In my hand I hold a dollar bill
For this is the seed of life
You cannot live and prosper without the seed
And with the seed I will sprout into a tree
And drop leaves of forgiveness upon your soul

-- Coven - Ministry of Lies

CABAL - Midian
USA 1990

1. Images In Blood 2. Midian 3. Dark Desires 4. God Complex 5. Past Sins 6. Khaos Theory 7. Nocturnal Reign

Killjoy's second solo effort after Compelled By Fear turned out to be darker and heavier by tenfold. With a renamed line-up, the production of Midian can be simply described as ultra-heavy with certain leanings towards death metal, not unlike what bands like Demolition Hammer and Exhorder used to practice at around the same time. The outcome sounds very professional though also somewhat undistinctive at times. It must be said that this album as a whole is very atmospheric with a brooding feel and classy guitar leads, and the tightest tracks like Images In Blood and Nocturnal Reign are almost second to none when compared to any other band of this kind. It is not the ultimate album in the genre, but if you are looking for some of the heaviest thrash metal available then Midian really takes the cake.

CAPHARNAUM - Capharnaum
France 1993

1. Heirs Of Humanity 2. Vivisection (Stop The Torture) 3. Criminal Fire 4. The Spy 5. Last Vision 6. I Am Dead 7. Don't Let Me Down 8. Vixit 9. Living On Trash 10. Some Still Universe 11. The New Poor Of The New Rich 12. Shadow Of The Dark

Appearing relatively late from the French thrash metal scene, Capharnaum ended up sounding almost too familiar to anyone who kept up with the genre even on an irregular basis. This album walks a fine line between fairly generic and totally forgettable, and it's probably only due to the adequately powerful delivery and occasional fancy details that save it from sinking too deep into mediocrity. Capharnaum could obviously pump up the speed high enough when they really wanted, some lazy bits notwithstanding. At least technically there is no real reason to complain, therefore it is a shame that the band couldn't write a single really memorable song for this release. The end result is a standard fare on all counts, somewhat sufficient for what it is worth and nothing more than that.

CARRION - Evil Is There!
Switzerland 1986

1. Shark Attack 2. Antichrist 3. Games Of Evil 4. Restless 5. Demon's Child 6. Avenger 7. Evil Is There 8. Marshall Law 9. Torero

From today's perspective, Carrion's sound is like a perfect reminiscence from the past. With Evil Is There! these Swiss thrashers put out some very straightforward thrash metal that works on a certain basic level. Actually the band's sound tends to resemble Darkness on their debut Death Squad, with riffs that give most tracks a fairly unique feel. The music feels even simplistic at times, which may lessen some of its appeal in the long run, but on the other hand this kind of bare bones attack is rather effective in all its plainness. With such an old-fashioned feel, Evil Is There! is definitely a product of its time - only a few years later and it would have been practically impossible to release an album of this kind anymore. As of now, it makes a fair example of some of the most pure old school thrash metal from the 1980s.

CAUSTIC - Caustic
Switzerland 1992

1. Rape And Murder 2. Do It Right 3. Forked Tongue 4. Agressor

In a way, Caustic are at least semi-interesting for such a less-known group, but listening to this band's debut mini album is practically like going through the movements that you probably know by heart already. This simply means that the music could easily pass as a generic product of almost any other obscure band whose name you just don't happen to remember anymore. There is actually nothing particularly irritating or distracting in these songs, but they do not exactly raise any really positive feelings either. To hear this kind of forgettable playing in effect can be almost disheartening when you consider the history of the genre up to this point. After all, this was Caustic's first release and not a hopeless effort for such, but a lot more would have been needed to keep their heads above the water in the competition.

CELTIC FROST - Morbid Tales
Switzerland 1984

1. Into The Crypts Of Rays 2. Visions Of Mortality 3. Procreation (Of The Wicked) 4. Return To The Eve 5. Danse Macabre 6. Nocturnal Fear

Emerging in a time when thrash metal was still in its infancy, Celtic Frost cannot be ignored when the most influential bands are discussed. Although its main legacy would make waves years later in the future, for more extreme acts to follow, Morbid Tales perfectly fits in the atmosphere of the year when Sodom made their debut and Slayer released Haunting The Chapel. Ranging from speedy tracks to slower and more brooding pieces, this recording remains quite different from the norm. In a way, the dark and murky sound of the whole thing is comparable to an ancient grimoire, like a tome of obscure magical knowledge that has stood against the time.

CELTIC FROST - Emperor's Return
Switzerland 1985

1. Circle Of The Tyrants 2. Morbid Tales 3. Dethroned Emperor 4. Visual Aggression 5. Suicidal Winds

Emperor's Return continued fully in the same vein as Morbid Tales, with a distinctive rough but heavy guitar tone. While most of these songs may not be among the fastest stuff of the time, the music has a certain level of primal power that many other bands could not produce. The original version of Circle Of The Tyrants has probably become one of the most covered songs over the years, and Visual Aggression must be the fastest track that this band ever recorded. Whereas Celtic Frost's later works can be considered somewhat more pondering or experimental, Emperor's Return preserves the authentic sound and feel of their early days.

CEMETERY LUST - Screams Of The Violated
USA 2012

1. Throw The Switch 2. Perverted Aggressor 3. Sexual Maniac 4. Resurrected Whore 5. Black Angels Of Hell 6. Demonic Dementia 7. Possessed Confessions 8. Night Of The Creep

Here's an album that is not hampered by unnecessary timidness or stale production. Cemetery Lust's Screams Of The Violated can be actually quite a refreshing experience when approached in a proper manner. The sound is somewhat rough but powerful, the riffs are simple yet catchy enough, and the whole thing is easily more energetic than an average recording in the scene. You can sense that making this album must have been a fun ride, the wildest moments closely resembling the original style of bands like Hellwitch and Insanity. The lyrics are often deliberately politically incorrect, which adds to the underground feel of this release. While Screams Of The Violated eventually may be something of an acquired taste, it surely beats the pants off an awfully lot of more boring works.

Australia 2013

1. Brain Damage 2. Such Heroic Nonsense 3. Caustic Flash 4. Devouring Disease 5. Execution 6. Extinction 7. Urban Renewal 8. Body Harvest

Brain Damage is fairly good stuff, at least as much as you can reasonably expect from a debut release in the contemporary scene. Cerebral Contortion's first full-length contains some lovely violent prose embedded in a gritty sound wall, and it is not only occasionally that the output resembles bands like Burnt Offering, with the same kind of audible undisputed attitude and impetuous vocal tone. While the presentation does not have much variety, it remains constantly forceful enough to prevent you from dozing off at critical moments. The style is quite raw but not immature, the message is delivered in a thoroughly unapologetic way, and the impression is simply convincing - which is already a lot more than it would have been fair to wish for.

