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

British thrash at its finest!

Onslaught – In Search Of Sanity (1989)

Onslaught – In Search Of Sanity (1988, CD) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

Two Onslaught albums? Yep. But this incarnation felt like a different band entirely!

Quite possibly the finest commercial thrash album ever prouced by a UK band, Onslaught were aiming for worldwide recognition when they released this melodic thrash masterclass at the tail end of the 80’s and it should have led to greater things.

Unfortunately, all In Search Of Sanity achieved was splitting existing fans straight down the middle and it would take 18 long years for Onslaught to bounce back. And bounce back they did, with the overwhelmingly aggressive modern thrash classic that was 2007’s Killing Peace….but we’ve covered that already!

In Search Of Sanity saw Onslaught swap the gravel-throated vocals of Sy Keeler for the almighty power of Grim Reaper‘s Steve Grimmett, transforming Onslaught from punk/thrash extremists overnight to an altogether more clinical and commercialised melodic thrash machine.

However, while In Search Of Sanity may have been more Metal Church (circa Mike Howe’s original tenure) than Slayer – and cleaner than a nun’s saintly undercarriage in the process – its go-for-broke mentality must be applauded; thrash was huge in ’89 and Onslaught shouldn’t have had to apologise for wanting their own large slice of the thrash pie.

What are they up to now?

Onslaught, as you should already know, are stronger than ever and Steve Grimmett recently bounced back from horrific health problems and is back up on stage, where he belongs, singing better than ever!

Liked that? Try this: With screecher Sy Keeler back in the fold, Onslaught returned to their sound of old and Killing Peace (2007), Sounds Of Violence (2011) and VI (2013) were all are hard-as-nails and stand proud as three of modern thrash metal’s finest recordings. Then, out went Sy Keeler and in came Bull Riff Stampede‘s Dave Garnett on vocals….a change that could have spelled disaster but actually proved to be a stroke of genius, with the resulting album, Generation Antichrist, proving to be an absolute masterclass in modern thrashing!

Pariah – Blaze Of Obscurity (1989)

Pariah – Blaze Of Obscurity (1989, CD) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

A classic sounding thrash band before the term could even be applied, there was something inviting about Pariah’s thrashed up New Wave Of British Heavy Metal based output; of which Blaze Of Obscurity was their finest hour.

Formed from the ashes of NWOBHM heroes Satan, Pariah would go on to donate Graeme English and Steve Ramsey to Skyclad but first came this magnificent slice of technical thrash excellence. The perfect companion piece to Onslaught’s equally ambitious In Search Of Sanity, Pariah’s astonishing array of complex riffs and expansive songwriting should have found them beloved the world over.

As it transpired, Pariah were treated in a manner befitting their name and split after just two short years.

However, Blaze Of Obscurity is so ridiculously accomplished that it deserves nothing less than total reappraisal and should be considered a benchmark for 80’s speed metal and thrash metal guitar work.

What are they up to now?

They’re still in around, in essence at least. The dicking about with name-changes may have been a pain in the arse but Pariah basically reverted back to Satan in 2011……and they’ve been doing rather well ever since! Look out for Earth Infernal, Satan‘s 6th album which was released on April 1st, 2022 via Metal Blade Records.

Liked that? Try this: Pariah’s 1988 debut, The Kindred, is equally as impressive if not a little more indebted to the NWOBHM!

Sabbat – History Of A Time To Come (1988)

Sabbat – History Of A Time To Come (CD) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

That’s easy – it’s the greatest thrash album to ever emerge from the UK and one of the finest thrash albums in existence, regardless of bloody geography!

Frankly, there are too few superlatives to convey the true majesty of Britain’s finest ever thrash album. Sabbat were one of the most unique bands in thrash history and although short-lived, their overall contribution to the scene remains unparalleled.

Propelled by the ingenious riffs of producer extraordinaire Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Nevermore, Testament) and Martin Walkyier’s uniquely unfettered and untameable vocals, Sabbat’s philosophically pagan take on religion was ground-breakingly raw and real; an honest summation of the world and it’s failings.

