Our antipodean cousins are hardly renowned for their thrash, but back in the 80s there was some supreme talent lurking down under, steadily feeding the underground a solid collection of old-school classics that remain worthy of your precious time.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
Addictive – Pity Of Man (1989)
Australian thrashers Addictive may be no more than a footnote in the history of thrash metal but, for a short time in the late 80’s, these Antipodean anarchists were one of the leading bands in the Aussie scene.
Playing hard and fast, it appears that Addictive were influenced by the usual suspects of the era (Metallica, Sacred Reich, Dark Angel, Testament) and a decent attempt at James Hetfield mimicry in the vocal department backs up that assumption. Opener “Get Out Of My Life” took the direct approach and much of Pity of Man subsequently stuck to a similar path; one built around ultimate aggression backed by socio-conscious lyrics.
While not quite in the same league as Mortal Sin and Hobbs’ Angel of Death (more on them later), Addictive were still addictive enough (sic) to make a mark on an overcrowded scene and Pity Of Man should be considered somewhat of a lost treasure.
Hobbs Angel Of Death – Hobbs Angel Of Death (1988)
Ostensibly a solo venture for ex-Tyrus guitarist Peter Hobbs, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death was an old-school thrash album, unsurprisingly in thrall to the satanic noise belched forth by thrash giants Slayer (Hell Awaits era).
A cult act par excellence, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death may not have registered on the global scene but tracks such as caustic opener “House of Death” and the bludgeoning “Crucifixion” were equal to anything coming from the Bay Area and should have seen the band rise swiftly up the ranks, as opposed to merely falling by the wayside.
Ripping death/thrash delivered with 100% satanic conviction, when it comes to Australian thrash, Hobbs’ Angel Of Death should have been the album to break the big leagues. It’s that convincing.
Mortal Sin – Face Of Despair (1989)
These Aussies sure knew how to thrash and with their second album, Face Of Despair, Mortal Sin fair gave us a second wave classic!
Opening with an absolute all-time thrash monster is always a good thing and “I Am Immortal” is a thrash fuckin’ behemoth! Rammed with hooks, tempo changes and all manner of thrashy goodness, Mortal Sin would have gone down in history as one of the greats by virtue of this one track alone. However, Face Of Despair is no one-trick pony, with the crunch of “The Infantry Corps” (very …and Justice For All in construct) and the more experimental rhythms of “Martyrs Of Eternity” (with its strong Sacred Reich vibe) proving equally as incendiary.
It’s fair to say that Face Of Despair is the greatest old-school Aussie thrash album in existence and Mortal Sin were Australia’s premier thrash act.
Arguments against this opinion gladly received. Good luck!
Mortal Sin – Mayhemic Destruction (1987)
The greatest Australian thrash band to ever have thrashed ™ fully deserve a second mention and Mortal Sin‘s Mayhemic Destruction, their corrosive debut, is as good an 80s Australian thrash album as you could ever wish to find!
Unrefined and unshackled by expectation, Mayhemic Destruction simply attacks with the sound of pure 80s thrash fuckin’ metal. It may be tinny, it may be unfocused….but it’s an absolute blast of vicarious thrash, delivered by a band with nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
While the more mature Face Of Despair (1989) would indicate exactly what this fantastic band could achieve when they honed their song witing, the clang and clatter of Mayhemic Destruction‘s serrated riffs – particularly on instrumental opener, “The Curse” and the killer “Blood, Death, Hatred” – remains rewarding on each and every level.
Nothing Sacred – Let Us Prey (1988)
One of the first Australian bands to play thrash/speed metal, Melbourne’s Nothing Sacred formed way back in 1983 and their debut EP, Deathwish (1985), was an underground metal phenomenon.
Four years later saw the release of Nothing Sacred‘s debut full length, Let Us Pray (1988), and despite outstanding songwriting clearly evidencing the talent on display, poor production hampered any progress the album may have afforded them.
Another case of a band with considerable promise falling at the first hurdle.
However, Nothing Sacred‘s thrashed up version of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest‘s classic sounds has seen them regain their status in Australia as a beloved act from the glory days of thrash.
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