Not to be interpreted as "death to thashers", quite to the contrary TRASHER DEATH stalked the Polish underground playing a filthy version of thrash metal with the pre-death leanings heard from stateside acts like DARK ANGEL and POSSESSED. Recognizing the value to old and new school thrash heads alike, I Hate has compiled THRASHER DEATH's "You Must Kill" (1987) and "Women Die" (1988) demos and added several unreleased live-in-the-studio tracks from 1986 and crammed it all on a 60-minute disc called "Slaver". It is all part of I Hate's master plan to "exhume old East Block classics/gems" and for that we can be thankful.
Unless you're a thrash metal collecting, motorboatin' son of a bitch, then you may be wondering about the sound quality of this 16-track collection. Pro Tools, polished, and pristine it ain't. Who would want such an inauthentic sound applied to a 1980s underground thrash act anyway? Though raw and fuzzy, like the warm sound of old demo cassettes (a compliment in this case), the mix is more than acceptable, whether cranked up on your car stereo or one of those new-fangled MP3 players; I've tested it on both. As one would expect, there is some unevenness of quality across the album. A ripping beast like the title track (crossing Bronze-era MOTÖRHEAD with something along the lines of early EXODUS) and "Master of the Night" are rough, but no less enjoyable for it. The first seven tracks from the "Women Die" demo sound better, even with the bass heaviness and front-mix vocals. The unreleased live-in-the-practice-studio tracks are one hell of a long ways from hi-fi, yet would be a difficult listen only for the pickiest of the thrash lot. The same goes for the live version of "You Must Kill".
Beyond the recording specifics, "Slaver" shows THRASHER DEATH to have been quite good in the songwriting department, mixing in everything from the aforementioned pre-death acts to pre-"Reign in Blood" SLAYER, and even light shades of "Killers" era IRON MAIDEN on "Dark Side of the Force". The relative degree of arrangement diversity and the pure insanity of the guitar solos are definitely selling points. Included is a darn fine instrumental in "Women Die". The aptly titled "You Must Kill" is also worth pointing out for the homicidal rage with which it is delivered to delicate ears. The brief, but informative liner notes and photos add value to the package.
While it may be true that the loyalists will find the most enjoyment in "Slaver", I'd be remiss to not recommend it to any fan of dirty 'n decimating mid to late '80s thrash. Collectively, it is the sound of a hungry beast unleashed after years of hibernation; wild, wooly and just plain mean. Long after you've stopped caring about recording dynamics and concerned yourself only with getting your thrash on, you'll wonder why you'd not heard of THRASHER DEATH until now. A cool compilation and interesting history lesson for sure.