Gothic Slam

Picture of Gothic Slam

Just a Face in the Crowd

Gothic Slam - Just a Face in the Crowd ©1989 Epic
1. Why Not
2. Who Died and Made You God
3. Battered Youth
4. Thunder and Lightning
5. Feel the Pain
6. Cry Freedom
7. Violence Imprisoned
8. Keep the Faith
9. Contract Killer

Thrash metal has quite a rich history of overlooked bands providing hidden gems. Gothic Slam, a New Jersey based band that briefly caught some major label attention at the end of the 80s, doesn't happen to be one of those bands. However, despite that, Just a Face in the Crowd, the band's second and final LP, is at least worthy of attention for those who enjoy the thrash sound to the point of in depth exploration of the scene. The most notable song on the album is their excellent and entirely energetic whip-up of Thin Lizzy's "Thunder and Lightning". The second very good song is "Who Died and Made You God", which features great drumming and tons of enthusiasm. The album, produced by former Raven drummer Rob Hunter, has a quite solid production. It probably will surprise no one that the drums in particular have excellent sound. However, beyond those two songs, Gothic Slam mostly dwells in mediocrity. Just a Face in the Crowd is definitely not a bad album, but it mostly lacks the necessary strong songwriting skills to endure to this day.

Gothic Slam represents the problems of 80s thrash, without ever meaning to. As the style gained popularity, thanks to Metallica's ascension around that time, major labels raced to sign any band with some speed in their metal. Gothic Slam, while competent, was simply not ready for that sort of distribution and most likely had the carpet pulled out from under them the second the record label accountants realized the band wasn't going to shift very many units. Given some more time to develop, Gothic Slam might have achieved a bit more as the talent is evident from this album. As it turns out, Just a Face in the Crowd mostly just demonstrated the strong drumming ability of Dave Chavarri, who ultimately played for a number of bands including Ill Nino, M.O.D. and Pro-Pain.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2009

Back to top