Every day I sit and pray
When will you come and take me home
Where's the love, from above
I feel so lost and all alone
I want to be young and free
Not some fourth-class citizen

-- Intruder - Geri's Lament (When)

ICELAND - Iceland
France 1990

1. Brain Washing 2. Magic C'R'Cl 3. My Last Words 4. Merry Sinner 5. Traces Of Dreams 6. Final Mission 7. The Eyes Of The Blind Man 8. Slammin' Boys 9. Pariah 10. Still Have To Pray

There are many bands like Iceland, relatively unknown outside small circles but musically not too different from the majority of performers in the genre. This French group's full-length release starts out promising enough to raise your interest fairly high - the band's sound is very sharp and even fresh, and ultimately the album gets somewhat weary just because the rest of it is not quite strong enough to meet the initial expectations. In other words, Iceland promise a bit more than they are actually able to deliver. The song structures are varied enough and the band's presentation is powerful and all, but a bit more than that would have been needed in the end game. This album is still capable of giving a carefully favorable impression based on the sound and feel of it alone, but there is a certain lack of more persistent quality as well.

IMMACULATE - Thrash, Kill 'n' Destroy
Sweden 2007

1. Into The Pits Of Thrash 2. Satanic Thrash Uppsala 3. Yakuza 4. T.K.N.D. (You Figure It Out) 5. Thrash (Or Die Trying) 6. Instant Hell Murder 7. Leveled To The Ground (By A Steamroller) 8. ThrashZilla 9. ThrashZilla's Revenge 10. MechaNukeThrashZilla 11. The Burning Of Sodom (bonus)

With a title like Thrash, Kill 'n' Destroy, Immaculate's initial entry into the genre is guaranteed to appear quite stereotypical at the first sight. Not far from expected, the music is very homespun sounding thrash metal with mostly ordinary qualities, and while it would be possible to describe the style in more detail, this might mean giving the band too much credit. One of the weakest points of this album must be the lyrics that are dumber than dumb, almost so bad that one can only trust they were meant to be a total joke in the first place. Even then this whole thing just fails to entertain - while Leveled To The Ground (By A Steamroller) may be worth a chuckle or two, some of these track titles appear a lot more amusing than most of the actual songs. Granted, not every album needs to be a great piece of art, but Immaculate's effort is dangerously close to the total opposite of flawless.

IMMACULATE - Atheist Crusade
Sweden 2010

1. Cross Of Nero 2. Thrashark 3. The Immaculate Dead 4. Sanity's Eclipse / Steel Of The Missionary 5. Atheist Crusade 6. Thrash Metal Avenger 7. The Apparition 8. Gutterthrash

In comparison to Immaculate's previous release, Atheist Crusade seems a much more finished product. While it does not deviate too far from typical thrash metal antics, the result is quite listenable and fairly entertaining. The album is still not totally devoid of silly themes as evident on tracks like Thrash Metal Avenger, but in general the level of maturity is higher than on Thrash, Kill 'n' Destroy. The high-pitched vocals add to something of a distinctive sound, and when the speed is usually more than adequate, you probably cannot go really wrong with this one. Atheist Crusade is surely not one of the most original or memorable releases in the scene, but it has a certain touch of trustworthy workmanship that many other contemporary albums effectively lack.

IMPACT - Take The Pain
USA 1991

1. In The Flesh 2. Take The Pain 3. Kill On Kommand 4. When The Evil Takes Its Course 5. It's The End Of The World 6. To Your Death 7. Legacy Of Violence 8. Knowledge Is King 9. P.O.W. 10. Plaque Of Death 11. Erosion Of Will

As their name implies, Impact were to deliver just that, underground thrash metal with a genuine impact. From the opening moments of Take The Pain, you are in for a relentless running flow of thrash metal at its keenest - In The Flesh is totally in your face, and it doesn't end there. The production more than fits the content with a ripping sound and feel. The initial premise doesn't quite last through the whole length of this album, though, as there are no essential differences between these tracks by and large. In practice, it is one and the same idea that is being recycled here. It is a refreshing dose of no-nonsense thrashing that you hear, more so than on average actually, but it cannot be denied that despite all the good factors Impact's means of making their way forward were rather limited at best.

IMPACTOR - Arise In Decay
Germany 2012

1. Death By Train 2. Through The Wall 3. Outatime 4. When The Sunset Turns Blood-Red 5. Intoxication 6. A Night At "Cannibal's" 7. Symbolic Forces 8. Let The Napalm Reign 9. Arise In Decay

To stand out among the mediocre, a thrash album these days would be required to show either exceptional ferocity or genuine originality. Arise In Decay does neither, which makes Impactor's full-length debut just another one of those formally satisfactory but in practice quite forgettable entries in the scene. The best part of this album could be the vocals that are not without a sufficient edge, the rest repeats the tried and tested tricks a bit too much to become really enjoyable. It is by no means an unbearable experience, actually this is about as close to easy-listening material as typical thrash metal can reasonably be. The songs are just far from memorable, the impression is pretty average, and the whole release could be considered something that you might play once or twice, then forget about it for good.

IMPALER - Nightmare Attack
Japan 2009

1. AxPx 2. Nightmare Attack 3. I'm Alive 4. Dozaemon 5. Total Dementia 6. Slave Of Master 7. Thrash Genocide 8. Impaler

Many releases from Japanese thrash metal bands in recent years seem to promote a specific kind of musical frenzy, and Impaler's Nightmare Attack follows the trend. Although this is basically another manifestation of thrash metal essentials, the outward impression is a bit wilder than on most western bands' albums. In particular, the vocalist goes to great lengths with his relentless howling, which is kind of commendable. The lyrics are worth a special note, too, though not necessarily in a positive sense - most of them appear like something out of an automatic translator and end up being nearly nonsensical more often than not. That aside, Nightmare Attack provides little else than this genre is already full of, with no signs of real divergence. No matter how curious, none of Impaler's current antics is enough to give this album a boost that it would need to make a real impact.

I.N.C. - Razorback
USA 1987

1. I.N.C. 2. The Grip Of Death 3. War Not Words 4. Anarchy (The Pursuit Of Happiness) 5. Razorback 6. Fists From The Mighty 7. Fear 8. Passageway Through Purgatory

Indestructible Noise Command's albums must be nowadays some of the rarest things out there, deservedly so or not. The band's debut Razorback is a piece of technical, dry-sounding thrash metal with off-note vocals that sometimes give it an almost Voivod-ish feel although I.N.C. did derive their music from a more conventional thrash metal base. The almost academic sound of this debut album doesn't inspire any particularly positive comments although there are some genuine, even original touches on it. The band occasionally throw in some interesting riffs, but on the whole this album doesn't quite cut it. Although Razorback shows some promise here and there, eventually it fails to provide anything truly remarkable in the musical department.

I.N.C. - The Visitor
USA 1988

1. Dry Heave 2. Bed Time Stories 3. What Are You Looking At? 4. Thunder Struck 5. The Visitor 6. Scammed Again 7. Hypo-Dermic Coastline 8. Just What I Needed / Candy-O

The second and last release of I.N.C. has some of the dry feel of Razorback left, but otherwise it succeeds notably better in catching the listener's attention. The Visitor is heavier and also better produced than the band's debut while it still retains a certain customary, slightly quirky I.N.C. sound. No matter what, at least one can be sure of recognizing the band quite easily even from a short sample. The opening Dry Heave and the title track are probably the most accessible and also best tracks on this thing, but the rest is not too bad either. In fact, one can easily learn to like the band's unique, pounding guitar sound and sometimes funny vocals on this recording, and even the more unordinary riffs are quite interesting at least. Extra points must be given for the funniest "no thanks" note in the album inserts ever [*] - incidentally, the track Scammed Again is based on the same topic. Somewhat original and even surprising at times, The Visitor is not your most typical thrash metal album out there.

* The mentioned note, exactly as written on the album sleeve: INC would like to take the following out to Dinner and poison their food: Fuck you to Don and his shit licking studio. You big drug usin, wife loosin, heavy boozin, dog starving, blood moppin, mercedes wreckin, bow legged hiring, phone cryin, cradle robbing, non-book writing, pipe beating, lawsuit catching guy, you! And to "Larry Cox", may you and Don be permanently crazy glued in a 69 position for eternity, and be force-fed ex-lax. Her's mud in your eye!

INCINERATOR - Thrash Attack
Sweden 2000

1. Scream Queen 2. Storm Of The Thrasher 3. The Collapse 4. Bestial Rage 5. Hypocritical Convictions

As far as banal album titles go, Incinerator's Thrash Attack is directly comparable to Arakain's Thrash!, but at least you can easily guess what the band's style is all about already long before hearing a single note from this mini album. It is probably not a great surprise that there is nothing particularly novel or original in Incinerator's music, as they sound pretty much like any thrash metal band at this stage could be expected to sound at the very least. While the output is fairly powerful, it is by no means exceptional when compared to most other bands. It would have been possible to make a difference by providing some genuine hooks and memorable riffs, but obviously that didn't happen. In the end Thrash Attack is just another formally correct recording, only devoid of anything above the minimum requirements.

INCUBUS - Serpent Temptation
USA 1988

1. The Battle Of Armageddon 2. Voices From The Grave 3. Sadistic Sinner 4. Incubus 5. Blaspheming Prophets 6. Hunger For Power 7. Serpent Temptation 8. Underground Killers

Incubus made a strong start as one of the heaviest bands in the 1980s. While their later recordings are more firmly in the death metal territory, Serpent Temptation is an example of pure thrashing rage in its finest form, with barking vocals and rampaging guitars. When Incubus play at reasonable speeds, they produce some of the heaviest riffs you can ever hope to hear. However, some tracks really test the limits of speed and occasionally go beyond. It's not like the band couldn't hold it together, sometimes you just really have to concentrate to be able to follow with the riot. Especially the ultra-fast guitar solos on this album often sound downright rushed, making even bands like Slayer sound almost progressive in comparison. But it's the overall impact that matters and that's where Serpent Temptation really makes its mark.

Note: The CD release of this album features re-recorded vocals (in a dull death metal vein) and guitars, also some track titles are different.

Netherlands 1993

1. All This Is All 2. Dirge 3. Chivy About 4. Self Conceit 5. Some Overdo It 6. The... End 7. Relapse 8. Warfare 9. Enigmatic Chamber 10. Cut This Live Off From Me

Incursion Dementa (whose name must be a misspelled homage to Nasty Savage) made something of an uneven entry in the thrash metal realm. Most of All This Is... is filled with heavy and often quite fast thrashing which carries all the usual traits including a suitably grim guitar sound, but it does not really catch fire. The first half of the album is essentially stronger and more consistent, with The... End acting as a divider where the band seriously cut speed and produce a long, dreamy and somewhat aimless journey. This one exception aside, Incursion Dementa never give up on their heavy attack, but it is clear that a remarkable recording this is not. While All This Is... sounds sufficiently forceful, most of it just ends up being too much on the forgettable, even dull side, and that's almost the worst thing that can happen.

INDESTROY - Indestroy
USA 1987

1. The Gate 2. U.S.S.A. 3. Ground Zero 4. Dead Girls (Don't Say No) 5. Fatal Sin 6. Brain Damaged 7. Justice Sucks 8. Shadowlord 9. A.I.M.L.E.S.S. 10. Dismembered

Indestroy were possibly one of the most interesting and original bands on the New Renaissance Records underground label. Therefore it's a pity that their debut suffers from an awfully muddy and unbalanced production that really takes away from the listening experience. This is particularly sad because many songs on this album are actually quite good, if somewhat unpolished. For example, Dead Girls (Don't Say No) is a fast and hilarious piece with some punkish influences that are apparent also on many other tracks. There would be enough originality and energy in the music to make it rise above the average level, if it just weren't for the poor production.

INDESTROY - Senseless Theories
USA 1989

1. Tortured By Fire 2. Living In Filth 3. Terminal Choice 4. Senseless Theories 5. Sam The Butcher 6. Instant Insanity

By this mini album Indestroy's music had gone through a major change in the sound department. Forget the bad production and simplistic arrangements, now Indestroy sounded like a totally different band with sharp, scathing guitars and roaring vocals. Starting from the vicious Tortured By Fire, these tracks are highly effective, crushing pieces of thrash metal that make the debut look like a rehearsal tape of a lesser band. There's not a single filler track on this album, and actually the only negative thing about this release is that it's pretty short. As a result, Senseless Theories is easily better than most full-length albums out there.

