“Violent Harm” LP (Hell’s Headbangers 025)
Archenemy was one of a triumvirate of California metal bands that more or less invented death metal. The details of the rise of this musical form are better left to someone else who will surely point to Death and Possessed, but what’s incontrovertible is that, alongside Fatal Catastrophy Demolishing Noise Tormentor (no shit; aka, FCDN Tormentor) and Insanity, Archenemy was one of the fastest and most brutal metal bands circa 85/86, to my ears way more impressive than Death or Possessed—or Slayer for that matter. They were reckless teenagers who were pissed off and wanted to play at extreme velocity. They were listening to metal but also to ultra-fast hardcore and early crossover like DRI. Their 86 rehearsal tape has been circulating among maniacs for two decades now, and this LP finally puts Archemeny on vinyl, which they never managed while around. The flipside here is a throw-away 85 rehearsal tape with some of the same songs in inferior versions and no vocals. Completeness is cool but no one will ever listen to the B side. But the A side is essential because that 86 rehearsal tape is mind-bogglingly urgent, violent, raw, and energetic. As I have only crapola mp3s to compare, the sound quality of the vinyl mastering seems not to interfere with the immediacy of the original (it was a rehearsal tape after all). Also, cool-looking vinyl. Essential listening for fans of extreme music!