Dancing all over your face
It never tasted better than this
Kicking your head in, all over the place
Your death is something I wouldn't miss
Force you, with hatred to swallow my fist
The taste is something you won't forget

-- Razor - Cranial Stomp

RAGING STEEL - Guilty As Charged
Sweden 2010

1. Intro 2. Infernal Horror 3. Dreadly Intentions 4. Homicidal Death 5. Guilty As Charged 6. Marked For Murder 7. Cannibal Priest 8. Evil Of Our Minds 9. Wretched Command

When an album cover looks like an acid version of Reign In Blood, you would think that the music cannot be all bad. But while it should be possible to listen to Raging Steel's Guilty As Charged without much pain, the features of this release are a bit too much on the simple side and thus the combined output is not completely enjoyable. The riffs are pretty basic, the vocal delivery consists of some quite plain hollering, and it all comes out rather typical in the end. The production appears very uncomplicated, even hollow as far as the vocals are considered, and it notably adds to the general undecorated feel of this recording. Although the sound of Guilty As Charged is loud and bold, the repetitive and plain nature of this album can eventually render it quite a boring experience.

RAMP - Thoughts
Portugal 1992

1. The Comediants 2. Disillusions 3. March To Death 4. Thoughts 5. The Last Child 6. Try Again 7. In The Beginning 8. Out Of This World 9. Behind The Wall

Ramp's Thoughts serves as a reminder of the low attention span of bands who tend to ride the wave of whatever is currently considered hot in the scene. While the band's debut release is almost as competent an example of thrash metal as anything out there, only a couple of years later and they had already jumped on the bandwagon of groove metal. But if you don't mind their career past this album, Thoughts is indeed not that bad. Sufficient speed, semi-catchy riffs, it's all there. The vocals have something of a nasty tone in them which adds some originality that this recording would otherwise lack. Also the production is meaty enough so that you don't need to give a second thought to non-musical values when listening to this one. Far from original but still worth another look if easily available, that's the main promise of Ramp's first offering.

RAMPAGE - Veil Of Mourn
Australia 1988

1. Terrortophobia (Fear Of Giving Birth To A Monster) 2. Acid Storm 3. Divine Oracle 4. Producer's Edge 5. Sinister At Sunrise 6. Autopsy 7. Satrap 8. Transgression To Sin Under The Invisible Empire

Describing Rampage as an obscure technical speed/thrash metal act from Australia might not seem too appreciative, but that's what the facts come down to. Fortunately, the band's sole known release Veil Of Mourn is a bit more than just an exercise on the most stereotypical antics of the genre. While the songs are hindered by a hollow sound quality, there is some semi-intriguing songwriting going on here. It is obvious that Rampage were out to make some impact with this album, and as far as the music goes it is not totally without merits. With some more imagination than you could expect from an unknown band, the result does not fully shine but it is enough to give you a good reason to really look into it. Sometimes the band lose their focus and admittedly the quality is varied, but in the end Veil Of Mourn comes out as a satisfying release after all.

RANDOMORDER - The Forbidden Knowledge
Australia 2011

1. Desecration Is Your Name 2. Bloodlust 3. Forbidden Knowledge 4. Caught In The Crossfire 5. Salvation 6. Exiled 7. The Dark Science 8. Bleeding Misery 9. Forgive Me For My Hatred 10. Ghost Demons

Among the first thoughts about Randomorder's The Forbidden Knowledge must be that this album surely sounds heavy. And that doesn't mean just the production, although it is fully satisfying in itself - more than anything, this effect comes from the band's impetuous and punishing performance that simply doesn't leave much room for improvement. The whole thing makes a total opposite of wimpy, and it is hard to imagine a shady part of town where playing this out loud wouldn't gain spontaneous nods of approval even from the toughest of folks. As for the actual music, maybe it's not the most classic tunes that you will find here, but the overwhelming presentation more than compensates for it. For those who appreciate a truly powerful feel, The Forbidden Knowledge might be actually one of the better recent options available.

RAPED GOD 666 - The Executioner
Mexico 2008

1. Devilish Aggressor 2. Massive Destruction Attack 3. Death In Vain 4. The Executioner 5. The Eyes Of Hate 6. The Hellbeast 7. Metal, Muerte, Destruccion 8. Diabolic Genocides 9. Dream Of Death

As far as stupid names go, Raped God 666 easily takes the cake as one of the worst offenders. When the artwork of The Executioner follows the same kind of politically incorrect approach, it is even more surprising that instead of some third-rate goat metal abomination recorded in someone's bathroom, this album actually contains fully traditional thrash metal and does not sound bad at all. In fact, this may be one of the most vigorous releases in recent times, with an appropriate slight unpolished edge on the production side. It is hard to avoid the word "energetic" when describing these songs, as the band essentially managed to create a whole album of credible non-stop thrashing that does not sound too repetitive. It also adds a nice touch that the vocal tone resembles the characteristic style of Steve Souza during his early Exodus days. In some ways the soothing old school sound of The Executioner feels practically timeless, and that is surely a sign of a good album.

RAVENOUS - Book Of Covetous Souls
Austria 1991

1. Extreme Corruption 2. Brutalistic Terror 3. Welcome Terrible 4. H.O.G. 5. No Difference 6. Sergeant B. 7. Psycho Trilogy 8. Dying Without Sense 9. Covetous Souls 10. ? (bonus)

Except for maybe the fact that the band were hailing from Austria, Ravenous were not exactly too different from the majority of thrash metal bands in Europe. Book Of Covetous Souls has more than a decent production, with a very heavy and dynamic sound, but the music is not quite as strong as one could wish for. Although Extreme Corruption and Brutalistic Terror are some fine tracks, this album on the whole is a bit on the dull side and not too memorable. The band's sound is quite good with very heavy vocals, and the songwriting is not too bad though the lack of originality makes most tracks appear less distinctive. While it has no critical faults in any fields, Book Of Covetous Souls is simply missing some characteristics that would be necessary to make it really stand out.

RAZOR - Executioner's Song
Canada 1985

1. Take This Torch 2. Fast & Loud 3. City Of Damnation 4. Escape The Fire 5. March Of Death 6. Distant Thunder 7. Hot Metal 8. Gatecrasher 9. Deathrace 10. Time Bomb 11. The End

As one of the first bands in the Canadian thrash metal scene, Razor always remained faithful to the original thrash spirit. Some of their early recordings were arguably a bit too much on the primitive side, which is most evident on the band's full-length debut album. Executioner's Song features rather simple and easygoing Motorhead-ish speed/thrash metal with some rocking touches and a lighthearted "metal" attitude. Except for the short and foreboding The End, many of these tracks can sound awfully dated today. This is by no means to play down the band's importance in the early genre, just to note that considering their whole career, Executioner's Song is nowhere near Razor's best works.

RAZOR - Evil Invaders
Canada 1985

1. Nowhere Fast 2. Cross Me Fool 3. Legacy Of Doom 4. Evil Invaders 5. Iron Hammer 6. Instant Death 7. Cut Throat 8. Speed Merchants 9. Tortured Skull 10. Thrashdance

Despite their very old-fashioned antics and some rough edges, Razor's earliest efforts certainly continue to have their supporters. Even though Evil Invaders might be considered one of Razor's best releases by the die-hard fans, this album as a whole can be something of an acquired taste. The songs are admittedly energetic and generally faster than on Executioner's Song, but there is not necessarily much long-lasting appeal in them. Like the band's debut release, this recording sounds quite uncomplicated with its plain and fairly repetitive song structures. While Evil Invaders does have a few good moments, Razor surely made also better albums than this.

RAZOR - Malicious Intent
Canada 1986

1. Tear Me To Pieces 2. Night Attack 3. Grindstone 4. Cage The Ragers 5. Malicious Intent 6. Rebel Onslaught 7. A.O.D. 8. Challenge The Eagle 9. Stand Before Kings 10. High Speed Metal 11. K.M.A. 12. Mosh

Malicious Intent is yet another example of Razor's original style of thrash metal in its initial stages of development. It is really not that much different from the band's previous releases, maybe just slightly more refined this time even though the album in general still has an undeniably homespun feel. Overall, the sound remains somewhat rough and the tracks are mostly pretty short and simple pieces, which is actually not a bad thing. Sticking to one's own rules is perfectly fine and all, but if Razor had always stayed at this same level then there might not have been too much reason for giving them higher recognition in the genre.

RAZOR - Custom Killing
Canada 1987

1. Survival Of The Fittest 2. Shootout 3. Forced Annihilation 4. Last Rites 5. Snake Eyes 6. White Noise 7. Going Under 8. Russian Ballet

With their self-released Custom Killing Razor reached quite a reasonable level of maturity. Not nearly as plain as some of the older efforts, this album is possibly one of the band's most advanced recordings ever. With a couple of particularly long tracks and generally a much less simplistic feel, the music pretty quickly captures the listener's attention. While the album starts off as a bit incoherent, tracks like Forced Annihilation and White Noise are good, straightforward thrashers whereas Last Rites remains one of Razor's most ambitious songs ever, with a truly dramatic and classy intro. There may not be too easy hooks here, but somehow the band manage to make it sound interesting. Maybe due to some deviation from Razor's traditional style, Custom Killing was fairly overlooked upon its release, but the truth is that this is not a bad album at all.

RAZOR - Violent Restitution
Canada 1988

1. The Marshall Arts 2. Hypertension 3. Taste The Floor 4. Behind Bars 5. Below The Belt 6. I'll Only Say It Once 7. Enforcer 8. Violent Restitution 9. Out Of The Game 10. Edge Of The Razor 11. Eye Of The Storm 12. Discipline 13. Fed Up 14. Soldier Of Fortune

After some internal troubles and everlasting problems with the music industry, Razor came back with a lot more serious attitude and conviction. Violent Restitution was the last album to feature Stace McLaren on vocals, and while the outcome may sound a little bit dry at first, the music promptly starts growing on you. The drums had been taken over by Rob Mills, and his intensive work notably contributes to making these tracks fly in the end. There's a lot of audible devotion and anger put into these songs, with lyrics full of hatred, frustration, and violence. As always, most lyrics seem very personal to the band and guitarist Dave Carlo in particular since he wrote nearly all the music here. Together with Shotgun Justice, this album should be counted among the very best of Razor's works already due to the immense power it contains.

RAZOR - Shotgun Justice
Canada 1990

1. Miami 2. United By Hatred 3. Violence Condoned 4. Electric Torture 5. Meaning Of Pain 6. Stabbed In The Back 7. Shotgun Justice 8. Parricide 9. American Luck 10. Brass Knuckles 11. Burning The Bridges 12. Concussion 13. Cranial Stomp 14. The Pugilist

Razor's music took another step forward on this album that may well be one of the fastest and most intense thrash metal releases ever. These songs feel like abrupt sonic attacks in your face - the immense speed makes even simple riffs sound like small explosions in a row. As for the rhythm section, the awesome drumming by Rob Mills essentially breathes new life to the music again. In the vocal department there are considerable differences when compared to Razor's earlier works, as Bob Reid was introduced as the new singer here, but his harsh voice fits the new songs just perfectly. The lyrics are now filled with even more extreme violence and pure hatred against society and cheaters in the music industry and personal life. Shotgun Justice is definitely not an easy album, far from it, but it is guaranteed to give you a total listening experience.

RAZOR - Open Hostility
Canada 1991

1. In Protest 2. Sucker For Punishment 3. Bad Vibrations 4. Road Gunner 5. Cheers 6. Red Money 7. Free Lunch 8. Iron Legions 9. Mental Torture 10. Psychopath 11. I Disagree 12. End Of The War

The last album from Razor's classic period was almost a direct sequel to Shotgun Justice. The music has a slightly colder and more routine-like feel than before and the songs are not quite as violent anymore, but the raw style has essentially remained the same, actually to the extent of starting to repeat itself. The sterile drum sound is sort of annoying, but considering the problems the band had during the making of this album, too, one can probably live with it. In a way, this is just another demonstration of the troubles that Razor had throughout their career. Even though Open Hostility may appear somewhat unremarkable in comparison to the previous couple of releases, it is still not a bad album and even at its weakest blows many other bands' efforts out of the water.

RAZOR - Decibels
Canada 1997

1. Decibels 2. Jimi The Fly 3. Life Sentence 4. Liar 5. The Game 6. Great White Lie 7. Open Hostility 8. Nine Dead 9. Goof Soup 10. Violence... Gun Control 11. Instant Death (bonus)

Decibels marked one more return to the tried and tested Razor style, although there were also some practical differences due to the years passed. One of the major nitpicks on this album is about Bod Reid's vocals that sound more or less processed almost all the time and never really come across as natural. Another bigger complaint you can have is how similarly formulated many of these songs actually appear. The drums repeat almost identical maneuvers from track to track, and Dave Carlo's riffs pale in comparison to the better moments of older Razor albums. You still cannot mistake the sound for any other band, but some weariness is more than obvious. Most of this album appears somewhat ordinary, although Great White Lie and the title track are quite fine pieces. While at least moderately satisfying, Decibels leaves something of a lukewarm impression and is not really one of Razor's best efforts.

RAZORMAZE - The True Speed Of Steel
USA 2009

1. Dawn Of The Shred 2. Annihilator 3. Slaughterotica 4. Desperado 5. Bleed On Command 6. Lobotomized 7. Dipsomaniac 8. Slave To The Maze

Yet another contender among dozens of similar ones, you may think and decide to let the platter spin for a while before tossing it over. But what do you know, this Razormaze production is actually not half-bad. The True Speed Of Steel appears somewhat unheavy and harmless, even lighthearted for a thrash metal album, partially because the band's guitar-driven sound allows for a fair amount of variety instead of pure speed. The songwriting is still nothing too spectacular, in fact, most of these tracks don't seem to possess much of long-time appeal on the surface. Also, some of the gang choruses are fairly overused. But when you are dead tired and cannot really focus on anything, this album can serve surprisingly well. Not to call it downright therapeutic, but The True Speed Of Steel can have something of a relaxing effect, no matter how unimportant this music on the whole may be.

RDX - Thrash Metal III
Japan 2006

1. Prologue 2. Third Eye - My Lord 3. Third Eye - New World 4. Third Eye - Black Wind 5. Purge 6. Crossover 7. Throw Away 8. Speed Metal Violence 9. Thrash Metal Attack 10. Epilogue

It is not too often when a contemporary thrash metal album turns out something totally unexpected, but the full-length release from RDX managed to do the trick. Thrash Metal III may carry the boldest title (the number is due to the band's previous works that were essentially singles), but it's the most perplexing intro in ages that hints at a bit different experience. The trilogy of Third Eye then completes the surprise, making possibly the most dramatic composition on this side of the new millennium so far. The arrangement walks a fine line between cool and outright cheesy, yet comes out as a winner in the end. It also demonstrates briefly how well clean female vocals could work in a thrash metal context when done right - if only some band took the idea and ran with it, full time. Although the rest of the songs are not quite as adventurous, the most forceful tracks like Purge are about as good as anything out there. Apart from the vocals that sometimes sound a tad clumsy, the performance is solid. While Thrash Metal III most certainly has its quirky moments, as a whole this album leaves you wanting for more.

REALM - Endless War
USA 1988

1. Endless War 2. Slay The Oppressor 3. Eminence 4. Fate's Wind 5. Root Of Evil 6. Eleanor Rigby 7. This House Is Burning 8. Second Coming 9. All Heads Will Turn To The Hunt 10. Mang 11. Poisoned Minds 12. Theseus And The Minotaur (bonus)

A curious mixture of high-speed antics and progressive elements, Endless War is an interesting but also unbalanced album. The first couple of tracks on Realm's debut release are great thrashers, after that the band's technical tendencies start to show. The production is very clear but kind of unheavy, and the vocals appear somewhat immature and can be something of an acquired taste - it must be admitted that they certainly draw attention to the music, though. When the band manage to pull off a convincing cover version of Eleanor Rigby, of all things, it is obvious that they were quite competent after all. Endless War must be one of those few albums where "progressive thrash metal" really seems like an appropriate label, although the result definitely left some room for further development.

REALM - Suiciety
USA 1990

1. Cain Rose Up (Scream Bloody Murder) 2. Fragile Earth 3. Energentic Discontent 4. Gateway 5. Final Solution 6. The Brainchild 7. La Flamme's Theory 8. Dick 9. Knee Deep In Blood 10. Suiciety

The atmosphere of Suiciety is a lot more consistent than on Realm's previous release, but the approach is still notably more technical than on your average thrash metal album. While the band's progressive aspirations are better controlled than on Endless War, the intricate riffs and arrangements don't make it too easy to get into this music. The vocals now sound smoother than on Endless War and therefore appear less distractive. Some tracks have almost futuristic touches, which sort of adds to the occasional spaced-out feel of this thing. As a whole, Suiciety is a stylish effort - sometimes maybe a bit too contrived for its own good, but eventually a release worth interest.

