Some simply sublime metal albums are turning 30 years old this year…..here’s 6 of ’em to get you started!
Demolition Hammer – Epidemic Of Violence [USA]
Released: March 1992 via Century Media Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
The second album from violent New York City thrashers Demolition Hammer, Epidemic of Violence is a cult classic of the highest order and remains one of the most ferocious thrash albums in existence!
Having the nerve to release one of the meanest thrash albums of all time during a period when thrash was all but forgotten by the metal masses took guts, but these guys were blatantly unconcerned with the arrival of death metal and groove metal. Instead, they took the elements they admired from both sub-genres and shackled them, kicking and screaming, bloody and bowed, to their own thrash metal framework.
Arguably as sonically devastating as any death metal album of the era, this undisputed epitome of pure thrash brutality was propelled by the pummelling drumming of Vinny Daze who excelled himself here (those kicks are lightning fucking fast) and the aptly titled “Skull Fracturing Nightmare” sums this album up perfectly. Riffs that were both technical and built around brute force may have been the primary focus but Daze’s skill behind the kit, and the larynx-lacerating vocals of bassist Steve Reynolds, were equally as important.
Epidemic Of Violence was abject aggression in musical form!
Depressive Age – First Depression [Germany]
Released: March 30th, 1992 via GUN Records
Genre: Technical / Progressive Thrash Metal
Kicking off a career in thrash in 1992 was probably il-advised….not that anyone told Germany’s Depressive Age!
Progressive, technical and melodic, First Depression was a debut of considerable stature and one that perfectly balanced Depressive Age’s idiosyncratic nature with an innate accessibility. Very much a Teutonic thrash band at heart (the influence of the likes of Destruction’s Release From Agony and Deathrow’s Deception Ignored are writ large throughout), much of First Depression’s appeal actually lay within its melancholic nature. With a depressive (oh, the irony), doom-like atmosphere backed by Jan Lubitziki’s often haunting vocal delivery, this was technical thrash refined – mellowed even – despite the expected display of crushing riffs remaining ever-present.
Quite the anomaly despite being part of a scene that was rapidly changing, Depressive Age’s First Depression was a last gasp for technical/progressive thrash in the 90s….so breathe it in!
Morpheus Descends – Ritual Of Infinity [USA]
Released: December 1992 via JL America
Genre: Death Metal
New York death metal par excellence, Morpheus Descends may not be as well known outside of niche death metal circles as Immolation but, in 1992, these guys were the superior act; with Ritual Of Infinity proving to be a proto-tech death album of unrivalled complexity and shattering talent!
Dank, dark and decidedly devilish, Morpheus Descends were capable of nerve-severing ferocity while still maintaining a level of ‘catchiness’ which would appeal as much to the neck-muscles as those over-stimulated cerebral’s. With one foot in the old-school and one in the still-opening door of technical death metal’s future, Morpheus Descends certainly paved the way for those bands who morphed traditional death metal into ever-changing sounds as the decade drew on.
Morpheus Descends were there at the beginning though, and Ritual Of Infinity – their only full length album – remains a milestone of jaw-dropping intensity.