Skyclad – A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol (1992)
Must Hear Track: “Salt On The Earth (Another Man’s Poison)“, folk-thrash subjugated in one fell swoop!
Before they went 100% folk, Skyclad followed up their outstanding debut The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth with another slab of underrated – and hard to find – unique UK thrash. Continuing and refining the uniquely pagan sound Sabbat pioneered on their groundbreaking albums History Of A Time To Come and Dreamweaver, this may be a love it or hate it record for thrash fans but those with an adventurous spirit -and a penchant for bands who gleefully experimented with thrash’s rigid rules – will hear Skyclad adapting the formula to create something idiosyncratic and distinctly British.
The addition of full-time fiddler Fritha Jenkins (we simply refer to the act of playing the fiddle of course) bolstered Skyclad‘s sound that was still built around Martin Walkyier’s distinctive vocal delivery and a multiude of rapid-fire thrash riffs. Take the aforementioned irresistibly thrashy “Salt On The Earth (Another Man’s Poison)” as the perfect example of thrash existing in a folk metal framework; few could pull off such a disparate melding of styles but Skyclad, particularly on A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol, mastered the craft.
Interestingly, Skyclad‘s The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth and A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol remain the perfect companion pieces to Sabbat‘s two Walkyier fronted classics; an exquisite quadruplet of frighteningly original albums which deserve arrant adulation.
Liked that? Try this: Skyclad’s EP, Tracks From The Wilderness, was the final thrash-folk mix before the band went full on folk!
Pariah – Blaze Of Obscurity (1989)
Must Hear Track: “Puppet Regime“, shred-fucking-tastic and laden with hooks big enough to land an Orca!
A classic sounding thrash band before the term could even be applied, there was something inviting about Pariah‘s thrashed up New Wave Of British Heavy Metal based output; of which Blaze Of Obscurity was their finest hour.
Formed from the ashes of NWOBHM heroes Satan, Pariah would go on to donate Graeme English and Steve Ramsey to Skyclad but first came this magnificent slice of technical thrash excellence. The perfect companion piece to Onslaught‘s equally ambitious In Search Of Sanity, Pariah‘s astonishing array of complex riffs and expansive songwriting should have seen them enter the thrash big leagues. As it transpired, Pariah were treated in a manner befitting their name and split after just two short years.
However, Blaze Of Obscurity is so ridiculously accomplished that it deserves nothing less than total reappraisal and should be considered a benchmark for 80’s speed metal and thrash metal guitar work.
Liked that? Try this: Pariah’s 1988 debut, The Kindred, is equally as impressive if not a little more indebted to the NWOBHM!
Seventh Angel – Lament For The Weary (1992)
Must Hear Track: “Woken By Silence“, an engulfing display of decadent doom metal mastery and thrash metal skill.
The UK seemed to enjoy experimenting with thrash, often combining seemingly disparate sub-genres to create an entirely new thrash experience. Sabbat and Skyclad incorporated pagan and folk influences, Cerebral Fix and Energetic Krusher embraced death metal while Seventh Angel chose to throw doom metal into the mix. The result was an original sound showcasing the finest moments of doom legends Candlemass and the technical meets traditional heavy metal thrash of Sanctuary, circa their Into The Mirror Black era.
Often impenetrably dark and yet morbidly melancholic, Seventh Angel‘s lumbering doom passages merged seamlessly with bursts of aggressive speed, fully ensconced in projecting pain and despair. Not an easy ride but a rewarding one, Lament For The Weary remains a weighty tome, relentless and remorseless and akin to gourging on the great works of literature; not for the faint-hearted in other words!
The UK may have been largely forgotten for its contribution to thrash but albums as brave, bold and brilliant as this will always attract the open minded. Lament For The Weary is a one of a kind album fully deserving of classic status and should be spoken about with the same reverence as the greats of thrash, UK or otherwise.
Like that? Try this: 1990’s The Torment may not be as refined as Lament For The Weary but it’s still an absorbing release; astoundingly heavy and tempered by a dark and dramatic sound.
Remember, this was just Part 1….there’s plenty more unsung UK thrash goodness to come!