RE-ANIMATOR - Deny Reality
United Kingdom 1989

1. Deny Reality 2. Follow The Masses 3. Fatal Descent 4. O.P.C. 5. D.U.A.F. 6. Re-Animator

Of all British thrash metal bands, Re-Animator were probably among the more talented groups at least in their early form. The band's debut mini album Deny Reality does not exactly contain any great innovations in the thrash metal field, but in practice the band's delivery is more intense and effective than one might reasonably expect. This album has more than a fair share of crunchy, memorable riffs, and the production is very rich and heavy. The title track and especially Re-Animator are very hard-hitting and memorable pieces that you will recall even years after, and the rest of the album is not bad either. Something of a positive surprise, Deny Reality was a release strong enough to give Re-Animator a good name already at the beginning of their career.

RE-ANIMATOR - Condemned To Eternity
United Kingdom 1990

1. Low Life 2. Chain Of Command 3. Room 101 4. Condemned To Eternity 5. Shock Treatment 6. Buried Alive 7. Techno Fear 8. What The Funk? 9. Say Your Prayers

Re-Animator's full-length release Condemned To Eternity is maybe a bit less straightforward than Deny Reality. There are still some nice, even original touches in the music (take the long instrumental title track as a good example), and a lot of these riffs are fairly memorable. It is somewhat surprising that the production is not nearly as good as on the older mini album, though. The vocals on Condemned To Eternity appear seriously underproduced at times, and the general sound of the full-length release is not too heavy either. These technical factors unfortunately slightly weaken the result, although it is no reason to skip this album. As Re-Animator's later funk tendencies are still only briefly hinted at, the band's first two recordings unarguably remain their best releases to date.

REAPER - Eternal Damage
Malaysia 2009

1. Intro 2. Inside Ravine 3. Eternal Damage 4. Warriors Tendency 5. Hired Killer 6. Brainwash Obsession 7. Thrash Till Death 8. Eruption Of Mayhem (E.O.M.) 9. Ghostbuster

Call it youthful energy or whatever, but Reaper's debut album is not really among the worst representations of thrash metal despite all its unsurprising features. Eternal Damage sounds fairly likeable, sharp and somewhat edgy. With adequate variation in songs, it is quite easy to listen through this album even though true memorable individual tracks may be few and far between. As it should be obvious based on the umpteenth Thrash Till Death in these circles, plus a rendition of the original Ghostbusters theme song, this band's music doesn't necessarily require great insight. That said, their performance happens to win extra points even if only for the fact that some of the competition is so stale.

REBORN - Renewed For Revenge
Brazil 2003

1. Renewed For Revenge 2. Inharmonic Peace 3. Blood Of Innocents 4. Regeneration 5. Rotten Religion 6. The Time Of The Apocalipse 7. Theater Of Genocide 8. Slave Of Darkness 9. It's Over

The initial promise of Reborn's Renewed For Revenge may not appear that great, but somehow this album turns out to be one of those releases that keep growing on you. The band's sound is fairly uncomplicated and accessible, also sufficiently powerful which is notably helped by the street-credible vocals. The delivery is consistent and strong, with a definite old-school Slayer feel, and tracks like Regeneration and Slave Of Darkness deserve to be highlighted for their persistent yet steadily increasing pressure that slowly but surely contributes to a noteworthy memorable effect in the end. There's an obvious religious tint in this music, yet it doesn't really affect the result in either good or bad. While Renewed For Revenge could seem quite ordinary at first, there's enough of some true, honest spirit in these songs that it is simply not possible to ignore the effort.

RECIPIENTS OF DEATH - Recipients Of Death / Final Flight
USA 1988/1990

1. Raping Death 2. Seizure 3. Necropolis (City Of The Dead) 4. Carnage 5. Gunned Down 6. The Aftermath 7. Fleshburn 8. Final Flight 9. Behind Closed Doors 10. Recrimination 11. F.O.A.D. (Intro) 12. Democratic Lie

With the average track length being around three and a half minutes and the music directly comparable to Slayer at their fastest, it's easy to imagine the sound of Recipients Of Death even without hearing a single note beforehand. In the vocal department this band had a slight hardcore-ish edge, possibly bands like Evildead and The Horde Of Torment being good references. The music is indeed quite intense and does not pale in comparisons with even many bigger bands, and this reissue mainly suffers only from non-musical factors like mediocre production and mastering. The sound quality of the band's debut album is really not much to write home about, very rough and dirty, whereas Final Flight is slightly better produced yet still sounds somewhat raw. That aside, Recipients Of Death got something right in their music as demonstrated by these powerful recordings. Just try not to care too much about the lacking production values with this one.

REDRUM - Power Corrupts
USA 1989

1. Frontline 2. Into The Ovens 3. Commando 4. M.I.A. 5. Power Corrupts 6. P.T.L. 7. Greenhouse 8. Smear 9. Disarm And Survive 10. World War III 11. Aftermath 12. Random Violence 13. Evil's End

Redrum were certainly a less known band in the genre. The band's only full-length release Power Corrupts is filled with fairly standard thrash metal, quite enthusiastic but far from extraordinary. Musically this album is just typical for the American scene. The production is sharp and clear for such a minor release though it almost completely lacks bass, which makes the album sound very thin and occasionally almost underproduced. The songwriting is basically decent but not exactly your state of the art, and no songs really stand out. Briefly put, Power Corrupts is sufficiently well done but even that just makes it another typical example of its kind and not too well distinguishable from countless others. Probably the best keyword to describe this album is "generic".

Greece 2007

1. Faces Of Fate 2. Mentally Disordered 3. Heroine's Death 4. Murder 5. Normal Person 6. Parasite 7. Power Thrashin' Death 8. Shadows Of Insanity 9. Holocaust Of Pain 10. Suicidal Moments 11. Wasted

Faces Of Fate is one of those releases that an impatient listener might initially toss away as totally unexceptional. Yet the more tracks you get to hear from this album, the less straightforward it becomes to completely ignore the effort. There is no way Released Anger could be considered even half-way innovative, but they surely know how to play. While this recording would not deserve much attention based on pure musical achievements, the frequent high tempo, tasty guitar work and generally the band's determined and vibrant approach save the result from total oblivion. The style is consistent and intense enough so that even the faithfully rendered Whiplash cover Power Thrashin' Death blends seamlessly with the other tracks. There is nothing novel about this album, and still it can turn out to be a fair deal just based on the uplifting feel of the whole thing.

RENEGADE - Total Armageddon
Australia 1987

1. Necromancer 2. Decapitation 3. Black Ritual 4. Lucifer's Reign 5. Total Armageddon 6. Riot Squad Gladiator 7. Maneater 8. Threshold Of Death

Renegade's Total Armageddon is not as dark for a thrash metal album as the title might suggest - in fact there's some undeniably positive attitude in it, something that could be only expected from an Australian band like this. The album starts off in a wild fashion with the energetic Necromancer making way to a number of fairly intense tracks running rampant. To be honest, Renegade's style is not too memorable in itself, and except for a couple of tracks this album doesn't feature too many highlights, but on the whole the experience has a certain uplifting quality. Although one should not expect any real surprises from Total Armageddon, its unstrained sound is guaranteed not to leave you indifferent.

REPENT - Escape From Reality
Germany 2000

1. Feel Your Pain 2. Escape From Reality 3. Moshpit 4. Locked In Myself 5. Endless War 6. Black Path 7. Embryonic Grave 8. Killer 9. Revenge 10. Never Fallen Tear 11. In The Beginning...

While Repent may not be among the most prominent examples of German thrash metal, based on their release history the band have been through some interesting developments. Escape From Reality is still somewhat rough around the edges, a debut album with some technical leanings and no firm direction. The vocals in particular don't quite fit the music, being too much on the weak side to properly accompany the heavy riffs. Even with some apparent disadvantages, the first couple of tracks manage to maintain a certain level of eagerness, but it doesn't take too long before the songs basically start slipping through your ears. Escape From Reality is not a totally failed attempt, but it appears that the album may have had more potential than what was ultimately brought into reality. It's as if the band were a bit too ambitious with their first release, as the result is definitely not the most coherent.

REPENT - Disciple Of Decline
Germany 2004

1. Trapped 2. Course For Power 3. Disciple Of Decline 4. Thrash Attack 5. Mendacious Peace 6. World Supremacy 7. Business Whore 8. Life Is Lost 9. Sake Of Living 10. The Undead 11. Anarchy

Disciple Of Decline would make a good example of some of the most drastic improvements between two albums. The songs on this recording are positively more focused, tighter as well as shorter than on Repent's debut release, and the level of energy is definitely something else. There is a lot of quality riffage on this one, too - not in the sense of making these tracks immediately stick to your head, but more of a kind that grows on you over a long period on time. Worth a separate note are the vocals that have gone through a total overhaul and now sound much more powerful than before. Not to mention that the whole album actually sounds like a real band playing together instead of just some unpassionate session musicians going through the motions. Disciple Of Decline is not really a masterpiece in the true sense of the word, but there is no doubt that Repent deserve an "A" for the effort.

RESTLESS - Restless
Brazil 1993

1. Believe In You 2. All The Worst 3. Tehom Rules 4. Duality Closes In 5. That's Enough 6. Seed Of Evil 7. A Cry From The Dark 8. Tears

For most people, hearing about Restless from Brazil probably wouldn't ring a bell to any extent. There is a fair reason for that, as the band just happened to follow the same path with their debut release as countless others before and after this one. Their music tries to be kind of atmospheric, occasionally in an intriguing way even, but something seems to prevent the full power from being unleashed. There is a nice hardcore-ish piece Tehom Rules with funny vocals and all, but this short track alone is enough to leave most of everything else in its shadow, thus rendering the rest of the album rather forgettable. A couple of more memorable tracks on the whole thing and who knows, it might have been a better effort.

RESURRECTED - Past Scars Aria
Philippines 2005

1. Genesis 2. Reprodestruction 3. The Prisoner 4. Race War 5. Camouflage 6. Death Toll 7. Code Of Conduct 8. Exit

Resurrected's debut release is moderately interesting already based on its geographical origins. Maybe it is not a mere coincidence that some tracks on Past Scars Aria could be almost mistaken for long-lost outtakes from Death Angel's early rehearsals, in a positive sense. The production is rather sharp and thin, contributing to a nice "live" feel. Again, there is no great distinction between these songs, other than tempo related, although rapid tracks like Race War and Death Toll can be quite refreshing. The most notable non-musical aspect of this recording must be its surprisingly short length - it seems not even theoretically possible to have enough time to get bored during this album, as it is the total opposite of the most bloated releases in the genre.

REVENGE - From Hell
Greece 2008

1. Dimension Of Sin 2. Total Aggression 3. Jesus On The Cross 4. Bloodfist 5. Revenge 6. Evil Nightmare 7. Antichrist 8. Morbid Revelation

Revenge's From Hell has been compared to Sepultura's earliest works (after all, Antichrist is a well-known song from Bestial Devastation), but the band's sound also effectively reminds you of their countrymen Piranha from the early 1990s, with the same kind of deep vocals and high tempo in general. Regardless of their influences, Revenge succeed in implementing their vision quite nicely. This album has a genuine captivating feel of its own, unlike many other productions today, and the sound quality is very good and appropriate. The music is not an instant hit in the sense that it would immediately stick to your memory, but the band's musical ambitions are high enough to catch your interest - so much that it should not be surprising if you feel compelled to return to this album soon after the first round.

REVTEND - Welcome To Hell
Portugal 2011

1. Intro 2. Raging Skies 3. Welcome To Hell 4. New Order 5. Shadows 6. Sentenced Man 7. Blood By Blood 8. Death Should Pay For Its Sins 9. Revolution Tendencies 10. War

As yet another contender in the genre, Revtend could be considered a group with something to prove. And Welcome To Hell is not a bad demonstration. The riffwork is acceptable, and just based on the sound of it all you might not be able to tell that this is the band's first full-length release. The most sleep inducing moments invariably take place during the slow parts, as the songs don't possess necessary hooks to keep you awake when the speed goes down. Not that this would be among the catchiest albums in any case, but at least the band seem to know how to play fast so that it doesn't sound terribly forced. Although the result is far from memorable as usual, it might be still worth a brief try if nothing else.

REZET - Have Gun, Will Travel
Germany 2010

1. Red Alert 2. Toxic Avenger 3. Metal Rite 4. Altar Of Satan 5. Steamrolling The Society 6. Have Gun, Will Travel 7. The Final Breath 8. Fallen Angels

For Rezet's first release, Have Gun, Will Travel is somewhere between passable and forgettable. This album doesn't really provide anything worth special attention, rather it walks the middle of the road almost unnoticed. There is often a curious relaxed, almost "rocking" feel in the band's music which is kind of nice in small portions, but it doesn't save the whole album from mediocrity. The songs are not catchy or frantic enough to bear a closer inspection, and in the end this is yet another one of those releases that seem basically "okay" when you take a very brief look at it at first, then turn out to be rather pointless and hollow the further you listen to it. Like it often goes in such cases, Have Gun, Will Travel is not an utterly terrible effort, but it can appear awfully generic and tiresome if you're not well prepared in advance.

RHESTUS - Embryo Of The Endless Sands
Brazil 2003

1. Inside A Torn Apart 2. Bullet In Point 3. Insane War 4. Die Like A Dog 5. Tsavo: The Place Of Slaughter 6. Njord Hymn (Instrumental Delirium) 7. Big Anesthesia 8. Cancer 9. Sacrificed By Mistake 10. Doomsday 11. Eternal Sorrow

Without prior knowledge it could be hard to expect anything special from Embryo Of The Endless Sands, but it becomes evident already during the initial listening session that Rhestus have the right spirit. Inside A Torn Apart is almost a perfect opener, a very strong and fast thrasher with infectious riffs. After the striking start the album shows also its less frantic side, most of the tracks alternating between pure high-speed parts and slower controlled passages. Regardless of what the tempo may be, there is usually some decent quality riffage on every song, accompanied with fitting Mille-like vocals. It is the only major disadvantage of this album that no other tracks tend to make the same kind of immediate impact as the opening song. Apart from that, Embryo Of The Endless Sands is simply quite a comforting and promising debut release in the classic vein.

RHESTUS - Games Of Joy... Games Of War!
Brazil 2010

1. Rage Is My Food, Hate Is My Guide! 2. Trivial Pieces Of Meat 3. Hate! Is What I Feel 4. Games Of Joy... Games Of War! 5. How To Explain? 6. Silence... Around Me 7. Untiring Torturer 8. Scars 9. Fuck Off! 10. Cowardly Terror

The debut release of Rhestus was not a half-bad album at all, having something of a genuine feel of its own. Therefore Games Of Joy... Games Of War! already had some serious expectations to meet. At the first sight the band's sound doesn't seem to have changed drastically from the past, delivering nearly the same kind of powerful impression. The music does appear a bit less distinctive this time around, and there are no such direct killer tracks as Inside A Torn Apart on the previous album. The songwriting and presentation are still at least on a standard level of proficiency, but the outcome is more strained. This is not really a radical drop in quality, but it can be argued that Embryo Of The Endless Sands tends to sound a tad more fresh and memorable in comparison.

RIGHTBRAIN - Evil Thrashing Disaster
Japan 2009

1. Open The Gate Of Thrash Metal 2. Chain Of Hatred 3. Win The Battle But Lose The War 4. Blind 5. United For Thrash 6. Zithromax 7. Defector 8. Thrash All Around 9. Can't Hide

With an album called Evil Thrashing Disaster and tracks like United For Thrash and Thrash All Around, it becomes completely unnecessary to try to guess what Rightbrain's style is all about. Even before hearing a single note of the actual music, all the visible signs would suggest strong similarities to Fastkill, but the reality is not quite as thrilling. This is just another example of current, pretty standard thrash metal that is quite well played and energetic, yet awfully forgettable in the end. There is no lack of attitude in Rightbrain's attack, but even that is hardly an exception from the norm these days. Twenty years ago this kind of album could have raised some moderate interest based on its respectable keen approach alone, now it is more like another typical addition to the scene.

RIGOR MORTIS - Rigor Mortis
USA 1988

1. Welcome To Your Funeral 2. Demons 3. Bodily Dismemberment 4. Comdemned To Hell 5. Wizard Of Gore 6. Shroud Of Gloom 7. Die In Pain 8. Vampire 9. Re-Animator 10. Slow Death

Rigor Mortis were called the musical equivalent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and with a good reason. Rigor Mortis is a mix of rough thrash metal, some impressive guitar work by Mike Scaccia (of Ministry fame), and particularly extravagant, gory lyrics with lots of humorous overtones. Fortunately the band didn't take themselves too seriously, otherwise this kind of album would be probably just unbearable. Even considering the over-the-top lyrics, most tracks are full of wonderful energy, partially due to Bruce Corbitt's strong vocals that add to the powerful feel of this album. Funnily enough, the goriest tracks Bodily Dismemberment and Wizard Of Gore are also the most memorable ones. It must be said that even with its comical image this debut release is a bit too rough around the edges, and in the long run the musical values are really not that high. However, Rigor Mortis can be quite an entertaining pick if you don't mind the exaggerated content.

Note: This album has been released with three different color variants of the cover; the original Capitol release (orange-red), the unofficial Old Metal Records reissue (black), and the official 2003 reissue (deep red).