CEREBRAL FIX - Tower Of Spite
United Kingdom 1990

1. Unity For Who? 2. Enter The Turmoil 3. Feast Of The Fools 4. Chasten Of Fear 5. Circle Of The Earth 6. Tower Of Spite 7. Injecting Out 8. Quest For Midian 9. Forgotten Genocide 10. Culte Des Mortes (I) 11. Closing Irony

Compared to most other British thrash bands, Cerebral Fix sounded considerably grittier on Tower Of Spite. This album features some very dark and heavy thrash metal with particularly gruff vocals. The general style is quite uniform and above all easily distinguishable, something not too common in the genre in those days. Instead of relying on absolute speed all the time, the band gained more momentum from brooding riffage and biting vocals. As a result, the music has a notably evil and punishing feel to it. Occasionally these tracks tend to spend too much time on the plodding side, though, something that possibly could have been helped with a tad more speed. Nevertheless, the outcome remains satisfactory and makes Tower Of Spite a good example of the heavier old thrash metal albums.

CHAKAL - Abominable Anno Domini
Brazil 1987

1. May Not The Mankind Suffer 2. The Planet Is Dead 3. Terminal Brain 4. Children Of The Cemetery 5. Jason Lives 6. Warriors Of Disgrace 7. The Dead Walk 8. Children Sacrifice 9. Mr. Jesus Christ

A long-timer in the Brazilian thrash metal scene, Chakal gave a grim initial impression with their first album Abominable Anno Domini. The band's sound would be quite rough even without Vladimir Korg's gruff vocals that ultimately complete the effect. The music could have used some more variety, as most of these songs are not too distinctive. Almost every track is played in the same headbanging manner, and most of the underlying details tend to get buried in the raw and fairly one-dimensional presentation. However, props must be given to the band for their uncompromised output, especially considering Korg's unforgettable vocal efforts. While Abominable Anno Domini is not vastly different from the average delivery of other equally equipped Brazilian thrash metal bands of the time, Chakal's unpolished style eventually pays off to some extent.

CHAKAL - The Man Is His Own Jackal
Brazil 1990

1. Feel No Pain 2. Silence n' Peace 3. Acme Dead End Road 4. Holobyte 5. Hangover 6. Santa Claus Has Got Skin Cancer 7. In Vain 8. S.S.C. 333 9. Synthetic Tears

Chakal's second full-length release The Man Is His Own Jackal is a slightly less harsh example of the band's music. The style of this one is a bit on the wild side, many times full of lighthearted energy instead of solely sticking to grave serious topics - possibly the best song on this release is about Warner Bros. cartoons, now that's an original choice for sure. On the surface, the sound of this album is pretty satisfying and only hindered by the vocalist who is quite a plain howler; it might have been preferable to hear some stronger voice like that of the band's original vocalist Vladimir Korg. Although the music is fairly energetic indeed, on the whole it lacks some vital characteristics that would make it more memorable over time. Even though the wild attitude alone may win you over in the long run and The Man Is His Own Jackal is still worth a listen, you cannot help feeling that Chakal could do also better than this.

CHAKAL - Death Is A Lonely Business
Brazil 1991

1. Before It's Too Late 2. Mind Cries, Body Dies 3. Panic In The Fast Food 4. Fear Of Death 5. Beholder 6. A Certain Afternoon Havin' Strawberry Jelly On Mars Watching The Dick Birds Fly South 7. Choked 8. Useless Denial To Hear

It is not difficult to immediately notice how much more convincing and better produced Death Is A Lonely Business sounds when compared to Chakal's previous releases. At its best this album provides a nice mixture of memorable heavy stompers (Panic In The Fast Food) and equally storming fast thrashers (Fear Of Death), although one cannot avoid observing some dragging moments, too. As a whole this release still appears notably more balanced and entertaining than the band's earlier output. Despite this more advanced approach, the music has not been totally stripped of occasional humorous touches which is a definite plus. Maybe it is not an absolute winner by chance, but Death Is A Lonely Business is surely something of a pleasant surprise after some undeniably more raw and undeveloped Chakal albums.

CHAKAL - Demon King
Brazil 2004

1. Morlocks Will Rise 2. Demon King 3. Christ In Hell 4. Mirror Made Tricks 5. Evil Dead 6. War Drums 7. Flowers On Your Grave 8. Human Remains Banquet 9. Psycho 10. The Masque Of The Red Death 11. Mastered Dogs

While Chakal's actual comeback in the new millennium took the form of a highly modern and experimental release (Deadland), the follow-up album Demon King marks a return to the band's original thrash metal approach. The guitar sound may appear strange enough for the first few seconds, but the feeling quickly disappears as soon as the other instruments join in. With Vladimir Korg back on vocals, the renewed band carry a close resemblance to their original incarnation while keeping up with the upgraded technical requirements. Naturally also the music is somewhat more developed than on those primitive early efforts, but you can still identify Chakal's sound pretty easily even based on the vocal tone alone. When the band can effortlessly make a fresh-sounding cover version of Death's Evil Dead with a full thrashing treatment so that it goes almost seamlessly with the original material, it is certain that they are still far from being relics in the scene.

CHANNEL ZERO - Channel Zero
Belgium 1992

1. No Light (At The End Of The Tunnel) 2. Tales Of Worship 3. The Pioneer 4. Succeed Or Bleed 5. Never Alone 6. Inspiration To Violence 7. Painful Jokes 8. Save Me 9. Animation 10. Run With The Torch

Considering how faithful to the best traditions of 1980s thrash metal Channel Zero's debut is, it is a great pity that this Belgian band later decided to follow in the footsteps of Pantera and the like. Channel Zero is a convincing effort on all levels, a package filled with furious riffs and manic vocals. Right from the striking No Light (At The End Of The Tunnel) this album sounds like a 10 ton steamroller running loose down the road. Although a few songs sound something like only minor variations of the theme and the vocalist's shouting can appear somewhat unvaried at times, it's the immense commitment and drive of the band that really makes this music hit your face. Franky's vocals are clear but extremely powerful and the band basically play as if they had just invented the whole genre. No matter what you think about Channel Zero's later works, their initial release is an example of some very good thrash metal.

