Over the last decade, UK thrash has returned in a big way, with both new blood and old dogs wringing necks in the name of high quality THRASH and delivering some of the finest work heard on these fair shores since the glory days of the late 80’s!
With that in mind, Worship Metal have collated our 10 greatest UK thrash albums of the last 10 years. If we forgot your favourite, pop it in the comments section below and we’ll shoot the shit about it!
10. Shrapnel – The Virus Conspires (2014)
A snarling, slashing beast of an album, Shrapnel‘s debut, The Virus Conspires, was an instant win back in 2014!
Backed by Candlelight Records, these Norwich boys already had the jump on much of their peers but they also had the songs to back up the hype. Taking their modern-sounding yet retro-acknowledging cues from the likes of Kreator, Sodom and Exodus, The Virus Conspires was an aggressive little bitch chock-full of bangers and the opening triumvirate of “Kingdom Come”, “Titan” and “Braindead” were as hard as they come.
Fortunately, Shrapnel have never been brutal for brutality’s sake and there was enough variety dispersed amongst the thrashin’ rage to keep this outstanding debut consistently interesting.
An auspicious start indeed!
Also recommended: Palace For The Insane (2020)
9. Solitary – The Truth Behind the Lies (2020)
Solitary should now be considered vanguards of the UK thrash scene, having plyed their trade since 1994 and releasing some incendiary material during thrash metal’s more fallen periods. Gaps in between albums had been relatively long in the past but it was a delight to see them back in 2020 with a follow-up to 2017’s The Diseased Heart Of Society and hopes of a ball-crushing exercise in UK thrash brutality were high, such was the quality of previous releases.
With plenty of variety and a true sense of purpose and focus the likes of the title track delivered a pummelling experience, and one which gets better with each spin. That being said, The Truth Behind The Lies could hardly be labelled a ‘grower’, it’s an immediate thrash fix which speaks volumes for Solitary’s songwriting and performances across the board.
Together with producer Simon Efemey (Amorphis, Napalm Death, Paradise Lost etc), Solitary pushed themselves to the limit and released the most consistent, most convincing album of their career to date. A bold statement considering how damn good The Diseased Heart Of Society was but it’s clear that The Truth Behind The Lies is Solitary’s magnum opus; an undiluted thrash album with plenty to say and the songs to back it up!
Also recommended: The Diseased Heart of Society (2017)
8. Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth (2011)
Evile may have been leading the UK thrash revival charge before the release of Five Serpent’s Teeth but it was with Five Serpent’s Teeth that they truly became their own entity and a global thrash force in their own right! Sure, you could still hear plenty of Metallica, Testament and Slayer in their sound but this was Evile finally finding their feet and delivering an album worthy of the highest accolades.
Featuring sterling guitar work throughout, this collection of songs arguably remains the greatest of Evile’s career with their lofty ambitions shining through. Backed by a set of massive, menacing and, most importantly, diverse tracks, Evile were thinking big with Five Serpent’s Teeth and the likes of the title track, “Cult” & “Eternal Empire” delivered the goods on every level.
Let’s face it, rewind the clock two decades and these guys would have been in the big leagues. That’s how good Five Serpent’s Teeth really is!
A special note for “In Memoriam”, the heartfelt tribute written in honour of fallen comrade, Mike Alexander (RIP). Honest, emotional and overwhelmingly potent, this is one thrash ballad which reaches above the maudlin and truly connects with its audience on every level. A bravura move from a band reeling from such a heavy loss.
Also recommended: Skull (2013)
7. Xentrix – Bury the Pain (2019)
Once touted as UK thrash’s answer to Metallica (not quite but bloody close), Xentrix embraced an Americanised sound and their cold, crisp riffing, mid-paced thrashing and Chris Astley’s confident bellow originally elevated them to the upper echelons of the UK thrash scene. The good news is that Xentrix circa 2019 still sounded like Xentrix circa 1990 and their recognisable sound was front and centre throughout…..all be it modernised for today’s audience (and without Chris Astley at the helm).
Bury The Pain exhibited a seamless flow – led by a huge grasp of melody and a penchant for delivering an endless parade of solid, bruising, thrash ditties – and Xentrix’s scintillating combination of Metallica and the UK’s own Onslaught (along with a little Testament thrown in for good measure) truly took flight on “There Will Be Consequences” and “The Red Mist Descends”.
While a lack of diversity may irk some new listeners, it’s clear that Xentrix were by no means playing catch-up with the rest of thrash metal’s renaissance crew and we maintain that Bury The Pain is simply the sound of a tight unit excelling at their own perfected brand of semi-melodic, mostly mid-tempo, kick-ass THRASH!
6. Virus – Evilution Apocalypse (2020)
This was the album we all hoped Coke Finlay and Virus were going to make!
Old-school thrash at its finest, Evilution Apocalypse is as honest as they come; a 100% grassroots thrash album which both honours Virus’ past (and their influences, which include classic Exodus and Vio-Lence) while defiantly signalling a future which deserves to be brighter than their somewhat chequered past.
Full of ideas, this restless savage of an album lives and dies by its dexterity, devilish sense of humour and direct approach and Virus sure as hell can’t be accused of playing it safe with this one. The reboots of old classics “Force Recon” and “Release The Dead” aside, this new material ticked all the thrash boxes as Coke and the boys bought both technicality and brutality to the fore.
Highlights? We’d single out both the scathing rhetoric and satisfying crunch of “Goat (Father, Scum and Unholy)” and the classic thrash sounds of “Multiple Wargasms”; songs that are, potentially, the best of Coke’s and Virus’ career.
Evilution Apocalypse was the only virus in 2020 that was a welcome one!
5. Reign of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd (2015)
The UK’s ever burgeoning thrash renaissance hit new highs with the release of Reign Of Fury’s sophomore album back in 2015. Reigning in the fury somewhat, the band delivered an exceptional melodic thrash record featuring the requisite choppy riffs, gang vocals and varied tempo changes that thrashers inevitably demand.
With each track clocking in at approx 6mins+, this was an album to gorge on rather than take quick bites but 2 songs in particular warranted special mention; “Gates Of Sanity” and “Death Be Thy Shepherd” thrashed hard and the inclusion of Chuck Billy-esque death growls and deep-throated screams took things to another level entirely!
Highly reminiscent of the all-out riff-fests and lengthy compositions found on Metallica’s …And Justice For All, Onslaught’s perennially undervalued In Search Of Sanity and Dark Angel’s sprawling Time Does Not Heal, there’s no doubting the sense of unwavering confidence on display; as evidenced by the bravura move of bookending this mammoth effort with 2 tracks that clocked in at an almighty 20 minutes between them!
Also recommended: Exoricse Reality (2019) – it’s different…..but it’s good different!
4. Thrashist Regime – Carnival of Monsters (2018)
When bands bounce back not only from a relatively long leave of absence but with an album that far, far surpasses their previous output it’s a reason to rejoice. And rejoice we did when we heard Thrashist Regime‘s Carnival Of Monsters back in 2018!
A simply sublime slab of thrash from a band who bounced back in a big way, Thrashist Regime sounded like Anthrax one minute, Onslaught the next, and there was also a crossover edge to their blistering attack as gang vox and lightning-fast riffing indulged every thrash fans wanton whim. Aggressive yet melodic, it’s safe to say Thrashist Regime delivered a stone-cold modern classic in the making; so sharp and focused were Carnival Of Monsters 11 tracks.
A fuckin’ King Kong of an album, a Godzilla-sized thrash monster, a Frankenstein-esque assembling of thrash metal’s finest moments…..a carnival of ABSOLUTE thrash monsters!
Also recommended: Fearful Symmetry (2015)
3. Onslaught – Generation Antichrist (2020)
Onslaught are a UK thrash institution. Scratch that. Onslaught are a thrash institution regardless of geography. From seminal 80’s release The Force (an album that, at the time, rivalled Slayer in the ferocity stakes) to the divisive, but blatantly brilliant and mainstream-courting In Search Of Sanity (1989), and onto their 3 albums post 2004 reformation, Onslaught have always delivered nuthin’ but thrash gold!
But, with revered frontman Sy Keeler gone, Generation Antichrist could have been seen as a make or break album for these thrash mainstays, such was the former singer’s formidable presence. Fortunately, Dave Garnett (Bull-Riff Stampede – the band that just keeps on giving) equipped himself remarkably well, honouring the tones of Sy Keeler while avoiding mere mimicry. This could have been a thankless task but much in the same way as Xentrix’s Jay Walsh (thanks again Bull-Riff Stampede) ably filled the shoes of Chris Astley, so Dave rose admirably to the occasion. In this aspect, the relief was tangible because it meant we could concentrate less on a new band member and more on the actual music; music which, we are more than thrilled to say, was as caustic and as nihilistically thrilling as ever.
Short, sharp and savage opener “Rise to Power” was as crushing as you’d expect, with these dogs of war seeking to re-build their army and march on to modern metal glory with thrash ringing in their ears. 8 tracks of blistering old-school thrash, with a modern sheen, then followed, and all delivered in the manner we have continued to adore and respect ever since ‘comeback’ album Killing Peace floored us in 2007.
