Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and Tankard; the “Big Four” of Teutonic thrash metal. Prime contributors to one of the major scenes of thrash metal in the 1980s and early 90’s, these four bands were responsible for some of the greatest thrash albums known to man.
Here’s the 10 best old-school albums released by these German big four of thrash……
Kreator – Coma Of Souls (1990)
In 1990, thrash was still a powerful force to be reckoned with and Kreator would unleash one last tirade of terrifying teutonic thrash before succumbing to inevitable change. Fortunately, fans were treated to one of the finest thrash releases of 1990, in the formidable shape of Coma Of Souls.
Following Extreme Aggression was always going to a challenge but, in 1990, Kreator were still a rampaging thrash machine, more than capable of surpassing the majority of their peers and delivering one last hurrah in the name of bestiality!
Elements of groove and Priest/Maiden-esque melody may have seeped into the the achingly catchy “People Of The Lie” and “Terror Zone” but there’s no denying that the likes of “Twisted Urges” and the appropriately titled “Agents Of Brutality” were frenetic bursts of feral thrash.
Over 30 years on and Coma Of Souls remains a masterclass in melodic thrash metal.
Tankard – The Morning After (1988)
Tankard‘s 3rd studio album was released in 1988 and was swiftly followed by the Alien EP the following year. At this stage, Tankard were a force to be reckoned with and their name was finally being uttered in the same breath as their German brethren in Kreator, Sodom and Destruction.
With The Morning After, Tankard’s sense of fun was amplified but so was there technical proficiency. These guys were improving at a rate of knots (despite the inebriation) and the likes of “Commandments” shamed Slayer in the speed stakes.
Tankard were fast becoming one of thrash metal’s most violent acts but there was still fun to be had. The frenetic likes of “Shit-Faced” and the title-track reinforced Tankard’s credentials as a party band to be reckoned with but their standing in thrash circles was only increasing with each release.
Notably punk in flavour, this relentless little shit of an album will still leave you with a head-banging hangover regardless of whether you sank 10 pints the night before!
Destruction – Eternal Devastation (1986)
Hot on the tails of the US thrash elite were Germany’s own teutonic terror’s and Destruction‘s Eternal Devastation was a bestial invasion that let the world know that the Germans were coming!
Perhaps not quite hitting the heights of 1985’s Infernal Overkill, Destruction were still conjuring greatness and classic thrashers can be found here. From the all-time great that is “Curse The Gods” to the still surprising folk-thrash opening of “United By Hatred” and the air-raid siren soloing of “Life Without Sense”, Destruction sounded confident, brash and capable of anything on only their second full length release.
Early European thrash that consolidated Germany’s importance alongside the Bay Area acts, Eternal Devastation remains beloved by thrash fans the world over and for bloody good reason; it’s as devastating as ever.
Sodom – Persecution Mania (1987)
Sodom‘s second full length album marked a notably drastic change of sound from the clattering black metal of 1986’s Obsessed By Cruelty, to the kind of thrash metal that continues to define Sodom’s persona some 30+ years later.
Opening with the vicious “Nuclear Winter”, Persecution Mania instantly set out its stall as Tom Angelripper (vocals and bass), Frank Blackfire (guitars) and Witchhunter (drums) looked to political, social and war themes for inspiration. This would become a consistent motif as time went on but was arguably perfected at the first time of asking with “Electrocution”, the title track itself and, particularly, “Bombenhagal” delivering the goods as Sodom went about delivering the tightest, meanest, leanest, collection of songs in their career.
However, for all the plaudits and notable progression in maturity, Persecution Mania would be considered Sodom’s greatest achievement if it weren’t for the arrival of the outstanding Agent Orange just 2 years later…..and there’s more on that particular masterpiece further on in this feature!