Finland 1989

1. A.C.N.R. 2. Ballad Of S.O.D. 3. Firedancer 4. Inquisition 5. Metal Eyes 6. Paragon Of Animals 7. Surprise Kills 8. Surgery 9. Twisted In Vice 10. Wakan Tanka

Probably close to a re-definition of "rare" these days, In Vice shows Charged giving an ample demonstration of their concept of Finnish thrash metal. There is little else but straight-out thrashing on this album, and the band pull the right strings for a good measure. It is kind of repetitive and clearly not comparable to the cream of the crop at the time, but for one thing, there is a fresh and energetic mood all over this album. Obviously Charged had a talent for an effective use of resources - even though there are hardly any truly classic riffs to be found here, the band play these tracks out in such a devoted manner that it is hard not to give it the respect it no doubt deserves. You can never know what kind of curiosity items still remain hidden in the old scene, but In Vice has enough merits to prove that it is not among the most forgettable ones.

Canada 1990

1. Foggy Creek 2. Crust And Crumbs 3. Chronic Confusion 4. Sordid End 5. Starless 6. Ratrace 7. Open Season 8. No Tomorrow 9. Doctor Death 10. Prejudice

With such a little known band as Chronical Disturbance from Canada, you might immediately start wondering if their music is really worth the time. In this case, there could be some reservations about it - although Foggy Creek has some merits, it is not unjust to call the output quite boring on the whole. On the instrumental side the band appear to have been a bit more ambitious than your usual pack, but not exactly in a memorable way. Actually this album often sounds like a heavier Dyoxen, with some more technical aspirations than on average but also the same kind of forgettable output most of the time. It tells a lot when the most interesting track of a thrash metal album is an instrumental piece (here, Doctor Death). There is no reason to completely overlook Chronical Disturbance's musical vision, but the result does not really impress in the way it should.

CHRONOSPHERE - Envirusment
Greece 2012

1. Thrash In Cold Blood 2. Light Leading Maze 3. Never Better 4. No Evidence 5. Hypnosis 6. Genetically Determined 7. Envirusment 8. War Infection 9. Shark Attack (demo) 10. Hypnosis (demo)

Chronosphere's debut release is a fairly typical example of acceptable but fundamentally pretty forgettable thrash metal these days. On the surface Envirusment should possess a sufficient amount of credibility, the songs are quite speedy affairs with sharp but not very memorable riffs, and the presentation in general is fully satisfactory if just slightly superficial. This is an adequately composed piece of work, but in the long run there's not much of a reason to go back to it after the first couple of listens or so. While a track or two of this kind may occasionally appear mildly interesting, a whole album inevitably tends to lose a listener's attention at some point.

COCKROACH - Temple Of Mystery
Germany 2003

1. Witch Trial 2. Phantom Of The Dawn 3. Total Gym 4. Temple Of Mystery 5. Underworld 6. Inner Fire 7. Fallen Angel 8. Tears 9. Cockroach 10. Suck Me Beautiful 11. Personal War 12. Tekilla

Whether it is due to the ultimately uncute mascot that this band chose to adopt, of all things possible, or just the ordinary nature of their music, Cockroach must be among the less known bands in the genre. On the surface, Temple Of Mystery doesn't seem too bad, as the sound is quite thick and robust, and at least formally it is not radically worse than the output of any other average thrash metal band. Maybe the biggest flaw is simply that the songwriting is rather dry and uninspiring, and after about two thirds of this album you may start to think that the thing should have ended already a long while ago. At their best these tracks build up a fairly massive stomping sound wall, but that doesn't help much when many songs practically go nowhere. Bands like Hateful Agony have implemented this kind of common approach to thrash metal in a bit more interesting way - Temple Of Mystery falls a little short in that sense.

CODE RED - Wolves Of Warfield
Japan 2007

1. March Of Death 2. Buried In The Battlefield 3. Hunger Island 4. Destroy 5. Patriot 6. August 6. 1945 7. Wolves Of Warfield 8. Toward The South 9. Hell Diver

Code Red's Wolves Of Warfield has an uplifting quality to it. As it quickly becomes evident, this album is full of speedy and powerful thrash metal with an apparent clear direction of its own. The style is not exactly the most creative, but the riffing is quite satisfying and the band sound more than eager enough. While the presentation is almost spot-on, the initial positive impression does not completely hide the fact that this album is a bit more about an energetic attitude than unique memorable songs. At its best the music pushes forward like a heavy locomotive, and some great inspired tracks like Destroy and Patriot certainly stick out, but a lot of it kind of blends together. This does not crucially reduce the value, though - while there is still some room left for improvements, Code Red's devoted performance on their debut release is definitely laudable.

COMATOSE - Deep Sleep
USA 1995

1. Defiled By Madness 2. Bottled Freedom 3. Inner Conflict 4. Deniably So (The Edited Truth) 5. From Green To Black

Whatever little eventually came of Comatose, their only known release sounds virtually indistinguishable from the original thrash metal scene that flourished a few years earlier. One would indeed have great difficulties in trying to estimate the release date of Deep Sleep without a better knowledge, as if this mini album had been recorded early on but then just postponed for a long period of time. The sound is very down-to-earth, and in specific situations this could be a perfect album to add to the mood. While the band mostly deliver the goods in a fair manner, some of the music appears quite unoriginal and naturally repetitive, though. Sufficient to say, the appeal of this recording is based on its powerful feel more than any downright catchy songs. Deep Sleep may be missing the final touch that would really make a difference, but a bad choice to hear it is not.

COMBAT - Age Of Discord
USA 2011

1. Bullitt 2. Age Of Discord 3. The Mutant Inside 4. Blessings From The Death Saint 5. The Cannibal Cabal 6. Judas 7. The Evil Has Landed 8. This Place Of Torn 9. The Pollards 10. Under The Guise Of Terror

With their roots deep in the 1980s thrash and hardcore, including a brief period under the moniker of Napalm (that eventually evolved into a completely different line-up), Combat deserve a special mention for producing quite a refreshing new album after all these years. While the band's preceding modern works could be deemed more hardcore-ish with enough of rough edges to share, Age Of Discord manifests an energetic thrashing soundscape that is both traditional and progressive, sometimes reminiscent of the early Voivod with their general off-kilter feel. As a result, the music is strangely appealing in a nice old-fashioned but not antiquated way. The songs are on the short side, the average length barely under three minutes, which just contributes to an impression of a compact and controlled style. It may take a bit time for an average listener to adapt to Age Of Discord, but the output is certainly much more interesting than your stereotypical thrash metal album nowadays.

CONCRETE - Revelations Of Perdition
Hungary 2011

1. Prisoner Of Life 2. Cockroach 3. Diseases Of The Mind 4. Blackwater Rising 5. Communication Gap 6. Denial Of God 7. Cover The Stigmas 8. Venom Of Society 9. Garden Of Spiders

While it is hardly a remarkable release, Revelations Of Perdition has certain commendable qualities. For a dose of some very fast-paced thrash metal, this album is laudably consistent and provides a constant stream of chainsaw riffs although their variety is rather limited in the end. After the first two or three tracks the whole effect starts to appear nearly monotonous, then the album sort of picks up again. Concrete's forceful sound is fairly appealing in itself, far from novel but very appropriate for a product of this kind. There is no doubt that Revelations Of Perdition could have used some more memorable songwriting as well as catchier riffs, but at least the basics seem to be already solid enough.

CONFLICTED - Social Disorder
Chile 2012

1. The Truth Beyond Our Polluted Lungs 2. Scars 3. Human Decayed: To The Final War 4. Corrupcion 5. The Price We Must Pay 6. This World 7. Experiments To Create Aberrations 8. God Is Death 9. Malevolent Act

Social Disorder shows an exemplary way to kick off a thrash metal album - no unrelated intros or drawn-out build-ups, just pick a catchy riff and run with it. And as the opening track The Truth Beyond Our Polluted Lungs proves, the results can be splendid when done right. Arguably not all parts of Conflicted's first release are able to reach such high levels of quality, but there are still enough of audible moments of noteworthy riffage also beyond the first song. Evidently it's the fastest tracks that make the most effective impression, as some more restrained pieces on this album do not work equally well. Therefore Social Disorder can be considered a fair debut where occasional flashes of prowess still leave room for improvements in the future.

CONSPIRACY - Crippled Invaders
Greece 2010

1. Black Spot 2. Ct. Jimmy Fucknut 3. Passing Away 4. Villa De Muerto 5. Walk The Plank 6. Chorny Obelisk

The idea behind Crippled Invaders could be considered kind of novel. But the actual implementation of Conspiracy's "pirate thrash" turns out to be a lot more ordinary. As a demonstration of the band's abilities, this mini album is certainly satisfactory - the sound quality, riffs and pretty much everything works as a proof of adequate knowledge of the ideals of the genre. Formally it should pass every criteria set for thrash metal over the years. And as the songs are mostly on the short side, it shouldn't be an impossible task for anyone to give this one a fair listen. Yet the result falls short of having any distinctive impact on the scene, thus making Crippled Invaders just another addition to the ever-growing pile of similar undistinguishable releases.

CONSPIRACY - Hope Over Board
Greece 2011

1. Arrival Of The Enraged 2. The Fuse Is Lit 3. Fuckfish 4. Hope Over Board 5. Raiding Time 6. Hanging On The Mast 7. Scattered Ashes 8. Cutlass In The Ribs 9. Temple Of Shame 10. You Were Right Major Stevens

While Hope Over Board does not deviate from the route that Conspiracy established with Crippled Invaders, it shows some obvious signs of development. The band's sound appears tighter than previously, and although there are no great musical differences between these releases, this time the output is a bit more convincing than before. Even then there is no denying the notion that the overall style remains largely unexceptional and repetitive. The whole album is compact and not very long, yet it has a tendency to drag in places and the majority of material is quite forgettable. Of course, this only adheres to the rule that most products in any genre end up being more or less average, but any greater recognition would naturally require better than that.

CONSPIRATOR - Cannibal Of War
Germany 2001

1. Intro 2. Cannibal Of War 3. Suicide Visions 4. Frantic Mortified Bitch 5. Sick Power From Hell 6. The Untamed Souls Of The Dead 7. Down In Our Throat! (Beer!) 8. Burned Out 9. Thrashing Maniac 10. Killing On Instinct 11. Conspirator 12. Down In Our Throat! (Beer!) (live)

Those who think thrash metal has become too neat and tidy only need to take a look at Conspirator's Cannibal Of War. For all practical purposes, this is the total opposite of clean-cut and polished. The production quality is pretty crude, the vocals are terribly raw, and the album on the whole is directly comparable to Sodom's most primitive recordings, for example. As the riffs are rather elementary and the compositions can be described as "functional" at best, the effect can be quite disconcerting to a casual listener. Needless to say, Cannibal Of War is not exactly what the general public would be likely to call good music, but maybe the most dedicated individuals can find something of a redeeming value from this thing. If nothing else, it may serve as a bringer of balance against the majority of more refined studio productions.

CONVICTED - Nuclear Escape
Greece 2004

1. Intro 2. Convicted 3. Minds Of War 4. Payback 5. Merciless 6. Concious Apology 7. Brainfeed 8. Raping Your Blood

While there is little in the way of actual creativity on Convicted's debut release, Nuclear Escape is not a half-bad product at all. This album features well-executed thrash metal with a nice natural sound quality, and the band's output appears fairly convincing and street credible despite its unexceptional characteristics. There is not much variation to speak of, even fewer any real thought-provoking moments, but the music cannot be called downright boring or pointless either. As the album is not too long, it manages to maintain a tight pace from start to finish, and there are no plodding moments during these tracks. Although Convicted's style is undoubtedly rather ordinary, the effort does not go to waste as Nuclear Escape is quite a consistent collection of streamlined fast thrash metal.

Switzerland 1987

1. Intro 2. Reborn Through Hate 3. When Angels Die 4. Intro (Nosferatu) 5. Nosferatu 6. Suicide Command 7. Spiral Dream 8. R.I.P. 9. Coma 10. Fried Alive 11. Intro (Totentanz) 12. Totentanz 13. Outro

Coroner were undoubtedly one of the better technical speed/thrash metal bands in the genre. Their debut album R.I.P. was already a surprisingly characteristic release that immediately introduced the typical Coroner sound that is very heavy, not exactly the fastest around but more technical than in your average band. Despite being heavy on technicality, the result sounds mostly quite interesting and fresh and works pretty well. With very heavy vocals and decent speed, the music is convincing enough and does not wander too deep into the progressive territory. The musicianship is very excellent and the prime example of this, the classy instrumental Nosferatu easily becomes one of the definite highlights of this album. R.I.P. is a fine demonstration of Coroner's original sound and a good technical thrash metal album with some special appeal.

CORONER - Punishment For Decadence
Switzerland 1988

1. Intro 2. Absorbed 3. Masked Jackal 4. Arc-Lite 5. Skeleton On Your Shoulder 6. Sudden Fall 7. Shadow Of A Lost Dream 8. The New Breed 9. Voyage To Eternity 10. Purple Haze

Coroner's second album is similar to R.I.P. in a technical sense but lacks some of its energetic feel. Punishment For Decadence is typically heavy for the band and it has all the usual Coroner characteristics, but this time some of the music is close to being a bit too tedious for its own good. Although this album sounds even more consistent than the band's debut release, many tracks seem to go nowhere despite their heavy arrangements. In fact, R.I.P. had more memorable songs and overall felt more distinctive than this one. Except for the peculiar Jimi Hendrix cover Purple Haze, most tracks are not too distinguishable from each other, which results in a somewhat boring general feel. Punishment For Decadence is by no means a bad album but some repetitious technical mannerism and the lack of highlights make it less impressive when compared to its predecessor.

CORONER - No More Color
Switzerland 1989

1. Die By My Hand 2. No Need To Be Human 3. Read My Scars 4. D.O.A. 5. Mistress Of Deception 6. Tunnel Of Pain 7. Why It Hurts 8. Last Entertainment

By their third album Coroner had refined their style to a respectable level. No More Color is probably the band's most mature release up to that point, and despite all the technicality and variety in their sound the music remains crushingly heavy and focused. Some of the band's better tracks can be found on this album, including the heavy Read My Scars and the experimental Last Entertaiment. Although Coroner were clearly starting to steer away from conventional thrash metal grounds, this release remains to be a fine example of the band's potential and skills. Supported by some great, rich production, No More Color is the heaviest and probably the best of Coroner's early albums.

CORPSE - I Live, You Die
Brazil 1990

1. Heaven Needs Money 2. Slaves Of Our Inventions 3. Back To My World 4. I Live, You Die 5. Toxic Death 6. Life Reflections 7. Reason To Kill

Corpse may have been among the more unknown Brazilian bands of their time, but I Live, You Die does not actually pale in comparison to the average quality of releases in the genre. The album has a strong start with the hard-hitting Heaven Needs Money, resulting in a surprisingly positive initial impression. While the rest of the album eventually turns out to be more of a standard type as a whole, there is still a sufficient amount of good moments to ensure that Corpse's offering manages to keep its head above the water long enough. The guitar work and riffs are on an acceptable level at all times, and you can only think that the band must have had a good time during the recording sessions. For those looking for unobtrusive but interesting thrash metal that holds on its own, I Live, You Die contains just that.

CORRUPTOR - Towering Inferno
USA 2010

1. Inferno 2. Fires Of Dissolution 3. Full Force 4. Nightmare To Come 5. Burned In Waco 6. Malevolent Creation 7. Iron Empire 8. Darkest Of Days 9. Unleashed 10. Dead To Me

If anything, Corruptor's Towering Inferno shows signs of promise. This album is clearly more versatile than the norm, combining heavy riffs and high speed with a few melodic touches, and the whole scheme is driven forward by an energetic performance altogether. The effort is quite ambitious and not quite as dull as many contemporary releases that quickly disappear from memory, although the general feel is sometimes slightly unfinished. Despite the varying quality of songwriting, this recording does contain some whole tracks worth a note, like Full Force and Burned In Waco that deserve more than just a short glimpse. As a full album Towering Inferno is not an unrestricted favorite, but it is surely decent enough to raise expectations for any potential further work from this band.

COVEN - Blessed Is The Black
USA 1988

1. Blessed Is The Black 2. 6669 3. Burn The Cross 4. Out Of The Grave 5. Rock This Church 6. Iron Dick 7. The Monger 8. McDonaldland Massacre 9. Another Life 10. Creature Of Duty (And My Duty Is Death)

When Coven's debut album starts off with some very captivating riffs, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you are into something great. In reality, Blessed Is The Black is a decent but not unreservedly impressive mixture of thrash and some more traditional elements. Maybe the most notable detail is the vocals that appear somewhat overdone a lot of the time. Also, the lyrics are easily some of the most amusing in the genre - making tracks like 6669 and Iron Dick must have been possible only in the glorious 1980s. On a positive note, McDonaldland Massacre sounds just about as hilarious as you could possibly imagine, and the most stylish songs Out Of The Grave and Another Life are surprisingly classy performances. As it turns out, Blessed Is The Black can be a fairly enjoyable experience after all, if you don't take all of it too seriously.

COVEN - Death Walks Behind You
USA 1989

1. Too Late To Pray 2. Ministry Of Lies 3. Spellbinder 4. Succubus 5. Death Walks Behind You 6. Frozen Bones 7. Propaganda 8. Justified Suicide 9. Ted Bundy 10. Silent Night (Violent Night)

On their second release Coven's sound became heavier and more coherent. Death Walks Behind You might not contain such individual highlights as McDonaldland Massacre on Blessed Is The Black, and overall the approach is more typical for thrash metal. However, this album has some strange charm of its own, and the most sinister tracks like Silent Night (Violent Night) are quite dark and memorable pieces. The vocals are still overly dramatic at times, but at this point the style must have grown on most listeners already. In comparison to their previous works, the band's message seems a bit less absurd here, although the censored lyrics sheet can provide a few humorous moments. Death Walks Behind You is not exactly a milestone in thrash metal, but the consistent quality of this release makes it a worthwhile listen.

COVEN - Boneless Christian
USA 1993

1. Satanic As Hell 2. Fuckin' A Nun 3. Just Add Violence 4. Christsycle / Reaming The Pope 5. Boneless Christian 6. Organic God 7. The Master's Tool 8. All This Bleeding

After a lengthy break, Coven returned to the dying scene for one more shot, this time apparently aiming for more shock value than ever before. With songs about rape, murder, necrophilia, cannibalism, and various perversions, the theme of Boneless Christian would have been more appropriate for a typical extreme death metal recording of the time. This alone wouldn't be a fatal flaw as many albums in this genre are not exactly known for their sublime lyrical content anyway, but whereas Coven's earlier releases had some genuinely catchy hooks and interesting riffs, Boneless Christian has very little to offer in that area. It seems that the band put more effort into taking their final joke way over the top than focusing on the music itself.

CRANIUM - Speed Metal Satan
Sweden 1997

1. Lucifer Breath (The Storm To Come) 2. Storm Of Steel And Hate 3. Riders Of Damnation 4. Bestial Butcher 5. Raped By Demons

Speed Metal Satan was a convincing start for Cranium's "speed metal" trilogy of high-speed thrash metal, characterized by somewhat overdone vocals and a notably wild attitude. While more or less directly spawned by the infamous "retro thrash" movement of the late 1990s, this Swedish group were almost ridiculously more talented and credible than most of their contemporaries from the same period. Start with the fact that the songs sound like a pack of rabid bunnies on the run, add some surprisingly solid guitar work including classy solos, and it should be clear that Cranium's music deserves recognition. This even despite the band's persistent demonstrations of bad taste which is highly evident already on this debut. In particular, the lyrics are intentionally so dumb that they ultimately reach some humorous levels beyond belief - make no mistake, a great piece of poetry this is not. Fortunately the album as a whole is more enjoyable than some of its small quirks might suggest.

CRANIUM - Speed Metal Slaughter
Sweden 1998

1. Slaughter On The Dance Floor 2. Lawnmower Lover 3. Dentist Of Death 4. S.R.T. 5. A Devil On The Drums / Sluts Of Satan 6. Graveyard Romance 7. Satanic Holiday

Even though Speed Metal Slaughter pushes the limits of bad humor, the sound of it should be no surprise to anyone who heard Cranium's debut release. You only need a glimpse of the cover art and track titles to determine that this is an album to be played only in carefully selected situations. This time Cranium apparently decided to take the humorous elements deliberately over the top, and it certainly shows in both good and bad. One got to admit, Dentist Of Death and a couple of other tracks are funny enough so that you don't need to feel total embarrasment for the band. Then again, a whole album of the same joke inevitably gets old at some point. The vocals are also sometimes a bit too cartoonish which can result in at least slight irritation every now and then. The music is still quite entertaining at its best and, needless to say, one of a kind in the genre. Definitely not for people who cannot take a joke, though.

CRANIUM - Speed Metal Sentence
Sweden 1999

1. Speed Metal Sentence 2. Nymphomaniac Nuns 3. Full Moon Fistbanger 4. Satanic Sect 5. Pestilential Penis 6. Samurai Satan 7. Taxi Terror 8. Cranium - Crushers Of Christ

The third and final installment in Cranium's amusing album trilogy, Speed Metal Sentence honors the consistent style of its predecessors almost to the letter. On the surface it would seem that little has changed since the previous releases although this album does have some small refined touches of its own. You can hardly wish for more speed, and the riffs are pretty cool and even memorable, too. Again, if you're not into terribly adolescent humor then it is better to ignore the lyrics altogether, as it couldn't be more pointless to try to find any deep meaning in them. Although Cranium still occasionally sound more like cartoon characters than a real band and some tracks can appear awfully silly, it is probably a fair trade-off for their distinctive style. No one on earth can ever mistake this thing for great art, but it certainly makes an unforgettable experience in many ways.

CRASH - Endless Supply Of Pain
South Korea 1993

1. Scream 2. Dreamer Of The Last Dream 3. My Worst Enemy (Korean version) 4. Penalty 5. Smoke On The Water 6. Self Destruct 7. Screwd Up 8. ? (Korean) 9. My Worst Enemy 10. Don't Ramble On

For most people, Crash may appear a unique example of thrash metal from South Korea. The band were a prominent representative of their kind, though, as Endless Supply Of Pain makes quite a convinving impression right at the start. Scream and Dreamer Of The Last Dream open the album in a nearly exemplary manner as far as intensity is considered. Especially the vocal output is laudably strong, sometimes even going a bit overboard, but you definitely cannot criticise the man for holding back in the slightest. Apart from the fact that an umpteenth cover version of Smoke On The Water couldn't be more uncalled for, Endless Supply Of Pain deserves an unofficial seal of approval - surely it's not the most memorable effort out there, but the music still comes across as surprisingly solid.

CREEPIN' DEATH - Errare Humanum Est... Perseverare Diabolicum!!
Italy 1988

1. Intro / Solitude 2. Rotten Press 3. I Want To Live... 4. Squirts Of Shout 5. Stop That Car 6. From The Dark 7. Black Horizon 8. Green White Red

Despite their name Creepin' Death's style was not particularly dark or heavy, almost the opposite. Errare Humanum Est... Perseverare Diabolicum!! firmly belongs to the realm of vintage speed/thrash metal, with vocals that are rather high-pitched in the typical Agent Steel vein. Similarities don't end there, as also Creepin' Death's songs feature plenty of melodic hooks in both riffs and solos. With the exception of one classy heavy ballad, these tracks still carry a fair amount of speed and energy so that the album can be called a credible part of the genre. Overall, the band's sound is pure 1980s, so much that today this album would appear like just a curiosity item if it wasn't for the fact that many songs are simply quite catchy, though sometimes also unintentionally cheesy. For fans of the style, Creepin' Death should be well worth the time.

CREMATOR - Home Style Surgery
Australia 1988

1. Butchers Son 2. Beer & Violence 3. Devil Went Down To Georgia 4. Value Funerals 5. Burn Or Rot 6. CRemrAP

"Home Style Thrash" could have been an appropriate alternative title for Cremator's debut release from the coast of Australia. While Home Style Surgery might at first appear like something made on a shoestring budget, the honest feel of the result at least partially gains back whatever may have been lost in production values. Although this album is not exactly on the heaviest side of the genre, the music is not half-bad and there is a certain "live" quality on this recording that money often cannot buy. If it is not immediately obvious, this is not one of the most serious productions either - Devil Went Down To Georgia even features touches of an amusing redneck country feel with violins and all. Sure, some of this album may sound slightly amateurish, but for its short length Cremator's showcase offers pretty good value.

CRIMSON STEEL - Crimson Warhead
Germany 2007

1. Demon Death 2. Protector Of Thrash 3. Toxic Warhead 4. Ceremony 666 5. Into The Battle 6. Last Fly Of The Crimson Fly 7. Impaled At War 8. Infernal Tormentor 9. Witchfire 10. Reign Of Terror 11. Kill Till Dawn 12. Smell Of Hell (Alcoholic Bonus)

Crimson Steel's Crimson Warhead might appeal to friends of underground thrash metal as far as its humble origins are considered. This release is a typical example of fairly forceful thrashing in a specific rough German vein, with a strong simplistic feel. But while there are also some good albums that have the same kind of characteristics, this is unfortunately not one of them. Almost every song sounds like a carbon copy of one and the same template, and it seems obvious that there was not much imagination lost in the making of this recording. With the sole exceptions of a short instrumental and an easygoing rock song, this thing as a whole appears like a complete cliche. Like said, simple and basic ingredients don't always result in a bad album, but as Crimson Warhead lacks any positively distinctive features, the outcome is inevitably quite boring.

CRIONIC - Different
Czech Republic 1993

1. Difference 2. Mortal Anxiety 3. You Can Never Understand 4. For You 5. To Die For Descent 6. The Pictures Of Torture 7. Irritating Inertia 8. Terrible Solitude 9. Absent - Minded 10. About Tenor

For rare Czech thrash metal from the old days, Crionic's Different is no doubt a decent release. Probably the first detail you will notice is the production that is nice and sharp, especially the guitar sound is very cool, although for some reason you cannot avoid a strange synthetic feel occurring at times. The band's output is fairly powerful, sometimes slightly reminiscent of the old Sepultura, with sufficiently gruff vocals and all. It must be the only real major weakness that most songs basically fail to catch any serious fire, even though you have to admit that many of them are quite stylish while having a great deal of variety. While the result may tend to slip through with no bigger impact, Different is still far from the most derivative productions out there.

CRISIX - The Menace
Spain 2011

1. A.S.F.H. 2. Ultra Thrash 3. Internal Pollution 4. Flesh-Collector Machine 5. Holy Punishment 6. Dead By The Fistful Of Violence 7. Spawn 8. Brutal Gadget 9. The Last Monkey 10. Unleash The Beast 11. Mummified By Society 12. Electric Possession

If it was only for the first couple of tracks or so, The Menace could have a fairly positive impact. On the surface this recording is adequate for what it is worth, a slab of hyperactive thrash metal with somewhat hysterical vocals. The amount of energy is definitely on a required level and above, but the problem is that this album as a whole is seriously too long and one-dimensional. Despite its good points, the band's continuous pounding is not fresh or varied enough to support the massive length of this release before it starts running out of steam. Again, after you've heard the first song or two, there are very few surprises left, and a cold numb feeling is inevitable before soon - something that has already become a bit too common with releases like this.

Brazil 2011

1. Crime Against The People 2. Vicious Circle 3. CCCP 4. The Brazilian Way Of Life 5. Progress And Degradation 6. Work Up 7. Revolution's Necessary 8. Near Future 9. To The Nothing

Now this is a good example of not holding back in the slightest. Considering the total number of tracks, Critical Fear's Conflicts may seem surprisingly short, but the explanation lies within the songs that must be among the most compact frenzied bursts out there. There is no doubt that this band gave it everything they got, and at its best the outcome sounds like a slightly sloppier Fastkill which is not too bad an achievement at all. Sometimes the music can appear a tad chaotic, as well as samey outside a couple of key tracks, but the result surely remains more listenable than an average recording in the scene. Be it for Critical Fear's refreshing energetic approach or just something of a tone of their own, but Conflicts is well worth another look.

CRUCIFIED MORTALS - Converted By Decapitation
USA 2004

1. Intro 2. The Reaper's Blade 3. Masked Murder 4. Converted By Decapitation 5. Sentenced To Extermination 6. Soul Afire 7. Usurpation

There are not too many albums that you can practically consider an aural blast, but Converted By Decapitation is close. Crucified Mortals sound extremely convincing right from the start, with no limp or tired moments anywhere on this recording. The output is comparable to a roaring thunder, very heavy and impetuous, and as far as pure street credibility is considered this album lacks nothing in that area. Admittedly the songwriting is focused on hammering the weak to the ground with a rather unvaried formula, but if tracks like Sentenced To Extermination and Usurpation still leave you cold then it's certainly not this band's fault. Despite the lack of truly novel ideas, one must admit that Crucified Mortals deliver their music with the same kind of violent determination that their lyrics describe.

CRUCIFIED MORTALS - Crucified Mortals
USA 2011

1. The Seance 2. Sordid Treachery 3. Hidden Tomb 4. Resurrected Fiend 5. Figure In Black 6. Desecrating The Dead 7. Perpetrator 8. Ghastly Affliction 9. Fatal Scheme 10. Masked Murder 11. Doom

The original mini album of Crucified Mortals was powerful enough to raise some eyebrows. With the band's self-titled full-length release at hand, it is easy to see that the group's energy has been well preserved over the years. Although this album may not be as relentless in its pursuit of non-stop hack and slash as Converted By Decapitation, the soundscape remains very heavy and punishing, complete with notably masculine roaring that can make many other vocalists appear awfully wimpy. Ultimately the result is something of an acquired taste, comparable to the recordings of Burnt Offering and the like. In other words, this kind of blunt and harsh attack can be downright exhausting to some. But as far as most pure unaltered thrash metal goes, it is hard to beat this offering from Crucified Mortals.

CRUCIFIER - Merciless Conviction
Greece 2002

1. Lost Mind 2. Execute Them All 3. Innocent World 4. Merciless Conviction 5. Suffering Hours 6. Pure Hate 7. Violent Vortex 8. Yappie Dream 9. Crucifier

As long as bands like Crucifier stick around, there is no need to worry about the thrash metal heritage going to waste. Merciless Conviction carries on the old traditions to the letter, borrowing from the sound of mid-1980s bands like Sodom and then creating a specific kind of custom variant of it. Complete with a convincing underground tone, the murky sound quality is not very inspiring, but occasionally the band's dark and heavy hammering does lead to some surprisingly effective moments as the last third of Lost Mind proves, for example. The level of variation is really not that high, in fact the band could have filled this album with the same one or two pieces repeated in succession and most people probably wouldn't have noticed, but at least the menacing feel of Crucifier's music remains constant throughout the recording.

CRUCIFIER - Cursed Cross
Greece 2006

1. Cursed Cross 2. Realize Life 3. Governmental Slavery 4. Drive Intense 5. T.V. (Truth's Vileness) 6. Slaves Of Seeded Hatred 7. Thrash Till The Death 8. Crucifier 9. Execute Them All (bonus)

Cursed Cross is a worthy follow-up to Crucifier's debut release, with some noticeable technical improvements. The sound quality is more accurate and clear this time around, and the songs are generally a lot faster although not so much that the speed would start drowning everything else out. You can be sure that the production is still far from overpolished, and there is a nice traditional feel to the whole thing. While this album does sound a tad less characteristic than Merciless Conviction, the result gains something from the band's more consistent and uplifting high-speed approach. Crucifier still won't be winning any originality contests here, but that's hardly the goal anyway - what really matters is that Cursed Cross can be a fairly entertaining record on its own.

CRUEL FORCE - The Rise Of Satanic Might
Germany 2010

1. Witches Curse 2. Satanic Might 3. Forces Of Hades 4. Leather And Metal 5. Necromansy 6. Deathstrike 7. Victim Of Hellfire 8. Queen Of Heresy 9. March For The Pentagram

Albums like The Rise Of Satanic Might tend to reveal their true nature already at the first sight. Just take a look at the cover and track titles, and it should become obvious what kind of thrash metal Cruel Force opted to play. The approach is not too far from bands like Nocturnal, although the sound of Cruel Force appears to be more down-to-earth, especially the vocals are more credible and less irritating. This album features thrash metal played in a certain timeless vintage style, and while there is no real sensible message behind it all, the music has some entertaining value of its own though this may not be of any long-lasting kind. Above all, The Rise Of Satanic Might should be considered to be a direct homage to specific 1980s bands rather than a novel piece of work.

CRUEL FORCE - Under The Sign Of The Moon
Germany 2011

1. De Ventus Mahemium 2. Infernal Winds 3. Black Witch Of Doom 4. Obscure Evil 5. Under The Sign Of The Moon 6. Chants Of Mayhem 7. Black Oath Of Death 8. Ancient Black Spirit 9. The Gallows Prayer

Even the most ordinary works sometimes have redeeming features that manage to capture your attention, but Under The Sign Of The Moon does not quite make it. While Cruel Force's first release was acceptable for what it was worth, almost a direct but well-made pastiche of the old, the impression from the follow-up album is sort of lacking. The band obviously didn't hold back and the delivery remains fairly forceful and strong, even atmospheric at times, but all of this was already heard on The Rise Of Satanic Might. In principle there is nothing wrong with this kind of repetition of the same, but in the end this album effectively fails to stand out well enough.

