While there have been many Rampages past and present, there was only one RAMPAGE from Australia – and a more cult band you will not find. Formed in 1985, the band went through several lineup changes before recording their debut demo, Acid Storm, in July 1986. Recorded on a home 4-track, the demo sold well in their native Melbourne but failed to gain any interest. More lineup changes followed the next year, with a pre-production demo recorded as a prelude to their album, but once again, RAMPAGE failed to generate any record company interest. Then, in late 1987, the band recorded, produced, and financed their debut album, Veil of Mourn, which was more-or-less self-released in early 1988. Extensive touring across Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, and Brisbane followed. Likewise, excellent record sales locally and overseas followed, but no interest from international record companies came. In May 1988, vocalist/guitarist George Mitrov rang bassist Dave Frew and advised that he had found God and would no longer have anything to do with the band; cancellation of all gigs followed. Then, later that year, Frew (who had formed Tyrus with Peter Hobbs) and drummer Bruno Canzianni join Hobbs Angel of Death, and RAMPAGE effectively came to an end.
However, as a lone document of a band and era, RAMPAGE’s Veil of Mourn is superlative in every sense. There’s a distinct ruggedness to the band’s ceaselessly shifting style of thrash. Mind you, NOT necessarily “rawness” – although the album’s production certainly tends toward the rough – but RAMPAGE’s execution eschews the super-clean sharpness that thrash metal was largely heading toward in the post-Master of Puppets era. With form meeting content, the power-trio’s songwriting similarly takes all sorts of labyrinthine paths short of being qualified as “tech,” racing around and restarting with sometimes-maddening fury. Hooks thankfully abounded, and RAMPAGE’s attack undeniably possessed a death metalled underbelly not unlike Dark Angel or aforementioned Oz cult icons Hobbs Angel of Death. With that songwriting often reaching a fever pitch of diabolism and all three members barely keeping that fury in check, Veil of Mourn becomes a palpitating experience, a veritable ‘80s horror movie turned into a thrash record. The creepy cover art only heightened this sensation.
As years passed, the aura around Veil of Mourn only grew, helped in part by Australia’s ever-growing prominence in the extreme metal landscape. RAMPAGE thus became an etched-in-time “what could have been?” cult band, who respectably preserved their legacy with a mere album. Connect the dots to “the Australian sound” with this LONG-overdue reissue!