Insanity Alert Cracks Open a “666-Pack”
For heshers of a certain age, the mid 1980s was a golden age. We didn’t call it metalcore, it was crossover. Aside from D.R.I. naming an album after the phenomenon (can you imagine Unearth having the audacity to name their next album Metalcore?), it also signified that punks and metalheads would finally realize that the many similarities they had outweighed the differences, especially as hardcore bands started to play guitar solos and thrash metal emulated the lyrical predilections of punk.
Insanity Alert party like it’s 1989, give or take a few years. The Austrian band had their self-titled 2014 debut reissued by Season of Mist in March of last year, but their upcoming release 666-Pack – streaming in full below before its Friday shelf date – sees not only yore-friendly riffs but even the pop culture references are a throwback. They reference Milli Vanilli, MC Hammer, “8-Bit Brutality,” and, um, Slayer.
Although the longest song is the whiplash-inducing ode to Transformers “Dark Energon,” the average song runs about 90 seconds. There is nothing subtle about what motivates them: Insanity Alert likes beer (“Why So Berrious?”), pot (“Two Joints”), GI Joe (“Cobra Commander”), and the thrash metal and crossover pioneered three decades ago.
We asked vocalist Kevin Stout (his nom de thrash is Heavy Kevy, naturally) to run down the thrash and crossover albums that most influenced Insanity Alert. The answers may not be surprising, but they make a pretty solid Spotify playlist – especially if you add in a few songs from 666-Pack.
S.O.D. -- Speak English or Die (1985)
"For us this record has defined the whole (sub)genre of crossover thrash. [It’s] a perfect mix between hardcore, punk, metal and humor – short, fast songs, a lot of variety, funny lyrics. [It was] recorded in a few days, because Anthrax had some studio time left. Simply brilliant and unique."
Municipal Waste – The Art Of Partying (2007)
"This record really started the second-wave of crossover thrash worldwide, and made MW the biggest band in the genre. Everything on this record is just perfect: songs, riffs, titles, production and artwork. Maybe the most important crossover record after S.O.D.'s debut."
Metallica – Kill' Em All (1983)
"The first (or one of the first) thrash metal albums cannot be dismissed on this list. The level of energy and purity on this record is almost impossible to top. And Kill 'Em All is probably still the best thrash metal slogan which perfectly sums up the underlying feeling behind the genre."
Sepultura – Beneath the Remains (1989)
"This record influenced us long before we started Insanity Alert. Incredibly fast and dynamic drumming, energetic, catchy guitar riffs and brutal howling of Max make it a thrash masterpiece. From the first tone of the intro ‘til the end, no fillers just killers."
Nuclear Assault – Handle With Care (1989)
"Another important record for us. Classic thrash metal, very fast and energetic, mixed up with hardcore structures and crazy guitar solos. [John] Connelly with his outstanding voice brings a lot of fury and aggression. We covered songs of them before."
666-Pack releases this Friday via Season of Mist.