Friday, August 03, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Assault-Survival In The Street

Scratch Records

Who says Annihilator is the only game in town when it comes to epic speed metal/thrash? That "town" being Canada as it were. Sure, you did have Annihilator (formed in 1984) and of course Anvil (formed in 1981 although they have always been more power metal to me), but there was another "A" band. The year was 1985 and this four piece band (from Vancouver, British Columbia to be exact) hit the scene running with their debut demo called (of all things) "Demo". After another demo, "Heavy Justice" (1986), the band would release this album in 1987. Other then one more demo ("Slow Painful Death" in 1988) this is what the listening public had to go by and boy, is it ever an album to go by! Speed metal 101. Just by looking at that sweet album art you know your in for a glorious treat, but who could even imagine just how good this album is for speed metal fanatics? Let's get the obvious out of the way first. This one is rare are right. People kill to get copies. Is it worth causing bodily harm for? Well, no. It is not perfect. There are few slight flaws. Some of it sounds a bit to alike for it's own good. However, this is not a bad thing if the similar sound is good like this. Also, this is speed metal that has only a hair's worth of thrash in it. Instead it features an almost classic hard rock/metal influx. Let me explain. The one track, "Shuffle Of To Buffalo", sounds like a bluesier Motörhead if Motörhead had been influenced by Thin Lizzy. It's odd alright. Also, there are two "alright" tracks in "I.C.U.C." and "Misery". These two tracks seem to lack a bit of that extra punch that the other album cuts have. Does it make a word of difference to the overall feel of the album? Not in the least. When you open with the killer "Survival In The Street " and end up wrapping this bad boy up with the insane "Let The Beast Run Wild" it is most certainly easy to overlook two decent tracks and one off-kilter number. Best things about Assault were vocalist Russel Dunaway (nice high vocals that just screamed "metal!"), drummer Ray Hartmann (who has played in a who's who list of bands) and guitarist Jeff Zgaljic (this guy can shred!). Honestly though even bass maniac Ams Prasad handles himself well. The band in general has their act down and plays with this wonderful sense of controlled reckless abandon (if that makes sense) and urgency while also understand that it all comes from (or started out as) rock. Hear a little Van Halen in a few of the songs? Some Thin Lizzy? A little Judas Priest/Iron Maiden appreciation? Yeah, it is there and that makes things all the more interesting. This is one of those albums where you listen to it and then think "man, I can't wait to hear how they evolved on their next album" only to find out they were a one and done deal. What happened to them? Well, after their drummer left to join Annihilator (after this album) maybe they lost a little of the magic? Maybe they just couldn't keep it together? I'd love to find out for sure if anyone knows any of the band members send me a note. Also, not positive but I believe this was never issued on CD. You can find the download online though. Speed metal fans would do well to hunt this down if even just for mp3 files. Assault were a good band who could have been great if they could have just held on a bit longer. Too bad, but at least we have this little diamond in the rough.

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