Continuing in the vein of our under-appreciated UK & U.S. thrash features, Worship Metal now casts its critical eye over 6 under-appreciated classics of German thrash, the only country to truly rival the U.S in the thrash stakes!
Part 1 of our under-appreciated classics of German thrash has already done the rounds. So, here’s Part 2….chock fuckin’ full of more German thrash classics that deserve way more attention!
Have we forgotten your favourite unsung classic? Pop it in the comments below!
Holy Moses – Queen Of Siam (1986)
Female thrash singers in ’86 were firmly making their mark on the scene and Holy Moses’ Sabine Classen was no exception. At this stage, Holy Moses were no great shakes in the songwriting department but what they lacked in dynamics was made up for with blunt force riffing and those throat-shredding vocals!
The rapid fire Venom-isms of “Walpurgisnight” and opener “Necropolis” indicate the influence the more ill-refined members of the NWOBHM had on these Germans and coupled with the unholy racket conjured by Sodom etc at the time, these ‘black’ metallers (Holy Moses’ words not ours!) were already catching up with the Teutonic three of Sodom, Kreator & Destruction.
While Queen Of Siam could never be described as the definitive Holy Moses release (that honour surely goes to 87’s rabid Finished With The Dogs), there’s a primitive charm on display here that rewards the listener to this day.
Finally, this may be a throwaway comment, but could Queen Of Siam be described as one of the earliest death metal releases? Sabine Classen’s vocals would certainly suggest so!
Liked that? Try this: As mentioned, you can’t go wrong with the frankly ferocious Finished With the Dogs (1987).
Exumer – Possessed By Fire (1986)
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 to ignore!
Liked that? Try this: 2016’s The Raging Tides was a modern thrash masterclass from these undervalued Germans!
Living Death – Protected From Reality (1987)
Savage as all hell, Living Death’s 3rd full length album was a speed/thrash onslaught that took thrash into ever more extreme spheres of madness, careening forth in a blitzkrieg of unhinged riffs and Thorsten Bergmann’s often unnerving banshee screams.
Perhaps an acquired taste, Living Death seemed to forfeit thrash metal’s accessible aspects for a more unholy approach but they did still find room for some serious showboating! Check out the masterful instrumental “Wood of Necrophiliac”, which finds time to incorporate obligatory 80’s acoustic guitar spliced with some serious chugging riffs, monk-like vocal chanting and an atmosphere which catapults the listener into the creepiest realms imaginable.
Raw, aggressive and unpredictable, this underrated thrash act were arguably never better than on Protected From Reality.
Liked that? Try this: 1985’s Metal Revolution, not as technically adept perhaps but still a fine slab of ferocious thrash!
Protector – A Shedding Of Skin (1991)
Approaching the genre in a similar way to Brazil’s Sarcofago on their The Laws Of Scourge masterpiece, Protector’s A Shedding Of Skin experimented wildly with daringly diversified dynamics and pacing while still remaining resolutely committed to stripping skin from bone!
Barring a few moments of slower-paced bruising on tracks such as “Death Comes Soon” and “Thy Will Be Done” this blasts harder than ten-tonnes of dynamite down a mine-shaft and should be as revered as a progressive death/thrash masterpiece.
If Testament’s dalliances with death metal on the underrated Demonic caused you to suffer from involuntary liquid explosions then A Shedding Of Skin will require you to be hospitalised with dehydration; death/thrash has arguably never been executed better!
Liked that? Try this: Protector’s The Heritage was a worthy follow-up; proving that thrash still had something to say in 1993, even amidst the dominance of grunge!
Vendetta – Brain Damage (1988)
They don’t come more unique than Vendetta’s Brain Damage, an album that retained the required thrash crunch of the era while significantly maturing and offering unparalleled diversity to the discerning thrash fan.
This was the sound of a band that should have left the underground, seriously skilled and home to such consistently impressive songwriting that a breakthrough seemed inevitable. Alas, it just wasn’t to be. But, that’s no reason to overlook its merits now as Brain Damage‘s fiendishly catchy melodies and exquisite guitar work are as impressive now as they were back in 1988!
On a par with the awe-inspiring work found on Artillery’s By Inheritance and Annihilator’s Alice In Hell, Vendetta’s technical prowess and crystal clear clarity showcased a band whose merits were writ large. After all, Brain Damage truly is an unsung masterpiece from the golden era of thrash!
Liked that? Try this: 1987’s debut album Go And Live…Stay And Die was a little rougher around the edges but signalled the genius to come!
Paradox – Heresy (1989)
Now here’s a band with more talent in one finger than most band’s hold in their entire body parts combined and Heresy was the album to bring Paradox to the attention of thrashers on a global scale!
A fully paid up concept album, Heresy re-told the tale of the Albigensian Crusade of the 13th century and in the process redefined the limits of thrash, ironically marching forth on their own crusade to combine elegance with destruction.
Approaching thrash with far less malice than the likes of Sodom, Kreator etc, Paradox instead embraced a power metal aesthetic, aligning themselves more with the likes of Metal Church, Anthrax (minus any silliness) and Onslaught circa In Search Of Sanity than with their Germanic brethren. It paid off too, helping Paradox to stand out from the pack and offering an accessibility that their teutonic peers simply didn’t offer at this point in time.
Featuring soaring twin harmonies, mind-frazzling solos and a rhythm section that could rival the tightest thrash acts around, Paradox were anything but their namesake, delivering instead a concise and melodic attack on the senses that was unrelenting in its clinical efficiency.
It’s heresy not to own this album as this piece of thrash history is absolutely goddamn essential!
Liked that? Try this: 2000’s Collision Course, a modern thrash album par excellence!
Other entries in this series: