Deathrow – Riders Of Doom (aka Satan’s Gift) [Germany]
In ’86, Deathrow were a whirlwind of hyper thrash and almost unrecognisable to the band that would release the more refined Raging Steel and the challenging progression of Deception Ignored just a few years later.
At this stage, Deathrow had more in common with the flurries of violence administered by Exodus, Razor and Dark Angel than the blackened fury conjured by their peers and perhaps that’s why Riders Of Doom – for the most part – remains a sadly undiscovered gem. Lost in the mire of high profile releases such as Kreator‘s Pleasure To Kill and Destruction‘s Eternal Devastation, Deathrow seemingly bubbled away under the surface releasing quality albums but to little or no avail. However, fans will know that with Riders Of Doom, the band had actually delivered an album strong enough to level the playing field!
The triumphant triumvirate of “Spider Attack”, “Slaughtered” and “Violent Omen” formed an impressive centrepiece; the sinewy strands of “Spider Attack” entrapping the listener before “Slaughtered” upped the shred levels and “Violent Omen” offered mid-tempo respite that still left you bruised and battered. A truly imposing trio of tracks and enough alone to warrant semi-clasic status. The remainder of the album doesn’t disappoint either!
Destruction – Eternal Devastation [Germany]
Hot on the tails of the US thrash elite were Germany’s own teutonic terror’s and Destruction’s Eternal Devastation was a bestial invasion that let the world know that the Germans were coming!
Perhaps not quite hitting the heights of 1985’s Infernal Overkill, Destruction were still conjuring greatness and classic thrashers can be found here. From the all-time great that is “Curse The Gods” to the still surprising folk-thrash opening of “United By Hatred” and the air-raid siren soloing of “Life Without Sense”, Destruction sounded confident, brash and capable of anything on only their second full length release.
Early European thrash that consolidated Germany’s importance alongside the Bay Area acts, Eternal Devastation remains beloved by thrash fans the world over and for bloody good reason; it’s as devastating as ever.
Exumer – Possessed By Fire [Germany]
Exumer’s Possessed By Fire is a perfectly executed exercise in bestial devastation and should have elevated these Germans to superstar status.
Completely unpredictable, Exumer’s sound is defiantly thrash but not as intimidatingly raw as the albums produced at the time by their peers Destruction, Sodom and Kreator. In fact, at this stage in their career Exumer were the more accomplished musicians; each track running the gamut of time changes and mood-swings and exhibiting an addiction to attention deficit that still makes Possessed By Fire nigh on impossible to resist.
A legendary cult item, Exumer’s debut is one outrageously ornate thrash album that will continue to attract new fans, its schizoid attitude and countless charms are just too damn addictable!
Flotsam and Jetsam – Doomsday For The Deceiver [USA]
One of the greatest thrash debuts known to man, Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Doomsday For The Deceiver led the world to believe that a new thrash superpower had arrived (not quite, unfortunately) with a collection of tunes both overwhelmingly powerful and expertly performed.
Taking the very best bits of speed metal, power metal and thrash metal and perfecting them amongst a flurry of cranking bass, warp-speed riffs and Erik A.K’s formidable pipes, the likes of the feral “Hammerhead”, the intense “Iron Tears” and the epic ability of the exquisite title track mark out Doomsday For The Deceiver as an undisputed all-time thrash classic.
Many will recall the rarely used 6K mark awarded by Kerrang back in ’86 but that does this legendary release a disservice…this one truly does go up to 11!
Hallow’s Eve – Death & Insanity [USA]
Dialing down the frantic nature of 1985’s Tales Of Terror (a little), Hallow’s Eve‘s sophomore effort was a prime slab of power thrash and the finest of their three albums released in the 80’s.
Upping the ante from production to songwriting, all element of Hallow’s 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” as a prime example of their controlled rage….a mid-tempo wrecking ball that’s lost none of its heft!
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.