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A.R.T. Records Singles Series Vol 1

Thrashback Records has done it again, releasing more great sounding classic bands of yesteryear in this compilations featuring singles from four bands originally release in 1993. The story behind it is, a small indie label from Ft. Lauderdale, FL called A.R.T. Records released four 7" vinyl singles/EPs in 1993, and now they are featured on this CD with some bonus tracks.

Opening the album here is the band Drop Dead, hailing from Indianapolis, IN. They are labeled a death metal band, and while the vocals are more on a lower register snarl, if compared to today's standard, these guys would probably be better classified as thrash metal with a little more intensity. They have the dynamics of speed changes, killer crunchy riffing, and vocals that are more easily decipherable than what is traditionally labeled death metal — at least in my opinion. The band had released a full album sized demo in 1990, and the two tracks from the vinyl came from that. On this release a third track is included as a bonus, which was slated to be released on a then upcoming compilation album entitled First Offense.

Up next is Dry Bones, a New Hampshire hardcore band that have a lot of similarities to The Crucified with a mix of Betrayal/Martyr heaviness. This is some really great stuff right here. The band went on in 1994 to record a cassette only EP entitled Shelter under the name Crawlspace, and then changed their name again to Everdown, releasing two albums on Tooth & Nail Records (I remember having Sicken back in 2005).

Up next are three tracks from Atlanta band Final Judgement, labeled a death/thrash metal hybrid, the term fits for sure. Heavy thrashing music, with a little more guttural sounding vocals at time, yet still more understandable when compared to modern death metal. This is the classic death metal sound I appreciate the most, sounding like most of the heaviest bands of the late 80's and early 90s time frame. We are given their two tracks from the original vinyl, along with a bonus track that was likewise set to appear on the First Offense release. In 1994 they released one additional album, the Anastasia Records release Desolating Sacrilege.

Closing out this release is Godhead, the heaviest band contained here for sure. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, this death metal foursome have only ever released these tracks, with no subsequent release. Two are from the original vinyl, and yes, the third bonus was also to appear on the First Offense release. Very low/guttural vocals layered on top of pounding drums, thundering bass, and thrashing guitar riffage, with tempo and time changes scattered throughout. Good stuff indeed, with my favorite track being the bonus one, and as that appears to have been what we would have expected the future to sound like for this band, we sadly must be content with just the one track.

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