Disciples Of Power – Power Trap (1989) [Canada]
One of those more obscure thrash albums (and bands) who had everything, Disciples Of Power were already sucker-punching the majority of their peers with debut full length Power Trap; a release which showcased this outstanding band’s ability to meld primal thrash aggression, death metal tendencies and progressive thrash structures into a satisfying whole.
The acoustic interplay and almost jazzy swing of exquisite opener “Shades of Grey” reels you in from the get-go and once Disciples of Power fully let rip with their metallic tendencies there’s no turning back! Think a heavier, more death/thrash inclined version of Artillery circa By Inheritance and you’ll have an idea of what (hell) awaits.
The production may be shite but there’s no denying the talent Disciples Of Power clearly had in spades and the merciless nature of their attack – coupled with Watchtower-esque levels of technicality – marks Power Trap out as one of the best thrash albums you’ve probably never heard.
Entropy – Ashen Existence (1992) [Canada]
A progressive and technical thrash/death colossus, Entropy’s debut album, Ashen Existence, may not be as well-known as it should be but that just means that when you do discover it, you’re in for one hell of a welcome surprise!
With Ger Schreinert’s vocals swiftly alternating between death growls and raspy screams and wails, Entropy’s genius lay in their ability to hop between sub-genre at will, with changes in tempo and time signatures throwing endless curveballs throughout each and every, lengthy, track.
This was ambitious thrash, buoyed by technicality and hell-bent on challenging the notion of what thrash could be.
While, at times, Ashen Existence may sound like Entropy crammed 3 albums of material into the one song (never mind the one album!) – and the sheer number of ideas thrown around with wild abandon can often be overwhelming – if you dig a little deeper it’s abundantly clear that Ashen Existence was the Canadian answer to Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal…..and praise doesn’t really get any loftier than that!
Hallows Eve – Death & Insanity (1986) [USA]
Dialling down the frantic nature of 1985’s Tales Of Terror (a little), Hallows Eve’s sophomore effort was a prime slab of power/thrash and the best of their three albums released in the 80’s.
Upping the ante from production to song writing, all elements of Hallows Eve’s sound were finessed on an album that arrived just a mere year after their debut. Take the scuzzy stomp and aggression of “Lethal Tendencies” and the Metallica-aping “D.I.E. (Death in Effect)” as prime examples of their controlled rage…. mid-tempo wrecking balls that have lost none of their heft! In contrast, the 1 min 19 seconds of “Suicide” was a remorseless crossover thrash blitzkrieg that cared not a jot for your wellbeing. Disparate? Perhaps. Entertaining? You betcha!
Pure old school thrash at its finest, Hallows Eve may not have been the fastest, they may not have been the heaviest but, with Death & Insanity, they contributed an unsung classic to the scene.
Necronomicon – Necronomicon (1986) [Germany]
1986 was a bloody good year for German thrash and while the often neglected Necronomicon may have still been finding their feet, their rough and ready self-titled debut still merits praise for blindly pursuing their own singular path.
Trebly riffs, tinny sound, rasping vocals and raw aggression….it’s all here! A proto black metal, early-doors thrash album that goes straight for the throat, unencumbered by expectation and programmed to punish with each shift in gear and maddening solo.
“Insanity” is Necronomicon‘s savage highlight, living up to its name with its extended drum intro and demented vocals courtesy of Volker “Freddy” Fredrich and while Necronomicon may be forever tainted by Destruction comparisons, to cast them aside for following prevailing trends would be churlish; this debut is a warts an’ all document of thrash challenging the mettle of extremity in 1986.
Draw the flaming sword!
Torture – Storm Alert (1989) [USA]
Home to eerie The Omen-esque intros, demonic vocals and whip-crack thrashing, the one and only full length album from Texas’ Torture was always a feral beast and one utterly committed to thrashing your tits off….and the passing of time has not softened its impact!
Kindred spirits of Dark Angel, Slayer and Possessed, these evil sounding bastards may have laced their visceral attack with twisted humour – check out the absurd intro to “Slay Ride” – but where they truly excelled was in delivering track after track of hyper-speed thrash.
“Ignominious Slaughter” was pure proto-death metal; obscenely fast and excessively violent and way ahead of the curve. In comparison, the epic title track was progressive thrash gold; an atmospheric 8 minute Ride The Lightning-esque smörgåsbord of ideas and no end of satisfying chug.
Torture had talent to burn and Storm Alert is a minor thrash masterpiece that deserves to be held in much higher regard!
Other features in this series: