2021 found American thrash bands both old and new releasing some damn fine albums and here’s Worship Metal’s pick of the 5 must-hear AMERICAN THRASH albums of the year…..
Exodus – Persona Non Grata
Released: November 19th, 2021 via Nuclear Blast
Exodus are a thrash institution. You know ’em. You love ’em. You’ve blasted their 80s classics a million times and you know, that as far as the pioneers of thrash go, Exodus are still very much at the top of their game.
With nothing really left to prove, it was a joy to discover that Persona Non Grata simply thrashed hard, fast and with enough damn vigour to belie the fact that these guys have been doing this shit for the best part of 35 years!
Was Persona Non Grata as good as Bonded By Blood (1985), Fabulous Disaster (1989) or Tempo of the Damned (2004)? No. Not even close. But it was superior to everything Exodus had released over the last 15 years and that was reason enough alone to rejoice.
On this evidence, Gary Holt and the boys have plenty left in the tank.
Flotsam And Jetsam – Blood In The Water
Released: June 4th, 2021 via AFM Records
Damn, Flotsam and Jetsam are on a hot streak! These Arizonian thrash / power /speed metal veterans have been releasing consistent and high quality material since 2016’s self-titled 12th album reawakened them from their apparent slumber….and they’ve not looked back since!
Bracing for the impact of these bruising, high-energy, thrash/speed freak-outs was pointless as Flotsam and Jetsam were operating at kill-level intensity here and if you enjoyed Flotsam and Jetsam (2016) andThe End Of Chaos (2019) – and if you didn’t, you’re in dire need of immediate medical attention – Blood In The Water completed one hell of a latter day trilogy.
Just like Overkill, this album proves you CAN do what you did 35 years ago and still have it sound fresh and frantic! With no useless or discarded objects to be found bobbing around Blood In The Water’s 53 min run time, the album proved to be a distillation of 35+ years of hard graft and experience into one ass-kicking album.
Wraith – Undo The Chains
Released: September 24th, 2021 via Redefining Darkness Records
When compared to 2019’s Absolute Power, US thrashers Wraith considerably upped the ante with Undo The Chains, improving immeasurably on both production and songwriting and finally staking their claim as emerging heroes.
With their punk influences softened, it was predominately left to the thrash and the speed metal to do the talking…..and the likes of “Born To Die” (with its rough and ready Motörhead meets Venom meets early Metallica clatter) and the Kreator-esque raw energy of “Cloaked In Black” were talking LOUD!
Simple and fun, Undo the Chains was an absolute blast from start to finish with Wraith‘s rippling energy bursting forth at the seams as 30 mins whipped by in a flurry of 80s inspired, mosh-friendly blackened anthems.
Black Mass – Feast At The Forbidden Tree
Released: September 10th, 2021 via Redefining Darkness Records
Everything about Black Mass‘ Feast At The Forbidden Tree screamed old-school. The oldest of school in fact, with the band taking their cues from the earliest of thrash and extreme metal sounds with Venom‘s Black Metal, Destructor‘s Maximum Destruction, Celtic Frost‘s Morbid Tales and Slayer‘s Show No Mercy leaping to mind (which is never bad company to be in).
A feast of rabid sheiks, growls and primal riffs, Feast At The Forbidden Tree wound the clock back to the early/mid 80s with ease and, most importantly, released an album so damn convincing you’d swear that Black Mass had been there at this start – yes, it’s that fucking good!
The forbidden fruit of this particular tree was certainly ripe for the picking.
Enforced – Kill Grid
Released: March 12th, 2021 via Century Media Records
Fuck-ing-hell. This was the shit, right here.
Enforced‘s Kill Grid was the kind of full-throttle, take no prisoners crossover thrash that had you picking a fight with your own living room within seconds of hearing searing opener, “The Doctrine”.
As furious as your Mum when she discovered how many spunk-filled socks were under your bed (sorry Mum), Kill Grid was unashamedly aggressive, fuelled by Knox Colby’s hardcore bark and the kind of frenzied riffing that propelled Slayer to god-like status.
All of us left reeling after the tragic passing of Power Trip‘s Riley Gale should take solace in the fact that Enforced will pick up exactly where Power Trip left off!
Crossover thrash has its new saviours!
Also check out our other thrash related end of 2021 articles: