As a student living in Boston in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I viewed Wargasm as my personal musical heroes. They were the loudest, fastest, heaviest, meanest, hairiest, ugliest band in the world, and they were right in Boston’s backyard. They were the most kick-ass local band ever. While my thrasher friends in other parts of the country debated whether the Bay Area scene was better than the New York scene, or whether German thrash was better than U.S. thrash, I just smiled. We had the most killer thrash band in the world right here in Boston. So what if no one else ever knew it? One of the saddest weekends of my youth came in February 1995, when I attended Wargasm’s last two shows at The Rathskeller in Kenmore Square. They were amazing, but then it was all over. There’ve been a couple of reunion gigs since then, of course, but nothing permanent. Adulthood, jobs, families, lives, careers … all that stuff has intruded, and deprived us of our beloved ‘Gazum. Fast forward to today. Sadly, those seminal early Wargasm albums, especially 1988’s ‘Why Play Around?’ and 1993’s ‘Ugly’ are hard to come by. (WPA? was semi-officially repressed on CD a few months ago in a band-approved release that looks and sounds killer, so keep your eyes peeled if you don’t have it.) Consequently, a whole generation of thrashers has grown up tragically ignorant of the glorious noise created by the Spillberg brothers and Bob Mayo in their heyday. So along comes Stormspell Records to fill the breach with a killer compilation of the band’s demos from 1986, 1990 and 1991. These aren’t dodgy tin-can sounding demos either. Wargasm recorded these demos in proper studios with engineers who knew what they were doing. They didn’t play around. The resulting demo recordings are easily of album quality. The point is that ‘Satan Stole My Lunch Money’ isn’t one of those demo anthologies that requires the patience of Job to endure because of the inferior sonics, degraded tapes, etc. The recordings sound massive, raw, powerful and clear. What we have here are 4 songs that later saw the light of the day on the legendary ‘Why Play Around?’ album, and another 7 that surfaced on ‘Ugly’ a few years later. All are pure, unadulterated Wargasm thrash at their best. Marvel at guitarist Rich Spillberg’s one-man-army rifftastic performance. Bow down before Bob Mayo’s powerful, distinctive and clear vocals that captured the whole range of human emotion. Shred your neck at drummer Barry Spillberg’s savage kitwork. Then pull out the booklet and peruse Mayo’s thoughtful, informative liner notes. You’ll learn a thing or two about the struggles of one of the great unheralded heavy metal bands of all time. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll come to appreciate the unbridled force that was Wargasm.
~ Review by Kit Ekman~