In the world of thrash, 2019 was fundamentally about comebacks and reformations, as bands thought to be long consigned to the history books returned to show the world they’re still here and still capable of thrashin’ up an almighty storm!
Bear in mind, these were our favourites of 2019 and you do not have to agree with us…..pop your best thrash of 2019 albums into the comments below.
10. Aftermath – There Is Something Wrong
A crossover band that transformed into one of the most technically audacious, progressively-minded thrash metal bands of the 90’s, Chicago’s Aftermath had been teetering on the edge of releasing something politically explosive ever since their reformation back in 2014.
Released on February 15th, 2019 via Zoid Music.
Unsurprisingly, There Is Something Wrong was an audacious attack on Government and the hypocrisy of modern society. It was bullish, belligerent and fuelled by anger and frontman Kyriakos “Charlie” Tsiolis and co. (and this is 3/5 of the lineup which recorded 90’s masterpiece, Eyes Of Tomorrow) weren’t merely vexed, they were hellbent on pouring rabid scorn on the world they inhabit.
Replete with unsettling spoken-word intros, obscure noise, shouts, screams, random stabbing guitars, social commentary and the rumbling, tumbling rhythms of prime progressive thrash spliced with the speed of crossover thrash, There Is Something Wrong can be a little overwhelming but that, we would ascertain, was the whole fuckin’ point!
9. Critical Defiance – Misconception
Chilean young pups Critical Defiance stepped up to the plate and delivered old-school thrash with 100% ferocity and conviction.
Released on via February 8th, 2019 via Unspeakable Axe Records.
In a list that’s filled with the return of the old thrash guard, Critical Defiance stand out as a new band honouring the legends of the scene while proudly forging their own path.
Misconception is an outstanding debut album brimming with ideas, tempo changes and a ridiculous amount of ear-pleasing riffs. These guys don’t just settle on one half-decent groove and bleed it for all its worth. No, Critical Defiance slap you round the chops with ingenious riff after ingenious riff, channeling the progressive likes of Anacrusis, Coroner and Forbidden in the process while offering so much variety it’s hard to keep up with the thrash-happy bastards!
Misconception is the thrash debut of the year in our book.
8. Overkill – The Wings Of War
Overkill are East Coast legends, that’s who! When all is said and done, Overkill are Overkill and they’ve never lost sight of the core values that maks them so beloved by thrash fans around the globe. Instantly recognisable, this band know what’s expected of them and they’ve consistently delivered it with levels of energy and commitment which belies a 3 decade existence.
Released on February 22nd, 2019 via Nuclear Blast.
Somehow an improvement on 2017’s not too shabby The Grinding Wheel, The Wings Of War found Overkill thrashing as hard as ever and delivering yet another stellar album of killer thrash for die-hard fans. There was little diversity – this is the sound of old-school thrash delivered with primal energy, a punk attitude and a relentless attack which screams in your face with snarling authenticity – but then Overkill have never pretended to be anything than a hardened thrash act with a bounty of raw material at their disposal.
It’s arguable that this is the best Overkill have sounded since the modern classic that was 2010’s Ironbound. This could be attributed to the arrival of drummer Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall, ex-Flotsam and Jetsam), who seems to have harnessed Blitz and D.D. Verni’s unrivalled knack for embracing melody and malevolence. His work is exhilarating throughout and appears to have de-aged these old Jersey dogs, returning them to a level of power many may have thought long since attainable.
7. Euphoria – Nanotech
Detroit techno-thrashers Euphoria followed up 2016’s well received Operation: Genesis with an album that shat directly on anything or anyone that dared call themselves ‘cyber metal’.
Released independently on April 5th, 2019.
******WARNING: DATA SYSTEMS COMPROMISED. HOSTILE A.I. DETECTED.******
If you want the long and short of Nanotech, the above alert that greeted listeners on album closer “Brainstorm” turned out to be the album’s declaration of intent.
Ultra hostile cyber-thrash was the order of the day and Nanotech was the showcase for a band that, for the first time in forever, assumed full command of the Hanneman technique instead of merely worshipping it. In addition to this, Euphoria exhibited a thorough understanding of Iron Maiden’s rhythmic gallops for added propulsion.
