Assorted Heap – Mindwaves (1992) [Germany]
Assorted Heap‘s second album is a minor masterpiece. Pure and simple.
Hitting the prog ramp at high speed, Assorted Heap finessed their already impressive sound (1991’s far more aggressive The Experience Of Horror is also well worth checking out) and delivered an unsung classic of progressive thrash; the kind of calling card that should have seen them attain more than mere ‘cult’ status.
Transcending genre trappings with ease, Assorted Heap mirrored the wholesale changes and ‘anything is possible’ mentality of Sarcofago circa The Laws Of Scourge, ultimately delivering an album that lived and died by its palpable atmosphere and unique, often ornate, clarity of sound.
Mindwaves is a distinctive moment in thrash….German or otherwise!
Cyclone – Inferior To None (1990) [Belgium]
Suffering from severe underexposure dented Cyclone’s chances of escaping the underground but Inferior To None (a convincingly apt title if ever we’ve head one!) should have been the album to achieve it.
Embracing a technical thrash aesthetic, Cyclone upped their game considerably with some of the tightest playing around and a gamut of ear-pleasing solos. Four years on from their Brutal Destruction debut a debut and these guys had used the time well, finding their groove and improving on every aspect of their sound with universally stunning results.
Inferior To None is practically perfect thrash. Why isn’t it more well-known? Go figure
Defiance – Product Of Society (1989) [USA]
Obscure? Maybe not. But we’re throwing it in anyway!
Defiance may have evolved into a progressively minded thrash outfit (check out the expansive and accomplished thrash of 1992’s Beyond Recognition) but debut album Product Of Society – and its Testament/Forbidden style of powerfully technical thrash – deserves to be lauded as an authoritative dose of late 80’s thrash.
While these Californian crushers could never be accused of originality, their commitment to delivering nothing but traditional Bay-Area neck-wreckers is to be commended.
“Insomnia” opens with the obligatory acoustic intro before settling into a satisfyingly mid-paced groove while “Hypothermia” opens with a spine-tingling solo intro before unleashing crunchy rhythms, intricate patterns and a smooth, sleek sound that signalled these boys were capable of keeping up with their more recognisable peers in both Forbidden and Heathen.