By Cosmo Lee
Formed in 1985, Bay Area band Insanity were instrumental in metal's evolution from thrash to
death metal. Drummer Bud Mills was a big reason why, as his so-called "1-1" beat presaged the modern blastbeat.
The band's sound more than lived up to its name. Not only did it crank thrash up to frenzied warp speeds,
it also displayed chops well ahead of its time. Insanity were legendary worldwide in the '80s metal tape trading circuit,
with members of Carcass and Napalm Death citing them as an influence. However, the band never achieved proper success due
to various misfortunes. Insanity's inaugural lineup comprised vocalist Joe DeZuniga, guitarist Dave Gorsuch,
bassist Keith Ellison, and drummer Bud Mills. Their 1985 rehearsal demo, recorded with a Walkman and a stereo microphone
in a garage, gained global renown in the metal underground. Napalm Death later covered "Fire Death Fate" on
Leaders Not Followers, Pt. 2, and Snakepit magazine reissued the demo on 7" with its 15th anniversary issue.
Insanity made its storied live debut on October 19, 1985, opening for Death in Bay Area metal hotspot Ruthie's Inn.
However, two events derailed the band's rising career. The first was Mills' incarceration for ten months;
the second was DeZuniga's death from heart disease on May 16, 1987.
After DeZuniga's passing, the band struggled to maintain a consistent lineup. A debut full-length, Death After Death,
ensued in 1994 on German label M.B.R. Gorsuch was the only founding member still in the lineup, which included Matt Janko on
guitar, Joe Landers on bass, and Prakash Sharma on drums. However, Sharma developed back problems and Insanity disbanded in 1994.
In 1997, the band re-formed, with Lou Gilberto on bass and Mills on drums, and reworked Death After Death with new vocals and
guitar tracks. This lineup yielded the three-song Sacrifixion EP, but the group folded in 2001.
This hiatus proved temporary also, as Insanity re-formed to play a mini-tour in California in 2005. That year also saw the
release of From the Grave, a compilation on Parasitic Twin Productions, which collected the 1985 demo, Death After Death,
and various 8-track demos. Napalm Death's Barney Greenway and Exhumed's Matt Harvey supplied liner notes for the compilation.
Mills rejoined the band in early 2007 to play the Los Angeles Murderfest alongside fellow death metal pioneers Repulsion,
Atheist, and Obituary. However, in September, Mills was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and he passed away on November 14,
2007. At the time, the band was working on an album titled Visions of Apocalypse, and elected to soldier on using Mills'
pre-production drum tracks. ~ Cosmo Lee, All Music Guide
-The band has just finished the official release of the Visions of Apocalypse album out on CD on November 13th from Unspeakable Axe Records and soon on vinyl from Dark Descent Records.
Insanity is now finishing a split with Spawn of Satan called Make It A Beast that will be dedicated to our late friend Jim Konya.
Insanity are the cult death thrash pioneers that first used the early blast beat combined with
technically brutal riffing in 1985. Insanity gained legendary status in the underground tape trading
and fanzine circuit when their first demo was circulated worldwide. However, due to the
untimely death of co-founder Joe DeZuniga and the first album label going defunct, the band
remained relatively underground for many years. The come back gained momentum after being
covered by Napalm Death on their Leaders Not Followers vol. 2 CD. Soon after, new releases
came out such as the From The Grave a compilation distributed by Relapse (and Listenable
in Europe), the vinyl 7 release of the first demo (included with Snakepit mag #15) and the 2 CD
Digibook Chronicles of the Cursed released by AreaDeath productions in China. Insanity has
been steadily increasing in popularity backed by a most dedicated fan base. Although the death
of original drummer Bud Mills in 2007 delayed and sidetracked the plans made to fuel a come
back, the band re-formed and has toured the U.S. west multiple times since in 2009 and toured
the Northeast and midwest in 2011. Follwing a period of writing and recording, the official 2nd
full length release Visions of Apocalypse and a split called Make It A Beast featuring some old
classics are coming out in 2015. By the end of the summer a demo of songs that will be on the
third full length release will be coming out. The band has written 10 song so far and is excited
to put out a follow up album.
Liner Notes by Shane (Napalm Death) & Matt (Exhumed)
All Music Guide
write up by
Insanity were instrumental in metal's evolution from thrash to death metal.
sound more than lived up to its name.
Not only did it crank thrash up to frenzied warp speeds,
it also displayed chops well ahead of its time.
Insanity were legendary worldwide in the '80s
metal tape trading circuit, with members of Carcass and Napalm Death citing them as an