Fatal (Reissue)

Narcotic Greed

Reissues are always a double edged sword; especially if the band and album are not […]
By Vallabhaneni Srikar
May 9, 2016
Narcotic Greed - Fatal (Reissue) album cover

Reissues are always a double edged sword; especially if the band and album are not so well known. You don't know what to expect, but at the same time, you have the feeling in the back of your mind that they wouldn't have reissued it if it wasn't worth doing so. So here we have Japanese cult Thrashers NARCOTIC GREED's debut full length album "Fatal" being reissued along with their 1992 demo "Crisis Of Ruin". With 16 songs on offer, I hope this doesn't test my patience.

The album starts with a fast paced Thrash attack in "As The World Is Burnt". The guitar work has shades of ACCEPT and JUDAS PRIEST, although the riffs are unique and different in their own way - a bit chaotic, hair-lifting, fist pumping Thrash Metal. The clean/screaming style vocals of Ryouji "Dan" Azuma work fine for the old school fast paced sound of the band. The pace gets much faster with "Greed", in turn making the song much more chaotic. The low-quality production can be felt in this song, which is a bit of a disappointment - although some old school connoisseurs may dig this band just for that reason alone! Due to the chaotic nature of the sound here, the vocals - even though are of screaming typical Thrash Metal style - get lost amidst rest of the instruments and often struggle to be clear and have any effect on the song. This is more of the sound/production issue here and the vocalist himself is not to blame.

"Scanning Hell" is another fast paced riff maniac as the riffs really move at extreme pace reminding me of the chaotic sound of DEMOLITION HAMMER, KREATOR and likewise. "Lost Power" starts with an atmospheric sound - a mix of thunder and lightning - before getting lost in some melodic Thrash. The song is comparatively less chaotic, but still has all the meat required to get you headbanging. The vocals here, however, are simply unimpressive, bordering on almost being awful. The vocalist tries to bring in new styles of singing and some good elongated screams, but it just doesn't work as well as it should with the rest of the band's sound. In fact even the backing vocals are hardly making any impact here, and are largely a disappointment.
"Injector II" has some more great riffs and song writing, and the band introduces some political speeches to enhance the album story, which was a pleasant surprise. "Disruption" is a disappointing song as it doesn't bring anything new to the table and in fact the vocals along with backing vocals just get more disappointing. "Future Kill" has some insane solos but again the poor production makes the experience of listening less enjoyable. The last song of the 1st part - i.e. the original full length - is "Partial Existence", which again goes full mayhem and the axemen throw in some juicy solos amidst the chaotic riffs. The drums and the bass here play second fiddle to the rest of the band's sound and complement them really well.

The 2nd part of the album consists of the 1992 "Crisis Of Ruin" demoes; the 9th and the 10th songs of the record are the demo versions of "As The World Is Burnt" and "Partial Existence" which I have already described above. But the one big difference with the demo versions of the songs is the much lower quality of production; as you would expect it to be. But given that it came out way back in 1992, this should be an interesting listening experience for people interested in understanding and analysing the changes which Thrash Metal went through. And let's not forget, that the early 90s were not a great period for Thrash Metal as a whole as Grunge was taking the centre stage and Thrash bands other than PANTERA actually adopted a Punk-ish sound for a short period of time.

As I listened further to "Obsessed Mind", I realised how good the guitar riffs sound even with the poor, old-school production. Then you have the demo version of "Greed"; which again is more of an experience of listening to the demo version of the earlier version of the song before the studio treatment. It is followed by "Immortal Germ", which is actually so chaotic that it turns out to be a tad disappointing. "Who's Your God" is a Thrash attack of exceptional standard with some excellent Thrash riffs reminding me of CORONER, ACCEPT and likewise. Then you have the demo version of "Lost Power" which is at this point of time both predictable and slightly disappointing too. The record ends with the 16th song on offer here which the demo song in "Absurd War", which sounds almost like a mashup of many other songs until now, and again fails to offer anything new at this point, even though the guitar work is fast paced and excellent, chaotic and commendable.

With shades of other contemporary Thrash bands like ARTILLERY, and other aforementioned bands, NARCOTIC GREED packs in lot of meat in both parts of this reissue and impresses in parts; mostly with the guitar work. This reissue is a good way for some old school connoisseurs of thrash to revisit past times. And if that is something that they're interested in, then they should really consider buying this rare gem as this is surely a classic of the era it came out in; and the fact that this is from Japan makes it even cooler.

6 / 10

Had Potential








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"Fatal (Reissue)" Track-listing:
  1. As The World Is Burnt
  2. Greed
  3. Scanning Power
  4. Lost Power
  5. Injector II
  6. Disruption
  7. Future Kill
  8. Partial Existence
  9. As The World Is Burnt (Demo)
  10. Partial Existence (Demo)
  11. Obsessed Mind (Demo)
  12. Greed (Demo)
  13. Immortal Germ (Demo)
  14. Who's Your God (Demo)
  15. Lost Power_Crisis Of Ruin (Demo)
  16. Absurd War (Demo)
Narcotic Greed Lineup:

Hiroshi "Warzy" Yamashita - Guitars
Ryouji "Dan" Azuma  - Vocals
Mitsunori "Swan" Suwa - Bass
Hiroki "Hunter" Kawada - Drums

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