God bless this house, the car and the TV
Show us our idols in magazines
They build us prisons without any walls
Money rules we can't resist
We're just wheels in a great

-- Deathrow - Machinery

D.A.M. - Human Wreckage
United Kingdom 1989

1. M.A.D. 2. Death Warmed Up 3. Killing Time 4. Left To Rot 5. Prophets Of Doom 6. Terror Squad 7. Total Destruction 8. Infernal Torment 9. Vendetta 10. Human Wreckage 11. Aliens 12. F.O.D.

Despite being a British band, Destruction And Mayhem sounded very similar to any stereotypical American thrash metal band on their debut release. Human Wreckage has a decent amount of energy and enough variety and creativity involved to make it a satisfactory album and keep the listener's interest up. The vocals could have been a little stronger, but this is not a major complaint anyway. Although there are some neat melodies circulating around and the album features some tight playing, the music on the whole remains a bit unrefined and doesn't stand out too well despite the apparent effort put into it. After all, Human Wreckage is a fairly interesting release, it just lacks something that would have been needed for the band to gain more recognition.

D.A.M. - Inside Out
United Kingdom 1991

1. Man Of Violence 2. House Of Cards 3. Appointment With Fear 4. Thought For The Day 5. Winter's Tear 6. The Innocent One 7. My Twisted Mind 8. Circles 9. No Escape 10. Beneath Closed Eyes 11. Inside Outro

D.A.M.'s second release is quite different from the more straightforward and accessible Human Wreckage. Inside Out features lengthy, serious songs that have a strong sense of continuity in them. In fact, this may be one of the most consistent albums out there. The material is more mature than on the debut album and the refined vocals blend seamlessly with the more advanced songwriting. But although the music is highly ambitious and complex, not all of it is strong enough to carry on through the massive length of this album, and some parts sound almost monotonic. However, this is definitely one of those releases that grow on you the more you listen to them. Even with some drawbacks, Inside Out is a strangely captivating album.

Germany 1994

1. Prophecy 2. Conspiracy 3. The Evil Inside 4. The Warning Of The Priest 5. Megiddo 6. The Sign 7. (It's Time Damien) The Revelation 8. A Silver Shine 9. The Invisible Breed

Damien Breed played an intriguing kind of technical speed/thrash metal with power metal influences, somewhat atypical from most other German albums that come to mind. Ave Satani is a highly ambitious concept album that tells the story of the Omen movies in a fairly effective manner. Although the topic occasionally results in some overly theatrical feel in the structure of the album, at its best the music manages to create a genuinely eerie atmosphere of its own - take the intro of Megiddo as a good example. Highlights include Conspiracy that runs in mid-tempo with a simple but hypnotic riff, and A Silver Shine, the fastest piece of the album. Although most songs appear quite cleverly composed, the general sound tends to lack some energy. This is largely due to the production that is rather weak and makes the album as a whole sound a bit unheavy. But even though Ave Satani may not quite reach its fullest potential, it certainly makes one of the more original and memorable releases from the era.

DARK ANGEL - We Have Arrived
USA 1985

1. We Have Arrived 2. Merciless Death 3. Falling From The Sky 4. Welcome To The Slaughter House 5. No Tomorrow 6. Hell's On Its Knees 7. Vendetta

There are actually many good points in Dark Angel's debut even though the album as a whole is not exactly a masterpiece. The band had all the right elements at the beginning, including a lot of strong riffs and a good deal of aggressive attitude. Don Doty's powerful vocals also suit the raw sound well. In retrospective, some of these tracks may not seem that hot anymore due to their undeveloped feel, and the straightforward pounding doesn't leave much room for innovation in the musical department, but the result still manages to have an inimitable appeal of its own. Despite some shortcomings, We Have Arrived remains a fairly memorable release from the early days of this band.

DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends
USA 1986

1. Darkness Descends 2. The Burning Of Sodom 3. Hunger Of The Undead 4. Merciless Death 5. Death Is Certain (Life Is Not) 6. Black Prophecies 7. Perish In Flames

Darkness Descends completely fulfilled the promise that was already apparent on We Have Arrived. Now the band had found the true formula of most intense thrash metal, and the result is a wonderful combination of ultra-fast riffs, very hard-hitting drumming, and striking vocals. Many tracks are faster than most of everything else recorded prior to this moment (Burning Of Sodom almost to the extent of being ridiculous), and it can be some real fun to listen through this album. Sometimes unnecessarily left in the shadow of more famous releases from bands like Slayer and Kreator in the very same year, Darkness Descends is one of the greatest thrash metal albums of all time and unarguably Dark Angel's best release.

Note: The original release on Combat Records has a superior stereo mix when compared to later remastered re-releases by Century Media, therefore potentially making it a preferred choice to some people.

DARK ANGEL - Leave Scars
USA 1989

1. The Death Of Innocence 2. Never To Rise Again 3. No One Answers 4. Cauterization 5. Immigrant Song 6. Older Than Time Itself 7. Worms 8. The Promise Of Agony 9. Leave Scars

Dark Angel's third album introduced Ron Rinehart as the band's new vocalist. The vocals are still satisfactory as Rinehart's style on this release was not significantly different from Don Doty's. On the other hand, the music is a bit less straightforward and not quite as immediately striking as on Darkness Descends, tracks like No One Answers and The Promise Of Agony being among the most memorable pieces. The absolutely biggest disadvantage of Leave Scars must be the utterly shoddy production that seriously hinders the impact of these songs - to obtain sound quality this bad even in the late 1980s, you really had to try. Not to forget about the cover version of Led Zeppelin's classic Immigrant Song that was most uncalled for. Leave Scars shows definite progression in Dark Angel's style, but due to some major technical faults, listening to this album can be far from a pleasant task.

DARK ANGEL - Time Does Not Heal
USA 1991

1. Time Does Not Heal 2. Pain's Invention, Madness 3. Act Of Contrition 4. The New Priesthood 5. Psychosexuality 6. An Ancient Inherited Shame 7. Trauma And Catharsis 8. Sensory Deprovation 9. A Subtle Induction

Touted as a showcase of riffs upon its release, Time Does Not Heal is a collection of massive songs with a huge load of riffs that could make any other album an overkill. These compositions are extremely complex and technical, and calling them unmelodic would be a severe understatement. Fortunately, this time the production is ultra-heavy and clear, the best Dark Angel ever had. Despite or due to extravagant riffs and sheer ambitiousness, many tracks are actually quite convincing. The most remarkable individual feature must be Ron Rinehart's vocals, as most of the time he really sings with an awesome powerful voice that truly makes Time Does Not Heal stand out. The lengthy songs are not totally without problems, as the material starts to drag at some point and in the end it can be just a bit tiresome to listen through it very often. The closing track A Subtle Induction deserves a special mention as it is probably the band's most vicious piece ever, with lyrics that can be a total riot if you get the movie reference. With an album like this as their final release, Dark Angel's break-up was a genuine loss.

DARK ORDER - 5000 Years Of Violence
Australia 1998

1. What Is Past Is Prelude 2. Odio Puro 3. Lord Of The Warzone 4. Beasts Within 5. Attrition Of Fear 6. Tyrannical 7. Warrior God King 8. The Dark Order 9. Rise And Kill

Dark Order's debut release is something of a little gem in the rough. 5000 Years Of Violence opens with some great riffage in the form of What Is Past Is Prelude which is quite optimally placed for a swift introduction to the band's music. In the scope of a full-length album this impact is slightly lessened by the fact that some songs tend to repeat the same patterns in a noticeable way, but there are still no real tired moments on this recording, possibly excluding only the complex and brooding The Dark Order that even flirts with some death metal antics. Overall, the band sound confident, the riffs are forceful, and the production values are very sufficient. While 5000 Years Of Violence may not be formally too exceptional, the powerful presentation and some good ideas elevate it a fair step above the average crowd.

Israel 2011

1. M.K.C. 2. Shot By Friendly Fire 3. Fully Charged With Hate 4. Locked In The Watchtower 5. Land Of Fear 6. Siatha De'Shmaya 7. Global Suicide (Intro) 8. Self Genocide 9. Defiance (live) 10. Enlightenment By Fire (live) 11. Fuck U (live)

Although not necessarily the most imaginative example of its kind, Dark Serpent's M.K.C. is not a bad piece of work. This album features generally rather nimble thrash metal with an energetic performance and some sharp riffing put into effect, the opening title track probably containing the most memorable moments. In a longer run some of these songs can become a tad repetitive, and as a whole this release tends to be on the forgettable side. But at least the output shows definite signs of ambition above the average level - for the band's first release, this is by all means sufficient enough.

DARKNESS - Death Squad
Germany 1987

1. Invasion Sector 12 2. Critical Threshold 3. Death Squad 4. Staatsfeind 5. Tarsmann Of Chor 6. Faded Pictures 7. Iron Force 8. Burial At Sea 9. Phantasmagoria

The debut album of Darkness is a pretty typical example of old German thrash metal. Darkness were not among the noisiest bands of the time, instead they played very fast yet intelligible thrash with some hints of originality and fairly memorable riffs here and there. Death Squad still leaves some room for improvement as the band's style clearly was not yet fully developed at this point. Now a few tracks sound rather generic and the album on the whole is not too exciting despite some respectable speed throughout. Tracks like Faded Pictures and especially Burial At Sea are already quite interesting pieces that stand out of the crop, while the rest sounds more ordinary. As a debut, Death Squad is far from outstanding but not too bad an example of the early sound of Darkness.

DARKNESS - Defenders Of Justice
Germany 1988

1. Bloodbath 2. Inverted Minds 3. Battle To The Last 4. Caligula 5. They Need A War 6. Locked 7. Defenders Of Justice 8. Predetermined Destiny

Defenders Of Justice is a fine representation of Darkness at their peak. The music is made up of quite basic elements but the outcome is surprisingly fascinating. This is primarily due to the fair amount of variety and hooks included in songs, without sacrificing heaviness or speed in the process. Somehow this refined formula makes Darkness sound a lot better and effective than many other better-known German bands. Just take Battle To The Last or Locked as examples of tracks that initially appear pretty ordinary but eventually turn out to be quite fine pieces indeed. On this album Darkness delivered some extremely solid thrash metal that contains enough fine details to give the whole thing a boost well above the average level.

Note: This album was reissued in 1991 as Broken Heart and 1992 as Bloodbath, both with different cover art and Broken Heart with a different track order.

DARKNESS - Conclusion & Revival
Germany 1989

1. Conclusion & Revival 2. Soldiers 3. The Omniscient 4. Under Control 5. Bass 6. Burial 7. Predetermined Destiny 8. Price Of Fame 9. All Left To Say 10. Beside My Grave 11. Faded Pictures 12. Armageddon

After some line-up changes and apparent problems with the recording industry, Darkness released their final album. Unfortunately, Conclusion & Revival sounds more ordinary and less inspired than the band's earlier works. The album seems even more disappointing when compared to its immediate predecessor Defenders Of Justice which had some genuine style and energy. The new (and unnecessary) version of Predetermined Destiny just shows how much better the band had it going earlier. The tracks on Conclusion & Revival are not exactly bad and you can still recognize familiar Darkness riffs here and there, but it's simply nothing to be impressed about. A few more melodic touches seem unfitting, and the bluesy club jam piece All Left To Say is totally out of place. For the most part, the music is just very ordinary and uninspiring. Despite all the effort, the last release from Darkness is one of the more pointless albums around.

D.B.C. - Dead Brain Cells
Canada 1987

1. Deadlock 2. Monument 3. Lies 4. Power And Corruption 5. Tempest 6. Public Suicide 7. Negative Reinforcement 8. Outburst 9. M.I.A. 10. Terrorist Mind 11. The Vice 12. Trauma X 13. Final Act

The debut of Dead Brain Cells was one of the better releases of Canadian thrash metal in the old days. With lots of edgy riffs and harsh vocals bordering on hardcore, these songs run rampant in a short and intense format. D.B.C. didn't exactly present any great innovations on this album, but their sound was still highly characteristic and easily identifiable. Only the general shortness of tracks poses a minor problem, as some of them seem to end a bit too abruptly. But even though the material occasionally appears to have been trimmed down, the band delivers their message in a fairly effective manner. When it comes down to the final verdict, this album is a memorable piece of street credible thrash metal done in the right way, far from the Voivod-ish sci-fi sound that D.B.C. would later venture into.

DEAD SERIOUS - It's A Nice Day
Belgium 1991

1. Donald & Daisy 2. It's A Nice Day 3. Being A God Is No Sin 4. Beerdrinkers 5. Daddy Goes To Disneyland 6. Red Renault Five 7. Tourist In My Neighbourhood 8. What The Duck Is Going On 9. Stagedive To Heaven 10. Beware Of Ducks 11. March Of The Pets 12. The Look

It is not only due to an apparent fetish for ducks that the name of Dead Serious does not accurately describe the band's music. Then again, a certain touch of tongue-in-cheek mentality does not hide the fact that It's A Nice Day is a laudably heavy and stomping product. Based on the sound politics only, the impression is a lot more gritty than the initial looks might suggest. The overwhelming heaviness sort of contributes to the feeling of having only little difference between individual tracks, though - mostly it's like being slowly but surely squashed flat by a road roller, with no time for paying attention to intricate pavement decorations. As such, It's A Nice Day is not necessarily an unreserved favorite, but a determined and forceful album this undoubtedly is.

DEADLY MOSH - Hellsound
Serbia 2012

1. Hellsound 2. 2000 Years Of Decay 3. Deadly Mosh 4. Priestkiller 5. Deadly Night 6. We'll Meet Again 7. Fuck Holy War 8. Stargate 9. Landlords 10. Judgement Day 11. Room Of Glass

Considering that Deadly Mosh must be one of the most banal names a band could adopt in these circles, Hellsound is actually not half-bad. Sure, at the first sight this album is bound to seem like a collection of cliches in its fullest. But the music is surprisingly well played and presented despite all its weary connotations, and the band's sound is often notably energetic, lively and even upbeat. Songs like the eponymous Deadly Mosh and the raging Priestkiller simply succeed in drawing a careful nod of approval, no matter how commonplace their elements may appear. Make no mistake, it is highly unlikely that Hellsound would end up a recurring favorite for most people - for that this release certainly lacks a greater purpose. And yet it manages to keep a safe distance from the worst of the crop, which is a fair achievement in itself.

DEAFEN - Deafen
Netherlands 1991

1. Conflicted 2. Graveyard Birthday 3. The Leading To A Fall 4. Prophecy Of Mort-main

Deafen's self-titled mini album is a pleasant small surprise. The band played well-flowing and competent thrash metal with smooth riffs and good arrangements, making this release clearly more refined than you might be entitled to expect. Of course, truly innovative or groundbreaking this is not, but it is not nearly as half-witted as some of the dullest releases of the time either. The achievement is made more notable by the fact that there are no filler tracks on this album, and actually every song here has something of a distinctive style of its own. It is hard to say how a full-length recording of this kind would have turned out, but at least this mini album features a nice pack of songs for its short length - you cannot really wish for more.

DEATH ANGEL - The Ultra-Violence
USA 1987

1. Thrashers 2. Evil Priest 3. Voracious Souls 4. Kill As One 5. The Ultra-Violence 6. Mistress Of Pain 7. Final Death 8. I.P.F.S.

Death Angel were easily among the most distinctive thrash metal bands in the 1980s, their notable debut release featuring some very interesting and energetic thrash. The Ultra-Violence is positively an intense and creative album, with some of the fastest and sharpest riffs around, and there are several excellent pieces like Voracious Souls, Kill As One and the absolutely massive instrumental title track. The band's vocalist Mark Osegueda was a great singer with an original style, although one could live without his occasional screams. It must be said that The Ultra-Violence sometimes has a bit juvenile and not fully developed feel to it, nevertheless, it is no doubt the best Death Angel release to date and a true classic.

DEATH ANGEL - Frolic Through The Park
USA 1988

1. 3rd Floor 2. Road Mutants 3. Why You Do This 4. Bored 5. Devil's Metal (bonus) 6. Confused 7. Guilty Of Innocence 8. Open Up 9. Shores Of Sin 10. Cold Gin 11. Mind Rape

The second release from Death Angel was fairly different from The Ultra-Violence and somewhat atypical for a thrash metal album. Frolic Through The Park is an experimental release that mixes influences of metal, funk and whatnot together into a unique experience. Mostly it is still on the safe side of thrash metal, unlike the band's later works, but some of the more adventurous tracks are just too weird or tedious, including the stale cover version of the Kiss song Gold Gin. Diversity is not a bad thing to have, but on this album it was taken a bit too far. On a positive note, Guilty Of Innocence may be one of Death Angel's most brilliant pieces, a furious track in the vein of the band's debut. In the end Frolic Through The Park probably must be classified as technical thrash metal due to its unorthodox nature. It can really take time to get used to this album and even then it is not an easy one to listen through.

DEATH ANGEL - The Dream Calls For Blood
USA 2013

1. Left For Dead 2. Son Of The Morning 3. Fallen 4. The Dream Calls For Blood 5. Succubus 6. Execution / Don't Save Me 7. Caster Of Shame 8. Detonate 9. Empty 10. Territorial Instinct / Bloodlust

If you thought Death Angel could never make another The Ultra-Violence, you would continue to be right. In all honesty, The Dream Calls For Blood is hardly a match for the unique wild spirit of the band's debut album. And yet this is probably the most focused as well as relevant release from them in more than twenty years. There is not a single ballad here, and utterly annoying funk or groove songs are nowhere to be found. These tracks are mostly fast and forceful, Mark Osegueda's distinctive voice remains easily recognizable, and overall this is quite a solid thrash metal album. While the compositions and riffs are nowhere near as memorable as the band's best moments in the 1980s, The Dream Calls For Blood is sometimes even surprisingly energetic and becomes an act of major rejuvenation for the band. At least there's finally a Death Angel album where the predominant feeling is not one of great embarrassment.

Germany 1988

1. Veins Of Fear 2. Brain Damage 3. Adapt Or Die 4. Negative Influences 5. Veins Of Fear II 6. Toxic Waste 7. Nuclear Death

Among the plethora of more or less forgettable minor thrash metal releases, Death In Action's debut album is something of a pleasant find. Toxic Waste is actually very close to Erosion's Mortal Agony with its intense and fine-tuned thrash attack. From the very first moments, your attention is caught by the sound quality which is perfectly crisp and sharp and couldn't better fit the music. Not only that, but there is a strong sense of consistent songwriting on this album, accompanied with powerful riffs and the most convincing performance. Tracks like Negative Influences and Nuclear Death are simply irresistible thrashers from the wildest end of the spectrum, and the rest is not vastly different from these two either. Death In Action may not have been a major player in the scene, but Toxic Waste alone is a fine achievement for the band and a proof that sometimes there are raw diamonds in the rough.

DEATH IN ACTION - Just For Our Sake
Germany 1990

1. Paralysed 2. Daily Cruel Death 3. Sale Scenery 4. Disgraced 5. Just For Our Sake 6. Creditors To Violence 7. Handle With Care 8. Deathly Blessing

Introducing a slightly altered style, Just For Our Sake sounds more controlled than Death In Action's debut release. Paralysed starts the album in a familiar frantic vein, but in general most songs seem to proceed at a slower pace and the music does not appear nearly as fast and unrestricted as on Toxic Waste at its best. The vocals have also changed towards a more harsh style though the band's sound as a whole still remains reasonably sharp, especially for guitars. One cannot fail to notice the increased maturity of Death In Action's music on this release, but it appears that the band lost some steam after their powerful debut. Nevertheless, some parts of Just For Our Sake are certainly quite stylish, and it must be the feel of unpolished quality that can be actually considered the saving grace for this album.

Germany 1991

1. Total Redemption 2. Perfect And Beautiful? 3. World Of Dreams 4. Another Life 5. The Last Gulag 6. I'm Here Not There 7. Inferiors 8. Only Yourself

Death In Action's third recording shows a mature band who still possessed a fair amount of energy. Stuck In Time admittedly remains less striking than the band's earlier releases, being mostly your ordinary thrash metal in both good and bad, somewhat rough around the edges but still with some interesting ideas here and there. Actually the music remains surprisingly well thought-out and flowing, however, the vocals are very gruff to say the least, and they tend to distract the listener's attention from some of the more positive sides this album would otherwise have. But although it is not the most tweaked production of the time, there is some undeniably honest and direct appeal in this music. While Stuck In Time may not be remembered as an exceptional thrash metal release, it was created by a band who had their feet firmly on the ground.

DEATH MECHANISM - Human Error .. Global Terror
Italy 2006

1. Intro 2. Anthropic Collapse 3. Necrotechnology 4. Blood Engine 5. Genuin-cide 6. Contaminated Soil 7. Unknown Pathology 8. A Good Reason To Kill 9. The Trail Path Of Peace 10. War Mechanism 11. Slaughter In The Jet-Set

If the mission was to find a perfectly typical example of the thrash metal formula in effect even after all these years, you would not need to take two steps forward before albums like Human Error .. Global Terror start popping up left and right. Death Mechanism's debut release contains so many familiar elements that the whole effort is practically self-explanatory. As expected, the band's approach is sufficiently fast and forcible, with groaning vocals that sound strained but add something of a distinctive touch. Also the production is pretty good and balanced for this kind of minor release, but that should be the case with almost every album these days unless the band deliberately opt for an artificial garage sound. Musically Human Error .. Global Terror is not bad at all, but unless you have been living on another planet for the last twenty years or so, it is virtually impossible to find anything truly significant here.

DEATH POWER - The Bogeyman
France 1990

1. Wendigo 2. Begin The Sacrifice 3. War 4. March Of The Dead 5. Satan's Litanies 6. The Bogeyman 7. Away With You 8. Vivisection 9. Stop The Time 10. Hardcore Copulation

An interesting example of the French thrash metal scene, Death Power's The Bogeyman is an album of decent if not too extraordinary thrash. Somehow the band occasionally manage to resemble Sacrifice in their early days, though lacking much of their originality. The biggest problem with the music must be that even though the band's output is technically up to any standards in the thrash metal genre, this album on the whole is pretty unsurprising and even boring. It's hard to find any special characteristics in the band's sound and most songs do not really differ too remarkably from each other. Death Power's delivery is still very consistent, and despite the lack of truly memorable elements their music is sort of likeable, not only due to some of its familiar feel. The Bogeyman surely could have used some more creativity but even now the result is not too bad.

DEATH SQUAD - Split You At The Seams
USA 1991

1. I'm Insane 2. Die Again 3. Instrumental Death Pt. III 4. Mad As Hell 5. Mind Fuck 6. Death Row 7. Split You At The Seams 8. Infections Of Reality 9. The Pit 10. Place In France 11. Suicidal Rage 12. Body Damage 13. Excusable Homicide

One could describe Death Squad's Split You At The Seams an "economical" thrash metal album, as by all means and purposes this is as terse as it gets. Almost all the songs are near hardcore-ish short and simplistic bursts, the production quality is uneven at best, and the crude, barking vocals just add to this plain feel. Each track runs in a nearly identical tempo, and attempts to make any actual distinction between individual pieces would require some real effort. It is not totally pointless, as there is some natural rough charm in this kind of extremely cleansed-out style anyway, but a serious lack of imagination is more than evident on this album. Death Squad were quite energetic and Split You At The Seams is by no means a slouch, but the band's dense pounding can surprisingly quickly get so weary that without any precautions you might be in for a slight headache.

DEATH SQUAD - Driving Blind
USA 1993

1. Driving Blind 2. Make It So 3. Prisoner 4. Bruised 5. Loser 6. The Way 7. Toxic Shame 8. Death House 9. Friday The 13th - Instrumental Death 10. Out Of Control 11. Stack Of Lies 12. Angry

Death Squad's second album Driving Blind runs almost directly in the vein of its predecessor although the outcome is maybe not quite as nervous and unrelenting as on Split You At The Seams. For one thing, the band still sound awfully homespun which on the other hand is not completely without some strange appeal. Most people may find this utterly stripped-down style slightly off-putting at best, but at least Death Squad were totally honest with their approach. Even though the album is musically only so-so, one cannot ignore the harsh attitude that this thing pushes forward at ease as if nobody's business. Get down to absolute basics and forget about any unnecessary twiddling, and Driving Blind is an example of something that you may get as a result.

DEATHAMIN - Mass Of What
Canada 1992

1. In Between 2. Flabbergasted 3. Rejection 4. Black Peace 5. Deathamin 6. Killing Work 7. Mad Rush 8. Appointment Of Reality 9. Brain Block 10. Mass Of What

From another group of thrashers from Canada, Deathamin's Mass Of What starts off sounding maybe a bit unremarkable at first, but some of these tracks soon start echoing in your head in a strange way. As far as the style of songwriting and riffs goes, the band had something of an original sound though it also occasionally makes these tracks appear quite similar to each other. The production is good and fairly heavy, and the quality of music is sufficient on many grounds. It's just that the thing is not quite there as far as a longer attention span is considered, and even with some redeeming qualities the band's effort tends to get buried in the mass of old thrash metal albums. There's something undeniably likeable in this one, though, and Mass Of What is at least a fair pick for easy listening if nothing else.

DEATHBLOW - Meanless Propaganda
Japan 1991

1. Pathetic 2. The Distorted Symbol 3. Beyond Salvage 4. Seventh Angel Blows A Bugle... 5. Arms 6. Lebanon 7. Sword Dance 8. Negotiator 9. Graven Image

Meanless Propaganda (sic) sounds like any ordinary thrash metal album with some slight technical leanings is probably obliged to sound. The riffs are adequate though also very forgettable, variations in speed are not rare, and every now and then there can be a short mellow break or intro as if out of necessity. Based on pure formal criteria only, Deathblow pass with flying colors although the vocals tend to sound somewhat untrained to average ears. The biggest problem now is that this album lacks a genuine punch - it is not particularly energetic or memorable or anything, and as a result the music just doesn't click. With literally hundreds of albums of the same kind floating around even today, this one does not really gain high points on any ground.

DEATHCORP - Rest In Pieces
USA 1989

1. Rest In Pieces 2. Reign Of Lucifer 3. The Summoning 4. Question Of Faith 5. Apprehension 6. Cold Blooded War (live) 7. Death Row (live)

There are releases that sound so refined that you can be sure the studio time was utilized to the maximum, and then there are releases that sound more like one-take recordings than highly engineered products. Deathcorp surely fit in the latter category, and not in a bad way. Rest In Pieces is a slab of wild and rough thrash metal that somehow greatly benefits from its unrefined feel - if you exclude a couple of true live tracks with simply atrocious sound quality. The songs are short and unpolished sprints with fairly nasty vocals and production values that leave room for tweaking, but that's where the charm of it all comes from. For one thing, Deathcorp appear quite energetic and entertaining with something of a gimmick of their own, not just an umpteenth generic studio project out there. Their music has even held water surprisingly well over the years, even though nostalgia may still be the foremost feeling that this album raises. If that sounds interesting enough then this one should be well worth the time.

DEATHFIST - Too Hot To Burn
Germany 2010

1. Apotheosis 2. Deathfist 3. Slay Her 4. Beast 5. Hell Is Here 6. Demons 7. Too Hot To Burn 8. Killing Time 9. Ruins 10. Prey 11. Booze Brigade 12. World Of Darkness

Deathfist's Too Hot To Burn raised slight curiosity in advance, mainly due to some band members' previous involvement in Mortal Remains and especially their release Next Level that had some redeeming value of its own. Corinna Becker's vocals are again more than sufficiently harsh and credible, and there are no real dead moments found here, but as a whole this thing could have used more imagination. In practice this drawback becomes most apparent when you cannot escape a numb feeling that you are being fed the same song again and again, just with very minor variations. It cannot be denied that the general feel of Too Hot To Burn is adequately energetic and violent, yet the outcome tends to appear more monotonous and flat than really inspiring. Somehow the promise of this album was greater than what was eventually delivered - a bit of a disappointment actually.

DEATHHAMMER - Forever Ripping Fast
Norway 2008

1. Toxic Radiation 2. Doomed To Eternal Hellfire 3. Invasion From Hell / Demonic Avenger 4. Evil Blood 5. Total Thrash Assault 6. Unholy Sacrifice 7. Return Of The Hammer (demo) 8. Tormentor (demo) 9. Demonz In Leather (demo) 10. Witchfukker (demo) 11. Possessed (demo) 12. Graveyard Necromancy (demo) 13. Evil (demo)

Nowadays it is becoming more and more difficult to listen to releases like Deathhammer's Forever Ripping Fast with a straight face. As promised, the core part of this album is invariably and relentlessly fast. That's one point for the band, no doubt about it. But the presentation is hopelessly cliched and one-dimensional, and tracks like Total Thrash Assault are about as dull as their titles suggest. It all sounds similar to what the first retro thrash bands during the latter half of the 1990s used to practice - remember Witchburner and the like. It didn't make a great impression in those days, even less now. There is some unpolished charm in the sound quality which is kind of fitting for the theme, but together with all the demo tracks that act as padding on this album, this whole thing is pretty much a curiosity item for die-hard collectors only.

DEATHHAMMER - Phantom Knights
Norway 2010

1. Gates Of Hades 2. Blood Token 3. Devilish Dirge 4. Armoured Assassins 5. Plague Mass 6. Ready To Destroy 7. Cold Winds Of Death 8. Tornado Blitzkrieg 9. Queen Death

Phantom Knights is, if possible, even a bit faster and more frantic than Deathhammer's previous album. The band's message has not exactly become any more novel or intelligent than on Forever Ripping Fast, but at least they seem genuinely dedicated to the matter. One must admit, it is this kind of firm determination that can make even the hardest resistance wear off over time. While there still isn't much worth a note except for the almost single-minded pursuit of speed, the output doesn't appear quite as pointless as in the past. Either that, or it's just your ears getting accustomed to hearing the same consistent pounding after a couple of releases. Phantom Knights is by no means at the absolute bottom of the crop, but it is definitely a good thing that there's a lot more to thrash metal than this.

DEATHHAMMER - Onward To The Pits
Norway 2012

1. Deathrashing Sacrifice 2. Voodoo Rites 3. Fullmoon Sorcery 4. Emperor Of Sin 5. To The Evil 6. Final Black Mass 7. Army Of Death 8. Seduced By The Flames 9. Lead Us Into Hell 10. Onward To The Pits

Apparently Deathhammer cannot be considered a short-lived novelty act after all. Onward To The Pits continues to demonstrate the same kind of undisputed attitude that was established on the band's first two releases. The speed remains high at all times, occasionally going beyond reasonable limits, and admittedly the result can sometimes sound quite ridiculous to untrained ears. But the logic behind it all is the same as with the overly satanic lyrics, as it is hard to imagine that any actual devil worshippers out there would bother with this kind of overblown frenzy - it's all for the show and nothing else. Certainly this album, too, can make an entertaining listen in small portions every now and then, it's just not something that you would be likely to pick out as a long-time favorite.

DEATHRAGE - Self Conditioned, Self Limited
Italy 1988

1. Hard Times Are Coming 2. Killing For Fame 3. United States Of Redskins 4. Self-Limited 5. Call Of Death 6. Black & White Progress 7. Masters Of Nothing 8. Deathrage

Deathrage fit nicely into the small but noteworthy group of thrash metal bands from Italy. Their debut release Self Conditioned, Self Limited is a typical but satisfying example of gruff thrash metal with a fair level of consistency but no real surprises or innovations provided. The band deserve an honorable mention for being able to demonstrate moments that sound like the rolling of a freight-train. There is really some good stomping quality in the music as a whole but then again, for the most part this album tends to be more suitable for setting a mood in the background rather than being the main focus of attention. While Self Conditioned, Self Limited clearly shows hints of a genuine style being established, at this early stage the promise is not quite fulfilled - a few more albums of the same and who knows what this band could have evolved into.

DEATHRAISER - Violent Aggression
Brazil 2011

1. Violent Aggression 2. Annihilation Of Masses 3. Terminal Disease 4. Enslaved By Cross 5. Command To Kill 6. Killing The World 7. Oppression Till Death 8. Lethal Disaster 9. Thrash Or Be Thrashed

If the concept of "hyperactive" thrash metal somehow sounds unfamiliar then Deathraiser's Violent Aggression makes some prime material for study. The base formula is extremely simple: speed, speed, and more speed. This also explains how the total length of this album does not reach even a half hour, despite the fair number of tracks present. Drumming can be described as a regular sequence of wild spasms, and vocals are spit out in the most rapid manner. For obvious reasons, it is difficult to say much about riffs although the guitar sound is quite fine. There are occasional breaks that last a few seconds at most, then the tempo goes up to eleven again. It must be admitted that at its best the effect is totally hilarious and even refreshing, although the longevity of its appeal may be questionable. You have to give respect to this band, however - their approach provides a good deal of fun and, most important of all, is far from dull.

USA 1991

1. The Curse (Intro) 2. Burn Victim 3. Feel The Pain 4. Plague Of Death 5. Manslaughter 6. The Gate 7. I Can't Win 8. Scum Pit 9. Dum 10. Eyes of Misery (Outro)

Deathrider's Requiem is a fair take on putting a foot on the right pedal at the start but then letting it go too soon. A couple of tracks into this album already sound quite powerful and interesting, then the initial impression gradually fades away. There are no previously unheard tricks here, it's mostly the same kind of ordinary semi-convincing banging that everyone must be very familiar with. The vocals sound sometimes strangely emotionless even though the songs are more varied than that, maybe a little more effort put into it would have helped the result. Except for the dumb Dum (now that's an appropriate title) that can really get on your nerves with its awfully repetitive structure, the music goes on with no major problems other than the lack of really memorable pieces. Requiem is not a terrible release but not exactly an example of outstanding musical values either.

DEATHROW - Riders Of Doom
Germany 1986

1. Winds Of Death 2. Satan's Gift 3. Riders Of Doom 4. Hell's Ascent 5. Spider Attack 6. Slaughtered 7. Violent Omen 8. Dark Tales 9. Samhain

As far as non-stop pounding goes, Deathrow's debut album is noteworthy for its relentless fast execution. For the most part, Riders Of Doom could be likened to Kreator's most eager moments from the same period, and the biggest difference must be that the vocals are less extreme and somewhat more flexible here. Despite its commendable qualities, the music does not quite have the best possible impact at this stage yet. Most songs can make sort of a rushed impression which may be largely attributed to the band's very energetic but also audibly reckless performance. Deathrow had some obvious potential already early on, but their first effort still left room for further development.

Note: This album was also released as Satan's Gift with different cover art.

DEATHROW - Raging Steel
Germany 1987

1. The Dawn 2. Raging Steel 3. Scattered By The Wind 4. Dragon's Blood 5. The Thing Within 6. Pledge To Die 7. Mortal Dread 8. The Undead Cry 9. Beyond The Light

In principle Raging Steel could be considered just a better played and produced version of Riders Of Doom, but all the improvements together make a world of difference. With this release Deathrow's sound became much tighter, more streamlined and stylish than previously, helping the band establish something of a style of their own. The album opens with a grandiose intro The Dawn, then jumps into full gear. The first couple of vocal tracks are pure no-nonsense brains-to-the-wall thrash attacks, but on Dragon's Blood some more versatile themes start to show. Deathrow's later more technical elements are still mostly absent, and the main focus is on laudably intense full-speed thrash metal. Not all riffs are vastly distinctive, but the notable general intensity is worth respect. In all its controlled fury, Raging Steel must be one of the most consistent thrash metal albums out there.

DEATHROW - Deception Ignored
Germany 1988

1. Events In Concealment 2. The Deathwish 3. Triocton 4. N.L.Y.H. 5. Watching The World 6. Narcotic 7. Machinery 8. Bureaucrazy

Whereas Raging Steel was a culmination of Deathrow's early intense thrash metal attack, Deception Ignored was a definite step into a more technical direction. The deep and complex nature of this album becomes quickly evident on lengthy songs full of rather complicated and dry riffs. This highly progressive approach is particularly challenging in the sense that you can repeatedly listen to these tracks several times in a row and still remember very little of them afterwards. In many ways the result can be just a tad too unmemorable and exhausting for its own good. Deathrow deserve full respect for introducing original elements in their music, but somehow it seems that the overly ambitious style of Deception Ignored could have been tamed a fair bit before its release.

DEATHROW - Life Beyond
Germany 1992

1. Life Beyond 2. Behind Closed Eyes 3. Towers In Darkness 4. Hidden Truth 5. Harlequins Mask 6. Homosaphiens Superior 7. Suicide Arena 8. Reflected Mind 9. The Remembrance 10. Deathrow

Deathrow's last album was a mature and controlled release without the excessive technical characteristics of Deception Ignored. With its fairly consistent sound and feel, Life Beyond is reminiscent of Raging Steel, although the music is generally more advanced and less emphasis is put on absolute speed. As a result from good songwriting, this recording has some genuine style. The opening title track must be actually one of the most hard-hitting and memorable pieces ever, and songs like Reflected Mind are very nice, strong and massive performances as well. Although there are a couple of moments that could have used some more energy, the album on the whole turned out quite satisfying after all. Life Beyond contains a lot of well thought out and even stylish thrash metal, which makes it one of Deathrow's better releases.

DEATHSTORM - As Death Awakes
Austria 2013

1. Awakening Of The Dead 2. Red Blood Spillage 3. Prepare For The Slaughter 4. Await The Edged Blades 5. Nihilistic Delusion 6. Visions Of Death 7. Nebelhexe 8. Rest

For those who eagerly keep looking for a faithful re-rendition of the spirit of Kreator's early years, Deathstorm's first full-length must be a welcome treat. To be fair, As Death Awakes is far from a mere carbon copy of the old, but the band's influences couldn't be more apparent. High speed fanatics will need an extra pack of clean towels to wipe off the sweat already after a few songs, and it doesn't end there. Vocals consist of some quite harsh barks and the approach can take a bit time to get used to, but it just serves the common goal as fully as anything on this album. Although the appeal of this frenzy may start to fade after the mid-point as the second half just doesn't appear quite as fresh or relentless, the sum of it all exceeds the combined energy of a whole lot of more ordinary releases. No matter what you think about the result, As Death Awakes cannot be called dull by any means.

DEATHWISH - At The Edge Of Damnation
United Kingdom 1987

1. In The Name Of God 2. Demonic Attack 3. At The Edge Of Damnation 4. Exorcist 5. Leaving Your Life Behind 6. Dance Of The Dead 7. For Evil Done 8. Sword Of Justice 9. Forces Of Darkness

It's probably safe to say that Deathwish sounded more old-fashioned than any other British speed/thrash metal band of the time though only in a good, nostalgic way. At The Edge Of Damnation is not all speed all the time (though when it does it rivals almost anything), and there are a lot of stirring details incorporated with the heaviest riffs. When after a couple of screaming thrashers the killer riff of the title track starts to roll, you couldn't be more convinced already. Jon Van Doorn was simply quite a profilic singer, and together with the stylish but aggressive guitars the original sound wall of Deathwish must have been one of the most distinctive in the genre. In all its antiquated nature, At The Edge Of Damnation appeals to your senses with its warm and heavy sound like no other. Listening to this one feels like hearing the sound of a heavy thunder approaching you.

DEATHWISH - Demon Preacher
United Kingdom 1989

1. Death Procession 2. Demon Preacher 3. Carrion 4. Visions Of Insanity 5. Symptom Of The Universe 6. Wall Of Lies 7. Prey To The Lord 8. Fatal Attraction 9. Past Life

With their second release Deathwish continued pretty much in the vein of the band's debut, although this time the results were not quite as striking as before. Demon Preacher is more straightforward and generally faster than At The Edge Of Damnation, but some of the original charm of the band's sound seems to have disappeared, which makes this album less interesting than its predecessor. The increased speed is not a bad thing, but the riffs are notably less catchy than earlier and the outcome is more average thrash metal on all counts. The title track is actually quite a fine piece but for the most part Demon Preacher is really not too exciting. It's just a fairly satisfying example of standard old thrash metal, nothing more.

DECADENCE - Gangs And Victims
Belgium 1989

1. Deadly Dreams 2. False Re-education 3. Back To Decadence 4. 1000° Below Zero 5. Mayhemic Destiny 6. Reprisals 7. Gangs And Victims 8. The Edge Of Sorrow

Another short-lived thrash metal band of the 1980s, Decadence were mainly interesting for coming from Belgium which was not exactly the center of the European scene. The band's only release Gangs And Victims is quite an average effort on all counts, with your standard and not too memorable riffs. Their sound is given some undeserved originality by the vocals that are very whiny and can get really tiresome after a while. Even with such a typical output, there's some sympathetic underground appeal in this album, and the guitar work is a bit more varied than usually. After all, Gangs And Victims wouldn't have been too bad for the first effort of almost any band of the time - it is decently produced and all, just very far from being a landmark in the genre.

DEFCON - Suicide
Germany 1990

1. Defense Condition 5 2. News Terror 3. Voice Of Greed 4. Charon 5. Suicide 6. Defense Condition 4

Quite likely one of the more obscure groups in German thrash metal, Defcon may not have been too well known, but with this release the band managed to leave a fair mark in the scene. In comparison to most other productions out there, Suicide is a remarkably ambitious and intriguing recording that is really a full-length release despite a limited number of tracks. More technically oriented than the norm, this album is not guaranteed to be an immediate hit on senses, but it will grow on you. Surprisingly the most powerful and memorable piece here is without a doubt the massive title track - with a running length approaching twenty minutes, this is an achievement worth some serious attention. Even though Defcon probably never meant much for most people in the past, their music deserves to be heard at any time.

DEFENDER - A Symbol Of Devotion
Germany 1989

1. Intro 2. Senseless Discriminations 3. Bright Glare 4. Ghostrider 5. Relentless Dominion 6. N.Y.C.

Defender's A Symbol Of Devotion is a representative of the little known but no less worthy part of the German speed/thrash metal scene, done with a great attitude and enough character to give it a definite edge over the less inspired releases. After a short (and highly disrespectful) treatment of Europe's The Final Countdown, this mini album kicks off in an exceptionally energetic manner with Senseless Discriminations. Defender's speedy attack is very tight and focused, sounding something like what bands like Vectom could have been with the same kind of imagination and energy. Not that most tracks here would be radically more than just minor variations of the theme, but you can easily sense the enthusiastic and highly positive spirit involved in the making of this recording. This and the other factors essentially make A Symbol Of Devotion stand out of the mass and give it some fresh appeal even when judged from today's perspective.

DEFIANCE - Product Of Society
USA 1989

1. The Fault 2. Death Machine 3. Product Of Society 4. Forgotten 5. Lock Jaw 6. Insomnia 7. Deadly Intentions 8. Aftermath 9. Tribulation 10. Hypothermia

The debut album of Defiance could be almost taken as a textbook example of a thrash metal album from the late 1980s. In other words, Product Of Society is pretty generic, standard thrash metal, but at least it is sufficiently well done. The guitar work is above average and there are even two instrumental pieces included. Ken Elkinton's vocals are quite emotionless though still preferable to Steev Esquivel who later joined the band. Although the general sound of this album is rather plain, there are no critical faults in the music other than the lack of really memorable pieces. Even now Product Of Society has a certain touch of street credibility, and with a little more conviction and originality it could have been actually more interesting. Now it falls just a bit short.

DEFIANCE - Void Terra Firma
USA 1990

1. Void Terra Firma 2. Deception Of Faith 3. Questions 4. Skitz-Illusions 5. Slayground 6. Killers 7. Steamroller 8. Checkmate 9. Buried Or Burned 10. Last Resort (Welcome To Poverty)

Void Terra Firma brought little improvement to the plain Defiance sound. Steev Esquivel had been chosen to become the new vocalist, but although he has a powerful voice, his bellow on this album is unbalanced and does not blend too smoothly with the music. Production-wise there are other annoyances, too, as the guitar sound on this album is one of the thinnest ever and can really irritate you (at least it makes the unnecessary cover version of Iron Maiden's Killers sound almost ridiculous). Musically the band were about as unsurprising as ever, though Product Of Society still appears a lot more coherent in comparison. Void Terra Firma sounds disjointed and less stylish than the band's debut, and with the obvious shortcomings in the production department the final result is not too great, to say the least.

DEFIANCE - Beyond Recognition
USA 1992

1. The Killing Floor 2. Step Back 3. Perfect Nothing 4. No Compromise 5. Dead Silence 6. Inside Looking Out 7. The Chosen 8. Power Trip 9. Promised Afterlife

With better, near-perfect production, and more original as well as memorable content than ever before, Beyond Recognition is easily the best of all Defiance albums. Notably mature and well-refined, these songs started to show signs of development past the unimaginative approach that prevailed on the band's earlier releases. While The Killing Floor starts the album with pure thrashing speed, there are also serious touches of diversity found on the later tracks. In fact, it may at first take some time to get used to the different sound, however, musically Defiance were at their prime here. All the annoyances that made Void Terra Firma sound more like a demo tape have been corrected. Beyond Recognition proves that instead of just giving up or turning into alternative or death metal, there was still life in some of the remaining bands in the vanishing thrash metal genre.

DEFIER - Overture Of Annihilation
Finland 1990

1. Blinded By The Preach 2. Capital Punishment 3. System Of Oppression 4. In A Tunnel Of Pain

Defier's Overture Of Annihilation must be one of the most obscure pieces of underground thrash metal history ever. For a virtually nameless band, their output sounds a lot more mature than one might expect. The music is essentially like a synthesis of some bigger and more famous Finnish bands of the time. It is reasonably fast and agile, not totally forgetting some technical aspirations, and as a formally compenent performance this album passes with flying colors. There is not too much variation, though, and the songs tend to blend together without any remarkable highlights. For such a short recording Overture Of Annihilation is still something worth another look, even for its curiosity value only.

DEGRADATION - Juggernaut
USA 2011

1. A Necessary Evil 2. Juggernaut 3. The Reckoning 4. Rise To Fall 5. Trail Of Sin 6. Executioner... Slayer Of The Light 7. Degradation 8. Thrill Of The Kill

To some extent, Degradation's debut full-length is of moderate interest. Most tracks are laudably fast thrashers, so formally there should be very little to complain about. What Juggernaut lacks is a definite edge - it's like a nice and tidy representation of your typical middle-of-the-road thrash metal in its most conventional form. The only cover song (The Crown's Executioner... Slayer Of The Light) actually makes the most memorable piece while the rest of the album is a lot more forgettable. It is a fortunate aspect that the songs are generally rather short, therefore the recording on the whole doesn't become too dull at any point. Juggernaut is by all means an uncomplicated one-time listening experience, but probably little else.

DEKAPITATOR - We Will Destroy... You Will Obey!!!
USA 1999

1. One Shot, One Kill 2. Release The Dogs 3. We Will Destroy... You Will Obey 4. Hell's Metal 5. Make Them Die 6. Possessed With Damnation 7. Thundering Legions 8. Faceripper 9. Attack With Mayhem 10. T.F.S. (Total Fucking Slaughter) 11. Haunted By Evil

At the time of their debut release Dekapitator did not have much competition left around, but the result is worth recognition anyway. We Will Destroy... You Will Obey!!! features solid and familiar-sounding thrash metal with some fairly distinctive vocals and a good attitude. One Shot, One Kill is a ripping opener, possibly one of the more memorable pieces on the whole, and the rest is not bad either. Despite not exactly presenting any actual musical innovations, the band have something of a characteristic as well as likeable sound of their own. In fact, this album has aged quite well over the years, sounding pretty effective even today. While Dekapitator's debut might not be any great milestone in the genre, it is a good achievement nonetheless.

DEKAPITATOR - The Storm Before The Calm
USA 2007

1. The Storm Before The Calm 2. Toxic Sanctuary 3. Deathstrike Command 4. Run With The Pack 5. The Call To Combat 6. Eye Of The Storm 7. Earthscorcher 8. Screams From The Holocaust 9. The Scourging

Although there was a notably long wait before this release, The Storm Before The Calm has all the usual traits of a Dekapitator album. The songs are again a consistent sounding bunch, but the product as a whole lacks some of the novelty value of the band's debut. Somehow Dekapitator's first release does still appear more fresh in comparison, here the sound is slightly more normalized and predictable than earlier. Eye Of The Storm is a remarkable exception from the rule, though, a surprisingly calm and pleasant instrumental between heavy thrashers. The band still sound very convincing and confident, and although memorable individual songs may be hard to find, this album should be considered a near mandatory companion to Dekapitator's debut.

DELIRIOUS - Thoughtlessness
Germany 1997

1. Imitation 2. Open The Outlet 3. Thoughtlessness 4. Captured In Depth 5. The Unimaginable Extence Of Violence 6. Remains In The Dust

Although Delirious cannot be credited for bringing anything too significant to the field, at least their debut release has some merits. Thoughtlessness rather effortlessly recalls the Testament and Forbidden era of thrash metal from the late 1980s, reproducing the sound of the mentioned bands quite faithfully. Unfortunately the riffs are rarely worth a special note, and mostly the songs sound quite average and forgettable. The music has a certain kind of powerful feel, not only due to the vocalist's bold delivery, but the effect as a whole is quite superficial and lacks character. While there is some obvious attempt behind it all, the outcome is only successful in raising memories of older, much better works by other bands. Ultimately, Thoughtlessness is little more than a middle-of-the-road effort.

DELIRIUM TREMENS - Violent Mosh Ground
Germany 1999

1. Seed Of Violence 2. Fuck Posers 3. Violent Mosh Ground 4. Execution Command 5. Beer Patrol 6. Bloody Hamoriders 7. Angel Fuck 8. Night Of Terror 9. Hellfighters 10. B.O.D. 11. Get Out Of My Way 12. Infernal Sex Slave

Sometimes a modest appearance may be deceiving, and that's the case with Delirium Tremens. Violent Mosh Ground is not quite as simple and primitive as one might conclude by looks only. Admittedly the band are from the more vigorous end of the genre, playing intense thrash metal that turns out strangely entertaining in the end. While tracks like Fuck Posers obviously don't carry any meaningful message, the vivid execution pays off at least to some extent. The production is somewhat muddy but does not seriously hinder the effect. It is only the uneven distribution of stronger tracks that eventually leaves room for development, the first few tracks essentially making the best part of this album while the rest tends to wear off more easily. In any case, Violent Mosh Ground is a small positive surprise against all expectations.

DELIRIUM TREMENS - Thrashing Warthogs
Germany 2004

1. Fucking Amazing (Intro) 2. Worship Satan 3. Death From Behind 4. Rot In Hell 5. Follow Us If You Want To Die 6. Twisted Mind 7. Balls Of Fire 8. Army Of Death 9. War Machine 10. Paradise City

Even though Violent Mosh Ground was not a bad album at all despite its lacking production values, Thrashing Warthogs is both technically and musically a vast improvement. Excluding the quirky Guns N' Roses cover song Paradise City, of all things, this is highly energetic thrash metal with a clear and sharp sound quality. The songs are generally fast and more consistent than on the debut release, tracks like Worship Satan and Twisted Mind making some prominent examples. The band's unruly ways are still clearly audible - although sophisticated lyrical content never was the main point of this kind of music, Worship Satan takes the cake for some of the most explicit tongue-in-cheek lyrics in these circles. With only few reasons for nitpicking, Thrashing Warthogs is almost first-rate as far as the fun factor is considered.

DELIVERANCE - Deliverance
USA 1989

1. Victory 2. No Time 3. Deliverance 4. If You Will 5. The Call 6. No Love 7. Blood Of The Covenant 8. Jehovah Jireh 9. Temporary Insanity 10. Awake

Except for a strong religious theme, Deliverance's self-titled debut is quite an ordinary example of vintage speed/thrash metal. On the surface, this album is a formally adequate and professional release, but after a closer look most of the riffs tend to slip through your ears with little impact, maybe only Temporary Insanity making a major exception. The flow of the songs is somewhat inconsistent at best - the fastest tracks are quite fine and all, but there are also a few too many dull stompers on this album that take away from the overall experience. On a positive note, the vocals are very clear and make the lyrics more or less fully comprehensible, which can be only good or bad depending on your point of view. Although this album may not be guaranteed to raise a highly favorable response by default, it is at least a fair first attempt with some room for improvement.

DELIVERANCE - Weapons Of Our Warfare
USA 1990

1. Supplication 2. This Present Darkness 3. Weapons Of Our Warfare 4. Solitude 5. Flesh And Blood 6. Bought By Blood 7. 23 8. Slay The Wicked 9. Greetings Of Death 10. If We Faint Not

Weapons Of Our Warfare is a bit more notable effort than Deliverance's previous offering, not as dry and dull, and it is probably the band's thrashiest and most coherent effort in a conventional sense. In practice, a lot of this improved feel must be essentially more due to the increased and more consistent speed than any truly memorable songs that also this release effectively lacks. The foremost thing that you might actually remember afterwards is the general classy feel of the music which can still get quite boring after a while. With not too many interesting details to speak of, it doesn't exactly prompt you to return to this album too often. While at least some of the appeal of Deliverance's music is understandable, for the most part Weapons Of Our Warfare just comes across as pretty generic and forgettable.

USA 1991

1. Intro 2. Prophet Of Idiocy 3. Pseudo Intellectual 4. Cheeseburger Maker Du 5. What A Joke 6. Chipped Beef 7. After Forever 8. It's The Beat 9. A Product Of Society 10. Happy Star 11. J.P.D. 12. Pray 13. Silent Night 14. J.I.G. 15. Purgatory Sandwich With Mustard 16. Attack

The third album of Deliverance is quite of a mixed bag. What A Joke features some of the band's heaviest tracks up to this point, with a bit more edge than previously, and the most intense thrashers like Prophet Of Idiocy are actually quite good. On the other hand this release has more than a fair share of more or less intentional joke tracks that somewhat hinder the balance - who could have believed it is possible to make a song about a beef recipe, for example. Also, some of the more serious lyrics are particularly preachy, but at least this makes a difference from the most airhead bands out there that carry no intelligible message whatsoever. If it wasn't for the amount of blatant throwaway material, What A Joke could have had potential to top the previous Deliverance albums, now it is only equal to them at best.

DEMENTIA - Dementia
Finland 1995

1. Squashed 2. Father Dearest 3. Never 4. Born In Cold 5. Peacemaker 6. I Ask Why 7. I Deny 8. United By The Fear Of The Loss Of Time 9. Roadkill

Another long-lost collector's staple, Finnish Dementia's self-titled album is almost guaranteed not to let you down as far as pure technical values are considered. The style is firmly middle-of-the-road thrash metal, kind of easy listening music in these circles. While the album in general does not feature any great diversions from the norm, the vocals are more distinctive with their raspy tone. As far as songwriting goes, there is little that hasn't been heard before, and this eventually turns out to be the biggest drawback of this release. While the sound quality is pretty crisp and good and it seems the band put a fair amount of effort into their performance, the content simply does not match the presentation. Even a basically well-done piece like this can wear out very quickly if the lack of novel ideas is too evident.

DEMENTIA - Recuperate From Reality
USA 1991

1. State Of Dementia 2. Sight Unseen 3. Terminal Ecstasy 4. Funeral March 5. Face To Fate 6. Insane 7. Born To Die 8. Feel The Fire 9. Say Your Prayers

Dementia's full-length release may not be your most typical thrash metal album out there. Recuperate From Reality is a heavy, demanding effort which trades some of the high-speed antics for a more pounding approach. From the very first moments, this album delivers riffs that, while not the most complex or original around, create almost a hypnotic feel and simply make many other albums sound rather bland in comparison. In general, this album lacks some speed but the other advantages make up for it. The vocals are somewhat high-pitched in the Laaz Rockit vein but fit the heavy overall sound well and actually make it more rich than it might be with lower growls. As the album on the whole is very consistent, it's not too easy to pick individual tracks over each other, but State Of Dementia deserves an honorable mention for its strangely foreboding feel and killer riffs. Although a couple of songs here are almost too plodding, Recuperate From Reality sounds surprisingly unique and convincing for such a minor release.

DEMOLITION HAMMER - Tortured Existence
USA 1991

1. .44 Caliber Brain Surgery 2. Neanderthal 3. Gelid Remains 4. Crippling Velocity 5. Infectious Hospital Waste 6. Hydrophobia 7. Paracidal Epitaph 8. Mercenary Aggression 9. Cataclysm

Together with Epidemic and Exhorder, Demolition Hammer belongs to the group of thrash metal bands from the early 1990s who ventured into a certain death-ish direction in their music. As with many such releases, the band's debut can take some time to grow on you. Tortured Existence sports a thick and heavy production which effectively drowns most individual instruments in the uniform sound barrier. Steve Reynold's vocals on the other hand are pretty straightforward shouts that sound almost refreshing in this context, though eventually his delivery appears to be rather one-dimensional. But even though this album musically leaves something to be desired, the continuous, relentless attack is bound to win you over when given enough listening time. In the end, Tortured Existence manages to gain some fair momentum by its sheer energy and hard attitude alone, which is not a bad achievement at all.

