You're always sticking your nose into my life
I wish you would leave me alone
Why can't you just shut your mouth
and keep your mind off my life and onto your own
Why can't you leave me alone
I don't want your goddamned help

-- Nuclear Assault - Great Depression

NAMELESS - The Overcome Of The Portuguese Bastards
Portugal 1996

1. The Overcome Of... The Portuguese Bastards 2. Blood Is Life 3. The Reasons Of War 4. When The Maniac Comes Near 5. Feel Like Shit 6. The Mansion 7. Consumed By Hate 8. End 9. Nameless 10. Confused Minds

With a band called Nameless, it becomes more difficult to joke about obscure no-name acts. Not only that, but also based on the title of their debut release it is obvious that this group had a good sense of self-irony. A distinctive feature of The Overcome Of The Portuguese Bastards is the underproduced sound quality that gives the album almost punkish overtones. While this unavoidably tends to make the band sound sloppy even if undeservedly so, their musical style is also far from overpolished and therefore suitable for this kind of production. Most of the time this album is not exactly a speed demon, but what Nameless may lose in pure fury they partially gain back in the unruly "live" feel of their music. Even though the result may not suit everyone's taste, one can say that this album is bound to end on something of a positive note despite its rough qualities.

NAPALM - Cruel Tranquility
USA 1989

1. Mind Melt 2. A.O.A. 3. Shake It Off 4. Gag Of Steel 5. Devastation 6. Combat Zone 7. Immoral Society 8. Attack On America 9. Reanimate 10. Act Of Betrayal / Nightmare Administrator 11. Practice What You Preach 12. Kranked Up And Out

Napalm's Cruel Tranquility combined some obvious elements of hardcore with more complex and heavy thrash metal into a surprisingly fine album. The plain vocals and a few rather short songs are quite standard hardcore-ish touches, but Napalm's very heavy approach really makes the music rise above the average level and also makes the result refreshing when compared to many other more generic thrash bands. Of course, an album of this kind starts to wear out pretty soon if heard too often, but taken every now and then Cruel Tranquility is assured to cheer you up with its fresh sound. Despite not being a groundbreaking release by any means, it certainly can provide a welcome break from some less inspired thrash metal albums.

Japan 1994

1. As The World Is Burnt 2. Greed 3. Scanning Hell 4. Lost Power 5. Injector II 6. Disruption 7. Future Kill 8. Partial Existence

Fatal may be the best album originated from the old thrash metal scene in Japan. That's guaranteed to sound like a bold statement at first, but Narcotic Greed had what it takes to make an impression that will last. The feel of this album is very energetic and nimble, with a positive power drive that thrives from the very first notes. Worth a special mention, every so often the band's style brings Forbidden's debut release Forbidden Evil to mind, with similar vocals and everything - which is not to say that this would be a mere copycat, more like a respectable successor to the original spirit. One could actually go as far as to say that this may be the best album that Forbidden never recorded. While it is probably not appropriate to label Narcotic Greed as an exemplary group, Fatal can be easily recommended to anyone who wants something more than just going through the motions.

NASTY SAVAGE - Indulgence
USA 1987

1. Stabbed In The Back 2. Divination 3. XXX 4. Indulgence 5. Inferno 6. Hypnotic Trance 7. Incursion Dementia 8. Distorted Fanatic 9. ?

Nasty Savage were an interesting band playing some more conventional heavy metal in the beginning of their career but then proceeding on to the thrashier territory. Indulgence is an album of crushing speed/thrash metal with a wonderfully heavy and rich production. Although there are some mid-tempo tracks still left, the general feel of this album is very thrashy and heavy. A distinctive feature of the band's sound must be Nasty Ronnie's vocals, a mix of low growling and occasional melodic singing (with an extremely high-pitched voice). The songs have a great, dark feel to them, and the plentiful use of double-bass drumming really adds to the general heaviness of this album. Indulgence is probably the best demonstration of Nasty Savage's original style and a fine speed/thrash metal album indeed.

NASTY SAVAGE - Penetration Point
USA 1989

1. Welcome Wagon 2. Irrational 3. Ritual Submission 4. Powerslam 5. Sin Eater 6. Penetration Point 7. Puzzled 8. Horizertical 9. Family Circus

By their last album in the 1980s Nasty Savage had fully adopted the thrash metal formula, but at the same time some of the rich sound of Indulgence was apparently lost. The feel of Penetration Point is rather sterile and plain, and the band sound less intense than in the past. Especially the vocals are more one-dimensional on this album. Many songs are actually somewhat more complex and technical than before, but the music on the whole fails to have the same kind of dark appeal as the tracks on Indulgence. While this album still has its fair share of interesting moments, it can leave you pretty indifferent as there is nothing particularly memorable in it - unfortunately so, as there were expectations for a lot better from this one.

NASTY SAVAGE - Psycho Psycho
USA 2004

1. Psycho Psycho 2. Hell Unleashed 3. Anguish 4. Human Factor 5. Terminus Maximus 6. Dementia 13 7. Step Up To The Plate 8. Return Of The Savage 9. Triumphal Entry 10. Betrayal System 11. Savage Desire 12. Merciless Truths

Another long lost thrash metal band to return to the field, Nasty Savage at least had a lot to improve after their last release in the 1980s. The initial moments of Psycho Psycho should be enough to make you jump around for a while just for hearing what Nasty Savage can do at their best, even though the feeling does not last through the whole album. This time there is more flesh and blood around the bones than on Penetration Point, and the best tracks are like something straight out of Indulgence. Unfortunately some other parts of the album are quite average as far as songwriting goes. Many songs just do not have a point and fail to catch any serious attention, although certain basic riffs are used repeatedly in a fairly tasty manner. At least the production is top-notch, exactly what you would expect Nasty Savage to sound like. It is a bit disappointing that despite its good points Psycho Psycho somehow lacks the final touch, however, it must be admitted that the band's dark sound is excellent.

NATIONAL NAPALM SYNDICATE - National Napalm Syndicate
Finland 1989

1. 911 2. Ante Mortem 3. Deathwish 4. Final Gathering 5. Lucy 6. 14U 7. Pain Of Pleasure 8. Silent Violence 9. Sunrise 10. Where Fears Reign 11. Realm Of Chaos

Although probably simplifying things a bit, it would not be too far fetched to call National Napalm Syndicate yet another cult band of their time. While it is always a welcome treat to hear little known recordings like this band's debut album, to consider this release anything more than an average product at best would mean giving it too much credit. Featuring some rather unsurprising thrash metal, this recording does not exactly sport any great innovations that would not have been heard before in these circles. It is only occasionally that the band's very basic approach results in some individual memorable moments, but whole songs of high quality are not too easily found here, the powerful Lucy being maybe the only exception. When the most distinctive detail about National Napalm Syndicate seems to have been their name, you cannot help feeling at least slightly disappointed.

NATIONAL SUICIDE - The Old Family Is Still Alive
Italy 2009

1. National Suicide 2. Nu Posers Don't Scare Anyone 3. The Old Family Is Still Alive 4. Let Me See Your Pogo 5. Wanted 6. Into The Clubhouse 7. Sucks 'n' Artillery 8. Please Welcome... My Friends! 9. This Is A Raid

Take the logo of Nuclear Assault and modify it a little bit, emulate the sound of Overkill from the late 1980s, make it complete with a Blitz clone on vocals, and you have National Suicide. Maybe this band's first full-length release The Old Family Is Still Alive should be practically considered nothing more than a homage to their role models, but it surely does not leave a remarkable impression. From a purely conventional point of view, the sound department is more than appropriate, and if this album contained blatant cover songs then it might have some curiosity value after all. As of now, one can only wonder if bands like this really expect to make it without more strength and originality in songwriting. While not all recent acts are totally hopeless, the most derivative works like The Old Family Is Still Alive only make it increasingly tempting to resort to the real thing instead.

NECRODEATH - Into The Macabre
Italy 1987

1. ...Agony / The Flag Of The Inverted Cross 2. At The Mountains Of Madness 3. Sauthenerom 4. Mater Tenebrarum 5. Necrosadist 6. Internal Decay 7. Graveyard Of The Innocents 8. The Undead / Agony (Reprise)

After the release of seminal albums like Possessed's Seven Churches and Kreator's Pleasure To Kill, it was most obvious that progress towards an increasingly extreme sound had irreversibly started. Necrodeath's debut release perfectly fits in this development. Into The Macabre is a ferocious album of blackened thrash metal with macabre lyrics and an attitude to match. Despite an occasional rushed feel, this recording managed to put most other releases of the time to shame as far as pure maniacal energy goes. Not only that, but this is an album that wouldn't sound too much out of place even in today's contemporary metal scene, with some surprisingly classy touches on many songs. Although Necrodeath would follow their first piece of work with something even more impressive, Into The Macabre was a notable achievement in a scene that was already getting filled with competition.

NECRODEATH - Fragments Of Insanity
Italy 1989

1. Choose Your Death 2. Tanathoid 3. State Of Progressive Annihilation 4. Metempsychosis 5. Fragments Of Insanity 6. Enter My Subconscious 7. Stillbirth 8. Eucharistical Sacrifice

Together with Bulldozer's Neurodeliri, Necrodeath's sophomore effort may represent the pinnacle of traditional thrash metal from Italy. On their second release the band took the aggressive base of their debut and refined it to the maximum effect. In comparison to Into The Macabre, the sound of Fragments Of Insanity is cleaner and more analytical, also more technical to some degree. Whereas songs on the previous album were solid but sometimes appeared like they were running a bit out of control, this follow-up release becomes almost a total opposite, without sacrificing speed or intensity in the process. Despite some more advanced songwriting and additional complexity, the performance remains as convincing as ever. With a lot of great riffs and tight arrangements, the whole thing sounds very consistent, stylish, and memorable. As a result, Fragments Of Insanity is a masterpiece of dark consciousness and a true classic in its own right.

NECRONOMICON - Necronomicon
Germany 1986

1. Blind Destruction 2. Hades Invasion 3. Magic Forest 4. Iron Charm 5. Dark Land 6. Possessed By Evil 7. Bloody Revenge 8. Insanity

For a piece of Destruction inspired thrash metal, Necronomicon's debut release can be a surprisingly tedious and discouraging listening experience. The band's style on their first album is like a rougher and duller variant of their more famous countrymen's works prior to this moment, much less attractive and more unfinished in quality and content. Most of these tracks feature quite basic riffwork, and although there are occasional hints of some more interesting developments to come, the general feel remains fairly primitive and unexciting. Complete with only rudimentary production values at best, this album inevitably gives something of a lackluster impression.

NECRONOMICON - Apocalyptic Nightmare
Germany 1987

1. Rhetorical Dictums 2. In Memory 3. Broken Illusions 4. Retributive Strike 5. The Ancient Ones 6. Apocalyptic Nightmare 7. The Following Century (Darkland II)

While Necronomicon's career would eventually continue to span several decades and even produce some noteworthy individual releases after all, their earliest works are not the best examples of this band's capabilities. Although the sound of Apocalyptic Nightmare is at least a moderate improvement over the previous album, there is not exactly any vast musical difference between these two recordings - which means that inspirational moments can be few and far between. This kind of strict adherence to some pretty basic and rough stylings is actually comparable to the early years of older bands like Razor, but at this stage Necronomicon were already starting to get left behind in the genre.

Germany 1988

1. Death Toll 2. Black Frost 3. Dirty Minds 4. Skeletal Remains 5. Murder Of Profit 6. ...And The Night Will Be Silent 7. Mosh The ABC 8. Cold Ages (Darkland III)

Based on Necronomicon's earlier efforts, there were not necessarily any high hopes for the band's third release in advance. But lo and behold, only a few seconds into Escalation should be already enough to make you wonder if this is really the same group playing. This album is indeed something else than its less impressive predecessors. With a lot more focused approach to songwriting and generally a tighter and faster performance, the band's music appears immediately more convincing than ever before. Most songs are quite effective on their own, Death Toll and Cold Ages even minor classics. With almost none of the old annoyances remaining, Escalation is a positively surprising and solid release, easily among Necronomicon's best to date.

