Self Conditioned, Self Limited
Metal Master Records/Punishment 18 Records
While most focus was on the American, Teutonic and South American thrash scenes in the 80s and early 90s, the Italian underground was also brewing its own thrashing goodness, with Deathrage releasing their debut full length album Self Conditioned, Self Limited in 1988. With the album already out of print under the now-defunct Metal Master Records, this year Punishment 18 Records reissues Deathrage‘s very short discography, and Self Conditioned, Self Limited 2014 boasts a couple of demo tracks as bonus material, along with the original album.
In a short 35 minutes, Deathrage presents their social commentary of the degeneration of society in their speed-infused, high-octane brand of thrash metal. From Hard Times are Coming to the closing, eponymous track Deathrage, Deathrage displays a whole host of influences from legends of their time. The speed and intensity that the band presents, with the furious riffing of Massimo and Lorenzo along with the frantic drumming of Roberto easily reminds one of the more aggressive style of bands such as Sadus and Dark Angel. At the same time, the band also includes a tinge of technicality of Bay Area legends like Testament and Exodus, and this is particularly obvious on the opening moments of Killing for Fame, as well as the rawer demo tracks that are included on the album.
Perhaps unsurprisingly as well, with the criticism of the state of society, there is also that slight touch of punk on the album, and these often help to provide the energetic burst not unlike that of crossover bands like D.R.I. that one encounters throughout the album. Furthermore, the demo tracks also remind one of the material of Joel Grind and his works with Tiger Junkies, or to a lesser extent, Toxic Holocaust.
There are some rather quirky moments that are on the album as well, such as that usage of the cowbell that honestly added some rather out-of-place humour (whether intended or not) on an otherwise pretty serious album. Despite so, Self Conditioned, Self Limited was a promising debut for a band with such a short career, and one that would be a nice addition to the collection of old school thrashers.
Deathrage on the internet:
Punishment 18 Records