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Rather Death Than False Of Faith
(Dark Symphonies)

In the second half of the 1980s, the British Metal scene definitely lost its pioneering status it had in times of the NWOBHM. It was the time when Thrash Metal reigned and the first wave of Death Metal was just around the corner, with Britain regaining its pioneering status. But the first wave of Thrash Metal nearly passed the United Kingdom by completely. Were there any Thrash bands from Maggie's country? And I mean notable Thrash bands? Besides ONSLAUGHT and SABBAT no names come to mind, maybe SACRILEGE still ring a bell, but they were more or less a Crust Punk band with a development in a progressive Doom Metal direction. Only real insiders remember bands like VIRUS, DEATHWISH or HYDRA VEIN. These bands didn't really gain attention, even though they weren't bad. It's just that they weren't as original or groundbreaking like their allies from the US. If you want a proof for this assumption, you might check out the recently re-released first album from Brighton's own HYDRA VEIN. “Rather Death Than False Of Faith” was originally unleashed onto the (pretty negligible) masses in 1988, when Thrash already was beyond its climax. The premises for this album weren't really excellent, since it was released on the tiny company Metalother Records with one of the most ridiculous cover artworks ever. I mean, a mix of a monster and a reaper in front of a pink background that looks like it was drawn by a five year old child... You must be kidding! And those who got a chance to listen to this album and weren't put off by the album cover were confronted with a thin and noisy production that really sucked, even in terms of the 1980s. If you put all that aside, “Rather Death Than False Of Faith” wasn't too bad. Contemporary Thrash Metal that reminds of SABBAT, especially due to the voice of Mike Keen (R.I.P.) that sounds pretty much like the one of Martin Walkyier. But also SLAYER were a massive influence of HYDRA VEIN - just listen to the opener 'Rabid' or 'Crucifier'. And the opening riffs of 'Misanthropic' were nothing less than a complete S.O.D. clone. On the other hand, there are some rather original parts, mostly in the longer closing tunes of the sides of the album. 'Right To Die' is pretty diversified in its riffing and 'Guillotine' has some very trippy ideas in the middle part. But two rather nice songs alone are not really a reason to get this re-release of “Rather Death Than False Of Faith”. Those who liked this album back then will get a bonus here as well - Dark Symphonies added "The Reptilliad" to their re-release, the only demo HYDRA VEIN recorded back in 1987. Except for the title track, a nerve-racking piano instrumental, all songs are found on the album as well, with much better and thrashier vocals. I'm not sure who's to buy this album, but those who feel addressed should visit the band at, or the label at

Thomas Meyer

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