Tension – “Breaking Point” (1986)

TensionTension!  Take heed all ye fellow treasure hunters out there, Breaking Point is the real deal!

American metal maniacs Tension dropped Breaking Point on unsuspecting skulls in 1986 via the Torrid Record label.  It’s hard to describe Tension’s forceful brand of metal.  Was is thrash?  Speed?  Power metal?  Progressive?  I really don’t know… so let’s just call it AWESOME and be done with it!

This is one of the few albums I have heard that comes close to matching the ferocious, raw, underground mentality of the great Ample Destruction by Jag Panzer (1984).  Tension mercilessly water-boarded poseurs with their architectures of aggression.  Frenetic speed attacks like One Nation Underground and the amazing Wrecking Crew are textbook examples of how to combine tricky, technical playing and irresistible hooks.  Side one of the album is pretty much flawless, with the aforementioned tracks buttressed by the crushing Reach For The Sword and the sinister gem Angels From The Past.

Interestingly, Tension was not at all happy with the album.  They were disappointed in both the production and the art work on Breaking Point.  Tension was right about the art work (boring cover), but I actually love the production on Breaking Point, which really boosts the bass guitar high up in the mix.  As such, we can hear every note that bassist Tim O’Conner played.  As I follow O’Conner’s bass lines, I realize just how quick and nimble one had to be to play bass in a band like Tension.  It makes me appreciate the often overlooked role of the bassist in the world of break-neck metal.  My score: A-


One thought on “Tension – “Breaking Point” (1986)

  1. Awesome album (and the expanded CD version with the unreleased ‘Epitome’ EP and full booklet kills!). Too bad these guys threw in the towel way too early – musically they were def. playing with the big boys. Also of note, ‘Angels of the Past’ is essentially the same song recorded in 1982 by Marty Friedman (long before he joined Megadeth….) when he had Vixen (not the all-girl band!), only he called it ‘Angels from the Dust’ (to be found on ‘U.S. Metal Vol. 2’). Marty, of course, was a member of Tension when they were still called Deuce, which is when the song was written. P.S.: WARDOG with Tom Gattis (Tension / Deuce) put out a couple of great albums as well.

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