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Anacrusis: Suffering Hour | A Forgotten Tech Thrash Gem

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Last Updated on 12:28 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

In the late 80’s/early 90’s (not) so many tried to play thrash metal in a more technical way, enriching their sound with progressive elements, and bands like Watchtower, Blind Illusion, Toxik, Realm, Deathrow, Invocator, Coroner & Mekong Delta led the way for the new movement called Tech Thrash. Probably not so big movement in quantity, but quiet impressive if you think the quality of the bands we’ve just mentioned.

“Suffering Hour” is the debut album by one of the most (criminally) underrated technical thrash band, Anacrusis (from St. Louis/U.S.A.). Without being in any way too technical, but definitely ahead of its time, “Suffering Hour” stands as a raw example of progressive/tech thrash metal at its finest. It was recorded by the band itself, in just one week, without any help from anyone; actually band’s members self-financed it with $1200. Please take notice and consider that some songs come from the vocalist/guitarist’s Ken Nardi’s high-school band Heaven’s Flame (which also featured Chad Smith as a drummer that later joined Anacrusis) and some songs were written by the band’s guitarist Kevin Heidbreder, before Ken Nardi joined them. Not so bad result under these circumstances, right?

This album is so unique and the reasons are basically two. The main one is the vocals of Ken Nardi. Extreme, murky, edgy, full of emotions, with a great variety of clean (low & high) and high pitched screams in his arsenal, Nardi is using wisely falsetto and he is offering an amazing performance here. The second reason is that all instruments are low tuned, with dark guitars dominating the sound and creating a wicked atmosphere throughout the whole duration of the album. That was something that was presented for the first time. All songs are based on interesting ideas, way too fresh at its time, probably weird as well -but still interesting- that thrash masses couldn’t absorb, honestly I don’t know why… All 9 songs are zestful and have a structure showing composers full of potential (that would certainly evolve in the future), combining farraginous elements, even from classic Heavy Metal to their songs.

There are many changes of rhythm as in the opener

1. Present Tense, that has a variety of riffs and vocals, melodic parts and headbanging solos. Excellent song to start the album.

2. Imprisoned, the intro seems like almost doomy. Once again fantastic vocal lines and a demonic scream that leads to a frenetic guitar solo.

3. R.O.T. stands for “Reign Of Terror” and its slow/melodic emotional intro can’t hide the thrash attack that follows up.

4. Butcher’s Block, here we are dealing probably with the most “evil” song of the album. A mid tempo track that is wisely based on Nardi’s, almost King Diamond/Jon Oliva, singing than on riffing. Definitely a dark composition.

5. A World To Gain is too Omen-like to my ears, but I have to say that I meant it in a good way! Catchy solo, heavy metal stucture, simply awesome.

6. Frigid Bitch seems to be the black metal track of the album. Nardi is “singing” way too different here, while the rhythm section is solid and the guitars are going crazy at the end of the song, soloing like Slayer or something. Strange tune, that brings in mind Holy Terror similarities in vocal lines and drumming approaching.

7. Fighting Evil is the best track of the album. Epic sound, memorable chorus, nice solo & once again heavy metal feeling.

8. The Twisted Cross is way too long (about 7 minutes duration), way too emotional and has an anti-Nazi theme. It is about the Jewish genocide by the Nazi scums.

9. Annihilation Complete is a speed/thrash holocaust that is doing fine the work of the closer.

Visit band’s site here. You can find a lot of info and download links for all their releases.

*The album released in 1988 on the European label Active Records and re-released on CD in 1990 by Metal Blade Records.

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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