One of the pioneers of Boston’s once-burgeoning underground metal scene, Meliah Rage was formed in 1985 by guitarist Anthony Nichols. Named after the opium-induced fighting state of the Meliah Indians, the band didn’t miss a beat when Nichols accepted an offer to join Gang Green; he played in both for six months (appearing on the Gang’s 1987 You Got It) before returning to Meliah Rage full-time.
The release of Kill to Survive was held up for months due to a general crackdown on lyrics in the wake of legal actions undertaken against Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne. The title track was ultimately deleted from this energetic if unremarkable album, which is distinguished by Nichols’ clever riffwork but suffers from weak vocals and songwriting.
The pointless live EP includes four album tracks and the unexpurgated “Kill to Survive” with its offending lyrics intact. (The first copies were pressed with the wrong mix, discernible not just for the alternate opening of “Check, check” in place of “Hello Detroit!”). Solitary Solitude boasts a better mix and shows some musical development, but the quintet’s themes are dismally unchanged, offering more generic ideas about homicidal maniacs, hideous death and the failure of Stalinism.