Perhaps best remembered for consisting of three guys named Tony: Tony Portaro (vocals, guitar), Tony Bono (bass), and Tony Scaglione, as well as the fact that the latter temporarily replaced drummer Dave Lombardo in Slayer during his first, fleeting split from the group in 1987, New Jersey thrashers Whiplash never achieved more than local cult success for their efforts. Naming themselves after the legendary Metallica song that virtually defines the thrash metal genre, Whiplash formed in late 1983 and recorded two demos before submitting the aptly titled "Thrash Till Death" to New Renaissance Records' 1985 Speed Metal Hell compilation. Signed by fledgling Roadrunner Records shortly thereafter, they debuted with Power & Pain that same year, and then quickly followed it with 1986's Ticket to Mayhem, which saw new drummer Joe Cangelosi stepping in for the briefly Slayer-bound Scaglione.
Unfortunately, both of these efforts featured very competent but rather unoriginal thrash that failed to advance their career, eventually leading to their breaking up for the first (but not last) time a short time later. Vocalist Glenn Hansen was brought in for Whiplash's first (but, again, not last) attempted comeback via 1990's Insult to Injury album, but it wasn't until six years later that a very different lineup (including singer Rob Gonzo, guitarist Warren Conditi, bassist James Preziosa, the ever-present Tony Portaro, and a returning Tony Scaglione) managed to record album number four, the unhappily titled Cult of One. Ironically, Whiplash's fifth record, the even more nonsensical Sit Stand Kneel Pray, arrived only a year later, albeit with further staff changes in the persons of drummer Bob Candella and the departure of vocalist Gonzo so that Portaro could resume vocal duties.
Now seemingly on a roll (of some kind, anyway), Whiplash commemorated their 15th year of activity by reuniting the classic three-Tony lineup one last time for 1998's cleverly named Thrashback. Sadly, this would appear to be their penultimate hurrah, as, following the release of 1999's odds'n'sods Messages in Blood demos/live collection, Whiplash once again faded from sight, only making headlines for the tragic news that original bassist Tony Bono had passed away on May 27, 2002, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 38. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
Sep 12 SaturdayNew York, NY, US Gramercy Theatre