Actual Reality


Nuclear Blast, 1996

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


The other night, Anvil: The Story of Anvil was on VH1. I started watching. I never – ever – had heard of Anvil when they were a rising band. I blame the lack of the Internet for not having a taste of their material. As I sat and watched it, I thought about all the bands I have liked that probably have never even achieved "Anvil status" in the metal world, but were damn good bands nonetheless.

Slapdash is one such group. Why they never achieved more commercial success or popularity may never be solved. This disc kicks off with one of the best metal anthems ever, called "Nothing Remains."  Drummer Barget's snare is tuned ultra-tight, and he just pounds the hell out of it for the majority of the sound. It sounds a lot like the tone Lars Ulrich used on "St. Anger," so if that drove you nuts, you'll find this annoying. nbtc__dv_250

You can get this disc in shrink wrap for $.99 on eBay, which seems like a true pity when listening to it. The guitar riffs are played brutally, even during the slow ballad "On My Own." Vocalist Jens C. Mortensen is ripping his heart out for the world to see when he reveals that he is in a bad place: "Spoke of times to come, as past begun / Tore my soul with velvet lies / Then buried trust under pale bruised skies / I'm on my own / I can't count anymore on you."

There are a couple of tracks that make this an outstanding release in my ears. "Bound" is a track I always have to listen to twice, while "Soulless" features Barget flailing around the toms during his fills and hitting off-beat cymbals. Guitarists Lars Linden and Magnus Soderman contribute excellent fretwork during this song. Then you get to the final trio of songs on this release. Beginning with "Get A Life" and continuing through the En Vogue cover of "Free Your Mind," along with a hidden track. “Free Your Mind” sounds looser and more garage band-ish than the other songs. The ending rap gives the band a different style. Slapdash finish this release strongly. It is always reassuring to hear this straight-up trio of metal.

Wrongly, Slapdash is not well-known. The band splintered and went on to form different groups. Actual Reality didn't get a lot of press or attention, and that is too bad. This is a release I return to frequently.

Rating: B

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