• The cover of the Power Metal EP

Last month at Cosmic Hearse, Agalloch drummer Aesop Dekker posted a 1983 EP called Power Metal from New Jersey band the Beast. It’s 12 minutes and change of no-bullshit punky thrash, heavy on hooks and attitude—the latter mostly thanks to front man Scott Ruth. “The guy is Danzig without the fanboy horror nerdisms, Rollins without the Manson/Jim Morrison affectations,” Dekker writes, “but still remains Scott Ruth, Long Branch badass wise guy.” Jack “the Hinge” Pitzer, who according to the Devil’s Music later played in the better known Chronic Sick, contributes some solos so ridiculously unhinged they make the frantic drumming feel almost measured by comparison.

As far as I can tell, Power Metal is about a third of the Beast’s recorded output, and the closest they ever came to an album. It doesn’t seem to have seen a CD reissue, and the vinyl has been out of print since Reagan was president. Even the Last Beastial Incarnation compilation CD, a 2002 French release that includes all four Power Metal tracks, is impossible to find—the Internet tells me that a copy sold for $30 in 2005 through MusicStack.com, but that’s as close as I can get. In other words, if you follow the download link at Cosmic Hearse, I don’t think you need to torture yourself with guilt. There doesn’t seem to be any feasible way to pay for this music.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.