Note: This album has been reissued also as The Devils Tongue with different cover art.

Germany 1994

1. Final Course 2. Second Birth 3. Just Say No! 4. Bitter Sweet Perversion 5. Temptation 6. Crushing Defeat 7. How Long You Think... 8. Irreversible Destruction 9. Ruins (They Will Cry Tomorrow) 10. Groovy Mouth

After a few years of hiatus, Screams was not too far apart from Necronomicon's traditional sound. Obviously the band's style had become slightly more mature and diverse, and familiar sounding fast thrashers are accompanied with certain touches of unexpected variety. In fact, the captivating Bitter Sweet Perversion and the incredibly classy ballad Ruins could even be the highlights of this album despite their more mellow tone. As an amusing note, on a couple of occasions the band manage to sound like Destruction more than ever before, though as a whole this recording does have a feel of its own. While Escalation remains Necronomicon's most memorable piece of work, Screams is actually not that much behind.

NECRONOMICON - Construction Of Evil
Germany 2004

1. Stormbringer 2. Fiction 3. Hard Pain 4. From Hell 5. Alight 6. Paralizer 7. Bone Daddy 8. Hills Of Dead 9. Fireball 10. Terrorist Attack 11. Insanity 12. Possessed Again 13. Hard Pain (live) 14. Insanity (live)

Making it back to the attack again, Necronomicon's comeback album after ten years was something of a proof of concept that stands against time. Construction Of Evil sustains the basic essence of thrash metal as well as the unchanged sound of previous Necronomicon releases. There are hardly any surprises for anyone who is familiar with the band's past efforts, although this album does not have such absolute highlight tracks that could be found on Escalation, for example. On the other hand, the style here is more consistent than on Screams. This release simply provides a fairly powerful load of thrash metal, and the only notable drawback is that it doesn't exactly contain anything that wouldn't have been done already several times in the past. In this sense, the final personal value of Construction Of Evil mostly depends on how used to this kind of thing you happen to be, despite the fact that there's nothing really wrong with the album itself.

NECRONOMICON - Revenge Of The Beast
Germany 2008

1. Magic Forest 2. Haunted 3. Warfare 4. Nightstalker 5. On Pain Of Death 6. Blood Sky 7. Who Dies? 8. Refugee 9. Skull & Bone 10. Commit Suicide 11. War In The Cradle 12. One Universe

After some careful expectations for a new Necronomicon album, Revenge Of The Beast is not a major disappointment although you cannot help wondering if a few changes would have improved the result noticeably. In principle there is nothing seriously wrong with compositions, and the most distinctive tracks like Warfare are quite energetic and well-written pieces. On the negative side, the second half of this release is considerably less exciting than the first, mainly due to a number of slowish albeit versatile tracks that don't possess the same kind of thriving force as the first few songs do. This leads to a divided impression at best. Also, the album does sound slightly overproduced in a modern vein, which can take away from the experience depending on your taste. One can only wish that the band had decided to use the alternative vintage mix as the default version of this recording. After all, Revenge Of The Beast is not a bad release from a veteran band, but some of us might have been hoping for a bit more than this.

Germany 2012

1. Invictus 2. Unleashed 3. Bloody Bastards 4. Thoughts Running Free 5. Unconquered 6. Upon Black Wings 7. Face To The Wall 8. Pandora's Box 9. Before The Curtain Falls 10. Possessed By Evil

It might seem like a small surprise, but Invictus is another proof that Necronomicon are well on their way to become one of the more productive original thrash metal bands. Musically this is not among the most interesting works in the genre, though. Combining conventional songwriting and modernized production values, the effect is fairly similar to Revenge Of The Beast. In other words, everything sounds professional and sufficiently powerful, but these songs don't flow as freely and spontaneously as the band's most classic releases did. Except for the excellent Thoughts Running Free, it is difficult to avoid sort of a forced impression coming through most of the time. Therefore the final value of Invictus probably depends on your personal view of Necronomicon's previous album as the same points apply here, too.

NECROPHAGIA - Season Of The Dead
USA 1987

1. Season Of The Dead 2. Forbidden Pleasure 3. Bleeding Torment 4. Insane For Blood 5. Reincarnation 6. Ancient Slumber 7. Mental Decay 8. Abomination 9. Terminal Vision 10. Painful Discharge 11. Beyond And Back

Talking about horror-themed thrash metal with the most nostalgic feel to it, Necrophagia's Season Of The Dead has everything you could wish for. While the band's reputation as an infamous death metal act has grown ever since, their debut is essentially an album of vintage speed/thrash metal with a particularly menacing and darkened feel. Sometimes the music actually resembles old Kreator played a tad slower. Killjoy's vocals consist solely of spoken verses spit out in a threatening manner, which combined with the pounding riffs and drumming contributes to some very memorable and atmospheric songs. In fact, the production and tuning of instruments make Season Of The Dead sound like a thrashy soundtrack for some old gory horror movie. These are simply some of the most evil sounding tunes from the proto-death metal days. Although Necrophagia's later works can be a subject for mixed reactions, their first recording is a fine release in its specific niche.

Poland 1992

1. Kill 2. No More Life 3. The Edge Of Night 4. Downfall Masterpiece 5. Happy Pigs 6. Back In Auschwitz 7. Damned Blessings 8. I Like Bitches

Necrophobic's No More Life proved out to be a nice offering from the more rare side of Polish thrash metal. This album is stompingly heavy, with a fair deal of variety and a nice heavy drive throughout. Not immediately too distinctive, most of these riffs may take time to grow on you, but the consistent and well-balanced sound of the band can be easily observed right from the start. Even if the music as a whole can appear a bit unremarkable to average ears, with a slight tendency to drag at times, the final judgement of this album is bound to end with a positive note. Maybe No More Life does not make an outstanding impression, but it is one of those solid basic building blocks that add to the construction of the whole thrash metal genre.

NECROPOLIS - Contemplating Slaughter
USA 1988

1. Dark Despair 2. Waters Of Lathe 3. Ashes To Ashes 4. Contemplating Slaughter 5. Killing Kranium 6. Surrender To Death 7. Froze In Fear 8. Cease To Exist

At the first sight Necropolis could be considered just another one album wonder. Not really unique and carrying a close resemblance to many other bands' output, Contemplating Slaughter is not guaranteed to raise any eye brows based on its musical merits alone, but unlike some others in the scene Necropolis succeeded in maintaining a respectable energy level throughout the album. Dark Despair must be the most memorable piece on the whole thing with its great chorus, whereas Ashes To Ashes and Killing Kranium are good examples of totally relentless pounding, never losing the high tempo even though the result does not tend to stick to your head. In all fairness, some of these tracks are pretty forgettable after all. You got to give it to the band, though, it is not too often when a whole album is nearly as intense as this one. Contemplating Slaughter is not exactly a masterpiece, but you know, it could have been much worse.

NECROSIS - The Search
Chile 1988

1. The Search 2. Fall In The Last Summer 3. Prayer 4. From The Sea 5. Liar 6. Golden Valley 7. My Fears 8. Kingdom Of Hate

Thrash metal from Chile was not a common fare in the late 1980s, therefore Necrosis entered the scene as quite a lone representative of their country. The Search pays homage to various developments in the genre at the time, providing a string of semi-complex tracks with a combination of mid-tempo stompers and high-speed thrashers. Again, the production quality of this album leaves a lot to be desired and could doom any lesser songs into obscurity. Fortunately, the music here is better than that. Obviously Necrosis had a good taste for menacing riffs that are the major strength of this album, and although the vocals are rather thin the band's message comes across as fairly clear. With some real effort evidently put into the songs, it is not too difficult to find The Search a likeable release that is just hindered by the lacking production values.

NECROSIS - Enslaved To The Machine
Chile 2001

1. The Electric Prayer 2. Killing Engine 3. (The Busy) Stateman 4. Doomsday Menace 5. Enslaved To The Machine 6. Beyond The Screen 7. Disprogrammed 8. Omega Man 9. Invasion 10. Prayer

After more than a decade since their debut, it is only natural that Necrosis of 2001 sound a bit different from their original incarnation. With many songs featuring thoughts about modern technology and its side-effects, Enslaved To The Machine carries a new kind of message altogether. Most of the actual differences are only superficial, though. The vocals are now deeper than on The Search, and the best of all, the production does not make you feel terrible pity for the band anymore. The characteristic stomping Necrosis sound is still there, and with a lot better recording quality the heaviness of these tracks is only emphasized even more. The fastest thrashers Killing Engine and especially the title track are simply the best the band have recorded so far, and the rest is not bad either. With a convincing quality throughout, Enslaved To The Machine does not pale in comparison to even many much better known names in the field.

Chile 2009

1. Reborn 2. Hidden Enemy 3. The Weakest 4. Something Unreal 5. Beyond Reality 6. Living In A Cage 7. Elite Hunter 8. My Execution 9. Powerfiend

If anything, the return of Necrosis is aurally a heavy and powerful experience. From the very beginning, Reborn sounds strong and emphatic, and this impression does not fade even after further progression into the album. The band's approach is simply credible, but as far as songwriting goes, the music could have used a bit more imagination. While the basic construction blocks are used in a consistent and fairly satisfactory manner, some repetition is quite obvious. One is inclined to think that there are not as memorable individual tracks here as on Enslaved To The Machine - the previous album still seems to contain some of the most prominent Necrosis songs to this day. Most of the material on Reborn is undeniably quite robust, it just lacks truly distinctive traits.

NEGAROBO - Emergency
Japan 1997

1. Nuclear 2. The Aftereffects 3. Double Personality 4. Endless Game 5. Survive List 6. Lost My Reason 7. Testator 8. Emergency

Negarobo could be considered one of the more unexpected performers of their time. Even though it must be among the less known releases in the genre, Emergency is a surprisingly full-fledged package of heavy and rapid thrash metal. The band's general tone may be comparable to Sepultura, but the presentation is much more direct and consistent. There is hardly a single moment to catch breath during these tracks, and the band hold no punches in driving the message home. While some songs can sound seriously repetitive to untrained ears, the music follows a steady direction of its own in such way that it is not too easy to find other combinations of heaviness and speed that are realized as successfully as Emergency. A burst of dark energy in an enjoyable format is essentially what this album is all about.

NEGLIGENCE - Options Of A Trapped Mind
Slovenia 2007

1. Places Of Dawn 2. War Machine 3. Passage To... 4. Threshold Of Society 5. Bay Arena 6. No Brain, No Pain 7. Legacy Of Lies 8. Options Of A Trapped Mind 9. Fight Back 10. Thrust

Options Of A Trapped Mind must be one of the most promising debut albums in many years. It is definitely something else than those flat and boring recordings by generic copycats that we have thirteen in a dozen already. Without making direct comparisons, this release features the same kind of inspired songwriting and instrumental proficiency that was customary for classic bands like Forbidden. (This heritage is actually acknowledged in the lyrics for Bay Arena on this album.) The vocalist deserves an honorable mention, showing signs of real singing instead of plain shouts or grunts. While the material in general may not be the catchiest around, individual tracks like Threshold Of Society contain a lot of memorable parts, and the band's musical ambitions are clearly audible. As the whole album is very nicely produced, too, it should not be too hard to see the appeal. With a fresh sound and even ideas of their own, Negligence could be in for something special if the promise holds true.

