Old-school thrash metal classics from bands with a ‘one and done’ attitude.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
Bezerker – Lost (1990) [Australia]
A true anomaly – even in the Australian scene – Bezerker‘s only full length release is as frustrating as it is interesting; an album that’s tantalisingly technical and abruptly abstract in equal measure.
With a singer who’s distinctive clean voice was a decidedly love it or hate it affair (think Forbidden‘s Russ Anderson without the big man’s range), it’s testament to the quality of the songwriting that Bezerker‘s blend of progressive thrash remains a lost treasure; one that swiftly enamours with its full-tilt tenacity and go-for-broke mentality.
One and done – but not a bad legacy to leave behind.
Lost? Go find it!
Carrion – Evil Is There! (1986) [Switzerland]
The perfect encapsulation of underground thrash in 1986, Swiss thrashers Carrion – you might know them better as Poltergeist(!) – released just one album before changing their name to the titular spectral house-wrecker.
Noticably less technical than the output of Poltergeist, Evil Is There! is a bare-bones release with any ‘fresh-fat’ picked clean to leave a pure, straightforward and relentless thrash experience.
Brutally simplistic and simply brutal, Carrion could still showcase a little melody from time to time – check out the intro to “The Avenger” – but it’s the lightning-quick riffing found on the the likes of “Demon’s Child” that retains its edge.
Messina – Terrortory (1990) [Netherlands]
For a Dutch scene lauded for its technical prowess, Messina’s one and only full length album, Terrortory, was rough and ready; with the band appropriating a more direct approach that appeared to take inspiration from the likes of Stone (Finland), Atrophy (USA) and Acid Reign (UK).
However, there’s nothing wrong with blue-collar thrash when performed convincingly and Messina sure were heavy and came laden with enough mosh-worthy tunes to satisfy the most hardened of thrash purists. With “Ritual Killings” providing ultimate bounce and “Attempted Suicide” going hell for leather in a manner Exodus would have found particularly appealing, Messina were surely a band with career ahead of them. As it turned out, Terrortory was their one and only offering but when the results are this good, you won’t find us complaining!
A tad on the dry side, Terrortory nevertheless provides enough catchy hooks and variation to earn its place amongst the elite of Dutch thrash releases.
Silence – Vision (1991) [USA]
Featuring guitarist Sonny Mayo (ex-Amen, ex-Hed PE, ex-Sevendust, ex-Snot), who went on to be a major player in the 90’s nu metal scene, Silence were actually a formidable thrash force who sadly only released one album, in the shape of 1991’s Vision.
Accomplished, technical and brutal (bordering on death-thrash at times), Silence were as adept at thrashing hard, fast and with as much precision as the majority of their peers and surely deserved far more than their all but ‘forgotten’ status.
With tempos that shifted on a whim, the likes of the intricate “Echoes of Damnation” were as adept at getting that head bangin’ as they were at mesmerising you with their labyrinthine peculiarities; none more so than on the progressive epic that is album closer “Necromantic”, a 10 and a half minute magnum opus which subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, traversed the thrash metal spectrum for inspiration.
Vacant Grave – Life Or Death (1990) [USA]
Permanent residents of obscure-town, Missouri’s Vacant Grave may not have registered in the wider scene but their one and only album, 1990’s Life Or Death, is more than just an interesting footnote in thrash metal history.
Admittedly, Life Or Death‘s woeful production values hamper its progress but there’s more than enough Sadus-esque death/thrash to Vacant Grave‘s muffled sounds to warrant further inspection.
Semi-technical and yet as ramped up on ferocity as the likes of Rigor Mortis and early Sacrifice, it’s when Vacant Grave go full on gonzo that their ability to shit in the face of predictability shines through – particularly on the maddening and erratic “Widespread Affliction”, which hits an unorthodox home run at the first time of asking.
Also in this Series: