Hello 2020….what tasty thrash morsels do you have in store for us this year?!
Funny you should ask, we’ll start off by selecting the 10 thrash metal albums you had to hear in January 2020….
Amorphia – Merciless Strike
Hailing from Kerela, India, Amorphia are another band channeling the spirit of the old-school (particular Beneath The Remains-era Sepultura, early Kreator and a little Demolition Hammer) and Merciless Strike was as relentlessly aggressive as its title suggests.
Blistering and ballistic, Amorphia may not be delivering a violent revolution but they’re certainly honouring the legends of thrash with their excellently played, catchy yet hostile, material.
Two albums in and these guys are starting to make a real noise!
Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic
It’s highly, highly unlikely that Jeff Waters will ever release an album to rival the magnificence of Alice In Hell and Never, Neverland but, as Annihilator albums go, Ballistic, Sadistic is as fine a modern melodic thrash album from these thrash legends as you could ask for!
Jeff’s never been the greatest vocalist but his performance here is perfectly serviceable (even if the lyrics are as lightweight as ever) and he’s surrounded by a sea of technical riffs which will please any and all thrash fans who love Annihilator for their first two albums.
Upping the ante when it comes to speed, shred, sickle-sharp riffs and ear-pleasing solos this is the most aggressive Annihilator have sounded in years.
Annihilator; as reliable and as enjoyable as ever!
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Cut loose from Sodom yet still thirsting for violence, Bernd ‘Bernemann’ Kost and Markus ‘Makka’ Friewald had everything, and yet nothing, to prove with Bonded‘s debut album.
We already know these guys can thrash and so it came as no surprise that Rest In Violence was as caustic a release as we had expected. With elements of groove seeping in, it’s no surprise that Overkil’s Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellesworth makes an appearance (see above) even if his instantly recognisable tones and screams do make Bonded’s actual singer sound positively pedestrian…..not really his fault, Blitz can do that to pretty much anyone!
Sodom’s loss is our gain.
Decimator – Alienist
9 years since their last album, Brazil’s Decimator finally returned with their feral brand of thrash, a sound that was as as corrosive as ever!
Relentless and remorseless, these guys operate at fast or faster and while tempos are occasionally tempered, Decimator predominantly go for the throat…..hacking and slashing until there’s nothing left but sinew and gristle.
Sometimes a good dose of Brazilian thrash is exactly what the doctor ordered and Alienist is the prescription we were asking for!
Hazzerd – Delirium
In thrall to the melodic technical thrash of the late 1980’s, Canada’s Hazzerd are back to showcase a little of everything that made the late 80’s and early 90’s output of Megadeth, Forbidden and Annihilator so damn appealing.
Technicality aside, Delirium isn’t without its own sense of raw, primal power but Hazzerd are canny enough to consistently entwine their ire with an ear-worm of a hook or a riff that comes straight out of the Iron Maiden book of traditional metal licks for the uninitiated.
With more than a cursory nod to the NWOBHM, Delirium may be accused of lacking the bite of 2017’s album Misleading Evil but there’s no doubting Hazzerd’s progress since that debut first caught the attention of Dave Mustaine et all.
Holycide – Fist To Face
Spanish thrashers Holycide returned with their sophomore album (that’s 2nd album, for those of us that don’t live in the good ol’ U.S of A) and it was quite a politicised one, to boot!
Political diatribes aside, Fist To Face is a rip-snorter of an album, a full frontal riff fest that launches at 100mph and does not let up for its duration.
Diversity may not be its strong-point but Fist To Face certainly delivered on all out thrash aggression, with the vocals of Dave Rotten (of old-school Spanish death metallers Avulsed) gleefully leading the charge.
Hyperia – Insanitorium
These Canadian thrashers burst onto the scene in 2019 with their intriguingly titled Fish Creek Frenzy EP, and now Hyperia have quickly returned with their full length debut, the slightly more sensical Insanitorium
Continuing with their penchant for combining melodic thrash with death, punk and power metal influences, Hyperia have taken everything that made Fish Creek Frenzy so, well, frenzied, and upped the ante, ten-fold.
Unhinged and unconfinable, Hyperia may throw a lot – and we mean a lot – of ideas at the wall in the hope that they stick but, in the end, it’s their scattershot approach and fearless demeanour which makes them so damn appealing!
Repugnatory – Artilleria Anticristiana
These Chilean blackened thrash behemoths do one thing well…..and that’s thrash like a charred motherfucker!
Surprisingly accessible, the black metal aspect of Repugnatory‘s sound is primarily contained to Humberthor Wild’s vocals while the music recalls the blackened speed metal of Venom and Bulldozer.
Either way, these guys riff up a scorched storm of ridiculously catchy, high-speed, odes to all things demonic and blasphemous.
Which is always a blessed thing.
Surgical Strike – Part Of A Sick World
Despite initially forming in 1993, Hanover mob Surgical Strike have only just gotten around to releasing their debut album….and while it turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag, on the whole Part Of A Sick World was an enticing introduction into what these old-school thrashers have to offer.
Riddled with taut energetic riffing and some dazzling interplay between guitarists Marcelo Vasquez Rocha and Frank Ruhnke – a trick they resort to time and time again, with generally fantastic results – Surgical Strike have delivered a precision-honed teutonic thrash album that’s well worth your time!
Just don’t leave it 27 years until the next one, eh lads!
Schizophrenia – Voices
Not an album but this shit is so good that we’ve included it anyway!
Naming themselves after a Sepultura classic indicates Schizophrenia’s philosophy and their death/thrash assault ably recalls early-Seps, early-Death (particularly in Ricky Mandozzi’s rabid vocals) and Dark Angel’s blinding speed and ferocity.
Schizpphenia are relatively ‘catchy’ too, filling each and every one of Voices’ 5 tracks with at least one moment of head-banging nirvana and, let’s be very clear, each song is an absolutely blinding assault on the thrash senses. These brutal Belgian’s have barely put a foot wrong with their vocal hooks, incessant riffs and varied song structures providing the same thrills as those iconic albums you fell in love with in the 1980’s.
This really is the first essential thrash release of 2020….so, what are you waiting for? Go get some!