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10 Old-School British Thrash Albums That Put The ‘Great’ Back Into Britain Again!

British thrash at its finest!

Considering the UK invented heavy metal, it’s always frustrating to reflect on how ‘seemingly’ unsuccessful we were at thrash metal! Predominantly an American phenomenon, UK thrash always rode the coattails of our Transatlantic cousins when, in retrospect, British thrash bands actually had much to offer.

Largely forgotten over the years, it’s time to re-address the balance and take a look 10 old-school British thrash albums that put the ‘Great’ back into Britain again!

No ranking, we’ve gone for alphabetical order. Every one of these albums is a blinder!

Acid Reign – Obnoxious (1990)

Acid Reign - Obnoxious: Pink Vinyl LP – Crash Records

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

A British band known for embracing the sillier side of thrash, Acid Reign actually reigned in the lunacy on second album Obnoxious and the result was an album that embraced a previously untapped progressive edge and proved, once and for all,  that us Brits had what it takes to step up to the next level.

Slowing down, slightly, ‘H’ and co. adopted a more focused attitude on Obnoxious, imbuing their intricate riffs and biting lyrics with a keener eye for detail and the results were impressive to say the least.“Thoughtful Sleep” remains a highlight; a technical excursion into a story of child neglect which surprises with its schizophrenic time changes and multiple personalities. Intelligent, complex and highly original, in an ideal world this song alone would have elevated Acid Reign into the big leagues.

As it turned out, they were unjustly overlooked and imploded shortly after Obnoxious‘ release.

What are they up to now?

A relatively recent reappraisal of Acid Reign’s contribution to thrash finally resulted in an eagerly awaited return (albeit without 4 of the members who penned Obnoxious) and the band released ‘The Apple Core Archives’ in 2014 – a box set retrospective that was an absolutely essential purchase for anyone with even a passing interest in thrash. Two brand new singles followed in the formidable shape of “Plan Of The Damned” (2015) and “The Man Who Became Himself” (2017) and then came The Age Of Entitlement (2019)….one of the greatest comeback albums in thrash history! 

Liked that? Try this: As mentioned, Acid Reign‘s comeback album, The Age Of Entitlement, was an absolute triumph and fully cemented Acid Reign‘s position at the very top of the UK thrash pile! You can’t go wrong with debut album The Fear (1989) either!

Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989)

Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989, Vinyl) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

Anihilated’s second album is a British thrash milestone, incorporating Exodus’ brash brutality and Slayer’s knack for intimidating menace and groove to form an album worthy of serious attention by thrash hordes the world over.

The grisly grooves of instrumental “Desolation” set the scene as Anihilated’s malevolent, sickle-sharp riffing crunched straight into high gear on “Into The Flames Of Armageddon”. The album never let up from there on in; quality track following quality track with raspy, sandpaper vocals, wall-of-sound drums and Hell Awaits-era Slayer riffs combining furiously to thrash your face (and probably your tits) clean off.

The Slayer comparisons can be a little too familiar at times but if you’re gonna be inspired, be inspired by one of the best…..and if being the ‘British Slayer’ is a bad thing, we’ll be damned!

What are they up to now?

Sadly disbanded, Anihilated did reunite in 2008 and went on to write and record 2010’s comeback album Scorched Earth Policy, 2013’s follow-up iDeviant and 2015’s incendiary Anti Social Engineering.

Liked that? Try this: Anti Social Engineering (2015), one of the finest UK thrash albums ever recorded….and we ain’t fuckin’ kidding! This album absolutely slayed the competition in 2015!

Deathwish – Demon Preacher (1988)

Deathwish – Demon Preacher (1988, Vinyl) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

With opener “Death Procession” leading us on a morbid march through bell-tolling, doom-inflected pathways, the classic sounds of 70’s UK heavy metal soon met the crunch of Bay Area thrash on the Slayer-esque title track and Deathwish’s inspirations immediately became apparent.

A marriage made in heaven (or should that be hell), this juxtaposition of the UK’s world-conquering 70’s output and the equally successful US thrash sound pioneered by Metallica, Slayer et all is an all-time UK thrash classic.