The best part is, these weren’t the only ‘retro-fitted’ tricks that Euphoria utilised as they told their tales of technological compromise. Vocalist Justin Kelter’s acidic range excelled at taking listeners to unexpected places and whether it was his sound barrier shredding crunch found on “Labyrinth Online” or the reverse-engineered Paul Di’Anno punkiness found in short bursts on “Mechanical Carnivore” and “Neon Dreams”, he delivered throughout.
This was the sound of thrash upgraded and while most bands under the sci-fi thrash umbrella sing songs about viruses…..Nanotech WAS the virus.
6. Algebra – Pulse
Algebra are Swiss tech thrashers with a love for the classics and the desire to bring 80’s and 90’s progressive thrash kicking and screaming into the modern thrash scene.
Released on September 30th, 2019 via Unspeakable Axe Records.
A truly technical thrash album that instantly brings to mind the classics – Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal, Heathen’s Victims Of Deception, Forbidden’s Twisted Into Form & Defiance’s Beyond Recognition are ideal bedfellows – Algebra’s Pulse optimised thrash’s grand design and elaborated on each and every facet imaginable.
Ultimately brave and featuring above average performances, Pulse‘s greatest achievement lay with its finely-tuned ear for complexity which, somehow, manifested itself into catchy as fuck songs. These guys may be incredibly indebted to the forefathers of the technical thrash scene but, in 2019, this is as close to tech thrash godliness as you’d ever hope to encounter.
The only Algebra we’ve ever enjoyed!
5. Death Angel – Humanicide
One of the leaders of the second wave of thrash metal movement from the 1980s, Death Angel are considered Bay Area thrash legends and are now, arguably, the most reliable thrash act from that scene around!
Released on May 31st, 2019 via Nuclear Blast.
2016’s The Evil Divide was revered as a highpoint in Death Angel’s formidable 2nd act career but Humanicide managed to surpass it on almost every level. This is a band that refuses to age and their brand of slick, modern, melodic thrash – laced with bite – remains timeless and has kept them at the top of the thrash pile ever since comeback album The Art of Dying reawakened the beast back in 2004.
As ever, variety is the key to a Death Angel album and Humaicide offered up the expected, but never disappointing, blend of blistering thrash, punkish threat, hard rock swagger, exhilarating solos, experimentation and classic metal tropes in abundance.
It’s worth noting that in November 2019, the title track was nominated for the Grammy Award for “Best Metal Performance”, making it Death Angel’s first ever Grammy nomination.
Nice work lads, nice work.
4. Exhorder – Mourn The Southern Skies
Exhorder were not only a huge inspiration on the world-conquering Pantera (we won’t go into it, most of you will already be more than familiar with their ‘similarities’, if not….look it up) they also delivered two exceptional albums in the 90’s – 1992’s The Law is a minor classic – but it was Slaughter In The Vatican‘s furious thrash and groove metal establishing credentials which ranked it as an absolute 90’s thrash classic!
Released on September 20th, 2019 via Nuclear Blast.
Few were expecting new material from Exhorder in 2019 and even less were prepared for an album that not only rivalled Slaughter In The Vatican but, in many ways, surpassed it!
Mourn The Southern Skies had no right sounding so devastatingly fresh, so exuberantly youthful and so damn relevant, and Exhorder weren’t just back; they were seemingly reborn. Thrashy, groovy and Southern-fried, this was still the Exhorder you fell in love with in the early 90’s but after after a 27(!) year sabbatical, what was most clear was just how pissed off Kyle Thomas, Vinnie LaBella and the boys still were.
Frankly, they still don’t give a fuck…..so go fucking whine!
3. Inculter – Fatal Visions
Norweigan thrashers Inculter embraced the extreme on sophomore album Fatal Visions……and the results were incendiary!
Released on April 29th, 2019 via Edged Circle Productions.
Another old-school honouring album that embraced the abrasive as it dove headlong into the blackened thrash abyss, Fatal Visions was tailor made for fans of Slayer, early-Sepultura and any thrash band from the mid-80s who conjured up a blackened thrash storm in the name of SATAN!
While characterised by blistering speed, it’s worth noting that Fatal Visions is far more than mindless thrashing and its semi-hidden depths only reveal themselves once you’ve fully indoctrinated yourself into Inculter’s shadowy world.
A blackened thrash masterpiece.