Norway 2007

1. Towards Nihility 2. Torch Of Nero 3. I Shall Serve 4. The Spectator 5. Unchained From The Devout 6. Nekromantheon 7. We're Rotting

Okay, who let this grindcore album in. You know that we don't take those. Oh, wait. It's just the cover that's different than the norm. Have to admit, at least it positively sticks out of the pile. The true nature of We're Rotting is revealed as soon as the first notes out of it are heard. Fast and straightforward thrash, most songs no longer than a good two minutes. Everything seems to have been done in the most economical way, with no time wasted on unnecessary fluff - it's like an epitome of thrash metal in its most compressed and pure form. Needless to say, the level of street credibility is more than sufficient. Catchy hooks you will not find here, but the band's eager performance more than compensates for it. By no means this is a distinctive release, however, there's some strange charm to it that ensures this does not end up being yet another throwaway item.

NEKROMANTHEON - Divinity Of Death
Norway 2010

1. Gringo Death 2. The Point Of No Return 3. Cry Havoc 4. Divinity Of Death 5. Lex Talionis 6. Devolutionary Storms 7. Tortured In Tartaros 8. Further Beyond 9. Acid Visions 10. Psyanide 11. Alcoholy Terror

Nekromantheon's full-length album is musically almost precisely as terse and compact as We're Rotting. With very little variation in the original formula, it is no great surprise that Divinity Of Death sounds notably direct and succinct. The speed is steady and persistent, the riffs are fast but emphatic, and the vocals are represented by simple, rough barks. Somehow it does not sound too dull, despite the fact that the songs barely contain any noticeable differences that would make it possible for a casual listener to easily distinguish between them. Quite the opposite, there is even some refreshing quality in the way that this band concentrate on the essentials and leave everything else out. If this kind of album was any longer, it might become something of an overkill. As of now, Divinity Of Death is simply a prime half hour of thrash metal at its keenest.

NEKROMANTHEON - Rise, Vulcan Spectre
Norway 2012

1. Cast Down To The Void 2. Blood Wisdom 3. Embrace The Oracle 4. Coven Of The Minotaur 5. The Usurper Command 6. Rise, Vulcan Spectre 7. Twelve Depths Of Hades 8. Raised By Dogs

Based on their third release, it appears that Nekromantheon successfully managed to carve a small niche of their own in the realm of straightforward and honest thrash metal. Except for slightly longer songs on average, Rise, Vulcan Spectre does not remarkably differ from the band's earlier works. There are really no new tricks here, the presentation is about as direct and uncomplicated as it gets, and the basic appeal is unchanged. While the increased length gives these songs some more room to develop, the album as a whole remains very compact and to the point. If this kind of bare-bones approach sounds even remotely interesting then you could hardly go wrong with Nekromantheon's offerings.

NEMESIS - Nemesis
Germany 1997

1. All About Art 2. The Godfather 3. Brothers In Death 4. Ants That Bleed 5. Slave To The Land Of The Free 6. Gihad 7. Witness 8. A Trance Of Masses

When the band's line-up consists solely of ex-members of Grinder and Tankard, it is not difficult to guess what the output sounds like. The self-titled release of Nemesis fully meets expectations as far as the style is considered, featuring full-fledged fast thrash metal in the vein of the mentioned bands. The music is as unsurprising as it gets, unfortunately it also lacks all spirit of its own. There is virtually nothing on this album that should capture your attention, and while the band play with a lot of experience, most of this effort effectively goes by with little impact. This is just thrash metal by the book, and quite forgettable as such. It has some minor redeeming value, but with such a collection of talent in the background it probably would have been fair to expect something more from Nemesis.

NEPHASTUS - Tortuous Ways
Brazil 1991

1. Bloodless Award 2. Rousing Lie 3. The Sun... (Doesn't Shine To Everyone) 4. Tortuous Ways 5. Dying Slowly 6. Blood And Ache 7. Animal 8. Depressive Dementia 9. Eternal Eyes

As far as pure rarity value is considered, Tortuous Ways must be a strong contender for a permanent position in the collector's hall of most wanted items ever. Musically Nephastus deliver fairly strong thrash metal with all the usual tricks, occasionally adding some semi-inspirational guitar lines of their own. Although the songs are not identical copies of each other, you cannot avoid some monotonous feel occuring from time to time. This may happen simply because Nephastus were certainly not one of a kind at this stage anymore, and music like this would have needed some very strong measures to jump out of the crowd. Probably the best way to experience this album is just to really pump up the volume so that the underlying primal power can have the biggest possible impact on you.

NIMROD - Return To Babylon
Chile 2008

1. Night Of The Witches 2. I Am 3. Return To Babylon 4. Broken Wings 5. Ready To Burn 6. Death Behind 7. Betrayer Of The Soul 8. Time Of Changes 9. Dark Land 10. Fall Of The Tower 11. Nimrod

Nimrod's full-length debut is an ambitious effort that makes a fairly powerful impression. Return To Babylon is a mixture of thrash and power metal tendencies, the latter most noticeable during the slower songs although heaviness is never sacrificed. The compositions are rather versatile, and the vocal style can be quite melodramatic at times though not without a sharp edge when really needed. Sometimes this formula arguably produces fine individual tracks like the massive Ready To Burn. Actually, the album on the whole sounds a lot like what Sabbat's infamous Mourning Has Broken might have been if it had relied on less ambiguous songwriting and more straightforward execution. Return To Babylon is by no means a unique experience of its kind, but there is nevertheless something likeable about it.

NO MERCY - Widespread Bloodshed / Love Runs Red
USA 1987

1. We're Evil 2. Crazy But Proud 3. Master Of No Mercy 4. Day Of The Damned 5. Controlled By Hatred 6. I'm Your Nightmare 7. Widespread Bloodshed... Love Runs Red 8. My Own Way Of Life 9. Waking The Dead

Something of a novelty item in the genre, No Mercy's Widespread Bloodshed / Love Runs Red is a well-formed speed/thrash metal album from the old days. Considering that much of what would have been No Mercy's second album ended up on How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... by Suicidal Tendencies, it is no accident that these two albums resemble each other to some extent. The biggest difference must be that No Mercy's style is generally faster and more to the point whereas How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... is the more polished release of these two. There are many blatantly catchy thrashers on this album, but actually it's the heaviest stompers like Controlled By Hatred and Waking The Dead that demand the most attention. The vocals are again in the typical Mike Muir vein, very original though possibly irritating to some. Altogether, it is not hard to see that there is a good reason for the cult status this release has gained over the years.

