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5 Of The Heaviest Old-School THRASH METAL Albums in Existence (Part 2)

Heavy. Heavier. Heaviest. The age old argument of which metal albums – in this case THRASH – were the heaviest rumbles on. We’ve weighed in with 5 of the heaviest old-school THRASH METAL albums in existence….and this is just Part 2….there’s plenty more in this series to come….

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (1986) [USA]

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (2016, Clear / Blue / Orange Splatter,  Vinyl) - Discogs

Unbridled ferocity, technical supremacy and relentless aural battery….is there a more succinct description of what is arguably the greatest thrash metal album of all time?

Featuring the likes of the rampaging “Merciless Death”, the incendiary “The Burning Of Sodom” and the progressively minded “Black Prophecies“, the first indication of the 100+ riffs per song and epic song length mentality the band would explore on later releases was writ large on Dark Angel‘s terrifyingly tenacious, genre-defining, sophomore effort.

The eerie yet elegant bass intro to the aforementioned “Merciless Death” aside, moments of respite were few and far between on Darkness Descends, as Dark Angel focused on thrashing harder, faster and with more gritted teeth malevolence than any other band on the planet…..and that includes the mighty Slayer!


Kreator – Pleasure To Kill (1986) [Germany]

Kreator – Pleasure To Kill / Flag Of Hate (1988, CD) - Discogs

This precociously vicious shitstorm instantly struck a chord with thrashers worldwide and with Pleasure To KillKreator found themselves leading the way in the Teutonic scene. Unhinged to the point of incarceration, Pleasure To Kill‘s track-list borders on a greatest hits selection with the wall of noise maelstrom of “Ripping Corpse”,  the unforgettable “Pleasure To Kill”, the death metal influencing “Riot Of Violence” and the epic and surprisingly complex “The Pestilence” all meriting classic status.

An inspiration to countless bands, death metal and grindcore legends Napalm Death covered “Riot Of Violence” and even they couldn’t match the intensity and ferocity of its original incarnation!

Kreator altered the German thrash landscape with Pleasure To Kill and frankly, mayhem of this calibre never sounded so good again!


Num Skull – Ritually Abused (1988) [USA]

Num Skull – Ritually Abused (2014, Purple, Vinyl) - Discogs

Ritually Abused may have been ritually ignored on release but there’s no denying its thrash pedigree and albums this savage rarely reared their snarling, slathering head in the late 80’s.

Redefining what it meant to be truly brutal, Num Skull‘s debut may have been neanderthal in essence but fans of Kreator’s early noise – and those fond of the ferocity of Reign in Blood era Slayer and Exodus circa Bonded By Blood – would undoubtedly offer themselves up to the kind of abuse Num Skull were dishing out.

Speed, aggression and unbelievably unhinged vocals characterised album highlights “The Henchman”, the Exodus-esque “No Morals” and the utterly merciless title track….true American hate performed by absolute maniacs!


Pestilence – Malleus Maleficarum (1988) [Netherlands]

Pestilence – Malleus Maleficarum (1988, Vinyl) - Discogs

Before they became a progressive death metal force to be reckoned with, Pestilence kicked thrash firmly in the a-hole with their debut album, Malleus Maleficarum!

A vicious onslaught of repulsive death-thrash, Pestilence were already on the path to hellish enlightenment when they recorded this astonishingly abrasive beast of a debut album.

Death metal classic Consuming Impulse may have been a year away but Pestilence were already barrelling their way in the right direction, keeping one foot in thrash metal’s comfortable and recognisable living quarters while the other made a bolt for the exit, heading into the unknown darkness of death metal’s fertile beginnings.

One of the crowning achievements of death-thrash and no mistake!


Rigor Mortis – Rigor Mortis (1988) [USA]

Rigor Mortis – Rigor Mortis (2002, CD) - Discogs

Rigor Mortis‘ self-titled debut opened with a furious instrumental that pretty much set the scene for the entire record. Violently relentless, Rigor Mortis‘ raw production, animalistic tendencies and jugular-slashing riffs lent it a kinship to Death‘s Scream Bloody GorePossessed‘s Beyond The Gates and Kreator’s absolute classic Pleasure To Kill.

Hard-as-nails thrash may have been the order of the day but these mad-as-fuck Texans were leading the charge into ever faster, darker and meaner territories. In fact, the formative years of death metal can be heard in guitar god Mike Scaccia’s (RIP) lightning-speed tremolo picking and the abrasive rasping vocals of Bruce Corbitt.

Some may argue Rigor Mortis epitomised the balls-out belligerence of 80’s thrash metal….and some people are right!

Also in this Series:

5 Of The Heaviest Old-School THRASH METAL Albums in Existence (Part 1)

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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