BAD HEAVEN – Demo Anthology (Album Review)

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Bad HeavenBad Heaven – Demo Anthology does exactly what it says on the tin.

The band recorded two demos in cassette form between 1986 and 1987 and now Texas Metal Underground Records have got their hands on them and remastered all the songs for release in vinyl format.

This release, as you may expect, is one for the connoisseurs of mid-80’s American metal if only for the rarity of the original demos.

A Potted History

Bad Heaven originally formed in Houston, Texas in 1979. By the mid-1980’s the band was firmly established in the thriving Texas heavy metal scene which included such notable contemporaries as WatchTower, Militia, SA Slayer, and Helstar.

The line-up consisted of Myrna Samperi (bass) Bobby Rodriguez (drums) Joey Benz (guitars) Edward Reyes (guitars) and Gabino Bustamente (vocals).

A four song demo titled Crystal Dagger was recorded in 1986 followed by another four song cassette in 1987 called Dragon Lord.  Despite getting good reviews and attention from well known European publications like RockHard and Metal Forces, the band remained somewhat obscure and the demos have become a bit of a ‘cult classic’ known only to true die-hard underground metal fanatics.

A Potted Review

Bad Heaven
Bad Heaven circa 1980’s. Photo courtesy Encyclopaedia Metallum

Despite being recorded during 1986/7, the sound of the band is most definitely of a period several years earlier. With vocals sounding like they’ve been recorded in a phone box and thrashy guitaring it harks back to the early days of thrash metal and in particular reminds me of Holocaust, the Scottish band so successfully covered by Metallica with “The Small Hours”, first appearing on the Garage Days EP.

Bad Heaven certainly have an edge and the twin leads bring depth and power. The solos are fast, as you’d expect, and are on occasion anarchic, as on the opener “Caverns”.

The pace is unrelenting with each track in turn providing 100% metal with a thrash bent from the early days of that particular genre.

For those of you out there who like to hark back to early days thrash this album may well be worth hunting out.



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