Genre: Heavy Metal/Thrash/U.S. Power
Label: Lost Realm Records
United States’ Seattle, which is the capital city of Washington State, is a metropolis of music, especially of the extreme sound, where a plethora of remarkable bands were born and lived in this particular corner of the Pacific, making this characterization justified. The list looks really endless, regardless of each one’s personal tastes or preferences … take a breath … Zeke, Glacier, Heir Apparent, Metal Church, ‘Ryche, Heart, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Mentors, Q5, Sanctuary, Nevermore, Mudhoney , Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Sunn O))) … from the top shelf if we’re talking about sales figures and recognizability but also some really well hidden secrets some buried or forgotten diamonds if you scratch the bottom of the surface … just like Strychnine.
Strychine were created in 1981 by the Dan and Paul Lamberty brothers at the age of 15 and 19 respectively. Paul, the older one, started originally as a drummer but quickly changed to bass because of the two brothers’ contact with Jack Coy (Dan’s classmate) the made him change his mind about his skills and finally even instrument. The first rehearsals with guitarist Mark Baker and temporary singer had more of a testing sound that relied on influences from Scorpions, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Priest. They quickly turned in search for their own personal style and writing their own pieces helped them towards this direction. The two siblings wrote a few tracks before finding Randy Bowman, the right singer for them. Having played several live shows on many different local stages in the Greater Seattle area, they will be eventually influenced by Metallica after watching them for the ‘Ride the Lightning’ tour and so they will embellish their Judas Priest sound with the new (then) madness that was conquering America. N.W.O.B.H.M. In acceleration = Thrash Metal and Metallica, forcing teenagers to grab a guitar in their hands and scratch it in their parents’ garages to create their sound! With money from Baker’s father they recorded just 2 demo cassettes, a 7 “single, and with their participation in the ‘Metal Meltdown Volume 1’ album, they have been instrumental in the US Heavy Metal. Shortly afterwards, Baker joined Metal Church and was replaced by Marty Chandler (later in the Supersuckers up till now). This collection comes to cover the need of collectors to get their songs at a reasonable price and not to pay a small fortune especially for the 7 “.
Musically they range from Heavy Metal / U.S. Power forms with lots of Thrash elements. Characteristic of these guitars are techniques that fortunately do not become tedious. ‘Pull The Plug’ is a Thrash anthem that brings an explosive mix of Overkill and Flotsam & Jetsam with Bowman scouring everything with his voice. It is reminiscent of Armored Saint (not because of the title and ‘Long Before I Die’ but because of the style and quality!), while there’s really no bad composition in this collection which sounds boring or of second sort. The excellent, slow and heavy ‘Time Waits’, written for a Halford rendering, before the guitar outbreak and the excellent solos. ‘Death Warned Over’ with the monstrous drums of war and staccato first period Metallica guitars before the Slayer riffing lifts off the track. Divine vocals once more bring a little Liege Lord without the terse exaggerations. Their thrash elements can bring to mind some forgotten heroes like Lääz Rockit. “Run For Your Life” is the song that entered LP ‘Metal Meltdown Volume 1’ and along with ‘No Escape’ is the bulk of the cd with the most vagabond complexion. ‘Live Or Die’ has melodious guitars and gorgeous solos while ‘Psychopath’ returns a little to the Priest roots with its imposing aura. “Run For Your Life” and “Live Or Die” – alternated versions from the ones mentioned at the 7″- as well as a recorded radio short pass of the group entitled “Toxic Radio” are more of academic interest.
It was released into just 500 copies with a 12-page booklet with lyrics and a very refined layout.