Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burnt Offering (1989) - record review

Burnt Offering were a thrash band hailing from Rivergrove, Illionois (where ever the fuck that is) that played an awesome brand of really raw, violent, in your face death/thrash that I used to enjoy quite a bit back in the day. I remember when I got this record in the discount bin at a used record store/head shop in Beaverton, Oregon when I was 14 or so (the very same Valhalla of vinyl discount bins that introduced me to Death's "Scream Bloody Gore", Vicious Rumors "Soldiers Of The Night" and Lizzy Borden's "Love You To Pieces"), I was standing there with it in my hand being wishy washy about getting it or not (I mowed a lot of lawns for my cash back then, so even spending a couple bucks on a used record was a decision not to be taken lightly), but my friend I was with started reading the lyrics sheet aloud and quickly convinced me that I needed it in my collection.

Besides the dramatic in store reading of the poetic lyrics, the other main reason I decided that my 3$ would go to Burnt Offering instead of the new issue of Predator or maybe an Iron Maiden patch, was because of the knock off Giger/alien's mouth artwork... the album cover, featuring a slavering, ready to bite your face off alien made it a purchase very hard to pass up, so I figured, why fight it? Sure, never having heard an album and blindly buying it based on awesome artwork had bit me in the ass before (that Uriah Heap album with the red devil on the cover comes to mind), but it had also paid off more times than not (Tankard, Laaz Rockit, Lawnmower Deth, etc), so I decided to error on the side of awesome metal band cover art... and when I arrived home, I was totally rewarded for my gamble when I threw it on my piece of shit turntable to find that not only does Burnt Offering have a totally sweet album cover, but their tunes fucking kicked my ass! Once again proving that it's almost always a safe bet to judge a book by it's cover!

So maybe you haven't heard of Burnt Offering before... here's the down low. Burnt Offering play a really out of control, raw, aggressive style of thrash that teeters into my beloved "death thrash" genre, not because they have blast beats or low vocals, but mainly just because of the really raw production, stormingly evil sounding riffage and the furious sound of the fast beats on ragers like "Snow Death" and "Beware The Axe". Lead vocalist Hal Shore delivers some really cool almost hard core style shouted vocals that flow into a weird sort of growl that has an early Autopsy vibe at times, and he uses catchy, pissed off hard core style vocal patterns that bring to mind crossover favs like Cryptic Slaughter and DRI (two bands I completely worshiped back then, so anything that even remotely sounded like that was right up my alley). The riffing is top notch, as long as you consider top notch to be classic B list style thrash (and I know you do!), complete with mean as fuck mosh parts, burly fast old Slayer style fast parts that teeters into almost Repulsion/Wehrmacht territory at times, aggro whirlwind leads, and an overall vibe that just screams early death metal to me. I know up front you might complain "generic thrash", but I think if you listen a little closer, you'll hear this vibe to some of the mid paced parts that's more in line with early Carcass or Autopy in the sort of evil melodies going on that separate what these guys had happening on their record from a lot of other lower tier thrash bands.

On top of all that, Burnt Offering delivers these neat, straight forward song structures and sing along chorus parts that make it just a flat out fun as fuck record to listen to. Give it a listen and I think you'll see why I used to play this LP all the time... the songs are fucking catchy as all get out and set up for constant headbanging. Again, this record was a fav of mine when I was a kid, so it might sound a bit different to me than if you are hearing it today for the first time, but I have a really hard time not constantly banging my head through the whole damn thing. It's like it was engineered to be the perfect, one tempo headbanging album... almost like the songs were recorded using a headbanging click track to set the drums to. (Note to self - create a headbanging click track for future recording projects).

Well, this is where the review takes a somber turn. If you have any young children reading this, you may want to make them leave the room now. Rewind with me back to 1989 or 1990, late evening on some random week night. Minding my own business, heading home, probably listening to some Anthrax on my yellow waterproof walkman when suddenly I ate some SERIOUS shit on my skateboard. I was going down that big hill behind 7-11 on 185th by the swimming pool (you know the one, right?), on my way back from getting a coke and playing some Double Dragon or Cal .50 and buying Rip Magazine, when a rock or something locked in my trucks and sent me rolling off my skateboard at top speed down the rest of the hill.

You can imagine my horror when I realized that my Burnt Offering LP (which, for some reason I can't remember at all was in my backpack) took the brunt of the crash, cracking right down the left side. Not all the way in half, but a total split that made the record impossible to ever play again (I tried several times). Also destroyed that fateful night was this awesome record with a reading of HG Wells "Invisible Man" on it. Truly, one of the worst things that has happened to anyone, ever, in the history of mankind.

I suppose I could try to think that I took something away from the experience - learning a valuable lesson about skateboarding down hills in the dark with records in your backpack and carrying a giant Big Gulp - but couldn't the metal gods have taught me that lesson without taking my Burnt Offering LP from me? My skateboard was brand new too (that cool Valalley barnyard deck, the first skateboard I ever had with tails on both end) and I remember it shot off and went into all this gross, shitty mud on the side of the path that flooded out of this run off creek that smelled like Swamp Thing's butthole. Those two records absorbed the fall for me, and probably saved my life, but they were now ruined, and still to this day, I have not found replacement copies.

Anyways, I kept the Burnt Offering record for years after in spite of it being cracked down the middle, maybe secretly hoping metal elves would come in the middle of the night and magically fix the giant crack, but finally I gave up and threw it away in the mid 90s when I was moving into a new house. Even though I don't know anyone else who likes or ever talks about them, the record is pretty rare and goes for a good amount of money when you actually see it for sale, but someday I'll break down and buy a new copy (hard to pay a bunch of cash for something you got for 2.50 originally). Don't fret too much though, because thanks to the magic of file sharing, I attained a CDR of it again years later, and now we can all enjoy such headbanging B list thrash gems as "Black Blasphemy", "Leatherface" and "Kick Your Dirt". Burnt Offering... here's to you, wherever you are! Thanks for the deaththrash, fellas!

9 out of 10 fucking Oscars

(if you would like to hear Burnt Offering's self titled LP, check the comments section to download it)

now playing -
Watain - "Lawless Darkness" LP
Ozric Tentalces - "Become The Other"
Kublai Khan - "Annihilation"
Peter Gabriel - "Car" LP
The Accused - "Oh Martha" LP


Blogger Ryan S. said...

10:06 AM  

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