2. War Curse – Eradication
Ohioan natives War Curse first came to our attention in early 2016 – with the release of their debut album, Final Days – before seeming to disappear as quickly as they had arrived. Well, the good news is, after a few line-up changes, this bunch of not so merry thrashers returned and left us picking our collective jaws up off the floor.
Released on May 10th, 2019 via Start Records
With not a weak song to be found – although the likes of “Asylum”, “Serpent”, the title track and the full blown rip-snorter that is “Sands Of Fate” are our particular standouts – Eradication was an album that revelled in its thrash supremacy; one with the good sense to know that speed isn’t always everything and knows exactly when to slow the pace down and let an innate sense of groove take over.
As if that’s not enough, throw in guest appearances from Glen Alvelais (Forbidden), Kragen Lum (Heathen) and Kyle Thomas (Exhorder), appearances that actually add to the songs instead of the usual roping in of famous friends for publicity’s sake, and you have an absolute beast of an album on your hands!
Incidentally, what a year 2019 has been for Jason Viebrooks (Heathen / Exhorder / ex-Grip Inc.), who not only provided Exhorder’s rumbling backbone but also provided bass on War Curse’s Eradication. Hats off to you fella!
1. Acid Reign – The Age Of Entitlement
In 2019, Tool may have graced us with a new release after 13 years but 13 years is NOTHING compared to the wait for Acid Reign‘s new album! Old-school UK thrash royalty Acid Reign released their last full length studio album, Obnoxious, in 1990. Bloody good it was, too. But, shortly after, thrash metal trundled to a halt and the wheels came off for many a band, Acid Reign included.
And that was that. Except it wasn’t. In 2015, frontman Howard “H” Smith rebooted the band, recruited 4 new members and released the corking comeback single, “Plan Of The Damned“, revealing a more mature, more rounded, heavier and tighter band than before.
A 6 date UK Reboot tour followed – much to the delight of Acid Reign fans old and new – and in 2017, another single, “The Man Who Became Himself“, was released and proved to be another solid indication that Acid Reign were tapping into a well of creativity. Then talk of a new album emerged, exciting the thrash masses furthermore and when a track from the album, “The New Low”, dropped back in August, everyone’s appetite was whet all the more!
Then, The Age Of Entitlement (great title) arrived.
But was it worth the wait?
In short, HELL YES!!
Released on 27th September, 2019 via Dissonance Productions.
When Acid Reign announced that a new album was finally in the offing, it’s fair to say that the boys and girls of Worship Metal were extremely excited and hoped for one hell of a return. In actuality, The Age Of Entitlement exceeded all of our expectations and then some. This is an outstanding modern thrash record and deserves to sell by the fuckin’ truckload.
We’ll go further, as indicated in its placing on the list, we firmly believe this is the best thrash metal album of the year….by a long shot!
Diversity, outstanding songwriting, a career best performance from frontman ‘H’, social commentary; The Age Of Entitlement has everything and is one of those precious few albums where you don’t dare skip a track.
So, to finish, we’d like to give you lovely people two pieces of advice to genuinely improve your lives. Buy The Age Of Entitlement and buy a ticket to see the boys live. You will not be disappointed with either.
Honourable mentions (brace yourselves, there’s a fuck-ton of ’em): Acid Brigade – Storming into This Land / Calamity – Kairos / Chemicide – Inequality / Destruction – Born To Perish / Devastruction – Space Force One / Dust Bolt – Trapped In Chaos / Eradikator – Obscura / Exumer – Hostile Defiance / Flotsam and Jetsam – The End Of Chaos / Fusion Bomb – Concrete Jungle / Hatriot – From Days Unto Darkness / Inhuman Nature – Inhuman Nature / Maniac Abductor – Casualties Of Causality / Mortal Scepter – Where Light Suffocates / Oozing Wound – High Anxiety / Parkcrest – …And That Blue Will Turn to Red / Piranha – First Kill / Protector – Summon The Hordes / Reign Of Fury – Exorcise Reality / Sacred Reich – The Awakening / Suicidal Angels – Years Of Aggression / Thrashfire – Wisdom of Sacrilegious / Toxic Carnage – Doomed From The Beginning / Toxic Holocaust – Primal Future: 2019 / Wreck-Defy – Remnants Of Pain / Xentrix – Bury The Pain