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25 Albums That Made 1986 One Of The Greatest Years In Thrash Metal History!

1989....a truly outstanding year for all things THRASH!

Slayer – Reign In Blood [USA]

Slayer – Reign In Blood (Expanded Edition, CD) - Discogs

Trying to write a ‘fresh’ review of this metal masterpiece would be virtually impossible as everything has already been said – and argued over – time and time again. Suffice to say, 1986 is remembered as the greatest year in thrash primarily because of Reign In Blood.

So, what we will say is this…..

29 frantic minutes, 10 blistering tracks; this peak of thrash perfection was created by a band who epitomised the scene like no other. Dave Lombardo’s aggressive and revolutionary drumming, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman’s piercing, puncturing riffs and Tom Araya’s growling bass and vocals somehow merging to create an extreme metal benchmark which transcended genre and solidified Slayer‘s position among the thrash elite.


Sodom – Obsessed By Cruelty [Germany]

Sodom - Obsessed By Cruelty | Releases | Discogs

Sodom‘s rough n’ ready full length debut unleashed a torrent of teutonic thrashing terror amidst the clatter of unrefined proto-black metal….and its influence on the burgeoning black metal scene remains incalculable!

By no means a ‘good’ album, Obsessed By Cruelty was raw, rancorous and reprehensible and the very essence of underground brutality in ’86. Here was a band who could barely play their instruments and yet the sheer metallic intensity and bloody-minded nature of their performances carries Obsessed By Cruelty – and crushing ‘classics’ such as ‘Deathlike Silence” and “Pretenders to the Throne” – over the line.

The dirtiest, harshest and most beautifully horrible noise imaginable!


Tankard – Zombie Attack [Germany]

Tankard - Zombie Attack | Releases | Discogs

With Tankard’s simple formula cemented from the get-go (a formula that they’ve barely deviated from), Tankard‘s potent brew of light speed thrash, beer, whiskey, parody and partying hard began in earnest on Zombie Attack and the world was introduced to the finest drinking/party thrash band on the planet.

Home to the thrash classic “(Empty) Tankard”, the remaining 9 tracks on Zombie Attack are just as urgent, just as infections and, frankly, just as timeless in 2019.

While they were perceived as a bit of a joke at this stage in their career, it’s important to note that Zombie Attack didn’t just lurch into view, it sprinted straight at you with eyes-bloodshot, teeth-gnashing and pint glasses raised….Tankard had arrived!


Voivod – Rrröööaaarrr [Canada]

Album Rrröööaaarrr (Expanded Edition), Voivod | Qobuz: download and  streaming in high quality

A huge step up from their relatively primitive debut, Voivod‘s Rrröööaaarrr was still a thrash album but the seeds were already being sown for the progressive metal majesty that was to come.

“Thrashing Rage”, “Ripping Headaches” (the two go hand in hand, right?) and “Korgull The Exterminator” have rightfully gone down as Voivod classics, unashamedly raw, sonically abrasive and totally unique in construct; futuristic thrash personified while the genre was still finding its feet.

Rrröööaaarrr – the first sign that Voivod were to become a truly progressive global force – may be an abrasive experience but its merciless, mechanised and monstrous sound remains an enthralling and engrossing listen.


Whiplash – Power and Pain [USA]

Whiplash – Power And Pain (1986, Vinyl) - Discogs

Whiplash really should have been huge. 

Featuring hoarse vocals, widdly fucking riffs and (the incessant intro chug of “Red Bomb” aside) a pace that rarely dipped, Power and Pain was the real fuckin’ deal. 

Forever threatening to careen clear of the rails, Whiplash‘s brand of thrash was the most feral and frantic of its kind. Thre was no fuckin’ around to be found with these guys biting down hard and gnashing and thrashing their way through 9 tracks of amped up Motörhead meets Venom worship. Exhilarating and insanely visceral, the results speak themselves. 

Whiplash were the masters….WITH THE IRON FIST!!!

Honourable mentions: Cryptic Slaughter – Convicted / Flames – Merciless Slaughter / Hirax – Hate, Fear and Power / Sentinel Beast – Depths Of Death / Sepultura – Morbid Visions

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About Chris Jennings (1779 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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