How is it everybody else can have their own beliefs
Why is it no one else suffers from this emptiness
Tried to offer my own ideas
But the threat of disapproval terrified me
No more my soul I will reveal

-- Wargasm - Chameleon

WARBEAST - Krush The Enemy
USA 2010

1. Krush The Enemy 2. Unleashed 3. Self Will Run Riot 4. The Plague At Hand 5. Born With A Blackened Heart 6. Scorched Earth Policy 7. Guardian Angel 8. The Controller 9. Stalker 10. We Are The Vultures

Considering that Warbeast's line-up consists of members of Gammacide and Rigor Mortis, it is evident that there is not exactly any lack of experience in this group. Although the result does not have the same kind of overwhelming aggression or twisted charm as the mentioned preceding bands, Krush The Enemy is not a totally pointless release. The songs can appear a bit forced and lack any exceptional qualities in today's scene, but as a demonstration that veteran players can still deliver the goods, this is sufficient. Bruce Corbitt's voice still sounds strong twenty years after the classic Rigor Mortis debut, and the performance of the band as a whole is satisfying. Even so, it cannot be helped that this is hardly among the most inspiring recent albums in the genre, despite its promising background.

WARBRINGER - War Without End
USA 2008

1. Total War 2. Systematic Genocide 3. Dread Command 4. Hell On Earth 5. At The Crack Of Doom 6. Beneath The Waves 7. Instruments Of Torture 8. Shoot To Kill 9. Born Of The Ruins 10. Combat Shock 11. Nightslasher (bonus)

Just on the surface of it, Warbringer's War Without End is an energetic piece of work, and if an album like this had been put out 20 years earlier it could have become a minor cult favorite by now. As of today, this kind of effort can only be compared to the cumulative output from the genre up to this point, and the number of similar releases is therefore already very high. The music is still sufficiently intense and the vocalist certainly does not hold back, but although the whole thing has a certain grim edge, more noticeable is the total lack of the warm feel of many older recordings. In the end War Without End is a borderline case - there is no great sense of achievement to be found here, but among the recent developments in the scene this is by no means the absolute worst of the crop.

WARBRINGER - Waking Into Nightmares
USA 2009

1. Jackal 2. Living In A Whirlwind 3. Severed Reality 4. Scorched Earth 5. Abandoned By Time 6. Prey For Death 7. Nightmare Anatomy 8. Shadow From A Tomb 9. Senseless Life 10. Forgotten Dead

Waking Into Nightmares is not too different from Warbringer's debut album, but somehow the result tends to ring the wrong bell. The band's output sounds slightly more diverse but also increasingly tedious here. Whereas War Without End had at least some straightforward appeal, this follow-up release actually compares unfavorably not only to the band's previous works but also to many other productions in the genre. Although the approach remains forceful, the cold characteristics of this music can ultimately lead to a situation where the songs become just a stream of harsh pounding in the background. While some groups have managed to make a long-lasting career out of thrash metal, it is difficult to see how this album would necessarily increase Warbringer's chances of reaching that goal.

WARGASM - Why Play Around?
USA 1988

1. Wasteland 2. Revenge 3. Bullets & Blades 4. Undead 5. Merritt's Girlfriend 6. Sudden Death 7. Wargasm 8. Le Cou Cou 9. Humanoid

With their debut album Wargasm added some inventive touches to the standard thrash metal formula. For being the band's first release, Why Play Around? is surprisingly mature and filled with incredibly tasty and catchy riffs. The music contains some strong Motorhead influences, which shows in the relaxed sound and bouncy rhythms of many songs on this album. Actually, it isn't until Undead when the band really hit the full speed, however, the quality of riffs is quite amazing throughout this recording and the rich production only helps to highlight this fact. The vocals sound a bit thin, but they still fit the band's style very well. Why Play Around? may not be the fastest thrash metal album around, but there's no reason to complain about it when the music is this good.

