Saturday, November 15, 2008

Party With God!

The invocation of Azmeroth is complete and November Fire can now announce the official re-issue of Sacrilege B.C.'s debut LP Party With God! Normally I would use expressions like "highly anticipated" to herald a killer release like this, but I don't think many people anticipated it. In fact I don't think many people have ever heard it. Which is a damn shame. And here's why:

Sacrilege B.C. descended upon the 1980's Bay Area thrash scene like a napalm death strike...and disappeared in a cloud of booze, dope, and brimstone just as their name was finally drawing international attention. Perhaps they were just too unbridled for the headbangers and too shredding for the punks (both guitarists were trained by Joe Satriani and they were known to encore with 'Love Gun' by Kiss). During the industry feeding-frenzy to sign the "next big thrash band" it was inevitable that this quintet of teen hellraisers out to have a good time would fly under the radar and, unlike many of their East Bay peers, Sacrilege B.C. was clearly unhindered by lofty musical career goals. They thank beer on the credits of their debut LP. Twice. Oddly enough, the raw energy and D.I.Y. approach that probably resulted in Sacrilege B.C.'s premature burial is exactly what has aged these songs so well and this reissue slides nicely into the annals of speed somewhere between Possessed and Cryptic Slaughter. Sacrilege B.C. initially emerged in 1983 with the hulking Strephon Taylor providing his unique rapid-fire rasp and Tim Howell swinging the 6-string axe (incidentally Strephon & Tim continue to jam together after all these years in their new band Slob). By 1984 they had recruited Matt Filmore on drums, Gary Wendt on guitar, and Musashi 'Moose' Lethridge on bass and this line-up recorded two demos before 'Moose' was replaced by Sean Smithson for the 1986 Party With God recording for Alchemy Records. They would soon be cursed to replace bass players in Spinal Tap fashion for the rest of their short-lived career. As if to further confuse their own legacy, they also unknowingly shared monikers with a certain band of English crust-thrashers who were rapidly gaining underground popularity. In an effort to assert their own identity they added 'B.C.' to their name- for 'Berkeley, California', among other inside jokes- but would ultimately be overshadowed and scarcely referenced as the other Sacrilege. With this re-issue Party With God finally emerges from obscurity as an overlooked mid-80's classic and a raging thrashterpiece that delivers in spades on the promise of TRUE metal/punk crossover! From the opening drum-roll belch of 'Azmeroth'’ this fucker grabs you by the flannel and doesn't let up until you're ‘Victimized' and dead on the floor! If you're not stagediving off the kitchen table by the second verse of 'Fun With Napalm' you should check your pulse and start listening to disco again. 'Skinned Alive' condemns cruel seal hunters to hell, an unusual stance for a bunch of beer-drooling delinquents, AND kicks speed metal ass with dueling squeal-like-a-pig solos. 'Judge Death' is a blitzkrieg rant that barely comes up for air during the skank breakdown before launching into a tongue-tying finale- and it's about Judge Death! And then there's the scream-along gang chorus of 'Death Toll' and moshpit-pleaser 'Crucified'. Party With God rips and it's about time these forgotten grenades of adolescent aggression were dusted off, re-mastered, and reintroduced to a new generation. No one is safe from the shrapnel spray that is Sacrilege B.C.! Let’s hear it for the other Sacrilege…
~Dennis Dread (2008)


Uncle Samurai said...

Nicely written. I enjoy the fact that these songs were kept alive instead skinned.


Uncle Samurai said...

It was actually Tim and I that started the band with Gary. Strephon and Matt made it a quick reality. I cut school to write the music for "Time to die" " Skinned alive" "Azmeroth" " Heed No Warning" "Slaughterhouse" "The Original Victimized"( a favorite of the late and loved Toby Rage ) "Born of Hell" "Crucified"

I think maybe because of how I left the band, the story may have been re edited and told a few different ways. But the true story is I went fuckin nuts. Into psychotic catatonic depression from all the acid I was doing in Berkeley. Plus all the other party drugs around. It took me a few years to recover. I am certain that the band told the story in whatever way that would cause me and the band the least amount of embarassment. They worked their asses off while I recovered. And had to deal with their own life altering experiences in the process. I still consider them friends and music comrades. And I still love the songs I wrote. Those songs are part of my life story as a person and as a musician. And why I am telling a complete stranger? Because it's true. I lived it. And regret none of it. Plus it's bay area thrash metal history.
Anyway, the chronological order of how the band started is based on the friendships that formed during the 80s metal era. We were good friends in high school. That's where the band started.


Dennis Dread said...

Hey Moose! It's awesome to read your comments here. Thanks so much for the history lesson and especially for writing such killer songs! I pieced together the timeline of events for these liner notes from old fanzine interviews and some official promotional material that the band released back in the 80s. I hope you understand if I got some of the details wrong it wasn't intentional. Anyway, thanks for filling in the gaps here. Cheers!

John Ryder said...

Hi Moose,

I'm a big fan of Sacrilege B.C.! Can you tell me what the name Azmeroth mean?

Kind regards,