Belgium; famous for chocolates, biscuits, fries and mayonnaise and the best damn beer in the world…..but not, unsurprisingly, for thrash metal!
Which is a crying shame, as those Belgians sure could thrash up a storm when they wanted to. So, we’ve handpicked the 5 greatest 80s Belgian thrash albums to highlight that very fact! (presented in alphabetical order as opposed to ranking)….
Black Shepherd – Immortal Aggression (1988)
A complete clattering cavalcade of brutal satanic thrash, Black Shepherd‘s Immortal Aggression may borderline on unlistenable at times but its naive charms lay in its indefatigable allegiance to the dark lord!
Ironically, Black Shepherd’s bestial aggression aligns them with the barely controlled noise emanating from Brazil in the 80’s as opposed to the sounds crawling out from Europe’s thriving underground. Recalling the primitive splendour of early Sepultura, Vulcano, Mutilator etc, these fuckers were destined to thrash harder, faster and with more diabolical intent than anyone else…..and they delivered on that promise.
Feral, haphazard, raucous and completely unhinged, Black Shepherd were the sound of pure fuckin’ evil made flesh!
Cyclone – Brutal Destruction (1986)
Belgium’s Cyclone weren’t particularly active – just 2 albums in a 9 year career – but they were the instigators of some distinctive riffage and Brutal Destruction remains an underrated collection of tenacious, tightly focused and terrorising thrash anthems.
Admittedly, Brutal Destruction may sound antiquated to modern ears but this semi-forgotten title had some clout in 1986! Slightly dubious title aside, “Incest Love”(?!) remains one hell of a closer while the razor-sharp riffs and unrefined shrieks found on “Long To Hell” and “Fall Under His Command” still leave scars!
One of those albums that belongs in a true thrashers collection – even though it may not receive a regular airing – Cyclone’s sound was more mid-level American than European and for this reason alone, Cyclone were up against it; they were never going to make an impact in the US when bands of this calibre were already ten a penny.
Evil Sinner – Evil Sinner (1989)
A frenzied thrash-fest to rival the likes of Exumer and Baloff-era Exodus, Evil Sinner‘s debut is another unjustly ignored highpoint in Belgian thrash history!
Opening with the call-to-arms of “Thrashers”, the scene is set for Evil Sinner to cave in your face with each well aimed blow. These are pummelling anthems, rampaging through your system with dexterous efficiency and devastating effect and there’s barely a pause for breath before the whole thing comes to a crashing end.
“Fate” and the title track are high-speed killers but Evil Sinner slowed down enough on the dynamic “The Gang” to introduce a melodic longeur, providing a break from the blast-beat propelled thrash attack that surrounds it.
As far as Belgian thrash is concerned, Evil Sinner’s one and only release is an underground classic in every way!
Target – Master Project Genesis (1988)
Target‘s sophomore release, Master Project Genesis, was the greatest Belgian thrash album of the 80s, bar none! Light years ahead of their contemporaries, Target’s technical thrash prowess was writ large over Master Project Genesis‘ 8 scintillating tracks, with the band improving on their already impressive debut, Mission Executed (1987) and delivering a succession of tracks that sounded like the next gen of thrash bands had arrived.
Once you’ve picked your jaw up from the floor upon hearing the stop-start riff-a-rama of the surprisingly melodic “Ultimate Unity”, the sheer brilliance of “Digital Regency” smacks you around the chops are you’re left reeling from the sheer scope and breadth of it all! The quality never lets up either.
As important a cult item as Deathrow‘s Deception Ignored and Realm‘s Suiciety, Target‘s Master Project Genesis deserves far more than the mere footnote in thrash history placing it currently holds. After all, this truly is some of the best technical thrash you’ll ever hear!
Target – Mission Executed (1987)
Yep. Target again.
Utterly obscure yet teeming with raw talent, Target‘s debut album, Mission Executed, was a technical blast of feral thrash that, in 1987, was way ahead of the pack in terms of ideas and execution.
Drawing on the likes of Artillery, Mekong Delta and Living Death for inspiration, a welcome dose of intensity backed Target’s technical verve as these Belgians went about destroying ear-drums over 8 tracks of nerve-shredding THRASH!
Make no mistake, Mission Executed was Euro-thrash at its absolute finest….and to deliver an album of this quality and remain so unrecognised is a crime that deserves to be tried in The Hague!
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