Picking up where Pt.1 of our Under-Appreciated Classics Of American Thrash Metal left off, we have selected another 6 unsung classics of U.S thrash that are deserving of further praise. As we trawled through the vaults of thrash history it came as no surprise that the sheer wealth of quality U.S. thrash releases over the years was simply staggering.
Subsequently, what was set to be a 2 part series will continue, so keep ’em peeled for Parts 3 & 4 (and maybe more)!
If there’s a particular thrash classic you feel has been lost to the history books then pop it in the comments below and we’ll look to include it in future articles.
Let’s get thrashed! \m/
Abomination – Tragedy Strikes (1991)
Paul Speckmann may be revered as one of the Godfather’s of death metal but the great man also turned his attention to thrash in the early 90’s and while Abomination‘s debut was solid, its follow up, Tragedy Strikes, was a different beast altogether. Raw, real and utterly remorseless, Tragedy Strikes cut deep with political diatribes, powerful compositions and a sincerity rarely head in thrash.
Abomination‘s hate, bile and utter contempt for the world as they saw it bleeds profusely through album highlights Pull The Plug, Will They Bleed and Blood For Oil; the meaning of this one shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who remember the first Gulf War.
Thrash rarely comes loaded with this much gravitas and while Tragedy Strikes may not be friendly, it’ll sure as hell earn your respect.
Wargasm – Why Play Around? (1988)
Fusing the sonic onslaught of all-out thrash with the melodic nous of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the classic sounds of old-school heavy metal, Wargasm‘s Why Play Around? is ignored by the majority but beloved by connoisseurs.
“Bullets & Blades” took the speed and aggression of Motorhead and Tank and thrashed the shit out of it while “Revenge” harnessed a mid-paced crunch to drive home some truly catchy riffing and it’s “knee deep in blood” refrain.
So much potential, so much talent. Why Play Around? may have failed to stand out in a crowded scene of quality releases in 1988 (Metallica‘s …And Justice For All, Anthrax‘s State Of Euphoria, Exodus‘ Fabulous Disaster, Flotsam‘s No Place For Disgrace, Testament‘s The New Order…) but that’s no reason for ignoring it now!
Rigor Mortis – Rigor Mortis (1988)
Back to 1988 and another unsung classic! 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 a kinship to Death‘s Scream Bloody Gore, Possessed‘s Beyond The Gates and Kreator‘s absolute classic Pleasure To Kill.
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. 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.
The whole record is nigh on flawless but if an introduction to these speed-freaks is required then listen to this; Demons.
Some may argue Rigor Mortis epitomised 80’s thrash metal, some people are right.