Let me see how you think I should be
You think it's so easy?
Put yourself on trial everyday
Against a hung jury
You don't know a thing about me
You believe the hype you see

-- Anthrax - Gridlock

ABAXIAL - Samsara
Argentina 1994

1. Sequels 2. Self-Respect 3. Anonimato 4. A Strange Blindness 5. 206 Bones 6. Samsara 7. Our Cannibal Part 8. Revolution For Oneself 9. Carnivore 10. Sin Titulo (bonus)

It is probably a fair fact that Abaxial never were known in big circles, but the lack of worldwide recognition doesn't prevent their full-length release from having some interesting points. Samsara is a curious item, not really something that one would call a great classic, but nevertheless an album that is worth listening even years after its release. The music is authentic thrash metal with technical aspirations, including a lot of tempo variations and rhythm changes. It may sound slightly quirky at first, but within a couple of tracks everything starts to fall in place. The general tone is dry yet fairly compelling, and based on these compositions it is obvious that the amount of thought put into this work was well above average. While it should do no harm to anyone, Samsara is especially worthwhile for those who don't pursue the easiest solutions everywhere.

Brazil 1996

1. Intro 2. Let Me Live 3. Eternal Doubt 4. Blood On Your Lips 5. No Chance 6. Prelude Of The End 7. The Witch 8. One Step 9. Face Of Terror

Abhorrent's Rage falls into the category of albums that are most difficult to describe fairly with a few words, and that's only because they effectively fail to raise any kind of notable response in either good or bad. The music sounds reasonably fast and agile, but that's probably the best that can be said about it. In some way the output is comparable to Abhorrent's countrymen Restless, with similar unsurprising qualities, although the sound is maybe slightly less dry. In all honesty, there is a fair amount of audible enthusiasm but that far surpasses the level of creativity on this recording. Except for a couple of short intros, you can hardly find any elements that wouldn't have been used several times in the past already. Rage just ends up being an example of the most standard thrash metal and nothing more.

ABOMINATION - Abomination
USA 1990

1. The Choice 2. Murder, Rape, Pilage, And Burn 3. Reformation 4. Redeem Deny 5. Possession 6. Suicidal Dreams 7. Life And Death 8. Victim Of The Future 9. Tunnel Of Damnation 10. Follower 11. Impending Doom

Paul Speckmann's thrash metal project Abomination was one of those bands that you'd like to appreciate more but simply can't find the music too great to start with. Abomination's sound on their debut release is fairly satisfying with good guitars and Speckmann's rough vocals, but the extremely bare and depressive feel of this music makes it just a bit too difficult to bear with it. Not only that, but the riffs manage to dodge all attempts at memorable hooks, which only ensures that you cannot really recall much about the thing afterwards. Some respect must be certainly given for the band's honest style and dedication to avoid any gimmicks, but if the goal was to catch some long time attention then at least on this debut the outcome was not too successful.

ABOMINATION - Tragedy Strikes
USA 1991

1. Blood For Oil 2. They're Dead 3. Pull The Plug 4. Will They Bleed 5. Industrial Sickness 6. Soldier 7. Kill Or Be Killed 8. Oppression

It seems that somewhere between their first two albums Abomination actually found the magic to create some good music. While the band's debut album certainly left something to be desired, Tragedy Strikes shows vast improvement in all areas. With these tracks, the band sound heavier, stronger, and simply more credible by tenfold. The difference between dull and powerful riffs can really be very narrow - while the style of this album is not that much different from its predecessor, the level of power is definitely something else. Suddenly even the lyrics appear perfectly fitting with strong feelings of fear, hate, and pain, not just something taken from a thrash metal textbook. A lot of credit must be given to Paul Speckmann for his intense vocals on this album; when the man roars into the chorus of Pull The Plug, the hair on your neck stands up. It should be noted that Abomination's output is still essentially very raw and unfriendly, and those looking for a bit more accessible style might not consider this too attractive - but those who give Tragedy Strikes a try may find that it wipes the table with a whole lot of other recordings.

ABOMINATION - Curses Of The Deadly Sin
USA 1999

1. Victim Of The Future 2. Social Outcast 3. Rape Of The Grave 4. Possession 5. Doomed By The Living 6. The Truth 7. Over The Edge 8. Reformation 9. Impending Doom 10. Curses Of The Deadly Sin 11. Tunnel Of Damnation 12. Follower

It may be only inevitable that a band's sound would wear off in almost a decade, but it was still something of an unpleasant surprise to find how lacking in content Abomination's Curses Of The Deadly Sin turned out to be. For some reason the band saw it best to abandon all the previous achievements in both production and songwriting areas, and the result is bare and terse to a near hardcore-ish extent, making it virtually impossible to distinguish these songs from each other. Abomination's sound on this album is nearly as dull as on their debut (in fact, half of these tracks are just re-recorded versions), and it is practically one and the same kind of banging that goes on here, with no slightest variation whatsoever. Maybe Curses Of The Deadly Sin was meant to serve as a reminder that the band were still active, but compared to Tragedy Strikes this thing is almost an equivalent of being dead in the water.

USA 1999

1. Face In The Crowd 2. You Could Be Next 3. Take A Sip Of Power 4. Man Created God 5. Mistaken Reality

The Final War marked the end of the 1990s for Abomination, and you can say that the band could have done better than this. The style of this mini album is very similar to Curses Of The Deadly Sin, which is not a great surprise since there was only a short time between these recordings. The most distinctive feature of this release is without a doubt the production that is awfully bass-heavy. With the bass brought way too up front, it is very close to dominating the mix over everything else. Occasionally you cannot even hear the guitar properly except for some undeniably stylish solos. If the bass sound on Overkill's W.F.O. sounded quirky enough to you then this is going to be a tough one to bear. For other than that, pretty much the same points apply to The Final War as with the previous release - this album is as raw and unapologetic as it gets, and it really takes an acquired taste to consider it a masterpiece.

ABUSER - Threats Of Fate
Italy 2010

1. Equinoxes 2. Vengeance 3. Creations 4. Flesh Eaters 5. Missing Convictions 6. Iron Ghost 7. Stone Mask Overlord 8. Pripjat 9. Possession 10. Spit On Your Grave

In contrast with most of the recent bands who tend to follow a rather straightforward path, Abuser's approach leans towards the more technical side of the genre. With Threats Of Fate the band obviously attempted to establish a style of their own, and while the outcome is not fully successful, at least the technical aspirations make this album more easily distinguishable from the standard pack. The music can not be called downright progressive, but various tempo changes and other tricks make it less simple. Admittedly the effect is sort of stylish yet also somewhat superficial, and despite some good individual elements most tracks are quite forgettable. This is only emphasized by the inclusion of a Whiplash cover song Spit On Your Grave which is undoubtedly the most distinctive piece on the whole album, something that is naturally not a good sign as far as the original material is considered.

ACCUSER - The Conviction
Germany 1987

1. Evil Liar 2. Sadistic Terror 3. Down By Law 4. Law Of War 5. Accuser 6. The Conviction 7. Screaming For Guilt

Despite having their origins in Germany, Accuser did not play your most stereotypical German thrash metal of the time. While the band's debut release The Conviction consists of energetic and straightforward thrash metal with a fairly dark sound and snarling vocals, it is varied enough to maintain some interest. The music still sounds a bit rough around the edges, especially the vocal delivery is quite nasty at times and it can take some time to get used to it. Nevertheless, the band keeps up some respectable speed and the rough delivery sort of matches the intensity of music at this early stage. The Conviction may not be the most refined Accuser release, but it is no less an essential document of the band's style in the beginning.

ACCUSER - Experimental Errors
Germany 1988

1. The Persuasion 2. Black Suicide 3. Terroristic Violence 4. Technical Excess 5. F.H.W.C. 6. Ratouli

Experimental Errors is not radically different from Accuser's debut release, but the production is slightly better and also the style is more consistent. Actually this mini album feels even a bit more one-dimensional in comparison to its predecessor, which may explain a few stale moments during the first half of the recording. The band sound more technically proficient, but the material as a whole has less variety than The Conviction. The frantic run of Technical Excess and F.H.W.C. manages to catch some attention despite the rather simple style of these tracks, therefore giving the latter half of this album a fair boost. Even though Experimental Errors was not too bad for another heavy release from Accuser, the content still could have been more memorable.

ACCUSER - Who Dominates Who
Germany 1989

1. Master Of Disaster 2. Who Pulls The Wire? 3. Elected To Suffer 4. Symbol Of Hate 5. Who Dominates Who? 6. Bastard 7. Called To The Bench

Who Dominates Who represents logical continuation of the style of Accuser's previous release Experimental Errors. The music does not exactly differ too much from your basic thrash metal, but some original technical touches and intense delivery manage to make it pretty satisfying. The band pull some notably fast tracks like Symbol Of Hate which, while not actually too special in themselves, become quite impressive due to their sheer speed alone. On a few tracks the hyperactive, layered drumming draws some serious attention, even resembling the sound of Holy Moses on the classic Finished With The Dogs. While Accuser's output is not nearly as creative, some memorable tracks are created as a result. Still, as a whole this album is a bit tiresome as the music is just not quite strong enough. Who Dominates Who has its moments but does not really compare to the better albums of the time.

ACCUSER - Double Talk
Germany 1991

1. Double Talk 2. The Freeze 3. Money 4. Flag Waver 5. Why Me 6. Indistinct Articulation 7. Revolution 8. Alcowhore

With few actual differences from the preceding albums, Double Talk is pretty much another typical Accuser release. The production is slightly heavier than before but the general sound is very familiar from the past. It's the same basic thrash metal with some light technical touches, though this time the outcome starts to get a little tedious at some point. It's not like Accuser ever sounded particularly fresh or innovative, but on this album the repetitious and occasionally even preachy style starts to get old pretty fast. Despite the effort certainly spent on this album, no tracks are really distinguishable from each other. Somehow the earlier releases had at least some more energetic feel to them. In the series of consistent Accuser albums Double Talk remains faithful to the band's original style but lacks some power of its predecessors.

ACCUSER - Repent
Germany 1992

1. Rotting From Within 2. Repent 3. Get Saved 4. Sacrifice Machine 5. The Living Dead 6. The Drones 7. Judgement Gone Blind 8. Nosferatu 9. Metal Machine Music

Accuser took one more draw in a traditional vein in the form of Repent, an album that proves the band still had some respectable energy left. It is certainly less worn out than Double Talk, also grittier and more focused while sometimes almost monotonic in comparison to Accuser's older releases. Except for one experimental piece (Metal Machine Music) which is just a throwaway, the music is unarguably quite consistent and stylish for what it's worth. It must be emphasized that this album is a notably heavy effort, therefore it is sort of an achievement in itself that the outcome does not collapse under its own load. You must have heard better than this, but considering the band's whole discography Repent is far from the worst of its kind.

ACID REIGN - Moshkinstein
United Kingdom 1988

1. Goddess 2. Suspended Sentence 3. Freedom Of Speech 4. Motherly Love 5. Respect The Dead 6. Chaos (Lambs To The Slaughter)

For a short period of time Acid Reign were one of the more interesting groups in the British thrash metal genre. Granted, they were not quite as creative and original as Sabbat, for example, but they were enthusiastic enough to stand out of the crowd. The band's debut mini album Moshkinstein is an energetic recording though the lesser quality of the production makes the impression somewhat lacking. The incredibly thin and rough guitar sound in particular tends to distract you from the music a bit too often. This kind of lousy guitar might have felt natural on some punk band's album, but thrash metal standards required something different. The band pump up the speed in a respectable manner and the songs are not too bad if fairly forgettable, but it's the poor production values that really harm this album.

United Kingdom 1989

1. You Never Know 2. Reflection Of Truths 3. Insane Ecstasy 4. Humanoia 5. The Fear 6. Blind Aggression 7. Life In Forms 8. All I See 9. Lost In Solitude

Acid Reign's first full-length release The Fear featured notable logical development over the preceding mini album. Even though the musical approach in itself is already more advanced than on Moshkinstein, the improved production alone makes the earlier effort pale in comparison. On this album Acid Reign's song structures became clearly more ambitious than on average, resulting in compositions that you could call even stylish at times. Although a lot of the music is still not too memorable even after several listenings, the overall impression is fairly positive and makes you want to get back to the album every now and then. While The Fear still leaves room for improvement, it shows some serious promise and makes a satisfying piece of old British thrash metal.

ACID REIGN - Obnoxious
United Kingdom 1990

1. Creative Restraint 2. Joke Chain 3. Thoughtful Sleep 4. You Are Your Enemy 5. Phantasm 6. My Open Mind 7. Codes Of Conformity 8. This Is Serious

With their final album Acid Reign took a step into a more technical direction. Obnoxious is a bit slower but musically more refined effort than the band's early works. There are some noticeably sinister overtones in the music, and with a couple of particularly long, complex tracks the sound of this album is very focused and heavy (excluding the cranky joke track This Is Serious, of course). The added technicality doesn't mean that the songs would have become boring, in fact quite the opposite. Obnoxious has an original, intriguing feel that helps it to carry on through even some less inspired moments during the latter half of the album. The Fear may be faster and more immediately accessible, but based on its obvious strengths Obnoxious is bound to have some more long-lasting appeal.

ACID STORM - Why?... Dirty War
Brazil 1989

1. Choose Live Or Die 2. Scourge Of The Gods 3. Terminator 4. The Madness 5. Why?... Dirty War 6. Never Renounce

Of Brazilian origins, Acid Storm played speed/thrash metal in a fairly typical but energetic vein. Why?... Dirty War manages to capture the authentic sound and feel of the scene at the time although musically it is an ordinary effort with no reason for big praise. Basically Acid Storm end up sounding almost like another run-of-the-mill band in the beginning of their career, with few distinctive features to differentiate them from the horde of other bands from the same period. Admittedly the output is formally adequate and the album plays rather unobtrusively in the background, but if you expect to get anything more out of it then you may be in for a slight disappointment. As the music doesn't really stand out of the crowd in either good or bad, it is just the lack of true character that makes Why?... Dirty War a bit forgettable in the end.

ACID STORM - Biotronic Genesis
Brazil 1991

1. Intro (The Beginning) 2. Metal Beasts 3. Hungry For Life 4. Symbiotic Love 5. Last Days Of Paradise 6. Galactic Holocaust 7. Biologic Mechanization 8. Star Host

More ambitious than Acid Storm's debut release, Biotronic Genesis is something of a sci-fi concept album - clearly more diverse than you might expect from a typical release in the genre, although far from the most classic implementations of the style. The music is all quite professional sounding and occasionally even semi-innovative with some additional technical touches and flashes of competence above the average level, therefore it's a slight pity that most of it escapes memory even in the long run. The first couple of tracks are compact enough to leave a mark, but some longer and more complex pieces later on do not quite make the same kind of impression anymore. The album is still worth a listen, though, even only for the fact that it represents a slight departure from the most standard ways of thrashing.

ACRIDITY - For Freedom I Cry
USA 1991

1. Beyond 2. The Verdict 3. Exist In Misery 4. For Freedom I Cry 5. Countdown To Terror 6. Denied Right 7. Lethal Idol 8. Nothing Held Sacred 9. Vigilante

Apparently originally recorded already in 1988, this delayed release of Acridity's only full-length album is certainly not too groundbreaking. For Freedom I Cry is somewhat fair thrash metal that stays too much on the generic side. Technically the band sound just as capable as anyone in the scene, but somehow they manage to avoid all attempts to breath some life into their music. The riffs are absolutely bland, which renders this album totally unmemorable. The production lacks heaviness and together with the undeveloped vocals gives the album a slightly thin sound. Maybe it's partially due to the release issues, but in some way For Freedom I Cry seems a bit unfinished. Based on this album only it is hard to really say anything about the actual talent Acridity potentially had.

ACROPHET - Corrupt Minds
USA 1988

1. Intro To Corruption 2. Corrupt Minds 3. Slaves Of Sin 4. From The Depths 5. Lifeless Image 6. Crowd Distress 7. Crime For Living 8. Holy Spirit 9. Living In Today 10. Ceremonial Slaughter 11. Warped Illusions 12. Forgotten Faith 13. Victims Of The Holocaust

In the beginning Acrophet were nothing more than a full-fledged speedcore band, which shows on their debut. Corrupt Minds is total speedcore with straightforward, hasty riffs and simple shouts for vocals. At first this album may sound so narrow and one-dimensional that it isn't even funny, although it is possible to learn to bear with the plain style. Except for the short instrumental Intro To Corruption, the music doesn't really offer too much to catch a hold of, which makes this album sound pretty much the same. Only after careful listening one can pick some characteristics from the songs to help to differentiate them from each other. Although speedcore/hardcore fans may treat Corrupt Minds as a solid offering, this kind of thing is not necessarily everyone's cup of tea.

ACROPHET - Faded Glory
USA 1990

1. When Time Stands Still 2. Dependency 3. Silent Insanity 4. Legend Has It 5. Dead All Day 6. The American Zone 1990 7. Independence At Its Finest 8. Return To Me Life 9. Innocent Blood 10. Forever The Fall 11. Haunting Once Again

With their second album Acrophet introduced some more diverse elements in their music, which in this case was only a good thing. Faded Glory is mostly standard thrash metal with some speedcore features still left around. The band sound more convincing than before, though despite the added variety and some decent riffs the music is still not too exceptional by any means. On the other hand, even the more hardcore-ish pieces blend smoothly with more advanced tracks (Dead All Day is actually one of the most memorable songs on this album). With a little more evolution and time Acrophet might have been able to create something truly interesting, but as Faded Glory was to remain their last album, this potential progress never really happened.

Australia 1989

1. Get Out Of My Life 2. Come Before The Storm 3. Boiling Point 4. Sonder Kommando 5. The Forge 6. What Ward R.U.In? 7. Echoes Of The Mind 8. Addictive Friend 9. My Foe 10. Pity Of Man

Of the few Australian thrash metal bands, Addictive appear to have been among the heavier and also better ones. Pity Of Man has a very good, thick and crunchy sound, which suits the band's heavy but rich style very well. The tracks are pretty heavy stompers, not exactly too imaginative but with some nice details throughout. Somehow the band sound a bit more fresh than your average thrash metal act although the music is certainly not too experimental or anything. Despite the convincing delivery and very consistent style this album is still strained by some dullness as the songs sound a little too samey. At least Addictive deserve some respect for putting out a fairly interesting album with Pity Of Man even though the result is not quite there to become really great.

Note: The CD release of this album has different cover art than the original vinyl.

ADDICTIVE - Kick 'em Hard
Australia 1993

1. Distemper 2. Waiting For Yesterday 3. Kick 'em Hard 4. You're Perfect 5. Towards Extinction 6. Wacked 7. You Never Know 8. Man Made Act Of God 9. Serves You Right 10. Bitch

With their second release Addictive continued almost directly in the style of the band's debut. Supported by some very good and heavy production, Kick 'em Hard maintains the characteristic crunchy sound not unlike Pity Of Man though the music here is generally more varied. At first this album sounds highly promising as Waiting For Yesterday and the title track are some of the fastest and heaviest pieces around. However, the album on the whole is more diverse than the first few tracks and does not fully succeed in sustaining the initial intensity. All tracks still carry the customary, even original Addictive sound, it's just not as consistent as on Pity Of Man though certainly not without its moments either. While not providing anything too remarkable, Kick 'em Hard still has some special appeal that makes it a bit more distinguishable from your average pack.

ADX - Weird Visions
France 1990

1. Weird Visions 2. King Of Pain 3. Lost Generation 4. Sacrifice In The Ice 5. Mystical Warfare 6. Fortunetelling 7. Behind The Mirror 8. Sign Of The Time 9. Trouble 10. Invasion 11. Kill The King

Although ADX must be one of the better known French speed/thrash metal bands out there, their recordings in English consist of this one album only. As the band had already made several releases before this, it is no surprise that Weird Visions features very refined though quite conventional speed/thrash metal. The first half of the album is pretty satisfying with some fairly effective riffs, but the second half contains a few tracks that are simply not quite as powerful. Probably a bit more energetic approach might have helped the result as now a couple of songs still carry some more mellow influences from the band's past. Nevertheless, the major instrumental pieces Mystical Warfare and Trouble are particularly stylish and well done. With a little more aggressive feel this album as a whole could have been more memorable, now it's fairly nice but definitely not too remarkable.

AFFLICTION - The Damnation Of Humanization
USA 1992

1. Funeral Parlor 2. The Day After 3. Tombs Of Forgotten Souls 4. Fundamental Mental Derangement 5. Raping Mother Nature 6. The Damnation Of Humanization 7. Methamphetamine 8. Peace Through Violence 9. Pit Of Ignorance 10. Severance Pay 11. Trying To Be Cool

The band is called Affliction, the album The Damnation Of Humanization, and just by seeing the cover and not hearing a single note beforehand you could already be dead certain that the music is going to be straight-out thrash metal and maybe not too original for such. Indeed, the record starts out pretty flat and boring and doesn't really change its course during the lengthy tracks. To add to the textbook feel, even the lyrics cover seemingly serious topics in quite a stereotypical way. It's only the fastest thrashers like Tombs Of Forgotten Souls and Trying To Be Cool that provide some refreshment among the less distinctive and more tiresome stompers - too bad there are only a couple of these moments on the whole album. Affliction's sound is laudably heavy and technically there is no reason to complain, but with such a generic offering it was clearly too little and too late.

AGENT STEEL - Skeptics Apocalypse
USA 1985

1. The Calling 2. Agents Of Steel 3. Taken By Force 4. Evil Eye / Evil Minds 5. Bleed For The Godz 6. Children Of The Sun 7. 144,000 Gone 8. Guilty As Charged 9. Back To Reign

Agent Steel were undeniably one of the most classic speed metal groups in the 1980s, whether you liked their style or not. Skeptics Apocalypse has a certain raw edge over the band's later recordings, which gives this album some additional boost. The first half is essentially faster and more furious than the second, therefore resulting in something of a dual nature. In addition, the vocals of John Cyriis are pretty much in the love-it-or-hate-it category, with an extremely squeaky tone that you may find either perfectly fitting or downright terrible. Anyhow, Agent Steel's vintage sound remains kind of appealing even today, featuring some great riffs and first class guitar work, and the most unrestricted and ultra-fast tracks like Agents Of Steel and Bleed For The Godz are still second to none in all their rage. Although Skeptics Apocalypse shows its age, it is still a highly noteworthy release in many ways.

AGENT STEEL - Mad Locust Rising
USA 1985

1. The Swarm Is Upon Us 2. Mad Locust Rising 3. The Ripper 4. Let It Be Done / The Day At Guyana

Mad Locust Rising feels essentially like an aftertaste of Skeptics Apocalypse. This short mini album is still firmly in the high-speed realm except for a cover version of Judas Priest's The Ripper, and there are no signs of reduced intensity at this stage yet. Excluding the short intro and the cover song, there are only two actual original pieces on this release, but they are almost guaranteed to satisfy anyone who found the fastest tracks of the band's debut album enjoyable enough. For better or worse, the vocals are still bound to divide opinions, but you cannot deny that Agent Steel's sound was easily distinguishable as well as stylish in its own particular way. In this sense Mad Locust Rising just provides more of the same in a tested and tried format.

AGGGRESSOR - Release Of Aggression
Mexico 2013

1. Release Of Aggression 2. Genetic Experiment 3. Cripped Justice 4. Broken Ritual 5. Dangerous Master 6. Military Alliance 7. Social Virus 8. Days Of Rage 9. Painkiller

For various reasons, Agggressor's Release Of Aggression does not really live up to its promise. It is sufficiently energetic and not bad as such, but on the whole the output sounds awfully similar to every other average or lesser release out there. The music does not quite manage to cross the line between passable and good, and mostly the impression is rather basic and ordinary, often even outright dull. If nothing else, this album does deserve an extra mention for the most faithful reproduction of the 1980s sound - there is not that much difference between this and some of the typical recordings in the scene already two and a half decades earlier.

AGGRESSION - The Full Treatment
Canada 1988

1. Forsaken Survival 2. Frozen Aggressor 3. Green Goblin 4. One For The Woods 5. Dripping Flesh 6. By The Reaping Hook 7. Demolition 8. Rotten By Torture 9. The Final Massacre

Not sure if it's the production of the original recording or the pressing of this re-issue by Old Metal Records, but the sound quality of Aggression's The Full Treatment leaves a lot to be desired. It is a real shame because this Canadian band surely lived up to their name as far as the sheer energy of music is considered. The whole album is extremely fast, heavy and raw, with little attention been paid to other than nearly mindless thrashing. The sound of The Full Treatment is so brutal and without compromises that it may actually be too much for some listeners - at first this album can appear like a total mess. However, after some careful listening with patience, one cannot help but start to appreciate the undisputed attitude of this music. This recording essentially makes 95% of everything else out there sound like jazz in comparison. You can only wish there will be a decent re-release of this album someday, as now the poor sound quality lessens the full impact.

AGGRESSION - Moshpirit
Spain 2009

1. Intro 2. Chaos Anatomy 3. Thrash And Kill 4. Moshpirit 5. Thrashing Your Brain 6. New Born War 7. Better You Run 8. Psycho-Crime 9. I Hate You 10. Never Surrender 11. Few Seconds Of Madness (bonus)

Although the intro to Aggression's Moshpirit sounds deliberately fake, this album is better - and most importantly, a lot less cheesy - than the first looks might suggest. The band's style can be described as a mixture of Overkill and Exodus, and the riffage is pretty solid and satisfying even though not exactly too noteworthy. While the absolute absence of any novel ideas is more than evident, there is no lack of effort in any areas. The sound quality is sharp, making this album sonically pleasing, and the songs are a consistent bunch that probably appears about as good as you can expect at this level. While it may be difficult to find real standout tracks and there is hardly any serious message behind it all, Aggression's debut release is good for what it is worth, namely thrash metal done in the right way despite its unoriginality.

AGGRESSIVE - Predators' Arrival
Colombia 2011

1. Intro - Of Exploiter And Proletarian 2. Corrosive Entertainment 3. Unbalanced Architect 4. Predators' Arrival 5. Idiosyncrasy 6. The Metal Head Case 7. White Empire's Greed 8. Brainless State

While the quality of packaging and its contents do not necessarily always correlate, it must be said that Predators' Arrival features some very nice artwork. As for the songs, they are not too bad if you don't mind some pretty typical thrash riffs. The vocals are a tad whiney, not to mention incomprehensible most of the time, but their juveline energy sort of adds to the impression of unbarred delivery. The occasional use of hyperspeed, like on the title track, doesn't harm either although it could have been utilized even more frequently. Lyrics deserve a special mention for their recurring critical take on colonialism and oppression from a historical and cultural perspective - even the mere attempt is simply delightful when you compare it to a lot of more banal nonsense found in the genre. Predators' Arrival probably won't raise any exceptional response in the scene but at least it is able to stand firmly on its own feet, something that cannot be said about all modern releases.

AGONY - The First Defiance
Sweden 1988

1. Storm Of The Apocalypse 2. First Defiance 3. Execution Of Mankind 4. Mass Manipulation 5. Night Of The Emperor 6. Shadow Of Fear 7. Madness Reigns 8. Deadly Legacy

Agony's The First Defiance, the only release from this Swedish band, starts and ends with some very fast and furious tracks but features also some less frantic material. The main issue with the music is that it's rather generic and unoriginal though this was a common problem with many other bands in the scene as well. The songs are very well done and the production is good and all, it's just that this band pretty much failed to make themselves distinguishable from countless others. Only occasionally do some riffs hint of some genuine ideas but these moments are quite rare after all. The band sound professional and the music is up to any thrash metal standards out there but the neutral, even clinical feel of the music tends to leave the listener pretty bored. As an example of technically well-done thrash metal The First Defiance certainly serves its purpose, but the lack of true character and spirit somewhat weakens the result.

