner-In the name of metal


New Renaissance


I first heard Executioner when they contributed "Victims of evil" to the Speed Metal Hell compilation in 1985. The production was horrible on that song and the playing was rough, but there was no denying the energy. That same energy (and bad production) carried over into their debut "In the name of metal" which was released in early 1986. The trio hailed from the Boston area formed in 1984. They were originally into classic metal like Maiden, Priest and Ozzy, but then they got into acts like Metallica, Slayer, Venom and Manowar. The result is a sound that mixes classic and NWOBHM sounds with speed metal/early thrash while even bringing in some punk edginess as well. Most of the tracks are short and to the point and the cassette version included the bonus track "Battlelands". Even with the bonus track it clocks in just over half an hour and if you seeking a download then definitely get a version with Battlelands with it because it's a great song. Singer/guitarist Marc Johnson doesn't a great range and sings clean without a great of snarling, but he gets the job done. The same can be said for his guitar playing because it can be sloppy, but he plays some heavy, fast riffs. Original bass player Ari Vianio (the band would do three albums and change bass players for each) lays down solid work. Drummer Dan Scannel probably suffers to most in the production because once all the instruments kick his drums frequently get buried in the mix. Still if you brace yourself for production you can hear it well enough. The fact that the band's power shines through despite abysmal production is to their credit. Tracks like "Hell and back", "Nuclear Nightmare" and "In a silent way" come flying off the album with frenzied notes and beats all over the place. I liked every song on this album and always have since I first heard it back in 1986. This album frequently gets unfairly ripped, but fortunately I took to this album back then and it still holds up well today. I won't get into where this band went after that because I may feature their sophomore album in another forgotten gem at some point.

My 2009 interview with Marc Johnson.

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