Some simply sublime metal albums are turning 30 years old this year…..here’s ANOTHER 6 of ’em to keep you going!
Defiance – Beyond Recognition [USA]
Released: March 27th, 1992 via Roadracer Records
Genre: Technical Thrash Metal
At this stage in their career, Defiance were now trying to out ‘heavy’ the likes of Testament (by way of fellow Bay Area brethren Heathen) and found themselves forging ahead in an ever more progressive thrash direction….and they were damn good at it too!
“Inside Looking Out” entertained a decidedly warped take on typical chugging riffs (and featured vocal contributions from aforementioned Heathen frontman David White) and the heady thrash-fest of “Promised Afterlife” rivalled Justice-era Metallica for complexity, while remaining staunchly ‘heavy’. The remainder of Beyond Recognition’s tracks offered diversity, complexity and enough ideas to make 90s era Metallica hang their heads in shame.
Beyond Recognition is Defiance’s greatest achievement and one of the most impressive moments in 90’s thrash, even though it remains ironically unrecognised by those clearly not ‘in the know’. Of course, the rest of us recognise the moment when Defiance excelled themselves and if thrash hadn’t died on its arse in the 90’s, this outstanding album surely would have seen Defiance swiftly rise up the ranks!
Demigod – Slumber Of Sullen Eyes [Finland]
Released: November 1992 via Drowned Productions
Genre: Death Metal
In 1992, Finnish death metallers Demigod may have released their debut album, Slumber Of Sullen Eyes, to little fanfare but this album’s reputation has grown substantially over the years, and is now revered as one of the most chillingly atmospheric, morbidly dark and fiendishly melodic death metal albums of the early 90’s!
Demigod didn’t adhere to the crushing, buzzsaw brutality of their Nordic cousins and, instead, they adopted a more nuanced style informed by diversity, doom-influences and a characteristically Finnish low-end which rumbles so effectively as to induce involuntary bowel movements.
Each track on this beast is decidedly distinct and delivers the kind of depth not usually associated with death metal. While heavy as all hell, it’s the sombre melodies and intricate interplay – which incorporates everything from tremolo riffing to Bolt Thrower-esque groove – which marks out Slumber Of Sullen Eyes as a cult item and an all-time death metal classic.
The finest Finnish death metal album in existence? Only Demilich’s Nespithe challenges it!
Epidemic – Decameron [USA]
Released: August 3rd, 1992 via Metal Blade Records
Genre: Death / Thrash
Arriving rather late on the scene, Epidemic’s fusion of thrash and death was understandable as by 1992 death metal had already begun to ensnare those fans looking for ever heavier sounds.
With complete disregard for the level of melody the majority of mainstream metal bands had been playing with – this was around the time of Testament’s ultra-melodic The Ritual, Death Angel’s next-level Act III and the behemoth that was Metallica’s Black Album – Epidemic’s death/thrash was relentless in its attack and rivalled the sounds emanating from the likes of Ripping Corpse and Baphomet!
An often forgotten gem from the early 90’s, this incensed body of work shunned the expected formula of the day and went straight for the jugular, with quick-fire bursts of pure rage slashing and hacking