This record is a posthumous collection of demo from one of America’s greatest bands. The “Hymn of the Needle Freak” demo, recorded before Acid Bath signed with Rotten Records, composes the bulk of the material here. The Demos album also features early versions of three songs from “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” and a haunting version of “The Bones of Baby Dolls” recorded at vocalist Dax Riggs’ house in 1994.
Acid Bath is my favorite band, so I may be coming at this from a different perspective. When I listen to the Demos album, I can’t help but compare and contrast it to “When the Kite String Pops”, their 1994 masterpiece.
All of the “Needle Freak” songs made it on to “When the Kite String Pops” and many of them were played faster as demos. This works for songs like “God Machine” and “Dope Fiend”, but it hurts “Scream of the Butterfly.”
I’m not sure if it’s the recording process or not, but Riggs’ singing voice sounded better on “When the Kite String Pops.” I bring this up because Audie Pitre’s, Sammy Duet’s, and Riggs’ own harsh vocals sound the same.
It’s interesting to hear the slight changes in the arrangements of the songs from demo to album versions. None are changed drastically, but Riggs’ did change a few lines of lyrics in “Jezebel.” I happen to prefer the demo version in this case.
The layers of guitar effects on “When the Kite String Pops”, which must have been added by producer (and DRI guitarist) Spike Cassidy, are not present on the demos. The effects contribute to the atmosphere of that album and are sorely missed here.
The demo version of “The Bones of Baby Dolls” is hauntingly beautiful. In retrospect, this may have been a precursor of things to come with latter-day Deadboy and the Elephant Men. The three songs that would find their way on to “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” hardly sound different from their album versions.
It’s a crying shame that such a great band had such a limited musical output. They are missed. R.I.P. Audie.
Here's the promo video for Acid Bath's song "New Death Sensation".
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