USA 1993

1. Rudest Awakening 2. Enemy Mine 3. Chameleon 4. I Breathe Fire 5. Ugly Is To The Bone 6. Slow Burn 7. Blood Flood 8. One Man Army 9. Spirit In Decay 10. Dead Man's Smile 11. Dreadnaught Day

It certainly took its time for Wargasm's second release to appear, but the final result is a worthy successor to Why Play Around? The sound of Ugly is more varied and not quite as intense as on the band's debut, but as a whole this album still has the characteristic Wargasm sound with some genuinely catchy riffs and original songwriting. While some tracks could be directly from the debut album, the general style is not as consistent though even a couple of more unorthodox tracks (the laidback Chameleon in particular) blend rather smoothly with the rest. While this album doesn't feature too many stand-out tracks except for the snappy Rudest Awakening and the stomping One Man Army, the whole thing is more than a sum of its parts. Even with some less streamlined content, Ugly manages to create a strangely intriguing as well as positive atmosphere.

WARMONGER - Rites Of Vengeance
Italy 2009

1. The Coming (Intro) 2. Possessed By Metal 3. Senseless War 4. Warmonger 5. Rabid Sex Ambition 6. T.N.T. 7. Into The Crypts Of Rays 8. Right Of Vengeance 9. Merciless Riot 10. Spiral Oppression 11. Nothing Behind The Mask (bonus) 12. The Warpath (bonus)

If thrash metal had been invented only a couple of years ago, Rites Of Vengeance could have been already hailed as a new classic. As this is not the case, Warmonger's first full-length release falls safely into the vast pool of recordings that are satisfactory but more than likely to fade from memory before soon. The album honors traditions to the letter, and the band's output sounds fairly natural and spirited. Maybe the only thing that then puts this effort at a disadvantage is that it does not bring anything new or important to the table. Like said, it is not all that bad, but let's be honest - you can hear only so many typical thrash riffs before they all start sounding the same. In this sense, Rites Of Vengeance does not really make a striking impression.

WARNAMENT - ...Where Home Is Found...
Macedonia 2010

1. Ground Control 2. Slow And Painful Death 3. Disturbing The Peace 4. Hollow Of The Innocent Victims 5. Life Consequences 6. Alarm 7. Violator 8. Game Over

If nothing else, Warnament's debut release should be noteworthy at least for bringing another new geographical region to the thrash metal map. The intro to ...Where Home is Found... gives the album an ominous start that sounds promising, but as it quickly becomes evident, this recording as a whole tends to follow rather familiar as well as ordinary paths. The production is good enough, the guitar sound in particular is quite satisfying, but the riffs and compositions could have used some more creativity. There is nothing wrong with the band's performance, and the songs are generally sufficiently fast and sometimes have a specific kind of melancholic feel. And still a listening session seems to induce more boredom than actual thrills, maybe just because most of these patterns have been already heard so many times before.

WARPATH - Damnation
United Kingdom 2008

1. Damnation 2. Infernal 3. Hostile Takeover 4. Face To Face 5. Spitting Blood 6. Life Unworthy Of Life 7. W.M.D. 8. Expendable Forces

As far as only the production side is considered, Warpath's Damnation gives immediate satisfaction. The band's sound is heavy and forcible, apart from slightly undeveloped vocals, and based on the initial impression this album could appear like a highly promising piece of thrash metal. However, after the first couple of tracks are over you have already heard the essentials of what can be expected from the whole thing, and the rest is practically just repetition of the same. After all, similar maneuvers occur from track to track, and it is evident that the band's bag of tricks is really not too varied. Warpath have a good drive in their music and the rumbling sound is appealing, but in the end Damnation does not quite succeed in maintaining your interest long enough.

