These posts are written by: Andrew Hatch

Riffs from the Crypt – Rat Attack

Welcome to Riffs from the Crypt! This is a new Heavy Blog installment in which we’ll be resurrecting old metal that has been long forgotten, and threatens to vanish entirely; metal interred to dusty cardboard boxes, sepulchred in a junkyard, entombed in a warehouse, or otherwise lost and underappreciated. We will generally focus on metal pre-1990. All genres are game. If it’s old, obscure, and — most importantly — it fucking rips, then the time has come for disinterment in Riffs from the Crypt!

Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Overkill is back. And although they haven’t reinvented the (grinding) wheel, the old thrash geezers still have an impressive array of riffs to offer. Although the riffs are generally pretty crushing for a bunch of nearly sexagenarian metalheads, the veteran production job is what really makes this album’s millstones turn. It might sound like a poor compliment to say that an album’s most resounding success is in its production, but it really is that effective. One can hear it as soon as the riffs of “Mean Green Killing Machine” rip through the speakers. The guitar sounds appropriately meaty and aggressive, but it’s the thrum of D.D. Verni’s bass, sonorous and yet foreboding, that sticks out as unusually excellent.

Hey! Listen To Crumb!

Crumb play in the soft static waves of dreampop, gliding through wistful, airy melodies as if nothing bad has ever happened. They’ve only released a single self-titled three song EP thus far, but you’d never guess it. Despite their youth, Crumb already have the secure sense of musical identity that veteran bands spend years achieving. Their instruments mesh into a sound that is more than the sum of its parts. The percussion and bass keep the music active and bouncy, while frontwoman Lila Ramani lazily daydreams melodies with her effect-laden guitar and enchantress voice in the vein of Lana Del Rey.

Hey! Listen to Pagan Altar!

Formed in 1978, Pagan Altar are among the old guard of metal. In their early days, they were unapologetic Black Sabbath clones – just listen to the first few seconds of Pagan Altar’s “The Black Mass” and tell me you aren’t expecting to headbang to Iommi’s legendary riff. But of course, there is nothing wrong with being a clone if your identical twin is Black. Sabbath. Crooner Terry Jones sings in a distinctly Osbourne-ian croak comprising the weakest part of the band’s sound, but it shouldn’t offend anyone who can palate Ozzy. The riffs that Terry’s son, guitarist Alan Jones, offers on tracks like “The Black Mass” and “Judgement of the Dead” are as doom-laden and memorable as anything the genre could sling when the Pagan Altar demo was released in 1982.

Blazon Stone – War of the Roses

Blazon Stone is not a difficult band to figure out. If you like the blazing intro, “Born to be Wild”, (shoot, if you like the first fifteen seconds) you’ll like the rest of the album. This is the formula the band will follow for the rest of the album. The pace will remain at the exact same zesty gallop. The song structures almost never change. The lyrics will not get better. This album has no surprises. They’re such a Running Wild clone that they’ve taken their name from one of their albums. It’s nothing a power metal fan hasn’t heard hundreds of times before. And none of that matters one bit, because the riffs are that good.