Thrash is great. Technical thrash is better!
To that end, Worship Metal has selected 6 Of The Most Mind-Blowing Technical Thrash Albums Ever Recorded for your perusal. Time to pop on a hard-hat, it’s the only way of guaranteeing your brains don’t end up on the floor!
Presented in order of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Coroner – No More Color (1989) [Switzerland]
Each and every one of Coroner‘s 3 albums released in the 80’s probably deserve to be on this list (and you can throw in 1991’s Mental Vortex too), but we have a one album per band mantra to stick to – for diversity’s sake, ok! – and it’s 1989’s astonishing No More Color to which we turn.
Coroner‘s pure riff nirvana was a byname for technical thrash perfection and their innate ability to write astoundingly aggressive, ever-surprising songs in such a succinct manner made them leaders of their field…..and No More Color was the pinnacle of their achievements.
These pioneering Swiss tech thrashers didn’t give two-fucks about genre convention – such was the intensity in which they carved their own path – and No More Color confirmed, once and for all, that we were dealing with three individuals of unfathomable skill.
The most consistently impressive technical thrash band of the 80’s.
Deathrow – Deception Ignored (1989) [Germany]
After the relatively no-thrills thrash found on Deathrow’s Riders Of Doom aka Satan’s Gift and Raging Steel, there was virtually no indication that Deathrow would break boundaries with their 3rd full length release!
Complex and rhythmically confounding – but never at the cost of a satisfying sense of structure – the likes of “Narcotic” were insane blasts of technical thrash wizardry and should have marked Deathrow out as pioneers of prog metal/tech thrash very early in the game.
Instead, obscurity beckoned with Deception Ignored initially receiving a lukewarm response and ironically ignored by a legion of confused fans. Fortunately, this outstanding album has gone on to be revered as a work of almost labyrinthian art, misunderstood by many but now beloved by those in the know.
A technical thrash masterpiece from a band way ahead of the curve….this is one album that truly has to be heard to be believed!
Watchtower – Control and Resistance (1989) [USA]
Bands in the late 80’s seemed to tap into an inexhaustible well of experimentation and progressive attitudes and Watchtower were no exception.
Twisting thrash into to ever more contorted forms, Control And Resistance was the bastard son of Bay Area thrash and jazz-fusion (“The Eldritch” perfectly encapsulates their approach in just 3 concise minutes) and remains a confounding and technically astonishing slice of futuristic progressive metal.
Kudos to the astonishingly gifted Ron Jarzombek (Spastic Ink, Blotted Science) who’s incendiary guitar work is simply mind-blowing and whose split-second time changes and elaborate solos were undoubtedly a massive influence on the technical djent scene that thrives today.
So ahead of it’s time, Control And Resistance still maintains the power to shock and surprise….imagine how it over 3 decades ago!
Artillery – By Inheritance (1990) [Denmark]
Where to begin when discussing one of thrash metal’s most distinct albums?
Simply put, there is no other thrash record quite like Artillery‘s By Inheritance and it’s a relatively unsung, stone-cold classic of early 90’s technical thrash!
Brutality wasn’t the key here, instead it was jaw-dropping technique that proved to be Artillery‘s primary focus. Totally unique and consistently brilliant, the Middle Eastern flourishes amazed throughout but it was Artillery‘s adventurous spirit which cemented them, for a short while at least, as true greats of the technical thrash scene.
An album of unfathomable depth, the use of melody, drama and Flemming Rönsdorf’s histrionic vocals may take a moment to come accustomed to0, but there’s soon just one word to describe Artillery‘s finest hour……”masterpiece”.
Believer- Sanity Obscure (1990) [USA]
Technical but still infused with riffs that crushed as well as confused, Believer‘s Sanity Obscure may well be one of thrash metal’s more ‘obscure’ albums but it’s also a minor classic and should appeal to any fans of the wildly experimental and progressive stylings of Death, Voivod, Atheist and Coroner.
The all encompassing chaos on display throughout Sanity Obscure‘s 8 furious tracks is punctuated by dissonant riffs, unpredictable stop-start rhythms and arrangements so complicated they must have been a bugger to perform live.
Without sacrificing that all important moshability, Sanity Obscure impressed most with it’s sheer unconformity, accomplished musicianship and tortured vocals courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Kurt Bachman.
Dark Angel – Time Does Not Heal (1991) [USA]
It’s fairly common knowledge that the sheer amount of riffs on this thing is mind-blowing (“9 songs, 67 minutes, 246 riffs!”, to be precise) and Dark Angel‘s Time Does Not Heal has, rightfully, gone down in thrash history as one of the most enduring feats of bravura musicianship ever committed to tape!
Ambitious to the point of lunacy, the sheer number of ideas on this early 90’s classic could have filled 3 further albums but, instead, Dark Angel decided to release a definitive statement; one that’s somehow rendered clean of fat, despite the excessive complexity on display.
Lyrically profound – and tackling a wide range of hard-hitting sociological subjects – there’s argument that Time Does Not Heal is also the most intelligent thrash album ever recorded….and who are we to argue with that?!
Mind. Still. Blown.
The next chapter in this series is already in the works! However, that shouldn’t stop you from adding your favourite technical thrash albums in the comments below!
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