Slaughter - Strappado (2012 reissue)
Marquee Records
Disc 1: 27 songs (64:34) Disc 2: 28 songs (77:41)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Bar

Canadian cult legends Slaughter are one of “those” bands. You know the sort – the ones that would have been a hell of a lot more rich and famous if we lived in a fair and just world. Ah well, I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. At least with the benefit of retrospect the world can appreciate that Slaughter are one of the single most important bands in the history of Death Metal. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, consider this - although the first release of this album was delayed until 1987, it was originally recorded in February of 1986. That means these utterly brutal recordings actually pre-date such genre landmarks as Pleasure to Kill, Reign in Blood and Scream Bloody Gore. That’s no small feat. Aside from a collection of demos dating back to 1984, Strappado was their only proper release but it was a ripping firebrand of an album that still slays to this day. It’s proto-death metal at its finest. Fast, brutal and with a surprising knack for groove that makes it hopelessly catchy and memorable. I won’t say too much about the album itself here though, because I want to talk about the jaw-droppingly stunning reissue package we have been treated to here by Marquee Records.

Strappado has been reissued several times since its initial release, and having owned some of those releases, I feel I can safely tell you that this latest 2012 reissue is far and away the greatest ever release of this album. It features pretty much everything a budding Slaughter fan could want from a single release, with 2 absolutely jam packed discs featuring a whopping total of 55 tracks. Yes, 55! This is the be all and end all of Slaughter releases. Disc one features the Strappado album in two forms. Firstly, you get the original 1987 LP track listing, which is a really cool novelty because it hasn’t been featured on any release of this album since the LP itself was issued. This will be the first time many fans get to hear the songs presented in this particular running order. Next, of course, you get the CD release which features an altered track listing and includes the 4 extra tracks that were recorded during the sessions but not included on the LP. This is the track listing I myself am familiar with, as I have only ever owned the album on CD, so I have to say this is the one I prefer. Aside from the obvious benefit of the four extra songs, I feel like the track list flows a little better. That may just be familiarity, but I suppose there’s a reason they changed it in the first place. Finally, the first disc also contains 5 previously unreleased live tracks performed in Ontario in 1986, before the album was even released.

As if all of that were not enough, believe it or not what really makes this package so great is the second disc. It features 3 full demos recorded prior to the original release of Strappado. Many of the tracks contained here are simply earlier versions of the final album tracks, of course, but they are still an excellent insight into the development of these classic songs. The real highlight is the 1984 Meatcleaver demo which features an array of songs that – to the best of my knowledge – have not seen the light of day in any way, shape or form since the cassette trading days. The tracks here have an extremely raw recording quality and they lean closer to the Thrash side of things than the Death Metal side, as you might imagine given the original year of release. None of this reduces their importance in the slightest. Despite their sometimes amateurish nature, these long-lost tracks help to paint a picture of this band that was so important to the development of Death Metal. As a Slaughter fan, I can honestly say I’m thrilled to have these songs on disc.

There’s not much left to say other than “Bravo, Marquee Recordings”! I wish every album reissued could receive the love and attention given to this release, especially when the album in question has already been issued as many times as this one. They’ve really gone the extra mile with this package, and there’s nothing more a fan could ask for that hasn’t been included. It’s pretty much perfect – I can’t see why a different release of this album would ever be necessary.

Killing Songs :
Incinerator, Fuck of Death, Tortured Souls, Parasites, The Curse, One Foot In The Grave, Tyrant of Hell
Bar quoted 90 / 100
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