The opening tracks, “A Cautionary Tale”, “Hosanna In Excelsis” & Behind The Crooked Cross” are exemplary, an unholy triumvirate of trailblazing thrash that perfectly encapsulated Sabbat’s religion-baiting sound. However, it was the intelligence on display that truly ranked them as one of the genre’s greats; here was poetry set to furious thrash, the likes of which has never been seen again.

History Of A Time To Come is mandatory listening for every thrasher on the planet and has barely aged; its place in the thrash history books permanently set in stone!

What are they up to now?

A reformation between 2006-2010 sadly yielded no new material but Sabbat‘s legacy stands strong.

Liked that? Try this: Sabbat‘s equally accomplished sophomore release, the undeniably astounding Dreamweaver (1989).

Sacrilege – Behind The Realms Of Madness (1985)

Sacrilege - Behind The Realms Of Madness | Références | Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

A furious cacophony of pure thrashing noise, Sacrilege‘s seminal debut was a crust punk, D-beat, thrash combo designed to floor apathetic listeners who thought they knew the meaning of ‘heavy’. Ably blurring the lines between more traditional hardcore punk and the darker side of thrash metal, Sacrilege‘s blitzkrieg riffing and Lynda ‘Tam’ Simpson’s feral shouts marked them out as true progenitors of crust.

With an antagonistic vigour unrivalled by any other band in the scene, Sacrilege were heavy in every sense of the word with their perfectly rendered noise counterbalanced by political

Behind The Realms Of Madness was/is the kind of album that transcends borders and acts as a defining moment in the 80’s cross-pollination of both punk and metal……its influence cannot be underestimated!

What are they up to now?

Sacrilege are still around, with bassist Frank Healy and drummer Spikey Smith also plying their trade in Memoriam alongside Bolt Thrower‘s Karl Willetts. You get the sense that these guys will never stop!

Liked that? Try this: 1987’s Within The Prophecy may have embraced their Brummie roots and thrown Sabbathian doom into the mix but this was still crusty ol’ thrash at its core!

Xentrix – For Whose Advantage? (1990)

Xentrix – For Whose Advantage? (1990, Vinyl) - Discogs

What’s so bloody ‘great’ about it?

Touted as British thrash’s answer to Metallica (not quite but bloody close), Xentrix embraced an Americanised sound which should have seen them rapidly rise to the very top of thrash metal’s ranks.

Cold, crisp riffing, mid-paced thrashing and Chris Astley’s confident bellow elevated album highlights “Questions?” and “The Bitter End”, and the entire album benefited from a crystal clear production job to rival the genres greats. For Whose Advantage? may have trodden familiar territory but it’s important to note that there was nothing wrong with reliability – Motörhead and AC/DC built entire careers on it! – and Xentrix were fast becoming Britain’s most consistent band simply by sticking to their guns and writing thrash built to cater for the masses.

In reality, their relatively ‘safe’ sound was only ever going to take them so far, and they eventually found themselves lumped in with the plethora of identikit bands who arrived late in the thrash game. Sadly, it’s only with the luxury of hindsight that For Whose Advantage? reveals its true worth and is undoubtedly an essential addition to any thrash collection.

Grunge would curtail any further progress as thrash became a dirty word, but for a short while Xentrix appeared to be the one British band who could infiltrate the big leagues.

What are they up to now?

Reformed in 2013 (but minus original frontman Chris Astley since 2015), Xentrix are still very much a going concern and 2019’s ‘comeback’ album, Bury The Pain, found the band sounding heavier than ever….while still retaining their signature, unmistakable sound!

Liked that? Try this: Shattered Existence, Xentrix’s outstanding debut that matches For Whose Advantage? in virtually every aspect! That and Bury The Pain, of course!!

Honourable mentions: Slammer – The Work Of Idle Hands (1989) / Hellbastard – Natural Order (1990) / Seventh Angel – Lament For The Weary (1992) / Virus – Force Recon (1988) / Virus – Lunacy (1989) / Re-Animator – Condemned To Eternity (1990) / Cerebral Fix – Tower Of Spite (1990) / Acid Reign – The Fear (1989) / D.A.M – Inside Out (1991) / English Dogs – Forward Into Battle (1985)

About Chris Jennings (1922 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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