INFECTED - Who Is Not?
Brazil 2009

1. Intro 2. Fear 3. Hate 4. Violent Reaction 5. The Damned Land 6. Possession 7. Fight To Survive 8. Thrash Attack 9. Death For Us All 10. Dirty Bitch

If thrash metal could be defined with a precise equation, Who Is Not? would be the output. Infected's debut release is a piece of extremely typical homegrown thrash metal that admittedly sounds fairly energetic but not strong enough to make a prominent impression. The album starts off in quite a promising way, with a sharp guitar sound and all, but it doesn't take long before the ordinary qualities of the music become too obvious to be ignored. This is thrash metal for the most genre-savvy persons and keen fans of the style, as it can require a lot of knowledge and experience to be able to appreciate the minor details that may provide an occasional sense of entertainment. Frankly, most people are probably not that dedicated. While Who Is Not? would pass a formal genre review with flying colors, it is another story if it's really worth it to spend a good half hour or even more on this album.

INFECTED - Dark Century
Switzerland 1989

1. Intro 2. Media Control 3. Dark Century 4. State Oppression 5. Brutalities Behind Your Back 6. Old No. 7 7. Headless 8. Backstabbing Small-Talk 9. Conditioned Minds

It is not too difficult to get Orwellian associations when Infected's Dark Century is playing. The band's style is more than fitting for the theme, cheerless thrash metal with very gruff vocals. While the songwriting formula is rather effective and the output remains equally consistent, all tracks admittedly sound quite similar to each other, and more often than not you could even call this album downright monotonous. It is only very small details that make tracks like State Oppression appear a bit more striking than the others, but the impact can vary a lot depending on personal preferences. Infected definitely knew how to stay focused for a full-length album, but if you are not well prepared in advance then Dark Century can be a tiresome listening experience in all its bleak approach.

INFERNAL ASSAULT - Natural Selection
USA 2012

1. Martial Law 2. Cop Killer 3. Natural Selection 4. Insane Asylum 5. Media Paranoia 6. Supremacist 7. Scum 8. Paradox Of Time 9. Cultural Death

Natural Selection is not too bad for a typical fast-paced thrash metal album. More than anything, it is a healthy reminder that it doesn't take a formal recording contract or an expensive producer for a band to be able to make and release a decent full-length album nowadays. For what it is worth, the music undeniably appears rather energetic and at times even sort of appealing with all its free-spirited underground mentality, but certainly the band's sound can sometimes feel quite one-dimensional and standard. In the end Natural Selection is just another acceptable demonstration of its kind, with nothing particularly striking or noteworthy about the whole thing.

Canada 1987

1. Overlord 2. R.I.P. 3. Night Of The Living Dead 4. S.O.S. 5. None Shall Defy 6. Skeletons In The Closet 7. Anthology Of Death 8. Path Of The Psyco

Infernal Majesty were one of the more notable Canadian thrash metal bands in the 1980s. None Shall Defy provides some heavy, dark thrashing very closely in the vein of Slayer's Hell Awaits in both good and bad. At their best, like on the title track and Skeletons In The Closet, the band play reasonably fast and tight thrash metal. When they drop some speed and intensity, the result can be downright flat and boring. The music is full of satanic imagery similar to early Slayer releases, which of course is nothing special. Based on this recording Infernal Majesty were actually among the heaviest Canadian bands, although musically the others were usually more interesting. In any case, None Shall Defy is a decent thrash metal album even though far from overly impressive.

INFERNO - Utter Hell
Norway 1996

1. Intro From Hell 2. Satanic Overkill 3. Tormentor 4. Ripping Hell 5. Storming Metal 6. Infernal Invasion 7. Sodom (Burning The Flag) 8. Necroslut 9. Torment Her 10. Massacre In Hell 11. Inferno

Sometimes a change of pace from usual, more serious recordings can be only a good thing, and Inferno were a band to provide a lighter approach. Utter Hell is essentially nothing but a homage to German bands from the early 1980s, only played in a more relaxed manner and with a certain Motorhead-ish vibe. To call this album unoriginal would be a severe understatement, but the result is strangely entertaining even though it was outdated already at the time of its release. The vocals are actually the best part of this album, crude and somewhat incoherent but also full of life and positively fitting for the theme. Despite or because of the major rehashing of old ideas, Utter Hell is not too memorable - it is more like a blend of simple riffs that have seen their best days already. But there is still room for albums like this, at least when they are created and played sparingly.

