Band: Terminal Death
Album: Terminal Death (Collection of Demos and Rehearsals)
Around that early to mid eighties period extreme metal music was starting to take form. Bands like Possessed, Death, Master and some of the more intense thrash bands of the time, were definitely creating a brutal style of music that would continue to be redefined over the years. Some bands during this time unfortunately did not get the credit or exposure compared to the groups that I listed in my last sentence. One of those bands was Chicago’s own Terminal Death, who were very much in league with the other founding death metal bands.
Besides a couple of demo tapes from 1985, the band never released a full-length album. That definitely plays a reason into why they were probably overlooked. So, after many years later, Shadow Kingdom Records along with Hells Headbangers will be releasing a bulk of demos and recorded rehearsals by Terminal Death into one well documented compilation. The album will be available on CD and Vinyl, plus feature plenty of early band photos with liner notes. Also, the demos were remastered a bit to help improve the sound quality.
The first six tracks are taken from the band’s 1985 demo, and even though the songs are remastered, the recordings still capture the band’s early raw aggressive style of death metal. Terminal Death takes Slayer like riffs and just turns them into brutal guitar galloping pieces of extreme metal madness. The band was really working to merge thrash metal into something more sinister and brutal sounding. Taking after the band’s name, the first song is a thunderous instrumental that spills over into the next song, “Judge Death.” With “Judge Death,” the band unleashes some unholy blast beat rhythms, harsh early death metal style vocals and ripping guitar riffs. The next two songs on the album, "Day After the End" “Brain Tumor” are a couple of basic old school death metal tracks. Terminal Death maintains an intense factor of relentless sounding music that takes influence from Venom, Possessed, Celtic Frost and of course, Slayer. They do not let their foot off the extreme pedal once during either songs.
My favorite song on the demo is, “Celestial Execution.” The music is very chaotic yet maintains a continuous driving rhythm. Also, the guitarist unleashes a furious solo with plenty of shredding elements. To follow up my favorite track, “Hacksaw,” finishes the demo up with a gruesome edge and demands attention once the guitarist tears away into his solo. A short yet sonically extreme sounding track.
The rest of this compilation features recordings done during the band’s various rehearsals. I find the recorded rehearsals to be rather interesting, and they give listeners a chance to hear Terminal Death working on forging a solid death metal sound. The 1985 rehearsals sound more raw and chaotic while the 1986 material sounds a bit more polished and the songs are tighter. To hear a band’s progression especially during their rehearsals is rare, so I like how the rehearsals were added into this compilation. Also, there some songs done during the rehearsal that were not released to my knowledge as demos, so there are some rarities featured on this compilation. Of course I must bring up that the quality of the rehearsals is not perfect, but some fans might enjoy the poor quality recordings that sound as if they were recorded in a dark and stinky basement. Makes the music sound even more brutal!
Overall this is a historic audio snapshot of an early death metal band who could have been mentioned in the same breath as Death, Master, Possessed and well all those other bands who still need to play plenty of shows to make a decent living. Sadly, Death Metal music does not make millions of dollars. If death metal was a more lucrative business, Terminal Death would have been given a record contract and living in mansions while Bret Michaels mowed their lawns. At least Shadow Kingdom and Hells Headbangers are stepping up and giving a forgotten band the chance to be discovered. I think Terminal Death definitely deserves more recognition for their contributions in the extreme music world. Hope this compilation helps get the band’s name out there more.