WEHRMACHT - Shark Attack
USA 1987

1. Shark Attack 2. Blow You Away 3. S.O.P. 4. Jabberjaw 5. Barrage Of Skankers 6. United Shoebrothers 7. Part II... 8. Go Home 9. Anti 10. Napalm Shower 11. Crazy Ways People Die 12. Fretboard Gymnastics 13. Termination

Wehrmacht's Shark Attack is quite possibly one of the fastest thrash metal albums ever recorded. Somehow the band managed to fit verses, guitar solos, and other typical parts into 2-3 minutes in such way that in the end it feels almost like ordinary thrash metal that is just played faster than it really makes sense. There are lots of humorous overtones as well, some of them intentional and others maybe not - at times this band's spontaneous disorder brings even S.D.I. to mind. On the minus side, some of this fresh energy tends to get buried in the near chaotic mix of instruments. Wehrmacht must have been a great experience playing live, but on studio recordings some of this effect goes to waste even though the band's inhuman speed is impressive. That and the fact that this is by no means a piece of music you would enjoy frequently, and Shark Attack becomes something of a guilty pleasure. Not for the dead serious or those who value technical merits over high spirits.

WHIPLASH - Power And Pain
USA 1985

1. Stage Dive 2. Red Bomb 3. Last Man Alive 4. Message In Blood 5. War Monger 6. Power Thrashing Death 7. Stirring The Cauldron 8. Spit On Your Grave 9. Nailed To The Cross

Whiplash were a real cult band in the early thrash metal scene and surely proved their worth already on their first release. Power And Pain is full of relentless, straightforward pounding and the band's characteristic machine gun riffs. Although a lot of the material sounds a bit samey and Tony Portaro's vocals are extremely raw, there's something fresh and honest in this kind of no-nonsense thrash supported by adequate production values. Granted, it's not exactly a great piece of art, but with track titles like Stage Dive and Power Thrashing Death you know what to expect and no less. Don't let the primitive looks fool you, Power And Pain contains an essential dose of old thrash metal done in the true Whiplash style.

WHIPLASH - Ticket To Mayhem
USA 1987

1. Perpetual Warfare 2. Walk The Plank 3. Last Nail In The Coffin 4. Drowning In Torment 5. Burning Of Atlanta 6. Eternal Eyes 7. Snake Pit 8. Spiral Of Violence 9. Respect The Death 10. Perpetual Warfare

Compared to the band's debut, Ticket To Mayhem was already a bit more diverse Whiplash release, this time with a clearly better and sharper production. Anyhow, songwise the differences are minor. While the debut album was a hard-hitting, raw piece of metal, Ticket To Mayhem just added some variety to the formula. Tracks like Last Nail In The Coffin and Spiral Of Violence in particular stand out with their acoustic guitar parts, though as a whole this thing is still on the safe side of pure thrashing mayhem. Although their albums are not absolute masterpieces of the genre, Whiplash certainly lived up to their name as far as the intensity of music is considered.

WHIPLASH - Insult To Injury
USA 1989

1. Voice Of Sanity 2. Hiroshima 3. Insult To Injury 4. Dementia Thirteen 5. Essence Of Evil 6. Witness To The Terror 7. Battlescars 8. Rape Of The Mind 9. Ticket To Mayhem 10. Pistolwhipped

Insult To Injury introduced some remarkable changes in the traditional Whiplash sound, as the band now had a dedicated vocalist with a drastically different style. Glenn Hansen had a high yet appealing voice that was actually one of the best in the genre. The songs on this album were obviously written to better suit the new vocal style, and the result sounds unlike any of the earlier Whiplash albums. The music is still fast, heavy, and strong, just different than before. It's actually a real shame that Hansen never sang in Whiplash again, as the combination of old and new turned out to be awesome. Even though some original fans might think otherwise, Insult To Injury is a great thrash metal album.

