Thrash is great. Technical thrash is better!
To that end, Worship Metal has selected 6 MORE of the Most Mind-Blowing Technical Thrash Albums Ever Recorded for your delectation.
Presented in order of year of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989) [Canada]
A simple and often stated fact: Jeff Waters is one of the finest metal guitarists of all time. You can’t argue with such a statement and his prodigious, precocious talent first came to the world’s attention on Annihilator‘s stunning debut.
In 1989, Alice In Hell represented technical thrash of the highest order, an album overflowing with ideas and executed with more panache and ability than virtually anyone outside of Megadeth. The unforgettably monikered Randy Rampage (R.I.P) led the charge – delivering one of the dirtiest, unrefined and downright unpredictable vocal performances in thrash metal history – and when welded to Waters’ exquisite riffs, thrash metal magic was inevitable.
Check out the blistering speed of “Human Insecticide” and the incredible interplay and sheer maddening bravado of “Alison Hell” for ample proof that an on-fire Jeff Waters, and an-on fire Randy Rampage, were a formidable partnership forged in the bowels of hell….or Canada!
Bezerker – Lost (1990) [Australia]
A true anomaly – even in the Australian scene – Bezerker‘s only full length release is as frustrating as it is interesting; an album that’s tantalisingly technical and abruptly abstract in equal measure.
With a singer who’s distinctive clean voice was a decidedly love it or hate it affair (think Forbidden‘s Russ Anderson without the big man’s range), it’s testament to the quality of the songwriting that Bezerker‘s blend of progressive thrash remains a lost treasure; one that swiftly enamours with its full-tilt tenacity and go-for-broke mentality.
One and done – but not a bad legacy to leave behind.
Lost? Go find it!
Forbidden – Twisted Into Form (1990) [USA]
This 1990 follow-up to Forbidden’s iconic debut found these San Franciscans evolving into a true technical tyrannosaur of earth-shaking proportions!
Boasting stronger songwriting and tighter performances, Forbidden upped both the technicality and the melody with Twisted Into Form and created a second-wave thrash classic in the process. With ‘catchy’ choruses cosying up next to the deftly handled guitar work of ‘new boy’ Tim Calvert and band stalwart Craig Locicero, Forbidden’s true power lay in Russ Anderson’s soaring vocals (the lungs on the lad!) and a foreboding atmosphere which informs each and every majestical track.
An album which can still be considered a benchmark of speed, melody and technicality, Twisted Into Form sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did over 30 years ago!
Meshuggah – Contradictions Collapse (1991) [Sweden]
Best known for being the band behind the djent movement, Meshuggah actually started life as a technically audacious thrash act and their debut, Contradictions Collapse, stands tall despite being an obvious anomaly in their back catalogue!
This thrashy, jazzy, progressive, groovy masterclass had more in common with the likes of Defiance (circa Beyond Recognition), underrated Finnish thrashers Stone and Metallica (circa ..And Justice for All) than it did with anything else…..but the seeds for Meshuggah’s pioneering future were already being sown.
“Erroneous Manipulation” still bounces with an elasticity that positively screams “we’re going places” in your face while “Greed” would prove to be the motherload; a 7 minute excursion into chugging, anvil-heavy dissonance and wild rhythmic experimentation.
Meshuggah’s ultra tight playing and polyrhythmic grooves could already be found in abundance, they just happened to be strapped to a more rigid, thrash-dictated, framework at this stage in their career.
Despair – Beyond all Reason (1992) [Germany]
Technical German thrash doesn’t come much better than Beyond All Reason, the 3rd album from Despair and a milestone of the genre!
Superlatives come thick and fast when describing this unsung classic with Despair shredding with maximum intensity one minute, delivering keyboard-laden atmospherics the next and delivering nothing but virtuoso guitar work throughout.
In fact, it’s a crime that Beyond All Reason isn’t discussed with nearly as much enthusiasm as it should. This is a staggering piece of work, dazzlingly complex and rife with an advanced sense of barrelling chord progressions and off-kilter time changes.
There was something in the water in Germany during the late 80’s and early 90’s and Despair were the equal of Deathrow, Mekong Delta, Vendetta and their ilk!
Aftermath – Eyes Of Tomorrow (1994) [USA]
Aftermath may have first turned heads with the full-throttle, thrash assault, of their speed-of-light demo Killing The Future but it’s their debut full length album that showcased this undervalued bands full potential and proved to be a total reinvention of their sound.
Eyes Of Tomorrow was technical/progressive thrash incarnate and its off kilter rhythms and mind-boggling complexity jostled with infectious melody, ingenious hooks and heads-down thrashing. Creatively eccentric and filled with fluid leads, accomplished solos and dark ambience, the incredible technicality and progressive nature of Eyes Of Tomorrow remains clear for all to hear.
After the likes of Heathen, Anacrusis and Coroner had given up the ghost, it was down to Aftermath to carry technical/progressive thrash into the mid 90’s!
Also in this series:
The next chapter in this series is already in the works! However, that shouldn’t stop you from adding your favourite technical thrash albums in the comments below!
Check out The Worship Metal Podcasts’ throughly entertaining chat about thrash: