Although Velbert, Germany’s Living Death went through several subgenres of the hard stuff, today they are considered to be unsung heroes of thrash metal. After forming in 1981 the band tried their hand at traditional heavy metal and then speed metal before recording their 1984 debut album Vengeance of Hell for Earthshaker Records. The riff-shredding opener “You and Me” reveals that the band were inspired by bands like Metallica and UFO in songwriting and musical attack – but it’s done endearingly so – and though frontman Thorsten "Toto" Bergmann sounds somewhat inspired by Udo Dirkschneider from Accept, he sings with a more maniacal nasal-toned trill ramping up into athletic falsettos that deviate from any obvious influences. The band even gets away with naming the second song after themselves. “Living Death” starts off with occult chanting before pummeling rhythms and searing leads make way for Bergmann’s witchy croons and unpredictable melodies. Fans of Iron Angel, Manowar and Grave Digger and early Waysted will find familiarity in the instrumental “Labyrinth” while “Hellpike” is reminiscent of a time when American high schools had smoking sections.