WHIPLASH - Thrashback
USA 1998

1. Temple Of Punishment 2. Stab 3. This 4. Killing On Monroe Street 5. King With The Axe 6. Strike Me Blind 7. Memory Serves 8. Ressurection Chair 9. House With No Doors 10. Thrash 'Til Death 11. Nails In Me Deep

After spending some years with varied metal productions, Whiplash returned with the original line-up and a healthy thrash metal album of the most familiar style. The years between Thrashback and Insult To Injury definitely show in the musical development of the band, though. Despite having its roots still firmly in thrashy grounds, Thrashback is not all the time an album of such straightforward and simple thrash metal attack as in the past. Especially Tony Portaro's vocals are so drastically different from the oldest Whiplash recordings that you wouldn't believe - the gap between his old raw style and this much more refined singing found here is simply huge. That is not to say that you wouldn't get what you pay for; maybe this album is not quite as innovative or memorable as those released in the 1980s, but it is still the original Whiplash and not some umpteenth generation copy of the same style. You could do a lot worse than this.

WICCA - Splended Deed
Germany 1989

1. It's Enough 2. Psychic Warfare 3. I.O.U. 4. The End Of The Century 5. Splended Deed 6. Mirror Never Lies 7. Pull Down The Wall 8. Speed Thrashing Kids 9. Tormmel Bass

Based on Splended Deed, Wicca had clearly more in common with their American contemporaries than the local German scene. The sound is heavy and thumping and the band play in such way that you would expect to hear a similar thing only from a whole different continent indeed. It must be said that the songs in general are not too exceptional, mostly derived from the same standard patterns that are repeated over and over, but the band's eager and powerful performance deserves at least an honorary nod regardless of the true strength of their material. While the music may be only slightly above average, this album actually sounds better than the majority of releases from the same period - the latter aspect should provide enough of a reason for anyone to give Splended Deed a fair try whenever readily available.

WICCA - Bloodrush
Germany 2010

1. Hellcome 2. Sadsong 3. Tongue Of Confusion 4. Oppression 5. Mega City 6. Disneyland 7. Bloodrush 8. Generations Talk 9. Psychic Warfare 10. Pull Down The Wall

Bloodrush is yet another proof that the first impressions are never entirely reliable. At first Wicca's long-awaited second release seems sort of banal and uninteresting, but the further you get into it the better it actually turns out, at least to some limit. Not unlike the band's debut album, the music is fully qualified thrash metal, and while it can appear slightly overdone at times, tracks like Disneyland sustain the high pressure long enough to break any resistance. Admittedly the outcome as a whole may not be as charming as Splended Deed, which has the benefit of nostalgia on its side, and diversity is rather limited. But the level of intensity remains consistent from start to finish, and eventually this persistent attack leads to something of a small victory.

WITCHBURNER - Witchburner
Germany 1996

1. Intro / Possessed By Hellfire 2. Hammer Of Destruction 3. Darkness 4. Humanity's Fall 5. Hydrocianic 6. Killed By Future 7. Fight To Be The Winner 8. Witchburner

Witchburner must be one of the most persistent "retro" bands in the genre, deservedly or not. Looking back in time, the band's debut album is really not too bad for a slab of German thrash metal in the 1980s vein. Certainly it was antiquated enough already upon its release, but the songs are not nearly as simple-minded as on some of their later releases, and one can find some surprising touches of variety here. The vocals are harsh almost to the extent of appearing pretentious but they fit the band's dark sound on this album. It helps to avoid excessive repetition that the songs are mostly short and compact, the first track being over so quickly that you may not even notice. Although it does not exactly compare to some more original works out there, Witchburner's debut is a decent product that actually fares a bit better than expected.

WITCHBURNER - Blasphemic Assault
Germany 1998

1. Kill 2. Thrash Attack 3. Grave Desecrator 4. Intro 5. Eternal Terror 6. Blasphemic Assault 7. Inquisition 8. Storm Of Hate 9. Bestial Command 10. Raw Energy

The first few seconds of Blasphemic Assault are intense in an exemplary manner, pure riff attack at its best. But there's more to it than just the intro, and the rest of this album is not quite as engaging. The music is more consistent and straightforward than on Witchburner's debut, but it also lacks the rough charm of its predecessor. Noteworthy is the complete lack of guitar solos, something that was present already on the previous release but didn't catch attention there because the songs otherwise sounded natural and unhampered. At its worst the situation here is a total opposite - where one would normally expect a solo, the band just repeat some plain riff over and over while nothing happens. Blasphemic Assault is still not a total letdown, the album is fast and intense and all, but it is already evident that the derivative nature of the band's approach is starting to take its toll.

WITCHBURNER - Incarnation Of Evil
Germany 2001

1. Devils And Witches 2. Nuclear Overkill 3. Hexenhammer 4. Steel Triumphator 5. War And Witchery 6. Execute Them All 7. Hochstift Mania 8. Ultra Violence 9. View Beyond 10. Metal Warriors

Witchburner's Incarnation Of Evil introduced some notable line-up changes, together with the band's first (and short) attempts at guitar solos. This album is for the most part similar to Blasphemic Assault as far as songwriting goes, but the riffs tend to appear even more simplistic and repetitive than in the past. After the first few tracks of the same, you are already willing to exchange some of it for a short instrumental or anything that would provide a break from the continuous unvarying tone, but there is no relief. Maybe Incarnation Of Evil would appear a bit better if it had been released earlier in the band's discography, now it is already preceded by a couple of recordings that make better demonstrations of Witchburner's style.

WITCHBURNER - German Thrashing War
Germany 2002

1. Intro 2. German Thrashing War 3. Only Blood Will Remain 4. Arrival Of The Last Storm 5. Raped In Ecstacy 6. Witchburner General

The title track of German Thrashing War must have one of the most repetitious and annoying riffs ever found in thrash metal. It takes no more than five seconds into the song and you have practically heard all of it, but you are still expected to bear with the thing for a few minutes more. Even if one can survive past the opening track, there is little worth actual interest in the remainder of this album. At this point Witchburner's music had simply reached such level of banality that any attempts to find anything novel about it feel hopeless at best. If you cannot think straight for more than a few seconds at a time then this mini album might still provide something worth the effort of listening through it, but on the other hand almost any other thrash metal release out there is likely to sound more exciting than this one.

WITCHBURNER - Final Detonation
Germany 2005

1. Iron League 2. Fighting Force 3. Master Of Hell 4. Invisible Violence 5. Thrash Till Death 6. Forrest Of The Impaled 7. Final Detonation 8. Immortal Fighters 9. Alcohol Patrol 10. Warlord (Ruler Of The World) 11. Bloody Countess 12. Pounding Warriors

After a couple of less convincing Witchburner releases, the expectations for Final Detonation were not exactly high. But the album actually ends on a carefully positive note, at least you can call it a definite improvement over most of their previous works. From the start, the production sounds a bit more gritty and sharp than in the past, which adds to the generally tighter feel of the band's music this time. It is now formally competent thrash metal with guitar leads and all, and while you can hardly pick these songs apart and distinguish them from each other, at least there is a certain kind of consistent quality to it. Worth a special mention is the current vocalist who spends most of his time murmuring to himself but then occasionally and without any warning ends verses with a short high squeak, which sounds totally hilarious and is fortunately used very sparingly. It is tempting to label this album as Witchburner's best release since their debut, simply because the band seem to have got their act together for a satisfactory effect.

WITCHBURNER - Blood Of Witches
Germany 2007

1. Thrashing Rage 2. Demonic War Machine 3. Sign Of Evil 666 4. Dirty City 5. Fist As Order 6. Follow The Slaughterer 7. Blood Of Witches 8. Night Of The Drinking Dead 9. Sacrifice 10. Rock 'n' Roller

Blood Of Witches is seemingly yet another study about how many times you can recycle the same riff patterns and avoid sounding totally ridiculous, but somehow Witchburner manage to pull it through without slipping into complete degeneration. After the grim Final Detonation this album tends to sound slightly less effective, but it is still not quite as tedious as the band's worst moments in the past. There is even some increased emphasis on lead guitar work, an interesting development indeed. Apart from that, this is thrash metal for the lowest common denominator - which is not necessarily always a bad thing. Whatever you think of the music, with this number of releases in their work history Witchburner's dedication to the genre cannot be questioned. Maybe they could still do better with some less simplistic solutions, now the band take the easy way out a bit too often.

