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5 Iconic American (US) Thrash Albums Turning 35 Years Old In 2024!

5 iconic American thrash albums turning an eye-watering 35(!) years of age in 2024….are you feeling old yet??!!

Exodus – Fabulous Disaster

Opening with the caustic “The Last Act Of Defiance” – a scathing attack on the prison system – Exodus were clearly in a bullish mood during Fabulous Disaster‘s creation and their third album would go down in thrash history as a bona fide classic of the genre!

The H-bomb of Holt and Hunolt were explosive throughout as the likes of the title track, “Like Father, Like Son” and pit-inducing classic “The Toxic Waltz” unleashed combative riffs like they were going out of style.

At this stage, ‘new’ vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza was well bedded in and his deliciously diabolical diatribes hit so much harder than on 1987’s middling Pleasures Of The Flesh. You certainly couldn’t imagine Paul Baloff singing the lyrics on the frog-ribbiting, harmonica-introducing “Cajun Hell” and, love him or hate him, Zetro was now the singer of Exodus.

A rabble-rousing, crowd-pleasing effort, Fabulous Disaster is the pinnacle of Exodus‘ 80’s and 90’s output and remained their gratest achievement until proved that thrash was more than just merely alive and well in 1989!

Intruder – A Higher Form of Killing

Intruder - A Higher Form Of Killing | Veröffentlichungen | Discogs

Intruder‘s second album was an aural assault that blew conceptions of thrash apart. Instrumental “Time of Trouble” aside, opener “The Martyr” had not one but three intro riffs before we even got to the meat of the piece, and each one ramped up the urgency and the expectancy like a catholic priest watching the new choir boys march in. And the pace did not let up. Shit, it’s heavy, even in 2021.

Guitarists Arthur Vinett and Greg Messick played their hearts out on this record, with their down-picked, string skipping madness played so fast your left hand will look like a Taiwanese prostitute giving a 30 second handjob. Anthrax were famous for the left-hand speed (picking, not handjobs. Well….) but this was another level. 

There was humour too. “Mr Death is here!” exclaimed Mr. Death on the last track (Did he get paid for his guest appearance?). And we can’t speak about AHFOK without mentioning the awesome Monkees cover “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” in which John Pieroni growled his way through a great Mickey Dolenz pastiche….but it’s the chorus harmony vocals that still make you sit up and take notice!

Nuclear Assault – Handle With Care

After being ousted by Anthrax back in ’86, bassist Dan Lilker formed the explosive Nuclear Assault and they arguably peaked with their third album, Handle With Care.

Leaving Anthrax quaking in their boots, Nuclear Assault had always thrashed harder, faster and with more conviction than Scott Ian and co. and they didn’t fuck with a winning formula on the likes of “Critical Mass”, “Surgery” and “When Freedom Dies”.

One of East Coast thrash’s greatest achievements and Nuclear Assault‘s most successful and best-selling album for a damn good reason!

Overkill – The Years Of Decay

Overkill – The Years Of Decay (CD) - Discogs

Overkill‘s last album of the 80’s – and the last Overkill album to feature guitarist Bobby Gustafson (he would be missed) – has gone down in thrash history as an all-time classic and with the likes of “Time to Kill’, “Elimination” and “Birth Of Tension” in its arsenal, it’s not hard to see why!

With technical prowess and raw energy colliding head-long, Overkill were arguably at their peak on The Years Of Decay, with “the Motörhead of thrash metal” fully realising their punk meets speed metal sound via 9 exceptional tracks that oozed supreme confidence and stunning variety.

Unique and compelling, this was East Coast thrash at its finest…..delivered by a band whose unbelievable longevity can be attributed to releasing classics such as this.

Overkill’s best? You’d better believe it! 

Testament – Practice What You Preach

Testament – Practice What You Preach (1989, Vinyl) - Discogs

Practice What You Preach, the third studio album from American thrash metal royalty Testament, took these Californians to the next level as Chuck Billy and the boys attempted to crack the stranglehold The Big 4 held on late 80’s thrash!

This was the album that should have done it as well, with the likes of the title track, “Greenhouse Effect” and “The Ballad” showcasing a more mature band; one who were turning their attention away from occult themes to socio / political / environmental concerns instead.

Mediative they may have been but this hardly dampened the fiery thrash spirit that burned inside, and with a flurry of thrash anthems that bristled with raw energy and aggression, it’s unsurprising that Practice What You Preach has gone down in thrash history as one of Testament’s greatest ever achievements (and there’s been a few)!

About Chris Jennings (1978 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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