RADIATION SICKNESS (U.S.) “Reflections of a Psychotic Past” CD review by www.avenoctum.com

RADIATION SICKNESS (U.S.) “Reflections of a Psychotic Past” CD review by www.avenoctum.com

By Martin Harris

Abyss records seem to be churning out countless top quality albums with a veritable feast of talent amongst them. One of the more discerning releases amongst them is this from Radiation Sickness originally formed in 1987 during the crossover scene in the States at the time, which I will mention later. The band released a fair few demos and EPs and one full length called “The Other Me, A Journey into Insanity” included on this release in remastered format. However the band split in 1992 despite carrying on after the tragic suicide of founding member Ryan Rollins in 1989. A reunion performance in 2010 was enough to propel the band back into recording life as we get seven new tunes to kick the album off.

Starting with the title track the new songs are almost pure death metal with a vocal style similar to Martin Van Drunen (Asphyx), the bellowing acid spraying scream lets rip. “Demented Love Song 2” has a sound sample of someone tearing paper or sticky tape before a crunchy double kick. The riffing here does owe more than a nod to the bands old crossover style, short, punchy but ravenously played. Very few signs remain on “Tripping In The Seas Of Madness” the song is a blasted death metal monster with a sharp guitar riff sitting firmly atop of the melody which is plain pulverising. “Graveside” is a short blastfest song before slowing for “The Place Where People Die”, the tune offers some Obituary touches as does the closing new number “Erif Ti Pu” (Up It Fire?).

Now I am given a major quandary when listening to the remastered version of “The Other Me, A Journey into Insanity” that I will go into at the end of the review. People that know me know that I have always thought the crossover scene was a traitorous movement that muddied the thrash and hardcore movements of the 80s. I’m not saying I disliked the bands doing the style I felt that bands were jumping ship for favour of what was popular at the time. At the time of the mid 80s I was heavily into US hardcore like The Accused, D.R.I., Cryptic Slaughter, Minor Threat, Attitude Adjustment but also into crust music as well from Deviated Instinct, Extreme Noise terror, Doom etc. Radiation Sickness fell off my radar for some reason as the band certainly adopted many of the traits of Cryptic Slaughter with short rampaging volleys of hardcore fury mixed with crossover bass lines like D.R.I. Vocally this is manic, powerful material that is inundated with aggression as “Ruthless” showcases the crossover bass lines. “Man Made Insanity” has a merciless hardcore stance, insanely played after the slow start. The snare is blasted like Cryptic Slaughter from the old days or like today’s Coke Bust or Sick Fix for a modern comparison. However the vocals are a lot deeper than hardcore overall. I enjoyed “No Future” with that slow menace start before the blurring bass work and rabidly played almost cacophonous drums. Listen to “Escape To Insanity” and you will immediately think of Suicidal’s “Institutionalized” tune from 1983. As the song develops I couldn’t help note that it was also like another mental hardcore band from Germany called Chronical Diarrhoea which is a band honest. “No Chance Of Hope” is prime time early D.R.I. with the infectious bass lines plucking your eyeballs out.

So back to my quandary and now I’ve listened to the remastered album it is difficult for me to decide which I prefer the most. I like the raw death metal but also the hardcore stuff, and whilst arguably there are elements of hardcore in the bands death metal material I did prefer the older material overall. This is a difficult one to grade so I will edge on the side of positive and see what their next offering brings.

Rating: 6.5/10

Review link: www.avenoctum.com/2012/09/radiation-sickness-reflections-of-a-psychotic-past-abyss-records/

Radiation Sickness links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RadiationDoug

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/radiationdoug

Last fm: www.last.fm/music/Radiation+Sickness

Abyss Records links:

Label & Online Music Store: www.officialabyssrecords.com

Myspace: www.myspace.com/abyssrecordsofficial

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialAbyssRecords

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/label/abyssrecords

Last fm: www.last.fm/label/AbyssRecords

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/MinionfortheAbyss

To purchase RADIATION SICKNESS “Reflections of a Psychotic Past” CD and other RADIATION SICKNESS merchandise go to: www.officialabyssrecords.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=radiation+sickness

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