INFERNO - Downtown Hades
Norway 1997

1. Straight From Hell 2. Utter Hell 3. Rot In Hell 4. Roadkill 5. In Bed With Satan 6. Bulldozer 7. Alcoholocaust 8. Thrash Till Death 9. Metal Attack 10. Violator

With Downtown Hades Inferno actually showed some clear progress. Among the most obvious hints, the band kicked up the speed another notch or two, and the songs are generally shorter and more to the point. As a result, this album sounds tighter and more intense than Utter Hell. For the most part it would still pass as just a nice pastiche of the old if there weren't some notable signs of actual creativity present. In particular, Alcoholocaust is the real highlight of this album, a wild thrasher that starts out sounding pretty typical, but when the band promptly kick into full gear there is no return. Even though it is the only really memorable piece of its kind, this one track is infinitely more than most other bands could ever wish for. While Downtown Hades is still by no means a classic as a whole, for a piece of unstressful thrash metal it is surely a fair treat.

INFEX - Circling The Drain
USA 2012

1. Intro 2. Catalyst 3. Torn Apart 4. Shell Shocked 5. Black As The Son 6. Heroes 7. Witching Hour 8. Circling The Drain

Call it weariness over hearing an umpteenth release of the same or whatever, but Circling The Drain doesn't exactly make a fresh impression. It's more like a sample from a band who chose to play basic thrash metal as if this sort of thing hadn't been heard ever before. It is a straightforward and uncomplicated flavor that you will find here, but as it becomes evident already before getting half-way through, you cannot avoid boredom creeping in every now and then. Infex cannot be considered timid, their sound is rather convincing but also quite repetitive, and the album as a whole comes across as a little bit homespun to boot. As such, the output is far from the most exciting kind.

France 2010

1. Escaped 2. The Past Never Dies 3. Legion Of Death 4. Translator 5. Impulsive Attack 6. Dead By Dawn 7. Zombie Squad 8. Fear The Face Of Death

It is not without value that Infinite Translation's Impulsive Attack kicks off with some impressive speed, but you may start to wonder about the lack of vocals before realizing that Escaped is actually an instrumental, and quite average as such for an intro. The lengthy title track is another piece that sounds more like an ordinary song where the vocals have been just omitted except for the very end - it is certainly nowhere near the complexity of Death Angel's The Ultra-Violence or even Re-Animator's Condemned To Eternity. As for real sung tracks, they don't remarkably deviate from the norm, running at a fast pace for the most part. The general tone is sufficiently heavy despite the fast rhythms, and technically this album is a fully competent piece of work. But if you are looking for anything exceptional in the riff and composition department, Impulsive Attack is unlikely to attract attention.

France 2012

1. Malicious Mental Oppression 2. Destined To Death 3. Join The Masses 4. Killing Solution 5. I'll Love You Dead 6. Lead To Madness 7. Life Of Submisson 8. The Boat Can Leave Now 9. Masked Reality

Infinite Translation's second release contains no surprises whatsoever in either good or bad. Not unlike its predecessor, Masked Reality employs a sharp sound quality, and speed is definitely not an issue here. It seems like a fairly ambitious album both musically and lyrically, therefore it is a slight pity that these songs ultimately recycle some quite unmemorable riffs. In terms of longevity and interesting features, the impression is simply missing something important. An honorable mention must be given to the frantic I'll Love You Dead - that aside, a lot of this album plays in the same consistent yet rather forgettable manner, and in the end it is just too easy to listen to it once and then never come back.