DEMOLITION HAMMER - Epidemic Of Violence
USA 1992

1. Skull Fracturing Nightmare 2. Human Dissection 3. Pyroclastic Annihilation 4. Envenomed 5. Carnivorous Obsession 6. Orgy Of Destruction 7. Epidemic Of Violence 8. Omnivore 9. Aborticide

I remember when I had just got this album and took the first look at the track list, I couldn't help bursting into laughter almost immediately. But despite some (probably unintentional) comical imagery, Epidemic Of Violence was for Demolition Hammer a major step forward after their not extremely impressive debut. The heavier and more dynamic production already breathes some new life into the music, but the main improvement is in the songs with clearly more energy and stonger riffs than before. The delivery is so intense at times that some parts of this album sound like a direct equivalent for machine gun fire. Though the appeal of this approach does not last through the whole album, Epidemic Of Violence is a shattering piece of ultra-heavy thrash metal, in many ways comparable to Exhorder's Slaughter In The Vatican. It doesn't get much heavier than this, really.

DENIAL - Antichrist President
USA 1991

1. Reality Of The Masses 2. Insane Asylum 3. Third World Nation 4. Antichrist President 5. King Of Darkness 6. Sentenced 7. Mass Graves 8. Serpent's Bite

A latecomer in the vanishing genre, Denial managed to create an album that deserves some attention for its enthusiastic feel. Antichrist President has a bit more raw and fresh sound than your standard thrash metal album. The band show some notable commitment in their playing and the overall feel is quite energetic. Unfortunately this album as a whole does not fully reach the goal, as despite some good parts most of the tracks lack a clear direction and do not contain enough memorable riffs to make a lasting impact. Of course, this is the case with a large number of other old thrash metal albums as well. This should not be taken as a harsh commentary, it's just that Antichrist President fails to maintain any serious interest in the long run.

DESCENDER - Descending Into Chaos
Croatia 2012

1. Descending Into Chaos 2. Servant Of Destruction 3. Lethal Treatment 4. Thrash, Burn, Kill 5. Desecrator 6. Betrayer 7. Mosh Pit Aggression 8. Black Cat 9. Mental Disorder

If raw speed was the only thing that matters then Descender would be among the top players in the game for sure. Descending Into Chaos is a laudably high-paced effort most of the time, and the riffs are razor-sharp though sometimes also awfully similar to each other. The most negative point of the band's sound must be the vocalist's blunt and often downright hardcore-ish barking that can quickly get pretty annoying. As for the actual songs, they follow the usual standards-compliant route that guarantees a fair though by no means outstanding output. In the end Descending Into Chaos could be just seen as something of a clever technical exercise on the topic, a well-made but definitely not the most original incarnation of its kind.

DESPAIR - History Of Hate
Germany 1988

1. The Enigma 2. Freedom Now 3. History Of Hate 4. Constructing The Apocalypse 5. Slow Death 6. Outconditioned 7. Slaves Of Power 8. Joy Division 9. Never Trust (bonus)

Despair were clearly a representative of the more refined part of the German speed/thrash metal scene. The band's debut History Of Hate is reasonably well-produced and more varied than your average album, but it also contains a bit too much twiddling for its own good. In a way Despair fall in the same category as Poltergeist later, with fairly heavy vocals and seemingly fluent fast tracks but no real energy in them. The guitar work tries to give this album some stylistic touches here and there, but it would have been better to spend some of that time on trying to put more attitude into the whole thing. Now the music sounds mostly boring, sometimes downright sluggish, and it rarely manages to catch any serious attention. Technically History Of Hate is fine and all, but musically it ends up being a generic effort on most grounds.

DESPAIR - Decay Of Humanity
Germany 1991

1. Decay Of Humanity 2. Cry For Liberty 3. Delusion 4. Victims Of Vanity 5. A Distant Territory 6. Silent Screaming 7. Radiated 8. Satanic Verses

Decay Of Humanity was not exactly a vast improvement over Despair's debut but at least it showed some hints of progress even slightly. The better production makes this album sound heavier than its predecessor and the songwriting is somewhat more streamlined, thus resulting in a bit more listenable output. It's still not too memorable by any means, and the slight improvements in the overall sound do not actually make the music on this one any better than previously. Although the tracks flow rather effortlessly throughout the album, they lack some real power. Now Decay Of Humanity is just a barely satisfying effort, bound to remain forgettable no matter how much you listen to it. Despair already had all the technical factors quite right, only some stronger content was needed to perfect the picture.

DESPAIR - Beyond All Reason
Germany 1992

1. Beyond Comprehension 2. Deaf And Blind 3. Imported Love 4. The Day Of Desperation 5. In The Deep 6. Rage In The Eyes 7. Burnt Out Souls 8. Son Of The Wild 9. Crossed In Sorrow

With their final release Despair reached a level of maturity that makes the band's previous albums pale in comparison. Right from the opening instrumental Beyond Comprehension and the following Deaf And Blind that kicks the album into full speed, Beyond All Reason has a very dark and heavy sound which alone helps it rise above Despair's earlier efforts. Not only that, but the songs appear more consistent than ever and fit the dark mood of this album extremely well. It is a matter of opinion whether the songwriting was really that much improved over Decay Of Humanity or not, but at least the result as a whole is clearly more convincing than before. Admittedly the development towards a less varied, more focused style occasionally makes the music border on almost monotonous, however, this is still some highly thrashing energy in its most refined form. As Despair's most focused and stylish recording, Beyond All Reason effectively succeeds where its predecessors failed.

DESTROYER - Prepared For Discharge
Colombia 2010

1. Combat 2. Satan Faith 3. Dark Command 4. Destroyer 5. Pornographic Death 6. Funeral 7. Holy Chaos 8. War 9. Pedophilia 10. Chains Of Metal

While the contemporary scene still occasionally produces albums worth a note, Destroyer's Prepared For Discharge is certainly not one of those. For a piece of ordinary thrash metal with rough vocals, this release is easily one of the most generic attempts out there, not to mention massively boring in its entirety. It is surely fast enough and all, but somehow the first and foremost feeling is complete apathy. After listening through this recording even once, actions like repeatedly mowing your lawn and taking out the trash may suddenly appear the most exciting things to do in the world. Except for those true completionists among us who compulsively obtain anything labeled as thrash metal, it is honestly very hard to see why anyone would go to great lengths to grab this one.

DESTROYERS - The Miseries Of Virtue
Poland 1991

1. The Miseries Of Virtue 2. Histoire d'O 3. Peachlet 4. Odyssey 5. Nymphomania 6. The Birth Of Courtesan 7. The Craft Of Tyranny 8. I Praise You, Lilith

Destroyers were something of a surprise entry in the Polish thrash metal history. The Miseries Of Virtue would at first almost pass for a fairly typical semi-interesting thrash album, if it weren't for the melodramatic vocals that occasionally sound something like a bit less anxious King Diamond in thrash metal. Certainly this gives many songs a feel of more effort spent on them. Add some tasty arrangements and welcome deviations from your average songwriting style, and the outcome has a certain level of refreshing quality not found on many other albums. Sometimes the songs sound almost unruly with their style, not forgetting the lyrics with several traces of sexual innuendo. While the result may be something of an acquired taste, The Miseries Of Virtue actually succeeds in the difficult task of making you interested in more of the same.

DESTRUCTION - Sentence Of Death
Germany 1984

1. Intro 2. Total Desaster 3. Black Mass 4. Mad Butcher 5. Satan's Vengeance 6. Devil's Soldiers

As one of the most famous German thrash metal bands ever, Destruction had a fine start with Sentence Of Death. Among the most noteworthy features of this mini album must be the great amount of unrestricted energy that all these tracks demonstrate. Even some rough edges seem only fitting in this context, and the outcome manages to capture the unruly feel of Destruction a lot better than certain later recordings did. All riffs flow nicely, and tracks like Total Desaster and Mad Butcher are undeniable classics. Although it definitely has more than a fair share of nostalgic value, Sentence Of Death is an enjoyable release also on an objective basis.

DESTRUCTION - Infernal Overkill
Germany 1985

1. Invincible Force 2. Death Trap 3. The Ritual 4. Tormentor 5. Bestial Invasion 6. Thrash Attack 7. Antichrist 8. Black Death

Destruction's first full-length release Infernal Overkill was a satisfactory follow-up to Sentence Of Death. These songs are very consistent though also a bit repetitive, and the band's trademark style is in full effect although the nasty vocals somehow appear slightly restrained here. The sound quality is not as bright and clear as on the preceding mini album but serves its purpose. In a way, this kind of murky sound together with the band's rough output gives this recording an obvious punkish feel. It would be difficult to pick any particular track over the others - the album as a whole actually appears a tad better than its individual pieces. As a result, Infernal Overkill is an unrefined but still fairly effective Destruction release.

DESTRUCTION - Eternal Devastation
Germany 1986

1. Curse The Gods 2. Confound Games 3. Life Without Sense 4. United By Hatred 5. Eternal Ban 6. Upcoming Devastation 7. Confused Mind

Eternal Devastation is not radically different from Infernal Overkill, but some improvements give it a certain edge over the previous release. For a change, the production is clean and sharp which helps these songs a fair bit. While the musical approach has remained mostly unchanged between albums, some more furious moments and better audible details together with an improved vocal delivery make this release distinguishable from the band's first full-length album. Although Destruction's brand of ragged thrash metal may not have always seemed unreservedly impressive, Eternal Devastation is another proof that the band had a distinctive style already early on.

Germany 1987

1. Mad Butcher 2. The Damned 3. Reject Emotions 4. The Last Judgement

As appropriate, Mad Butcher sounds like a typical Destruction release right from the start - maybe not as painstakingly clear as Eternal Devastation, but still far from muddy. Among the few songs on this mini album, the title track (a new version of the classic piece from Sentence Of Death) and the cover song The Damned are fine though by no means outstanding, but it's the sharp Reject Emotions and the instrumental The Last Judgement that really raise the bar. With its short length, Mad Butcher is not a definite milestone in Destruction's career, but it maintains the level of quality established on the band's earlier recordings.

DESTRUCTION - Release From Agony
Germany 1988

1. Beyond Eternity 2. Release From Agony 3. Dissatisfied Existence 4. Sign Of Fear 5. Unconscious Ruins 6. Incriminated 7. Our Oppression 8. Survive To Die

Destruction's last studio album with Schmier on vocals (before his return to the group at the verge of the new millennium) was undoubtedly the band's most ambitious piece of work up to this point. Following a highly stylish intro, the first couple of tracks on Release From Agony do not notably differ from older material, but songs like Sign Of Fear start to demonstrate something of a darker and more technical approach. With a lot of brooding riffage, the impression is admittedly more advanced but maybe not quite as unrestrained as some of the band's wildest moments in the past. Whereas releases like Sentence Of Death were direct and immediately accessible, Release From Agony can take its time to grow on you.

DESTRUCTION - Cracked Brain
Germany 1990

1. Cracked Brain 2. Frustrated 3. S.E.D. 4. Time Must End 5. My Sharona 6. Rippin' You Off Blind 7. Die A Day Before You're Born 8. No Need To Justify 9. When Your Mind Was Free

After some internal conflicts, Destruction returned with a slightly renewed sound. Cracked Brain may seem somewhat more formulaic than the band's older releases, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad album. The new vocalist, while different from Schmier, had an effective husky voice which suits the songs well. The opening title track must be actually one of the better thrashers out there, and the next couple of songs are not too bad either. The cover version of My Sharona is most unnecessary, though, and towards the end many tracks start to appear fairly pointless. Cracked Brain simply does not stand out as much as some of Destruction's earlier works, but that doesn't prevent it from having its good points as well.

DESTRUCTION - All Hell Breaks Loose
Germany 2000

1. Intro 2. The Final Curtain 3. Machinery Of Lies 4. Tears Of Blood 5. Devastation Of Your Soul 6. The Butcher Strikes Back 7. World Domination Of Pain 8. X-treme Measures 9. All Hell Breaks Loose 10. Total Desaster 2000 11. Visual Prostitution 12. Kingdom Of Damnation

With Schmier righteously back on vocals, All Hell Breaks Loose was something more than just a tired revival of old antics. While it would have been easy to underestimate the band in the new millennium, the energy of the opening songs starting from The Final Curtain is enough to take most listeners by surprise. This was arguably the most energetic and streamlined Destruction release in a very long time, and the result sounds like a showcase of riffs stored over the years of absence. Then again, Total Desaster 2000 proves that the band could still handle their classic material in the most convincing way. The production is a bit too much in your face, but musically this album is only hindered by some slightly repetitive feel and a couple of throwaway tracks like X-treme Measures. For other than that, this is a stronger comeback than one could have expected.

DESTRUCTION - The Antichrist
Germany 2001

1. Days Of Confusion 2. Thrash 'Til Death 3. Nailed To The Cross 4. Dictators Of Cruelty 5. Bullets From Hell 6. Strangulated Pride 7. Meet Your Destiny 8. Creations Of The Underworld 9. Godfather Of Slander 10. Let Your Mind Rot 11. The Heretic

The opening of The Antichrist kind of repeats the formula of All Hell Breaks Loose, with a short intro followed by thrash 'til death (this time literally). But while the preceding release was satisfying for what it was worth, this one goes all the way to the top, no holds barred. The primary reason for this is very simple - if riffs could be patented, this album would be an endless source of applications. Briefly put, almost every song hits you like a disease that cannot be cured, with loads of simply stupendous riffs that most other bands could never get right even if their lives depended on it. On top of this Schmier delivers some unbelievable shrieks, and the production is dead-on. In the late 1980s an album like this would have caught almost everyone with their pants down, now it remains a landmark for those who still care to pay attention to the surviving bits of the original thrash metal genre. Definitely not wandering around aimlessly or playing unremarkable riffs over and over, Destruction in 2001 sounded like an unstoppable machine tweaked for the absolute maximum performance. If there's an album that can be called a modern classic of thrash metal, The Antichrist it is.

DESTRUCTION - Metal Discharge
Germany 2003

1. The Ravenous Beast 2. Metal Discharge 3. Rippin' The Flesh Apart 4. Fear Of The Moment 5. Mortal Remains 6. Desecrators Of The New Age 7. Historical Force Feed 8. Savage Symphony Of Terror 9. Made To Be Broken 10. Vendetta

As a follow-up to the climatic The Antichrist, Metal Discharge does not quite reach similar levels of quality although it is by no means a bad album. The music continues closely in the same straightforward vein, but many songs and riffs sound somewhat more forced or plain in comparison. The Ravenous Beast, the title track, and Mortal Remains are some fine, nasty thrashers though maybe not as striking as most tracks on the band's previous masterpiece. There's a nice feel of consistency throughout the album though, and vocally this is an impressive product with Schmier sounding positively pissed-off more often than not. While Metal Discharge is something of a more ordinary Destruction release, the band's routine at this point was already so strong that the result is far from being a total let-down. Make no mistake, The Antichrist this is not, but it still has a fair share of action going on.

DESTRUCTION - Inventor Of Evil
Germany 2005

1. Soul Collector 2. The Defiance Will Remain 3. The Alliance Of Hellhoundz 4. No Mans Land 5. The Calm Before The Storm 6. The Chosen Ones 7. Dealer Of Hostility 8. Under Surveillance 9. Seeds Of Hate 10. Twist Of Fate 11. Killing Machine 12. Memories Of Nothingness

Destruction certainly deserve an honorable mention for the way they have kept churning out thrash metal albums after long years of absence. Inventor Of Evil is not an exception from the band's customary sound - Soul Collector opens the album in a classic style with some genuinely catchy riffs, while The Defiance Will Remain and No Mans Land provide more of the same in a tried and tested format. This release also features a bit more variety than the band's earlier recordings, some of it being less successful than the rest. Definitely one of the weakest tracks on the album, The Alliance Of Hellhoundz is an all-star showcase that must have sounded like a cool idea at the drawing board, but in practice the result is just too chaotic for its own good. In addition, some other tracks are slightly more dull or just lack truly memorable riffs. Although Inventor Of Evil is another professional effort from Destruction, it doesn't sound quite as refreshing as a couple of its immediate predecessors.

Germany 2008

1. Devolution 2. Elevator To Hell 3. Vicious Circle - The Seven Deadly Sins 4. Offenders Of The Throne 5. Last Desperate Scream 6. Urge (The Greed Of Gain) 7. The Violation Of Morality 8. Inner Indulgence 9. Odyssey Of Frustration 10. No One Shall Survive

D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. starts almost like any other Destruction album to date, sounding at least moderately energetic albeit quite typical for the band. However, as soon as the opening track ends you get to hear the more common part of this recording which sounds a lot more forced and does not really flow. The riffs are far from inspired, most songs seriously tend to drag, and it doesn't take too long before you give in to the urge to start skipping tracks. It seems the band wanted to expand their sound and indeed this may be Destruction's most ambitious album since Release From Agony, but while the latter may have some nostalgia values attached to it, D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. does not have much in its defense. To make a practical comparison, this release is like Inventor Of Evil without Soul Collector and a couple of other more striking tracks. One might actually do better giving The Antichrist just another spin instead.

DESTRUCTION - Day Of Reckoning
Germany 2011

1. The Price 2. Hate Is My Fuel 3. Armageddonizer 4. Devil's Advocate 5. Day Of Reckoning 6. Sorcerer Of Black Magic 7. Misfit 8. The Demon Is God 9. Church Of Disgust 10. Destroyer Or Creator 11. Sheep Of The Regime 12. Stand Up And Shout (bonus)

It probably should be evident that bands like Destruction are already beyond commentary, as their position in the scene is by far unchallenged. But it is still a pleasant thing to find that Day Of Reckoning is a healthy improvement over the lackluster effort that D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. was. The beginning of this album is even surprisingly powerful and spirited, as The Price is truly a storming opener. While the whole recording does not maintain such an overwhelming tempo, it has a lot more going for it than Destruction's couple of previous releases had. Arguably the band's consistent pounding has developed something of a cold and mechanical feel to it over the years, and there may not be such classic tracks as in the past anymore, but no real stinkers either. Although it's been quite a long time since a new Destruction album was really an exciting event, Day Of Reckoning is not such a bad contender at all.

DESTRUCTION - Spiritual Genocide
Germany 2012

1. Exordium 2. Cyanide 3. Spiritual Genocide 4. Renegades 5. City Of Doom 6. No Signs Of Repentance 7. To Dust You Will Decay 8. Legacy Of The Past 9. Carnivore 10. Riot Squad 11. Under Violent Sledge

After the brief signs of recovery with Day Of Reckoning, the follow-up album continues to show that Destruction's modern discography can be of varying quality indeed. Maybe Spiritual Genocide could have used another year of preparation, as the outcome is fairly average for a thrash metal album, even more so for a Destruction release. At its best the music is moderately powerful, at its worst just forgettable. The riffwork is more routine-like than anything, and even the preceding piece of work seems a lot more commendable in comparison than it really was. It cannot be denied that this band had their fair share of highs and lows over the years, but it was not so long ago that they still used to be able to write maniacal catchy riffs like no other. Based on this release only, you'd have a hard time guessing it ever happened.

DESTRUCTOR - Maximum Destruction
USA 1985

1. Prelude In Sledge Minor, Opus 7, 1st Movement 2. Maximum Destruction 3. Destructor 4. Take Command 5. Instrumental 6. Pounding Evil 7. Overdose 8. Iron Curtain 9. Hot Wet Leather 10. Bondage

It is possible that Destructor never received all the recognition they would have deserved based on their music only. Although the band's image on Maximum Destruction can seem like remnants of the Stone Age, it's the content that counts. This album is filled with some notably heavy speed/thrash metal that sounds positively antiquated and only in a good way. The appeal may not be immediately obvious as the title track is quite slow and even a bit dragging piece, but then the band really let loose with Destructor and the rest of the album follows mostly in the same vein. From today's viewpoint the music can appear somewhat simple, but Destructor had the right spirit and the sound quality is actually better, heavier and especially more natural than on many modern albums. Despite its age Maximum Destruction has a lot more substance and meat than most of the newer and more plastic efforts.

DETENTE - Recognize No Authority
USA 1986

1. Losers 2. Russian Roulette 3. It's Your Fate 4. Holy Wars 5. Catalepsy 6. Shattered Illusions 7. Life Is Pain 8. Blood I Bleed 9. Widow's Walk 10. Vultures In The Sky

A true cult band in history, Detente may be best known for the vocal duties by Dawn Crosby who later appeared in Fear Of God in the 1990s. Detente's debut release Recognize No Authority is a surprisingly solid, strong album in its own right. It features some of the most frantic speed/thrash metal with some punkish touches, a style strongly characterized by heavy, screaming guitars, and totally unrestrained vocals by Dawn Crosby who practically screams her lungs out on tracks like Holy War and Shattered Illusions. It is not exactly a match for Holy Moses, of course, but there's no denying that her fierce delivery is possibly the most important single factor contributing to the total intensity of this album and effectively puts many less inclined male vocalists to shame. Not that the songs wouldn't have a fair share of solid riffs already, but even the less stand-out tracks are helped immensely by Crosby's devoted performance. With a bit raw but appropriate production, this album appears like a healthy dose of fresh air on your face.

DETENTE - Decline
USA 2010

1. In God We Trust 2. Predator 3. Kill Rush 4. Degradation Machine 5. Decline 6. Genocide 7. This Is Not Freedom 8. Ashes 9. Blood I Bleed (bonus)

Decline is one of those releases that you probably couldn't see coming. Despite the absence of Dawn Crosby whose output was a definitive factor on the band's debut release, Detente's latest offering sounds as energetic as Recognize No Authority and then some. Tiina Teal's vocals are ferocious in a way that is still not too common even on a thrash metal album, and musically this recording is directly comparable to Detente's original works with the same kind of persistent energetic feel. While the effect is a lot less novel nowadays than it was in the 1980s, the impression is positive even just based on the unique characteristics of the band's sound. If a certain punkish vibe does not pose a problem for you, there should be no reason to skip Decline as this album is certainly a very decent follow-up to its predecessor.

DETHRONE - Let The Day Begin
Finland 1989

1. Predator 2. Powermad 3. ...The Day After 4. Black Dawn 5. Last Respects 6. Beyond The Wall 7. City Of Silence 8. Haunter In The Dark 9. Withered

Among the Finnish thrash metal bands Dethrone were probably the most conventional one, sounding pretty much like any stereotypical band in the genre worldwide. Let The Day Begin features some very heavy and mostly unimaginative thrash metal with a particularly stale production. One cannot really say much about these songs without resorting to the most average phrases, as the music is about as derivative and undistinctive as it gets. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the band is that it's hard to point out any directly copied elements in their music but still, this album hardly sounds novel or innovative to anyone. At least Let The Day Begin manages to maintain some basic level of energy throughout the album. On the other hand, that doesn't exactly save it from falling into total mediocrity either.

DETRITUS - Perpetual Defiance
United Kingdom 1990

1. Subliminal Division 2. Point Of No Return 3. Playing With Fire 4. Taste The Blood 5. Morbid Curiosity 6. No Mercy 7. Child 8. Eviction 9. Derange 10. O.T.T.

Detritus may not have been in the spotlight of the scene, but apparently they knew how to make some very persistent sounding music. Somewhat in the vein of Seventh Angel's recordings, Perpetual Defiance is a piece of impetuous British thrash metal with a fairly original mood. It must be admitted that most songs may sound a bit samey to average ears unless you have patience to pay attention to the smallest details and variations, but the band's output is at a respectable level and there is a nice gritty feel in every track that eventually helps to even the score. While it is hard to pick highlights from this album, it's the overall style of Perpetual Defiance that gains something of a favorable impression after all.

DEUS EX-MACHINA - Standarized
Mexico 2012

1. Earth Abyss 2. Ode For The Ultraviolence (2nd Movement In E Minor) 3. Fields Of Death 4. Invincible Warrior 5. Thrashing Terror 6. Labyrinth 7. D.E.M.E.N.T.I.A. 8. Standarized 9. Nothing 10. A Blinding Shade

The first moments of Standarized are kind of promising, as Deus Ex-Machina's sound is fairly natural and likeable and the opening song is interesting enough to raise expectations further. The rest of the album does not fare equally well, though. Obviously this band were not afraid of varying speed every now and then, which is quite fine and even respectable. However, not much is done to utilize this slightly more technical approach in an effective way. For the most part everything plays in a passable but not very memorable manner, sometimes appearing outright indifferent, and in the end you are just left with a release that shows a bit more ambition than the norm but fails to exploit the possibilities to their fullest.

DEVASTATION - Leather Jack Maniac
Belgium 2011

1. Drink Till We Die 2. License To Chill 3. Isolated 4. Leather Jack Maniac 5. Kill The Messiah 6. Government Incompetent 7. Thrash In Hell 8. Devastation 9. 24 Bottles Of Freedom 10. To Serve And Protect

More thrash to the pile of thrash, that's what Leather Jack Maniac is basically all about. The music makes kind of a ragged impression especially in the vocal department, and the album is practically a combination of various elements that most listeners of the genre probably have become very familiar with over the years. On some other day the outcome could have turned out much more lacking, but the band's playing comes across as sufficiently relaxed though by no means aimless, and there's a certain undistracting as well as entertaining quality in the whole thing. It would be difficult to recommend Leather Jack Maniac as a highly worthy demonstration, but as a typical satisfactory example of its kind, this release fits the bill without much trouble.

DEVASTATION - Violent Termination
USA 1987

1. Beginning Of The End 2. Massive Devastation 3. Innocent Submission 4. Syndrome Of Terror 5. Violent Termination 6. Death Is Calling 7. Meet Your Maker 8. Insanity 9. Deceptive Slaughter 10. Beneath The Surface

Devastation's debut release Violent Termination featured rather uncomplicated thrash metal without any highlights or special gimmicks. What eventually makes this album a bit different from most others is the vocals that are essentially just plain talking with no audible attempts whatsoever at real singing or even more typical shouting. It must be admitted that this kind of bare delivery sounds somewhat original, but the output is about as emotionless and unambitious as it gets, which makes the whole music appear like it lacks energy. Despite some sufficiently grim riffage, Violent Termination didn't really seem like an indication of something favorable to come.

USA 1989

1. Eye For An Eye 2. Desolation 3. Manic Depressive 4. Signs Of Life 5. Retribution 6. Tomorrow We Die 7. Contaminated 8. Fear Of The Unknown 9. Escape To Violence

Right from the very beginning, Devastation's second album turned out to be an improvement over Violent Termination. Signs Of Life is not only better produced than the band's debut, it is also a lot more intense. The vocals are now standard shouts and come across as more convincing than before although they still lack something of a definite edge. Despite many positive changes on this release, the band's music can be deemed somewhat ordinary for the time, with no particular distinguishable elements in songwriting or presentation. Therefore the final result may appear a bit too samey even though it is certainly energetic and all.

USA 1991

1. Deliver The Suffering 2. Freewill 3. Forsaken Hatred 4. Souls Of Sacrifice 5. Idolatry 6. Legacy Of Faith 7. Subconscious 8. Never Believe

At the end of their path, Devastation managed to create a remarkable album of outstanding quality. Idolatry must be among the very finest hours from the last years of the classic thrash metal era, and it is also one of the heaviest albums ever made. Produced by Scott "Death" Burns, the sound of this recording is incredibly thick and beyond heavy, complete with near-constant double bass drumming, and the music could be almost mistaken for death metal if it weren't for the powerful husky vocals that feel just right at last. Every track on this release is a crushing combination of aggression, speed and heaviness, and together all these songs build an unsurpassable wall of thunder. Even the lyrics have some new kind of maturity and reason in them while not getting totally preachy. After a couple of fair but mostly unmemorable efforts from Devastation, the brilliance of Idolatry came as a total surprise.