Germany 2010

1. Break The Skulls 2. Satanic Majesty 3. Seeds Of Evil 4. Demons 5. Dynasty Of Fear 6. Stone Cold Killer 7. Nightbreed 8. Beheaded By The Axe 9. Savage Intruder 10. Raise The Blade

Witchburner is a curious case in the field of thrash metal. Although their releases have never been among the most recommendable works in the genre, the band's persistent effort is sort of respectable. But the more years pass between these subsequent albums, the more competition there seems to appear, and in this contest Witchburner's passable but formulaic offering does not fare too well anymore. Although the band's riffs have always been on the simple side, here their repetitive nature seems to stick out even a tad more than usually. Also, the vocal style which is probably supposed to make a grim impression sounds just seriously cliched in a bad way. While Demons is quite coherent and more than fast enough, it pales in comparison to the better albums in the scene today.

WITCHBURNER - Bloodthirsty Eyes
Germany 2013

1. Sermon Of Profanity 2. Possession 3. Master And Slave 4. Path Of The Sinner 5. Apocalyptic Visions 6. Bloodthirsty Eyes 7. Never Surrender 8. Spirit Of The Dead 9. The Bringer Of Disease

If there's one thing worth highlighting about Witchburner, it must be that they keep making releases on a fairly regular basis even though the quality can vary an awfully lot. Bloodthirsty Eyes could be considered just another characteristic album from the band, with some very uncomplicated compositions and generally rather stereotypical presentation. Unfortunately the vocals have changed again, and certainly not for the better. To be brutally honest, the outcome from all this just blows - there's a definite limit for how much you can take the same kind of dull pounding. If you're just starting out and absolutely must look into this band, find their debut release or Final Detonation. Based on Witchburner's recent works, it doesn't seem very probable that anything better would appear in a while.

WITCHHAMMER - The First And The Last
Brazil 1988

1. Medicine Blues 2. The First... 3. Misery's Genocide 4. Who Is Fat? 5. Harmony Or Violence 6. Words Of Desolation 7. Dartherium 8. ...And The Last

If there's a worse way to start a thrash metal album than with a blues/jazz piece then let's hope no one ever tries to use it. Witchhammer's debut The First And The Last surely does not sound like the most conventional release for the first couple of minutes, but after you get to the real meat of the album it is much more faithful to the genre antics than you might think based on the first track only. At this stage Witchhammer played pretty typical thrash metal with only a couple of notable hints of their later experimental ideas to come, and the result as such is not exactly too promising. All right, so the music is brisk enough to appeal to your senses on a certain primitive level, but a real good album it does not make. The First And The Last is not the worst debut release, but it is seriously left behind Witchhammer's other recordings that followed this one.

WITCHHAMMER - Mirror, My Mirror
Brazil 1990

1. Liberty 2. Mirror, My Mirror 3. Underground Ways 4. From A Suicide Man To God 5. Mad Inspiration 6. A Party For The Sunrise 7. The Worm That Turned Into Man 8. The Ice Starts To Melt Again (Dartherium - Part II) 9. Hair 10. The Lost Song

The first few moments of Mirror, My Mirror sound like a Brazilian version of Nightwish with operatic female vocals and classy arrangements, but after a short intro the album jumps into full thrash metal gear. With this release Witchhammer's sound became more original and diverse than on the debut, the diversity going so far that this album contains not only a couple of hardcore-ish tracks but also two whole bluesy rockers, something that makes quite a difference from the otherwise perfect thrash metal mayhem. This lack of focus is a bit of a shame since at their best, like on the title track and A Party For The Sunrise, the band deliver some highly effective thrash metal which does not pale in comparison to most other bands, and without a few unorthodox tracks in between this album could have been even more impressive than now. Despite some inconsistency Mirror, My Mirror is still an interesting effort, something else than your most average thrash formula.