INSANE - Wait And Pray
Italy 2004

1. Total Alarm 2. Sacrificer 3. Four Magicians 4. Die In Hell / Metal Torment 5. Evil Is At Hand 6. Death By Command 7. The Exorcist 8. Wait And Pray

Insane's Wait And Pray is quite an amusing affair. When the whole thing openly imitates Slayer's Show No Mercy, it may be difficult to take an objective stance on it. Surprisingly, the result sounds convincing enough so that it is not totally impossible to maintain the necessary suspension of disbelief. The songs faithfully follow the characteristic feel of the original material they were modeled after, and the vocals are very close to Tom Araya's early style. Not to mention that these tracks actually sound pretty good in a nice old-fashioned way. It is unknown whether Insane ever intended to continue further with the same approach, but in its current state Wait And Pray remains the only piece of evidence from the experiment. While the long-time value of such a direct homage may be debatable, this is as close to Show No Mercy as you can get without resorting to the real thing.

INSANITY - Death After Death
USA 1994

1. Attack Of Archangels 2. Fire, Death, Fate 3. In Memory 4. Rotting Decay 5. Morbid Lust 6. Blood For Blood 7. Possession 8. Death After Death

Take the uncontrolled speed of Incubus, couple it with the unforgiving tone of Burnt Offering, add a drop of chaos from Hellwitch, and something like Death After Death might emerge from the mix. Although the roots of Insanity date back in the 1980s, the band's full-length release is a late bloomer of a sort. The album opens with an utterly frenetic aural onslaught in the form of Attack Of Archangels and Fire, Death, Fate that already leave most other bands behind in speed and pure attitude. This is practically a tad more extreme variant of thrash metal, drawing its inspiration from the time when "death metal" didn't mean cookie monster vocals and complex song structures. While the music can appear like something of a mixed bag at times, Insanity consistently throw in some serious guitar work, and it is not only due to the title track that this album ends on a positive note. When pointless and even dull releases are abound, Death After Death is an exception that should leave no one cold.

Note: Not unlike what Incubus did with Serpent Temptation, this album has been later partially re-recorded with vocals closer to typical death metal.

INSINNERATOR - Stalagmite Of Ice
USA 2011

1. Evil Spirit From Beyond 2. Children Of The Cult 3. Sabretooth 4. Rites Of Execution 5. Stalagmite Of Ice 6. Malicious Resurrection 7. Knee Deep In The Dead 8. Face The Insinnerator 9. Money For A Good Mood 10. Nightmare Theatre

You got to give it to Insinnerator, Stalagmite Of Ice is pretty much guaranteed to grab your attention right at the start. This is largely due to its keen non-stop thrash attack that should immediately remind you of certain older bands like Impact. The sound mix is kind of interesting, too - the sharp guitar sound is nothing short of perfect whereas the drums can sometimes barely be heard in the background. The vocals have a slightly funny tone but that just adds to the energetic feel of it all. This album hardly contains any new thrash classics, but it has an audible edge and the result is a lot more than just an inside joke or a feeble attempt at riding the same fashion wave together with everyone and their dog. Most importantly, a listening session for Stalagmite Of Ice does not feel like reading a phone book from cover to cover, back and forth.

Mexico 2009

1. Slaves For Conviction 2. Evil In Your Veins 3. Porno Thrasher 4. No Mercy (For Blade) 5. Tonight 6. Intoxxxicated 7. Fuck Yourself 8. Cheetos En La Torta 9. I Want You Dead 10. Zombie Attack 11. Outro

When you start encountering albums like Intoxxxicated's Beware Of Metal on a regular basis, it is difficult to avoid thoughts that maybe the saturation of the genre has reached another peak. This is thrash metal in a rather generic form, with no twists or surprises to be found. Although the band's output is very vigorous and you certainly cannot blame them for putting a lot of effort into it, very little of that actually sticks to your head. Most of these songs are easily skippable although Porno Thrasher is kind of novel in all its utter silliness. The latter also serves as an example of some of the most laughable lyrics, though it is not really one of a kind. At least there is no lack of speed when this album is playing, but it's hard to recall much of anything else.

Mexico 2012

1. You're The Nail 2. This Is War 3. Speed And Beer 4. Mosh And Lascerate 5. Rise Of The Machines 6. Thrashformers 7. What I Think... 8. Chains 9. Disposable 10. Disarm The Army

It cannot be helped that Intoxxxicated's first release ended up quite a forgettable piece of thrash metal straight from the farm league. While V.I.O.L.E.N.C.E. is not necessarily a vast improvement in either substance or style, the album is at least a direct and unhindered example of frenzied underground thrash. The band's raw sound can appear even sort of refreshing at times, and generally the music feels more relevant than on Beware Of Metal. This is still hardly among the most advanced developments in the scene, and albums like Strike Master's Majestic Strike are still miles ahead of Intoxxxicated's fairly simple and unrefined offerings. But you know, sometimes even underdog bands are only one release away from turning out great.