DEVASTATOR - Thrash 'n' War
Italy 2005

1. The Executioner 2. Rock 'n' War 3. Motrok 4. The Day Of Blood 5. Death From The Jungle 6. How To Learn To Make War 7. Devastate 8. Today Is The Day 9. Lyric To Tank 10. Destructor

As unsurprising as it may be, Devastator's debut studio album does not notably steer away from the typical path of thrash metal. Somewhat light sounding, Thrash 'n' War is generally faithful to the tested and tried format, and the most significant detail must be the squeaky vocals that are on the hilarious side more often than not. While not unreservedly appealing, the singer's style undeniably gives this album a flavor of its own. Also worth mentioning are a couple of odd pieces like Rock 'n' War that lean towards punk rock and are admittedly sort of uplifting, but they remain amusing only for a short time and therefore become prime candidates to be skipped during any subsequent sessions. Beyond that, Thrash 'n' War is mostly your basic thrash metal album - good for an occasional listen, but hardly a long-time favorite.

DEVASTATOR - Alcoholic Invasion
Italy 2007

1. Forever In The Bed 2. Alcoholic Invasion 3. Breath Of Stukas In Rage 4. Doom Child 5. Chuck Berry Wants Hardcore 6. Mad Pusher 7. Star Desire 8. True Hate 9. Solemn Oath 10. Homicidal Maniac 11. Sergeant Napalm

While Alcoholic Invasion may already at the first sight seem more colorful than Devastator's previous release, it is also aurally noticeably different and not only for the better. Compared to Thrash 'n' War, the tone is a tad heavier, not least due to the vocals that have changed to a more gruff but also commonplace style. At least the band's debut had something of a characteristic feel despite some cheesy moments, here everything sounds more standard. Then again, there are also a couple of more straight rock pieces that this album could have very well done without, as this time they effectively break the thrashing mood in a lot more serious way than before. As a whole, Alcoholic Invasion feels less vivid than its predecessor, no matter how unexceptional both of them may eventually be.

DEVASTRACKTOR - Warhorsepowers And A Megaton Of Balls
Finland 2011

1. Strike Force 2099 2. Megasonic Boom 3. Devastracktor Battalion 4. No Stories To Tell 5. Bring Upon The Fire 6. The Brutallian 7. I.D.G.A.S. 8. Interlude 9. Poser Disposer

Even though it could be said that Warhorsepowers And A Megaton Of Balls was unnecessarily tainted by some exceptionally childish artwork, this album does sound a lot better than it looks. Sure, the premise of Devastracktor's debut release may appear inherently silly, and it would seem impossible to write most of these lyrics with a straight face. But the compositions are not half-bad and the presentation is strong and emphatic, occasionally even so classy that it could easily and successfully support much more serious songs than these. Despite the flimsy initial appearance, this release removes most of the doubt right at the start, and the result is more than just a poor man's Duke Nukem in thrash metal.

DEVIL ON EARTH - Hunting, Shooting, Slashing And Thrashing
Brazil 2007

1. The Attack 2. No Escape 3. Torment In Fire 4. Metal Mass 5. Spill The Poisoned Blood 6. Cold Reality 7. Werewolf 8. Devil On Earth 9. Possessed By Fire

Hunting, Shooting, Slashing And Thrashing is another proof that cheap looks don't need to degrade an album. Based on the frenzied pace that this release demonstrates most of the time, it is evident that Devil On Earth know how to unleash the rage. The band's sound is spontaneous and reckless, and while the songs on this album are really not too distinctive on an individual basis, the music is fully likeable thrash metal. It would have been easy to hamper the experience with some less devoted performance, but Devil On Earth appear genuinely enthusiastic and thus avoid many of the usual traps. Hunting, Shooting, Slashing And Thrashing is by no means an exceptional release, but this kind of straightforward hack-and-slash mentality can have some refreshing quality to it when implemented properly enough as here.

Note: The CD release also contains all tracks from the band's Cold Reality demo as a bonus.

DEZTROYER - Climate Change
Germany 1990

1. Climate Change 2. Ain't No Cure 3. Intolerate 4. Solitude 5. T.E.V.A.R. 6. Can't Complain 7. I'm Watchin' 8. We Fight 9. (W.R.A.) Torture 10. Warchild 11. Souvenirs

Deztroyer's original debut must be one of the most rare and least known German thrash metal albums ever. This is a bit of a shame as musically Climate Change is no worse than what the majority of bands in those days were capable of. Deztroyer actually delivered some notably forceful thrash metal with respectable intensity and a fair number of hooks in their songs. The vocals sometimes sound a bit too dramatic, but their strength and raw edge make up for it. The production is not too slick but this just adds some more emphasis on the intense feel of the music. This record essentially pumps a good dose of raw energy into your veins. Although Climate Change probably won't be remembered as a masterpiece of German thrash, it is a safe pick over some more stale big names any day.

DIRGE - Soulstorm
USA 1988

1. Instro 2. Screwed To Death 3. Get It Back 4. Soulstorm 5. Negative Sanctions 6. The Obscenity Remains 7. TV Desensitization 8. Zeitgeist 9. Bug Bite 10. Superficial 11. The Big Trip 12. Self Destruct

Dirge's Soulstorm has a near perfect thumping intro that nicely sets the mood for this little rarity. From Screwed To Death onwards the album is filled with ambitious thrashing with some stomping moments here and there. The vocals sound somewhat unrefined with a hardcore-ish tone that is actually fairly similar to Erosion, and they add a harsh edge to the music that is otherwise rather neatly composed and played. Somehow this album has quite a vigorous feel to it, and with a sufficient amount of variation in songs it does not sound too formulaic. Dirge's style may appear a bit rough especially due to the vocals, but there is some cool quality in the whole thing and you hardly notice the short length of these songs in general. Maybe Soulstorm does not totally storm over you, but many other records would benefit from the same kind of spirit that this one has.

DISABUSE - Sorrow And Perdition
Netherlands 1989

1. Monastery Of Malice 2. Fast But Not First 3. Electric Death 4. Master Of Prayer 5. Just For The Kick 6. Cry Of The Child

For a peek into the more grim side of thrash metal, Disabuse serve the purpose better than well. The immediate impression of Sorrow And Perdition is strongly influenced by its rough and gritty sound that fully complements the band's harsh style. The songs are not exactly of the most complex type and they mostly follow the same formula with very brief shades of variety, but the riffs weave together in such way that the result is strangely satisfying. The vocal delivery is downright venomous, and it should be clear where bands like Nocturn drew their inspiration from. It must be emphasized that in the long run a whole album of this kind can become quite dreary, and Sorrow And Perdition is hardly among the all-time favorites for most people, but in its specific niche this is one release to keep in mind.

DISAFFECTION - Begin The Revolution
Brazil 2010

1. Metal Kombat 2. Which One's The Truth 3. Blind Man 4. Stupid Ideas 5. Mystery Of God 6. The Mortuary Man 7. Disaffection 8. Cerebral Nightmare 9. I Wanna See The Chaos 10. The End Of Beginning

These days it is becoming increasingly difficult to make educated guesses about a band's career length so far based on one album only. For example, it would be highly unlikely to find out just by listening that Begin The Revolution is really Disaffection's very first release. Not only this album is almost ridiculously well played and produced, the band's age does not show anywhere except for maybe somewhat amateurish vocals. In other words, the music is already about as mature as you could expect from a thrash metal album in a traditional vein. There may not be too many noteworthy individual tracks yet, but the general feel is good and a couple of specific pieces like Metal Kombat are unarguably convincing presentations. For a debut release, this is already quite sufficient.

Canada 1989

1. Shades Of Grey 2. Power Trap 3. Ice Demons 4. Slave To No One 5. Protector 6. Night Of The Priest 7. Crisis 8. Hidden Worlds 9. Bitch Of Doom 10. Disciples Of Power

The first release of Disciples Of Power was simply quite an intense staple of Canadian thrash metal. Power Trap is a healthy mix of some semi-complex songwriting, though not all of it too memorable, with emphasis on heavy riffs and strong vocals. As appropriate, the sound is really powerful and heavy. The vocalist tends to exercise a bit bombastic style, something that gives the music a more original touch. While most tracks are not too catchy, the stomping feel of this album is satisfying enough to keep it in the playlist even after longer periods of time. At its best Power Trap practically runs over you, whereas the rest of it comes along as a fair offering.

DISMANTLE - Satanic Force
USA 2008

1. Vile Spell 2. Exorcistic Rites 3. 7th Storm 4. Satanic Metal 5. Demonic Funeral 6. Crucify 7. Tales Of The Wicked 8. Crypt Sacrifice 9. Ritual Of The Dead 10. Dismantle (Satanic Force)

Dismantle's Satanic Force represents a tested and safe approach to thrash metal. This album is thoroughly fast and compact, with a consistent style that does not promise anything groundbreaking but manages to avoid total dullness. The band's sound is on the thin side, but that actually makes the vocals even more intelligible which is a nice feature. On the other hand, the track titles already give away the whole message that this album has to offer so not much would have been lost anyway. One thing that could have been toned down or dropped altogether is the extremely piercing screams that occur from time to time and can get quite annoying. Apart from that, Satanic Force is technically well done, and the constant high speed is sort of commendable. Despite the fact that this album is practically thrash metal by the book, the band could have done a lot worse.

DISMANTLE - Enter The Forbidden
USA 2012

1. Tales Of The Wicked 2. Enter The Forbidden 3. Realm Of The Warmaster 4. Illusions 5. Secrets From The Dark Room 6. Dwelling (In Darkness) 7. The Lost Dimension 8. Gateways 9. The Beyond

Maybe it is slightly surprising, but apparently Dismantle were into it seriously enough to produce another release after their debut. Enter The Forbidden shows some signs of development though not always for the better. It's as if the band lost some of their youthful spirit, as many of these tracks have a tendency to drag every now and then. The singing now sounds more ordinary as there are no occasional screams anymore - while these were admittedly somewhat irritating on the first album, without them this sophomore release lacks all distinctive features whatsoever. Whereas Satanic Force was far from exceptional but still fairly listenable, Enter The Forbidden does not really encourage you to spend a great lot of time with it.

DISSECTION - Final Genocide
Canada 1988

1. Final Genocide 2. Minotaur The Emperor 3. Graveyard Beyond 4. Eat Shit Get Away 5. Escape Of The Apocalypse 6. Viking Sword 7. Nails On Leather 8. Chainsaw Slaughter 9. Black List 10. Fuck Off

In a way Dissection really delivered the goods. Final Genocide is certainly not among the most refined or original recordings out there, but this Canadian band's approach to spit out these tracks is not without merits. Except for the long opener, all songs here are rather rapid bursts with rough vocals and rampaging guitars. The underground characteristics of this album are just perfectly obvious, which gives it something of a fresh sound. Sometimes the style of presentation follows the usual norms and sometimes it goes a bit over the top, but that's just bound to put a smile on your face. Quite frankly, without some humorous appeal it could be a bit too hard to listen through this one. In short, Final Genocide is probably not something you would enjoy on a regular basis, but for an occasional refreshment it is not such a bad choice at all.

DIVINE DECAY - Songs Of The Damned
Finland 2001

1. Alone 2. Divine Decay 3. Song Of The Damned 4. Hollow 5. Dead Calm 6. Bloodline 7. F# (Wake Up) 8. Kill The Dead 9. Through My Eyes 10. Genocide

If riffwork was the only thing that matters then Divine Decay's Songs Of The Damned would score quite high based on that aspect alone. There is really no shortage of continuous smooth riffs on this album, and the production is spot-on. But while the output is very consistent and at least on individual songs fairly adequate, a whole album of the same tends to become a monotonous experience. Especially the vocals are kind of cold and emotionless without exceptions, though this somehow fits the general mood. Sometimes the music sounds a tad academic in the sense that it could be more fleshed-out, also the band could have applied speed more elaborately although the most intense tracks like Hollow and Bloodline are quite satisfying. Basically, there is a lot of audible promise but also a notable amount of room left for further development.

DIVINE DECAY - Maximize The Misery
Finland 2003

1. Icons Fall 2. Weave A Web Of Vanity 3. Without A Soul 4. Scars 5. Killing Innocence 6. Silence Of Decades 7. Maximize The Misery 8. Dead In Me 9. The Discomfort Of Artificial Euphoria 10. Filth 11. Black Hearted Angel (Remorse)

Maximize The Misery at least partially fulfills the expectations that Divine Decay's first release generated. The production has been pumped up by a notch and the guitar is even more emphasized than earlier, though the changes wouldn't have been absolutely necessary. What's actually important, most songs are more intense and faster than before which adds to the overall positive impression. The music continues to emit strong feelings of melancholy, to the extent that at times it is in danger of going a bit overboard, although one must admit that the effect is rather stylish and even unique. There is still no great variation between compositions but they are generally more memorable than those on the band's debut album. For some reason, one of the best pieces of the whole thing is a hidden track at the very end of this album, which is simply absurd - many other bands might give their body parts for being able to visibly demonstrate even one song of similar quality.

DORSAL ATLANTICA - Searching For The Light
Brazil 1990

1. Hierarchic Democracy 2. Fighting In Gangs 3. Misery Spreads 4. Not To Leave The Power 5. Only One Of Them (Must Be Left) 6. Gathered Prisoners 7. Childish Boots And Steps 8. The Ones Left Scream 9. History Starts (To Take A Route)

Dorsal Atlantica were unarguably pioneers of extreme metal in Brazil. One of their later releases, Searching For The Light is an example of some surprisingly fresh sounding and energetic thrash metal. There's certainly little you wouldn't have heard before, but most of the time the basic formula doesn't fail. With a generally fast tempo maintained almost throughout the whole album, playing this one in the background of whatever you are doing is guaranteed to pump up the spirit. However, while it starts off sounding very energetic, this album gradually loses some steam during the second half, which is a bit unfortunate. Searching For The Light is definitely not too extraordinary for an old thrash metal album, but it does its part pretty well.

DORSAL ATLANTICA - Musical Guide From Stellium
Brazil 1992

1. Razor's Edge 2. Recycle Yourself 3. The Hidden And Unexpected 4. Kali Yuga 5. The Seven Races 6. Rock Is Dead 7. Warrior 8. My Generation 9. Prison Cell Stage (bonus) 10. Thy Will Be Done (bonus)

While Musical Guide From Stellium continued mostly with the same theme as Dorsal Atlantica's previous release, it is not as immediately appealing as Seaching For The Light. Certainly the band thrash almost relentlessly from start to finish and the lyrical content is more mature than in most cases, but the outcome tends to drag a bit more than one would like to expect. The songs have quite a dry, heavy, and somewhat raw sound, which on the other hand supports a certain feel of a strong street credibility. It's just that Dorsal Atlantica's music on this album does not appear to be the most accessible to average ears, therefore requiring more effort from the listener. Musical Guide From Stellium is an interesting and even ambitious release, but it may take a bit longer time than usually to really get into it.

