The classics are all well and good but there’s a shit ton of obscure thrash out there that demands to be heard!
To that end, Worship Metal has selected 10 obscure old-school thrash albums you NEED to hear. This is Part 9…..and there’s plenty more to come!
A.R.G. – Entrance (1989) [Finland]
A.R.G. (aka Ancient Rotten Graveguards) were responsible for some of the most ferocious thrash within the Finnish metal scene and their debut, Entrance, immediately marked them out as death/thrashers par excellence.
After a brief, elegant intro lulls you into a false sense of security, Entrance announces its arrival with all manner of innovative touches, enabling A.R.G. to stay nice n’ nasty throughout Entrance‘s entire duration. This is suitably intense stuff, ultra aggressive and framed by some unorthodox riffing which helps to raise A.R.G. well above the ‘also ran’ pile of indistinguishable thrashers that were doing the rounds back in ’89.
As it turns out, A.R.G. did make quite the entrance….it’s just a pity more of us weren’t paying attention!
Attomica – Limits Of Insanity (1989) [Brazil]
Brazilian thrashers Attomica had already made quite a splash with their 1987 self-titled debut and Limits Of Insanity attempted to capitalise on that goodwill by cleaning up their previously raw sound and delivering thunderous, semi-melodic thrash to the baying masses.
With the vocals attaining an ever more power metal sound, those expecting a Brazilian pounding a la Sepultura may have been surprised by the sheer accessibility of this underrated album. Instead, Attomica dialled down the aggression and went for the mainstream’s throat.
Of course, the mainstream wasn’t interested but that doesn’t mean that the sheer array of outstanding mid-tempo riffs on Limits of Insanity can’t be fully appreciated now!
Dearly Beheaded – Temptation (1996) [UK]
A hulking, crushing slab of mid-90s thrash /groove akin to Machine Head, Skinlab and Overkill (during their most obvious groove era), Dearly Beheaded‘s debut album, Temptation, should have seen these UK bruisers rise above the ranks of mere also rans.
Home to some colossal riffing and a penchant for wringing necks with brute, mid-tempo force, Temptation was a case of right album at the right time with the right producer at the helm (Colin Richardson)…but ‘fame’ was to be short lived. One more album followed, 1997’s Chamber Of One, and then the band imploded; full potential never quite fulfilled.
Some may balk at Dearly Beheaded being described as thrash but if they were ‘thrash’ enough to be included in Ian Glasper’s almighty tome, Contract In Blood: A History of UK Thrash Metal….then they’re ‘thrash’ enough for us!
Deathblow – Meanless Propaganda (1991) [Japan]
Beautifully executed acoustic intro? Check! Ferocious opening track? Check! Mildly diverting mellow breaks between the hardcore thrashing? Also, check! Baffling concept based on the Lebanese Civil War? Um….check!?
That’s right, Deathblow‘s mildly technical debut album has a concept so absurdly bewildering, that you could be forgiven for looking past the fact they generally follow the de-rigueur rules of thrash to the letter. Which is no bad thing, Deathblow were a decent – if occasionally unremarkable – thrash act with just enough variances to their style to maintain attention, and the likes of the multi-faceted “The Distorted Symbol” and the epic chug of the ludicrously titled “Seventh Angel Blows A Bugle…” are worthy of merit.
Meanless Propaganda‘s crazy concept is worth checking it out for alone!
Death In Action – Just For Our Sake…? (1990) [Germany]
“Paralysed” kicks off this obscurity in a suitably frantic fashion. All crossover barks and frenzied riffing – as per Death In Action‘s 1988 debut, Toxic Waste – and it’s an opener that was never gonna change the world but warrants attention nonetheless. And, if Just For Our Sake…? had continued in this fashion, it may just have found more of an audience!
Unfortunately, Just For Our Sake…? was/is all over the shop, with the band flip-flopping between barely controlled bursts of crossover rage (such as on the aforementioned “Paralysed” and frantic album closer “Deadly Blessing”) and a more refined, Metallica-esque, progressive thrash approach à la …And Justice for All.
Meaning Just For Our Sake…? ultimately leads to confusion…. but it’s not without its highlights.