NO RACE - Tears Of Nature
Brazil 2008

1. Tears Of Nature 2. Spiritual World 3. Changed By The Force 4. Worthiness 5. Hate And Fear 6. Army Of Innocence 7. Dark Side Of The Truth 8. Dark Truth

The debut album of No Race starts in such an intriguing manner that many other bands could take a note - this is how you write a killer riff that really sticks. When the title track of Tears Of Nature promptly bursts into full speed with no less impressive guitar lines, most listeners' attention should be already caught for good. As it turns out, this album does not depend on only one or two standout tracks although the most memorable pieces may be heard near the beginning. The riffwork is mostly pretty solid with some melodic hints that are effectively incorporated into the songs without any weakening effect. Take into account that the band demonstrate consistent songwriting of good quality, not to mention a feel of an actual style of their own, and Tears Of Nature becomes an enjoyable small surprise indeed.

NO RETURN - Psychological Torment
France 1990

1. Mutants' March 2. Reign Of The Damned 3. Vision Of Decadence 4. Tragic Giving 5. Radical Disease 6. Degeneration Of The Last Decade 7. Nightly Aggression 8. Electro Mania 9. Religion 10. Psychological Breakdown (bonus)

One of the heaviest thrash metal offerings of French variety, No Return's Psychological Torment sounds immediately very powerful to average ears. Against this formally correct as well as notably impetuous output it is therefore a little wonder that the album manages to leave something of a lackluster impression. The content is more pure thrash metal than on the band's later releases, but most of it is not prominent enough to make the ends meet. Like said, the production is good and heavy, but when the band play almost all pieces in the same manner and the compositions tend to appear quite ordinary, the album simply gets pretty repetitive before the end. While Psychological Torment has many good points in the sound department, the music does not really flow in the way that would make you want to get back to it very often.

NOCTURN - Estranged Dimensions
Netherlands 1991

1. Estranged Dimensions 2. Delirium Tremens 3. Altered Evolution 4. Shades Of Insanity 5. Century Of Execration 6. Sacred Infames 7. Graveyard Without Crosses 8. Morbid Shining 9. Inheritance Of The... 10. Traveling Beyond

Nocturn's Estranged Dimensions gives a good view to Dutch thrash metal with a deathly feel. Mostly it may follow your standard ways of making a heavy impression, but the mood is extremely sinister and evil, occasionally also melancholic, complete with grievous but surprisingly intelligible vocals. Although these tracks are generally very long, sometimes unavoidably dragging pieces of work, you cannot help but sort of admire the haunting feel that this album successfully generates at its best. For the most part the music tends to blend together into a stream of dark consciousness which is a respectable achievement. Estranged Dimensions can be quite a demanding album to listen through, even causing severe fatigue, but Nocturn's captivating sound should pose enough of a challenge to give it a try.

NOCTURNAL - Arrival Of The Carnivore
Germany 2004

1. Coven Of Darkness 2. Temples Of Sin 3. Satanic Oath 4. Preventive War 5. Burn This Town 6. War Of Spirits 7. Merciless Murder 8. Nuclear Strike 9. Victorious Night 10. Awakening The Curse Of Souls

With more contemporary bands sporting an intentional retro sound, it seems to be useless to expect any real innovations over the tried and tested formula by default. In case of Nocturnal this idea is just perfectly valid - as far as a traditional thrash metal attack goes, Arrival Of The Carnivore is actually not half-bad though it is naturally also completely devoid of any previously unheard characteristics. At times the style notably resembles the band's countrymen Witchburner (even sharing their early tendency to avoid guitar solos) although it can be said that Nocturnal have a slight twist of their own. For other than that, it would be a hard task to describe this album with any particularly strong adjectives, that's how far from distinctive in either good or bad it is.

NOCTURNAL - Violent Revenge
Germany 2009

1. Hellhunt 2. Atomic Warfare 3. Slaughter Command 4. Death Is The Answer 5. Beast Of Hades 6. Disgracer 7. Dark Rat Eyes 8. Swarm Of Insects 9. Creation Of The Possessed 10. Hells Forces

Although Nocturnal's first full-length album was highly derivative, it managed to raise at least some moderate interest. With the band's follow-up release Violent Revenge at hand, the most important observation must be that very little has changed between these two releases. The vocals are possibly a bit more venomous on average than before, but the difference is really not that big. As it was the case with Arrival Of The Carnivore, everything runs quite smoothly. One major problem is that for the most part this album sounds very repetitive, therefore it can quickly become pretty boring. Yet a bigger flaw is that practically Violent Revenge has no point - it has all been done several times before, a lot better even, and in that situation it can be very hard to find this album worth the time anymore.

NOCTURNAL FEAR - Code Of Violence
USA 2008

1. Code Of Violence 2. Line Of Fire 3. Rotting In Hell 4. Rising Hatred 5. Out For Revenge 6. Flamethrower Holocaust 7. Skull Splitter 8. Mind Control 9. Denim Demons 10. Path To Power

Considering that Nocturnal Fear's early releases were quite messy affairs, Code Of Violence is an unexpected pleasant surprise, an album of convincing thrash metal that still carries some hints of old death metal but now in a lot more controlled format. The band's sound is notably heavy and forceful with gruff vocals, something like Demolition Hammer and Sodom combined. When there is no shortage of speed either, it is not too difficult to see the appeal. Arguably it can become a demanding exercise to listen through a whole album of such a weighty attack like this, especially when there are rather few differences between individual tracks, but a specific feel of reliability and consistency plays an important role in the final impression that this recording makes. In comparison to several examples of albums that sound too dull and weak for their own good, Code Of Violence certainly stands out.

