Thrust – “Fist Held High / Reincarnation” 2CD RE-ISSUE (Metal Blade)
Oh wow, almost 35 years comes the re-issue of 1984’s “Fist Held High” – along with their full unreleased 1988 album in “Reincarnation”. If you wanted to know what old school US power metal sounded like then this double trouble package will do the job nicely – just get yourself a pair of earplugs! Power metal back then was essentially OTT heavy metal, played to its absolute max by bands like Destructor, Raven and Hawaii and popularized by Mike Varney’s Shrapnel label and Metal Blade’s own “Metal Massacre” compilation releases. Even today there seems to be very little on Thrust that was formed by guitarist Ron Cooke in Chicago, who then released their first album in “Fist Held High”, moved to LA whereupon everyone except Cooke upped sticks and went back mid west! Cooke seems to have then recruited a new band thereafter, recorded “Reincarnation” which incidentally was produced by Bob Kulick but left on the shelf for over two decades before coming to light now, along with a reactivated Thrust with Cooke very much still at the center of things. Besides the 9 original tracks, “Fist Held High” now has 5 live tracks not from the original album but including ‘Destructer” which featured on the aforementioned compilation. Along with raw production it has a very Priest like feel to it right from the dueling twin guitars of Cooke and one C.B. Sebastian, along with the screaming Halford-esque wailings of John Bonata and a typical fist banging rhythm so its easy to see the appeal as this was the signature sound of many a band back then. “Reincarnation” is the 10 original studio tracks now bonused by 8 demo tracks that are a mixture of old and new songs and given that period in the late 80s, has a more commercial feel to it like on songs like ‘Get Crazy’, though credit to Cooke, in many ways its just as intense with its screaming guitars and high octane vocals as well as double bass drumming like on opener ‘War’ although probably sounding sweeter thanks to the superior engineering of Kulick. I’m not sure why Thrust never went further as they had both the musicianship and power to have evolved into thrash (if need be) – guess we’ll never know – but these 31 tracks show you why their cult status is well deserved and why the demand for their goods continues to raise clenched fists the world over.