USA 1989

1. Freaks 2. Cattle Mutilation 3. The Haunted 4. Six Feet Under / Worms Of The Earth 5. Chained In The Attic

With this mini album the music of Rigor Mortis changed towards more standard and less distinctive thrash metal. Freaks introduced a new vocalist, Doyle Bright, who sounds very uninspired, strained and flat when compared to Bruce Corbitt's more powerful delivery. Even though the production is better than on the debut, the result lacks strength and energy. The music sounds darker and less humorous than before, and although the horror-inspired lyrics are still there, this time the general feel is seriously one-dimensional. One part of the original charm of the band's debut album was the fresh and even cheery attitude which is absolutely nowhere to be found on Freaks.

RIGOR MORTIS - Rigor Mortis vs. The Earth
USA 1991

1. Dying In My Sleep 2. Mummified 3. Throwback 4. Contagious Contamination 5. The Rack 6. Psycho Therapy 7. City In Fear 8. Asphyxia 9. Dead Fish 10. SOG 11. Speedwhore 12. Afterbirth Of A Midget (S.Y.G.D.P.)

The last album of Rigor Mortis is a mixed bag of ordinary thrash metal and some blatant punk elements (including the Ramones cover Psycho Therapy). Rigor Mortis vs. The Earth is admittedly more diverse than the Freaks mini album though it is also somewhat unbalanced and definitely no match for the band's debut release. Except for a couple of tracks, the music is pretty rough and uninteresting, partially due to the fact that about half of the songs on this album were sung by the bassist Casey Orr whose voice is very raw and sounds just ugly. The guitar work does have its moments again, especially on the first and the last track which are nice instrumentals. Despite all its shortcomings, there's still some unpolished appeal left in Rigor Mortis vs. The Earth although not quite enough to make it score any better.

RITUAL CARNAGE - The Highest Law
Japan 1998

1. Servant Of The Black 2. The Unjust 3. Succumb To The Beast 4. The Highest Law 5. Master 6. Domain Of Death 7. Chaos And Mayhem 8. Damnator 9. Metal Forces 10. Attack 11. Death Metal

Ritual Carnage's The Highest Law was a breath of some new energy to an already defunct scene, although at this point it was still a mere indication of something greater to come. The opening Servant Of The Black is forceful enough to drop weak individuals to the ground at the first listen, after that it becomes more difficult to find similar highlights. It is obvious that on this debut release Ritual Carnage's style was still fairly one-dimensional and dry, especially considering the large number of fast-moving tracks that simply do not differ too much from each other. But although the band's first effort is more promising than satisfactory, their attack was already so keen that the cover version of Onslaught's Death Metal feels like a soft landing after all the preceding demolition.

RITUAL CARNAGE - Every Nerve Alive
Japan 2000

1. Awaiting The Kill 2. 8th Great Hell 3. Death, Judgement, Fate 4. Burning Red, Burn Til' Death 5. End Of An Ace 6. World Wide War 7. Scars Of Battle 8. Every Nerve Alive 9. The Wrath 10. Escape From The Light 11. Far East Aggressors

Every Nerve Alive has everything that The Highest Law only hinted at, and more. After the lengthy intro, Ritual Carnage's sophomore effort reveals a full pack of killer thrashers like End Of An Ace and World Wide War that are short, sharp shocks with hardly any time left for breathing in between. When the third track from the beginning starts running with exactly the same kind of relentless beat and precision as both the previous pieces, you know that it will take time to recover after this one. This is an example of traditional thrash metal taken to an extreme level, an intense performance that is decorated with some very tasteful guitar leads. It is still not really the most varied presentation full of rich artistic nuances, but the result makes the strongest possible impression. While The Highest Law was not too remarkable, Every Nerve Alive is actually better than most older albums in the genre - and that is an awfully lot.

RITUAL CARNAGE - The Birth Of Tragedy
Japan 2002

1. The Sixth Sense 2. The Birth Of Tragedy 3. Burning Eyes Of Rage 4. Paradox Of Democracy 5. Fall Of The Empire 6. Shroud Of Secrecy 7. Sanity's Thin Line 8. Grave New World 9. Dawn To Decadence 10. Psycho-Sadistic Psychosis 11. Infernal Death (In Memory Of Chuck Schuldiner)

After such an outstanding album as Every Nerve Alive, any band would have had a hard time trying to compose the follow-up. Ritual Carnage's response was to introduce some audible changes in their sound. The Birth Of Tragedy is still full of high-speed frenzy for the most part, but the production is less meaty than on the preceding releases and the vocals are more normal shouts and howls instead of the previous low roar. The effect is not nearly as unforgiving and persistent as earlier, but the music is fairly interesting in its own way even though the outcome lacks a definite distinctive punch. With some strong thrashers like Burning Eyes Of Rage and Grave New World still capable of gaining your attention, this album was at least a passable continuation of the development for this band.

Japan 2005

1. Imprisoned Secret 2. The Perfect Strain 3. I, Infidel 4. Thirst For Blood 5. These Chains 6. Do Not Resuscitate 7. Axiom 8. Straight To The Nether Regions 9. Room 101 10. All Too Human 11. Terror Ends Here 12. I Am War

I, Infidel leaves no doubt about the steady course that Ritual Carnage keep following. Immediately after the short intro, The Perfect Strain re-defines fast thrash metal and the title track follows in the same vein. Both musically and production-wise this album sounds like an improvement over The Birth Of Tragedy, with generally a better and more streamlined flow of content. The most notable practical difference is in the vocals that have evolved into a distinctive form of clean high shouts, similar to Sean Killian from Vio-lence and Katon W. De Pena from Hirax. As there are not too many practitioners of this kind of vocal style, the album gains something of a characteristic touch from it. With already several quality releases that do not sound like mere carbon copies of the old, you could easily consider Ritual Carnage one of the better pure thrash metal bands that rose against all odds in the 1990s.

