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CD Review: Formicide – Self-Titled

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formicide selftitledWhen it comes to '80s American thrash, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York are the first places that come to mind. However, Boston had a thriving, though smaller, scene of its own with bands like Wargasm, Meliah Rage, Temporary Insanity, and Formicide. The latter existed from '87 to '89 and put out no albums, only demos. The Due Process label, affiliated with legendary webzine, has collected all 15 tracks from Formicide's demos into a discography CD with complete lyrics and extensive photos. Quite simply, if you claim to love thrash, you must have this.

It's inconceivable that a band of this caliber never got signed, while many bands of lesser talent did. These demos frankly smoke actual albums by some of thrash's supposed elite. The first two demos (tracks 1-8) sound the best, and the mastering job gives them modern beefiness. The rest of the tracks vary in sound quality, but the songs themselves are unimpeachable.

The band is amazingly tight, crunching out riff after awesome riff with fluid transitions and plenty of tempo switch-ups and gang vocals. Solos aren't frequent, but when they happen, they're ripping. The bass particularly stands out, with lots of cool fills and runs (I'm reminded of Jason Newsted's work on Metallica's $5.98 EP). The vocals are in the part growl/part singing/part talking style so prevalent in that time – think Tom Araya meets Steve "Zetro" Souza, with a touch of Chuck Billy.

Practically every track here is a highlight. For me, "Frozen Death" stands out with its descending riffs and insanely fast picking. Thematically and speedwise, it gives "Trapped Under Ice" a run for its money. Those who remember tight jeans and white hi-tops will wonder why they didn't hear of this band earlier. Those who are new to thrash – well, you're in for a treat.


Due Process site (currently the only place to find this CD)

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