Poland's Metal Mind Productions has signed one hell of a licensing deal with Roadrunner Records - and they've made arrangements with other labels as well. The result is a deluge of high-quality reissues of '80s and early '90s thrash and death metal records by bands like Pestilence (their super-proggy fourth and final album, Spheres), Defiance, Artillery, ZnöWhite, Paradox, Blessed Death, Sadus, Tröjan, Kinetic Dissent, Quick Change...I'm, like, drowning in this stuff all of a sudden. And it's fucking great.
I think ZnöWhite are the band that's leaping out of the pack right away, because they're the most atypical - a bunch of black dudes from Chicago (including two brothers on guitar and drums) with a blond, white girl singer who's every bit as vicious a fire-spitter as Angela Gossow is today, but occasionally opts for a Runaways-esque ballad like "Never Felt Like This," from their debut album, All Hail To Thee. Their best stuff combines furious thrash with melodic guitar solos and choruses. And when I say furious, I mean furious - AHTT only has seven songs, only one of which, the aforementioned ballad, is longer than three minutes; most are under two, which puts them closer to the Bad Brains than Metallica, frankly.
The other band that totally kicked my ass last night, while waiting for Mad Men to come on, was Defiance, a Bay Area thrash crew that released three great albums between '89 and '92. More street and a little more complex than Metallica, they were definitely a group destined to be appreciated by diehards, but that's probably why Metal Mind is only releasing 2000 copies of their 3CD career-overview boxed set.
Right now, I'm listening to Blessed Death's Kill Or Be Killed. Makes me wanna put on skin-tight black jeans and big white basketball sneakers, I tell ya.