I’m indulging my rarely indulged taste for thrash in this post — rare, because usually thrash doesn’t taste very good to me, except when it’s as vicious as a starving wolverine. Often, death/thrash qualifies very well, and that’s what we have here. One of these bands (the second one) I’ve been sitting on a while without writing about them, and the other I discovered only yesterday. In my addled mind, they seem to make a natural pairing, even though the songs are separated by decades.
Thanks to a tip from NCS supporter Utmu, I learned yesterday that on September 16, 2014, Relapse Records plans to reissue on vinyl, CD, and digital the 1988 debut album of a band named Num Skull. The album’s name is Ritually Abused.
I had never heard of Num Skull. Metal-Archives says they were from Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, and that their last album was released in 1996. The first review of Ritually Abused that I read on MA began this way:
“This record is perfect and then some. A proper score would be 103.” And it continues as follows (written by someone who says he heard the band practicing in a two-car garage when he was 12 or 13 years old and had no idea what was going on):
“When people are talking about the most underrated albums ever, usually they still pick albums that, while maybe truly underrated, are still cornerstones in the collections of tens of thousands of metal fans. I know Coroner is often underrated, but no one doesn’t know who you’re talking about. Num Skull is underrated in that you may have missed them completely – which makes this particular album the most underrated of all time in my mind, because it’s really that amazing. Side by side, I’ll take this over Reign In Blood, Seven Churches, Leprosy…any of them. Num Skull were victims of their locale and an industry which had no idea what to do with them.”
I read the review after I heard the song you’re about to hear from the reissue. I was already sold on Num Skull based upon the song alone, the name of which is “Pirate’s Night”.
Based upon that song, Ritually Abused is more than an historical artifact. It could be released today for the first time and would be completely relevant. “Pirate’s Night” is absolutely blistering and hateful, with acid-drenched vocals, a skin-melting solo, and a bad attitude. It’s a super-charged rush, but it’s also unpredictable — ending in a completely glacial slog.
I found out about Ripper through a recommendation from a member of the excellent Israeli band Promiscuity. I’ve learned that his tastes and mine intersect pretty often, so I followed up.
Ripper are from Chile. I’m pretty sure they hadn’t even been born when Num Skull released Ritually Abused. They started releasing demos in 2008, and their debut album Raising the Corpse came out on May 30 of this year via a label named Underground Defenders Productions.
The afore-mentioned Promiscuity member reviewed the album for Voices From the Dark Side, and he was almost as glowing in his raves about the album as that Num Skull reviewer I quoted earlier was about Ritually Abused:
“This is the best Death / Thrash album since HYPNOSIA’s ‘Extreme Hatred’, period. . . . What would happen if Mille Petrozza replaced Max Cavalera on vocals in the late 80s and Steve DiGiorgio handled the bass duties in such a band? ‘Raising The Corpse’ would be created, to become one of the timeless classics of that period, an album in a league of its own, as inspired and uneasy to digest as SABBAT (UK)’s ‘Dreamweaver’. . . . Had this album been recorded by a band from the US or Europe, rest assured that it would instantly be considered a classic, just like REPUGNANT’s ‘Epitome of Darkness’. It’s really that good.”
Check out the title track below. It flies like a goddamned bat out of hell. It’s rough, raw, ripping, and instrumentally damned impressive. These dudes certainly don’t sound as young as they are.
UPDATE: We’ve just learned that the band’s follow-up album will be released by Unspeakable Axe Records.