Continuing in the vein of our under-appreciated UK & U.S. thrash features, Worship Metal now casts its critical eye over 6 more under-appreciated classics of German thrash, the only country to truly rival the U.S in the thrash stakes!
Risk – The Daily Horror News (1988)
Roll up, roll up, read all about it….daft Germans in excellent speed/thrash shocker!
With a pedigree dating all the way back to 1967(!), Risk took the relatively safe gamble of updating their hard rock/prog rock sound originally finessed when they carried the Faithful Breath moniker and went hell for leather with ‘debut’, The Daily Horror News.
With precise riffing and unruly speed, the raw nature of this obscurity may prove to be a shock to those expecting something a little cleaner from a band who had originally played their trade two decades prior. As it turned out, Risk proved more than adept at out-riffing the majority of their peers and seemed to have thrash flowing through their veins; a more cohesive and intelligent late 80’s speed/thrash album you’d be hard pressed to find.
Ridiculous artwork, cracking album!
Mekong Delta – Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) (1990)
Let’s be fair, we could have included practically any one of Mekong Delta’s 80’s and 90’s albums (take your pick from Mekong Delta / The Principal Of Doubt / Kaleidoscope / Visons Fugitives) as each and every one can be considered a milestone of progressive thrash metal.
We’ve gone for Dances Of Death….Mekong Delta’s highly technical, yet undeniably aggressive, fourth album that often bordered on undecipherable madness, with labyrinthine song structures and abstract riff-patterns jostling for attention amidst a sturdy thrash framework.
With “Dances Of Death” broken down into 8 movements over 19 thrilling minutes, Mekong Delta’s prog intentions couldn’t have been made clearer and while it may not be an easy album to dive into, if you’re going to get the most out of this rewarding beast, then you’d better face the fucker head-on!
Iron Angel – Hellish Crossfire (1985)
You’ve got to give these guys credit. Iron Angel were ripping heads clean off way back in 1985 and their distinct brand of Germanic speed/thrash may sound a tad meat n’ potatoes to modern ears but Hellish Crossfire was the shit over 30 years ago; diabolically evil, face-meltingly fast and leading metal into ever more dangerous realms!
Opener, “The Metalian”, kickstarts the tempo and Iron Angel never once drop the pace from then on in, unleashing merry hell in the name of real metal and peeling off riffs like the end of the world was truly nigh. Totally in thrall to Satan, these sinners concocted an absolute blast of mid 80’s thrash that remains ridiculously addictive and holds its position as a speed/thrash classic from the genre’s formative years.
If Slayer’s Hell Awaits and Onslaught’s The Force are still on repeat play round your gaff then Iron Angel’s Hellish Crossfire demands to be revered with a similar fevered adulation.
Deathrow – Deception Ignored (1989)
Where this came from is anyone’s guess!
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 wizardry and should have marked Deathrow out as pioneers of progressive metal this early in the game.
Instead, obscurity beckoned with Deception Ignored initially receiving a lukewarm response from 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 masterpiece from a band way ahead of the curve!
Grinder – Dead End (1989)
Beginning with “Agent Orange” (not a cover of Sodom’s classic but a classic of their own making), Grinder’s stomping, militarised, rotor-riffs flow flawlessly into the kind of quality melodic thrash that should have adhered these German thrashers to millions…..and the quality just keeps on coming!
Channeling the highly melodic noise of Flotsam and Jetsam and Anthrax, Grinder still managed to create something a little different in the thrash world; no easy task by the time the late 80’s rolled around. Playing with structure and speed, Grinder’s skill lay in fluid bass lines and taking the turn least expected. The result? An album that remains unpredictable and surprisingly unique.
In particular, Dead End‘s title track remains a thrash monster, a totally unique speed/thrash workout which traverses more moods and more terrain than most thrash albums manage in their entirety!
Pyracanda – Two Sides Of A Coin (1990)
Pyracanda’s debut full length remains somewhat of an oddity but it’s an album that deserves accolades, not just for its melodic sensibilities – which ably recalled the majesty of Mike Howe-era Metal Church and fellow countrymen and label mates Grinder – but for its technical aptitude and supreme songwriting skill.
Unfavourably discarded in favour of the big guns of teutonic thrash, Pyracanda’s Two Sides Of A Coin actually holds up just as well as the early 90’s output of Kreator, Sodom et all. In fact, with their occasional speed metal tendencies, huge vocals and galloping riffs, Two Sides Of A Coin arguably delivers a timeless sound; easily fitting in with the current trend for trad metal/speed metal making Pyracanda more relevant than ever.
These melodic thrashers were absolute class, pure and simple!
Ironically, as of 24th September 2017, you can now purchase a remastered version of this unsung classic via iTunes….so what the fuck are you waiting for!
Remember, this was Part 3 of our Under-Appreciated Classics Of German Thrash Metal series! Check out the other instalments and then let us know if we’ve missed an obvious contender that’s also ripe for reappraisal!