Friday, November 30, 2012

Heart of Darkness - Leeway USA demo tape

Here is a weird one.  I found this demo tape at a Salvation Army in Des Moines, Iowa.  When I opened the case, the sticker on the cassette itself flaked off and crumbled into pieces.  I sat on this tape for years without listening to it because the tape was in such bad condition that I was afraid any tape player I put it in would eat it. 

Originally I thought this was some weird thrash metal demo tape because, well, that's what it looks like kind of right?  The dudes on the front have long hair and the logo looks pretty metal.  The actual music is a big mixture that touches on the sounds of hard rock, punk'n roll, speed metal, hardcore, all coming together to culminate in a strange proto thrash sound, weird for the year, which was 1988.  The tape starts off with Trial By Fire, a pretty rocking tune with a ripping guitar solo coming out of nowhere in the middle of the song.  Leeway USA, the next track picks up the pace in a nice punk'n roll rocker, and from there, the the sound of the songs get nastier and the vibe gets darker and harder as it vears into metal territory.  While every song on this demo is pretty good, the fourth track, Destroy All Humans, is definitely the stand out track for me, a total headbanger right from the beginning.  I would most hard to this song.

All in all it's a pretty great demo tape.  The vocals take a little bit of getting used to but I grew to love the nasty metal sneering sound of them.  While the drumming is only truly interesting in a few parts such as the beginning of Destroy All Humans and a few pretty cool drum fills here and there, it suffices.  The bass playing isn't that much to write home about, but it does a fine job of following the riffs on guitar.  The guitar is the stand out instrument on this demo, with the guitar player absolutely killing it with nasty riffs, insane and sick solos coming out of nowehere, and the other little flourishes they pull off randomly are pretty interesting too. 

This demo came with no information about the band at all, nothing about who played what and nothing about where this demo is from.  The only information to pull from this demo is that it was released in 1988.  I picked this up in 2006, and an internet search back then turned up absolutely nothing.  An internet search in 2012 turns up absolutely nothing still.  This demo was lost to time until now as far as I know, and that's too bad, because it rules. 

It's not every day that a long lost and forgotten-by-time demo pops up that is a ripper like this one.  Let's hope some more information on this band pop up soon, because I want to hear more!  Until then, enjoy the Leeway USA demo tape by Heart of Darkness.

Heart of Darkness - Leeway USA demo - 1988

1. Trial By Fire (3:44)
2. Leeway U.S.A. (2:15)
3. As The Worm Turns (3:51)
4. Destroy All Humans (3:48)
5. She Waits (3:20)

Click here to download.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for your post. I've written this about Heart of Darkness:

  3. Great local band from back in the day.

    What a trip finding it in Iowa.