Whiplash – “Power And Pain” (1986)

WhiplashWhiplash was a a thrash trio out of New Jersey.  All three were named Tony.  You may think that’s a heck of a coincidence, but the fact is there are some places in the northeast where you can’t spit without hitting someone named Tony (my hometown in southern Rhode Island included).

Power And Pain (Roadrunner Records) was one of the fastest and most intense thrash albums to come out in 1986.  It’s right up there with albums like Reign In Blood by Slayer and Pleasure To Kill by Kreator.  But unlike those other bands, Whiplash actually tried to put some hooks in their songs.  Unfortunately, I think the vocals by guitarist Tony Portaro are a big negative for this album.  He sings in one of those harsh, proto-death voices — which I hate.  While I realize there is a certain amount of showmanship and drama that singers must use to better get their point across, I don’t like it when they use a fake voice instead of their natural voice. That’s why I will never “get” death metal.  It just seems like faux aggression to me.  The best music is genuine.  Whiplash’s neck-breaking thrash attack was indeed genuine, but the vocals were too forced — and I can’t seem to get past that.  My score: C+


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