Death / thrash classics from bands with a ‘one and done’ attitude.
Presented in order of release as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
Energetic Krusher – Path To Oblivion (1989) [UK]
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 death/thrash assault maintained an impressively 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.
Infected – Dark Century (1989) [Switzerland]
As late 80s death/thrash goes, Infected‘s only album, Dark Century, is not only one of the best…. it’s a goddamn revelation!
These guys were dishing out the kind of pain that bands such as Malevolent Creation were two years away from creating and, alongside the likes of Num Skull and Incubus (the original Incubus, not those nu-metal, didgeridoo-playing wombats), Infected were pushing thrash into ever-heavier realms before the 80s had even finished.
Resolutely thrash in the musicianship stakes, it was the throaty vocals of Amos Gersmann that pushed Dark Century into death/thrash territory, all underpinned by the drumming powerhouse that was Steve Karrer (Messiah).
As extreme as thrash could get in the late 80s, this little known cult classic still packs a punch and when the likes of “Media Control” and “State Oppression” (there’s a theme here) come out swinging, you’ll be left ruing the day you let this little beauty pass you by!
Revenant – Prophecies Of A Dying World (1991) [USA]
A death/thrash colossus, Revenant‘s one and only full length remains a fast and frantic, technically audacious slab of semi-forgotten brilliance!
These New Jersey boys were a class act and they somehow managed to conjure an album that perfectly encapsulated the forward-thinking nature of early-90’s metal, while – at this stage – also giving Chuck Schuldiner a run for his money in the ‘progressive’ stakes.
Revenant would stop and start on a dime, toying with pace and tempo at will and embracing crushing doom passages when they weren’t slashing and thrashing their way through hyper-speed death metal.
Precious few bands could match such a dark, multi-layered, multi-faceted work of ever-changing tempo and arrangement, making Prophecies Of A Dying World an absolute meisterwerk; under-appreciated or otherwise!
Ripping Corpse – Dreaming With The Dead (1991) [USA]
Featuring the considerable talents of Erik Rutan (later of death metal legends Morbid Angel and founder of the mighty Hate Eternal), Dreaming With The Dead remains the one and only full length album from the underrated Ripping Corpse.
Fearlessly fusing elements of groove, doom and thrash with a progressive flair for schizophrenic time signatures and razor-sharp technique, Dreaming With the Dead is quite the anomaly, standing proud on its own as an album of considerable skill and identity.
Ultra thrashy and brutal as fuck, Ripping Corpse may have failed to officially follow up this colossal release (their ‘lost album’ remains unreleased and unmastered) but they made an indelible mark on the American death metal scene with Dreaming With The Dead!
Archaic Torse – Sneak Attack (1992) [Germany]
Devilishly dark and devastatingly heavy, Archaic Torse may be an unknown quantity to all but the most ardent death/thrash fan, but the likes of the lightning-speed and groove-heavy “Beyond The Great Divide” and the blistering title track should endear them to the Archaic Torse novice instantaneously.
Treading a similar path to fellow countrymen Protector, Archaic Torse erred on the side of death metal but also ripped up a thrashing storm when desired, pummelling the listener with brutal vocals and a penchant for channelling the ferocity of early Pestilence.
Overall, Sneak Attack was a very strong debut from a band who sadly never released a follow-up and death/thrash fans unfamiliar with its charms should seek it out…..immediately!
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