The city of Eugene, Oregon offers a less than peaceful dichotomy that leaves natives in a constant state of irritation anyone coming from outside won’t easily see, the estranged adjacency of ultra-progressive fourth and fifth generation ‘hippies’, the homeless, and blue collar suburban conservatives. When I was growing up in the valley in the 80’s it always seemed like a grifter’s paradise, the sort of place where you could go to forget who you are and get lost in the collision of college town, suburban waste, hippy communes, and crust punk havens. Yet by the time I was in college it was clear what fresh hellish existential discordance suburbia brings as crooked opportunists blend in. While reading the lyrics for death metal band Thrombus‘ sole demo ‘Mental Turmoil’ (1993) I wondered if maybe guitarist/vocalist Mike Brown (Aldebaran, Shadow of the Torturer) and drummer/vocalist Carl Fowler (Shadow of the Torturer) had hit upon the same set of frustrations almost decade earlier in 1992. Probably not, but there is something to be said for living in a bubble you’d rather escape.
How important is this demo for old school death metal in the Northwest United States? If you consider the only other Oregonian death metal band anyone ever halfway noticed before say… 1998 was Victims of Internal Decay, Thrombus‘ demo was buried and forgotten unjustly. Boasting members that would go on to play in bands as varied as Yob, Aldebaran, and Omnihility as well as a pretty solid old school death metal sound it is some small surprise that ‘Mental Turmoil’ and it’s 100 cassette run wouldn’t see a re-up for 26 years. Thrombus‘ first and only demo features tight performances, on-time and in-tune delivery, clear sound and plenty of riffs. Judging by the guitar work and vocal performances, I’d say they were listening to a fair amount of Autopsy, Obituary‘s first album and Carcass. Toss in some thrash riffing and ‘Mental Turmoil’ ends up not far from Unleashed or Morgue (Illinois) and would have fit in perfectly in the Midwest death metal scene of that era.
As a demo tape nut and lover of old school death metal the sudden emergence of this Thrombus demo is like finding a puzzle piece that I didn’t know was missing. Outside of the novelty of being an all-but-forgotten obscurity ‘Mental Turmoil’ is a set of damn good death metal tracks written and performed at death metal’s arguably highest classic peak. This is a special record of defiance and non-conformity amidst the stoner rock and grunge chic of it’s environs and worthy of your time as a lost relic of old school death metal.
|Released||1993 [Cassette] | July 11, 2018 [Reissue]|
|BUY/LISTEN on La Caverna Records’ Bandcamp!||Thrombus on Metal-Archives|
Rediscovered abyss of the past. 4.0/5.0
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