WITCHHAMMER - Blood On The Rocks
Brazil 1992

1. Blood On The Rocks 2. God's Growing Older 3. The Leather Boy 4. The Orchestra Of Irony 5. Call X 6. Looking For War 7. Bitter Night (Far From Home) 8. Switched On Telly 9. Path To The Cemetery 10. Terrorist Prize

Blood On The Rocks closely follows Witchhammer's recipe for sharp thrash metal that took off on Mirror, My Mirror. The title song opens the album with some great basic riffage, nothing that hasn't been heard before, but more than appropriate for a start. The next couple of tracks have a lot slower tempo, down to some blatantly groovy moments, and during The Leather Boy you could almost start to suspect that this band, too, fell victims to the effect of Metallica's black album. Fortunately the truth is not really that bad, as the rest of this release mostly stays in the familiar thrash metal realm, and any side steps must be more due to Witchhammer's natural tendency to experiment with things. You still get to hear one more blues piece which already seems like an inevitable necessity on a Witchhammer album at this point. This record makes almost a typical entry in the band's discography - while the music is sometimes more varied than you would mind, there is some serious thought behind it all.

Brazil 2006

1. Oija Board 2. Me, Damn Lawless Killer (Disgrace Maker) 3. Metaphysics 4. Wrath Of Witchhammer 5. Dartherium 6. The Machine Of War 7. Kill Us! 8. Remains The Same (Dartherium III) 9. Witchery 10. Headbangers Unite 11. Weekend In Auschwitz 12. Worldegeneration 13. Perseguicao

Witchhammer's comeback album Ode To Death should not disappoint anyone familiar with the band's earlier works. Diverse vocals and a good production make this one of the best sounding albums from the band so far, even though their older recordings are by no means of bad quality either. Besides an occasional hint of modern times, musically it is really not too much different from the past although it seems that the band's unruly edge has only sharpened over the years. Of course, this wouldn't be a true Witchhammer release if the music was nothing but straightforward thrashing all the way, but at least there are none of those shameless blues tracks in sight anymore. Ode To Death simply contains some quite well played thrash metal that provides no new perspectives but is surely energetic and entertaining enough to justify its existence.

WITCHING HOUR - Rise Of The Desecrated
Germany 2009

1. Rise Of The Desecrated 2. Eternal War 3. Burn The Witch 4. Pedophiliac 5. Underworld Alliance 6. Blood In The Alleys 7. Vlad The Impaler 8. Cold Grave 9. Witching Hour (bonus)

Despite their name, one cannot mistake Witching Hour for a Venom tribute band. Instead, Rise Of The Desecrated presents a full load of unpolished thrash metal, adequately performed but not too interesting for such. Although the pace is respectable, it is awfully difficult to become too enthusiastic over the result. There are no noteworthy details to mention, and in this case the near constant high speed just ensures that most songs appear quite similar to each other. With seriously cliched lyrics and all, there is little to prevent a dull impression in the end. It's not a terrible effort, but when you think how much more fun many other albums can be, it is kind of pointless to recommend Rise Of The Desecrated to anyone with more than zero knowledge of the genre.

WITCHING HOUR - Past Midnight...
Germany 2011

1. Past Midnight... 2. Under Evil Spells 3. Total Possession 4. Barbed Wire Lust 5. Dark Unholy Night 6. Black Countess 7. Hail The Cult 8. Black Horned Doom

In principle there is nothing wrong with honest basic thrashing, but when it becomes too repetitive then you have a problem. Witching Hour's second album Past Midnight... starts off sounding almost promising, but that's only for its short intro. The rest is again a lot more typical and unoriginal, and real boredom is only a couple of tracks away. Observant listeners may notice hints of slightly more imaginative guitar work in comparison to the band's previous release, which could suggest some more interesting developments to come in the future - on this album the foremost effect remains quite vapid and unremarkable. Apparently there continues to exist a demand for recordings of this kind, too, no matter how small the actual need might be.

