Thrash not heavy enough? Death metal too heavy? Fear not! Death-thrash met you in the middle…. and in the late 80s and early 90s this fusion of the two genres gave us some incredible albums!
This is just part 4…. there’s plenty more to come!
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Disciples Of Power – Power Trap (1989) [Canada]
One of those more obscure thrash albums (and bands) who had everything, Disciples Of Power were already sucker-punching the majority of their peers with debut full length Power Trap; a release which showcased this outstanding band’s ability to meld primal thrash aggression, death metal tendencies and progressive thrash structures into a satisfying whole.
The acoustic interplay and almost jazzy swing of exquisite opener “Shades of Grey” reels you in from the get-go and once Disciples of Power fully let rip with their metallic tendencies there’s no turning back! Think a heavier, more death/thrash inclined version of Artillery circa By Inheritance and you’ll have an idea of what (hell) awaits.
The production may be shite but there’s no denying the talent Disciples Of Power clearly had in spades and the merciless nature of their attack – coupled with Watchtower-esque levels of technicality – marks Power Trap out as one of the best thrash albums you’ve probably never heard.
Hellwitch – Syzgial Miscreancy (1990) [USA]
Is Hellwitch’s Syzygial Miscreancy technical thrash or technical death metal? For the sake of this particular article we’re gonna lean on a little of both, and given that in 1990 the boundaries between the two sub-genres were being ceremoniously broken on a regular basis, we feel warranted in doing so!
Easily one of the most technically audacious, forward-thinking, brain-frazzling albums of the era, Syzygial Miscreancy must have sounded like it was from another planet back in 1990; such was its ability to shock with extreme blasts of speed, tempo-changes and schizoid vocals.
Sounding like a certifiably insane version of Sadus (which speaks volumes for how gonzo this album is), this short, sharp and savage assault on the senses somehow remained cohesive amidst a blitzkrieg of sounds. Syzygial Miscreancy remains a cult curio well worth the underground devotion it so fervently inspires.
Infernäl Mäjesty – None Shall Defy (1987) [Canada]
Despite the cartoonish artwork which adorns their debut album, Infernäl Mäjesty were an undeniably savage act and they made an immediate impact on the underground with the release of None Shall Defy.
Infernäl Mäjesty specialised in the sounds of the underworld and had more in common with the unholy terror of Slayer’s Hell Awaits and Possessed’s Seven Churches than anything released by fellow countrymen Exciter, Anvil and Annihilator.
A key release in the ongoing development of death metal, None Shall Defy‘s march towards Satan came replete with a vile and ultimately evil aesthetic; one characterised by the unnerving sounds of blackened death/thrash perfection found on “S.O.S” and the scintillating title track.
Don’t let the sub-par cover art fool you, Infernäl Mäjesty meant serious business…..the devil’s business!
Invocator – Excursion Demise (1991) [Denmark]
If you were under the naive impression that Artillery were the only Danish thrash band really worth caring about then we urge you to turn your attention to Invocator and, particularly, their debut album Excursion Demise!
Invocator were not only operating at a much higher level than the majority of their countrymen, they were also rivalling the best the world had to offer.
Sharing a kinship with Atheist lent Invocator a death metal vibe but the likes of the exquisite “(…to a Twisted Recess of Mind)” and “Schismatic Injective Therapy” were actually technical / progressive thrash through and through; leaving it to songs such as “The Persistence From Memorial Chasm” to provide a more visceral thrash kick.
Obliveon – From This Day Forward (1990) [Canada]
A thrashier version of Death circa Spiritual Healing / Human, Obliveon’s debut album was an immediate game-changer upon release and has become an underground classic from the golden era of forward-thinking thrash.
Obliveon were part of the natural Canadian evolution that first began when Voivod crawled from the primordial swamp before, over time, casting aside the shackles of conformity and entering cyberspace. While they weren’t alone on embracing the more technical side of thrash, Obliveon‘s take on Voivod‘s early-doors experimentation was undoubtedly heavier than most; informed as much by death metal as it was traditional thrash.
As far as debut albums go, From this Day Forward was leagues ahead of the competition and you’d be hard pressed to find a more technical old school death/thrash album which delivers on so many levels. Speed, technicality, atmosphere, diversity, aggression….Obliveon‘s From This Day Forward has the lot!
Section Brain – Hospital Of Death (1993) [Czechia]
Despite a strong Sepultura vibe circa Beneath The Remains, Czechia’s Section Brain are seemingly known only to those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure metal. Which is a crying shame as their one and only album, 1993’s Hospital Of Death, is a certifiable technical death/thrash cult classic!
At only 5 tracks (we’re ignoring the pointless 30 second intro and the odd 7 seconds of “Ja Mamm”), Section Brain were pushing the boundaries of acceptability when it came to classifying this as a full length album….but when “No Anarchy” drops, you’ll care not a jot! Deceptively simple at first encounter, this epic quickly expands into a track with a multitude of tones and flavours; an adage which relates to the entirety of the album.
With so many riffs on this thing, Section Brain probably could of saved a few and released a follow-up but, alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead, revel in Hospital of Death’s obscurity, soak up its intricacy and tell everyone you know to check out this underrated gem of early 90’s technical death-thrash.
Also in this Series: