Papsmear image


Ken Crow - BOB LANE

Ed Morgan>>Area 51 - Apocrypha, Mersinary, Love Hunter>>DAVID SCHILLER>>Apocrypha, Mersinary, Love Hunter

History & Biography
These Nevada, USA-based thrashers have been around on and off since 1985! The band had a 1986 demo called Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, but received more publicity through its 1987 appearance on the New Renaissance compilation, Speed Metal Hell Vol. III. Lunch for the P.M.R.C. was the follow-up demo and referred to the infamous Washington DC wives’ morality pose. Nothing Left To Hold Us Back was the next demo and proved the band is unaware of its own output. The band’s music was heard in a film called White Fury. More demos followed and the band disappeared in 1994 until M-Theory Audio and Metal War Productions issued a compilation of the band’s work in 2008. It was called Music To Kill By and contained a bonus DVD. The band promised more live action soon. The band reformed and played live in 2017.

The group had opened for Dark Angel, MDC, Hirax, DRI and others. Early singer Tony Costanza died in 2020.


M-Theory Audio kicks off its days with a re-release of material stemming from more than twenty years. Not sure which is the man and which is the woman, but given the 25 plus age difference there is surely something kinky going on here between the band and the label and their East Coast partner. Perhaps Metal War Production is the party with the most to gain; after all, it has been around a while and never bothered to do anything to prove itself. Marco Barbieri, of M-Theory Audio, has probably done more to advertise his label than Metal War has in the last whatever number of years it has been around. Hopefully the label will dedicate itself to promoting new talent going forward allowing the underground to remain just that.
Irkingly the album’s notes call Las Vegas’ Papsmear a legendary band. The cliché phrasing is, of course, so prevalent in metal circles - it stands for 'old' apparently given nary a grandmother who puts her grandchild to bed telling stories of Papsmear, according to a United Nations study of 120 countries - as to be meaningless. Still, Barbieri is releasing real thrash metal instead of boy bands’ music a la Soilwork or Sonic Syndicate which is a lot for which to be thankful.
This band somehow passed me by in its heydays, aside from a compilation LP appearance, and it is obvious now with this double-disc package that Papsmear is a lot more thrash metal than thrashcore. For whatever reason the band had made a more hardcore-ish impression over the years at Metallian Towers than was accurate. The group thrashes hard through high speed banging songs with little in the way of distinction of originality. The mix is hardly germane given how one is dealing with demo and live recordings here. The DVD material is rough and low quality and amateur in origin. The singer is harsh and a cut above in the mix than the instruments, but the band is clearly pumping its way hard through the songs. The vocals' supremacy is especially noticeable on the live songs, which becomes amusing when the ranting and raving is heard between the songs. At one point, during the song Thrashicide, the instruments are completely lost, making one wonder whether the rest of the band took off to get a pap smear leaving the singer alone on stage.
Music To Kill By is a good timepiece for the venerable original thrash metal sound and movement. It comes complete with artwork courtesy of Coffin Bob of The Accüsed and all the comic book colourings that come with it. Also present are the usual attacks on homosexuals, Republicans and (for bonus points) Mormons in the original re-releases’ liner notes reprinted here. Now, who wants to bet that in the intervening years these die-hard thrashes have gone on to respectively become a family man who takes his family to a mega-church every Sunday and voted for George Bush twice, a Christian god-fearing fanatic who finds safety in Republican fear mongering, a commercial real-estate developer, a sell-out rocker and an accountant at a multi-national corporation? Well, why not, after all that is America and Jane Fonda has found Jesus Christ her lord and saviour and Dennis Hopper does mutual-fund commercials!
It is ironic that a band that probably could not obtain a recording deal would receive a CD/DVD deluxe packaging release after so many years. Undoubtedly, Barbieri understands promotion or value or both, which bodes well for the label, but whether this band will sell, is another matter. The music is just not that good. Perhaps that is irrelevant though. This is just for nostalgia and should the threatened reunion live shows happen the band can sell some “merch” (an illiterate man’s 'merchandise'?) at shows. At the very least, the long over-due recognition and gratitude courtesy of the American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists should finally be accorded the band very soon. - Ali “The Metallian”