Insanity – Visions of Apocalypse (Unspeakable Axe/Dark Descent)

Genre: Death Metal

San Francisco’s Insanity played a key role in the evolution of thrash into death metal back in the mid-80s, but never really emerged from the underground, boasting only a handful of demos to their name until their 1994 debut, Death After Death.

Since then, they’ve endured numerous false starts, as well as the sad death of drummer Bud Mills who worked on Visions of Apocalypse before succumbing to cancer in 2007.

This album, therefore, has been a long time coming and thankfully it does Insanity’s (and Mills’) legacy proud, with a slew of urgent, malevolent tracks that hark back to DM’s embryonic years and exhibit a youthful exuberance.

Songs like Disillusioned and Dread the Dawn boast a vicious groove all too often missing from contemporary death metal, and while Insanity’s arrangements can sometimes sound too convoluted for their own good, any off-track moments are countered by passages of unhinged extremity. There’s also a glorious warmth to the production, which adds to the record’s charm and makes it seem out of place in the digital age.

Put simply, anyone who longs for the glory days of tape trading, or was in thrall to Earache’s pioneering early output, needs to check this out.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Visionary