Realm - Endless War
This is a reissue of the 1988 debut by Realm, who seem to have hit the ground running right when speed metal was in its bracing infancy. Endless War is certainly of that time, with Mark Antoni's mix of operatic and punky vocals-no cookie monster growl infecting it yet-and Van Halen- on-even more speed riffs. Realm will not blow you away, but they do hold up.
Even a ghastly cover of "Eleanor (F*&king) Rigby" does not turn one away. The band from Milwaukee was a step or two below masters of the genre, like Testament and Anthrax, mostly for the weakness in songwriting. The title track, "Slay The Oppressor" and "Theseus and the Minotaur" suffer from being lyrically too much by the numbers metal topics, though there are some clever turns of phrase in "All Heads Will Turn to the Hunt" and "Eminence." But of course it is the guitar attack and the vocals that make it. As it did back in the day, speed metal came out with a brutal but fun kick that fed off hardcore and reenergized metal. Realm's reissue of "Endless War" is a cool reminder of what it was like before the genre became so stylized, and today sounds fresh enough to hopefully win over some new fans.
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