CRUOR - Insane Harmony
Brazil 1995

1. Insane Harmony 2. Travelling Through The Mind 3. Mortal Reality 4. Galeria De Horrores 5. Game Of Words 6. Banditry 7. Bourree 8. Slow Death Machine 9. Seca 10. Torture

Cruor must not be one of the bands that first come to mind when technical speed/thrash metal is considered, but Insane Harmony proves that the group possessed some real talent. This album is a pleasant small surprise among the mass of more generic releases, a recording with a distinguishable sound of its own. To be honest, the music is not vastly original or memorable, but it is still easily more distinctive than the norm. The band seem to have had an eye for lengthy intros, and the songs sometimes feature adventurous, semi-tricky, and downright lightsome parts while never getting overly complex. In comparison to the satisfying musical content, the production tends to sound somewhat unfinished, but that sort of adds to the charm of it all. The best thing about Insane Harmony is simply that it does not sound like something you heard already a million times in the past.

CRUSHER - Endless Torment
Ukraine 2012

1. Intro 2. On The Needle 3. Den Of Iniquity 4. Politishit 5. Endless Torment 6. S(k)atanic Ride 7. Jesus Saves 8. Living For... 9. Thrasher In Hell

As far as contemporary thrash metal goes, Crusher's Endless Torment must be among the most ordinary releases in recent times. It cannot be denied that the band's output is formally correct and rather snappy, but it is also a bit too basic and fails to stand out in any way. The sound of it all is fairly unexciting, occasionally even melancholic. Even though this album plays in the background without much trouble, there is very little worth mentioning besides that. Except for the satisfactory cover version of Slayer's Jesus Saves, almost none of these tracks has the required potential to stick to your head in the long run, and that's not exactly what you would like to expect from an album of this kind.

CRUSTACEAN - Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy
Netherlands 2011

1. Spawn From Lies 2. Sadist International 3. Plausible Deniability 4. Destructive Attitude 5. The Fallacy You Call Faith 6. Pearls Before Swine 7. Contaminated Blood 8. Attention Terrorist 9. Unique Legacy 10. Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy

While Crustacean may not be too well known in thrash circles based on their earlier works only, Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy should serve as a convincing demonstration from this band at the latest. The sound quality is somewhat peculiar, almost exceptionally clear and analytical, which is guaranteed to draw attention by itself. The songs are of a divided nature, at their fastest comparable to Slayer's works while the slower pieces explore some more technical grounds especially during the second half of this release. Occasionally this formula does produce notable individual songs, like Sadist International that easily bears another listen, although this album in general is not of the most memorable kind. On the whole, Crustacean's style has some appeal of its own that ensures Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy is not totally lost in the crowd.

CURARE - Just A Scratch
Germany 1991

1. Generations Talk 2. Place And Time 3. Distrust A Change 4. Fabula De Antigua Hora

Curare's Just A Scratch almost tends to pass a close inspection on the face value only. The band's sound is very heavy and crunchy, leaving little to be desired. The songs are notably lengthy affairs which makes this album almost a half hour in its total length despite containing only a few tracks. This unavoidably leads to some dragging moments here and there even though you cannot avoid observing a certain feel of conviction on this recording. It could be easy to label some parts of this thing as pure Metallica worship from the old days except with less originality, but it is still good for a listen. Although the result may sound samey on the whole, at least the band faithfully stick to the conventional style and do not try to mix it up with any experimental bits.

CURSED SLAUGHTER - Metal Moshing Thrash Machine
Brazil 2012

1. Nuke Future 2. Lethal Injection 3. Crystal Lake 4. Cursed Slaughter 5. Cyco Army 6. Attitude 7. Metal Moshing Thrash Machine 8. Rot In The Cross 9. The Dead Will Walk The Earth 10. ZxDxMx 11. Wake Up... And Smell The Napalm 12. Silent Storm

In the category of bands with crossover tendencies, Cursed Slaughter seem to be from the more tolerable end of the spectrum. Metal Moshing Thrash Machine combines thrash metal with certain aesthetics of 1980s hardcore while not sacrificing heaviness, similar to bands like Suicidal Tendencies from that period of time, and the mixture works without any major problems. In fact, the short average length of songs must be the most noticeable difference from the mainstream. The band's playing style can initially appear rather hurried, but it gets better from Crystal Lake onwards, and the title track and Silent Storm in particular are as fine thrashers as anything in the field. It may not make a terribly remarkable album, but as a light snack between full meals this one serves quite well.

CYCLONE - Brutal Destruction
Belgium 1986

1. Prelude To The End 2. Long To Hell 3. Fall Under His Command 4. The Call Of Steel 5. Fighting The Fatal 6. In The Grip Of Evil 7. Take Thy Breath 8. Incest Love

Among the earliest European thrash metal acts outside the dominating German scene, Cyclone made surprisingly few releases during their active period. Brutal Destruction sounds well-rehearsed for a debut album, but its contents are not very captivating. Despite their head start, the band's output seems pretty conservative and safe, making it closer to middle-ground thrash metal in almost every sense - the only more distinguishable feature must be the vocalist's occasional screams that can honestly make quite an annoying impression. Everything appears reasonably energetic, but even that could be actually considered a minimum requirement in these circles already at this stage.

CYCLONE - Inferior To None
Belgium 1990

1. Convultions (Intro) 2. Neurotic 3. So Be It 4. Paralysed 5. Throw The First Stone 6. The Other Side 7. I Am The Plague 8. Crown Of Thorns 9. Slavery

Cyclone's second and final album must be one of the most valuable lost treasures in the genre - and possibly the biggest leap in quality between two subsequent recordings ever. Remarkably a lot more ambitious and mature than the band's first release, Inferior To None sounds wonderfully heavy and powerful. In comparison to the fairly simple grounds that Brutal Destruction was ultimately based on, the songs on this follow-up album are much more advanced and emphatic, carrying some traits typical for the American scene but still coming with a definite flavor of their own. The general feel is highly consistent, intriguing and dark, and practically every track is filled with first-class guitar riffs and solos. All this makes Cyclone appear like a totally different band here, nothing like their initial release would suggest. Except for the majestic instrumental Crown Of Thorns, most of these massive songs may need some time to grow on you for the best effect, but this just proves that Inferior To None is a real keeper.