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British Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

God save our noble THRASH!

Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989)Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989, Vinyl) - Discogs

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!

Of all the bands to arise during thrash’s recent re-birth, Anihilated truly showcased the breadth of talent the UK have to offer, culminating in Anti Social Engineering, one of the finest UK thrash albums ever recorded….and we ain’t fuckin’ kidding….this album absolutely slayed the competition in 2015!

If you liked this, check out: Anihilated’s debut album, Created In Hate; one of the most furiously feral thrash albums to ever emerge from the shores of the UK.


Deathwish – Demon Preacher (1988)

Deathwish – Demon Preacher (1988, Vinyl) - Discogs

How the actual fuck were Deathwish not bigger?

With opener “Death Procession” leading us on a morbid march through bell-tolling, doom-inflected pathways, the classic sounds of 70’s UK heavy metal soon meets the crunch of Bay Area thrash on the Slayer-esque title track and Deathwish’s inspirations are immediately apparent.

A marriage made in heaven (or should that be hell), this juxtaposition of the UK’s world-conquering 70’s output and the equally successful US thrash sound pioneered by Metallica, Slayer et all is best exemplified on Deathwish’s gritty thrashed-up reworking of Sabbath’s all time classic, “Symptom Of The Universe”. Cover version’s by their very nature are generally disappointing but this updated version of Iommi’s classic riff-fest for a thrash audience remains recognisable but utterly feral.

However, the 70’s worshipping song structures weren’t all Deathwish had in their locker, “Wall Of Lies” and the unfathomably epic “Prey To The Lord” were a sonic boom of rabid riffing fulfilling the hype this underrated band had once generated. A nod to the future and a nod to the past in essence, Deathwish were happy to complete the circle by closing with the acoustic Zeppelin-esque instrumental “Past Life”, restoring balance and a sense of closure in the process.

As a coherent whole, Demon Preacher should be considered a minor masterpiece, the sounds of the pioneering 70’s combining flawlessly with the fresh and vital thrash attack from across the Atlantic. Rediscover it!

Liked that? Try this: You only have one other option, the rough and ready – but equally as impressive – At The Edge Of Damnation (1987).


Xentrix – For Whose Advantage (1990)

Xentrix – For Whose Advantage? (1990, Vinyl) - Discogs

Touted as Britain’s answer to Metallica (not quite), Xentrix embraced an Americanised sound which should have seen them rapidly rise to the very top of thrash metal’s ranks.

In reality, their relatively ‘safe’ sound was only ever going to take them so far, and they eventually found themselves lumped in with the plethora of identikit bands who arrived late in the thrash game. Sadly, it’s only with the luxury of hindsight that For Whose Advantage? reveals its true worth and it’s undoubtedly an essential addition to any thrash collection.

Cold, crisp riffing, mid-paced thrashing and Chris Astley’s confident bellow elevated album highlights “Questions?” and “The Bitter End”, and the entire album benefited from a crystal clear production job to rival the genres greats. For Whose Advantage? may tread familiar territory but it’s important to note that there’s nothing wrong with reliability – Motörhead and AC/DC built entire careers on it! – and Xentrix were fast becoming Britain’s most consistent band.

Grunge would curtail any further progress as thrash became a dirty word, but for a short while Xentrix appeared to be the one British band who would infiltrate the big leagues.

If you liked this, check out: Shattered Existence, Xentrix‘s outstanding debut that matches For Whose Advantage? in virtually every department!


Onslaught – The Force (1986)

Onslaught – The Force (2019, Vinyl) - Discogs

The first band to truly raise hell in the name of British thrash, Onslaught turned heads with their punk-infused debut, Power From Hell, but it was with 1986’s The Force that they truly announced their arrival in the scene.

The Force was an appropriate title, as Onslaught‘s forceful and vitriolic sound hit you like a ten ton hammer; thrashing harder than most and with as much conviction as the likes of Dark Angel and early Slayer.

Still considered an all-time thrash classic, The Force is probably the most convincing thrash album ever recorded by a British band. Capable of ripping your head clean off, Onslaught were a powerhouse who unleashed a multitude of sinister, stabbing riffs without even breaking a sweat. It all seemed too easy and their place in the thrash elite should have been virtually guaranteed.

