Silence – Vision (1991)
Featuring guitarist Sonny Mayo (ex-Amen, ex-Hed PE, ex-Sevendust, ex-Snot), who went on to be a major player in the 90’s nu metal scene, Silence were actually a formidable thrash force who sadly only released one album, in the shape of 1991’s Vision.
Accomplished, technical and brutal (bordering on death/thrash at times), Silence were as adept at thrashing hard, fast and with as much precision as the majority of their peers and surely deserved far more than their all but ‘forgotten’ status.
With tempos that shifted on a whim, the likes of the intricate “Echoes of Damnation” were as adept at getting that head bangin’ as they were at mesmerising you with their labyrinthine peculiarities; none more so than on the progressive epic that is album closer “Necromantic”, a 10 and a half minute magnum opus which subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, traversed the thrash metal spectrum for inspiration.
Overkill – W.F.O (1994)
What the fuck are Overkill doing in this list, we hear you cry?! They’re not under-appreciated!
Well, just hear us out…..
After a successful excursion into groove metal with 1993’s I Hear Black – another vastly undervalued album incidentally – just a year later Overkill returned to their good ol’ thrashin’ ways with W.F.O. and it has remained a divisive album in Overkill‘s formidable back catalogue ever since!
Although we’re unsure why as the result was an old-school blast of furious thrash that reminded fans exactly why they fell in love with these New Jersey noiseniks in the first place.
Home to killer opener “Where It Hurts” (these boys never fail to deliver an absolute belter of an opening track) and thrash juggernauts “Fast Junkie” and “Up To Zero”, it was the ridiculously infectious “Bastard Nation” that stood out from the pack; faithfully thrashy yet surely designed to be a monster ‘hit’ if the bastards had just paid attention!
W.F.O. (or Wide Fucking Open for its full title) proved to be the last hurrah for Overkill’s glory days as the 90’s all but stalled their progress. Nevertheless, W.F.O should be celebrated as a classic 90’s thrash album that bucked prevailing trends and thrashed like a mutherfucker!
Faustus – …and Still We Suffer (1996)
…and Still We Suffer may have arrived a little late in the day but there’s no denying that this semi-obscure effort from Seattle’s Faustus was a brave, complex and, ultimately, highly rewarding slab of progressive thrash metal. This was thrash made for the true fans, those committed souls who had continued to fly the thrash flag in the face of death metal, grunge and groove metal and …and Still We Suffer was their well-deserved reward!
With more than a hint of Nevermore informing their sound, Faustus were undoubtedly looking to push thrash into ever more expansive realms; unleashing a tirade of ingenious riffs, multi-faceted vocals and ever-shifting time signatures in the process. While “Erosion” had an Atheist vibe – which removed the majority of the death metal elements but retained that recognisable free-form nature – it was “The Hell We Make” which provided the most succinct summation of Faustus‘ skill.
While at times Faustus‘ approach may have appeared scattershot (which can be attested to their abundance of ideas), it was actually their undying commitment to challenging trends, their obvious technical ability, their go-for-broke mentality and high octane performances which marked them out as a band with plenty to offer.
Keep an eye out for Part 6 of our under-appreciated classics of American thrash metal series soon!
In the meantime, pop your suggestions in the comments section below….
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