Parts 1, 2 & 3 of our under-appreciated classics of UK thrash already highlighted the likes of Pariah, Seventh Angel, D.A.M, Deathwish & Detritus among others but there’s plenty more quality thrash from good ol’ Blighty still knocking around, collecting dust at the bottom of the thrash pile….which is tantamount to sacrilege!
In actuality, the UK thrashed just as hard as Germany, Brazil and the States and Worship Metal has selected another 6 unsung classics of UK thrash that deserve to be re-evaluated, re-assessed and re-played at eardrum bursting volume!
Thrash it up, UK style!
Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989)
Anihilated‘s second album is a British thrash milestone, incorporating Exodus’ brash brutality and Slayer’s knack for intimidating menace and groove to form an album worthy of serious attention.
The grisly grooves of instrumental “Desolation” set the scene as Anihilated’s malevolent, sickle-sharp riffing crunches straight into high gear on “Into The Flames Of Armageddon”. The album never lets up from here on in; quality track follows quality track with raspy, sandpaper vocals, wall-of-sound drums and Hell Awaits era Slayer riffs combining furiously to thrash your face clean off.
The Slayer comparisons can be a little too familiar at times but if you’re gonna be inspired, be inspired by one of the best and if being the British Slayer is a bad thing, then we’ll be damned!
Dearly Beheaded – Temptation (1996)
A hulking, crushing slab of mid-90s thrash /groove akin to Machine Head, Skinlab and Overkill (during their most obvious groove era), Dearly Beheaded‘s debut album, Temptation, should have seen these UK bruisers rise above the ranks of mere also rans.
Home to some colossal riffing and a penchant for wringing necks with brute, mid-tempo force, Temptation was a case of right album at the right time with the right producer at the helm (Colin Richardson)…but ‘fame’ was to be short lived. One more album followed, 1997’s Chamber Of One, and then the band imploded; full potential never quite fulfilled.
Some may balk at Dearly Beheaded being described as thrash but if they were ‘thrash’ enough to be included in Ian Glasper’s almighty tome, Contract In Blood: A History of UK Thrash Metal, then they’re ‘thrash’ enough for us!
Hydra Vein – After The Dream (1989)
This swift follow-up to Hydra Vein‘s debut album, Rather Death Than False Of Faith (1988), may have been a little rushed – with only 6 songs making up its brief 30 min runtime – but that doesn’t detract from the quality on display throughout this often overlooked gem.
By upping both the aggression and the technicality some of the naive feral charm of Hydra Vein’s debut may have been lost but that’s not to say that After The Dream was without it’s own Slayer-esque appeal. Warbled intro shriek on opening track “7-U-S-C” aside, the tracks found here are uniformly engaging and thrashed up to fuck, resulting in a sophomore album that should have pushed Hydra Vein to the very top of the UK thrash pile.
Not quite in the same league as Rather Death Than False of Faith but undoubtedly one of the better UK thrash metal albums released at the tail end of the 1980’s!
Re-Animator – Condemned To Eternity (1990)
Arriving a little later in the day, Re-Animator still had enough potential to cause a stir and 1990’s Condemned To Eternity is their greatest achievement.
Another band in thrall to Testament’s semi-melodic approach, particularly in the Chuck Billy aping vocals, Re-animator still possessed the required skill to amount a convincing thrash attack; proof positive that us Brits could really thrash when we wanted to!
“Low Life” and the instrumental title track are the real highlights, both demonstrating the bands knack for experimental and yet vertebrae-shattering riffs. “Low Life” may rip off Metallica’s “Creeping Death” in its opening bars but that can be forgiven, the song goes on to establish itself as a frenzied neck-breaker in its own right while the title-track challenges Death Angel’s “The Ultraviolence” in the epic instrumental stakes.
In the end, Condemned To Eternity may be one for thrash diehards, but it’s no less convincing because of it.
Solitary – Nothing Changes (1998)
One of the UK’s best kept thrash secrets, these nutters decided to embark on a career in thrash in 1998 and couldn’t have given two shits about the sorry state of the genre as the decade drew to a close. Fuck it, they’d create their own scene if they had to!
Solitary‘s debut release, Nothing Changes, made an immediate impact on the UK’s own nascent thrash scene, reminding thrashers that the UK could still shake shit up when we wanted to and Nothing Changes proved to have a hit in its considerable arsenal!
By 2002, “A Second Chance” had topped the mp3 Metal Charts – having on average been downloaded four thousand times per month – and Solitary were a name to watch. With a solid ear for groove, it was the heads-down clattering of “A Second Chance” and “Twisted” that made Nothing Changes a 90’s thrash album worthy of attention.
Virus – Force Recon (1988)
Perennial underdogs of the UK scene, Virus proved their worth with their second album, Force Recon.
This punk/thrash overload from one of the UK’s most violent band of thrashers kicked even the most hardened thrasher square in the mush when it was released in 1988 and the arrival of guitarist Coke Finlay appeared to light a considerable fire up Virus’ collective arse!
To say that Force Recon was an improvement on debut album Pray For War would be an understatement. Fast, savage and punky as all hell, the production may be shite but the songs shine through with the likes of “Testify to Me” and “Viral Warfare” proving particularly potent
Just a little good, friendly, violent fun….UK style!
Also included in this series: