Thrash is great. Technical thrash is so much better!
To that end, Worship Metal has selected ANOTHER 6 Of The Most Mind-Blowing Technical Thrash Albums Ever Recorded for your perusal.
Presented in order of year of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Destruction – Release From Agony (1987) [Germany]
Destruction may have started life as a rough ‘n’ ready blackened thrash band but by the time their third full length album, Release From Agony, arrived in 1987, they’d transformed themselves into a technical thrash act par excellence.
The mad butcher didn’t just strike back with this album, it hacked and sliced its way through the competition and while (originally) the quality of Release From Agony‘s production left a lot to be desired, the likes of “Sign Of Fear” and “Survive To Die” indicated that Destruction were now operating on a higher level than the majority of their peers.
A thrilling combination of insanely technical riffs and abstract song structures marks out Release From Agony as a true masterpiece of Teutonic thrash……and Destruction would, arguably, never be so wilfully obscure again!
Realm – Endless War (1988) [USA]
A technical thrash masterclass, Realm’s histrionic, kinetic and brain-scrambling debut still pummels the senses with its falsetto vocals and stampeding rhythms; threatening to career off the precipice of plausibility at any moment!
Straddling the fine line between thrash, power metal and speed metal – Toxik are a fitting comparison – Realm’s supreme confidence in finessing the core ingredients of these sub-genres was only outweighed by their sheer technical virtuosity. The guitars are virtually impossible to pin down, a cacophonous aural caning containing endless shredding, lightning-quick picking, intricate leads, the odd surprising acoustic section and more sickle-sharp rhythm’s and hair-raising solo’s than seems humanly possible to assimilate.
The frenetic pace of the entire album only shifted into a (slightly) lower gear for the likes of the slow-burning “Eminence” and the borderline balladry of “Second Coming“, while the classic sound of “All Heads Will Turn To The Hunt” helped to calm the pace of the attention deficit soloing and endless shifts in tempo that permeated through this accomplished debut.
Also home to one of the greatest thrash cover versions in the shape of The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby”, this theatrical blast through such a usually melancholic song screamed insanity and summed up the hyperactive approach Realm adopted for the majority of Endless War.
Target – Master Project Genesis (1988) [Belgium]
Target‘s sophomore release, Master Project Genesis, was the greatest Belgian thrash album of the 80s, bar none! Light years ahead of their contemporaries, Target’s technical thrash prowess was writ large over Master Project Genesis‘ 8 scintillating tracks, with the band improving on their already impressive debut, Mission Executed (1987) and delivering a succession of tracks that sounded like the next gen of thrash bands had arrived.
Once you’ve picked your jaw up from the floor upon hearing the stop-start riff-a-rama of the surprisingly melodic “Ultimate Unity”, the sheer brilliance of “Digital Regency” smacks you around the chops are you’re left reeling from the sheer scope and breadth of it all! The quality never lets up either.
As important a cult item as Deathrow‘s Deception Ignored and Realm‘s Suiciety, Target‘s Master Project Genesis deserves far more than the mere footnote in thrash history placing it currently holds. After all, this truly is some of the best technical thrash you’ll ever hear!
Heathen – Victims Of Deception (1991) [USA]
Absolutely, mind-bogglingly brilliant.
That’s a fair summation of Heathen’s piece de resistance, a riff-fest of such magnitude and scope that these Bay Area thrashers should be a household name. The fact they’re not is another example of an album of such astounding quality and consistency falling by the wayside while The Big 4 marched on to greater glories.
Recorded by musicians of insane ability – and a singer who could, gulp, actually fuckin’ sing! – this progressive thrash masterpiece practically surpassed Metallica, Megadeth and co. in each and every area.
The riffs were crunchier and the progressive elements better suited to the melodic manifestations that made up this magnum opus; allowing the band to pen heavy, aggressive tunes capable of impressing the most obtuse prog lover!
Heathen ended up being victims of circumstances but hindsight proves they were actually at the forefront of their chosen field
Invocator – Excursion Demise (1991) [Denmark]
If you were under the naive impression that Artillery were the only Danish thrash band really worth caring about then we urge you to turn your attention to Invocator and, particularly, their debut album Excursion Demise!
As far as technical thrash goes, Invocator were not only operating at a much higher level than the majority of their countrymen, they were also rivalling the best the world had to offer.
Sharing a kinship with Atheist lent Invocator a death metal vibe but the likes of the exquisite “(…to a Twisted Recess of Mind)” and “Schismatic Injective Therapy” were actually technical / progressive thrash through and through; leaving it to songs such as “The Persistence From Memorial Chasm” to provide a more visceral thrash kick.
Defiance – Beyond Recognition (1992) [USA]
Beyond Recognition – a technical thrash masterclass from the Bay Area’s Defiance – proved to be a fitting swansong to thrash’s heyday!
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 fill a further three albums!
Be sure to check out the first two entries in this series:
The next chapter in this series is already in the works! However, that shouldn’t stop you from adding your favourite technical thrash albums to the comments below!
Check out The Worship Metal Podcasts’ throughly entertaining chat about thrash: