Epidemic - Pandemic: The Demo Anthology (Divebomb Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[8/10] Something we never thought would ever see the light of day in any form, this certainly is. Epidemic, arguably the most overlooked of all the Bay Area thrash bands from way back when, has gotten together with Divebomb Records to create and release the definitive collection of their demo releases all in one tidy package. This release is clearly something diehard collectors and fans of one of the most storied scenes in metal history should do whatever it takes to track down.
Comprised of all three of Epidemic’s demos (Immortal Minority, Demo 89 and Extremities ’91), Pandemic: The Demo Anthology covers all the bases of the band and the packaging comes with a vast array of liner notes, images of authentic concert flyers and other photos. Sporting a spiffier sound, the three demos from the tale end of the Bay Area’s glory days have been given an another lease on life and the songs have never sounded better.
Known mostly as a second-tier thrash band behind the likes of Testament, Death Angel, Exodus, Metallica, etc. even after full-length releases Decameron and Exit Paradise on Metal Blade, Epidemic for whatever reason never reached that next level, both with the fans and critics. They’ve always been a respected band, but after Exit Paradise, their third full-length, the writing unfortunately was on the wall and the band called it day for good.
However, Epidemic might be able to muster enough strength to claim what they never received with this release because the demos are beyond solid. The songs are thrashy (as expected) and full of hooks. Similar in approach and execution to the likes of Sacred Reich, Panic, Death Angel and others of that ilk, the riffs are savage and the music is hostile. Also, like many a thrash band from back in the day, some of the songs are entertaining corny, goofball anthems created for a good laugh akin to how Nuclear Assault used to do things.
In all, Pandemic: The Demo Anthology is a splendid addition to any metalhead’s collection and should be sought out for completists and historians as well as the casual fan. Granted, Epidemic weren’t in the same league as the greatest bands of the Bay Area scene, but not many bands are/were. Still, they were a solid band who wrote some wicked tunes over two decades ago and vanished before they were able to truly break through. Listening to the three demos that comprise this collection reinforces that opinion because Pandemic: The Demo Anthology is an awesome walk down memory lane. Get this.