AGRESSOR - Victim Of Yourself
Brazil 2006

1. Toxicomaniac 2. Old Man 3. P-36 4. Onde Esta A Coragem? 5. Sacred Words 6. Manipulation Of Masses 7. Eyes To The World 8. Mercenary Politician 9. Dr. Death 10. Puppets Of Society

Despite their roots dating back to the 1980s, it was not until the release of Victim Of Yourself that Agressor's first full-length studio album saw the light of day. Maybe the long history shows in a positive way, as the music in its current form is well performed and convincing. The production is more than heavy enough, bearing resemblance to bands like Sacrario although the overall effect is not quite as persistent. The lyrics take a critical stance towards social and political issues which may at first appear stereotypical, but somehow Agressor's background makes their message appear more credible in comparison to many other contemporary groups who seem to follow the trend just for the sake of it. Victim Of Yourself is not really an album of the most memorable kind, even less an exceptional release in any way, but it is certainly a safe pick of professional and well-done thrash metal.

AGRESSOR - Neverending Destiny
France 1990

1. Paralytic Disease 2. The Unknown Spell 3. Elemental Decay 4. Voices From Below 5. Bloodfeast 6. Neverending Destiny 7. Prince Of Fire 8. Dark Power 9. The Arrival 10. Brainstorm 11. Bloody Corpse

Agressor's long lasting career in French death metal circles was based on strong thrash metal roots which still prevail on the band's debut album. Neverending Destiny can be best described as an unstoppable riff machine running at ultra-speed. From the very first moments, this album is characterized by amazingly fast but mostly quite distinctive riffs that weave an unsurpassable wall of sound. Complete with your typical but fitting death-ish growls for vocals, these tracks are like one long thrash metal epic divided into shorter sections. At some point it starts to seriously repeat itself, which is kind of unavoidable, but when you evaluate this album as a whole, the strengths of the consistent style compensate for the weaknesses. While Agressor's output may not initially seem too striking, Neverending Destiny can grow on you over time.

AIRDASH - Thank God It's Monday
Finland 1988

1. Give Up 2. Helluva Noise 3. Another Day 4. White Lies 5. Spit Your Guts 6. Without It 7. Reaper 8. Thank God It's Monday 9. Eat Shit

Together with Stone, Airdash were probably considered a pioneer thrash metal act in Finland. The band's debut album Thank God It's Monday is your typical minor release in every sense - very ordinary, straightforward thrash metal with few highlights. The production is pretty stale and the sound of this album leaves a lot to be desired. Even some better production values wouldn't help the music too much, as with the undeveloped, annoying vocals that border on monotonous, and mostly generic, unmemorable riffs, this thing is far from impressive. A couple of songs like Helluva Noise and Spit Your Guts are not too bad, especially the former may as well be the best track on the whole album. Still, this debut release from Airdash is mostly remarkable only for possible nostalgic reasons, certainly not for the quality of music.

AIRDASH - Hospital Hallucinations Take One
Finland 1989

1. If... 2. Youth Hostel 3. Jungle Jim 4. Decent Citizen 5. Vengeance Through Violence (No Bullshit) 6. Trigger Happy 7. Forbidden Thoughts 8. Sleepwalk 9. Thank God It's Monday (live)

With their second release Hospital Hallucinations Take One, Airdash improved over their debut just a bit. The music is notably more polished and fluent but rather emotionless speed/thrash metal, this time with some surprisingly classy vocals. The album sounds very consistent but almost completely lacks any memorable individual tracks, which makes it a bit hard to remember anything from this album afterwards. Not only that, but the band sound strangely restrained, which leads to a somewhat generic feel. A little more aggressive approach might have helped the result a bit, now most songs sound more like technical exercises than really enthusiastic thrashers. Nonetheless, this album has a certain touch of quality on it and the music is quite stylish in its own particular way. It's just that compared to a number of other albums in the scene Hospital Hallucinations Take One is too much on the bland side.

AIRDASH - Both Ends Of The Path
Finland 1991

1. Liquid Bliss 2. Hollow Men 3. Savage Ritual 4. So It Goes 5. Soul Of A Renegade 6. Silent Wall 7. Deeper Shades 8. Letter Of Indulgence 9. Choking Child 10. View 11. Take A Look At Me 12. Got No Blues 13. Eat Shit

Airdash really took an ambitious step with their last release. Not nearly as dull as its predecessors, Both Ends Of The Path can be best described as highly technical thrash metal positioned somewhere between Coroner and Death Angel. It is still pretty easy to recognize the band's sound even based on the vocal style alone, but this time the music contains some particularly rich elements and even progressive touches that make it somewhat extraordinary. Tracks like Liquid Bliss and Silent Wall are some prime examples of this captivating style whereas Choking Child proves that Airdash could also put out some highly effective straightforward thrashers when they really wanted. A couple of tracks may appear a bit too "high" for some people, but as a whole the result is surprisingly good. In the end, this is one of those albums that can leave you rather puzzled at first - the best way to get into it is just to give it a few spins one after another until the music either proves itself totally meaningless or suddenly becomes fully understandable in a splendid way.

ALASTOR - Syndroms Of The Cities
Poland 1989

1. Introduction 2. Go Away 3. Ides Of March 4. The Time Of Judgements 5. Epitaph 6. Adrian's Son 7. Emily 8. O.N.A. 88-10-21 9. Syndroms Of The Cities 10. 46

Certainly not the best known example of Polish thrash metal, Alastor must be among the more obscure bands at least from today's perspective. On the other hand Syndroms Of The Cities doesn't really provide much of a reason why the band should have been better recognized anyway. Alastor's sound has some slight technical tendencies, and attempts at creating a characteristic style with some semi-creative touches are obvious, but the result never really takes off. Maybe this is due to quite unmemorable riffs or rather thin vocals, but most songs here simply lack all substance. It goes without saying that the album as a whole does not exactly catch your attention in the long run. While Syndroms Of The Cities is not a complete put-off and has something like a few interesting moments after all, in the end this album tends to disappoint more often than not.

Canada 2011

1. Intoxication 101 2. Alcoholator 3. Catastrophic Violence 4. Abduction 5. Pounding Metal 6. The Chamber 7. Liquid Thrash 8. Drink Beer... Or Die Trying 9. Break The Wall 10. Wasted (All The Time)

Somehow thrash metal used to be much more exciting in the past when things were still more or less novel. Nowadays the genre seems to have become overly familiar and routine-like for a large part, making it prohibitively difficult to view even formally satisfactory albums like Alcoholator's Coma in a positive light. Except for a rather tedious Exciter cover song, everything sounds generic in a fairly boredom inducing way. And when the album is laden with stereotypical depictions of drinking, thrashing and whatnot, it doesn't exactly help things either. If you only consider the technical side of riffs, production, and presentation in general, this release will appear like an acceptable piece of work. But musically there is simply not much reason to give it another look after the first round.

ALGEBRA - Polymorph
Switzerland 2012

1. S.O.B. 2. Pig Corporation 3. Deviant 4. Away From Us All 5. Polymorph 6. Tim's Calvary 7. Insane Times 8. (K)YFOSOLYF 9. Crook

Honestly, maybe thrash metal is not the first thing that you would expect from a band called Algebra. But as it turns out, Polymorph is not a piece of some boring math metal either. With such a promising and forceful opener as S.O.B. this album immediately pulls the right strings at the beginning and then continues in an adequate vein. There is some quite nice solid riffwork put into effect here, the vocals are more than convincing enough, and the band's few underlying technical ambitions are mostly very well integrated in the mix and make the output more interesting than the norm. It might be a bit far-fetched to call Polymorph really outstanding at this point, but it definitely proves that it is possible to gain sufficient advantages when the goal is set above the usual standards of playing by the book.

ALKOHOLIZER - Drunk Or Dead...
Italy 2009

1. Intro 2. Pay With Your Blood 3. Sardinian Beer 4. Age Of Misery 5. Alkoholik Metal 6. Kill Without Remorse 7. Resuscitate 8. Sick Orthopedic 9. Thrash Metal 10. Drinking Till Death

Having initially expected Alkoholizer to sound like a generic Tankard clone by the looks of it only, it was a small positive surprise to find out that the first third of Drunk Or Dead... makes a most effective collection of hyperspeed metal. Pay With Your Blood is already laudably fast, the next track raises the stakes even further, and Age Of Misery then goes totally overboard, strongly reminiscent of Kreator in the 1980s. Despite the hilarious pace, the songs are well-structured and far from dull. While the rest of this album is more uneven and not equally entertaining, the aftertaste is not too bad. Sure, this is not exactly the most intelligent or original example of thrash metal, quite the opposite, and Alkoholizer are hardly going to create a landmark album with this style. But Drunk Or Dead... is a sufficient demonstration that sometimes just having a wild attitude can lead to at least partially satisfying results.

ALLEGIANCE - D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n.
Australia 1994

1. Intro 2. Chaos Dies 3. One Step Beyond 4. Hate Frenzy 5. Torn Between Two Worlds 6. Destitution 7. Morally Justified 8. Path Of Lies 9. Dealt The Cruel Hand 10. Downward Spiral 11. Twisted Minds 12. Tranquillity

Allegiance's D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n. is a fair slab of vintage thrash metal from Australia. This album got a production of nice quality, heavy and stomping, and generally the band sound fairly good even though the vocals can appear quite pretentious at times. Musically the outcome is not too bad, just quite unsurprising to say the least. While it may be difficult to point out any blatantly copied elements, you cannot avoid a recurring sense of deja vu every now and then. It is not only due to some external influences, but most of these tracks tend to repeat the same kind of formula which effectively contributes to the slightly derivative feel of this album. Allegiance had it technically right, but that does not quite compensate for some obvious lack of credibility.

ALLIGATOR - Immortal Entity
Italy 1991

1. Intro 2. Immortal Entity 3. Yesterday We Feel 4. Dimagra 5. S.O.Y.F.A.S. 6. And Then The Silence 7. Samba Death 8. Bog Of Horror 9. In My Dreams

Among Italian speed/thrash metal albums, Alligator's Immortal Entity is not the most memorable release. In fact, you could call it quite dull as a whole. Alligator's sound is not exactly weak but not really powerful either, and while these songs probably cause no great distraction, there is not much reason to give the album a second thought after you have been through it a couple of times at least. The music has a fair deal of variety for sure, but it is no great help when you tend to forget most of it with little effort, no matter whether trying hard to concentrate on the thing when it is playing. Immortal Entity contains some very unsurprising basic elements, and without any really original or even moderately appealing details a lot of it is bound to appear just too pointless.

ALLIGATOR - Cerebral Implosion
Italy 1994

1. Cerebral Implosion 2. Beyond The Reach Of Fate 3. The Cage 4. Decimation 5. Help 6. Lullaby For The Unborn 7. Skeleton's Beach 8. Tarantula 9. Drinking Milk From My Knees 10. Fetching Fear 11. Natural Victims

Cerebral Implosion was obviously something of a turn into the right direction for Alligator. While the band's style remains quite similar to their debut release, this second album appears a tad heavier and also stronger when compared to Immortal Entity. The outcome sounds generally more convincing and credible than before, although musically the difference is not huge. Despite some advancements, it is still not unreservedly distinctive enough to completely avoid an occasional bored feel. The songs make a consistent bunch, but the quality is nowhere near the top class, and you cannot help wondering what a Beatles cover (Help) is doing here. Maybe just not as striking as one might wish for, at least Cerebral Implosion can be called a fair improvement over its predecessor.

ALPHAKILL - Unmitigated Disaster
Canada 2012

1. Thrash Eternal 2. Let Me Die 3. Corrupted Masses 4. Unmitigated Disaster 5. Threat From Within 6. Rebellion 7. Becoming The Alpha 8. The Age Of The Debt Slaves 9. Skullcrushery

It seems that Alphakill got started on the right foot. Unmitigated Disaster does not become a striking example of its kind, but the album provides something of a safe and sound experience of thrash metal, with actually a little bit more variety than on an average offering. The opening track Thrash Eternal in particular is a demonstration of overwhelming rampage, with vocals that are very clear and intelligible while still fairly powerful. As for the rest, most songs don't really stand out, but that's already more the norm than an exception. Technically everything is in place and there's no lack of attitude for the band's part. It just would be too early to highlight this one album as something of a notable piece of work when similar satisfactory yet unexceptional releases are plentiful in the scene.

Finland 2010

1. Altars Of Destruction 2. Aggression 3. Children Of Misfortune 4. Guilty Or Not 5. Cross The Line (Of No Return) 6. Heroes Of The New World 7. Suicide... Are You Fucking Insane? 8. Gallery Of Pain 9. Day Of Judgement

At least Altars Of Destruction cannot be mistaken for a novelty act, as the band's history goes back to the original heydays of thrash metal in the 1980s. Their first full-length studio album Gallery Of Pain consists almost entirely of old compositions, but the music doesn't actually sound outdated too much, if at all. This shows a certain kind of waterproof quality in songwriting. The most atypical aspect of this release in today's climate may be the sound quality, as it makes almost a perfect example of rough but vastly convincing production with a specific kind of rugged charm that is often hard to achieve. As the band don't exactly hold back either, the outcome could be compared to the engine sound of a heavy bulldozer - it's not always the most soothing aural experience, but there is something ultimately trustworthy in it. Put this next to your average hollow thrash metal album of modern times, and Gallery Of Pain wins the contest hands down.

AMNESIA - Unknown Entity
United Kingdom 1991

1. Solution 2. Memories Of Me 3. The Final Revelation 4. Epitaph 5. Unknown Entity 6. No More Tomorrow 7. One Below Zero 8. Perish

Based on Unknown Entity, Amnesia had something of a distinctive sound among the other British speed/thrash metal bands. The band's style is something in the Megadeth/Metallica vein though with cleaner vocals and a less heavy production. Despite the overall feel being not too aggressive, this album builds up some decent speed. Occasionally the songs may remind you of Dyoxen with their fairly technical feel though Amnesia is definitely more listenable. However, mostly the songs flow without leaving a mark anywhere, and while The Final Revelation and Perish are a couple of clever tracks, they are not quite enough to make the whole album appear impressive. Amnesia's relaxed sound is kind of nice and the band apparently had some style of their own, but in general Unknown Entity sounds somewhat bland with only a few slightly interesting moments.

AMOK - Downhill Without Brakes
United Kingdom 2008

1. Murder City 2. Sectioned 3. False Flag 4. Global Hangover 5. Downhill Without Brakes 6. Intervention 7. Thrash Island 8. Kill The Gestapo

Amok's first album Downhill Without Brakes is somewhat mixed. Every now and then some of the band's role models are more than clearly audible. For example, Murder City and the title track sound like they could have been taken from some unreleased Anthrax recording made in the late 1980s. For what it is worth, this is still kind of refreshing when you consider that a lot more bands tend to follow the common and safe Slayer route. This album is also rather nicely produced, with none of the fatiguing, overly distorted sound quality that can effectively cripple a modern-day recording. Although Amok's style is not fully consistent at this stage and their music is not too interesting on its own, Downhill Without Brakes is not a bad start. It just takes a lot more than this to really stand out.

AMORICIDE - The Essence Of Evil
USA 2004

1. Bleed From The Mouth 2. Enslaved 3. Flood Of Sand 4. Impending Devastation 5. Skull Island 6. Unmarked Grave 7. When The First Of Many Falls

At first Amoricide's The Essence Of Evil can appear like a typical album of Slayer-inspired thrash metal, but many tracks here are more diverse than the opening Bleed From The Mouth could lead to believe. The production quality is pretty good for a minor release like this, sufficiently clear and heavy but not overpolished or sterile, while the vocals sound quite plain. Technically the band's music is on a satisfactory level, especially the guitar has a few casual striking moments, though the songs lack personality and the final impression is kind of generic and even bland. To some extent, Amoricide can be deemed successful in trying to build up a style of their own, but as far as The Essence Of Evil is considered, there is still some work left to do in this field.

AMORICIDE - Horror In The Flesh
USA 2010

1. Woman Killer 2. Spiral Of Death 3. Soul Ripper 4. Bleed From The Mouth (reprise) 5. Linguistic Rapists (hidden bonus)

The follow-up to Amoricide's debut is a short mini album with very unsurprising qualities. The sound of Horror In The Flesh is rather bleak and barren although quite fitting for the theme. Again, as far as the overall style goes it is hard to avoid comparisons to Slayer in the 1980s. Catchiness is not the keyword here, and none of the compositions really sticks - the approach is more functional than distinctive which makes it a frustrating attempt to describe this album in any other but very general terms. It is not exactly a faulty product, and this probably will make a nice collectible item in the future. However, musically Horror In The Flesh is not really the brightest candle on the thrash metal cake.

AMORICIDE - Storm Of Violence
USA 2011

1. Slasher 2. Metalmorphosis 3. Cesspool 4. Amoricide 5. Row Of Caskets 6. Eye Of The Storm 7. Left For Dead 8. Unspeakable 9. Linguistic Rapists 10. Descendants Of Ashes 11. The Order Of Dagon

In theory, Storm Of Violence could fill something of a niche. In general the minimalist aesthetics of Amoricide's sound closely resemble many releases on the 1980s underground labels like New Renaissance Records, and it is sort of revealing that in today's world this motion starts to seem almost novel. Especially the first half of this recording is most of the time so blunt and undecorated that even the works of Burnt Offering come to mind. The album does not deserve unqualified praise, though. Several songs tend to drag a bit too long, and except for a couple of more creative tracks - the serene instrumental Eye Of The Storm in particular - it can be quite a challenge to distinguish between the rest. Proper respect must be given to the band for relentlessly holding to their plain and unvarnished sound, but a full hour of the same is not necessarily a pleasant experience.

ANACRUSIS - Suffering Hour
USA 1988

1. Present Tense 2. Imprisoned 3. R.O.T. (Reign Of Terror) 4. Butcher's Block 5. A World To Gain 6. Frigid Bitch 7. Fighting Evil 8. Twisted Cross 9. Annihilation Complete / Disemboweled

Let it be said that while the later recordings of Anacrusis can be pretty unlistenable in the conventional sense, the band's debut album fortunately has a lot more common with the pure thrash metal realm than their later explorations into the progressive swamp. Suffering Hour is a relatively rough dose of thrash with fairly catchy riffs and only some intricate touches hinting at more ambitious developments to come. Actually it is hard to find anything seriously faulty in this album, except maybe a few quirky moments in the vocal department. While Ken Nardi's vocals are more original than the norm, occasionally their balance between rough screams and clean, even melodic bits is not too well adjusted. Regardless, with several hard-hitting pieces like R.O.T. and Twisted Cross this album shows that Anacrusis could have successfully filled a thrash metal niche of their own just by sticking to the style of Suffering Hour, without any urgent need to seek into more complex directions.

ANCESTHOR - The Human Nature
Mexico 2011

1. Soundless Pain 2. Ancesthor 3. Feeding Your Deception 4. Tyrant 5. Thrash Metal Iron Smash 6. Death Or Glory 7. Until You Die 8. A Falling Sun 9. Annihilation Of Mankind 10. The Human Nature

The initial impression of The Human Nature can be pretty energetic, as the album opens with the hard-hitting and fast Soundless Pain, almost suggesting a constant speedfest similar to Suicidal Angels. But as it turns out, Ancesthor's sound is more varied than that. Although the pace is often enough more than sufficiently fast, the band's performance includes also a fair dose of slower and more emphatic moments that contribute to a bit more versatile picture. While the result is still not terribly striking, the observable credibility is at least on an adequate level, and the outcome doesn't sound quite as boring as some other ordinary releases these days do.

ANGEL DUST - Into The Dark Past
Germany 1986

1. Into The Dark Past 2. I'll Come Back 3. Legions Of Destruction 4. Gambler 5. Fighter's Return 6. Atomic Roar 7. Victims Of Madness 8. Marching For Revenge

Better not let Angel Dust's reputation as a major power metal act fool you with this one. Done with the original line-up before the band decided to seek less extreme directions, their debut Into The Dark Past is a classic piece of German thrash metal filled with steady high-speed riffs throughout. The consistent speed is really a major aspect of this album - although the riffs are mostly not too distinctive, smashing fast thrashers like I'll Come Back and Legions Of Destruction hardly leave anyone cold. Just listen to Fighter's Return and try to stand still while this whirling wind unavoidably blows your socks off. Granted, as a whole this album is a bit one-dimensional and after the initial impression the overall effect starts to wear out little by little, however, the best moments make you come back to it again and again. While not a perfect album by any means, Into The Dark Past has a lot of special appeal for the fans of old school thrash metal.

ANGER AS ART - Anger As Art
USA 2006

1. Attitude Adjustment 2. I Create Your God 3. Wide Awake 4. Hate In My Heart - Hell In My Head 5. Anger As Art 6. New War 7. Wait For The Hammer 8. Blood Of My Enemies 9. Hate In My Heart - Hell In My Head (live) 10. Everybody Dies (live) 11. Anger As Art (live) 12. Troops Of Doom (live)

Just by the looks of it, the debut release of Anger As Art might initially seem a bit suspicious, but the first few moments of the album should be already more than enough to assure you that this is a real deal. Founded by the scene veteran Steve Gaines who delivers powerful vocals here, the band play some very energetic thrash metal with a good sense of songwriting and even some serious signs of originality. With plenty of cleverly composed tracks like I Create Your God and Wait For The Hammer, the music sounds nicely traditional and still surprisingly fresh at the same time - like something that thrash metal could have naturally evolved into already in the early 1990s, if everyone and their dog had not thrown in the towel at that point of time. As for this album, it is fast, convincing and memorable, and that is really a lot more than can be often said about this kind.

ANGER AS ART - Callous And Furor
USA 2006

1. Catharsis 2. Anger Is Rising 3. Gnashing Of Teeth 4. Bane Of My Existence 5. No Seed Of Mine 6. Callous And Furor 7. Watch Me Suffer (Watch Me Die) 8. Race For The War 9. Invaders From Within 10. All That Is Mine To Avenge 11. Self Destructing Man 12. Hypochrist 13. Still I Hate

Callous And Furor starts off sounding almost exactly the same as its predecessor, but the album as a whole has more variation to it. Some of the more technical moments manage to bring even Mekong Delta to mind, with the eccentric but captivating Bane Of My Existence being among the most versatile pieces. Forceful high-speed tracks are still in the majority, and the band continue to demonstrate some remarkably intriguing riffs on songs like Gnashing Of Teeth. In comparison to most other contemporary performers, the sound of Anger As Art is notably more mature, a feature that can be at least partially attributed to the fact that this is a group of grown-up men with a lot of musical experience playing thrash metal. The difference really shows, as Callous And Furor does not wear out quite as quickly as many other albums these days do. In fact, based on their releases so far, Anger As Art may well be one of the most interesting American thrash metal bands in a long time.

ANGER AS ART - Disfigure
USA 2009

1. The Crush 2. Appease An Angry God 3. It Feels Like Blood 4. Disfigure 5. They All Fall Down 6. Master Becomes The Slave 7. Seed Of Hate 8. I Am Your Enemy 9. Anger Is A Gift 10. Dissention

After two very satisfying albums, there were certain high expectations for Anger As Art's third release. Disfigure starts without much fuss, and the opening piece The Crush may sound almost a bit too typical for the band, with all its familiar structure and riffs. But most of the following tracks prove that there is quite a fair amount of energy involved, and it goes without saying that the thing as a whole easily bears another listen. The music has a firm sense of consistency around it, yet the definite highlights of this release seem to be few and far between, the most notable exception being Dissention that ends the album with a bang. While it can be argued that the band's previous works probably did sound a tad more fresh and novel, Anger As Art's output has remained inherently reliable in a way that manages to hold up on Disfigure as well.

ANGER AS ART - Hubris Inc.
USA 2013

1. Hubris Inc. 2. Time Devours Life 3. Gods Of Hate 4. Anger Is The Reason 5. Speed Kills 6. This Is Why I Hate 7. As The Exalted Seethe 8. Pearls Before The Swine 9. Divided We Fall 10. Head Of The Snake 11. The Evil You Create 12. Pieces Of Red 13. Rage And Retribution 14. Never Forgive, Never Forget

Anger As Art has been one of those few contemporary groups whose new releases are worth anticipation. While their early albums can boast some truly infectious riffs and hooks, Hubris Inc. initially feels slightly lacking in that department. The overall style remains fairly easily distinguishable, but this time the riffs simply tend to sound less immediately catchy. On the other hand these songs do seem more diverse than on Disfigure. Again, the presentation comes across as very natural and there's an authentic touch of the original 1980s spirit here, including the nostalgic Speed Kills and a rare thrash metal duet Rage And Retribution. As a result, this album is hardly going to leave anyone cold although the band's previous works might feature some more memorable moments in general.

ANIALATOR - Anialator
USA 1988

1. Anialator 2. Nuclear Destruction 3. Extermination By Dawn 4. Mission Of Death

Pick a random thrash metal band from the 1980s underground scene, and you might end up with something like Anialator. This band's debut mini album is short and simple, the production being sufficiently rough around the edges, and you only need a glimpse of the song titles to see what the whole thing is all about. But it is actually not that bad - the band's attack is relentless, and you are easily convinced that they gave it everything they got, even if it wasn't really much on a global scale. Sometimes it can be refreshing just to abandon all thoughts and let this kind of energetic pack of fury ravage around you for a moment. One thing you are guaranteed to remember from Anialator's debut is the violent feel of it all, and even that is certainly more than in many other occasions.

ANIALATOR - Anialator II
USA 1989

1. Filicide 2. No Future 3. Fatal Decision 4. Anialator (live) 5. Mission Of Death (live)

Anialator's second mini album marked a slight deviation from the band's original style. Although this release may look very cheap at the first sight, the music is not terribly bad - just so typical and sometimes even bland that it is difficult to miss anything of it afterwards. In essence, the new tracks tend not to appear quite as uncontrolled and wild as earlier, which leads to an impression of more average quality. Something worth a special note is the guitar sound that is a lot more slick and almost surprisingly modern in comparison to the rough sound of the band's debut release. All things considered, these songs play in a fair but quite forgettable manner, and there is really not much reason to dive into the depths of this album in search of a hidden gem, simply because there is none to be found.

ANIHILATED - Created In Hate
United Kingdom 1988

1. Chase The Dragon 2. Slaughter 3. Power Is The Path 4. Anihilated II 5. Final Dawn 6. Nightmare 7. Aftermath 8. Seventh Vial

At first it might seem that Anihilated's Created In Hate plays like a blatant Slayer rip-off. But while it may apply to this British group that individuality was probably not their most important asset, the result deserves some credit for having been done in a genre-savvy manner. Actually, ignoring the most obvious similarities to other bands, there are some honest, even sympathetic aspects in Anihilated's music. Based on the sound of this album, one cannot deny that the band certainly gave it all they had. The production is awfully spartan, though, reducing the level of power from its fullest potential. But as far as the music is considered, Created In Hate is something more than just an ugly duckling. Sure, it seriously repeats itself and is not exactly an exercise in originality, but somehow this album catches something essential from the sound and spirit of the thrash metal movement in its most pure form.

ANIHILATED - The Ultimate Desecration
United Kingdom 1989

1. Desolation 2. Into The Flames Of Armageddon 3. Skinned Alive 4. Lost Souls 5. Lethal Dose 6. No Rest For The Wicked 7. Internal Darkness 8. Legacy Of Hate 9. Enter The Realm 10. Exeunt

Compared to Anihilated's debut, The Ultimate Desecration is fairly well produced and played though still not exactly an example of high originality. Again, the music has a close resemblance to Slayer and is not too bad, with some decent but mostly unexceptional riffs and some repetitious tracks. While it does have a powerful start, most of the time this album just sounds rather standard on all counts. At times the vocalist's accent can be somewhat irritating but that's eventually a non-issue. Occasionally the band manage to deliver whole songs of respectable intensity, like Skinned Alive which may well be the best track of the whole thing. Although this album on the whole is not guaranteed to catch any long-time attention, it has some good points that make it a bit more interesting than you might initially expect.

ANIHILATED - Scorched Earth Policy
United Kingdom 2010

1. Blood Of The Martyr 2. Scorched Earth Policy 3. Dark Eyes Of The Mind 4. Predator 5. The Burning Of The Southern Cross 6. A Cruel Twist Of Fate 7. Full Circle 8. Despair And Retribution 9. Death And Decay 10. Until The Bitter End

With Anihilated's Scorched Earth Policy available, it almost feels that no stone is left unturned as far as reincarnations of original thrash metal bands go. The return of Anihilated is fairly well justified though, as the result appears as if no time was lost between this album and The Ultimate Desecration. Musically the band continue directly from the point where they left off at the end of the 1980s, only the production values are naturally a lot more balanced than in the past. Most tracks seem to follow the same kind of formula for fast and consistent thrash metal, which is fully adequate for the purpose. It is not a highly memorable effort, but the musical value goes far beyond the level of nostalgia, the album is quite well performed, and any of these songs could be used as a demonstration about how real thrash metal is supposed to sound.

United Kingdom 2013

1. Death To The Deviant 2. The Threshold Is Reached 3. Lord Of The Flies 4. Black Umbilical 5. Somewhere Underneath 6. Trinity 7. Subliminal 8. We Are Legion 9. Divide, Deceive, Control 10. Hell Forged Mask 11. The Chains That Blind

Promoting the latest technological gimmicks right in the open somehow seems awkward in a thrash metal context, but iDeviant can be forgiven this minor offense. After all, Anihilated's music remains as traditional as ever, which is the most important thing that counts. The only quibble is that some tracks could have used more variety, as a lot of the material comes across as very consistent but admittedly a bit too samey. The most fluent thrashers like The Threshold Is Reached do sound fairly nice, and the unconventional Subliminal is interesting at least. However, it's the chilling Hell Forged Mask that easily becomes a highlight of the album, and it couldn't be further from thrash. In the end this release is unlikely to disappoint anyone, though, as it's mostly a safe package of unsurprising but satisfactory thrash metal in an old style.

ANIMATOR - Blacklisted
Ireland 2013

1. State Of Emergency 2. Death From Above 3. In God We Trust 4. Ultra '53 5. Dreadweb 6. Manipulator 7. Taking The Liberty 8. Electric Armageddon 9. Western Shadow 10. When Duty Calls

While not terribly memorable, Animator's first album contains some very smooth thrash metal. The sound quality is clean and clear, the presentation is fluent and accurate, and in general there seems to be an analytical approach to the subject. At times the result is almost in danger of revealing a soft edge, but the overall speed and precision should be able to convince you to bear with it already after a couple of songs. It is a fairly snappy effort after all, and while this is not something that one might enjoy playing again and again, Blacklisted is not nearly as tedious for a listening experience as you might be expecting after having heard a few too many mediocre offerings already.

ANIMOSITY - Get Off My Back
USA 1989

1. Eternal Hatred 2. With My Death 3. Forced Entry 4. Get Off My Back 5. No Pacification

One might not expect to find anything worth interest from this kind of obscure mini album, but Animosity seem to have got something right in the first place as Get Off My Back sports a fairly intense and even appealing thrash sound. Although you could describe this release as underground street thrash metal pretty much in its most typical form, the band's approach has its wild side with enough catchy riffs to strike a goal. Good, striving vocals add to the strong package that these tracks form. The complete lack of uninspired fillers just makes this album more satisfactory in comparison to some other more stretched attempts out there. For its short length, Get Off My Back gives a surprisingly good run for the money.

Canada 1989

1. Crystal Ann 2. Alison Hell 3. W.T.Y.D. 4. Wicked Mystic 5. Burns Like A Buzzsaw Blade 6. Word Salad 7. Schizos (Are Never Alone) Parts I & II 8. Ligeia 9. Human Insecticide

No matter what you think about Annihilator's later albums, the debut of this Canadian band is a true thrash metal classic. When the beautiful, haunting guitar intro has finished and Alison Hell, one of the 10 best thrashers ever starts off, you know you're sold. Everything is perfect on this album: clear production, great musicianship, and Randy Rampage's growling vocals that add immensely to the overall heaviness of the whole thing. The riffs and solos are particularly impressive as here Jeff Waters presented some of the most original and imaginative guitar work in the genre in those days. Even today every song still sounds so fresh and intense that one can easily sense the great energy involved in the making of this record. It is hard to praise this masterpiece enough - hear it for yourself if you don't already have it.

ANNIHILATOR - Never, Neverland
Canada 1990

1. The Fun Palace 2. Road To Ruin 3. Sixes And Sevens 4. Stonewall 5. Never, Neverland 6. Imperiled Eyes 7. Kraf Dinner 8. Phantasmagoria 9. Reduced To Ash 10. I Am In Command

By their second release Annihilator had clearly started to lose some steam. With Never, Neverland the band took a slightly cleaner and more melodic approach than before. With the unfortunate departure of Randy Rampage, an important element of heaviness had been lost, and although Coburn Pharr was not a bad singer his voice just doesn't cut it even though many of the new songs on this album were apparently written to be better suited for Pharr's style. Moreover, this album is a mixture of new and old material, some even preceding Alice In Hell, and the combination doesn't work without problems. The quality of songs is a bit uneven especially on the second half; Kraf Dinner must be the stupidest joke track, and Phantasmagoria feels totally out of place on this album. Nonetheless, the better tracks are truly excellent, and despite some faults Never, Neverland is still a fine release - much unlike its overly commercial successor where the band really dropped the ball.

ANNIHILATOR - Criteria For A Black Widow
Canada 1999

1. Bloodbath 2. Back To The Palace 3. Punctured 4. Criteria For A Black Widow 5. Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III 6. Nothing Left 7. Loving The Sinner 8. Double Dare 9. Sonic Homicide 10. Mending

With the near complete Alice In Hell line-up back together, Criteria For A Black Widow was something of a comeback release for Annihilator and a strong return to thrash metal after a few mixed-up speed/heavy metal albums. Simply put, everything goes in pairs: Bloodbath and Back To The Palace are awesome thrashers (even though the latter heavily borrows some old riffs), Nothing Left and Loving The Sinner are somewhat more typical but still good, and Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III and Mending are fine instrumentals. On the weaker side, Punctured is a terrible groovy non-thrash attempt, and the title track is mostly in the same vein and sounds really awkward. Double Dare is plain dull and dumb whereas Sonic Homicide (where the old demo riff of Powerdrain ended up into) would be great if it weren't for the totally annoying distorted vocals that effectively ruin the song. While the sum of everything is at least carefully positive and it was certainly nice to hear Randy Rampage on vocals again, in the end this album is an awfully big waste of potential. Consider that the result is still closer to Annihilator's original glory than a few releases before and after this one, and it might just suffice.

ANTAGONIST - Antagonist
USA 1993

1. Black Sands Of Time 2. Dead Priest 3. Lies After Death 4. Good Day To Die 5. Live In Fear 6. Cracking Skulls

Heavy and catchy speed/thrash metal is never something to be shunned, and that's where Antagonist's self-titled release makes a favorable impression. From the very first track onwards it is clear that this band knew how to write a memorable riff - a skill that many other performers effectively lacked. Most tracks on this album are simply quite tasty and intense pieces with a tendency to stick to your head only after a couple of listens. Apart from Live In Fear that occasionally tends to resemble Megadeth's Wake Up Dead, the music is semi-original enough to guarantee that any interest in this release should not fade too soon. Actually, for the most part Antagonist's output is well above the average offering in these circles. Based on its musical merits, this album would have deserved to become a lot better known instead of falling into obscurity.

ANTHRAX - Fistful Of Metal
USA 1984

1. Deathrider 2. Metal Thrashing Mad 3. I'm Eighteen 4. Panic 5. Subjugator 6. Soldiers Of Metal 7. Death From Above 8. Anthrax 9. Across The River 10. Howling Furies

For one of the best known and most creative thrash metal bands of the 1980s, the beginnings of Anthrax were fairly humble. Unlike Metallica or Slayer who expressed great divergence right from the start, Anthrax in their early days sounded more like a souped-up mixture of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. In other words, Fistful Of Metal sounds really old-fashioned with its harmonic guitars and nearly stereotypical heavy metal vocals, making this album closer to conventional metal than thrash. Some tracks are reasonably fast but except for the nostalgic Metal Thrashing Mad the material is not too impressive - clearly the band had not found their innovative style yet. This is not to say that the result wouldn't be worth a listen, it just does not compare with the albums that would follow.

ANTHRAX - Spreading The Disease
USA 1985

1. A.I.R. 2. Lone Justice 3. Madhouse 4. S.S.C. / Stand Or Fall 5. The Enemy 6. Aftershock 7. Armed And Dangerous 8. Medusa 9. Gung-Ho

Spreading The Disease really got Anthrax going and opened their path to fame. This was the band's first full-length album to feature Joey Belladonna who was one of the most distinctive singers in the genre at that time, mainly because he really sang in a rather melodic style which was quite exceptional and made Anthrax stand out of the mass. His voice is particularly emphasized on Spreading The Disease where many songs are still notably melodic and not very heavy although they are generally faster than on the debut release. It was clear that the band had started to develop their style into something unique. A minor fault on this album is its "airhead" feel which is not only a bad thing - you could say that this is actually one of the most cheerful speed/thrash metal albums out there.

ANTHRAX - Among The Living
USA 1987

1. Among The Living 2. Caught In A Mosh 3. I Am The Law 4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) 5. A Skeleton In The Closet 6. Indians 7. One World 8. A.D.I. / Horror Of It All 9. Imitation Of Life

With Among The Living the sound of Anthrax became a lot heavier and less melodic while still preserving and even increasing a certain cartoony feel. Probably one of the most famous albums in the genre, the only major nitpick is about the slightly uneven quality of songs. While Caught In A Mosh would make a terrific theme song for the whole genre, and N.F.L. and A Skeleton In The Closet are excellent dynamic tracks, the "hit" singles I Am The Law and Indians don't flow in the best possible way. Especially the second half of this release tends to drag a bit although the ultra-fast parts of Imitation Of Life make a great and very funny closing track. No matter what, this is still quite a fine Anthrax album, just not without some reservations.

ANTHRAX - State Of Euphoria
USA 1988

1. Be All, End All 2. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind 3. Make Me Laugh 4. Antisocial 5. Who Cares Wins 6. Now It's Dark 7. Schism 8. Misery Loves Company 9. 13 10. Finale

Mixing the melodic approach of Spreading The Disease and the ultimate thrashiness of Among The Living, State Of Euphoria perfected the creative and original direction that Anthrax had been developing. This album appears lightsome and serious at the same time and it still sounds remarkably different than most other thrash metal albums around. The production is sort of unheavy and seriously lacks dynamics, but that's the only drawback. The vocals blend very smoothly with the hard-hitting music, maybe better than on any other Anthrax release, and the songs are simply stupendous pieces of extremely refined and intelligent thrash metal. Even the cover song Antisocial fits in with the overall flow and 13 may be one of the very few good joke tracks out there. As a result, State Of Euphoria makes a great demonstration of the absolutely distinctive style of Anthrax.

ANTHRAX - Persistence Of Time
USA 1990

1. Time 2. Blood 3. Keep It In The Family 4. In My World 5. Gridlock 6. Intro To Reality 7. Belly Of The Beast 8. Got The Time 9. H8 Red 10. One Man Stands 11. Discharge

The album that ended the classic period of Anthrax is very different from the band's earlier works. The characteristic humor that was so apparent in the past is nowhere to be found on Persistence Of Time, and the general tone is very serious and dark. This change in the overall feel seems even more drastic when compared to State Of Euphoria which was also a great recording but in a totally different way. These songs are long and monstrous riff-fests that miraculously avoid any dullness and remain interesting, thanks to the unique and clever songwriting. In a way, Persistence Of Time may be the strongest and most consistent Anthrax album ever. Unfortunately, it was also the last release before Joey Belladonna's departure and the band's decision to change their style to more "modern".

ANTICHRIST - Forbidden World
Sweden 2011

1. Dark Sorcery 2. Militia Of Death 3. Torment In Hell 4. Forbidden World 5. Necropolis 6. Victims Of The Blade 7. Death Rays 8. Sign Of The Beast 9. Minotaur 10. Terror Dimension

Now this sounds like a fast album. Except for a couple of instrumentals and Necropolis that has more variation than usual, most songs on Antichrist's Forbidden World are notably high-speed efforts with only a few breaks here and there. Add some slightly hilarious vocals to the mix, and this release should seem like an interesting pick already. Although the sound of it all is fairly cool and the album starts out in an encouraging manner, the thing as a whole does not maintain the full momentum to the end. Mostly this is due to the fact that everything soon starts to sound similar to what you already heard a while ago. After all, there's a certain difference between energetic but rather one-dimensional songwriting as here, and similarly intense but genuinely captivating riffage like on some classic works in the genre. Evidently the promise is there, it just needs some more development.

ANTIDOTE - The Truth
Finland 1992

1. Symphony Of Death 2. Within His Power... 3. Act Of Violence 4. Melancholia 5. 3rd Time In Greenland 6. Rosemachine 7. Grandiloguent Passaway 8. Subordinated People 9. Spaced Out

Antidote's concept of thrash metal was slightly more fresh sounding than your average offering. The band's debut The Truth is a fairly pleasant experience full of brisk and varied thrash metal with unpolished guitars and vocals. Though the music carries echoes of older bands, Antidote had something of their own sound after all. While some tracks on this album appear a bit disjointed at first, the songwriting on the whole is fairly consistent and results in a couple of notably powerful tracks. Especially the opening piece Symphony Of Death is a perfect example of the general style of this album, with some particularly unruly feel. Maybe Antidote were not too original in the first place and some parts of this album could have been more focused, however, The Truth should not be passed over too hastily.

ANTITESE - Antitese
Brazil 1988

1. Overture 2. Thrash 3. Antitese 4. Exile To Death 5. Atlantis 6. Am I Dying? 7. The Last Battle 8. Walking To... 9. The Infinity

If you happen to be looking for typical thrash metal with very little variation and no experimental bits of any kind, Antitese is almost guaranteed to be a fitting choice for that purpose. The band's debut album could be considered almost stereotypical in the genre if it weren't for some notably harsh grunts for vocals. This is a slight pity, as Antitese seem to have had potential to give listeners a good run for their money - in practice this promise is just left short of being truly fulfilled. Instead of really letting it loose, the band stick to a tested and tried formula that holds water to some extent but does not make any notable impression in the long run. This album is not terribly bad for a debut release, but undeniably it is too one-dimensional and uninspiring, resembling more a routine-like piece of work than an enthusiastic recording.

ANVIL BITCH - Rise To Offend
USA 1986

1. Rise To Offend 2. Lie Through Your Teeth 3. Vengeance Of The Sword 4. Life After Death 5. Time To Die 6. Argue With A Sick Mind 7. Maggot Infestation 8. Neckbreaker 9. Arsenic & Cyanide 10. Fight For Your Life 11. Shark Attack 12. Anvil Bitch

The first thing that most listeners will probably notice about Rise To Offend is the cheap production, as the sound quality is really not that great to begin with. Apart from that, Anvil Bitch made a fair release of underground thrash metal that is at least moderately interesting though not too impressive. While the opening title track is quite effective, the rest of the album is not very memorable except for the comical Maggot Infestation. The band's music does get some additional points for the vocals that have a nice range - for other than that, Anvil Bitch could be taken as just another typical example of numerous short-lived thrash metal acts of the 1980s.

APOCALYPSE - Apocalypse
Switzerland 1987

1. Digital Life 2. A Tale Of A Nightmare 3. Crash! 4. F**k Off And Die 5. The Night Before 6. Apocalypse 7. Back To The Fire 8. Dark Sword 9. Cemetery

Among the few Swiss speed/thrash metal bands, Apocalypse had a definite style of their own. The self-titled debut catches your attention with its fresh and fairly intense sound and some notably melodic touches. The latter feature in particular gives the music of Apocalypse some original feel even though the band still manage to demonstrate some respectable energy throughout. The vocals vary seamlessly between rather melodic and more rough. Although the album on the whole is not quite equally strong, songs like Digital Life, the title track, and Cemetery appear quite impressive almost immediately. The band's more ambitious approach is made even more apparent by the inclusion of two instrumental tracks which complement the general mood of this album very well. All things considered, Apocalypse made quite a fine release with this one.

APOCALYPSE - Faithless
Switzerland 1993

1. House Of Confusion 2. Slay For Play 3. Division 4. Unwanted 5. Extreme Sensation 6. Faithless 7. Reason To Live 8. Shoot You Down 9. Bad Breath

Several years after their debut, Apocalypse returned with their second and final album. Faithless is notably heavier and grittier than its predecessor though it also lacks some of the band's original fresh sound. The first few moments actually appear different enough from the earlier style to make one worried about it, but the album soon picks up some comfortable speed. The only bigger complaint with this one must be that while it definitely sounds more mature and features some first class riff work, there are no such highlights as on the debut album and in comparison the result is not quite as striking. The best tracks are the fastest and most straightforward thrashers like Division, Reason To Live, and Bad Breath, whereas the rest takes more time to grow on you. This is not to say that Faithless wouldn't be a good album in its class, in fact quite the opposite - with their two releases Apocalypse proved to be near the top level of the thrash metal scene in Europe.

APOSTASY - Sunset Of The End
Chile 1992

1. Apocalyptic Serenade 2. Fraud In The Name Of God 3. Oneiric Storm 4. Banished From Sanity 5. The Sullen Dream 6. Deceased In Funeral 7. Malignant Beauty 8. The Great Apostasy 9. At The End Of The New Testament 10. Addicted's Tribulations a) Drop b) White Queen c) Last Flight 11. The Night

One could say that Apostasy proved their worth already with this full-length album. Sunset Of The End does not resort to the easiest solutions as far as songwriting goes. With no exceptions, the vocal tracks are lengthy and intriguing affairs, fortunately equipped with enough drive to get the point through while effectively avoiding dull moments. The reaping guitar sound is near perfect for this kind of music, although the production as a whole has a sufficient rough edge to it. In addition to the consistent strong delivery, the band's musical ambitions show in a form of several stylish instrumentals that give this album a nice touch of class. It might be too far-fetched to call Sunset Of The End a real masterpiece, but it certainly gives an average listener a lot more value than you can expect from a whole lot of other, more stereotypical and dumbed-down offerings.

ARAGON - Aragon
USA 1987

1. Fallout 2. Blood Thirsty 3. Straight Jacket 4. Simply Deranged 5. (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone 6. Fear For Your Life 7. Killing The Innocent

People who tend to enjoy the most vintage sounding speed/thrash metal releases of the 1980s can probably find Aragon's self-titled debut album satisfying. As far as formal requirements go, this must be one of the more old-fashioned examples of the genre indeed. The band sound enthusiastic enough to make an energetic impression right away, but this is not necessarily of persistent quality as the music tends to slip through with no major impact. It is actually a slight pity that the songs are so predictable and, in all honesty, rather forgettable, as with some more creativity this album might have been a lot more remarkable slab of old school mentality. Now the lack of truly distinctive characteristics does nothing to raise the bar above the semi-standard level that is quite crowded with a multitude of other albums of the same kind already.

ARAKAIN - Thrash!
Czech Republic 1994

1. Stormmaster 2. Jackal 3. Prostitute 4. Ku-Klux-Klan 5. Manhunt 6. No! (Go And Kill) 7. R.A.F. Squadron 311 8. Thrash The Trash

With such a blatantly obvious title like Thrash!, it would be difficult to be mistaken about the content of this album in the first place. While it is Arakain's only full-length release sung in English in their long career, the band's Czech origins are not too evident at all. The sound is rich and heavy with a definite vintage feel of the 1980s, something that had already become very out-dated at the time of the original release. Even though the style of songwriting is by no means unexceptional for its kind, the outcome is fairly memorable and smooth. Except for the longest track Prostitute which drags a tad too much, the songs are rather vivid and easy on ears. Sometimes the vocal tone may remind you of Artillery, which just shows that Arakain's roots were deep in the original speed/thrash metal scene. Thrash! is an album done in a totally genre-savvy manner, producing fairly satisfying results.

ARBITRATER - Darkened Reality
United Kingdom 1993

1. Judge And Jury 2. Suicide Commercially 3. Guilty Of No Crime 4. No Second Chance 5. Racist Nation 6. Deadline 7. Nightmare Vision 8. Choose Your Weapons 9. Darkened Reality

With very little expectations for this album in advance, it was nice to find that Arbitrater were apparently in a competent mood when Darkened Reality was recorded. The band's music is solid British speed/thrash metal, mostly of stomping variety. This album features a great dark sound and generally very tasty riffwork, guitars sticking to a specific kind of low crunch that is almost guaranteed to hit the spot most of the time. While it is musically not an extraordinary effort by any means, the sound and feel of these songs is more often than not reminiscent of Cyclone's Inferior To None, with the same kind of dark quality all over them. Darkened Reality is one of those seemingly subdued releases that grow on you slowly but surely - it is not likely to make a quick impression right at the first sight, but you can bet there's more to it than meets the eye.

ARBITRATOR - Voice Of The Dead
Russia 2004

1. Against The World 2. Voice Of The Dead 3. Peacemakers' Mission 4. Under Fire 5. The Arabian Dance 6. Gorgons Burn 7. Recreation 8. No Fate! 9. The Cloven Hoof 10. The Powderkeg

Voice Of The Dead is something of a drowsy effort. The vocals bear a strong resemblance to Bobby Ellsworth's customary style which gives this album a slightly more interesting touch than on average. The sound quality is fairly rugged which also suits the music fine. But the level of energy is somewhat lacking. There are a few genuinely fast tracks on this album, the rest is more of a slacker kind. Most of the time it's like Overkill running at half-power or even less. The album has its moments, for example Peacemakers' Mission is a pretty catchy song all right, but there are a bit too many tracks that fail to make a favorable impression. Most of the material is simply rather dull for repeated listening, thus making this an item that may require great patience.

ARBITRATOR - Children Of Apocalypse
Russia 2007

1. The March 2. World Under Control 3. Hogs Of War 4. Firestorm 5. Little Boy 6. Bombracer 7. The Victim 8. Enola Gay 9. Execution 10. The Candlelight 11. Children Of Apocalypse

As a concept album that explores the effects of the first atomic bombing, Children Of Apocalypse appears more ambitious than Arbitrator's previous release. Despite the grave serious topic, this recording sounds generally more energetic than Voice Of The Dead though unavoidably also a bit darker and grittier. Although the outcome is musically at least a slight improvement over the past, it does not remarkably make Arbitrator's style more appealing in the long run. As such, the output remains fairly monotonous and dry, and without its lyrical theme this album, too, would be quite forgettable. While the band's aspirations are respectable, Children Of Apocalypse does not really succeed in doing justice to its fear-inspiring subject matter.

ARCHAIC TORSE - Sneak Attack
Germany 1992

1. Beyond The Great Divide 2. The Value Of Your Soul 3. Message To No One 4. Snuff 5. Sneak Attack 6. A Valediction / Forbidden Mourning 7. Compulsion To Kill 8. Fraud

For such an obscure group, Archaic Torse were able to create a surprisingly interesting album. The band's style on Sneak Attack is somewhat similar to their German labelmates Assorted Heap (especially compared to their debut The Experience Of Horror), very dark and heavy, but Archaic Torse have a slightly more impetuous feel in their music. The opener Beyond The Great Divide truly rips with its breakneck speed and punishing feel, and if the whole album was in the same class then we would be talking about a minor masterpiece here. Now most other tracks follow more ordinary directions and sound more basic though they still fit the general mood of this album in a consistent way. Although Sneak Attack could have used some more innovative touches, it shows serious promise for a debut release and proves that Archaic Torse were a band with something to give - too bad they never got further than this.

Finland 2012

1. Treachery 2. Circle Of Aggression 3. Chapels Of Sin, Cities Of Lust 4. Exaltation Of Filth 5. Axe Suicide 6. Sealed With Fire 7. At The Gates Of Sodom 8. Spare No One

If the first thrash metal bands had been able to predict what they are about to start in the early 1980s, would they have reconsidered. Spare No One is exactly the kind of thing that you could hear on the radio just a few years later when saturation of the genre was becoming more than evident, and it doesn't seem that much better today. Architorture's style is aggressive enough that you cannot call it stale by a long shot, and the album is short enough so that it doesn't get too tiresome to listen through it. The sound quality is about as old-fashioned as you can reasonably get nowadays, too. And still this is essentially farm league thrash metal. It is heavy and rough in a street credible way, yet it would be hard to imagine coming back to this one very often as long as better releases remain abundant.

A.R.G. - Entrance
Finland 1989

1. Intro: The Ultimate Entrance 2. Pesticide 3. Something In The Dark 4. Perforation 5. Chemical Snot 6. Prevailing Sickness 7. R.I.P. 8. Heathenism In Penitentiary 9. Window To Unknown 10. Foul Vigour 11. Inter Arma

A.R.G. (short for Ancient Rotten Graveguards) played some of the most vicious thrash metal in the Finnish scene, which is evident already on their debut. After a short ethereal intro, Entrance provides extremely intense music with some fine, even innovative riffs and a lot of right attitude. A.R.G.'s style was actually quite similar to many typical German bands of the time, but their music has some more thought and stylish touches which make it rise above the level of random noise. Despite the somewhat limited range of this kind of music, the songs on this album rarely get dull, which is made possible by the immense amount of energy and enough of small variations in them. Although Entrance on the whole starts to sound a bit samey at some point, the result is no doubt on the positive side.

A.R.G. - One World Without The End
Finland 1991

1. Intro: Last Dawn Of Humanity 2. Died For What 3. In The Depths Of Sanity 4. Adoration Of The Kings 5. Happy Times 6. Misfortune Along My Side (Rip II) 7. Hey Hey My My 8. Back To Life 9. One World Without The End / Descent From The Heaven 10. Straybullet

The second album of A.R.G. was no less intense than the band's debut while it introduced some small but important refinements in the overall sound. One World Without The End is an album full of grim, furious thrash metal with a razor sharp guitar sound and unrestricted roaring vocals. The sound of this mayhem is made even more effective by the occasional use of subtle, classy piano and guitar instrumental parts. This album really works best when listened through as a whole, as the individual tracks do not sound that impressive when taken out of the album context. It must be said that the first half appears better than the second due to the music getting a bit stale near the end, but this does not negate the fact that One World Without The End features some particularly powerful and fierce music.

ARTILLERY - Fear Of Tomorrow
Denmark 1985

1. Time Has Come 2. The Almighty 3. Show Your Hate 4. King, Thy Name Is Slayer 5. Out Of The Sky 6. Into The Universe 7. The Eternal War 8. Fear Of Tomorrow 9. Deeds Of Darkness

Artillery deserve a special status due to their pioneering work in the thrash metal scene in Europe. Fear Of Tomorrow sounds laudably heavy when it is compared to most other releases from the same year, making already a solid representation of the band's customary style. One of the most distinguishable features of this album is the dramatic vocals by Flemming Ronsdorf who was not quite your stereotypical shouter. At this point Artillery's music was already quite intense and even somewhat original though also a bit dry at times. The massive Show Your Hate and Out Of The Sky could be among the most distinctive tracks, but the rest of the material has its moments, too.

