Deathwish - Demon Preacher (Divebomb Reissue)

Long forgotten album resurfaces, orders of humble pie go through the roof...
Release Date: 
7 May 2012 - 11:30pm

When Brit thrashers Deathwish emerged in the middle of the eighties, it was to much trumpeting and fanfare; here, so the hype ran, was the band that was going to take the thrash crown from the Americans and the Germans and show the world how Britain thrashed. Of course, this was completely ignoring the fact that England already had mighty thrash acts like Onslaught and English Dogs to name just two, and when the first Deathwish album finally limped into record shops it was met largely with ridicule, and, more  importantly, disappointment. The hype had been sorely wrong.

Still, the band must have been doing something right, because they were handed a lifeline by Motorhead’s then-label GWR, and duly released Demon Preacher in 1988. Because the first album had been so poor nobody (me included) bothered to give it a listen, much less the time of day, and the band, all clutching copies of their album, sank without trace.

Imagine my surprise then, when MaF editor Scott Adams tossed me this, the Divebomb reissue of said album? Why, oh why? Why would anyone bother investing time and money on such a huge turkey when its not even Christmas?

I’ll tell you why. It turns out that Demon Preacher was and is a storming heavy metal album. Not really thrash (though it does have its moments, notably the scream from vocalist Jon Van Doorn at the end of last track Fatal Attraction that is pure, unadulterated John Cyriis), although its fast paced enough in places to warrant the term; More DP is a metal as fuck romp through all the great traditions of British heavy metal, rounded out by a skull smashing cover of Sabbath’s Symptom of the Universe and enough top notch axework from guitarist Dave Brunt to keep even the most ardent six string student listening avidly throughout. To say that this album is a surprise is an understatement. Has anyone got a chisel? There’s some quarter-century old egg on my face that needs removing…