Clown Alley Circus of Chaos

Originally released as a vinyl-only affair, Circus of Chaos is arguably ’80s thrash/punk hybrid Clown Alley’s CD debut. More importantly, it sees a classic albeit underrated album finally seeing its due. Seemingly long-forgotten in the annals of heavy music, Circus of Chaos was instrumental in the formation of our beloved genres. Featuring Jerry's Kids singer Dave Duran and former Melvins (whom actually covered Clown Alley with good old Buzz Osborne), Circus of Chaos sounds deliciously dated thanks to Show No Mercy-era Slayer production that is dripping with reverb to the point of sounding as if it were recorded in a tin can. One can instantly peg the influence of Circus of Chaos on the likes of Nuclear Assault and Exodus: the trebly guitars blast forth, beats undulate between raging thrash and offsetting, almost jarring breakdowns. Sure it’s simplistic in retrospect but it’s also pretty much the missing link between Venom, Cryptic Slaughter and thrash metal. Fleshed out with some unearthed live bonus tracks and radio interview circa 1986, Circus of Chaos is a prerequisite for any self-respecting metalhead. (Southern Lord)