DEATH MASK (Exhumation) CD

Formed in Maryland, USA, DEATH MASK took shape in 1985, and disappeared soon afterwards in 1987. Strongly influenced by Black Sabbath, Venom, Motorhead, Celtic Frost, Trouble, and Judas Priest just to name a few, this disc is a retrospective of their rare recordings and gives a glimpse of what a great band they were. The first eight tracks features material, that were recorded at their practice spot, and although the quality is raw and unpolished it showcases a band that was more brutal and heavier than most of the other heavy bands from Maryland at that time. Even the throat shredding vocals from bassist David ’Hoss‘ Sherman are heavy as shit and aurally assault all in their path. Some of the songs almost have a hardcore punk feel as for example ‘Instrumetal‘. Guitarist Tom Marchiano is also a virtous player, while drummer Ed Gerritson kicks the shit out of his drums. The music changes tempo quite often, moving from fast hard hitting metallic hardcore punk to moments of mid-tempo heavy metal, then back to slower parts.

All this isn’t always played perfect, but it’s more honest than a lot of the overrated shit you can hear today, and I appreciate this more than anything else. The last five tracks have been recorded at various shows DEATH MASK did around the Baltimore, Washington, DC area. This shows were pretty legendary, and when you listen to this tracks you will understand why. DEATH MASK seriously kick-ass in their own right, and the songs are packed with untamed energy and passion. The last cut is a fantastic energetic cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Wicked World‘, and after listening to ‘Exhumation‘ I’ve asked myself what happened if DEATH MASK didn’t break up in 1987 and would’ve been signed from Hellhound Records in the early 1990‘s? Sadly this is only speculative, but thanks to Old Metal Records for this disc. This compilation is absolutely crushing from start to finish and while listening to it you can take a look at the rare s/w live pics in the booklet, where David is wearing vintage shirts from The Obsessed and Trouble. Great release!