Anacrusis - Hindsight: Suffering Hour & Reason Revisited

Hindsight: Suffering Hour & Reason Revisited
Track Listing: 

Disc One (Suffering Hour Revisited):

1. Present Tense
2. Imprisoned
3. R.O.T.
4. Butcher's Block
5. Apocalypse
6. A World to Gain
7. Frigid Bitch
8. Fighting Evil
9. Twisted Cross
10. Annihilation Complete/Disemboweled
11. Injustice

Disc Two (Reason Revisited):

1. Stop Me
2. Terrified
3. Not Forgotten
4. Wrong
5. Silent Crime
6. Killing My Mind
7. Misshapen Intent
8. Afraid to Feel
9. Child Inside
10. Vital
11. Quick to Doubt

Rating: 
5

Missouri's Anacrusis are one of those bands that, during their initial stint between 1986 and 1994, were plagued with bad luck. It's the same sad story that has befallen many bands over the years - piss poor label backing, little distribution, a miriad of internal issues and a lot of fans misunderstanding their later, more ambitious works led to the band's demise around 1994 having only just released four albums, all of which were brilliant and different from one another. One of the biggest curses seemly cast upon the band however, was the apparent inability to make their albums sound good - sure, the songs and musicianship were second to none, but with the exception of 1993's "Screams And Whispers" the band's production wasn't exactly fantastic by any means. Now that the band has reformed with the original lineup, we've been given somewhat of a reunion present - Anacrusis' first two albums, fully re-recorded with modern technology in a rather lovely 2-in-1 package.

Some people are going to be majorly pissed off with "Hindsight..." from the get-go, and that's understandable - 1988's "Suffering Hour" and 1990's "Reason" are cited as underrated treasures in the metal community (or at least, amongst those who know their stuff) and bands re-recording old material is a double edged sword; it can either benefit old material greatly, giving it a new lease of life and better production that the original songs lacked (Destruction's "Thrash Anthems") or it can utterly destroy the way you hear those songs (Sodom's "Final Sign of Evil"). So how have these records fared with their modern day facelifts?

The first thing I have to stress is the production. "Suffering Hour" and "Reason" always sounded decent enough for what they were, but they've always left a slightly sour taste in my mouth with their rather lacklustre production jobs, with the former in particular having a little too much reverb for my liking. But now the songs sound utterly colossal, as if they were meant to be recorded in this day and age - Anacrusis may well be time travellers. But of course, whether or not the production is superior to the initial recordings will be down to the individual Anacrusis fans around the world - having not heard either of these albums for a couple of years before aquiring "Hindsight...", the intro to 'Present Tense' was welcomed with an exceptionally loud "Holy shit" followed about half a minute later with an even louder "Fuck YES". It was like being greeted by an old friend you hadn't seen in years; they're a bit different, they're older, they're slightly more mature but they're still the same as you remember them. That's the feeling I got from this, and I really cannot stress the importance of the production here as modern technology has made these songs sound as close to perfect as one could possibly imagine.

As for the songs themselves, they've aged really well - partially due to the aforementioned production - and there aren't that many instances of the band fucking around with arrangements (I'm looking at you, "First Strike Still Deadly"!) so fans will be instantly familiar. The tempo of many songs differ from the original renditions, but come on - that was bound to happen. Be reasonable (no pun intended). One extra special bonus that the band threw in is the inclusion of two old demo tracks - 'Apocalypse' and 'Injustice' - that were never (re)recorded for any full length back in the day, and these both appear on the "Suffering Hour" disc with 'Apocalypse' actually being inserted into the sequence of the album - not just tagged on the end like a typical bonus track. The same thing was done on the "Reason" disc with 'Killing My Mind', a song that was merely a bonus track on the original release that now sits comfortably in the main tracklisting which, besides being a cool extra, actually helps make each disc more interesting for those like myself who've been a fan of these albums for a reasonable length of time. But all in all, the songs are the same as ever - a brilliant mix of thrash metal and doom with some progressive tinges here and there, with progression playing a much larger role in their later albums. There're still noticeable differences between the two discs, with "Suffering Hour" having less progressive elements and more thrash to it than "Reason" has but both albums maintain their individual charms.

The band puts on an absolutely stellar performance here, managing to make songs that are up to 24 years old sound as fresh and relevant as any album released in the past year. For all the die-hard Anacrusis fans, this is one of those records that you'll either love or hate; fans of the original albums may well turn their heads in disgust, in which case you can just listen to the original renditions of the songs present here. That's the beauty of having re-recorded songs I guess, but Anacrusis have managed to craft a magnificent package for both their longtime fans and newcomers alike and it's mandatory listening if you're a fan of doom, thrash or progressive metal in any way, and now that they're back we can only dream of a new full length sometime soon. Anacrusis' "Hindsight: Suffering Hour & Reason Revisited" could've been a disaster, but luckily it's turned out to be nothing short of a spectacular reinvention of two underrated, yet slightly flawed classics that deserves to be heard by everybody. And hey, if you don't like it then you can always get the original albums from the band's website!

Label Name: 
Self released