NOMED - Troop Of Death
France 1988

1. Victim Of Disaster 2. No Flag 3. Question Of Reflection 4. Suicide Or Live 5. Death 6. Total Terror

Despite evading wider recognition pretty effectively, Nomed seem to have had potential to make a genuine impact in the French thrash metal scene. Troop Of Death is a mini album of pure unaltered thrashing with a pummeling sound, worth attention for its powerful feel alone. Although the production quality is somewhat rough, most songs are at least semi-catchy and the band put more than enough effort in their presentation. It does not sound too different from many other bands, quite the opposite, but Nomed were at least packing a serious amount of energy into it. While Troop Of Death may appear even typical for its kind, it contains a good deal of forceful thrash metal, done with a convincing attitude altogether.

NOMED - Like...
France 1989

1. Is It A Dream? 2. Klootzak 3. P.P. 4. Egoist 5. Signs Of Times 6. T. From Aulnoye 7. Too Far, Too Late 8. Friendship 9. C.Y.M.O.D 10. New Project 11. I.W.W.W. 12. Chinese Wall 13. Corruption Of Mind 14. Situation 15. Flower 16. Like... 17. You're Not Alone

Nomed's second release is more refined but also noticeably more varied than their debut recording. Whereas Troop Of Death was nothing but straightforward thrash metal, Like... not only contains the same kind of forceful thrashers as before but also adds a fair number of hardcore-ish pieces in between. Sometimes the combination is amusing enough to make a puzzling effect, but it must be said that the band could really make their music hit the target no matter what. At least even the most unorthodox pieces make this album far from dull. The production has improved somewhat while it still remains powerful and heavy, giving a fine boost to those tracks that really benefit from it. Also, a special mention must be given to the strong vocals that add to Nomed's runaway train sounding output by a nice amount. Like... may be hampered a bit by its variation of styles, but as a whole this album is surely way more interesting than your average product.

USA 1986

1. Live, Suffer, Die 2. Sin 3. Cold Steel 4. Betrayal 5. Radiation Sickness 6. Hang The Pope 7. After The Holocaust 8. Mr. Softee Theme 9. Stranded In Hell 10. Nuclear War 11. My America 12. Vengeance 13. Brain Death

Nuclear Assault were undoubtedly one of the more clever thrash bands of their time and possibly the best one to fuse some blatant hardcore elements with fast thrash metal into a unique mix. Their debut album Game Over is a nice collection of some of the wildest thrash metal with both serious and funny overtones. These tracks sport a thin and somewhat hardcore-ish but very clear production, resulting in a distinctive Nuclear Assault sound where one of the most essential elements is the howling vocals by John Connelly. For the most part the songs are compact energetic bursts like never before, and there is hardly a single boring moment to be found here. Even considering the very depressing lyrics of many songs, listening to this album can be quite an uplifting experience.

USA 1987

1. Game Over 2. Justice 3. Butt F**k 4. Nightmares 5. The Plague 6. Cross Of Iron

The Plague is not much different from Nuclear Assault's debut except for a heavier guitar sound and generally better production. The music is not quite as wild and unrestricted as on its predecessor, though, therefore it may not catch your attention in the same way although the result is definitely not weak. The impression of this mini album is still more of a sequel than a truly independent piece of work, and except for Butt F**k (which is simply a hilarious piece) the songs sound rather similar to each other while they still have a typical stamp of quality on them as you could expect from Nuclear Assault. Maybe this release is not as groundbreaking as Game Over, but The Plague is still worth checking out especially if the band's general style appeals to you.

USA 1988

1. Rise From The Ashes 2. Brainwashed 3. F# 4. Survive 5. Fight To Be Free 6. Got Another Quarter 7. Great Depression 8. Wired 9. Equal Rights 10. PSA 11. Technology 12. Good Times Bad Times

Maybe it's the less vivid production or maybe the music started to get a bit too repetitive here, but Survive doesn't feel quite as refreshing as Nuclear Assault's earlier releases, especially the debut. The tracks on this album sound somewhat formulaic when compared to the variety and energy that were so evident on Game Over. Occasionally, like on Great Depression and Equal Rights, the album manages to catch some of the earlier spirit, but as a whole Survive seems slightly more plain than its predecessors. Not to forget about the cover version of Led Zeppelin's Good Times Bad Times which appears to be totally out of place. Despite its consistent quality this album just tends to sound like one of the more ordinary Nuclear Assault releases.

NUCLEAR ASSAULT - Handle With Care
USA 1989

1. New Song 2. Critical Mass 3. Inherited Hell 4. Surgery 5. Emergency 6. Funky Noise 7. F# (Wake Up) 8. When Freedom Dies 9. Search And Seizure 10. Torture Tactics 11. Mother's Day 12. Trail Of Tears

With Handle With Care Nuclear Assault got back to the right track, as this album is more of the rampant style of the band's debut. The production is magnificent, very heavy and clear, and the songs are ultra-fast. Even more important, this is an extremely well balanced and controlled effort. Considering the lyrics this must be one of the most socially aware thrash metal albums out there, without any hint of being tedious or laughable. The band sound as angry and aggressive as ever but in a more mature way than before. As with most Nuclear Assault releases, the individual tracks do not exactly stand out too well, but that aside, Handle With Care is one of the band's strongest and most impressive albums.

USA 1991

1. Sign In Blood 2. Fashion Junkie 3. Too Young To Die 4. Preaching To The Deaf 5. Resurrection 6. Stop Wait Think 7. Doctor Butcher 8. Quocustodiat 9. Hypocrisy 10. Save The Planet 11. Ballroom Blitz

Out Of Order sounds immediately different from the previous Nuclear Assault releases. Gone is much of the earlier almost insane speed, and the first half of this album is rather mid-tempo stuff. In general there's a lot more variety in the music (take the long instrumental Save The Planet, for example) although this does not remarkably lessen the band's powerful sound. The production is pretty crunchy and suits even the slower songs well. Of course, Nuclear Assault had not totally forgotten their customary high-speed habits and the fast Stop Wait Think is an example of some better tracks on this album. It's true that Out Of Order lacks some of the intensity of the band's other recordings, and the cover version of Sweet's Ballroom Blitz is particularly horrible, but this is still far from being a really bad album.