RIVERGE - Rebirth Of Skull
Japan 2009

1. Thought Free 2. Till I Die 3. What A Creature! 4. Positive Ruin 5. Hungry Child 6. Dual Attack 7. Cutting Edge 8. Slavish Charge

Despite being an established band with a long career, Riverge managed to make a positive surprise with the energetic feel of their first proper release. If anything, the fresh sound of Rebirth Of Skull should be capable of raising the spirits of nearly anyone, excluding the most cynical listeners out there. It may not be the most sophisticated or serious attack, but there is some uplifting quality on this album that cannot be often found from standard thrash metal. As the songs are fairly compact and the recording as a whole is a bit on the short side, it is definitely not too dull either. Maybe the long-time appeal of Riverge's music will be somewhat limited, but based on the initial impression that this debut album makes there should be no objections to hearing more about this band in the future, too.

RIVERGE - Raid For Riverging
Japan 2012

1. Fast Saw 2. Wardance 3. Over The Justice 4. Fight Against Myself 5. Monster Die 6. Winged Beast 7. Ready To Dive 8. Faith To Nothing 9. Final Fire

Riverge's previous album was nothing short of a wild ride, and Raid For Riverging surely will not disappoint anyone who expected more of the same. There are some amazingly fast moments on this release, the vocalization is often hilariously rough, and as a rule there is a refreshing lack of polish in this thing. As it was the case with Rebirth Of Skull, Riverge's music is not necessarily of the kind that you would like to keep playing on a frequent basis, as there must be a limit for how much one can take this band's maniacal pounding at a time. But whenever ordinary thrash metal starts to appear a little bit boring, these two albums are guaranteed to provide a healthy change of pace.

Sweden 1991

1. Column Of Grey 2. The Way Of All Flesh 3. Within The Silence 4. Esoteric Traditions 5. Autocratic Faith 6. Nothing But Something Remains 7. Aren't You Bored Enough 8. Back In The Habit 9. Defy The Oppression 10. Do You Know Who You're Crucifying

For a Swedish band, Rosicrucian sounded pretty much like Testament or Defiance with minor touches of variety. Especially the vocals on Silence are almost a perfect imitation of Steev Esquivel's style on Void Terra Firma, with some additional growls that occasionally border on laughable. Production-wise you could hardly wish for more as the sound of this album is remarkably thick and heavy. As for the music itself, listening to it can be a massively boring experience if you cannot really appreciate this kind of unimaginative pounding. An honorable mention must be given to the most politically incorrect intro of Back In The Habit, but that aside, most tracks here are just a major drag. All props to the band for their skills and good production, but without any real spirit Silence fails to make the day.

RUMBLE MILITIA - They Give You The Blessing
Germany 1990

1. The Church Cries 2. No Promises To No-one 3. No Nazis 4. The Return Of The Commercial Bastards 5. A.M.F. 6. The Earth Is Turning Red 7. Genocide 8. Is This The Reason? 9. Can't Understand 10. Mirror Of Fortune 11. Outro

Rumble Militia have taken a long stride since their primitive beginnings in the German metal scene, crossing over several genre borders in the process. At one point this development resulted in a couple of full-fledged speed/thrash metal albums, of which They Give You The Blessing is nothing short of essential. You can still hear some of the band's original influences in Staffi's vocals that are not the heaviest around, at least in comparison to the norm, but in other respects this album is strong enough to easily put certain more official thrash metal classics to shame. Nowhere else you can find such awesome thrashers like No Nazis and The Earth Is Turning Red, and even the few lightsome moments are such uplifting pieces that it would be hard to imagine this album without them. Put your prejudice aside, They Give You The Blessing not only contains some great speed/thrash metal, it is also one real feelgood album.

RUMBLE MILITIA - Stop Violence And Madness
Germany 1991

1. Intro 2. Boys In Blue 3. Reflection Of Your Videoprogramme 4. You're Sure 5. Stop This Shit 6. Save Yourself 7. Way Of Violence 8. Kindergarden ('82) 9. Waiting For Death 10. Stop Violence And Madness

The successor to They Give You The Blessing sounds a tad heavier but otherwise very similar to Rumble Militia's previous album. Stop Violence And Madness is another quality release from the band, and it must be only a matter of taste whether this album as a whole appears slightly less striking when compared to its impressive predecessor. Such immediately convincing tracks like Reflection Of Your Videoprogramme and Save Yourself are just some examples of the most hard-hitting songs here. The band still throw in an occasional light and blatantly happy piece like You're Sure, but with two albums in a row repeating the same trick, it could be already considered a characteristic feature. It is probably not too far from the truth to say that very few bands have brought something fresh to the genre with their recordings - Rumble Militia must be one of the notable exceptions.

RUSTED BRAIN - High Voltage Thrash
Poland 2013

1. Intro (Apocalypse Now) 2. Caught In The Fire 3. Bloodpath 4. Waiting For Death 5. Juggler 6. Terrorzone 7. Executor 8. High Voltage Drunk 9. Burn 'em

We've already got Krieg Thrash and Ear Piercing Thrash, now how about some High Voltage Thrash. If only there was a brand new digital voltmeter included in the package. Anyway, Rusted Brain's debut release is not too bad if you can accept the fact that this is a dose of the most unsurprising and ordinary thrash metal. There is nothing terribly wrong with the band's performance, although the vocalist could have spent less time stretching his voice in an irritating way. The pacing is fine and the album is certainly not too long, left short of even a half hour. The only critical problem is that except for the sufficiently funny artwork, there is practically nothing special in the whole affair. By the time the last track is over, you couldn't be less inclined to give this album another spin any time soon. And you can bet this is not a sign of a future classic.