ARTILLERY - Terror Squad
Denmark 1987

1. The Challenge 2. In The Trash 3. Terror Squad 4. Let There Be Sin 5. Hunger And Greed 6. Therapy 7. At War With Science 8. Decapitation Of Deviants

Despite some peculiar artwork, Terror Squad was a certain improvement over Artillery's debut album. The sound of this release is clearly tighter than on its predecessor, even though the overall style is not drastically different. The Challenge opens the album with a heavy blast, being easily one of the band's best tracks ever. However, the songwriting on the whole could have used some more hooks, as most other tracks are not quite as memorable or fluent as could have been expected based on the strong start alone. There is no doubt that Terror Squad is a convincing release from Artillery's classic period, but it has been somewhat left behind by better works in the genre.

ARTILLERY - By Inheritance
Denmark 1990

1. 7:00 From Tashkent 2. Khomaniac 3. Beneath The Clay (R.I.P.) 4. By Inheritance 5. Bombfood 6. Don't Believe 7. Life In Bondage 8. Equal At First 9. Razamanaz 10. Back In The Trash

Before a long break, Artillery released an album that would become known as their most advanced and polished piece of work. Whereas the band's earlier releases were solid but sometimes appeared rather stiff, By Inheritance is markedly melodic and flows more freely. The sound quality is smooth and refined while far from overproduced. There are even some notably mellow ballad-ish elements on Don't Believe, but the song is handled in an adequate manner after all. Musically the result is quite consistent though unarguably not nearly as heavy as the previous recordings. With a lot of likeable material, By Inheritance remains a professional album and easily Artillery's most listenable release to date.

Denmark 1999

1. Cybermind 2. How Do You Feel 3. Out Of The Trash 4. Final Show 5. WWW 6. Violent Breed 7. Theatrical Exposure 8. B.A.C.K. 9. The Cure 10. Paparazzi

B.A.C.K. is seemingly just another example of a classic band making a comeback album after years of inactivity. Technically it is almost surprisingly similar to Artillery's past releases although Flemming Ronsdorf's voice sounds slightly worn-out at times. The production is heavier than on By Inheritance but then again, the older release also lacks all modern touches found on this one. While the album starts and ends with some rather effective thrashers, between those the quality varies a bit, and some more sluggish pieces can be quite annoying. B.A.C.K. is definitely not the worst example of kicking at a dead horse, but it has hardly any qualities to rise above Artillery's better works.

ARTILLERY - When Death Comes
Denmark 2009

1. When Death Comes 2. Upon My Cross I Crawl 3. 10.000 Devils 4. Rise Above It All 5. Sandbox Philosophy 6. Delusions Of Grandeur 7. Not A Nightmare 8. Damned Religion 9. Uniform 10. The End

With ten years between albums, the release cycle of Artillery has been far from busy. In the minds of veteran observers of the scene, When Death Comes should be guaranteed to raise some respect in advance. After all, this is one of the oldest bands in the genre that we are talking about. And truth to be told, those familiar with Artillery's style of songwriting are hardly going to be disappointed. Although Flemming Ronsdorf is not in the band anymore, the vocal style is similar enough so that it should not alienate any old fans. It must be said that Artillery's albums never were of the most flowing kind, and When Death Comes makes no exception. This release, too, sometimes appears more contrived than really spontaneous, with a clear but slightly overtuned sound quality. In short, the long-time followers know what they get - for others, there may be a lot more exciting recordings to look into.

Denmark 2011

1. Mi Sangre (The Blood Song) 2. Monster 3. Dark Days 4. Death Is An Illusion 5. Ain't Giving In 6. Prelude To Madness 7. Thrasher 8. Warrior Blood 9. Concealed In The Dark 10. End Of Eternity 11. The Great

In a way thrash metal albums are like horror movies - there is nothing worse than witnessing a boring piece of work from the genre. Artillery's When Death Comes was already not the most thrilling example of its kind, but My Blood can be a downright stale experience. This album ultimately lacks a sharp edge, and the performance is often quite wooden and pompous. It's like the goal was set a bit too high while the source material was really not that strong to begin with. Based on this release, the band in their current form might actually do better playing straight-out power metal, for tracks like Thrasher are so banal attempts at "toughness" that it's almost embarrassing. There used to be some interesting bits on older Artillery albums, but if My Blood had been recorded by a no-name band with lesser production values, probably very few people would have even noticed it exists.

ASMODIS - Fahr Zur Holle Pfleischmutze
Germany 1993

1. Despot Of Evil 2. Transgression 3. Superior War 4. Stryges Infesting The Tombs 5. Thee Awakening 6. Ceremonial Death 7. Visitors From Beyhonde The Grave 8. From Beyhonde The Outer Dark 9. Dreadnought Of Twylyght 10. What's Your Pleasure Sir?

Asmodis may not have been a band of major importance in the pool of German speed/thrash metal, and there are probably not too many people who noticed Fahr Zur Holle Pfleischmutze at the time of its release. This album starts off sounding somewhat aimless at first, but after a couple of tracks a development towards a steady high speed tempo becomes evident. The band had some obvious technical tendencies although for the most part these are kept in a pretty good control. The music is still definitely not the most straightforward of its kind, though. Mostly it consists of reasonably fast and compact tracks that are left just a bit short of satisfactory due to their generally non-distinctive riffs, whereas the longest tracks like Thee Awakening and Dreadnought Of Twylyght seem to go practically nowhere and therefore appear somewhat tedious in the end. You can tell that Asmodis were not really bad, just too late and not focused enough to make a real difference anymore.

ASPHYXIA - Exit : Reality
Belgium 1991

1. Capital Punishment 2. Violence First 3. Slice Of Death 4. Health For Sale 5. Paranoia Time 6. The One Who Minds The Worm 7. One Big Family 8. Where Shadows Are Dark 9. Mr. Pain 10. No Thanks

In retrospective, you cannot help but wonder if there was a valid reason for only a few thrash metal bands becoming so well-known after all, while the rest faded into obscurity in no time. Asphyxia certainly seem to fit in the latter category of groups that most people could live without and not lose much sleep over it. Exit : Reality comes across as rather derivative and burdensome for a thrash metal album, with fairly sore vocals and sluggish riffs that normally wouldn't catch much attention even on a bigger band's release, let alone a minor debut album of this kind. Although the production is quite satisfactory, most of the content eventually pushes this release to a camp where the best part about the whole thing is the cover artwork.

ASSASSIN - The Upcoming Terror
Germany 1987

1. Forbidden Reality 2. Nemesis 3. Fight (To Stop The Tyranny) 4. The Last Man 5. Assassin 6. Holy Terror 7. Bullets 8. Speed Of Light

Assassin may have been a bit less known band in the German thrash metal scene in the late 1980s, but their albums from that period can be deemed at least moderately interesting, even if only for the nostalgia value. The Upcoming Terror features some rather straightforward thrashing that doesn't exactly differ too much from typical standards of the time. The guitar does have its moments every now and then, but pretty much everything else seems average, sometimes almost dull. Although the delivery of these songs is quite energetic throughout, this album as a whole lacks some long-lasting appeal which is something that maybe catchier riffs could have helped. It is all fairly basic stuff, and that's probably the best that can be said about this one.

ASSASSIN - Interstellar Experience
Germany 1988

1. Abstract War 2. AGD 3. A Message To Survive 4. Pipeline 5. Resolution 588 6. Junk Food 7. Interstellar Experience 8. Baka

Interstellar Experience sounds immediately even more frantic and eager than Assassin's debut. Especially the vocal tone is sharper than before, but the guitars have gained something of an unruly quality to their sound as well. These audible details together may be the most positive aspect of the whole release, though. While the band continue to deliver their goods with some respectable intensity and speed, most songs on this album don't make a great individual impact. The opening track Abstract War could be the only piece where this rampant execution sort of works to a memorable extent, the rest is noteworthy for its level of energy but otherwise far from remarkable. Although Interstellar Experience is quite a listenable release, it doesn't get high points in any specific area.

Germany 2005

1. The Club 2. No Fear 3. Raging Mob 4. Bushwhackers 5. Not With Us 6. Psycho Terror 7. Go Insane 8. Real Friends 9. The Price Of Power 10. Thunder And Lightning 11. Jin Tien Shen Huo 12. I Swear

Assassin's initial comeback in the new millennium was less than stellar. While the band's sound in the late 1980s was sometimes outright anarchistic, even at the cost of coherency, The Club lacks that kind of youthful energy. It is only natural that such a long period of absence from the scene would have an impact on the outcome, but the pointless nature of this release is still no less frustrating. Although the album has a fair share of sufficiently fast thrashers, the thing as a whole feels more like a carefree club jam session than a strong contender in the field. Assassin's older recordings never were highly notable efforts either, but The Club is simply too long and dull that it would be good for something else than inducing a headache for those with a limited attention span.

ASSASSIN - Breaking The Silence
Germany 2011

1. Breaking The Silence 2. Raise In The Dark 3. Judas 4. Turf War 5. Destroy The State 6. No Fear 7. Kill Or Be Killed 8. Real Friends 9. Strike Back 10. I Like Cola

Breaking The Silence follows the style of Assassin's original works much more closely than The Club did. The previous release sounds just awfully sloppy in comparison. Here the pace is constantly fast and steady, and the whole presentation is rather sharp, for what it is worth. Considering that the band's efforts in the 1980s were already B-grade at best, it should not be surprising that Breaking The Silence is not likely to break the notion. The music is still most ordinary and typical thrash metal in all aspects, and while this album could well be Assassin's most consistent release to date, that detail alone is not enough to lift the result above the fine line of virtual obscurity. As if there weren't enough of newer acts attempting the same thing already.

ASSORTED HEAP - The Experience Of Horror
Germany 1991

1. Unexpiated Bloodshed 2. Experience Of Horror 3. Remembrance Of Tomorrow 4. In Vain 5. Sold Out Souls 6. Trick To Your Mind 7. Terrorized Brains 8. Grave New World 9. Frisia Non Cantat

Although Assorted Heap were late starters in the original German thrash metal scene, their debut album is very faithful to the traditional high-speed antics. The Experience Of Horror is very fast and heavy, occasionally also rather one-dimensional and not too memorable. Except for a couple of short moments, there's not too much attempt at an original expression other than straightforward pounding which of course is fairly intense in itself. A special mention must be given for the raging title track which is lyrically a serious and dramatic take on real-life horror, not to forget a couple of other crushing pieces in the middle. Sometimes even a basic approach like this can work well enough when the band have the right attitude, and Assorted Heap were by no means weak in their delivery.

Germany 1992

1. Coloured Eyes 2. Holy Ground 3. What I Confess 4. Nice To Beat You 5. Mindwaves 6. Dealing With Dilemma 7. Cardinal Sin 8. Hardcore Incorrigible 9. Artificial Intelligence

With their second album Assorted Heap created something of a minor masterpiece. While The Experience Of Horror was a bit simple and rough around the edges, Mindwaves shows some great progress in the band's style. Better produced than the debut, Mindwaves sports a thick and heavy sound. Musically the development between the two releases is quite evident almost immediately - while the songs still remain fast and heavy stompers, they have more hooks and memorable riffs than ever. In addition to such great thrashers as Coloured Eyes and Nice To Beat You, the massive What I Confess has almost a gothic feel to it. Qualitywise, the difference to the band's debut is simply drastic. One might say that Assorted Heap basically just recycled all the most familiar elements of the genre, but rarely it has been done as effectively as here. With its marvelous dark atmosphere, Mindwaves is nothing short of outstanding.

ASTHAROTH - Gloomy Experiments
Poland 1990

1. Gloomy Experiments 2. Speed Of Light 3. Obsession 4. Tool Of Crime 5. Amnesia 6. Mirror's World 7. Good Night My Dear 8. Isomnia 9. My Difference

Based on casual listening only it would be easy to label Astharoth's sound as Kreator impersonation, but there's actually more to it. While Gloomy Experiments is not a vastly original piece of work, some aspects make it surprisingly listenable. The guitars sound a bit hollow but overall the band make a convincing appearance. Besides their heavy accent, the vocals have a hilarious moaning tone in them, which somehow fits the slightly unserious feel of this album perfectly, unintentional or not. Although most tracks may not be too memorable, some riffs are quite nice and show hints of genuine ideas. Maybe it's due to the honest, straightforward nature of this album or the fact that Astharoth had something of their own sound after all, but Gloomy Experiments is more fun than some of the more established classics of the same style.

AT WAR - Ordered To Kill
USA 1986

1. Ordered To Kill 2. Dawn Of Death 3. Capitulation 4. Rapechase 5. The Hammer 6. Mortally Wounded 7. Ilsa (She-Wolf Of The S.S.) 8. Eat Lead

At War were noteworthy for being among the earliest underground bands on the cult label New Renaissance Records. The group's self-described "war metal" featured on their debut release consists of some very down-to-earth speed/thrash metal which can sound quite nostalgic though also fairly simple today. There are certain Motorhead-ish touches that culminate on the actual cover version of The Hammer, but otherwise the material has no specific tracks that would stick out - with the possible exception of Rapechase, and even that mainly for its rather questionable lyrics. Ordered To Kill is nowhere near the fastest or heaviest stuff released around the same year, but on the other hand it is quite a fair representation of what was going on in smaller circles in the genre at that time.

AT WAR - Retaliatory Strike
USA 1988

1. F.Y.I. 2. Conscientious Object 3. Creed Of The Sniper 4. Covert Sins 5. Crush Your Life 6. Gutless Sympathizer 7. Church And State 8. Felon's Guilt 9. Thinkin' 10. The Example

After a couple of years of development leading to it, Retaliatory Strike turned out both faster and sharper than its predecessor. Although the band's output remains somewhat dry and falls short of really thrilling, tracks like Creed Of The Sniper and Gutless Sympathizer are actually not half-bad at all. With a consistent crunchy sound, the whole release becomes at least fairly listenable while not too remarkable. As a thrash metal album Retaliatory Strike is a satisfactory effort and it certainly sounds stronger than Ordered To Kill, but eventually At War would have needed something more to become really successful.

AT WAR - Infidel
USA 2009

1. Assassins 2. Semper Fi 3. Make Your Move 4. At War 5. Want You Dead 6. R.A.F. 7. Deceit 8. Vengeful Eyes 9. Rapechase

Not many bands could be expected to make another album after 20 years in the void and still have something interesting to say, but miraculously At War pull it off, in a fairly respectable manner even. Infidel is a spontaneous and eager thrash metal attack that sounds heavier, faster and more consistent than the band's oldest releases. The production is heavy, warm and organic, and despite their straightforward nature these songs are able to draw your attention more effectively than many more classy and complex works do - tracks like Assassins and At War hardly leave anyone cold. The closest comparison is naturally the band's previous album Retaliatory Strike, but Infidel is simply better and more convincing in all aspects. While At War's return to the scene is not exactly a milestone in thrash metal, it is a solid proof that the old warhorse is still going strong.

ATOMIC - Breakpoint
Czech Republic 1993

1. Welcome 2. Born To Kill 3. Self Preservation 4. Breath Of War 5. I'll Never Change 6. You're Last 7. I Love You 8. In The Name Of The Faith 9. Killing Machine 10. Wait For Death 11. Land Without Future

If you had to describe a nightmare of getting drowned in a sea of formally correct but completely forgettable thrash metal albums, it could be filled with releases like Atomic's Breakpoint. This slab of Czech thrash metal sounds almost passable at first, but before soon the generic nature of this thing becomes just too obvious. Simply stated, the music here is very ordinary with nothing novel or really memorable in it, and the album plays almost like a zillion others. If you had not heard a single release of this kind in ten years or so, this one might actually appear remotely interesting, but that is hardly the case. Occasionally Atomic's style happens to bear a slight resemblance to Accuser, with strained vocals and all, which may be the only trivia item worth a mention. Breakpoint is not a totally lost cause, but it is very short of being virtually indistinguishable from the mass.

ATOMIC - Slashing Victory
Hungary 1994

1. The Border 2. Glowing Embers 3. Forced Infuriated 4. Proud Of Being 5. Slashing Dreams 6. Give To Get 7. Resumption 8. Spin 9. Fadin' Light

Try to find an example of old Hungarian thrash metal that would have been exportable outside local arenas, and Atomic may not have too much competition. Slashing Victory has an authentic 1980s sound quality despite the quite late release of this album in the original scene. Most of the time Atomic sound like many middle-ground German bands of the 1980s, far from extreme in any manner. Except for the soothing final track Fadin' Light, the material is consistent and the speed is sufficient, but very little of it really sticks to your mind. Although there are some nice original touches like the mentioned ending piece, it must be mostly non-musical factors that make this release worth the time for some people. It has been proven that sometimes you can find small gems among the most obscure old albums, but Slashing Victory is just not one of them.

ATOMIC CURSE - Mortal Dawn Of Lust
Paraguay 2009

1. Satanic Curse 2. Falling From The Abyss 3. Mortal Dawn Of Lust 4. Slave Of Satan 5. Morbid Winds Of Death 6. Trace To Golgotha 7. A.S.D. (Alcoholic Scream Of Destruction) 8. Outburst Of Hell 9. Atomic Warriors Of Sodom 10. The Antichrist Prophecies

If anything, Mortal Dawn Of Lust is a total homage to the original thrash metal genre, sounding an awfully lot like certain South American bands during the latter half of the 1980s. This doesn't make it an utterly pointless release though, as Atomic Curse appear to have been in an energetic mood when this album was recorded. The band's sound is very eager, the length of the songs is just about right, and the style is very straightforward and accessible (if such word can be used in relation to a thrash metal album). While the result is little more than a pastiche of the old, the audible level of enthusiasm cannot be completely ignored. Even just for the fact that this kind of spontaneous feel is not too common, it can be fun to give this album at least a couple of listens in any case.

ATOMKRAFT - Conductors Of Noize
United Kingdom 1987

1. Requiem 2. Foliage 3. The Cage 4. The Vision Of Belshazzar 5. Teutonic Pain 6. Rich Bitch

Based on most of Atomkraft's discography there wouldn't be too much reason to write about this band, but Conductors Of Noize is actually a passable album as far as the concentration of thrash goes. The style of this recording closely resembles some very early Slayer (around the Show No Mercy era in particular) which should serve as a good indication of the slightly antiquated nature of this release already in its original days. Most of the time, the pacing is adequate and obviously the whole thing sounds very authentic. Yet it is practically near impossible to become highly enthusiastic over the outcome for other than its purely historic or collector value, as the content has really not aged that well over the years.

ATROPHY - Socialized Hate
USA 1988

1. Chemical Dependency 2. Killing Machine 3. Matter Of Attitude 4. Preacher, Preacher 5. Beer Bong 6. Socialized Hate 7. Best Defense 8. Product Of The Past 9. Rest In Pieces 10. Urban Decay

Atrophy were one of the countless bands that surfaced during the great thrash metal explosion in the mid-to-late 1980s. Their first full-length release Socialized Hate featured quite straightforward thrash metal that sounds fairly interesting but undeniably formulaic at times. While Chemical Dependency starts the album with a blast, the rest of this material is more uneven. A couple of pieces like Preacher, Preacher have their moments, and the vicious title track is on par with the opening song, but Beer Bong might have been better left unrecorded. It is easy to appreciate the vocalist's snarling that helps to create something of an original sound for the band, though. In retrospective, Socialized Hate is satisfactory but not quite on the same level with some more notable debut releases from the same year.

ATROPHY - Violent By Nature
USA 1990

1. Puppies And Friends 2. Violent By Nature 3. In Their Eyes 4. Too Late To Change 5. Slipped Through The Cracks 6. Forgotten But Not Gone 7. Process Of Elimination 8. Right To Die 9. Things Change

With their second album Atrophy added a little bit of variety to their music, but the result was not necessarily a vast improvement over the previous release. The vocals sound slightly more strained than before, and some more technical touches in these songs just tend to take away from the straightforward pounding. Even though there is still a fair amount of energy involved, the further you get into this album the more it seems to promote drowsiness. While Socialized Hate was not a masterpiece in the genre, somehow it has remained more entertaining and listenable than this more advanced but also noticeably dry follow-up.

ATTOMICA - Attomica
Brazil 1987

1. Dying Smashed 2. Marching Over Blood 3. Lost Time 4. No Life Till Madness 5. Children's Assassins 6. Flesh Maniac 7. Samurai

The style of Attomica's debut is not that much different from average thrash metal in Brazil or worldwide, but the band delivered the goods with some respectable intensity. Especially the ravenous vocals give this music an additional wicked touch although the whole band's output is something not to forget about. These tracks are lengthy thrash metal attacks that are consistently powerful but tend to become rather tedious in the long run. One cannot help but wish for some more memorable riffs here and there, now most songs end up following the same style that in all honesty gets quite repetitive. Apparently the band had some musical ambitions to prove, but a bit more compact approach might have actually been a better choice here. While the presentation is more than convincing enough, musically this album is somewhat lacking, which makes the effort almost too typical for its time.

ATTOMICA - Limits Of Insanity
Brazil 1989

1. Atomic Death 2. Short Dreams 3. Highway 401 4. Rabies 5. Limits Of Insanity 6. Knight Riders 7. Evil Scars 8. W.D.

Attomica's second release does not initially seem to fare too well in comparison to the band's other efforts. Indeed, Limits Of Insanity may feel more generic and downright emotionless when compared to the band's debut album, which is largely due to the fact that the music tends to lack the same kind of devoted energy that was earlier still quite evident. With a lot weaker, rather high-pitched vocals and slightly more routine-like playing, the sound of these songs is almost too clean and not very energetic. Attomica would have needed to put some more work into it to make this recording memorable, but as of now, nothing of it really sticks. In its final form Limits Of Insanity is just too typical, even dull for such an average album of this kind.

ATTOMICA - Disturbing The Noise
Brazil 1991

1. Ways Of Death 2. The Chainsaw 3. Deathraiser 4. Violence And Terror 5. Blood 6. From Beyond 7. Forbidden Hate

Disturbing The Noise must be one of the most forceful sounding albums from the old scene. Although the general style is not too exceptional, Attomica's powerful delivery makes these tracks appear considerably better than it might be the case with some less intense performance. With strong vocals and good production, the effect is quite energetic and refreshing in all its plain fury. The lyrics are terribly stereotypical and dumb even for standard thrash metal, though, filled with cheap violence and references to horror movies, but probably the lyrical content never was the high point of Attomica's music anyway. One could say that Disturbing The Noise is something of a victory of presentation over content - in comparison to many other releases out there this album is bound to appear somewhat formulaic at times, but it actually sounds better than one might expect.

ATTOMICA - Attomica IV
Brazil 2012

1. Blood Bath 2. Down The Drain 3. Yakuza 4. Night Killer 5. Black Death 6. Wanted 7. Hurt 'n' Scared 8. Mysterious Lady 9. Amen

Released a good twenty years after Disturbing The Noise, Attomica's fourth full-length recording is yet another proof that the original thrash metal bands are capable of reviving their authentic sound with no audible changes. Whereas many contemporary releases rather quickly give out their young origins, be it due to the production or just certain unmistakable modern traits in the music, this album immediately sounds like the real thing. Musically Attomica never were among the most creative of the bunch, but there's a certain level of trustworthiness in the band's steady pounding, and fast and mostly straightforward thrashers like Down The Drain hardly need any extra decorations anyway. As a whole, it just works as adequately as reasonably possible.

AVALON - Old Psychotic Eyes
Brazil 1993

1. Old Psychotic Eyes 2. Serial Killer 3. Inner Verses 4. The Wasp 5. Forgotten Past 6. Yes, Sir! 7. Just Another Morning 8. Wings 9. Wheels Of Madness 10. Last Song

Avalon's sound has a slight resemblance to some North American bands of the time, with less harsh antics than on average. Especially the first couple of tracks on Old Psychotic Eyes are fairly charming with their cool vintage sound, and with the exception of a few plodding moments, the music on this album flows in a painless though also very unsurprising manner. Fast thrashers were clearly this band's best asset and could have been utilized even more - although most songs are supported by reasonably solid riffing, some development of fatigue towards the end of this album is unavoidable. Old Psychotic Eyes is simply an uncomplicated and safe choice for a basic dose of speed/thrash metal, tightly hanging on to the middle-ground and nothing more than that.

AVENGER OF BLOOD - Complete Annihilation
USA 2005

1. Intro 2. Complete Annihilation 3. Scent Of Death 4. Bound By Torment 5. Tyrants Of The Bloodlands 6. Where The Pictures Lie 7. Trapped In Time 8. Violent Epiphany 9. Everlasting Plague 10. Forced To Kill

Releases like Complete Annihilation can make one seriously ponder how little development there has been over several decades of thrash metal. Avenger Of Blood's sound should be immediately familiar to most people as it is essentially like an American variant of Kreator from the old days. The speed is more than sufficient and the music is generally very grim and oppressive, not always in a good way. Maybe there have been a bit too many albums that focus on torment, suffering and death, as the lyrics on this one manage to appear downright ridiculous at times. Although a couple of well composed tracks like Bound By Torment trot along rather nicely, the truth is that it is hard to get too enthusiastic over this thing. Let it be said that Complete Annihilation is formally a fully adequate piece of work, but you cannot help feeling that based on this kind of albums the patent for a wheel must have expired.

AVENGER OF BLOOD - Death Brigade
USA 2008

1. Vicious Onslaught 2. Death Brigade 3. When Will You Die? 4. Mortally Wounded 5. Bloodseeker 6. Poserslaughter 7. Terminate 8. Sadistic Inquisitor 9. Beneath The Curse 10. Assassins

While Avenger Of Blood's debut album was at least mildly entertaining though somewhat dull as a whole, Death Brigade repeats almost the same patterns with very little variation. Occasionally it feels as if the band possess an idea of a direction of their own, but the output still ends up being seriously one-dimensional and burdensome. One can say that Complete Annihilation did contain at least a couple of semi-memorable tracks, whereas there is no such edge on this follow-up. Avenger Of Blood may be one of the heavier acts in the field in recent years, but if that's your cake then bands like Crucified Mortals might actually fit the need in a more satisfying manner. With Death Brigade there is a danger that the resulting impression just does not quite cut it.

Finland 2009

1. Introcrusher 2. Born Of Pain, Bred With Fear 3. Damage-Inked 4. Barricade Command 5. Psalm Before The Storm 6. Not 7. Strangled By Life 8. Iron Will Executor 9. Holy Terror 10. Servants 11. Axegressor

As yet another band hopping on the thrash wagon, Axegressor would have needed a lot more than mere luck to stand out. Unfortunately Command starts out sounding dull and monotonous, and especially the vocals can be sometimes quite irritating with their pesky tone. With a higher pace becoming dominant after the dragging first track is over, the album somewhat improves though never really reaches a fully satisfactory level. You can spot an individual riff or two that are not half-bad, but mostly this album is from the forgettable end of the thrash metal spectrum. An honorable mention goes to Iron Will Executor which is exactly the kind of killer track that this recording would have needed more, a fast and merciless piece that positively benefits from its short length in comparison to the rest of this album. Not to play down the effort completely, but it is hard to escape a feeling that this release adds very little to the existing genre.

Finland 2011

1. The Only Reward 2. Star Inverted 3. Justified Distrust 4. Ironcrossfire 5. SS-18 "Satan" 6. Consume The Vicious Circle 7. Apocalyptician 8. You 9. Black & White Death Race

Unlike its predecessor, Next wisely presents some fast stuff right at the start. Despite the energetic opening, this album is still not without its tedious bits like the next track immediately demonstrates. Like on the previous release, there are occasional signs of promise - the first minute into Justified Distrust is simply a killer intro, and SS-18 "Satan" prominently features some very nice Destruction-like riffwork. Unfortunately there isn't another Iron Will Executor this time, as Apocalyptician doesn't quite cut it despite the obvious effort. While the effect as a whole is not quite as tiresome as Command at its worst, the band's sound remains severely strained and forced. Partially it may be due to the production, but some of this feel appears like it was the result of just trying a bit too hard.