Thrash is great. Technical thrash is so much better!
To that end, Worship Metal has selected YET ANOTHER 6 Of The Most Mind-Blowing Technical Thrash Albums Ever Recorded for your perusal.
Presented in order of year of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….
Watchtower – Energetic Disassembly (1985) [USA]
Technical progressive thrash written by a band so far ahead of their time they probably already knew how Avatar 3 is going to end, Watchtower‘s Energetic Disassembly borders on impossible to describe….but we’ll give it a go anyway.
Overflowing with complexity, neck-shredding tempos and banshee solos, Energetic Disassembly is a consistently impressive listen but one let down by a tinny, sub-standard production.
Production woes aside, Watchtower set the bar so high on this release that they probably spilt their drinks, and any fan of progressive metal unfamiliar with Energetic Disassembly‘s riches are encouraged to seek it out.
Voivod – Dimension Hatröss (1988) [Canada]
One of thrash metal’s most distinctive bands, Canada’s Voivod have spent their entire career releasing music that barely stays within the confines of thrash and purposefully flaunts the rules. However, Dimension Hatröss was arguably the first time Voivod perfected their noise and channeled their unearthly visions into their most wilfully obscure – yet somehow coherent – collection of songs ever.
Atypical and abstract, the riffs of Piggy and vocal delivery of Snake remain utterly unique and otherworldly and this twisting, turning, tumultuous sci-fi fever-dream made flesh still sounds like absolutely nothing else on earth. With the likes of “Tribal Convictions”, “Brain Scan” and (the aptly titled) “Experiment”, Voivod were lightyears ahead of the pack and their peers (if they truly have ever had any) are still frantically trying to keep up.
Not too shabby for an album that’s nearly 35 years of age!
Intruder – A Higher Form of Killing (1989) [USA]
Intruder‘s second album was an aural assault that blew conceptions of thrash apart. Instrumental “Time of Trouble” aside, opener “The Martyr” had not one but three intro riffs before we even got to the meat of the piece, and each one ramped up the urgency and the expectancy like a catholic priest watching the new choir boys march in. And the pace did not let up. Shit, it’s heavy, even in 2021.
Guitarists Arthur Vinett and Greg Messick played their hearts out on this record, with their down-picked, string skipping madness played so fast your left hand will look like a Taiwanese prostitute giving a 30 second handjob. Anthrax were famous for the left-hand speed (picking, not handjobs. Well….) but this was another level.
There was humour too. “Mr Death is here!” exclaimed Mr. Death on the last track (Did he get paid for his guest appearance?). And we can’t speak about AHFOK without mentioning the awesome Monkees cover “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” in which John Pieroni growled his way through a great Mickey Dolenz pastiche….but it’s the chorus harmony vocals that still make you sit up and take notice!
Hellwitch – Syzgial Miscreancy [USA] (1990)
Is Hellwitch’s Syzygial Miscreancy technical thrash or technical death metal? For the sake of this article, we’re leaning towards technical thrash metal and given that in 1990 the boundaries between the two sub-genres were being ceremoniously broken on a regular basis, we feel warranted in doing so!
Easily one of the most technically audacious, forward-thinking, brain-frazzling albums of the era, Syzygial Miscreancy must have sounded like it was from another planet back in 1990; such was its ability to shock with extreme blasts of speed, tempo-changes and schizoid vocals.
Sounding like a certifiably insane version of Sadus (which speaks volumes for how gonzo this album is), this short, sharp and savage assault on the senses somehow remained cohesive amidst a blitzkrieg of sounds. Syzygial Miscreancy remains a cult curio well worth the underground devotion it so fervently inspires.
Obliveon – From This Day Forward (1990) [Canada]
A thrashier version of Death circa Spiritual Healing / Human, Obliveon’s debut album was an immediate game-changer upon release and has become an all-time technical thrash classic from the golden era of forward-thinking thrash.
Obliveon were part of the natural Canadian evolution that first began when Voivod crawled from the primordial swamp before, over time, casting aside the shackles of conformity and entering cyberspace. While they weren’t alone on embracing the more technical side of thrash, Obliveon‘s take on Voivod‘s early-doors experimentation was undoubtedly heavier than most; informed as much by death metal as it was traditional thrash.
As far as debut albums go, From this Day Forward was leagues ahead of the competition and you’d be hard pressed to find a more technical old school thrash album which delivers on so many levels. Speed, technicality, atmosphere, diversity, aggression….Obliveon‘s From This Day Forward has the lot!
Aspid (Аспид) – Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) (1993) [Russia]
Right time, wrong place. That’s the situation Russian technical thrashers Aspid (Аспид) found themselves in when they released their technically audacious debut album, Extravasation (Кровоизлияние) in 1993.
Had this monster of an album been released by an American or a German band we suspect that Aspid’s name would be mentioned in the same breath as cult legends Intruder and Deathrow. Instead, Extravasation is but a footnote in a scene that – with wider exposure – would surely have embraced these talented individuals with open arms. Blame the distribution (originally a limited vinyl release) for its relative failure but don’t the blame the performances and the song writing, because Aspid were equal to their lauded peers in every respect; often pushing their progressive/technical thrash into death metal territory while remaining resolutely committed to surprising the listener at every turn.
Uniquely dark, aggressive, mesmerising and menacing, Aspid’s one and only release deserves far more than to rot in obscurity…..it demands to be heard!
Be sure to check out the first three entries in this series:
The next chapter in this series is already in the works! However, that shouldn’t stop you from adding your favourite technical thrash albums to the comments below!
Check out The Worship Metal Podcasts’ throughly entertaining chat about thrash: