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The 10 Greatest Thrash Metal Debuts Of The 1990’s

Debuts from thrash heaven.....

5. Depressive Age – First Depression (1992) [Germany]

Depressive Age - First Depression | Releases | Discogs

Kicking off a career in thrash in 1992 was probably ill-advised….not that anyone told Germany’s Depressive Age

Progressive, technical and melodic, First Depression was a debut of considerable stature and one that perfectly balanced Depressive Age’s idiosyncratic nature with an innate accessibility. Very much a Teutonic thrash band at heart (the influence of the likes of Destruction’s Release From Agony and Deathrow’s Deception Ignored are writ large throughout), much of First Depression’s appeal actually lay within its melancholic nature. With a depressive (oh, the irony), doom-like atmosphere backed by Jan Lubitziki’s often haunting vocal delivery, this was technical thrash refined – mellowed even – despite the expected display of crushing riffs remaining ever-present.  

Quite the anomaly despite being part of a scene that was rapidly changing, Depressive Age’s First Depression was a last gasp for technical/progressive thrash in the 90s….so breathe it in! 

4. Demolition Hammer – Tortured Existence (1990) [USA]

Demolition Hammer – Tortured Existence (2015, Vinyl) - Discogs

Few bands would ever compete with the sheer, unbridled ferocity of Demolition Hammer‘s ultra-aggressive debut, Tortured Existence.

Walking a very thin line between thrash and death metal meant that Demolition Hammer were instantly one of the heaviest bands around, and when you’re packing heat as powerful as album opener (and all-time thrash classic) “.44 Caliber Brain Surgery”, thrash fans are gonna sit up and listen!

To be this barbarically brutal yet stay on the right side of accessible is a feat in itself….but then Demolition Hammer were no ordinary band. They were born to THRASH and thrash harder and faster than 99% of their peers. In fact, the likes of “Crippling Velocity” and “Neanderthal” will pummel you senseless, even 32 years after the fact.

3. Invocator – Excursion Demise (1991) [Denmark]

Invocator - Excursion Demise | Releases | Discogs

If you were under the naive impression that Artillery were the only Danish thrash band really worth caring about then we urge you to turn your attention to Invocator and, particularly, their debut album Excursion Demise!

As far as technical thrash goes, Invocator were not only operating at a much higher level than the majority of their countrymen, they were also rivalling the best the world had to offer. 

Sharing a kinship with Atheist lent Invocator a death metal vibe but the likes of the exquisite “(…to a Twisted Recess of Mind)” and “Schismatic Injective Therapy” were actually technical / progressive thrash through and through; leaving it to songs such as “The Persistence From Memorial Chasm” to provide a more visceral thrash kick.

2. Morbid Saint – Spectrum Of Death (1990) [USA]

Morbid Saint – Spectrum Of Death (1992, CD) - Discogs

Morbid Saint‘s debut, Spectrum Of Death, was unapologetically brutal, viciously violent and a remorseless attack on the senses that resulted in arguably the most bloodthirsty thrash album ever recorded!

Clattering drums, rapid riffing and vocals belched from the gullet of a Satan-obsessed psychopath, Morbid Saint were the perfect combination of Dark Angel‘s all-encompassing power, Whiplash‘s speed and grit and the blackened riffing of those teutonic masters, Sodom and Destruction.

Few bands could compete with the intensity found on Spectrum Of Death and if your heart bleeds black for Venom, early Kreator and Darkness Descends era Dark Angel then tracks such as “Assassin” and “Beyond the Gates of Hell” are ample proof that Morbid Saint deserve to sit proudly alongside these legendary purveyors of pure filth!

1. Exhorder – Slaughter In The Vatican (1990) [USA]

Exhorder – Slaughter In The Vatican (1989, Vinyl) - Discogs

Slaughter In The Vatican’s furious thrash and groove-metal establishing credentials rank it as an absolute thrash classic and one of the fiercest thrash albums ever released.

Stripped down to the raw basics, Slaughter In The Vatican‘s 8 tracks never once came up for air, with a low-end rumble, buzzsaw riffing and Kyle Thomas’ ravaged vocals culminating in a primal thrash experience that came perilously close to utter perfection. One of the most unique thrash albums in existence, Slaughter should be revered as a landmark in metal. At the very least it should be spoken about with the same reverential tones reserved for Pantera’s Vulgar Display Of Power (an ironic yet unfortunately necessary comparison and not, we repeat not, a thrash album!)

Alternating between fast and slow tempos (the true ‘groove’ element of their sound), Exhorder‘s Slaughter In The Vatican still has the power to make thrash fans shit their pants!

The greatest thrash metal debut of the 1990’s? We dare you to offer an alternative! We double-dog dare ya!!

Shameful oversight:

Pop it in whatever placing you see fit!

Meshuggah – Contradictions Collapse (1991) [Sweden]

Meshuggah - Contradictions Collapse | Releases | Discogs

Best known for being the band behind the djent movement, Meshuggah actually started life as a technically audacious thrash act and their debut, Contradictions Collapse, stands tall despite being an obvious anomaly in their back catalogue!

This thrashy, jazzy, progressive, groovy masterclass had more in common with the likes of Defiance (circa Beyond Recognition), underrated Finnish thrashers Stone and Metallica (circa ..And Justice for All) than it did with anything else…..but the seeds for Meshuggah’s pioneering future were already being sown.

“Erroneous Manipulation” still bounces with an elasticity that positively screams “we’re going places” in your face while “Greed” would prove to be the motherload; a 7 minute excursion into chugging, anvil-heavy dissonance and wild rhythmic experimentation.

Meshuggah’s ultra tight playing and polyrhythmic grooves could already be found in abundance, they just happened to be strapped to a more rigid, thrash-dictated, framework at this stage in their career.

Liked that? Have a gander at these:

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About Chris Jennings (1905 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

2 Comments on The 10 Greatest Thrash Metal Debuts Of The 1990’s

  1. Depressive Age is right up my alley. Great stuff! There is a lot of great thrash that I find unlistenable due to vocals (and I can see how this dude might be that way for others) but I really like his approach.

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