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Classic Review: Whiplash - Ticket to Mayhem
Ticket to Mayhem

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1987
Duration: 37:29
Tracks: 10
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: December 21, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating
Ticket to Mayhem

Rated 4.58/5 (91.67%) (24 Votes)

Whiplash are quite an underrated thrash band from the eighties. They were all about involuntary body movement (like the band name suggests). And legend has it that going to a Whiplash concert back in the day meant signing up for the most violent frenzy of uncharted madness ever. The crowd in a Whiplash show used to go berserk and the band would actually hold back on their most furious numbers just so order is somewhat maintained at the show. Whether this is myth or fact, point is, the music here is fast and headbangable enough to believe this story.

1987 was a monumental year for metal and perhaps never will another year like that come about. Slayer worship had begun by now due to the release of "Reign In Blood" and the popularity of thrash metal was at its absolute peak; Testament stormed in with their mammoth debut that year; Destruction's highly anticipated and acclaimed follow up to "Eternal Devastation" was also released that same year; Death too released their "Scream Bloody Gore" hall of famer at that very time. Aaand, as if things couldn't possibly get any more competitive, Sodom came out with their ultimate speed opus – "Persecution Mania". So if a relatively unknown band released a thrash album that year and is still worthy of mention and actually stands out, then you better damn well believe me when I say "Ticket To Mayhem" rules. This truly is an underrated thrashterpiece.

Mindless violence and directionless speed is not Whiplash's trademark. They actually slow down and give awesome breaks. In fact, it is their ability to break their pace and catapult themselves back to blistering speed is what ensures the spontaneous neck movement for the listener. Yup…they actually have snare and double bass blasts coming in and going away like lightning – something a lot of later death metal bands started doing. This doesn't sound much like death metal however, just pure thrash with a very, very strong rhythm team.

Whiplash returned later in the late 90's with a couple of albums that didn't really do much. They even reformed under the classic Tony Trio lineup (all 3 band members' first name was Tony) but still couldn't capture this level of madness. In any case, with songs like "Snake Pit" and one of the greatest thrash attacks ever written – "The Burning Of Atlanta" Whiplash have earned their place in history. Just try to find this legendary song on the web somewhere and you will understand the greatness of Whiplash. This is how double bass was meant to be used – with moderation and with good intervals between the blasts.

If you like old school thrash metal, it is quite likely that this album will deliver for you what it promises. A Ticket To Mayhem indeed!

Other related information on the site
Review: Unborn Again (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with guitarist and vocalist Tony Portaro on January 1, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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