Also recommended: VI (2013)
2. Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement (2019)
When Acid Reign announced that a brand new album was finally in the offing, it’s fair to say that thrashers in the UK (and beyond) were trippin’ their tits off at the thought of a new release from these cult legends. Hopes were uniformly high after the quality of the 2 singles that preceded the release of The Age Of Entitlement – “Plan Of The Damned” and The Man Who Became Himself” if you didn’t already know – but, in actuality, The Age Of Entitlement went on to exceed any and all expectations by a huge margin!
It was interesting to see that neither “Plan Of The Damned” or “The Man Who Became Himself” featured on the album and, in our humble opinion, this decision made the singles even more ‘special’ and the album even better.
New tracks, no filler!
And those tracks were all, and we do mean all, outstanding. “The New Low” was heavy, angry, pacy and home to a catchy as fuck chorus (it’s a modern thrash classic in the making) while “Sense Of Independence” began with a little Marc Jackson wizardry on the drums before launching into just under 4 minutes of thrashy mayhem. Pace was played with, convention was toyed with and Acid Reign simply delivered the best thrash metal album of 2019.
Ladies and gentleman, this is how you write a comeback album!
1. Anihilated – Anti Social Engineering (2015)
Anihilated, one of the UK’s most revered and vital thrash bands, may have marked their return from a long, self-imposed sabbatical with 2010’s Scorched Earth Policy and 2013’s iDeviant but with 2015’s Anti Social Engineering they upped the ante considerably, with the introduction of master-of-all trades Danny B on guitar appearing to crystallise Anihilated’s sound considerably.
This ultimately left those oh-so-familiar ‘UK Slayer’ comparisons utterly redundant and, in any case, Anti Social Engineering shat all over Slayer’s Repentless, which was released the same year. If anything, the songs on Anti Social Engineering have only improved with age. Proving particularly politically accurate, their power is palpable and the dystopian nature of not only the cover art but the entire concept feels eerily prescient five years on.
Anihilated’s punk origins still rang true in Si Cobb’s snarling vocal delivery and barborous social commentary but this was blistering modern thrash through and through. “They Lie, We Die” and “Seas Of Red” were an opening combo of considerable repute with Anihilated’s rhythm section locking into colossal grooves while pure thrash riffs were peeled off at a dizzying rate.
“The Slaughter Continues” admittedly did recall Seasons Of The Abyss era Slayer, with its ominious grooves and mid-tempo stomp, while the title track – featuring the guttural delights of Anton Reisenegger (Criminal/Pentagram [Chile]/Lock Up) on dual vocals – was a Testament style death/thrash face-pounder which took just two and a half minutes to leave indelible scars; aggressive thrash at its absolute finest!
Stripped back and bloodily raw, “Zombie 13”, “A Vile Congregation” and “Torn By The Tooth” were mid-album killers, all continuing the savage thrash attack and avoiding the dreaded status of ‘filler’, but it was on “Thrashing Crew” where Anti Social Engineering reached its zenith. “Thrashing Crew” can officially be added to the list of ultimate thrash anthems; a call to arms to rival Megadeth’s “Rattlehead”, Testament’s “Into The Pit” and Exodus’ “Bonded By Blood“. Featuring guest vo-kills from Sy Keeler (Onslaught), Coke Finlay (Virus) and Jason McLoughlin (D.A.M.), UK thrash could not have been better represented and “Thrashing Crew” remains a pit-inducing whirlwind of lacerating riffs and larynx-ripping vocals.
“Vultures” was another carcass-shredder, built around some incredible kick-drum work, while “I Am The Beholder” was the kind of epic closing track the cream of thrash bands used to deliver so damn well in the 1980’s. A suffocatingly crushing blast which builds and builds in intensity as the speed increases and Si Cobb’s vocals become ever more feral, this immense track is the perfect way to close an old-school thrash album that fearlessly embraces a modern audience’s desire for face-melting riffs and 100% committed performances.
If you needed a frighteningly accurate snapshot of modern life in the UK (and beyond) – set to a backdrop of blistering, seething UK thrash – then look no further than Anti Social Engineering….quite simply the finest UK thrash album of the last 10 years!
Also recommended: Scorched Earth Policy (2010)
Honourable mentions: Bangover – Shovel Butcher (2018) / Bull-Riff Stampede – Enraging the Beast (2016) / Desolator – Total Attack (2013) / Eradikator – Edge of Humanity (2015) / Gama Bomb – Untouchable Glory (2015) / Incinery – Hollow Earth Theory (2020) / Inhuman Nature – Inhuman Nature (2019) / Helgrind – Insurrection (2017) / Psython – Hatred (2017) / Savage Messiah – The Fateful Dark (2014) /Sun of the Endless Night – Symbols of Hate and Deceitful Faith (2019) / Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering (2020) / Wretched Soul – The Ghost Road (2016)