Our god
His name
Might not always be the same
I thought God was a God of mercy
Not a God of greed and hate

-- Jersey Dogs - Why Is

JACKHAMMER - Hard To Be Alive
Brazil 2009

1. Intro 2. Hard To Be Alive 3. Hush Sweet Charlotte 4. Speed Metal Crusher 5. Spit At The Cross 6. Fight Or Die Now 7. Jihad 8. Red Light Murder 9. Stepping On The Trapdoor 10. Death Factory 11. Outro

Jackhammer's decision to play highly traditional speed/thrash metal is hardly novel in today's world. Hard To Be Alive is still an acceptable release already based on its relaxed feel alone. The effort is by no means limp, but it lacks a definite punch and the outcome is nowhere near the most intense examples of its kind. Then again, while the style is fairly generic and predictable, it can have even a calming effect. The last point is especially valid if this album is used as an option to have a short break from a string of more complicated recordings, as this one surely does not require any kind of concentration whatsoever. Although it may be only a good thing that most albums in the genre tend to be more frenetic than this, Hard To Be Alive can be an appropriate pick in specific situations.

JAILOR - Evil Corrupts
Brazil 2005

1. Ascension Of A Greater Evil 2. Timeline Of Massacre 3. Corpus Christ 4. Evil Corrupts 5. Infantry 6. Jailor 7. Steps To Hell 8. Deaf Lords 9. Capital Punishment 10. Necropolis

Even though Jailor might not be too well known outside their local scene, it is almost guaranteed that Evil Corrupts stands out of the crowd in most situations. One major factor contributing to this outcome is the production quality that seems somewhat unfinished at first but certainly adds some welcome edge to the mix. Below the surface, the band's sound appears fundamentally restless, with some notably frantic vocals that add to the overall unsettled impression. Musically this album is not the most striking, and you may not find any truly remarkable songs here, but a specific kind of unpredictability gives Jailor's output an upper hand over the mass of faceless and simply more pointless works. Actually, this aspect alone should be enough of a reason to take a note of this release.

JERSEY DOGS - Thrash Ranch
USA 1990

1. Posse Of Doom 2. Medicine Man 3. Why Is 4. Blood From A Stone 5. Who's To Blame 6. Wasted World 7. Games 8. Greasy Funk Chicken 9. Last Breath 10. Another Pretty Day

At the first glimpse of the cover picture one could almost mistake Jersey Dogs for a typical glam band of the 1980s. The title of Thrash Ranch is more accurate, as this album features a good dose of healthy speed/thrash metal with a guitar-driven sound that on the other hand appears somewhat restrained at times, as if the band were holding back a bit. Mostly the riffs are rather banal, but every now and then, like on Why Is and Who's To Blame, the result really hits the mark with some notably powerful riffs. Maybe the closest comparison could be Megadeth or Mortal Sin, as there is some similar attitude to be found in Jersey Dogs' rhythmic sound. As a whole, Thrash Ranch may not be the strongest thrash metal album around, but there are some fairly cool moments on it.

JESTER BEAST - Poetical Freakscream
Italy 1991

1. Freak Channel 9 2. Illogical Theocracy 3. Jester Day 4. Claustrophobic Autogamic 5. Swan Ain't Die 6. Poetical Freakscream 7. Mother 8. D.A.U. (Destroy After Use) 9. Unidentified Body

Poetical Freakscream is a peculiar album. At least those are the initial thoughts when Jester Beast's full-length release starts playing. The general disorienting feel can reach such levels that an unprepared listener may need to spend the first couple of tracks just trying to adapt to the unorthodox and wild musical patterns that are plentiful right from the start. But after the initial disarray wears off, the band's atypical antics start to make some sense, slowly but surely. To describe the music even briefly, one could refer to Voivod, but even that would be a bit too easy for a comparison. It doesn't take too long to get used to this original approach, though, and by the second half of this album there are hardly any real surprises left. In all likelihood, Poetical Freakscream is out of most people's limited comprehension, but those adventurous persons among us who are up to the challenge can be sure that there won't be a dull moment with this recording.