Megace – Human Errors (1991) [Germany]
Emerging from the same technical thrash genre pool as the likes of Mekong Delta and Sadus, Megace had their own distinct charms and remain a unique proposition in a severely crowded marketplace.
With a talent for cunning complexity, Megace were operating at a level that would fry most minds but their biggest asset could also be considered their most divisive ingredient – the vocals of Melanie Bock.
With the ability to alternate between Sabine Classen-esque shrieks and growls and a more power metal styled delivery, those thrashers who struggle with female vocals in the genre will hit a brick wall fast. Of course, that’s complete nonsense as Bock’s emotive delivery competed with her male compatriots on every level and offered Megace that ‘special something’ to differentiate them from the pack!
A unique moment in German thrash that deserves to be revered and adored.
Messina – Terrortory (1990) [Netherlands]
For a Dutch scene lauded for its technical prowess, Messina’s one and only full length album, Terrortory, was rough and ready; with the band appropriating a more direct approach that appeared to take inspiration from the likes of Stone (Finland), Atrophy (USA) and Acid Reign (UK).
However, there’s nothing wrong with blue-collar thrash when performed convincingly and Messina sure were heavy and came laden with enough mosh-worthy tunes to satisfy the most hardened of thrash purists. With “Ritual Killings” providing ultimate bounce and “Attempted Suicide” going hell for leather in a manner Exodus would have found particularly appealing, Messina were surely a band with career ahead of them. As it turned out, Terrortory was their one and only offering but when the results are this good, you won’t find us complaining!
A tad on the dry side, Terrortory nevertheless provides enough catchy hooks and variation to earn its place amongst the elite of Dutch thrash releases.
Thought Industry – Songs For Insects (1992) [USA]
As ‘cult’ as they come, Thought Industry‘s debut album, Songs For Insects, arrived a little late in the day to make the impact it deserved, but the same can be said for many a thrash band who tried to twist thrash into new forms as the 90’s marched on.
An experience that blurs the lines of what ‘thrash’ was legitimately ‘allowed’ to achieve, Thought Industry‘s stream of consciousness approach may result in a hyper-speed blur of seemingly unconnected ideas, but dig deep and Songs For Insect‘s fearless approach and mesmerising musicianship soon reveals itself.
Suffice to say, fans of the often unwieldy Deathrow‘s Deception Ignored, Dark Angel‘s Time Does Not Heal and Anacrusis‘ Manic Impressions should get a kick out of Songs For Insect‘s labyrinthine song structures and off-kilter time signatures.
Usurper – Divine Spiritual and Intellectual Development (1990) [Netherlands]
We’re not entirely sure you’re going to attain the ultimate enlightenment of divine spiritual and intellectual development by listening to Usurper’s brand of thrash…..but you will have a darn good time!
Raw and rancorous, 1990’s Divine Spiritual and Intellectual Development took its cues from Possessed circa Beyond the Gates and hovered on the edge of death metal without fully committing. This should come as no surprise given that the band started life as death metal act Sepulchral Death, before morphing into Usurper and fully embracing the darker side of thrash.
While lacking in anything truly memorable, it’s to Usurper’s credit that, as a whole, their one and only full length release remains an enjoyable experience; one that lives and dies by its back-to-basics riffs and evil atmosphere.
Wolf Spider – Kingdom of Paranoia (1990) [Poland]
A cult band of considerable skill, Poland’s Wolf Spider may not be anywhere near a household name but their late 80s / early 90s output was the envy of many a technical / progressive thrash band and Kingdom Of Paranoia (1990) is, arguably, their finest moment!
One of the ‘Big Four of Polish technical / progressive thrash’ – nestling in nicely next to Turbo, Astharoth and Acrimony (more on those bands at a future date) – Kingdom Of Paranoia found Wolf Spider improving immeasurably on debut album Wilczy Pająk, with the band further embracing schizophrenic time changes and all manner of obscure references.
The likes of “Sickened Nation” may have offered a more accessible road to thrash nirvana but Wolf Spider truly shone when they fully gave in to their esoteric tendencies – such as on the exhilarating “Pain”.
Also in this Series: