We’ve covered many of the U.S.A’s greatest under-appreciated thrash classics (see our Under-Appreciated Classics Of American Thrash series) and now it’s time for us Brits to stand up and be counted. Unfairly forgotten when it comes to thrash, the UK has unleashed a number of stone cold classics over the years and plenty of unsung treasures too!
This is just Part 1, plenty more to come….the Germans and the Americans weren’t the only ones who were good at this thrash lark you know!
D.A.M – Inside Out (1991)
Must Hear Track: “Winter’s Tear“, a more truly epic thrash song you’d be hard pressed to find!
D.A.M may have only released two albums during their initial stab at this thing we call thrash but they were damn (pun completely intended) fine albums and 1991’s Inside Out was their greatest achievement.
Led by Jason McLoughlin’s fierce yet highly melodic vocals – sitting somewhere between Anthrax‘s Joey Belladonna, Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Erik A.K. and Overkill‘s Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth – D.A.M pedalled a classic metal styled thrashing, intrinsically tied to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’s humble beginnings.
Mid-paced, nuanced and blessed with a confident sense of control that steered them away from the fiendishly frantic metallic onslaught of contemporaries Anihilated and Virus, D.A.M‘s sense of eerie harmony replete with the necessary crunch instead nestled them nicely next to the likes of Xentrix and Slammer.
With an almost indescribably sinister edge – check out the shiver-inducing “House Of Cards” – D.A.M were unafraid to turn the screw while embracing the suitably epic. Album highlight, “Winter’s Tear”, was a Nevermore meets Metal Church excursion into dramatic thrash territory; part ballad, part nightmare made flesh and if Testament has seen fit to include this outstanding track on The Ritual the world would have paid far more attention.
Liked that? Try this: Check out Jason McLoughlin’s killer guest vocals on Anihilated‘s thrash anthem, “Thrashing Crew”.
Hydra Vein – Rather Death Than False Of Faith (1988)
Must Hear Track: “Crucifier“. This was the equal of anything Kreator released during the early part of their career!
Shit cover art aside, Hydra Vein were a ferocious and precocious late 80’s thrash band whose Rather Death Than False Of Faith debut deserves to be heralded as a minor classic.
Wallowing in the same dirty cess pool as early Onslaught and Venom, Rather Death Than False Of Faith stands toe to toe with the cream of late 80’s thrash metal. These guys could out slay Slayer when they put their filth-encrusted minds to it and the pure thrash carnage of “Crucifier” and “Rabid” (in fairness, this one’s a little too Slayer-esque for comfort at times) provides a welcome jolt to the system and may take newcomers by surprise!
Regardless of tempo – and Hydra Vein were as adept at blinding speed as they were mid-paced stomp – the key to Hydra Vein‘s success (we use that term loosely) hinges on quality over quantity. Featuring just the 8 tracks, it’s notable that all 8 tracks have their moment, whether that’s a shout from the rooftops chorus, face-ripping solo or neck-wrecking riff , each and every song slams hard and features at least one highly memorable moment…..and that’s despite the cover art which looks like it was painted by a partially sighted 4 year old!
Liked that? Try this: Hydra Vein’s sophomore effort, After The Dream, almost matched the intensity of Rather Death Than False Of Faith.
Energetic Krusher – Path To Oblivion (1989)
Must Hear Track: “Energetic Krusher“, the title track that has it all. A death metal meets thrash metal masterclass in brutality!
Aside from full on flirting with early-doors death metal, Energetic Krusher‘s only release is an overlooked thrash monster that showcased a brutal sound at odds with the ‘chirpier’ nature of many of their contemporaries.
Adept at a good gallop – accompanied by a gargling growl – Energetic Krusher’s heavy, heavy thrash assault maintained an impessively oppressive atmosphere throughout, propelled by some of the most fearsome vocals in late 80’s thrash. Sharing a kinship with such underground greats as Cerebral Fix, Napalm Death and the almighty Demolition Hammer, what the band lacked in subtlety and song differentiation was counteracted by the repeated deathly blows struck by each pummelling track.
The total opposite of fellow UK thrashers Acid Reign and Lawnmower Deth – who instilled a distinctly British sense of humour into proceedings – Energetic Krusher had more in common with the death metal bands emanating from Florida than perhaps they even realised.
In hindsight, Energetic Krusher were a blink and you’ll miss it anomaly in UK thrash and perenially unsung proto-death metal pioneers.
Liked that? Try this: They didn’t record anything else….so just listen to Path To Oblivion all over again!