Vendetta - Brain Damage
Noise Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (36:53)
Release year: 1988
Vendetta, Noise Records
Reviewed by Thomas

Whether this is or is not a classic can be discussed back, forth, up and down in all eternity. Given, Vendetta has not been as successful as fellow German thrashers Tankard, Sodom or Kreator, but neither has Forbidden or say, Heathen in comparison to their fellow countrymen. While this alone of course is not a valid argument, this however is; these guys helped pioneering the German thrash movement back in the mid-eighties with both their debut and this, their major step up, Brain Damage. Why I choose to label it as one is of course because of this, and because I, subjectively speaking, consider it one of the top five thrash album to ever come out of Germany along with Pleasure to Kill and the likes. This is thrashing metal in its prime, during thrash metal’s prime time, and even though their success was short-lived, this release has stayed constant in time for twenty long years as a timeless gem, even though the casual fan seems to have forgotten about it. Vendetta was born back in the heyday of thrash at the same time as all the other major German thrash acts, and no, bassist Klaus Ullrich is not in any known way related to Lar$ of Metallica. Their first release Go and Live… Stay and Die made headlines in the metal underground, it was however Brain Damage that put their name in the thrash metal hall of fame.

Vendetta sets themselves apart from other thrash bands immediately by just taking a look at their lyrical content. Sure they speak of war and death, but not in the form of killing peace but rather from a political point of view. More musically speaking though, Klaus Ullrich makes a huge difference with his rumbling bass-playing here. One can state that he is to Vendetta what Cliff Burton was to Metallica and Steve Harris is to Iron Maiden. He does not see his slightly different musical past as an obstacle here, and includes both funk and classical into his style of play. It’s the first thing you’ll hear on the stunning opener War and the absolutely incredible instrumental Fade to Insanity. His playing is lively, and it adds a spark that’ll light a fire under your ass. Speaking of instrumentals, it’s something I’m really not fond of, and especially not in thrash, but this one is maybe one of the best tracks of the entire CD. With both furious thrashing riffs as well as great soloing by Daxx and Micky, they carry this one to the top, as the album kind of climaxes here even though it hass got great stuff in store for us still. ‘Cause this is in no way where the fun starts.

Brain Damage kicks off with the mentioned War which shortly lets you know what you’re in for here. Heavy crushing riffs turn into a furious guitar-attack backing up a piercing scream from Daxx. Incredible melodies crawls out of every corner of the track as fierce vocal work as well as blazing solos are all over the place. The title-track starts out as a little more resigned before bursting out into riffs of another world that would make Dave Mustaine weep like a baby. Galloping ahead, it demands its toll as sudden and mind-boggling rhythmic shifts startles your mind. Although I wouldn’t call it outright progressive, there are tendencies similar to Victims-era Heathen in the way the songs are structured and built up. This is so gripping that even the ballads or half-ballads will grab your attention. The slower Precious Existence starts of calmly before busting out in a Maiden-like manner and then slowing down again towards the end, doing it just as good as anyone, leaving you awestruck.

Even if this were to be called progressive, the average thrash-freak shall not be afraid. There are speedsters spread all across this, and the Slayer-like Never Die. Just below three minutes of intense, no bullshit bone-sawing riffs, furious skin-beating and tortured screams about a soldiers will to survive will lead you into the humorous Love Song and the aforementioned Fade Into insanity. Taking over is the heavily heavy metal coloured Dominance of Violence, and the, no kidding, blast-beat filled Metal Law to finish this beast of in fashion. There is really not much more that is needed to say about this. Summed up shortly should sound something like this: Classic thrash metal. Buy it, download it, whatever. Every thrash-head needs to listen to this.

Killing Songs :
Thomas quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Vendetta that we have reviewed:
Vendetta - Go and Live... Stay and Die reviewed by Thomas and quoted 86 / 100
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