1987. The year after the Golden Year of Thrash, when it seemed that all of the landmark releases of the genre were unleashed. The year that Deslok was formed in the wake of those releases. Based in Malden, MA, just a stone's throw outside of Boston, four young musicians set about to make some noise of our own. The initial line-up consisted of Chris Lauria and myself on guitar, Eric Harrison on bass and lead vocals, and John Bean on drums. Amps were cranked and songs were written, but after a while Eric and the band parted ways, with one song Eric co-wrote, "Relic of Depression", surviving from this period. Eric would later resurface as the bass player in Grief and currently creates album artwork for bands and writes fiction.
After auditioning some vocalists we found Tom Blanchette, and Chris switched over to bass to fill that role. Guitarist Seth Farrell also joined around this period, so Deslok was now a five-piece. Shows were booked and gear was hauled around. Deslok opened for Celtic Frost, GWAR, Flotsam and Jetsam, Liege Lord, Whiplash, and played many shows with the local bands who made up the very fertile Massachusetts metal scene, such as Wargasm, Meliah Rage, Formicide, Temporary Insanity, Atomicaust, Valhalla, Subjugator, Cardinal Sin, Only Living Witness,
Quick Fever, Demise, Bad Karma, Candy Striper Death Orgy, Ladybug Smashers, Hearing Impaired, and many more. It was truly a metal haven.
In 1988 Deslok entered Euphoria Sound studios in Revere, MA to record our first proper demo, "Instant Death...Just Add Water". Seth and the band parted ways right before the recording of the demo so we were back to a four-piece, with myself handling all of the guitar parts. We worked with engineer Sean McGough and over a couple of days laid down four songs to tape (yeah, that's right...TAPE). The demo was sent around and received some positive reviews and
helped increase the band's profile, landing us some better gigs. Unfortunately, some differences at the time lead to Tom and the band parting ways, and I took over on lead vocals. Deslok forged on as a trio.
More shows were played and more songs were written. During this time I was attending the University of Lowell, studying music. I completed one year then decided to drop out. In 1989 Deslok once again went to Euphoria Sound and worked with Sean McGough on our second demo, "No Peace, Know Pain". This demo sported a heavier sound overall with more intricate arrangements and odd time signatures, almost venturing into death metal. Three songs were laid down to tape and once again cassettes were made and sent out everywhere. Around this time guitarist Peter Hasselbrack joined on second guitar. Although he does not appear on "No Peace, Know Pain", Peter did play many shows live with Deslok and his playing was integral to the band, his perennial downstroke rhythm style solidifying the sound. Peter left the band when he met a stripper and moved away with her, and he now performs as the one-man death metal band Bloodsoaked.
The revolving door was not yet done turning, however. Chris Lauria left the band soon after (later to join up with Slaphot, as would I) and bassist Chris Crowley was brought onboard. Chris was previously the bassist in local band Valhalla and was regarded as one of the best bass players around. This trio of John, Chris and myself set about writing new songs, moving into a somewhat more dissonant and less thrashy direction, although it was definitely still metal. Around this time, Deslok was asked to open for Godflesh at their first show in the U.S. at Ground Zero in Cambridge, MA. This was before the Grindcrusher Tour in the U.S. It was a huge deal for the band and we were looking forward to it, as everyone was a fan of "Streetcleaner”. It was not to be, however. Godflesh was denied entry into the country and the gig was canceled. Spirits were crushed, but Deslok continued on.
In 1990 we entered Euphoria Sound with Sean for the third time to record the "Robert" demo, which consisted of three originals and a cover of Devo's "Whip It". The song "Not Your God" lead it off and immediately showed more of a death metal influence in the vocals, while the music was heavy and dissonant. "Saltwound" showed where some of the Seattle sound had
started to leak in, with a slower tempo and downtuned guitars. And "Seeing Eye" was a straight up ripper which owed a lot to Prong. We were hitting our stride, it seemed. The band was experimenting with more time signatures and different sounds. We were progressing. It began to pay some dividends, as Deslok opened for Melvins and Helmet at Bunratty's in Allston around this time. Unfortunately at this show, Chris's brand new bass rig was stolen, never to be found.
In 1991, Deslok played live on the radio on the Bazooka Joe Show on WMFO, the radio station of Tufts University. A very limited tape of this performance was circulated under the name "Adrenalin Mother". Then Chris Crowley was asked to join Only Living Witness on bass, which he rightfully accepted. I joined Slaughter Shack, Boston's answer to White Zombie, and Deslok unceremoniously drew to a close. John Bean currently plays drums for hardcore legends Slapshot and I play guitar and sing for doom metallers the Scimitar and Black Pyramid, and I also perform solo under the name Blackwolfgoat. Deslok may have only existed for a few years, but during that time a lot of people played in the band and some excellent metal was created. These recordings document that time. Enjoy, and bang thy head.
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