30 March 2007

Trapped in an alley, scared of clowns

Clown Alley's Circus of Chaos is a really fantastic re-release from Southern Lord that I really should have taken the time to post on during my hiatus from posting. This puppy was originally released in '86 on guitarist/producer Mark Deutrom's Alchemy Records. Mark and bassist Lorax (Lori Black) both played bass for The Melvins, something I'm assuming garnered them more notoriety than Clown Alley. Before this package got to me, I knew nothing about the band, though apparently they were a major act in San Francisco during the heady days of mid-80s crossover thrash metal. (Hey, I was 5 when this was first put out, so excuse my ignorance.) Thank Southern Lord for putting this out on CD for the first time, and just putting it back out there in general, because it's an awesome piece of musical history that includes rare bonus live material.
As for the album itself, Circus of Chaos combines the energy and attitude of early-80s hardcore with metal musicianship and songwriting. The guitar riffage is fast and precise while the rhythm section foreshadows early death metal. It's not overly complex, but it's also not as straightforward as most hardcore of that era. Fuck it, man, it's crossover! Basically the album rips and you should go get it. Also, make sure that beer and skateboards are at the ready; you'll understand why once you listen.

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