Mastered by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in September 2020.
It is fair to say that without Slaughter, the sound and aesthetic of death metal as we know it today may have turned out a bit differently – although in fact, the Canadians wouldn´t necessarily have tagged themselves like that.
Rather, they were a rabid thrash metal outfit right from the start, taking influence from the heaviest metal that was available when they came together in the early 1980s. With the double punch that was their first two demos in 1984, they stood right beside a few other chosen ones (Slayer maybe most prominently) who almost single-handedly anticipated basically all modern extreme substyles within the genre.
Then one year later, “Surrender or Die” became a new yardstick in terms of brutality and, from a compositional point of view, Slaughter´s most accomplished work yet. “It was just three young kids bashing out as much noise as we possibly could”, guitarist and singer Dave Hewson plays down the fact. “Still, it´s my favourite release” – and justly so, regarding both the song quality and impact it had.
With an insane cover of Hellhammer´s ´Massacra´, the trio basically wore their inspiration upon their collective sleeve while taking everything at least one step further: Tunes such as the overwhelming ´Maim to Please´ or the relentless ´One Foot in the Grave´ epitomize what this type of music is all about – speed, catchiness and a punk attitude that got lost throughout years of overthinking and diluting the initial template.
“Surrender or Die” was recorded and mastered at Toronto studios Accusonic and Silverbirch respectively, sounding as punchy today as it did back in the day. And while Dave keeps insisting that “the real standout tracks are ´Strappado´,´Disintegrater´, ´Incinerator´ and ´Eve of Darkness´”, you cannot possibly find one weak moment here.
Underscored by a deep and dirty guitar tone and crashing drums, the front man dealt out lyrics rife with macabre imagery, thus laying the foundation for much of the gory stuff that came later; it´s probably not for nothing that no other than Death´s Chuck Schuldiner would briefly join Slaughter in 1986…
Apart from a slipcase CD edition, “Surrender or Die” for the first time ever receives a proper vinyl treatment. Carefully restored by Patrick W. Engel in order to stay true to the original sound, the material is available on either black, red or white wax, the latter with black and red splatter effect.