INTRUDER - Live To Die
USA 1987

1. Cover Up 2. Turn Back 3. Victory In Disguise 4. Live To Die 5. Kiss Of Death 6. Cold-Blooded Killer 7. Blind Rage 8. T.M. (You Paid The Price)

For having been released originally on an underground label, Intruder's debut album got a surprisingly crisp and clear production. Live To Die is a versatile and fairly heavy piece of speed/thrash metal that involves even a small amount of originality. The vocals are rather high-pitched but aggressive enough for this kind of music, and in comparison to some later releases of the band, the songs on this album are more memorable and energetic. You probably cannot avoid a recurring feeling that some of Intruder's antics were not too novel even at the time of this release, but the band's powerful performance helps to overcome this kind of thinking. Live To Die is nowhere near the most classic or meaningful albums of its kind, but the fresh and lively sound still makes it a decent one indeed.

Note: The CD releases of this album feature different cover artwork than the original vinyl.

INTRUDER - A Higher Form Of Killing
USA 1989

1. Time Of Trouble 2. The Martyr 3. Genetic Genocide 4. Second Chance 5. (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone 6. Killing Winds 7. The Sentence Is Death 8. Agents Of The Dark (M.I.B.) 9. Antipathy 10. Mr. Death

Having moved to a bigger record label, Intruder continued with a more streamlined and slightly faster style. Their second album A Higher Form Of Killing is somewhat more coherent when compared to Live To Die, but the music is also a bit less catchy and the riffs seem to have lost their best hooks. As a result, some of these lengthy tracks just flow through your head without a trace. The band certainly sound professional but also lack some character, and except for the constant high speed there is little in this album to make it fully stand out of the crowd. However, the music remains fast and consistent, and the ending track Mr. Death has some special humorous appeal of its own. While A Higher Form Of Killing is not quite as memorable as Intruder's previous release, it does have other merits of its own.

INTRUDER - Escape From Pain
USA 1990

1. 25 Or 6 To 4 2. Escape From Pain 3. Cold-Blooded Killer 4. Kiss Of Death 5. T.M. (You Paid The Price)

After a couple of full-length albums, Intruder released this mini album as a preparation for their coming tour. Although Escape From Pain is rather long for its format (about a half hour), only the title track is actually of new material. 25 Or 6 To 4 is a cover song, and the last three tracks from the band's debut are re-recorded versions - not surprisingly, they are the best tracks on the whole thing. The long title track is pretty much in the vein of A Higher Form Of Killing, in other words, well-done but somewhat forgettable. For those who already have Live To Die, Escape From Pain is practically an unnecessary release.

INTRUDER - Psycho Savant
USA 1991

1. Face Of Hate 2. Geri's Lament 3. The Enemy Within 4. It's A Good Life 5. Invisible 6. Traitor To The Living 7. Final Word 8. N.G.R.I.

The feel of Intruder's last album is heavy and pondering, also somewhat slower than on the earlier efforts. Psycho Savant adds some diversity to the band's tested sound though musically it still doesn't quite match Live To Die. Although this album is slightly more versatile than a couple of previous releases, the songs are generally a bit too long for their own good, which makes the album unnecessarily plodding at times. The most memorable track is definitely Geri's Lament (When) which must be lyrically one of the most original songs in the genre ever. As a whole, Psycho Savant is like most other Intruder releases - well executed but not particularly interesting or ground-breaking.

INVECTION - Facet Of Aberration
USA 2011

1. Impulsive Violence 2. Invection 3. Derealization 4. Formication 5. Drug Justice 6. Solace In Mediocrity 7. Two Faced Lie 8. As The Locust Starve 9. Broken Silence 10. Noetic Affliction

There is evidence that Invection's full-length debut was a long time in the making. Whether it's due to this background or not, but the most notable feature of the finished product could be its general restless feel. Facet Of Aberration sounds like a release that doesn't quite reach its greatest potential, yet some of the most frantic moments like Two Faced Lie are still worth a note. These individual pieces are not quite enough to boost the album as a whole permanently outside the typical comfort zone, though. Clearly Facet Of Aberration is a coherent recording that has something of a style of its own, but eventually it is not too tempting to give this album another listen very soon.

