Thanatos "Emerging From the Netherworlds" 2xCDPosted on Monday, May 7th, 2007 @ 8:59am » permalink
Well, all I can say to start is that Areadeath Productions seems to be an amazing Chinese label that goes above and beyond in terms of jamming their reissues completely full of content. Available on its own and as a part of a limited edition box set (of which I'll cover the other portions in the coming weeks), this 2xCD reissue tackles "Emerging From the Netherworlds", the debut full-length from Thanatos, originally released by Shark Records in 1990. Thanatos is known as one of The Netherlands' first death metal bands, having formed in 1984 and released numerous demos prior to this album, though in all truth there's arguably still more of an old school thrash influence dominating this material. The sheer aggression of the vocal performance combined with occasional outbursts of ripping tremolo picking or subtly darker sounding chord phrasings do point towards an early incarnation of death metal, but the pacing is not at all dominated by speed (or "brutality" or whatever), and in fact the songwriting is chock full of crunchy midpaced rhythms and late-80's-styled thrash arrangements that are actually quite memorable from time to time. So, at least to my ears, this album comes across as more thrash than death metal, despite the mingling of the two throughout. According to the liner notes the bulk of the recording was done live, and it actually sounds pretty damn good all things considered. I assume everything's been remastered, and I have no complaints at all. The bass presence on the album tracks kicks ass, all of the elements are crisp and clear, etc. Good stuff, for sure.
Disc 2 contains well over an hour's worth of bonus material, starting with the 14-track "Official Live Tape 1987". I have to say, I didn't expect much given its age and seeing as I'm not a fan of live recordings as it is, but the songs sound unbelievably solid for having come from a 20-year old tape. Seriously! You'll get demo tracks, some tunes that ended up on "Emerging…", two D.R.I. covers ("Snap" and "Couch Slouch"), and a closing cover of Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor". Very cool. After that it's the seven tracks from the band's very first demo, 1984's "Speed Kills", which sounds more along the lines of what I was expecting from the live set, ha! There's quite a bit of tape hiss and the sound quality is super rough, to the point of being a little hard to sit through, but it really doesn't matter because in all honesty the band wasn't that hot then anyway! They certainly came a long way in those early years, heh. Hell, some of the "Speed Kills" tracks sound 10 times better on the live tape as it is! There are also five bonus CD-Rom videos on the first disc, but they kept showing up as raw data files, so I couldn't get them to play. Oh well! The two discs are housed alongside a thick 12-page booklet that includes the original cover art, all of the lyrics, some old photos, brief liner notes, and an interview with band to shed some light on their history. As a part of the box set, I assume, each album is also accompanied by a small black and white "card" – in this case with an old flyer on one side and a live band photo on the other – and a second four-panel square booklet, which here bears a black and white photo collage on one side and lyrics and liner notes in Chinese on the other. Nicely done, I have to say.
You can order the entire box set from Evil Legend Records for just $35, which is a hell of a deal, but I'm not really sure what the story is in terms of ordering these discs as standalones, so… contact the label to check on that. This shit definitely deserves wider availability all around, because I'm totally blown away by the sheer volume of material on these reissues!