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The 12 Albums That Kept Thrash Alive During The 1990’s

The world had turned to Grunge but these Thashers just kept on Thrashin'!

Source // jpc.de

After the release of some seminal Thrash albums in the early 90’s (Megadeth’s Rust In Peace/Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal/Annihilator’s Never, Neverland/Death Angel’s Act III/Vio-lence’s Oppressing The Masses/Heathen’s Victims Of Deception to name a few) those flannel-wearing whinge-bags of Grunge took over and Thrash kinda died on its arse, seemingly overnight.

While some bands split and others adapted their sound to meet the demands of a new audience – Metallica went all country on Load/Reload, Anthrax swapped Thrash for straight-up Heavy Metal on Sound Of White Noise, Megadeth took the Mainstream Hard Rock option on Risk, Exodus and Forbidden turned to Groove Metal on Force Of Habit and Green respectively, Nuclear Assault went AWOL, Kreator went Goth on Outcast and Sepultura embraced Nu-Metal on Roots – a few belligerent bastards refused to bow down to changing trends and Thrashed like never before!!

Here’s 12 albums by bands that didn’t give a flying fuck that Thrash’s glory days were behind them, keeping Thrash alive until its long-awaited resurgence in the early 00’s….

Overkill – W.F.O (1994)

Source // static.qobuz.com

Source // static.qobuz.com

After a successful excursion into Groove Metal on 1993’s I Hear Black – a vastly undervalued  album incidentally – just a year later Overkill returned to their good ol’ Thrashin’ ways  with W.F.O.  The result was an old-school blast of furious Thrash that reminded fans why they fell in love with these New Jersey noiseniks in the first place.

Home to killer opener “Where It Hurts” (these boys never fail to deliver an absolute belter of an opening track) and Thrash juggernauts “Fast Junkie” and “Up To Zero” it was the ridiculously infectious “Bastard Nation” that stood out from the pack; faithfully thrashy yet surely designed to be a monster ‘hit’ if the bastards had just paid attention!

W.F.O. (or Wide Fucking Open for its full title) proved to be the last hurrah for Overkill’s glory days as the 90’s all but stalled their progress. Nevertheless, W.F.O should be celebrated as a classic 90’s Thrash album that bucked prevailing trends and thrashed like a mutherfucker! 

About Chris Jennings (855 Articles)
I love Heavy 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/

37 Comments on The 12 Albums That Kept Thrash Alive During The 1990’s

  1. No Ritual Carnage The Highest Law?
    What a shitty mainstream list….

    • Chris Jennings // July 3, 2015 at 2:54 pm // Reply

      Fair point on Ritual Carnage but shitty? Not really fella. Work goes into these things and to dismiss them so curtly is pretty low. Why be so negative?

      • Don`t take this comment to seriously (except the ritual carnage part..).
        There are some good albums on this list and i do understand there is some research on this.
        But from the most bands on this list i prefer their earlier work (but thats a matter of taste)..
        Sorry for my English its not my native language.

        • Chris Jennings // July 17, 2015 at 7:27 am // Reply

          Your English is great, thanks for commenting again. I would agree, the earlier work of the majority of the bands on this list is better….but this article was focusing on the Thrash albums that kept Thrash alive during the mid to late 90’s. It’s off topic to discuss earlier work \m/

    • Devastation – Idolatry
      Demolition Hammer – Epidemic of Violence
      Exhorder – The Law

      Shitty mainstream list is right. This is a list of the albums that almost killed thrash in the 90’s… with the possible exception of The Haunted.

      • Chris Jennings // April 29, 2016 at 7:27 am // Reply

        Again, as it says in the intro “After the release of some seminal Thrash albums in the early 90’s” (The Law and Epidemic Of Violence were ’92) thrash took a nosedive and this list focuses on those albums that kept thrash alive (just) during the remainder of the decade.

  2. Hey Guys which disk is the cover art?

  3. municipal death // July 4, 2015 at 4:55 am // Reply

    No megadeth seriously?

