Audio restoration and mastering by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY
According to public opinion, Kreator, Destruction, Sodom (and maybe Tankard) were laying the foundations for German Thrash Metal in the mid-1980s. There’s surely (at least) one band missing: Living Death (from Velbert, a bleak industrial town in the heart of the Ruhr area). Similar to Swiss legends Hellhammer, Living Death were just a bit too extreme, for fans and press alike. As a result, their early efforts gained extremely bad reviews – only a small cult following understood what the band was trying to achieve.
Living Death were formed in 1981 by the Kelch brothers, Reiner on guitar and Dieter on bass. In the early days, Eric was standing in on drums. The line-up was completed by Frank Fricke on second guitar and Thorsten “Toto” Bergmann behind the microphone. His extremely shrill voice was the main reason why it was hard for the mainstream public to relate to Living Death. In 1983, the band recorded a three-track demo resulting in a deal with the Belgian indie label Mausoleum Records. Their debut album »Vengeance of Hell« was released a year later and suffered from a very tinny production (as a result the album was re-mixed and re-issued in 1985 – with slightly better results). However, it was the raw sound that made Living Death attract a very dedicated hard core of fans (mainly in their home country of Germany).
Despite being far from polished, stripped to the bone Thrash Metal numbers such as “My Victim”, “Heavy Metal Hurricane”, “Hellpike” or the title track “Vengeance of Hell” stood the test of time. Which proves once and for all that in 1984 Living Death were far ahead of their time. It took the music world 30 years to catch up with them ...