2024 sees these vicious little Teutonic thrashin’ bastards turning an incredible 35 years old…..
Deathrow – Deception Ignored (1989)
After the relatively no-thrills thrash found on Deathrow’s Riders Of Doom aka Satan’s Gift (1986) and Raging Steel (1987), there was virtually no indication that Deathrow would break boundaries with their 3rd full length release!
Complex and rhythmically confounding – but never at the cost of a satisfying sense of structure – the likes of “Narcotic” were insane blasts of technical thrash wizardry and should have marked Deathrow out as pioneers of prog metal / tech thrash very early in the game.
Instead, obscurity beckoned with Deception Ignored initially receiving a lukewarm response and ironically ignored by a legion of confused fans. Fortunately, this outstanding album has gone on to be revered as a work of almost labyrinthian art, misunderstood by many but now beloved by those in the know.
A technical thrash masterpiece from a band way ahead of the curve….this is one album that truly has to be heard to be believed!
Check out our vocalised thoughts on Deathrow‘s Deception Ignored in this here episode of The Worship Metal Podcast:
Kreator – Extreme Aggression (1989)
With their 4th record, Germany’s thrash giants Kreator finally coupled their frenzied attack with hooks and choruses catchy enough to make even your Great Gran nod furiously along!
With each track on Extreme Aggression maintaining a ridiculously high tempo, the Kreator boys ripped through 9 tracks of Teutonic fury featuring vicious, stabbing riffs and Mille Petrozza’s sandpaper vocals.
They even scored an MTV hit with their video for “Betrayer”, gaining them valuable exposure in America; a considerable achievement for music as harsh and unrelenting as this.
Kreator’s second album, Pleasure To Kill, may be revered as a death / thrash colossus but it’s Extreme Aggression that is the true sound of a band operating at the peak of their powers.
Paradox – Heresy (1989)
Approaching thrash with far less malice than the likes of Sodom and Kreator etc, Paradox instead embraced a power metal aesthetic, aligning themselves with the likes of Metal Church, Anthrax (minus any silliness) and Onslaught circa In Search Of Sanity rather than with their Germanic brethren. It paid off too, helping Paradox to stand out from the pack and offering an accessibility that their teutonic peers simply didn’t offer at this point in time.
With Paradox marching forth on their own crusade to combine elegance with destruction, Heresy ironically re-told the tale of the Albigensian Crusade of the 13th century and in the process redefined the limits of thrash.
Featuring soaring twin harmonies, mind-frazzling solos and a rhythm section that could rival the tightest thrash acts around, Paradox were anything but their namesake, delivering instead a concise and melodic attack on the senses that was unrelenting in its clinical efficiency.
Protector – Urm The Mad (1989)
A full-on death / thrash onslaught, Protector’s 2nd album, Urm The Mad, remains a shockingly visceral experience….but one that comes laced with groove and an endless parade of often mid-tempo, skull-crushing riffs.
“Sliced, Hacked and Grinded” perfectly encapsulated Protector’s deathly leanings, while “Nothing Has Changed” indicated a propensity for death / doom’s oppressively heavy approach. However, Protector were still a thrash band at heart and when the hyper-speed of “Quasimodo” hits, you’ll still be left reeling.
Urm The Mad is quite simply one of the greatest death / thrash albums you’re ever likely to hear!
Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)
Bidding a fond farewell to the knuckle-dragging sound of their Obsessed By Cruelty debut and harnessing the considerable progress made on Persecution Mania, Sodom tickled the fancy of the mainstream with their 3rd album, Agent Orange; and the world stood up and took notice.
Think of a superlative and it applies to this album; originality, quality, intensity, variety and technicality all ring true. Still capable of thrashing up a storm it was on the mid-paced chug of “Remember The Fallen” and “Magic Dragon” where Sodom’s monumental progress took form. Revelling in a confidence that allowed Agent Orange’s compositions to breathe, their less is more approach reaped endless rewards with thrillingly expansive dynamics well and truly achieved.
As deadly effective as the title would suggest, Agent Orange stood out in what was (obviously) a banner year for thrash. After all, to hold your own against the might of Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains (1989) and Kreator’s Extreme Aggression (1989) amongst many others takes some doing….but Sodom proved more than worthy of the challenge on this, their greatest ever album!