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5 Essential 80s German Thrash Albums (Part 4)

80s thrash wasn’t just ruled by the Americans with the German thrash metal scene proving just as fertile as anywhere in the world…. as these 5 essential 80’s German thrash albums ultimately prove! 

REMEMBER, this is just Part 4….plenty more in this series to come….

Darkness – Death Squad (1987) 

Darkness – Death Squad (CD) - Discogs

Released: via Tales of Thrash

Severely lacking in anything approaching originality, you’d be forgiven for letting Darknesspass you by, their by-the-numbers thrash attack adhering a little too faithfully to the pioneering sounds already solidified by their peers a few years earlier.

However, give Darkness a chance to shine (ironically) and you’ll experience a debut album that actually hits pretty damn hard with sustained and tightly controlled rage. Opening ‘oh so gently’ with the delicately strummed “Invasion Sector 12”, it’s the building intensity of a distant air siren and the unnerving sounds of bombs decimating the landscape that truly warns of things to come….with all-out-war eventually declared by these leather-clad thrashers!

A bevy of speed-obsessed ragers then follow, careening forth just on the right side of chaos with the likes of “Critical Threshold” and “Staatsfeind” providing the requisite blistering riffs and compulsory head-banging moments.

Darkness‘ 6th album, Blood On Canvas, is out NOW via Massacre Records

Destruction – Release From Agony (1987)

Destruction – Release From Agony (1987, White, Vinyl) - Discogs

Released: December 1st 1987 via Steamhammer

Destruction may have started life as a rough ‘n’ ready blackened thrash band but by the time their third full length album, Release From Agony, arrived in 1987, they’d transformed themselves into a technical thrash act par excellence.

The mad butcher didn’t just strike back with this album, it hacked and sliced its way through the competition and while (originally) the quality of Release From Agony‘s production left a lot to be desired, the likes of “Sign Of Fear” and  “Survive To Die” indicated that Destruction were now operating on a higher level than the majority of their peers.

A thrilling combination of insanely technical riffs and abstract song structures marks out Release From Agony as a true masterpiece of Teutonic thrash……and Destruction would, arguably, never be so wilfully obscure again!

Related content: The 5 Essential DESTRUCTION Albums

Necronomicon – Escalation (1988) 

Necronomicon - Escalation | Releases | Discogs

Released: October 1988 via Tales Of Thrash

Retaining the necro-sound pioneered by Sodom and Destruction on their early releases Obsessed By Cruelty and Sentence Of Death, Necronomicon’s raw, dirty riffs and barely contained malevolence may not be as well known as The Teutonic Three….but it sure does compete!

Escalation‘s 8 tracks masterfully cave your face in with alarming frequency. “Death Toll”, “…and the Night Will Be Silent” and “Mosh The ABC” ring the tempo changes and even introduce Helloween-esque levels of power metal melody to an otherwise insanely fast and unyielding mix.

“Dirty Minds” is the one track doesn’t quite fit but it’s hard rock stylings are admittedly fun and there’s nothing wrong with writing catchy, up-beat thrash ditties; just ask Tankard!

Lo-fi and frenetic, Escalation remains an absolute blast.

Kreator – Extreme Aggression (1989)

Kreator – Extreme Aggression (CD) - Discogs

Released: June 19th 1989 via Noise Records

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.

Protector – Urm The Mad (1989)

Protector – Urm The Mad (1989, Vinyl) - Discogs

Released: October 1989 via Atom H

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! 

Related content: Protector: Ranking All 8 Of Their Studio Albums!

Also in this Series

5 Essential 80s German Thrash Albums (Part 1)

5 Essential 80s German Thrash Albums (Part 2)

5 Essential 80s German Thrash Albums (Part 3)

Check out our musings on lovely, lovely thrash in The Worship Metal Podcast….

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/

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