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Review: Assassin - The Upcoming Terror
The Upcoming Terror

Label: Steamhammer
Year released: 1987
Duration: 36:45
Tracks: 8
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 3.25/5

Review online: January 31, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
The Upcoming Terror

Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)

Assassin are an interesting band to me. Despite the majority of their output ranging from uninspired to entirely unbearable, they still have a decent bit of prestige in the underground, and it all comes down to their debut album often being heralded as an overlooked classic. I've had the misfortune to hear later albums like Interstellar Experience and Breaking the Silence, albums that showed some signs of a band that could make quality music, but were generally so boring and awful that I never bothered giving the debut a fair listen. Well, after all this time, I finally sat down with The Upcoming Terror, and there is absolutely no doubt that this is the best album they ever made. However, that doesn't make it especially good.

I'll admit, the opening to "Forbidden Reality" set my expectations higher than I expected them to get with its pounding drums and stomping riffs, but then it goes into bog-standard Thrash riffs and typical Thrash yapping and sets the tone for the remainder of the album. There are places where they conjure some interesting riffs and melodies, as on "Assassin" and the blistering "Bullets", and the band was generally better when they go into mid-paced riffs with a touch of Trad to them, but most of this is just indistinguishable from a number of other also-rans from the same era. This was 1987, the same year as The Ultra Violence and Ticket to Mayhem, so it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that this got overlooked. Hell, in terms of overlooked classics, you have Know Your Enemy and None Shall Defy to work with, so including this album in that list is just silly.

In my review of Breaking the Silence, I mused that the more I listened to this band and that album in particular, the less interested I was in getting to their debut. As it turns out, the title track to Breaking the Silence is better than anything on here, so I was sort of doing that album a disservice with such a claim, because it at least had one song that got my full attention. This album does the same in spots, and it remains their most consistently tolerable album overall, but despite what you may have heard, there's nothing exceptional about it at all.

Other related information on the site
Review: Bestia Immundis (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Breaking the Silence (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Interstellar Experience (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Club (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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