Our antipodean cousins are hardly renowned for thrash (at least not in the 80’s and early 90’s anyway) but there was some supreme talent lurking down under, steadily feeding the underground a solid collection of old-school classics that remain well worthy of your time.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
Addictive – Pity Of Man (1989)
Australian thrashers Addictive may be no more than a footnote in the history of thrash metal but, for a short time in the late 80’s, these Antipodean anarchists were one of the leading bands in the Aussie scene.
Playing hard and fast, it appears that Addictive were influenced by the usual suspects of the era (Metallica, Sacred Reich, Dark Angel, Testament) and a decent attempt at James Hetfield mimicry in the vocal department backs up that assumption. Opener “Get Out Of My Life” took the direct approach and much of Pity of Man subsequently stuck to a similar path; one built around ultimate aggression backed by socio-conscious lyrics.
While not quite in the same league as Mortal Sin and Hobbs’ Angel of Death (more on them later), Addictive were still addictive enough (sic) to make a mark on an overcrowded scene and Pity Of Man should be considered somewhat of a lost treasure.
Allegiance – D.E.S.T.I.T.U.T.I.O.N (1994)
What a concrete slab of hard-hitting thrash Allegiance‘s debut album was!
Overall, this was a relatively familiar release to those already accustomed to Machine Head‘s Burn My Eyes etc but that shouldn’t distract from what is a gruff, rough, street-ready run through some decidedly above average thrash.
With D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n. ringing the same bells as Sacred Reich‘s Ignorance and Atrophy‘s Violent By Nature – with a fair amount of solid groove and mid-tempo stomp supporting Allegiance‘s chug-happy musings – it was the likes of the fast and frenetic “Path of Lies” (with its death metal leanings), and the insanely catchy title track, which marked Allegiance out as potential contenders.
Just one more album followed – 1996’s sub-par Skinman – but D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n is where it’s at!
Bezerker – Lost (1990)
A true anomaly – even in the Australian scene – Bezerker‘s only full length release is as frustrating as it is interesting; an album that’s tantalisingly technical and abruptly abstract in equal measure.
With a singer who’s distinctive clean voice was a decidedly love it or hate it affair (think Forbidden‘s Russ Anderson without the big man’s range), it’s testament to the quality of the songwriting that Bezerker‘s blend of progressive thrash remains a lost treasure; one that swiftly enamours with its full-tilt tenacity and go-for-broke mentality.
One and done – but not a bad legacy to leave behind. Lost? Go find it!
Hobbs Angel Of Death – Hobbs Angel Of Death (1988)
Ostensibly a solo venture for ex-Tyrus guitarist Peter Hobbs, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death was an old-school thrash album, unsurprisingly in thrall to the satanic noise belched forth by thrash giants Slayer (Hell Awaits era).
A cult act par excellence, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death may not have registered on the global scene but tracks such as caustic opener “House of Death” and the bludgeoning “Crucifixion” were equal to anything coming from the Bay Area and should have seen the band rise swiftly up the ranks, as opposed to merely falling by the wayside.
Ripping death/thrash delivered with 100% satanic conviction, when it comes to Australian thrash, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death should have been the album to break the big leagues. It’s that convincing.
Mass Confusion – Confusion Intrusion (1990)
The crossover comedy stylings of Melbourne’s Mass Confusion may not have been to everyone’s tastes but these hardcore thrashers were as adept at thrashin’ up a hyper-punk storm as the next band.
With opener “The Mangler” snarling and spitting in your face like a deranged Nuclear Assault tribute act, it’s quickly apparent that finesse had been told to fuck right off.
Mass Confusion didn’t do dainty, they did downright dangerous – with a side order of quirky humour and playfulness – and the likes of “Bean Bag Arse” (with its interludes into stripped-back funk) showcased a band with a fearless attitude and a penchant for fun. There have been better crossover thrash albums – a lot better – but Confusion Intrusion still satisfies when the appetite calls for something fast, feral and a little foolish.