Title: Brain Damage
Label: Noise Records
Review by The Thrash Bearer
1988 was indeed a great year for heavy metal and more specifically thrash metal. While there was a lot of movement in the US and Brazil underground with many classics being churned out, Deutschland didn’t lag behind by any means as the second wave of teutonic thrash acts such as Darkness, Paradox, Deathrow etc. made their presence felt with their full length releases. Vendetta was another promising teutonic foursome to join this elite squad. If their debut was a riff fest of raw yet catchy proportions, “Brain Damage” shows significant maturity in songwriting while still retaining the crunchy sound that was a trademark of theirs. With a release of this caliber, it’s a shame this one went by unnoticed at the time of its launch. Thankfully with the global metal fraternity creating downloadable mp3 rips of hard to find records, Vendetta too has managed to spark a considerable level of attention amidst hardcore thrash metal listeners.
The production on this record once again bears a similarity to its predecessor without much of its early rawness being vacuumed out whereas the musicianship is tight and precise. As on the former release, the vocal work is again a two man job with both the guitar players getting behind the microphone on practically all the tracks. There’s not much to choose from as far as the vocal delivery is concerned, but perhaps there’s just a subtle snarl in Micky’s voice as compared to Daxx. Their take on playing the guitar was simple. Take catchy thrash riffs, put in some inventive touches without trying to be overtly technical. Heiner’s basslines are explosive and are practically what created the backbone of the band’s overall sound while Samson’s talent behind the drum kit is strong and effective.
With a steady and talented lineup, and taking a leaf out of the American thrash book of thoughts, namely the good old bay area sound and the mosh power of the east coast, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone out there that all the tracks on this are flawless pieces of thrash metal with a strong binding factor that creates a steady continuity throughout the length of the album. “War” comprises of a great bass solo, slick riffs, magnificent melodic lead harmonies and an infectious chorus chanting “Warrrrr” making it one of the best songs on this LP. The next two tacks “Brain Damage” and “Conversation” keep the flow going, containing some meaty hooks and brilliant lead guitar work.
“Precious Existence” starts off as an acoustic rocker and transforms into a full blooded power thrasher with a beautifully haunting dual guitar solo that is hard to miss. The remainder of the album is similar in execution, with the exception of perhaps “Fade to Insanity” which is total instrumental thrash mayhem with strong similarities to fellow Germans Darkness’ “Tarsman of Ghor” on their classic “Death Squad” album and in some parts technical stomping riffs a la “Peace Sells” era Megadeth.
This was the last release by the band before they called it a day and decided to disband before reforming again just a few years back with a relatively new lineup. For 9 songs of pure adrenaline pumping thrash laced with top notch songwriting and excellent musical prowess, “Brain Damage” emerges a clear winner. For folks that have not been acquainted with this band yet, if you cherish the vintage bay area thrash sound as well as the more straightforward direction of bands such as Meliah Rage and Powermad, then this is an absolute essential.
The remastered version is highly recommended as it has a slightly thicker sound and better production.