While the more established legends of the scene coughed up some damn fine adventures in thrash, 2017 was primarily a year that saw the new guard re-cementing their credentials as saviours of the genre and shot a rocket up the ass of those bands who presume they can coast on their laurels……
Holycide – Annihilate…Then Ask! [Spain]
Holycide? Holy fuck more like! These Spanish thrashers uncaged a beast with Annihilate…Then Ask!, their debut full-length album which obliterated all-comers back in February 2017.
Spain has been bringing the noise for a few years now, with the likes of Exodia, Crisix, Soldier, and the more well known Angelus Apatrida, providing plenty of fresh frash-frills for fans worldwide. It was now Holycide’s turn to rip and tear their way through the masses and with a sound that was both clean yet still gritty, this collection of searing riffs and heavily accented vocals hit with maximum force.
Like a Spanish version of cult Californian thrashers Evildead, crossed with death metal’s earliest releases, Holycide’s Annihilate…Then Ask! reeked of late 80’s authenticity and the varied pace and gang-vocals of “Human’s Last Dawn” and Lemmy tribute “Motorhead” provided plenty of neck-snapping moments for thrash fiends!
Havok – Conformicide [USA]
Proving once and for all that innovation is the mother of invention, Havok may have polarised opinion with Conformicide but we sit firmly on the side of the fence that loves this album for its bloody-minded belligerence and technical audacity.
Mind-bending rhythmic shifts jostled with the kind of crushing thrash riffs you’ve come to expect from David Sanchez and expectations were confounded at every turn.
Home to some of the finest bass-work we’ve heard in an age, elements of Blind Illusion merged with the technicality of prime Megadeth as acoustic passages, funked-up slap bass, moments of loose, free-flowing jazz and heads-down thrashing combined seamlessly.
Time Is Up remains Havok’s finest moment but Conformicide revitalised the band, signalling a future that will surely result in technical thrash supremacy!
Warbringer – Woe To The Vanquished [USA]
Woe To The Vanquished, Warbringer’s fifth full-length effort, arrived on March 31st via Napalm Records and immediately trounced the competition with its classic brand of ferocious fuckin’ thrash! Often favouring a more progressive, mid-tempo chug, Warbringer’s untempered ferocity remained but it had been finessed, streamlined even, into an attack of military grade precision.
Not that they’d gone soft on us of course! This release still overflowed with full-on ragers as Warbringer’s intense thrash bombarded us from the get-go as Woe To The Vanquished proved itself to be one of 2017’s most consistent releases.
Brace yourselves for shellfire…..Warbringer were dropping devastating thrash bombs!!!
Lich King – The Omniclasm [USA]
Having to wait 5 years for the follow-up to the incredible Born Of The Bomb proved arduous but the wait was well worth it as Lich King’s hyper thrash delivered frenetic riffs, gang vox, razor-throated screams, ear-shredding solos, and Lich King’s patented brand of humour. It’s exactly what you want from a Lich King album and it was a relief to hear them simply thrash the fuck out and deliver riff after riff after riff after riff…..
That being said, “Civilisation” upped the ante when it came to surprises as this 7 min epic embraced prog, hammond organ(!) and all manner of tempo changes to provide some much needed variety.
While they appear to not give a fuck about anything, hardcore thrashers care enough to appreciate blistering thrash when they hear it…..and The Omniclasm delivered it in spades.
In fact, the whole thing gave us an Omni-gasm!
Kreator – Gods Of Violence [Germany]
It had been almost five years since Phantom Antichrist – marking the longest gap between two studio albums in Kreator’s esteemed career – and hopes were exceedingly high for the new album from Essen’s finest. But were expectations met? Surprisingly, that was a harder question to answer than we’d predicted!
Categorically not the Kreator that first pummelled our senses with Endless Pain and Pleasure To Kill (and how could they be? So much time has passed), Kreator have matured and with Gods Of Violence, they utilised melodic structure like never before. Harnessing a power metal sound that sat them comfortably next to Helloween and Gamma Ray, as opposed to the expected likes of Destruction and Sodom, this was a bold move from a legendary band and one that positively screamed ‘we will not be pigeonholed!’
We’d be remiss not to state that Gods Of Violence is inferior to Violent Revolution, Enemy Of God, Hordes Of Chaos & Phantom Antichrist but it was not a disaster (hence its inclusion here). First and foremost, Gods Of Violence was a departure. A departure that came unexpectedly perhaps – one that will prove divisive for years to come – but it’s still an outstanding metal release from a band born to lead the Teutonic charge.