GAMMACIDE
"Victims of Science"

(self-released)

01. Endangered Species
02. Fossilized
03. Shock Treatment
04. Victims of Science
05. Gutter Rats
06. Walking Plague
07. Chemical Imbalance
08. Incubus
09. Observation
10. Crack Down
11. Ballistic
12. Forces of Nature
13. Sex Cult
14. Against the Grain
15. Vapor Lock

RATING: 9/10

When this album came out in 1990, on the tiny Wild Rags label, founder Richard C. was on a one-man crusade to uphold vinyl and cassettes, and compact discs be damned. (We see how well that worked out, both for vinyl and for Wild Rags.) As a result, promising bands like HELLWITCH, ARCANE and GAMMACIDE were consigned to culter-than-cult status (of course, it did the same for the utterly useless NUCLEAR DEATH, proving there's a silver lining to every cloud).

Now in 2005, GAMMACIDE have reformed, alongside some of their Texas contemporaries (RIGOR MORTIS, ROTTING CORPSE) and have released this long-overdue CD treatment. The first nine tracks are remastered from the original 1989 recordings, while 10-13 come from the band's 1991 demo, and the last two are new 2004 compositions.

GAMMACIDE are one of those bands that, if they weren't so fucking good at what they did, would be lambasted for bringing nothing new to the table. Their sound may be a somewhat predictable amalgam of late-1980s influences (I hear RIGOR MORTIS, VIO-LENCE, NUCLEAR ASSAULT and EXODUS), but their vicious, no-bullshit single-mindedness makes them awesome. This is thrash metal the way it's supposed to be — fast, mean, with snarling vocals, speed riffs, breakneck tempos, catchy parts, and a pissed-off attitude about the disastrous world around us. There's no midtempo "hit single" or ballad, no novelty goof-rock cover to make GAMMACIDE palatable to those outside the underground — this is pure, uncut thrash, intense as a rabid pit bull, efficient and remorseless as a shark. If you like Bay Area thrash, this will hit you like a speedball, and relentless headbanging will be inevitable.

The extra tracks are surprising as hell — usually, that last demo before a band calls it quits is a flaccid, worn-out affair, but if anything, the 1991 songs are faster and meaner than the original "Victims of Science" cuts! Even more shocking is how the band sounds these days — the ensuing thirteen years of families, day jobs, musical climate changes and killed-off brain cells might as well not even have happened. "Against the Grain" coulda been on the original pressing of "Victims of Science", the only difference in attack being a tighter, more skilled musical assault (particularly from drummer Jamey Milford).

GAMMACIDE deserve a helluva lot more attention than they've gotten in their life. And for sticking to their guns 110% without sounding the least bit contrived, stale or out of ideas, they deserve the respect of every true thrash metal fan on the globe. "Victims of Science" should be on every thrasher's CD rack, slotted proudly next to "Bonded By Blood", "Rigor Mortis", and "Eternal Nightmare".

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