I was in France last new year’s eve, visiting Paris for a couple of days before greeting the new year before the cathedral of Notre Dame drinking mango falvoured fanta. And as we walked along the streets I decided to pay visit to the local Virgin mega store. Scoffing at the shit metal displayed on the shelves, I coughed my fucking entrails off when I saw Insanity‘s logo showing among so much commercial garbage. I had to grab it to verify it was really THAT Insanity I thought and… Yes, holy fucking shit, they have discovered that monster jewel of early Death Metal, and it seems this re-release has been done with cognition as well!!! I am sure it’s difficult to be familiar with this name becouse the band has really been famous in the limited lapse of time where tape trading was not yet surclassed by cheap mp3 dowloads. But I remember I had this demo recorded at least on 4 different tapes. I had some tape trading pals who used to send me 90′ tapes full of great demos and I used to do the same in turn, but it was quite common that when space allowed it, and the demos requested didn’t fill up the whole tape, you threw in some extra tracks of your choice, and Insanity was really one of the top faves world-wide with those 3 killer songs. I seriously believe this band had all che chances to be as big as Morbid Angel today, for their 1985 demo is not so far from “Thy Kingdom Come” in quality, skill and energy. I never knew much from this band, except I read a news about the singer’s death a few years later in some fanzine. So – I said – the adventure of Insanity ends here. Well I was wrong becouse the band actually recorded some more stuff and even reformed recently, so here on this disc there was a lot of stuff I had never ever heard of! It was a torment waiting to be home before listening this becouse, let’s be honest, we do not really have bands of this caliber today. Or maybe we have and I am just too fucking old or ignorant who knows. Let’s say few bands move me today as earlier Death Metal bands from late ’80s to early ’90s.
And so I had time to browse through the booklet, and to come up with several news. I realized how totally clueless I was. Oh my I have so much to learn! Parasitic Twin, the label founded by Matt Harvey of Exhumed, came up with the idea of this collection and licensed it to Black Lung, which to my surprise, is the label run by Insanity guitarist (and later guitarist/vocalist) Dave Gorsuch. How exactly this works I am not sure. but Insanity had to get a license from a third person to press this (?). I will make some research and update the review if I manage to know something more. But the nastier hit I got when I read that MBR released an Insanity album without me knowing anything, which meant another line in the top ten of my endless “missing list”. I don’t know if it was on vinyl but considering all the MBR records I have are on vinyl…
Anyway let’s go a bit to the music now. I knew the first 3 tracks so I skipped to track 4 immediately. Those first 3 were indeed tracks recorded live a few months after their forming in 1985; very noisy but totally brilliant fast technical and intricate first-year Death Metal in the vein of early Morbid Angel, Possessed, Sadus etc. Probably these three tracks remain the best in the whole collection in my opinion. You get here a totally fierce attack of thrashing Death Metal which had all the energy of the first enstabilished genre and the roaring brutality of what was to become the second. The songs on “Death After Death” have a totally clearer and darker sound, with prominent bass lines a la Sadus, even though their music is not as fast, nor stylistically close except for some faster parts. You get lots of palm muting metal riffs, even longer than before super intricate solos (holy shit listen to the tapping monster scales in “Rotting Decay”!!!), and a sound definitely more obscure and more morbidly Death Metal. However despite the grotesque injection of darkness, you have also so many changes and a lot of “progressive” ideas which remind of early Atheist, Disharmonic Orchestra and at times maybe even Macabre. I am generally not very much for the protagonism a la Watch Tower but this album indeed sounds so Death Metal and so genuine I can’t complain. You get hundreds of turns and twists but the structure remains pure Death with lots of guitarwork beneath. Every single riffs sounds like a solo in itself and regarding this Morbid Angel definitely spring to mind again, “Fire Death Fate” is not too far from a song of demo era Morbid Angel, but also Florida’s Incubus, Nocturnus, Slayer all have a bit of their their magic touch here… Oh fuck. It is funny making band comparisons becouse some of the bands I cited above were barely in embryonic stage when Insanity formed. It was totally unexpected to have a new classic to listen in the car again, besides all the early 90’s Nuclear Blast / Earache picked selections. Even the new tracks that close the Cd are total cult, recorded based on music written by the ex-singer De Zuniga (like one of Conan’s comic book pencilers). The booklet is not fabulous in layout and stuff, difficult to read at times, but it works in its simplicity without much praise.
This album is a mine of gold, I have no idea when I’ll discover another jewel like this. Strong handshake to Matt Harvey for having rediscovered this classic. I owe you one beer!
This classic is also going to be repressed on vinyl by Hell’s Headbangers, while the demo is going to be put on 7″ by the great Nuclear War Now!. Watch out for both!