If you liked this, check out: The aforementioned Power From Hell (1985) was a game-changer. Not just for UK thrash but as a more than notable influence on death metal.


Sabbat – History Of A Time To Come (1988)

Sabbat – History Of A Time To Come (CD) - Discogs

There are too few superlatives to convey the true majesty of Britain’s finest ever thrash album. Sabbat were one of the most unique bands in thrash history, regardless of origin, and although short-lived, their overall contribution to the scene remains unparalleled.

Propelled by the ingenious riffs of producer extraordinaire Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Nevermore, Testament) and Martin Walkyier’s uniquely unfettered and untameable vocals, Sabbat‘s philosophically pagan take on religion was groundbreakingly raw and real; an honest summation of the world and it’s failings.

The opening tracks, “A Cautionary Tale”, “Hosanna In Excelsis” & Behind The Crooked Cross” are exemplary, an unholy triumvarite of trailblazing thrash that perfectly encapsulated Sabbat‘s religion-baiting sound. However, it was the intelligence on display that truly ranked them as one of the genre’s greats. Here was poetry set to furious thrash, the likes of which has never been seen again.

History Of A Time To Come is mandatory listening for every thrasher on the planet and has barely aged; its place in the thrash history books permanently set in stone!

Also recommended: 1989’s Dreamweaver is, of course, just as mandatory with Sabbat venturing ever further into singer / lyricist Martin Walkyier’s strong interest in Wyrdism, Celtic mysticism, Anglo-Saxon spirituality and paganism.

Also more than worthy of a mention: Cerebral Fix – Tower of SpiteD.A.M – Inside Out / Detritus – If But For One / English Dogs – Forward Into Battle / Hellbastard – Natural Order / Lawnmower Deth – Ooh Crikey It’s… Lawnmower Deth / Pariah – Blaze Of Obscurity / Sacrilege – Behind The Realms Of Madness / Seventh Angel – Lament For The Weary / Skyclad – A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol 

Check out our other related thrash features in this series:

German Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

Belgian Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

Canadian Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

Japanese Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

American Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

Australian Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

Check out our latest Feature!

About Chris Jennings (1779 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

43 Comments on British Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

  1. “God’s Gift” by Toranaga (1990) would definitely make my top 10. But not a bad list, not bad at all.

  2. Paul Russell // December 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm // Reply

    Slammer was a crackin call . Loved that album . Lawnmower deth just awesome and needed to be above number one amongst the outer planets !

  3. Virus Force Recon 1988 was better outsold Lunacy

    • Chris Jennings // December 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm // Reply

      A close call, both are excellent albums. Lunacy, regardless of album sales,just seemed the more complete album to me. Thanks for reading and commenting \m/

  4. All the way through I thought you’d run out before you got to ten great British thrash records…. And then you show me history of a time to come, a record that blew me away and spent many, many hours on my turntable. Unquestionably awesome, thanks for the reminder.

  5. Lawnmower Deth are timeless, their live shows with Evil Scarecrow absolutely smash all over the competition. I still love that album as much as the day I bought it about 24 years ago, long live the mower liberation front! \m/

  6. Great list of great bands I grew up to, forgot some of these albums. Defo will be back on the turntable.

  7. Some great albums in there. Own several of those myself. I would have included albums by Deathwish, Arbitrater and Pariah as well.

    • Chris Jennings // December 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm // Reply

      Thanks Kris. Deathwish’s At The Edge Of Damnation very nearly made it in, consider it placed at No.11 \m/

    • Simon Reeves // December 19, 2014 at 6:17 am // Reply

      Pariah! Another excellent call… I’d forgotten about those guys too! Yup gimme pariah over xentrix any day. First album was awesome, then the second had that insanely long guitar duel in the second song that made me laugh every time I heard it! Happy days….

      • Chris Jennings // December 19, 2014 at 7:52 am // Reply

        Poor Xentrix! I’m gonna have to revisit Pariah, they never really did it for me but I’ll give ’em another go. Thanks for reading and commenting Simon \m/

  8. Deathwish-Demon Preacher..top album
    Followed `Virus’ from Pray For War too, Saw Lawnmower Deth in a small pub in Derby..Excellent!