Deathwish’s gritty thrashed-up reworking of Sabbath’s all time classic, “Symptom Of The Universe” was an unexpected triumph but 70’s worshipping cover songs weren’t all Deathwish had in their locker. “Wall Of Lies” and the unfathomably epic “Prey To The Lord” were a sonic boom of rabid riffing fulfilling the hype this underrated band had once generated.

Demon Preacher should be considered a minor masterpiece, the sounds of the pioneering 70’s combining flawlessly with the fresh and vital thrash attack from across the Atlantic.

What are they up to now?

Demon Preacher and debut album, At The Edge of Damnation, received re-issues on CD and vinyl via Dissonance Productions back in 2016 and Encyclopaedia Metallum has them marked down as potentially “active”. But what they’re really up to is anyone’s guess!

Liked that? Try this: You only have one other option, the rough and ready – but equally as impressive – At The Edge Of Damnation (1987).

Hydra Vein – Rather Death Than False Of Faith (1988)

Hydra Vein - Rather Death Than False Of Faith | Discogs

What’s so bloody great about it?

Wallowing in the same dirty cess pool as early Onslaught and VenomRather Death Than False Of Faith stands toe to toe with the cream of late 80’s thrash metal. These guys could out slay Slayer when they put their filth-encrusted minds to it and the pure thrash carnage of “Crucifier” and “Rabid” (in fairness, this one’s a little too Slayer-esque for comfort at times) provides a welcome jolt to the system and may take newcomers by surprise!

Regardless of tempo – and Hydra Vein were as adept at blinding speed as they were mid-paced stomp – the key to Hydra Vein‘s success (we use that term loosely) hinged on quality over quantity. Featuring just the 8 tracks, it’s notable that all 8 tracks have their moment, whether that’s a shout from the rooftops chorus, face-ripping solo or neck-wrecking riff, each and every song slams hard and features at least one highly memorable moment.

Hydra Vein may have been left in the thrash wilderness but fans of Onslaught’s The Force, Sacrilege‘s Behind the Realms Of Madness, Venom‘s Black Metal, Slayer‘s Hell Awaits and Sabbat‘s History Of A Time To Come need this album…. and that’s despite cover art which looks like it was painted by a partially-sighted 4 year old!

What are they up to now?

Hydra Vein reunited in February 2019 to play Brofest in Newcastle upon Tyne….so, active then, sort of!

Liked that? Try this: 1989’s After The Dream is a damn decent follow-up and well worthy of your time.

Onslaught – The Force (1986)

Onslaught – The Force (2019, Vinyl) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

What isn’t fucking great about The Force?!

The first band to truly raise hell in the name of British thrash, Onslaught turned heads with their punk-infused debut, Power From Hell, but it was with 1986’s The Force that they truly announced their arrival on the global scene.

The Force was an appropriate title, as Onslaught’s forceful and vitriolic sound hit you like a ten ton hammer; thrashing harder than most and with just as much conviction as the likes of Dark Angel and Slayer.

Still considered an all-time thrash classic, The Force is probably the most convincing thrash album ever recorded by a British band. Capable of ripping your head clean off, Onslaught were a powerhouse who unleashed a multitude of sinister, stabbing riffs without even breaking a sweat. It all seemed too easy and their place in the thrash elite should have been virtually guaranteed.

What are they up to now?

Still wrecking necks, that’s what!

It would take an incredible 21 years for Onslaught to come full circle and record an album to rival The Force but when, in 2007, Onslaught released the sonically devastating Killing Peace , the thrash fraternity breathed a collective sigh of relief; the boys were back and they have fast become the UK’s finest thrash exports once again.

Long may they reign as Britain’s thrash kings!

Liked that? Try this: The aforementioned Killing Peace (2007), a modern thrash classic to rival anything released post 2000 by Exodus, Testament, Death Angel and Slayer etc!

About Chris Jennings (1985 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

4 Comments on 10 Old-School British Thrash Albums That Put The ‘Great’ Back Into Britain Again!

  1. who invented thrash metal 2019

  2. Hydra Vein reforming for a gig next year 🙂

  3. robert bailey // March 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm // Reply

    obnoxious is an excellent album and the first acid reign album i heard

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