Thrash Producers: The Sound And The Fury
Guitar World talks to the producers who crafted the sound on groundbreaking albums by Megadeth, Anthrax, Possessed, Death and other bands from extreme metal’s formative years.
Yet for many New York bands, Alex Perialas was the go-to guy for heavy production. Perialas produced most of the bands on Megaforce, the indie label founded by John Zazula, who previously ran the New Jersey metal store Rock ’N’ Roll Heaven. Megaforce, of course, was Metallica’s label before they moved on to Elektra, and it was also home for Anthrax before they went to Island.
Then as now, Perialas worked out of Pyramid Sound studio in Ithaca, New York, and when the heavy new wave of American metal was just getting started in the mid Eighties, upstate New York was the place to be: Metallica had recorded Kill ’Em All at Music America Studios in Rochester, in 1983, and Anthrax were going to record their 1984 debut, Fistful of Metal, there as well.
“Music America was a social club in Rochester back in the Thirties,” Perialas recalls. “It was basically this big, empty, nasty building that needed a lot of work, and Anthrax were staying there. Paul Curcio, who produced Kill ’Em All and was going to produce Fistful of Metal, was supposed to get new equipment for the studio, but it didn’t arrive when Anthrax was slated to start, so they went on the prowl looking for studios in upstate New York. When they happened upon my place, I kinda knew the name Anthrax from the grapevine and the first thing they heard was that this studio could actually make something aggressive.”
Anthrax's 1984 debut Fistful of Metal
Perialas was always a fan of heavy music, and he was excited to work in the brave new world of thrash/speed metal. “I was always interested in hard edged music growing up,” he says. “I listened to Priest, Maiden, Accept, harder edged, riff-driven bands.” At the time, riff-masters like James Hetfield and Scott Ian were introducing an even faster and tighter form of rhythm playing that blew Perialas away. “I had never really heard rhythm guitar quite like that before,” he says.
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