    • Chris Jennings // July 6, 2015 at 7:13 am // Reply

      Seriously! Rust In Peace withstanding (and that was 1990 so barely constitutes keeping Thrash alive in the 90’s) every Megadeth album in the 90’s was basically Mainstream Metal – Countdown To Extinction, Youthanasia, Cryptic Writings and Risk are definitely not Thrash.

  4. Karl Jenkins // July 4, 2015 at 6:31 am // Reply

    Witchburner, Whiplash, and Razor are now being considered as mainstream? Sorry Debruut, that isn’t even true now, much less during the 90s. Frankly, none of these records was “mainstream” during the 90s, which is partly the point. These bands soldiered on during a period where the style was dismissed or frowned upon. However, thanks for calling out Ritual Carnage as I wasn’t familiar with them.
    Enjoyed the article, Chris!

    • Chris Jennings // July 6, 2015 at 7:15 am // Reply

      Ha! Well said sir! You seem to have hit the nail on the head and I was also surprised that the bands you mention were considered ‘mainstream’ in a previous comment. If Whiplash, Razor etc are mainstream what the hell does that make Metaliica, Megadeth etc!!!! 😉 Many thanks for the positive comment \m/

  5. I think you picked the wrong Sodom album. It is the ever underrated Till Death Do Us Unite that deserves the title. And I must say I prefer every other Sodom release from the 90s over Masquerade in Blood, which seems to also suffer from its murky production (especially the guitars). Not a bad album but the rest, and particularly Till Death Do Us Unite are just way better. Suicidal Justice, Hanging Judge, No Way Out are prime examples of the ferocity of that album.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pfqe09JJKE

    Also, I will say that Divine Intervention is way overrated. That year Testament did WAY better in the inspiration/songwriting department. DI is just dry. It’s intense and violent but there is no magic/awe-inspiring/Hanneman-sickness riffology and it’s the first album that Tom Araya’s performance takes a dive (really not a fan of his hardcore deliveries). I was greatly disappointed when it came out and I will never accept it as one of their great albums, it cannot possibly measure up to its predecessors, Dead Skin Mask alone or War Ensemble destroy it.

    Thumbs up for Tankard, extreme dedication and not one day dead as they say. Just have to say that I am a huge fan of their 00s run, starting with 2000’s Kings of Beer, which definitely belongs in their best albums list.

    • Chris Jennings // July 6, 2015 at 7:22 am // Reply

      I like Masquerade In Blood, it just seemed so defiantly, finger-in-your-face Thrash at a time when Thrash was considered a lost cause. The murky production adds to the ‘couldn’t give a f*ck attitude but (and that’s a big but) this is all just a matter of opinion.

      Regarding Slayer, I think you’ve missed the point. Not once do I say Divine Intervention is a superior album to Season In The Abyss etc, it’s clearly not. It is a 100% 90’s Thrash album though and for that alone it HAD to be included. It’s also a whole lot better than Diabolus in Musica which was a nu-metal derived travesty and in hindsight Divine Intervention clearly marked the end of Slayer’s golden era.

      Gotta love Tankard! Those boys have flown the Thrash flag like virtually no other band and their post 00’s output has been consistently strong.

      Thanks for the comments Vic \m/

      • Re: Slayer, I know you didn’t say Divine Intervention was better than Seasons and I am glad to see the “it’s clearly not” comment! I guess I could put it this way: Seasons is not clearly inferior to South of Heaven and South of Heaven is not clearly inferior to Reign in Blood and so on. Meaning, the golden era stops at Seasons. Divine Intervention might carry some inertia from the golden era (to the fan psyche as well) and it’s not a bad album per se (it is for Slayer’s standards though, which was my original point) but is it clearly the starting point of the downfall. We agree that Diabolus in Musica was when Slayer (Hanneman actually, he basically wrote the whole album himself, minus one song) hit rock bottom, so an album that is better than that is not really an amazing accomplishment.

        Other than that, I can appreciate Masquerade in Blood and it’s almost swedish death vibe( the Sunlight Studios, not the pseudo-Gothenburg kind!) but like I said, it’s the songs that do it for me, which is why I prefer Get What You Deserve and esp. “Till Death…” In any case, Sodom had (have) a very consistent discography and along with Tankard kept their ground firmly. Respect.