INVERNO - Inverno
Italy 2012

1. Prelude To The Bomb 2. Tsar Bomb 3. Pray 4. Terrorizer 5. Beer 6. Chemical Death 7. War 8. Religious Explosion 9. Lager

Maybe the only noteworthy thing about Inverno's self-titled release is how consistently and thoroughly mediocre it is. Everything seems to have been made with the lowest common denominator in mind. The music is not extremely fast, just something from the middle of the road, and the production is passable at best. Lyrics deal with the usual generic topics like war and religion, not to forget a mandatory note about beer. And if someone claims to find value in these riffs that are often downright boring then they haven't heard much indeed. With thirty years of thrash metal history behind, albums like this can be surprisingly disappointing.

INVOCATOR - Excursion Demise
Denmark 1991

1. Excursion Demise 2. (...To A Twisted Recess Of Mind) 3. Forsaken Ones 4. The Persistence From Memorial Chasm 5. Absurd Temptation 6. Schismatic Injective Therapy 7. Occurrence Concealed 8. Beyond Insufferable Dormancy 9. Inner Contrarieties 10. Alterations (bonus)

The other remarkable Danish thrash band besides Artillery, Invocator started with a ferocious debut album. Excursion Demise is an outburst of almost non-stop extreme thrash metal with harsh vocals and some death-ish touches. The production is quite good and gives some additional boost for the music that occasionally tends to sound a bit repetitive. Although the high-speed efforts pay off fairly well (take the title track or The Persistence From Memorial Chasm as examples of better songs), sometimes the thing just drifts a bit off the target, making a few tracks sound too samey. But it's Invocator's uncompromising style on this release that holds the pieces together and makes Excursion Demise a strong album with some rude charm. After all, I've found myself giving it more spins than one might expect based on the initial impression only.

IRON ANGEL - Hellish Crossfire
Germany 1985

1. The Metallian 2. Sinner 3. Black Mass 4. The Church Of The Lost Souls 5. Hunter In Chains 6. Rush Of Power 7. Legions Of Evil 8. Wife Of The Devil 9. Nightmare 10. Heavy Metal Soldiers

Iron Angel deserves an honorable mention already for having been one of the earliest German speed/thrash metal bands in the 1980s. Not only that, but the band's debut is a classic one in its own right. From today's perspective, Hellish Crossfire has even a surprisingly good production with a very heavy and thick sound. The songs are fast and heavy stompers, backed up by nasty vocals and a good deal of catchy riffs that make the whole thing a memorable listening experience. This album really has some great old-fashioned appeal which many of the newer releases out there lack. On the other hand, some sense of nostalgia is certainly needed to be able to bear with such examples of cheesiness as Heavy Metal Soldiers. But even with some apparent signs of its old age starting to show up, Hellish Crossfire has a lot of good points and easily remains one of the better releases from the early years of the thrash metal genre.

IRONCHRIST - Getting The Most Out Of Your Extinction
USA 1990

1. Getting The Most Out Of Your Extinction 2. Neurotica 3. World War Three (Crack Party Weekend) 4. Mechanized Emotions 5. Equilibrium 6. Cyborg 7. Contusions 8. White Plague 9. Inheritance 10. Intermission

Every now and then a musical genre could use a good kick to avoid stagnation, and Ironchrist's Getting The Most Out Of Your Extinction is one of those albums that can deliver it. While this release has a certain hardcoreish tinge, it actually works for the benefit of the whole thing. The absolutely shredding guitar sound is little short of perfect, and in terms of thrashing out these songs just put many others to shame. Despite a notably wild attitude, Ironchrist's music is far from simplistic - in fact, there are touches of variety, including two fully instrumental pieces, that make this album rival even the productions of some officially more technical thrash metal bands for good. Most important of all, the music is rarely dull in the slightest. Getting The Most Out Of Your Extinction may be a less known chapter in the history of thrash metal, but it is worth the time and effort to check it out.