Oppression / Dramatic Surge (compilation)


All together this reissue of VIGILANT’s demos plus rarities makes for a thorough and blistering recapture of that early spirit of Thrash.
March 11, 2024

In the way back of 1987 when Thrash was emerging from the underground as the unholy spawn of NWOBHM and Hardcore Punk, many bands were trampled underfoot as major labels rushed to exploit Thrash’s commercial potential. VIGILANT, a Thrash band from the unlikely Delft in the Netherlands, was one such casualty. Formed in ’87 the band released two demos—“Oppression” in 1988 and “Dramatic Surge” in 1989. Twenty-five years later Vic Records compiled the two demos with bonus tracks from the band’s appearance on “Metal In Rocks, Volume II,” a rare rehearsal outtake, and several live recordings.

Sonically, VIGILANT is exactly what one might expect from this era, a fusion of frenetic Punk with whingey vocals and short, erratic bursts of riffage with the technical proficiency and speed of metal. Standout tracks are “Visions of a Dying Brain” which we are treated with two versions—one from the “Dramatic Surge” demo and one from the later “Metal In Rocks” compilation. The difference in these recordings is dramatic, btw. Hard to decide which version is superior. Let the debate begin.

Other standouts include “Dehumanized Authority” from their first demo—a raw track that hints at brilliance—as well as “Beyond God’s Creations” from their second demo—a six-minute track teasing Prog proportions. One of the cool things about this album is the sheer distance travelled from the early tracks to the later releases. You can plainly see how much the band progressed in one short year. “Your Cold Embrace” also from “Metal In Rocks” is another excellent track.

The rehearsal track and the live recordings are interesting for archival purposes, creating an extended snapshot of the band sans the niceties of the studio. Completionists may love these recordings, but the production values are understandably lacking.

All together this reissue of VIGILANT’s demos plus rarities makes for a thorough and blistering recapture of that early spirit of Thrash. If you were on the planet to experience the scene firsthand, this album will take you back. If you are new to the archives of this age, enjoy the excavation.    


6 / 10

Had Potential








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"Oppression / Dramatic Surge (compilation)" Track-listing:

1. Dramatic Surge

2. Dehumanized Authority    

3. The Sacrament

4. Intro

5. Oppression

6. Visions of a Dying Brain     

7. Biomorph

8. Beyond God's Creations

9. Visions of a Dying Brain (Metal In Rocks, Volume II compilation album)

10. Your Cold Embrace (Metal In Rocks, Volume II compilation album 1989)         

11. Biomorph (rehearsal 03 - 1988)

12. Dramatic Surge (Live 06 - 08 - 1988)

13. Biomorph (Live 06 - 08 - 1988)

14. Dehumanized Authority (Live 06 - 08 - 1988)

15. Subculture of violence (Live 06 - 08 - 1988)

16. The Sacrament LIVE (Live 06 - 08 - 1988)


Vigilant Lineup:

André Scherpenberg – Bass

Jeroen van de Schuur – Drums

Pieter Malfliet – Guitars

Jele Andela – Vocals


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