Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vehemence - Good Shot... Gang Member Dies

If you have some bizarre compulsion to own every thrash demo that no one should own, Vehemence's "Good Shot... Gang Member Dies" may just be the holy grail of thrash demo seekers. Not only does it fit all the criteria for being completely generic, but it also lays claim to one of the most politically incorrect titles of all time. If you collect demos that specifically are politically incorrect while still achieving the status of not being worth anything at all, finding this in a used bin would make you feel like Donald Trump actually finding Obama's birth certificate with a giant Nigerian flag sewn into the paper and a picture of him being born in a rat infested hospital holding a clock and being fed garbage in a baby bottle. Generically speaking, the demo is basically Slayer if Slayer could be a more generic version of Slayer. Vehemence have the riff writing ability of a no-armed infant, the vocal skills of a tumorous Chinese citizen gifted with a pity-episode on Discovery channel and the songwriting diligence of Testament.

The general feel of "Good Shot..." sucks. It is due to what I would refer to as "concessions of weakness." There is an underlying odor of not everyone adhering to the same thrash rulebook - some sound like they want to play the funky parts of Death Angel and others Sodom. I don't think anyone in the band, actually knew what they wanted to play. Second to last track Crimson Death would be a prime example of this and contains a drum beat fifty seconds into the song that sounds like the most synchronized construction crew on earth. As if Vehemence never had a drummer, and instead were just recording at someone's house while the Jones' were having an addition tacked onto their home. The workers, unfamiliar with heavy metal, improvised, pulling all their talent from listening to disco singles in their early life. The kick / snare drum combination sounds like your old-fashioned wooden hammer being slammed against a piece of plywood and the cymbals; a saw cutting through metal flashing. This is the first example of construction metal ever.

How does the rest of the demo fare? Well, across the five tracks, we get the similar drum sound as outlined above, in regards to the orchestra of contractors. One notable exception where Vehemence almost did something worthy of barely a listen would be final track Impositioned Propriety, where guitarists Fernando Vazquez and Sergio Alfaro turn what would have sounded like a sub-par Faith or Fear riff from Punishment Area and decided to tack onto the almost classy traditional metal phrase, the dumbest, way out of left field - like... left field of a different baseball stadium - atonal scale you could muster. Totally ruining a song I spent way too long listening to without any hope of redeeming itself.

I actually think the best part of this whole demo is the artwork believe it or not. It's got such character, with the bars over the liquor store windows in the forgotten part of town. The gang members, one wearing a propeller topped beanie, one three times larger than the others and one born to a mother who was a chipmunk, all gunned down by a man in a ten-gallon hat from the back roads of Arizona or Nevada or something. And all this in front of the Chaka Liquor store at the corner of Griffin and Avenue. I also like how Joey "Stick" had a great understanding of how to draw with perspective but totally gave up on trying to create realistic human beings. I still think Mr. Oklahoma is shooting the gang members with a slingshot.

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