Soothsayer "To Be a Real Terrorist" LP
Following NWN!’s recent vinyl reissues of Voor and Damnation comes the third installment in the Quebec Metal Series with the vinyl version of Soothsayer’s 1986 “To Be a Real Terrorist” demo. Soothsayer arrived at a time when the Canadian thrash scene was flourishing with bands like Slaughter, Damnation, and Yog Sothots unleashing an incomparable breed of sonic savagery. While incorporating the frenzied intensity of punk/hardcore, Soothsayer also retained a truly evil and hateful dimension to their approach thereby avoiding the pitfalls that would plague so much of the funthrash/crossover style that was on the horizon for many of the bands in this genre. The riffs here are played with aggressive precision and each component of the band is utilized to full potential. With Soothsayer, the drums and bass are not merely spectators, but instead stand out and dictate the course of the songs in equal measure with the guitars. The vocals are spastic, shrill, and well-placed within the tracks. In addition to the high quality of the playing and songwriting on “To Be a Real Terrorist,” the skillful studio recording also deserves praise. This demo was recorded in an era when bands poured all of their energy into creating the most powerful demo possible so as to try to stand out in a sea of mediocrity when shopping their sound to labels. Demos were not then, as they often are now, an end unto themselves. Indeed, the level of attention given to the execution of this demo exceeds that applied to the majority of actual albums now. Side B is comprised of several tracks recorded live in 1987. They appear to be soundboard recordings and are, therefore, very listenable--in marked contrast to the typical quality of bonus live material tacked onto the end of reissues. Most of the live tracks are of songs taken from the band’s album that was later released in 1989 which represents a slight stylistic departure for Soothsayer. While some of the evil character of the demo was left behind on the album, the manic intensity of these live recordings compensates for the comparative levity of the songwriting. This LP captures an overlooked masterpiece of an undeniably potent era of Canadian Speed Metal that should not be permitted to be lost to oblivion. The sound of that era cannot be replicated now though many bands still engage in futile attempts to do so. We should, therefore, continue to relish the re-presentation of these lost artifacts.