Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989)
A simple and often stated fact: Jeff Waters is one of the finest metal guitarists of all time. You can’t argue with such a statement and his prodigious, precocious talent first came to the world’s attention on Annihilator‘s stunning debut.
In 1989, Alice In Hell represented technical thrash of the highest order, an album overflowing with ideas and executed with more panache and ability than virtually anyone outside of Megadeth.
The unforgettably monikered Randy Rampage (R.I.P) led the charge – delivering one of the dirtiest, unrefined and downright unpredictable vocal performances in thrash metal history – and when welded to Waters’ exquisite riffs, thrash metal magic was inevitable.
Check out the blistering speed of “Human Insecticide” and the incredible interplay and sheer bravado of “Alison Hell”, for ample proof that an on-fire Jeff Waters and an-on fire Randy Rampage were a formidable partnership forged in the bowels of hell!
Mekong Delta – The Principle Of Doubt (1989)
Another band with an 80’s discography which all warrants mention here, we’ve actually gone with 1989’s The Principle Of Doubt; an album which wilfully took Mekong Delta’s more obscure elements further than ever before.
Mekong Delta often operated on another level entirely and this, their 3rd full length album, was certainly no exception!
The chug of Anthrax-esque riffs may have provided the core of their sound but Mekong Delta stood out from the pack via their otherworldly solos, frantic percussion and abstract background noise; resulting in a sonic maelstrom often inconceivable in its complexity.
To sound like you’re playing a different song to your bandmates and still fashion these sounds into something resembling a recognisable song structure is a feat in itself…..and yet, Mekong Delta managed it time and time again.
Just give the title track a spin and try telling us your head isn’t left spinning from the sheer madness of it all!
Watchtower – Control And Resistance (1989)
Bands in the late 80’s seemed to tap into an inexhaustible well of experimentation and progressive attitudes and Watchtower were no exception.
Twisting thrash into to ever more contorted forms, Control And Resistance was the bastard son of Bay Area thrash and jazz-fusion (“The Eldritch” perfectly encapsulates their approach in just 3 concise minutes) and remains a confounding and technically astonishing slice of futuristic progressive metal.
Kudos to the astonishingly gifted Ron Jarzombek (Spastic Ink, Blotted Science) who’s incendiary guitar work is simply mind-blowing and whose split-second time changes and elaborate solos were undoubtedly a massive influence on the technical djent scene that thrives today.
So ahead of it’s time, Control And Resistance still maintains the power to shock and surprise….imagine how it sounded 29 years ago!
Honourable mentions: Watchtower – Energetic Disassembly (1985) / Coroner – R.I.P (1987) / Juggernaut – Baptism Under Fire (1987) / Mekong Delta – Mekong Delta (1987) / Wolf Spider – Wilczy Pjąk (1987) / Toxik – World Circus (1987) / Agony – The First Defiance (1988) / Erosion – Mortal Agony (1988) / Forbidden – Forbidden Evil (1988) / Hexenhaus – A Tribute To Insanity (1988) / Mekong Delta – The Music Of Erich Zann (1988) / Sadus – Illusions (1988) / Savage Steel – Do Or Die (1988) / Dyoxen – First Among Equals (1989) / Target – Master Project Genesis (1989) / Believer – Extraction From Mortality (1989) / Bezerker – Lost (1989) / Coroner – No More Color (1989) / Dark Angel – Leave Scars / Defiance – Product Of Society (1989) / Equinox – Auf Wiedersehen (1989) / Forced Entry – Uncertain Future (1989) / Intruder – A Higher Form Of Killing (1989) / Midas Touch – Presage To Disaster (1989) / Toxik – Think This (1989) / Viking – Man Of Straw (1989)