        • Chris Jennings // July 17, 2015 at 9:06 am // Reply

          Hey Vic. A fair point well argued mate. I still hold Divine Intervention in high regard but I see your point. I’m going to give Sodom’s “Till Death…” another spin, it never resonated with me in the past but it could be time for a rethink! Thanks for reading, commenting and debating man, much appreciated. All the best \m/

  6. Hans Blanco // July 29, 2015 at 6:54 am // Reply

    “Resolutely heavy and as ugly as a bus full of Ronaldinho look-a-likes”
    Hahahaha, that’s a good one!

    By the way nice post.

  7. Overkills finest moment during the 90s was undeniably “From the Underground and Below”. A far more thrashier album than WFO, which is crap by comparison.
    Also any 90s thrash list not including Aura Noir is incomplete. Not because they are the best band out there, but they brought back thrash at a point when black metal reigned supreme.

    • Chris Jennings // July 29, 2015 at 7:38 am // Reply

      I agree with you there, From The Underground And Below is better but it contains far too many groove elements for it to compete with W.F.O in the context of this article Kai. Thanks for reading and commenting \m/

  8. Hello you forgot one of the best thrash albums of 90’s
    Infernal Majesty – Unholier Than Thou !
    Stay heavy ^^

    • Chris Jennings // March 11, 2017 at 8:57 am // Reply

      Now that is the best call so far! Yep, completely forgot it and I hang my head in shame. Spot on Sacha! \m/

  9. Peter Tsiolis // March 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm // Reply

    Where’s Aftermath – Eyes of Tomorrow?

  10. José Diaz // March 11, 2017 at 5:32 pm // Reply

    Good list indeed my friend, but you can not say that Metallica went all country in Load/Reload for just one song in their catalogue. They blended blues, hard rock and heavy metal.

    • Chris Jennings // March 11, 2017 at 7:08 pm // Reply

      In all honesty, we were kind of taking the piss but the point that they ditched thrash remains valid! \m/

  11. SACRI SLAYER // March 12, 2017 at 6:41 am // Reply

    TESTAMENT = LOW
    KREATOR = CAUSE FOR CONFLICT
    SODOM = CODE RED
    ATTOMICA= DISTURBING THE NOISE

  12. Fabio from Venezia // March 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm // Reply

    Hi…good article…I would add:
    Dark Angel-time does not heal
    Sepultura – arise
    Macchine Head – burn my eyes
    Coroner – mental cortex
    Pantera – The great southern trendkill
    Voivod – Phobos
    Epidemic – Decameron
    Necrodeath – Mater Of all evil

  13. Fabio from Venezia // March 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm // Reply

    Sorry for The double C on m.head…. :-))))

  14. Fabio from Venezia // March 13, 2017 at 1:03 pm // Reply

    And cortex? Hahaha my stupid phone…

  15. Aaadabaadab // June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am // Reply

    Here is what you SHOULD’VE added to this list:

    Xentrix – Scourge (1996)
    Acid Drinkers – Infernal Connection (1994)
    Epidemic – Exit Paradise (1994)

    All three of those should have been put on here for on Wikipedia all of them are labeled as JUST thrash

  16. Aaadabaadab // June 17, 2017 at 4:26 am // Reply

    I have 2 more albums for the follow-up:

    Tankard – Disco Destroyer (1998)
    Nevermore – Dreaming Neon Black (1999)

  17. Aaadabaadab // June 18, 2017 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    One extra album:

    Sodom – Code Red (1999)

  18. Aaadabaadab // June 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm // Reply

    Two extras by looking up in the metal archives:

    Betrayer – Calamity (1994)
    Paingate – Sacrifice (1995)

  19. Aaadabaadab // July 1, 2017 at 12:12 am // Reply

    Guess what? The Iced Earth Burnt Offerings track “Dante’s Inferno” is the longest track on the album at 16 minutes and 29 seconds long —wow! Never heard a thrash song that long before!

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