Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a die-hard thrash fan. I come complete with the stereotypical falling-apart, tattered and patched, beer-stained denim vest that is often associated with the average hesher, even though I don't wear it nearly as often as I should and I no longer smoke pot. The roots of this obsession with thrash metal began at the ripe age of 13 thanks to my older brother. It began respectively with Megadeth, Metallica, Testament, Exodus, and interestingly enough, Poison Idea. Having grown up on a healthy, yet arguably obsessive diet of thrash metal including the "essentials" as they're often called, I always strive to dig up the more obscure bands and albums to keep this interest of mine going - just like a hedgehog, I'll root 'em out of hiding. It could have the worst vocals but as long as it has killer riffing, shredding solos and pummeling percussion, I'm game! OK, so my foraging skills need some refinement but still... cut me some slack here, will ya?!
Now, those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of black metal also. Not all black metal but most of it. I plunged into that abyss years ago upon my first listen of Emperor, Satyricon, Enslaved, and Dissection... As a result, I have a sweet tooth of sorts for blackened-thrash, black/thrash, blackened-death/thrash (however you want to call it), and when I discover a band that executes it well... hmm... well, let's just say that I get a similar feeling as when you open up a present! Wait, never mind. That was a bad example. I never get presents... OK if you count that porno-mag that was given to me for my birthday a couple months back, I guess I do.
Anyways, so I have this penchant for black/thrash and I occasionally find myself striking lucky upon discovering new or obscure albums of the sort. On one such occasion, it happened to be an odd day in late summer of 2002 when I found myself with a day off from work and randomly at Rasputin Music off Bascom Ave., in Campbell, CA. I was supposed to meet a bro of mine there but they never showed, which sucked because I crossed most of San Jose on the VTA just to get there - the bastard! After an hour of perusing the isles of CDs and records and finally realizing the dude wasn't showing up, I decided to make the most of my trip and actually purchase something despite being broke at the time, plus the staff there began to pester me. I had pulled a couple albums I was interested in and started to make my way towards the check-out line. At the last minute I stopped, still in the throes of deciding whether to put one of the CDs I had found back, when I glanced over at the "M" section again and saw this...
Ka-pow! I don't know where this popped up from! Perhaps some magical Metal-gnome came and placed it there when I wasn't looking for it wasn't there the first time I had looked. Normally I try to refrain from buying unheard of music and I rarely ever pick up an album on a whim unless there are tell-tale signs of its worthiness or I have heard otherwise. But there was something about that cover - it drew me to it. The cover looked evil enough with the jewel-case entirely in black and the main image embossed in gold but upon further inspection, I discovered that the CD itself was hand-numbered! That was it, curiosity had caught the cat. So I returned one of the CDs I had been contemplating buying and grabbed this. I knew that this was a rare find but I didn't know how rare it really was. Upon first listen when I got home I was taken aback! Wowza! This definitely was some obscure shit! And it shredded to boot! It had elements of Hellhammer, Venom, and Bathory but also something different, something unique to it that I had heard before but couldn't place my finger on it. The vocals stood out as did the guitar-work, which had a definitive quality to it; even the overall production was above par for the time it had been produced. It was dark, primitive, and rough but also intricate and well executed. It was blackened, it was thrashy, and it was awesome! I was impressed!
OK. OK. I agree, enough of my ranting. Time to get into the meat of the pudding shall we?
Mefisto were one of those bands, similar to Hellhammer, Sarcofago, and Tormentor, that are more or less legend. Mefisto formed in Stockholm in 1984 and were a big influence on the Swedish Death Metal scene (in particular Nihilist). Not too many people have heard of Mefisto seemingly and not much information is out there on them either - at least from what I could find. The underlying sound could be considered more speed metal rather than thrash metal but the early trappings of the newly budding black metal scene can be heard here also. The Truth is a compilation of their only two recordings, the two demos titled Megalomania (1986) and The Puzzle (1986) respectively, and was released in 1999 in a limited number (500 copies only I believe) by Blooddawn Productions through Regain Records. I personally prefer The Puzzle over Megalomania as it is a bit heavier, darker, and more focused in my opinion, but both demos are one of a kind and show the beginnings of a genre that would soon quickly take the world by storm. There was potential here. Why the band broke up or what became of the members? I do not know. However it is evident that this band never received its due in credit. This is probably one of Sweden's best kept secrets! If you're a fan of the old-school, the obscure, and the black/thrash sound this is definitely worth the listen!