Iron Angel – Hellish Crossfire [Germany]
You’ve got to give these guys credit. Iron Angel were ripping heads clean off way back in 1985 and their distinct brand of Germanic speed/thrash may sound a tad meat n’ potatoes to modern ears butHellish Crossfire was the shit back in ‘85; diabolically evil, face-meltingly fast and leading metal into ever more dangerous realms!
Opener, “The Metalian”, kickstarts the tempo and Iron Angel never once dropped the pace from then on in, unleashing merry hell in the name of real metal and peeling off riffs like the end of the world was truly nigh. Totally in thrall to Satan, these sinners concocted an absolute blast of mid 80’s thrash that remains ridiculously addictive and holds its position as a speed/thrash classic from the genre’s formative years.
Kreator – Endless Pain [Germany]
One listen to Kreator‘s Endless Pain and you’ll know that pain was more than just a prerequisite, it was damned near essential!
Motörhead meets Venom in an endless parade of pile-driving riffs with little deviation from the standard verse-chorus-bridge school of song writing for dummies. Not that this is a negative; this was the early days of thrash and all-out-assault was the norm, experimentation would come later.
Like a feral animal taking bloody chunks out of its prey, tracks such as “Total Death” and “Flag Of Hate” are raw, animalistic and utterly unforgiving.
Endless Pain practically defines thrash in all it’s gory glory; essential doesn’t quite cut it.
Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good! [USA]
Miraculously, a rejected genius with a spiralling drug addiction – and a mouth that refused to stay shut – led to auspicious beginnings! Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth were a recipe for disaster but the result gave us one of the most technically gifted thrash bands on the planet.
Killing Is My Business… is undoubtedly Megadeth at their most unrefined and unrestrained with “Rattlehead” and “Mechanic” particularly endearing the band to slathering thrash fans the world over.
While it may be lacking the precision pummelling of later releases, any short comings were balanced by boundless energy and a determination like no other; Metallica’s loss was the world’s gain.
Onslaught – Power From Hell [UK]
Power From Hell was the debut from the UK’s greatest thrash metal export and at this point in their career they had barely escaped the confines of hardcore punk and Venom’s black thrash racket.
Guitarist Nige Rockett handled the lion’s share of the song writing and his cacophony of abrasive and antagonistic sounds signalled the early stages of death metal, no more so than on the fiery “Death Metal” and “Witch Hunt” .
Coincidentally, on the other side of the Atlantic, Possessed (more on them later) were forging ahead with a similar approach, both bands naming a song on their debut “Death Metal” and both bands forewarning the world of the extremity to come.
Onslaught‘s impact on thrash and death metal should not be underestimated.
Overkill – Feel The Fire [USA]
Overkill‘s full length debut was an instantly satisfying fix for those thrash fans looking for an East-Coast band to rival the Bay Area’s dominance.
Feel The Fire is an absolute classic from a band who have spent the best part of 40 years defiantly thrashing their guts out for the metal masses. It’s fair to say that consistency and Overkill literally go hand in hand.
“Rotten To The Core”, “Hammerhead” and “Kill At Command” thrill with wild abandonment and earth-shaking riffs buffered by Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth’s shrill vocals.
If Overkill had only released this record they still would be revered as thrash pioneers, as it turns out we have a further 18(!) records to relish as well!