UK thrash kept on fighting the good fight in 2022. And, while it was left to two of the originators of the UK thrash scene to show us all how this shit should be done, there were numerous new bands picking up the baton and keeping the underground alive….
5. Ghost Keeper – We Conquer!
Released: Independently on January 21st, 2022
Heavy on groove and death/thrash ferocity, Ghost Keeper‘s debut, We Conquer!, was direct and deadly and reeked of spit and bile (and telling aliens to fuck off(.
A relentless pummelling assault on the senses, the likes of “Fuck Off And Die” and “Warmaster” were remorseless in their intensity and Ghost Keeper‘s chest-beating , modernised take on thrashing aggression will drag you kicking and screaming into the nearest mosh pit. Only on the more considered, melodic guitar intro opening to We Conquer!‘s title track did they slow down for a second – the remainder of the album being an all-out onslaught of skull-crushing mayhem.
4. Station Twenty7 – Exit Strategy
Released: Independently on July 23rd, 2022
The brainchild of ex-Anihilated guitarist Mark Beuchet – and featuring the vocal talents of Kemakil‘s Rob Durrant – the third album from Station Twenty7 was a mostly mid-tempo stomp of classic chug and brutal grooves.
You can still hear the Anihilated influence in both Rob Durrant’s delivery (which heavily recalls Si Cobb’s snarling rage) and while a little more diversity may have helped differentiate StationTwenty7 from the pack, we would wager that an all-out assault of vitriol and vehement rhetoric was the strategy from the outset.
The snappy savagery of “From The Fires” was a highlight and when the menacing “Kill for Company” settles its grinding gears into a furrow of utmost ferocity, you’ll be doffing your cap at StationTwenty7‘s ability to maintain such a searing temperature of molten-hot modern thrash!
3. Halberd – Parastic Humanity
Released: Independently on May 1st, 2022
Halberd‘s debut album, Parasitic Humanity, had one simple agenda – to get you grooving and the mosh pit moving!
Fast and feral, Halberd‘s ripping blend of thrash and death metal hit fuckin’ hard (particularly on “We Are The Horde”) with the band encouraging absolute carnage on each and every track. While Halberd may not be doing anything new, they do deliver on the kind of old-school, ugly-ass thrash that ignites pits and brings the fun back to swinging your arms around like a demented dickhead. Death by death!
Let’s not forget that “Legion In Arms” – a single released back in September – was a work of genius; a track that galvanised the UK thrash scene by roping in guest musicians from bands such as Acid Reign, Bangover, Devilment Imperium, Tempashot, Thrasherwolf and Worship The Sacrifice amongst others.
2. Lawnmower Deth – Blunt Cutters
Released: January 28th, 2022 via Dissonance Productions
Crank up them mowers, it’s UK thrash time…..and we have legends in our midst. Lawnmower Deth may have been quiet on the recorded output front (fans have waited 29 years for this new release) but, in 2022, they were back baby, and they’re here to stay!
While “Raise Your Snails” is pure Lawnmower Deth lunacy at its finest, “Into The Pit” (not a cover of the Testament track, Lawnmower Deth don’t need to cover those losers) is a back-snapping ode to the joys of moshing (even at our frankly inappropriate age) as we’re instructed to enter the “Deth pit, lose your shit. Slip your disc, pain kill death”. Better do as the Deth say, as these guys mean business. That’s right thrashers, despite their deserved reputation for being one of the funniest bands on the planet, Lawnmower Deth can still deliver the ‘heavy’ when they want to, meaning Blunt Cutters was so much more than just a mere novelty record.
A sublime piece of crossover tomfoolery, the long awaited return of Lawnmower Deth in album form was one of the best things to happen in 2022. And that’s a fact!
1. Xentrix – Seven Words
Released: November 11th, 2022 via Listenable Records
2019’s Bury The Pain was one helluva comeback for these legends of UK thrash…. but would Xentrix be able to follow it with an album that proved they were back for the long haul? The answer was simple – of course they fuckin’ could!
While not exactly giving us ‘more of the same’, Seven Words was still instantly recognisable as a Xentrix record…. which is a wonderful thing. At their best, Xentrix have always been a band who deliver muscular yet melodic thrash, blessed by great production and kickass artwork – Seven Words is no exception. This beast had the lot. It barked, it bit, it hit you with indignant fury (“Kill and Protect”), lodged ear-worms in your brain (the title track) and delivered some truly satisfying Bay Area chug (“Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”).
So far, so familiar, so Xentrix. And yet, there’s something about the quality of the songwriting, and the immediacy of the hooks, that had us ranking Seven Words so highly. This was Xentrix sounding absurdly confident and 100% comfortable in their own skin; ultimately, this resulted in an album that will find itself at the top of many a ‘best of 2022 thrash’ lists….and not just ours!
It’s also not a stretch to say that closing track “Anything But The Truth” is one of the most apocalyptic songs in Xentrix‘s considerable arsenal. It’s a monster of a track; a Godzilla-sized, rampaging muthafucker that heralds the end of days. Do they know something we don’t?