80s thrash wasn’t just ruled by the Americans with the German thrash metal scene proving just as fertile as anywhere in the world…. as these 35 definitive 80’s German thrash albums ultimately prove!
Destruction – Infernal Overkill (1985)
These Germanic, bullet-belt strewn boys made one hell of an entrance when their full-length debut detonated nearly 35 years ago.
Blackened thrash was the order of the day and Infernal Overkill came out charred, scorched and searing; the heat generated from this trio of tormentors manifesting itself as fervourous thrashers “The Ritual”, “Thrash Attack” and “Antichrist”.
While Infernal Overkill may have lacked subtlety and finesse it more than made up for its shortcomings in frenzied raw power and youthful exuberance.
Destruction would go on to define the Teutonic thrash scene and give rise to the unstoppable force of death metal, but it all began here!
Iron Angel – Hellish Crossfire (1985)
You’ve got to give these guys credit, Iron Angel were ripping heads clean off way back in 1985 and their distinct brand of Germanic speed / thrash may sound a tad ‘meat n’ potatoes’ to modern ears but Hellish Crossfire was the shit over 35 years ago; diabolically evil, face-meltingly fast and leading metal into ever more dangerous realms!
Opener, “The Metalian”, kickstarts the tempo and Iron Angel never once dropped the pace from then on in, unleashing merry hell in the name of real metal and peeling off riffs like the end of the world was truly nigh.
Totally in thrall to Satan, these sinners concocted an absolute blast of mid 80’s thrash that remains ridiculously addictive…. and holds its position as a speed / thrash classic from the genre’s formative years.
Also recommended: 1986’s Winds Of War failed to fully capitalise on Hellish Crossfire‘s blitzkrieg of metal but is still worth a listen if you fancy a deep-dive into the German thrash archives.
Kreator – Endless Pain (1985)
One listen to Kreator‘s Endless Pain and you’ll know that pain was more than just a prerequisite, it was damned near essential!
Motörhead met Venom in an endless parade of pile-driving riffs with little deviation from the standard verse-chorus-bridge school of song writing for dummies. Not that this was a negative; this was the early days of thrash and all-out-assault was the norm…. experimentation would come later.
Like a feral animal taking bloody chunks out of its prey, tracks such as “Total Death” and “Flag Of Hate” remain raw, animalistic and utterly unforgiving. Endless Pain practically defines thrash in all it’s gory glory; essential doesn’t quite cut it.
Angel Dust – Into The Dark Past (1986)
Resolutely obsessed with speed over finesse, these 8 ripping tracks were less Sodom and Kreator and more Iron Angel; a thrilling hybrid of speed and thrash that was equal parts melody and barbarity.
Romme Keymer’s vocals may have received a bit of stick over the years but they fit the music perfectly. Ugly, forceful, yet furnished with glimpses of power metal harmony, Keymer was actually an unorthodox yet perfect match-up.
Destruction – Eternal Devastation (1986)
Hot on the tails of the US thrash elite were Germany’s own teutonic terror’s and Destruction‘s Eternal Devastation was a bestial invasion that let the world know that the Germans were coming!
Perhaps not quite hitting the heights of 1985’s Infernal Overkill, Destruction were still conjuring greatness and classic thrashers can be found here. From the all-time great that is “Curse The Gods” to the still surprising folk-thrash opening of “United By Hatred” and the air-raid siren soloing of “Life Without Sense”, Destruction sounded confident, brash and capable of anything on only their second full length release.
Early European thrash that consolidated Germany’s importance alongside the Bay Area acts, Eternal Devastation remains beloved by thrash fans the world over and for bloody good reason; it’s as devastating as ever.