Old-school thrash metal classics from bands with a ‘one and done’ attitude.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
Aspid (Аспид) – Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) (1993) [Russia]
Right time, wrong place. That’s the situation Russian technical thrashers Aspid (Аспид) found themselves in when they released their technically audacious debut album, Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) in 1993.
Had this monster of an album been released by an American or a German band we suspect that Aspid’s name would be mentioned in the same breath as cult legends Intruder and Deathrow.
Instead, Extravasation is but a footnote in a scene that – with wider exposure – would surely have embraced these talented individuals with open arms. Blame the distribution (originally a limited vinyl release) for its relative failure but don’t the blame the performances and the song writing, because Aspid were equal to their lauded peers in every respect; often pushing their progressive/technical thrash into death metal territory while remaining resolutely committed to surprising the listener at every turn.
Uniquely dark, aggressive, mesmerising and menacing, Aspid’s one and only release deserves far more than to rot in obscurity…..it demands to be heard!
Dyoxen – First Among Equals (1989) [Canada]
Taking the Voivod path to obscure-town, Canada’s Dyoxen were a surprisingly melodic yet highly skilled set of technical thrashers.
While the Voivod comparisons are semi-apt, Dyoxen actually had more in common with Peace Sells-era Megadeth; such was their penchant for unveiling skilful and sickle-sharp, complex and caustic blasts of sophisticated thrash, replete with umpteen tempo changes and a shed-load of killer riffs.
These guys sure had the chops, but they just didn’t have the clout to shift them into the big leagues. Which is a crying shame, as First Among Equals was the equal of anything Annihilator, Megadeth, Forbidden etc. were serving up in the late 80’s!
Gammacide – Victims Of Science (1989) [USA]
Gammacide‘s one and only album, Victims Of Science, may not be well known (except to the thrash die-hards, of course) but it’s a late 80’s release far more deserving of simply also ran status!
Fans of Vio-lence and Exodus will appreciate Gammacide’s technically skilled but aggressively direct approach and their no nonsense attitude elevates Victims Of Science to a level which far surpasses the majority of their peers.
Built around that age-old thrash chestnut of nuclear war and falling victim to mankind’s technological ‘progress’, Gammacide were the thrash equivalent of armageddon and their ripping, snarling vocals, high-speed riffs, outstanding solos and whip-crack tempos were refreshingly direct and as remorseless as a nuclear winter.
Mankind has always been doomed…..and Gammacide’s Victims Of Science will always provide the soundtrack!
Sentinel Beast – Depths Of Death (1986) [USA]
Californian power / thrashers Sentinel Beast hit the ground running with their rough and ready debut, Depths Of Death.
Full of bite (particularly in the feral vocals of frontwoman Debbie Gunn), Sentinel Beast were a rabid blast of high energy, no-nonsense, thrashing rage. Catchy and yet suitably caustic, Depths of Death‘s 9 tracks were over in a flash but, when you’ve got the likes of “Dogs Of War” in your arsenal, speed is ultimately of the essence!
Kerry King apparently ‘discovered’ and subsequently championed Sentinel Beast.…and who are we to disagree with the great man himself?
Depths of Death was fuckin’ killer. And that’s the truth.
Violent Force – Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow (1987) [Germany]
Something of a cult curio, Violent Force‘s Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow deserves to be revered instead of forgotten and it’s high time this agonisingly aggressive and frantic thrash gem was rediscovered by the thrash masses.
Opening with the heavily Motörhead-indebted “Dead City”, the album actually improved after this bout of hero worship was finished with and, settling into a groove of their own, it was on “Sign Of Evil”, “Vengeance And Venom” and “S.D.I” where Violent Force really proved their mettle. 100% committed to thrashing you senseless, Violent Force‘s salaciously filthy riffs and demented drumming may have been highly reminiscent of comrades Kreator, but Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow was straight-to-the-face thrashing with absolutely no effort to confound tradition or break new ground. Which should be taken as a compliment!
Sometimes thrash needs to be simple, brutal and devoid of remorse and, on their one and only full-length album, Violent Force ticked all three boxes while living up to their name perfectly.
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