Friday, July 13, 2012

Forgotten Gems-Dr. Know-Wreckage in flesh


The year 1988 was not a great year for metal, in many ways it was a year of letdowns from bands a number I liked. Let's see Metallica, Megadeth, Overkill, Death, Anthrax and of course Celtic Frost all came up short in 1988. Now one album that I had in the above group in 1988 was Dr. Know's "Wreckage in flesh". I had gotten into them on their 1986 masterpiece "This island earth". After hearing that I went back and bought their earlier albums which were good although more of a raw hardcore sound. When "This Island earth" came out the band was a trio. During the tour they changed bass players, added a second guitarist and eventually changed drummers. After the tour they changed second guitarists again. So heading in 1988 vocalist/guitarist Kyle Toucher was the only member left who had played on "This island earth" and the only original member left in the line-up. However I still had reason to believe the next album wouldn't be good. In 1988 while at the record store I saw "Wreckage in flesh"  and grabbed up a copy. I slapped that baby on the turntable and sat back waiting for some hardcore or crossover to overtake me. Opener "War theatre" came on with a very thrash sound backing up Kyle Toucher's quirky vocals. I was in shock right away and disappointed. Now, wait you are probably asking how could "Metal Mark" not like a band taking a metal turn. Fair question. My feelings back in the mid-80's were that I liked the blending of metal and hardcore in the short lived crossover movement, but by 1988 a number of bands from that sound or even bands that had a more hardcore sound like DRI, Crumbsuckers, The Exploited and Agnostic Front were all crossing over to the metal side and giving up their hardcore/punk roots to an extent. Now that is definitely the stance I took back then and some of those albums still hit me that way. Going more metal may have been just fine it were good or great metal. Now back to this album; back in 1988 this album sounding a bit generic for thrash of the time. Granted at the time my tastes were moving from thrash into early death metal so slower wasn't going to appeal to my tastes then. However in recent years I gave "Wreckage in flesh" a few more spins. Okay, it's not this Island Earth, but in it's own way it's pretty good and maybe even a little different in 1988 terms. When I heard this back when I came out it came across as so-so thrash. I listen to it now and I hear the mix of thrash, sludge and hardcore. Some of the highlights include "Master Mind" which features a healthy dose of sludge before launching into some a focused thrash attack."City Wheels" is almost ten minutes long and centers around slow and heavy passages and includes  a ton of guitar solos.
A few years before covering a Sabbath tune became commonplace this band took on "Into the void". Really it's one of the better Sabbath covers I have heard. They manage to be faithful enough to the original, but add their own spin to it as well. I was wrong this album back then, it happens every once in a while but not often. It's a definite change from their previous work, but mostly it pans out.

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Blogger Andy said...

Just a great band all around. I do agree with you that far too many bands gave up on killer crossover for generic metal or thrash. That said the one I always liked was The Exploited's Death Before D. The raw mix of hardcore and thrash with political and social anger really speaks volumes about the sense of hoplessness at the time.

4:51 AM  

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