Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ministers of Anger-Renaissance

Divebomb Records

Serving as another entry in Divebomb Records' first (so far so good) Bootcamp Series (number 5 of 5 to be exact!) "Renaissance" is a compilation of previously-released material from  L.A.'s (sadly defunct) Ministers of Anger. Along with "Renaissance", which was originally released back in 1990 (on cassette tape no less!) this collection includes the band's 1988 demo as well as a demo from 1991. Now, as to the who and what of this cult band (as we've already discussed the where and when) the line-up includes none other than guitarist/vocalist Dave Clemmons of Damn the Machine fame! Along with (well-traveled) drummer Dave McClain (Machine Head, ex-Catalepsy, ex-Murdercar, ex-Narita, ex-S.A. Slayer, ex-Sacred Reich, ex-Juggernaut, ex-Mark Reale Project, ex-Turbin, ex-Tyrant) and engineer Joe Floyd (Warrior) Clemmons (who not only handled lead vocals and guitars for Ministers of Anger, but also took care of bass duties!) first released a demo in 1988. Although those three tracks, "Guns of War", "Sticks & Stones" and "The Governor" (no, not about The walking Dead character!) do border on thrash they are more in line with what was happening around that time as far as the U.S. power metal scene is concerned. Offering up a slightly-raw take on heavy power metal not unlike bands like Metal Church and Armored Saint the demo, while not that well-received at the time, did in fact point out what was to be in store for the 1990 release of "Renaissance". Even though both demos were recorded around the same time with Joe Floyd's help the (originally) eight-track "Renaissance" showcases a much more technical-inclined/progressive thrash metal band. Falling somewhere between (Kentucky-based) Lethal, Anacrusis and Watchtower (with some early Flotsam and Jetsam thrown in for good measure!) "Renaissance" showcased a band that was probably a little ahead of the times, but most certainly destined for greater things! So, what happened? Well, we do know that the group released another demo in 1991. With the tracks from said demo ("We The People", "Wake To The Flames" and "Man Vs. Man") closing out this collection (which is really a must if you are into technical thrash!) the band seemed poised to make it. For whatever reason though it just didn't happen and as David Clemmons would go on to hook up with Mark and Chris Poland that ended any chance of Ministers of Anger achieving (well-deserved) recognition for their highly skilled technical thrash. That is until now! Thanks to Divebomb Records and this limited-edition collection Ministers of Anger gets another shoot at glory. While we'll never known just how far this group could have gone (my guess would be that had Damn The Machine not come along Ministers of Anger could have easily made a dent in the technical thrash scene even if their timing was off*) at least we have this collection available as a reminder that there is no shortage of great releases from the eighties and even nineties still waiting to be rediscovered by a whole new generation of heavy metal fans!

*Remember that in 1991 "Nevermind" had changed the face of music for better (it killed off a lot of the horrible glam and hair metal bands of the day) or worse (sadly it also killed off far too many good heavy metal acts as well).

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