A few weeks ago, I put together a fast thrash metal episode of my weekly Bloody Roots radio show on Sirius Hard Attack, featuring Sacrifice, Fueled by Fire, Whiplash, Exumer, and others. A listener got in touch to say thanks for playing Holy Terror, and began a strange and intriguing story:

“You might be able to solve a metal mystery that has vexed me for 16 years. It was October 1992. I was 17, in my first year of college. A high school buddy had come down to LA from the Bay Area so we could catch Metallica/Guns N’ Roses at the Rose Bowl. I hopped in his truck out in front of my dorm room, and he said “dude, you gotta hear this,” and he played me a tasty bit of technical, somewhat melodic speed thrash metal. I asked who it was, and that’s where the mystery begins. “We don’t know,” he said. Seems a friend of my friend’s friend had found this scuffed CD on the side of the road. No case, no cover, just a disc. On the cover, goes their story, was ‘some kind of a face.’ No band name. No song titles. And since then I’ve been trying to find out who this goddamn band is.”

I racked my brain, and tried a few tricks, but I can’t help the guy. It does sound like Invocator, as he goes on to mention in his email, but I don’t think so. There are many clues pointing to this being a band from the Bay Area: the Death Angelic vocals, the Alex Skolnik-style sweeping leads, and the Violence gang backing vocals. But half the thrashers on Earth nicked those stylistic attributes. So once again I ask: Who Are You? And this time I don’t know the answer!

MYSTERY THRASHERS – “Track 2 From Mysterious Thrash Album” [6.9MB MP3]


  1. if per chance the dude has the CD i’d say to just pop it into a computer with iTunes and iTunes would search online for the CD info. of course it would only work if someone submitted the info about the disc online to the CDDB.

  2. If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, the music came to me fifth- or sixth-hand on a cassette copy. I never met the people who supposedly found the disc, and I never saw the disc itself.

    To make matters worse, the music started to skip badly toward the end of the cassette and cut off mid-song. So I don’t even know how many tracks there are on the disc or what the accurate durations are for the songs at the end.

    In addition to your idea, I’ve tried deciphering snippets of lyrics and then searching them online. And of course I’ve bought tons of metal over the years, mostly because I love metal but also hoping I’d happen upon this band. A decade and a half, and no luck.

  3. Wow, and pending final verification which I’m 99% sure isn’t needed, there’s the bell within 48 hours. Silence – “Echoes of Damnation” from the 1990 album VISON. They hailed from the Washington, DC, area, opened up for Pantera in 1991 at the formidable Georgetown venue with the 8-foot high stage The Bayou, and lo and behold their guitarist Sonny Mayo went on to play in Sevendust — bolstering my case that thrash metal is the basis of 1990s hard rock. But that’s a riff for a different story. So if this mystery is solved, then Matt — meet SoBelow, your very own Rumpelstilskin, granter of wishes and dreams. If you two need help getting in touch for the massive gift exchange soon to follow, let me know. I’ll be glad to throw in a Swedish Death Metal book.

  4. Hang on a sec …

    Dammit, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry …

    Massive thanks to you both — Ian for facilitating, and SoBelow for providing the $25,000 answer.

    I would absolutely like to be put in contact. SB, is there anything I can get for you? Six pack? New car? Kidney?

    OK, now the fun part: hunting down a copy.


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