Every Record I Own - Day 211: Assassin Interstellar Experience
I mention it a lot in these posts, but metal was not my gateway drug. In my early teenage years, Ian Mackaye and Mike Watt made me want to play music, and metal just seemed like a lot of Halloween theatrics and musical showboating. Punk felt real, and the music felt like an attainable goal. Metal felt like a cartoon world for dudes who dedicated a lot of time to studying guitar magazines and practicing scales.
But punk led to hardcore and hardcore led to metal, and eventually I found myself digging back into all the old stuff I skipped when I was busy trying to wrap my head around Crass. And while it was punk that seemed to galvanize so many people my age into starting bands, it was metal that seemed to keep people rooted to the musician life. Most musicians in my orbit today are more likely to point to a band like Metallica than Minor Threat when it comes to their primary influence. And I understand that—there’s more to untangle on Ride the Lightning than on Out of Step. But I’m more of a Minor Threat guy, and if I had to rank the Big Four of thrash, I’d probably rank Megadeth at the bottom, even if they were arguably the most skilled musicians of the bunch. I don’t want musical gymnastics; I want performances that feel unbridled and uninhibited.
I first heard the ‘80s German thrash band Assassin from our Czech tour manager. The recording is cruddy and the musicianship is a little rough around the edges, but the energy is undeniable. It feels like a punk record. They’re one of those bands that likely missed out on a lot of the attention peers like Kreator or Sodom attained because Interstellar Experience is so ragged and raw. But if you’re more interested in the raging vitriol of Venom’s Welcome To Hell than the virtuoso skill of Van Halen, then Assassin might be up your alley too.