NUCLEAR OMNICIDE - The Presence Of Evil
Finland 2013

1. Blood Currency 2. Biotech 3. Unleash Yourself 4. Dedicating Your Life For Nothing 5. Nuclear Omnicide 6. Lethal Obsession 7. Worthless 8. Mr. Rabbit 9. Koodinimi Koskenkorva 10. The Presence Of Evil

The initial impression of Nuclear Omnicide's first full-length album is not too bad. The Presence Of Evil features a brand of thrash metal that is sort of unruly and anarchistic, especially the vocals tend to sport a hilarious gruff tone. The delivery is certainly strong enough and there is no audible lack of effort in any area. But despite some good characteristics, this release ends up a bit less than the sum of its parts. Most songs are not very memorable or varied, making it more challenging to distinguish between them, and the band's dark pounding sound can quickly get monotonous. In the end it is somewhat difficult to recall what you just heard. As a result, The Presence Of Evil represents something of a satisfactory but not very persistent listening experience.

NUCLEAR SIMPHONY - Lost In Wonderland
Italy 1989

1. Mister I.D.G.A.F. 2. Lustful For Desaster 3. Cry 4. Evil Spray 5. Mimmo The Bull 6. Where Eagles Reign 7. Rapsody Of Sadness 8. Create Your Destiny 9. Die For Your Flag 10. Snoopies

One can only hope that the spelling of this Italian band's name was intentional in the first place. Except for some amusement over the name, Nuclear Simphony's Lost In Worderland is actually surprisingly satisfying for such a little known release. This album features some quite fresh sounding and varied thrash metal, again somewhat lacking in originality but interesting anyway. Occasionally the band even have an unmistakable early Metallica sound there. The tracks are not too special when heard out of the album context, but the album on the whole has a coherent feel which makes it appear a bit more effective that it might initially seem. Lost In Wonderland is certainly not the most memorable release out there, but it has some very sympathetic feel to it.

NUCLEAR WARFARE - War Is Unleashed
Germany 2004

1. Intro 2. Warfare 3. War Is Unleashed 4. Kill 5. Thrash Squad 6. Predator 7. Inner War 8. Warlust 9. Thrash 'em Down

As musical trends come and go, it could be taken for granted that there is always some room for bands like Nuclear Warfare who stick to the roots. War Is Unleashed presents a fair dose of thrash metal in a traditional vein, with several songs dealing with the topic of war and killing. The band's sound is quite sharp but the production could have been more balanced, now it appears a bit too cramped and lacks dynamics. As far as songwriting goes, this album is passable - most tracks are kind of repetitious and not too exciting, but the groundwork is pretty adequate. Surprisingly the slowest piece Kill is also the most memorable one, driving the message home with some quite effective riffwork. For the most part War Is Unleashed is just decent enough, with no great surprises but no terrible disappointments either.

Germany 2006

1. Trained To Kill 2. Nuclear Madness 3. Under The Banner Of Lies 4. Thrash Metal Tank 5. Unholy Genesis 6. Lex Talionis 7. Warmaster 8. We Come In Peace 9. Collapse Of Reality 10. Rolling Thunder 11. After War

While We Come In Peace initially appears to continue almost directly from where War Is Unleashed left off, it is not completely without some necessary development for the better. The album as a whole is a slight step above Nuclear Warfare's first release, featuring generally more satisfying riffing and somewhat improved production that does not strain your ears quite as noticeably this time around. Also the songs seem to flow more effortlessly - the difference is not huge but still enough to make this album more appealing in the long run. And although some of the lyrics that mostly focus on the horrors of war may appear cliched, this persistent approach is worth a compliment. It is still far from truly great, but at the very least We Come In Peace already deserves a careful recommendation.

NUCLEAR WARFARE - God Of Aggression
Germany 2010

1. Mutilator 2. Way Of Torment 3. War Machine 4. God Of Aggression 5. Escape Or Die 6. Primal Instincts 7. March To War (Rapid Fire) 8. Thrash Attack 9. Fallout

After a third album of harsh thrash metal with its focus on war and violence in general, it must be admitted that Nuclear Warfare's style has remained laudably consistent. As a matter of fact, the differences are so few and far between that on God Of Aggression the band's music is actually starting to repeat itself. Although the performance does not really drag, the general tone of this album is sort of tiresome and a slight step back after We Come In Peace. Maybe the compositions could have used a bit more imagination, as the songs now essentially make a repetitive sounding bunch. When the subject matter is otherwise quite serious, one can only wonder what such a banal piece as Thrash Attack is doing here. Then again, the same practice has been a staple of every Nuclear Warfare release so far, so no news in this aspect either.

NUM SKULL - Ritually Abused
USA 1988

1. The End 2. Ritually Abused 3. Death And Innocence 4. No Morals 5. Friday's Child 6. Off With Your Head 7. The Henchman 8. Pirate's Night 9. Turn Of A Screw 10. Kiss Me, Kill Me 11. Rigor Mortis 12. Murder By The Minister (bonus)

Num Skull's cult release from the 1980s is a bit problematic album. On one hand, the music is pretty excellent with its wonderful fast riffs and vicious attacks for songs that still have a good deal of variety in them to make every track interesting and memorable. On the other hand, the screeching vocals are totally overdone in a style similar to Coven but even more extreme, and they can really distract you from the music unless you are completely used to this kind of over-the-top delivery. This is a slight pity because Ritually Abused on the whole is actually one of the most intense and captivating thrash metal albums ever. You cannot help but wonder how absolutely perfect it could have been with a bit less hysterical vocals.