Beast on My Back

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With the release of Beast on My Back, New York's Crumbsuckers tossed aside their hardcore associations, choosing instead to fully commit to metal. The term thrash doesn't fully describe the tone of this 1988 sophomore full-length. The dense guitar harmonies and rapid-fire power chords combine with an unceasing vocal croak that brings to mind Florida's burgeoning death metal scene of the time. Some technically challenging double-kick drum performances -- about ten times faster than "Rejuvenate" -- are all that is needed to complete this offering's genre shift away from hardcore. When compared to the precise guitar parts, the drumming on Beast on My Back lacks definition. This gives the otherwise-impressive metal disc an unbalanced feel. There is no such problem on highlights like "Jimmies Dream," with its straight-up thrash, or the dynamic "Remembering Tomorrow." But ultimately, some conceptual ambiguity weighs heavily on this 1988 recording: a surprisingly progressive, but ultimately disappointing effort.

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