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Suffering Hour

After gaining the interest of a few smaller independent labels, due to the reviews of our ANNIHILATION COMPLETE DEMO in the Fall of 1987, we decided to take our own money and Demo Coverrecord the album before we were signed. We figured we might have a better chance of being picked up by a label if we had a finished product to shop around. (this money was later reimbursed byAxis Records when we signed with them just before the actual recording began) We recorded SUFFERING HOUR in March of 1988 for about $1,200. We did the entire album in 7 days in a small studio in Kansas City, MO. We recorded this album much differently than any of the others. All of the rhythm tracks were recorded live with the wholeband playing together. We did all of these in a day or two, with a couple more for solos and vocals. Last, we mixed the whole thing in about two days. I should say our engineer did most of the mixing, as we were all in the studio for the first time and were too shy to do or say very much Anacrusis '88(except "more reverb please"). Needless to say the finished product was not exactly what we had hoped for, production-wise, but at that time we were thrilled just to have recorded an album. We ended up signing with Bernard Doe’s label ACTIVE RECORDS (AXIS at this time) for a two album contract. Bernard was known for his magazine METAL FORCES, which was one of the better metal magazines around. We had won "best demo" in the 1987 reader’s poll and he had included the songs "Annihilation Scream Your Brains Out coverComplete" and "Imprisoned" on the "SCREAM YOUR BRAINS OUT" compilation album. SUFFERING HOUR was a definite hodge- podge of old and new songs, and I think this is the thing that makes it a much more disjointed album than our later releases.Only four of the nine songs were written while we were together as a band, with the rest being either older songs from my As far as the material goes,previous high school band HEAVEN’S FLAME, (which featured Chad Smith on drums) or songs Kevin had written before I joined ANACRUSIS. "Imprisoned" was the first song that I wrote for the band, and I think musically and especially lyrically, it would set the tone for the direction we would take in the future. The songs "Butcher’s Block", "Fighting Evil", and "the Twisted Cross" were all from my previous band and "Annihilation Complete" and "Frigid Bitch" were two songs Kevin had written before I was in the band. I think this will help to explain the lack of continuity on this album. One of my favorites, still, is "Present Tense". I would have to call this the first ‘true’ ANACRUSIS song, as it was the first one that we all contributed to and wrote together. I think it was also the last song written for the album (Coming up with the best material at the last minute would become a reoccurring theme for us). Another thing I should mention is that we also recorded BLACK SABBATH’s "N.I.B". It was a hyper-active version that we used to play live, and we intended to include it on S.H. but we weren’t exactly sure how to go about getting permission to use it, so we left it off the final pressing. I have posted the MP3 version with the rest of Suffering Hour on the Albums download page

 

 

We weren’t quite sure what we wanted to use for the cover, but we knew we wanted to try and be different than all of the other metal bands around at the time. One idea I had originally was a really great picture of this huge rock with ocean waves crashing all around it. I got it out of National Geographic, SUFFERING HOUR I think, and I made a photocopy of it to show to Kevin. It looked really cool, all grainy and black and white from the crappy copy machine, but I don’t think anyone was too thrilled with the idea. It looked very "New-Age Doom". Then Kevin showed me a picture he had taken on a school field-trip to Washington D.C.. It was a photo of the cathedral with this eerie sunlight coming over the top and really nice colors. The only problem was he couldn’t find the negative and all we had was this little snap-shot. So we had a friend who was a photographer take a picture of the picture so we we could blow up the negative from that one. Kevin was learning Commercial Art in school so we thought we could do the lay-out ourselves and do it just how we wanted. METAL FORCES photo But when we sent the finished cover to the label in England, they didn’t want to pay for a color separation for the photo or something like that, so we ended up with the cover in black and white. How ironic is that? Here we were trying to be different and we end up with this drab cover with a picture of this big scary cathedral on it. It couldn’t have turned out any more ‘metal’ looking if we had wanted it to. Needless to say, that scene from SPINAL TAP has always come to mind. A lot of people have told me they love the cover just because it is so stark and simple and I can see their point, but I have always felt that the album cover, on a subconscious level, plays a big role in how the music sounds to you. For example, when I listen to certain albums I tend to associate a certain feel or 'color' with the music. I think a lot of this is related to the look of the cover, and I think that "Suffering Hour" has always seemed very one-dimensional to me because of its cover. So, all things considered, I think for a first album it’s not all that bad. It didn’t really show the different textures and moods of our music, even as much as our demos had, but on a positive note, at least I decided to drop the the cheesy falsetto-screams just prior to recording the album (shooting for Halford, but sounding like King Diamond, never had a vocalist tried to do so much with so little). I guess it could have been worse. 

 

 

Heaven's Flame, The Demo, The First Show
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