1986. The greatest year in thrash history? Arguably so.
We all know that the big guns released seminal albums in ’86 but there was also a slew of quality releases from lesser known acts clogging up the thrash airwaves with some of the filthiest sounds imaginable; thrash was already evolving and death metal was the next logical progression.
With a shit-load of quality releases to choose from here’s OUR pick of the 10 greatest thrash metal albums of turning 35 years old in 2021…..
Sacrifice – Torment In Fire [Canada]
Sacrifice‘s fiery thrash debut was fiendishly evil, brutally effective and pure diabolical mayhem set to music.
Featuring some truly spine-scraping shrieks and riffs that threaten to veer into all out distorted noise, Sacrifice may have been undeniably immature at this stage in there career but there’s no escaping the sheer impact this feral release still possesses.
These Canadian miscreants often sounded more like their unhinged German counterparts than the clinically precise riffing found south of the border. Subsequently, Sacrifice found themselves joining the ranks of the demented Destruction, Kreator, Whiplash and Possessed in channeling the more maniacal possibilities thrash had to offer.
While a god-awful production job slightly lessens its impact, Torment In Fire remains an integral stepping stone in thrash metal’s eventual transition to death metal and was an underground treasure of 1986.
Nuclear Assault – Game Over [USA]
Nuclear Assault‘s debut album saw Danny Lilker and his merry men release an unrefined and cataclysmic thrash metal assault on the world!
Still tapped in to the raw emotion and pure power over technical skill mentality of thrash metal’s early releases – that’s not to say these boys couldn’t play but it’s the attitude that shines through – Game Over bordered on a crossover release; revelling in gang vocals, thunderous bass and John Connoly’s unhinged and apocalyptic screeching diatribes.
From the blacker than black humour of “Hang The Pope” to the end of the world announcing “Nuclear War”, “After The Holocaust” and “Radiation Sickness”, Nuclear Assault hit like the proverbial atomic bomb in ’86 and instantly cemented their place amongst the greats of thrash metal.
It was already game over man, game over.
Destruction – Eternal Devastation [Germany]
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 firmly let the world know that the Germans were coming!
Perhaps not quite hitting the heady highs of 1985’s Infernal Overkill (a personal favourite of ours), Destruction were noticeably progressing into a world-class outfit and some all-time classic thrashers can be found here. From the all-conquering “Curse The Gods”, 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 absolutely anything on only their second full length release.
Early European thrash consolidated Germany’s importance alongside the Bay Area acts and Eternal Devastation remains beloved by thrash fans the world over…..and for bloody good reason; it’s as devastating as ever.
Flotsam and Jetsam – Doomsday for the Deceiver [USA]
One of the greatest thrash debuts known to man, Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Doomsday For The Deceiver led the world to believe that a new thrash superpower had arrived (not quite, unfortunately) with a collection of tunes both overwhelmingly powerful and expertly performed.
Taking the very best bits of speed metal, power metal and thrash metal – and perfecting them amongst a flurry of cranking bass, warp-speed riffs and Erik A.K’s formidable pipes – the likes of the feral “Hammerhead”, the intense “Iron Tears” and the epic ability of the exquisite title track mark out Doomsday For The Deceiver as an undisputed all-time thrash classic.
Many will recall the rarely used 6K mark awarded by Kerrang back in ’86 and that laughable sentiment surprisingly rings true. From intense bursts of thrashing rage (“Desecrator,” the aforementioned “Iron Tears”) to almost progressive metal, multi-tentacled epics, Doomsday For The Deceiver had everything!