Brazil 1994

1. Thy Kingdom Come 2. Give People A Chance 3. R.I.P. (Racism, Ignorance, Prejudice) 4. Straitgate 5. Raise The Dead 6. Human Rights 7. Virtual Reality 8. Last Act 9. Black Messiah 10. Loyal Legion Of The Admirers 11. Life Goes On (Vidcom Experiences) 12. Take Time 13. Summary Condemnation (bonus) 14. Tribute To Gauguin (bonus)

Dorsal Atlantica's last chapter for the trilogy that started with Searching For The Light practically appears like a direct sequel to its predecessors. Alea Jacta Est sports a dry and heavy sound that is very similar to that present on Musical Guide From Stellium in particular. Initially it would seem that the same good and bad points apply here, too. But while the previous album had a tendency to drag here and there, Alea Jacta Est actually got a wilder and faster approach that generally pays off by a slight but even more important amount. It's still not the easiest album to listen to and not completely without its tedious moments either, but at least the band manage to get their point across better than on some other occasions in the past. Moreover, the music feels slightly heavier, which together with some more refined songwriting results in probably the most coherent Dorsal Atlantica album up to this point. Those interested in the band's other efforts should give Alea Jacta Est a try as well, but be sure to take your time with it.

DOVER TRENCH - Exhibition Of Speed
USA 1991

1. Acid Test 2. Trench Death Gestapo 3. Most Holy 4. Married Murderer 5. Punishment (A.S.D.) 6. Forcing House 7. Face Plate Removal 8. Bone Creature 9. America First 10. Friction Burns 11. Lurch 12. The Immortal Few

In a stark contrast to a myriad of albums that follow a predictable route, Dover Trench's Exhibition Of Speed goes against the grain. The songs on this album seem to wander with no regular course, sounding restless and a little bit chaotic every now and then. Hasty riffs are accompanied by harsh shouts for vocals, and the whole thing appears to have been designed to keep you on your toes at all times. But although this kind of surprise factor is in some way commendable, it doesn't guarantee a good album. In this case, the combination of dissonant elements only tends to make a jarring effect, rendering the album rather unattractive in the long term. While Dover Trench's intentions may have been ambitious, the only common thread in the finished product is the disorganized feel of it all.

DRAGON - Horde Of Gog
Poland 1989

1. The Priest Of Betray 2. Seven Bowls Of Wrath 3. Eternal Rest 4. Beliar 5. Horde Of Gog 6. Cerveza 7. Innocent Blood 8. Here Comes The Dragon 9. Armageddon

Horde Of Gog should be interesting enough already for its origins in the early Polish scene, but the fact that the English vocals were recorded with Turbo's original singer on board just adds to the cult status of this album. While certain comparisons to Turbo are unavoidable, Dragon's style on this debut has some more unrestricted and chaotic characteristics while the output still lacks the most obvious death metal tendencies that were introduced on the band's later releases. Although the music in itself may not exactly appear too novel to anyone, the band's sound has a surprisingly fresh and energetic feel to it, and there are laudable attempts at breaking outside the most standard barriers in the field. Musically Horde Of Gog is not an outstanding piece of work, but it contains a great deal of high-spirited attitude that one can rarely find elsewhere, and this feature alone deserves an honorary mention.

D.R.I. - Crossover
USA 1987

1. The Five Year Plan 2. Tear It Down 3. A Coffin 4. Probation 5. I.D.K.Y. 6. Decisions 7. Hooked 8. Go Die 9. Redline 10. No Religion 11. Fun & Games 12. Oblivion

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, as well as their contemporaries playing the same style, could be considered a borderline case in the thrash metal field. Following the band's classic hardcore recordings, Crossover deserves its title in both good and bad. Even though it is a seminal album in its class and you can easily hear where bands like Evildead got their influences from, this and the following D.R.I. releases mostly belong to the hit-or-miss category. The Five Year Plan has a semi-decent intro riff and Go Die is downright catchy, everything else sort of blends together into a bleak mix of crossover metal. Whereas your typical thrash metal act may sound like a metal band with some hardcore tendencies, D.R.I. sound more like a hardcore band with metal tendencies, and that's where issues arise. Most of the time you simply cannot help feeling that something is missing, and it's not just due to the shortage of guitar solos. Crossover may still be the best of D.R.I.'s thrash metal oriented albums, but even then it seriously lacks flesh around the bones.

D.R.I. - 4 Of A Kind
USA 1988

1. All For Nothing 2. Manifest Destiny 3. Gone Too Long 4. Do The Dream 5. Shut-Up! 6. Modern World 7. Think For Yourself 8. Slumlord 9. Dead In A Ditch 10. Suit And Tie Guy 11. Man Unkind

4 Of A Kind is not all that different from Crossover, again the intro of the first song may be the foremost thing that sticks to your head and after that it tends to sound all the same. The music still makes an impression of punks who crossed over to thrash metal but keep on falling back to their old habits every now and then. Kurt Brecht's tone-deaf vocals are only one factor in the general bare and stripped-down feel of this album, and overall D.R.I.'s output lacks the sharp metallic edge that is customary in the thrash metal genre - it does not sound quite the same that you learned to expect from bands like Anthrax and the others. However, it is only a good thing that D.R.I.'s style is so compact, as no songs here would make it in a longer format without becoming even more tedious experiences. Although 4 Of A Kind must be a safe choice for fans of the style, I'd rather listen to a random Tankard album than this.

D.R.I. - Thrash Zone
USA 1989

1. Thrashard 2. Beneath The Wheel 3. Enemy Within 4. Strategy 5. Labeled Uncurable 6. You Say I'm Scum 7. Gun Control 8. Kill The Words 9. Drown You Out 10. The Trade 11. Standing In Line 12. Give A Hoot 13. Worker Bee 14. Abduction

No matter how aptly named Thrash Zone might be, it is really one of the dullest albums with thrash metal connections that I've ever heard. D.R.I.'s crossover style remains as dense as ever, although it appears positively focused in comparison to their later releases. With little audible progression towards any actually interesting songwriting, and even longer songs on average than before, this is not an album that would permanently hold the top position of your playlist. For the record, the sound is rather clean-cut and consistent but also seemingly devoid of all hooks and imagination - it is certain that Rumble Militia this is not. In the right place, at the right time, Thrash Zone could be a real boost, but in general this is hardly the case. While the old skaters may strongly disagree, sometimes you cannot help but look back and think that this whole crossover thing should have turned out a lot better than it really did.

DRINKING SKULL - Our Faith, Our Life... Our Death
Croatia 1990

1. Retaliation From The Underground 2. Metal God 3. Betrayer 4. End Of Life (Suicide) 5. Phlegmatic People 6. Apocalypse! War! 7. Church Of Hate 8. Thrash Calls 9. Last Game 10. About Death, After Death

Drinking Skull's Our Faith, Our Life... Our Death must be one of the earliest examples of Croatian thrash metal in a recorded form, and there is something about its fresh underground feel that earns this album a few extra points of sympathy. While the sound quality is only mediocre at best, it fits these songs well enough. On the downside, most of the time this recording can appear a bit dull - after a critical mass of albums of this kind, it is quite hard to raise any notable response with such a standard offering like this anymore. Although Drinking Skull's motivation shows, the style is ordinary to such extent that at best you can only praise the band's good intentions, not necessarily their music. This is a fair novelty item for sure, but that is probably the best that can be said about it.

DRINKING SKULL - People That Make You Feel Small
Croatia 1993

1. Voice Of Our God 2. Suicide Society 3. Enliven The World 4. Critics Declined 5. Mirror Inside 6. People That Make You Feel Small 7. Amalgamation Into The End 8. Create To Destroy 9. Lines On The Screen 10. My Evil 11. I'm Going Away 12. Milk (bonus)

People That Make You Feel Small is a fair continuation of Drinking Skull's journey in the thrash metal realm. First of all, due to improved production values this album sounds a tad heavier than the band's debut release, which is not a bad thing at all. Some other stylistic differences are audible as well, the vocals in particular are more gruff than on the previous album, and the presentation is generally tighter and more controlled than before. It is still nothing that would make a great impression, as the music is far from the most distinctive for its kind. The album practically repeats your basic approach to thrash metal with an adequate performance but no traces of really memorable songwriting, even though the effort is respectable. As long as you don't expect anything worth a special note, People That Make You Feel Small may just suffice.

DRUNKARD - Hellish Metal Dominate
Greece 2004

1. Drunk With Satan 2. War Unleashed 3. Ride Thru Hell / Thrashing Vein 4. Spiked Fist 5. Sequel To Blasphemy 6. Alcoholic Death 7. Discoblood 8. Alkowarriors 9. Happy Hell 10. Sell Your Soul

After a certain point of hearing the same kind of albums one after another, it ceases to matter whether the music is still any good or not - there is simply not much to say about it anymore except for the most exceptional offerings. Drunkard's Hellish Metal Dominate unfortunately does not differ too much from the norm in either good or bad. It is fast and furious enough with a certain rough edge, the vocals are gruff as only appropriate, and yet the whole thing somehow fails to impress. Maybe it could be seen as a positive feature that their overall sound is not quite as cold and calculated as it's the case with some other more recent bands, but this is really not enough to elevate the album above the average level. If there is some special value hidden in this thing after all, it can take quite a persistent individual to find it.

DRUNKARDS - Drunkards
Italy 1987

1. Lookin' For Troubles 2. Obsession 3. Don't Search For The Answer 4. Human Vivisection 5. Nuclear Solution 6. Captive Of My Vice 7. Lost And Lonely 8. Trooper Of Death

Drunkards were a band that many people possibly never heard of, but their speed/thrash metal still holds on its own although the style is more than typical for its time. In retrospective, the band's sound has not aged too well even though it is not the simplest approach that Drunkards took with this debut album. Excluding a couple of pompous moments the music is well-formed in a traditional way, and except for one ballad (Lost And Lonely) it never gets really sluggish, but somehow the outcome on the whole lacks the final decisive edge. It's as if this release holds more potential than what is actually shown in effect. There is some undeniably sympathetic vintage feel in this thing, just not quite enough to really save it from the danger of getting lost in the forgotten realm.

DRUNKARDS - No Trace Of Sanity
Italy 2009

1. 44151 2. Say Goodbye 3. Gonna Do It My Way 4. Ummo Weh Dinnah 5. Disarray 6. A Woman Like You 7. Obsession (Part II) 8. The Absurd Tale Of God 9. Tonight 10. I Need A Woman 11. Bloody Bones (demo) 12. Don't You Play With The Powers Of Hell (demo) 13. Piranha (demo) 14. Metal Fury Broke Free (demo) 15. Final Revenge (demo)

No Trace Of Sanity is literally like something that a time machine brought in. Finally available after having been shelved for twenty years, this album could be mistaken for a complete throwback to the 1980s. But the truth is not as simple as that - in comparison to the debut album of Drunkards, this follow-up sounds surprisingly well produced and a lot less antiquated than its predecessor. It is still not the fastest stuff of its time, even less so today, but quite a listenable piece of speed/thrash metal this release surely is. True, there is a sporadic joke track and a couple of hard rock songs which together inevitably poke holes into the surface of an otherwise well formulated product. But if a little variation doesn't sound too scary, this testament of a long-lost band is worth a closer look.

Brazil 2009

1. Merciless Death 2. Endless Fight 3. Nuclear Desaster 4. Game Of Death 5. Thrash Metal Maniacs 6. Chainsaw... Return To Slaughter

A fairly lengthy release despite its limited number of songs, Dunkell Reiter's Death And Pain must be among the least surprising thrash metal albums that one can come across. The band's attack is rather swift and violent and the production values are satisfactory, still the result feels only rudimentary at best. Most obviously this is due to the utterly overused expressions and ideas, and the level of excitement that this album generates is practically zero. The final nail in the coffin is that all songs follow an almost identical approach, without the slightest signs of divergence anywhere. No matter how safe such choice may have appeared during the recording phase, with such average musical qualities as here, it is only guaranteed to lead to a certain state of boredom at the end.

DUST BOLT - Violent Demolition
Germany 2012

1. Opulence Contaminated 2. Violent Abolition 3. March Thru Pain 4. Shattered By Reality 5. Toxic Attack 6. Into Madness 7. (When Thy Shall Come) Oblivion 8. Pleasure On Illusion 9. Deviance

Although traditional thrash metal enforces some strict rules and practices, there are releases that keep the familiar base but seriously flirt with modern-day production aesthetics. Dust Bolt's Violent Demolition obviously belongs to this group. It cannot be denied that the band's performance is impetuous, and at its best this recording sounds positively turbocharged. But it also appears sort of oversaturated more often than not, especially so when compared to the most authentic works in the genre. Not to forget that there is really not too much audible difference between individual songs, as they have all been forced through the same processing pipe. Despite some rather effective pounding, this is not necessarily an album that you would like to add to the playlist for a long period of time.

DYOXEN - First Among Equals
Canada 1990

1. First Among Equals 2. The Essence Of Ignorance 3. Citizen Soldier 4. Holocaust (Fall In Grace) 5. Abuse 6. Overcome 7. Foot From The Edge 8. Sooner Than You Think 9. Contaminated

Depending on your point of view, Dyoxen's First Among Equals may be one of the best or worst examples of so-called technical thrash metal. The production of this album is not exactly the heaviest around, a fact that is only emphasized by the clean and rather emotionless vocals. Some additional heaviness might have helped the result even a bit, now it's sometimes pretty difficult to see the point of this music. There's some additional emphasis put on the guitar work which is indeed not too bad and somewhat helps the songs flow more fluently. Still, this is something that the hardest fans of Slayer and the like would probably just blow their noses on. I cannot say I'd be overly impressed by the fast but totally forgettable twiddling Dyoxen put out with this one, either. First Among Equals is basically a clever technical exercise targeted at those who happen to find value in this kind of thing.