Technical death/thrash; the unholy union death metal dexterity and thrashing rage, attempted by bands obsessed with constantly challenging themselves, demanding ever more from their own skill-set and embracing complex songwriting like no genre had before. The results were extraordinary and here’s Worship Metal’s pick of 5 Early 90’s Technical Death/Thrash Albums You (yes, you!) NEED to Hear….
We’re talking the early 90’s here people, so nothing past 1993!
Hellwitch –Syzygial Miscreancy (1990) [USA]
Is Hellwitch’s Syzygial Miscreancy technical thrash or technical death metal? We’re leaning towards a bit of both in this instance and, given that in 1990 the boundaries between the two subgenres were being ceremoniously broken on a regular basis, we feel warranted in doing so!
Easily one of the most technically audacious, forward-thinking, brain-frazzling albums of the era, Syzygial Miscreancy must have sounded like it was from another planet back in 1990; such was its ability to shock with extreme blasts of speed, tempo-changes and schizoid vocals.
Sounding like a certifiably insane version of Sadus (which speaks volumes for how gonzo this album is), this short, sharp and savage assault on the senses somehow remained cohesive amidst a blitzkrieg of sounds. Syzygial Miscreancy remains a cult curio well worth the underground devotion it so fervently inspires.
Obliveon – From This Day Forward (1990) [Canada]
A thrashier version of Death circa Spiritual Healing / Human, Obliveon’s debut album was an immediate game-changer upon release and has become an all-time technical death/thrash classic from the golden era of forward-thinking metal.
Obliveon were part of the natural Canadian evolution that first began when Voivod crawled from the primordial swamp before, over time, casting aside the shackles of conformity and entering cyberspace. While they weren’t alone on embracing the more technical side of death/thrash, Obliveon‘s take on Voivod‘s early-doors experimentation was undoubtedly heavier than most; informed as much by death metal as it was traditional thrash.
As far as debut albums go, From this Day Forward was leagues ahead of the competition and you’d be hard pressed to find a more technical old school death/thrash album which delivers on so many levels. Speed, technicality, atmosphere, diversity, aggression….Obliveon‘s From This Day Forward has the lot!
Chemical Breath – Fatal Exposure (1992) [Belgium]
Precious few bands can match the intensity and skill of these awe-inspiring Belgians and anyone with a penchant for labyrinthine song structures, baffling tempo shifts and the pioneering spirit of early 90’s death/thrash will fall in love with Fatal Exposure, Chemical Breath’s exquisite debut.
From first track to last, this beast delivers. “The Advantage of Disbelieve” will drop your jaw to the floor (believe it!), with a heady influence of Pestilence and Death permeating Chemical Breath’s putrid air, while the spidery, sinewy riffs of “Arachnid” slowly wind their way into your brain.
Chemical Breath were incredible and you’d also do well to check out 1994’s follow up, Values.
Sadus – A Vision Of Misery (1993) [USA]
Sadus, one of the most forward-thinking, ahead of the curve, extreme metal bands on the planet often find themselves consigned to the also-ran pile when, in actuality, they were leading the charge!
Pioneers of extremity, Sadus have been rightfully credited with inspiring technical death metal, the second wave of thrash and even black metal and were so ahead of their time they left the majority of metallers speechless. In 1993, Sadus were firing on all cylinders and A Vision Of Misery was an instantaneous reminder that metal was moving ever-onward.
Steve Di Giorgio’s Rickenbacker was as elastic as ever – stepping up to practically take the lead on the intimate(!) “Echoes Of Forever” – while the ferocious flurry of riffs peeled off by Darren Travis & Rob Moore were insanely complex yet always memorable; a feat precious few bands could ever attempt to emulate.
Progressive, technical, brutal and unique, Sadus have always been an awe-inspiring proposition and A Vison Of Misery remains a breath-snatching technical death/thrash masterpiece.
Section Brain – Hospital Of Death (1993) [Czechia]
Despite a strong Sepultura vibe circa Beneath The Remains, Czechia’s Section Brain are seemingly known only to those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure metal. Which is a crying shame as their one and only album, 1993’s Hospital Of Death, is a certifiable death/thrash cult classic!
At only 5 tracks (we’re ignoring the pointless 30 second intro and the odd 7 seconds of “Ja Mamm”), Section Brain were pushing the boundaries of acceptability when it came to classifying this as a full length album….but when “No Anarchy” drops, you’ll care not a jot. Deceptively simple at first encounter, this epic quickly expands into a track with a multitude of tones and flavours; an adage which relates to the entirety of the album.
With so many riffs on this thing, Section Brain probably could of saved a few and released a follow-up but, alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead, revel in Hospital of Death’s obscurity, soak up its intricacy and tell everyone you know to check out this underrated gem of early 90’s technical death/thrash.