Picking up where our 9 of the greatest one-album wonders in metal article left off, we’ve selected 9 MORE of the greatest one-album wonders in metal!
Classic albums from bands who apparently had a ‘one and done’ motto to adhere to…..
Gammacide – Victims Of Science (1989)
Gammacide‘s one and only album, Victims Of Science, may not be well known (except to the thrash die-hards, of course) but it’s a late 80’s release far more deserving of simply also ran status!
Fans of Vio-lence and Exodus will appreciate Gammacide’s technically skilled but aggressively direct approach and their no nonsense attitude elevates Victims Of Science to a level which far surpasses the majority of their peers.
Built around that age-old thrash chestnut of nuclear war and falling victim to mankind’s technological ‘progress’, Gammacide were the thrash equivalent of armageddon and their ripping, snarling vocals, high-speed riffs, outstanding solos and whip-crack tempos were refreshingly direct and as remorseless as a nuclear winter.
Mankind has always been doomed…..and Gammacide’s Victims Of Science will always provide the soundtrack!
Winter – Into Darkness (1990)
Into Darkness is the first and only full-length album from American death/doom band Winter and it remains one of the most singularly devastating doom metal albums in existence.
Winter were way ahead of their time as they took everything people thought they know about doom and contorted it into something unrecognisably bleak and sinister. With the advent of death metal’s supremacy looming large, Winter simply took the sub-genres overwhelming aggression and fashioned it to Doom’s cataclysmic framework.
The result was music more depressingly apocalyptic than anyone had ever heard before….and the sounds were akin to an oncoming nuclear winter!
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.Silence
God Macabre – The Winterlong… (1993)
God Macabre’s only album arrived fully formed in 1993, and while they never managed to record a follow-up, it is testament to the quality of this obscure gem that we’re still talking about it all these years later.
God Macabre’s reign may have been short but it was decidedly sweet and The Winterlong’s occult horror atmosphere – enriched with a diversity often found wanting in death metal – means this intricate, varied, complex and bold album retains it’s allure.
Connoisseurs of death metal know exactly how good this one of a kind album really is….while a welcome surprise awaits the uninitiated!
Infester – To The Depths, In Degradation (1994)
If degradation and wallowing in the unfathomable depths of human existence floats your death metal boat then the deliciously sick, maniacally twisted, utterly perverted and deeply, deeply disturbing To The Depths, In Degradation is the album for you!
Infester‘s one and only full length album, To The Depths, In Degradation can quite rightly be regarded as one of the most truly evil sounding albums in death metal history. Astonishingly barbaric and completely lacking in formulaic structure, the essence of pure bestial vengeance seeps forth from every track, as each ‘song’ suffocates the listener with endless shape-shifting patterns of ambient, hellish noise, punishing doom metal slogs, shuffling grooves, ear-piercing tremolos, clattering percussive blasts and a technical nerve that belies the primitive nature presented throughout much of the album.
Thergothon – Stream From The Heavens (1994)
Thergothon were a highly influential Finnish doom metal band who single-handedly pioneered the funeral doom sub-genre.
Unnervingly raw and hideously bleak, their sound was painfully slow, sloth-like even, barely able to heave its leaden weight from one song to the next and Stream from the Heavens remains a catastrophic combination of crushing, plodding riffs accentuated by lead vocalist Niko Sirkiä’s death grunts (a vocal reminiscent of someone gargling concrete) and atmospherics that dripped with dread and despair.
On the odd occasion, often just before the point at which you are ready to end it all, Thergothon would throw some ambient noise into the mix, momentarily lifting you from your depression before rapidly reverting back to their signature, apocalyptic, sound; plunging you straight back into the abyss as the funeral dirge riffs engulf you once more.
Devastatingly depressing and not an easy listen but a unique, defining moment in doom metal history nonetheless.
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.
Floodgate – Penalty (1996)
Penalty, the one and only album from Louisiana mob Floodgate, led by Exhorder and Trouble frontman Kyle Thomas is an unequivocal classic and a 90’s highlight highly deserving of as much praise as we can throw at it!
As far removed from the pioneering groove thrash of Exhorder as you can get, Penalty was a terminally unfashionable sludgy, southern metal extravaganza! Unencumbered by a desire to please modern metal fans, Floodgate simply created the music they needed to play – the hallmark of any great artist – and unsurprisingly this one-off monster of kick-ass rock is now considered a cult classic.
Kyle Thomas’ ridiculously versatile vocal performance – that still found space to unleash that rib-cracking roar from his Exhorder days – is still a revelation and an obviously huge inspiration on the direction the likes of Down, Crowbar and Corrosion Of Conformity found themselves heading over the preceding years.
Sanctity – Road To Bloodshed (2007)
Sanctity initially turned heads back in 2007 with their modern yet faithful tribute to Testament, Powermad and Annihilator; thrashing hard while thrash’s recovery was still finding its feet.
In modern metal terms, while Trivium – at their thrashiest – are a solid comparison, Sanctity were never riding roughshod over land already covered by Matt Heafy’s men. Instead, they delivered their own, distinct, brand of updated thrash. Admittedly, Roadrunner Records may have hoped Sanctity would replicate Trivium’s success – and Road To Bloodshed certainly had the quality to do so – but sadly the paying public failed to cotton on to what a tasty slice of melodic thrash they had at their disposal!
This was a crying shame as while the title track steps scarily close to metalcore’s formula, the power/thrash-fests of “Beloved Killer”, the huge “Zeppo” and the razor-sharp melodies of “Beneath The Machine” (where guitarist/vocalist Jared MacEachern ably recreates the roar of Testament man-mountain Chuck Billy) should have been enough to satisfy hardened thrashers accustomed to a little melody in their thrash.