  9. Can’t believe I forgot to mention DAM as well. Love their Human Wreckage album.

  10. Steven McKinnon // January 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm // Reply

    Great article, will definitely check these albums out. Glad Thrashist Regime got mentioned, their first album (Fearful Symmetry) is tremendous, and they’re amazing live. They’re working on a new LP that sounds like it’ll be killer!

    • Chris Jennings // January 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm // Reply

      Thanks Steven, some great albums, the majority of which are truly underrated. Thrashist Regime get my vote, looking forward to some new material! \m/

  11. Thanks for the positive words. It’s good to be reminded that not everyone agreed with the bad press the album got at the time at the time.

    • Chris Jennings // February 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm // Reply

      Hey Paul, for every hater I’m sure you’ll find twice as many who appreciated the efforts of Slammer, Virus, Anihilated etc. Nothing but British classics in this article \m/

  12. Sabbat – History Of A Time To Come Is A Thrash Masterpiece!

  13. Kevin LeBlanc // February 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm // Reply

    Any list of mandatory thrash albums would be sorely incomplete without Sabbat’s ‘History of a Time to Come,’ and when talking about British thrash, having it anywhere but at #1 is a fuckin’ crime.

    It’s all killer and no filler, and with one of the greatest lyricists our genre will ever see.

    • Chris Jennings // February 18, 2015 at 4:33 pm // Reply

      Couldn’t agree more Kevin. It’s the one British Thrash album that stands toe to toe with the all time greats of Thrash \m/

  14. BlackCatTheory // July 3, 2015 at 9:55 am // Reply

    Good lord! I’d totally forgotten about Slammer and Cerebral Fix. As a young lad, Xentrix were our great white hope. Sadly, if you fly too close to Metallica, the wax holding your wings together melts and you fall to earth!

    • Chris Jennings // July 3, 2015 at 11:26 am // Reply

      Cerebral Fix are still going strong and Xentrix are back! Probably better than Metallica nowadays as well 😉

  15. Brendan Carter // July 4, 2015 at 1:12 am // Reply

    Very good list indeed, Sabbat rightfully `….numero uno…`, only difference is, i would have, `D.A.M, 2nd, Seventh Angel 3rd, and Deathwish & Detritius, both scraping into the 10. Those Lawnmower knobs, do not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as other great bands. D.A.M, were not given enough credit for taking a more edgier, darker sound, compared to some of the more mainstream rubbish of some other British bands.

    • Chris Jennings // July 6, 2015 at 7:29 am // Reply

      All good Brendan, can’t really argue with any of your suggestions. Perhaps a ’20’ list would have been a better idea! I have to defend Lawnmower Deth, having seen them live just last weekend all I can say is their defiantly British sense of humour and seriously great musicianship mark them out as one of Thrash’s (and UK Thrash’s) most unique bands…I love ’em!

      In hindsight, omitting D.A.M and Seventh Angel was probably an error but in the same breath I can’t pick the albums to remove in order to fit them in. Such a conundrum!! 😉 Thanks for the comments Brendan \m/

  16. Erm…anyone heard of a band called Venom?

  17. Seventh Angel is another thrash entry from the UK and Detritus who sounds almost like Metallica from Master of Puppets (and they employ the use of a saxophone with the pacing of their lyrics.)

    • Chris Jennings // October 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm // Reply

      Seventh Angel are/were exceptional Nickolaus….check out Ian Arkley’s current Doom Metal project My Silent Wake….amazing stuff! \m/

  18. Matthew Miller // February 6, 2016 at 10:29 am // Reply

    Great shouts, great article. I seem to remember poor Slammer getting pelters in Metal Forces letters page and fanzines due to them being signed up to a ‘Major Label’. Did I dream that or can anyone else remember? Fantastic album, very over looked

  19. Aaadabaadab // June 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm // Reply

    My next suggestion:

    Canadian Thrash: The 10 Greatest Old-School Albums

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