There is a lot to say about this Kult (with capital “K” letter) band from Germany. It formed so early (1982!!) that it was a main influence for like every second generation Black Metal bands like (the true) Mayhem (hey even Dark Throne mentioned Mayhem as a source of inspiration so it’s really the missing link between Venom and that band), on par with monster names like Hellhammer, Vulcano or Bathory. It’s a band which found a small niche in a German Metal compilation for Roadrunner after four demo tapes (“Teutonic Invasion”, along with Violent Force, Paradox etc.), but was so crippled by the contract they signed that they never managed to record a full-length album becouse the label held them stale for a whole year. Only their “Into the Abyss” demo was re-released on vinyl by the infamous Belgian journalist Wim Baelus (of Aardshock etc.) for his semi-label Midian Creations in 1993. The album was pressed in like 800 hundreds copies but nonetheless it’s tragically rare to find today. That’s when Iron Pegasus came to our aid and releases this ultimate retrospective “Further Down into the Abyss”, the ultimate collection of all things Poison (it is curious to notice that this band was formed before the gay glam/hair band of the same name, and were considering the possibility to change their name into Poisoned after they read of them). Now what might be tricky to understand at first glance is why there are just one song per each demo (save the last one). Well I thought about it a bit before realizing that this collection does NOT indeed collect every single recording, but just every single song written by the band. In fact many of the songs were recorded or played multiple times so the final decision was probably putting on this disc a sample from each demo or live/rehearsal that summed up make up for the whole discography. Usually I prefer to see every single song even if recorded several times in a discography Cd (for example like what Relapse did for Repulsion) but this choice seems reasomable, if they wanted to squeeze everything in a single disc.
So what does this infamous kult Poison band play? Well, it’s difficult to explain with today’s jargon. This is mostly proto-black metal, or proto-death/thrash metal. In short, nothing well defined by today’s standard. I only managed to find two of their demos out of four in such long a time, but they sufficed for me to bug mostly everybody I know of with this cult satanic dark stuff. Some of the riffs are really basic, almost ingenuous kinda metal ride mid-tempo rhytms which I have never been a big fan of, while not derivative of any Bathory or Venom. They might just sound too simple for today’s standards. But 80% of the music is real, pure molten black gold. The vocals are a tormented, lacerated moan while the guitar riffs have that drone hypnotic vibe of Hellammer. The fast, tremolo picking riffs are obsessive and reek of fucking evil thrash metal. But the real rapture comes from the doomy bridges (they insist they were influenced by Trouble, but what the fuck, Trouble just sucks gay dicks, while this thing is spine-chilling energy!!). Just hear the song “Lurking Fear” (which was previously named “Yog Sothoth”, that’s why you can’t find that song in the tracklist!), and you hear some of the more malignant riffs ever written. The choking gasps at the end of that song are one of those divine moment of heart-stopping evil Metal one does not forget (along with Sodom’s “Sepulchral Voice” and Autopsy’s “Gasping for Air”, damn! How cult, how cult!). The recording on “Into the Abyss” are crude but sublime, that kind of raw recording that suits the period it was recorded, although the rest of the recordings are sometimes a bit fuzzy. Personally I like all them the more becouse of this. As said before this album not just include the demos but also a live recording from ’85 with the band Outrage (which is still alive!) and rehearsal tracks as well. So you have a real wide angle from which to rate this band by yourself. It is really sometimes surprising how thorougly demoniac they were so long before Black Metal as a stand alone genre ever existed, personally I like this kind of Black Metal much, much better than all the shit we got after 1990. But what the fuck. Here you have all the lyrics dealing with magic, satanic evocations, zombies and all that great shit, just evil sounding without much research aha. Just like it used to be!
I can easily see why Euronymous was so thrilled by this band. They have the sepulchral, ghastly elements that his band tried to recollect from bands like this or Sarcofago etc. They also have those delightful aestetics of bullet belts, leather pants and spikes he was so fond of. They just took Venom, Hellhammer, Voivod, Sodom etc. and took that look one step further. Which sounds a bit weird since when you look at their pic you might wonder when exactly did Freddie Mercury take the time to leave his white spandex to wear bulletbelts and studded bracers. Ahah. No really, the singer really looks ridicolous with that slick moustache, he even holds the mic the same way as Mr/Ms Queen (ah ah). Damn if it is not him than it’s a clone! Or maybe he’s King Diamond without corpse paint, who knows? But other than that his vocals were really beyond his time, totally tormented.
I think I said enough about this. It’s really one of the top 10 Black Metal albums you have to keep in your collection, and Iron pegasus did a damn good job with packaging, which also include flyers and posters and reviews from that small period when the band was active (1984-1987). Sempiternal Prouctions also released a retrospective Cd of the post-Poison band R.U. Dead, I will try to find time to write a review of that one as well, soon! Maybe it’s not as important a band as Posion, but there’s surely something good in there.