The fourth installment in Stormspell Records’ Red, White and Heavy “arcane collector series” of previously unreleased demo recordings comes from New York thrash metal band Cold Steel. The band issued a handful of demos prior to their 1992 full-length debut Freakboy, all of which are now collected on 20 Years of NY Thrash – The Demo Anthology.
Coming from the New York thrash scene, Cold Steel sounds about like you’d expect them to. They took some obvious cues from Anthrax (and New Jersey neighbors Overkill), but they also follow the Bay Area template pretty closely. It’s your basic high-speed riffage and machine gun rhythms with vocals alternating between a harsh, almost barked style and a higher-register singing that’s an obvious weak point. As the band developed they got a little more creative, and the bass got a bit thicker and funkier.
Cold Steel may have been around for more than 20 years, but despite the title 20 Years of NY Thrash – The Demo Anthology actually just covers the period from 1988-1990. This gives us (nearly) all of 1988’s Dead by Dawn, 1988’s Scarred for Life and 1990’s Perfect Peace. There were a couple of songs from Scarred for Life that also appeared on Perfect Peace, so they weren’t duplicated in this collection. The songs have all been digitally remastered, and they sound pretty good given the limitations of the original source material.
Cold Steel never really took off, and part of that is due to the fact that they debuted just as the alternative rock scene was coming in. Their general lack of originality didn’t help. They were a solid enough thrash band, but at a time when thrash bands were popping up all over the country, solid just wasn’t good enough.
Cold Steel may not have been the most original band around, but 20 Years of NY Thrash – The Demo Anthology is still worth checking out. Not only is it a perfectly enjoyable collection of vintage thrash metal, but any time you can get these hard to find underground metal recordings back into circulation, that’s a good thing for metal collectors.
Genre: Thrash Metal