WITCHTRAP - Witching Metal
Colombia 2000

1. Cry War 2. The Maniac 3. Witchtrap 4. Black Like The Night 5. Torment In Fire 6. Command Of Hate

There is much to like about Witchtrap's debut mini album. Although Witching Metal opens with a slow and most dragging piece, this is only temporary as a fine series of fast thrash metal shortly follows. Pretty much an opposite of overproduced or just plain modern sounding albums, this recording successfully relays an image of a band whose sound is very spontaneous and yet not sloppy at all. Witchtrap's style can be deemed similar to some well-known old German bands, but with a variation of their own. Again, the slowest pieces are not the band's best asset as it becomes evident during Cry War and Torment In Fire, but when they play fast thrashers like The Maniac and Witchtrap there is little room left for improvement. While uneven in quality, Witching Metal is simply quite promising for a debut release.

WITCHTRAP - Sorceress Bitch
Colombia 2002

1. Dark Lord 2. Ripping Torment 3. Dead Of The Night 4. Sorceress Bitch 5. Gypsy Ritual 6. Face The Evil 7. Black Angel 8. Total Sacrifice (Violent Force) 9. Metal War

If Witching Metal left you wishing for more, Sorceress Bitch does not disappoint. While this is still far from the slickest productions out there, some small adjustments in the sound department have been made, to the extent that the guitar initially appears even a bit subdued after Witchtrap's previous recording. The essentials are still there, meaning at least semi-catchy and nicely live-sounding thrashers, this time with no truly dragging moments anywhere. Despite their mostly straightforward style, the band do not resort to the most simplistic choices in their music. The instrumental Gypsy Ritual in particular is a nice surprise with its captivating and relaxed guitar lines. In comparison to Witchtrap's debut release, Sorceress Bitch is more consistent and better as a whole. Actually it is not very easy to find another album with the same kind of vivid sound and feel.

WITCHTRAP - No Anesthesia
Colombia 2006

1. Heavy Drinker 2. Gallows And Crows 3. Riot Of The Beast 4. A Forgotten Cemetery 5. Disturbing The Dead 6. Lethal Thashing Force 7. B.L.M.D. 8. Priests Of Sin 9. Metal Army March

No Anesthesia brought no surprises to Witchtrap's sound. Again some riffs are nearly ingenious in their simple yet distinctive nature, and occasionally the band's characteristic style of songwriting produces some notably melodic guitar lines like on Gallows And Crows. Even though musically there is hardly any major difference between these albums, Sorceress Bitch probably still remains Witchtrap's best moment to date, even if only for the fact that it was the album that really perfected the formula and thus has some of that original fresh spirit attached to it. No Anesthesia just sounds mostly similar to the old, also it happens to contain a couple of less effective tracks with something of a lackluster feel. For a specific kind of natural sounding thrash metal, Witchtrap are still clearly among the more capable bands that perform in this style.

WITCHTRAP - Vengeance Is My Name
Colombia 2012

1. Intro 2. Winds Of War 3. Damned To The Core 4. Put To Death 5. Queen Of Hell 6. Venomous Breath 7. Metal 8. Vengeance Is My Name 9. Pay In Blood 10. I'll Take Your Head

After many long years, Witchtrap's follow-up to No Anesthesia finally saw the light of day. Vengeance Is My Name might sound unsurprising at first, and you would practically have to pick older releases and compare them with this one to find real differences. Most notably, the sound quality is a lot cleaner and sharper than on previous recordings, actually so much that the audible outcome sometimes brings even bands like Bywar to mind, which is kind of amusing. Maybe partially connected to this, also the vocal output appears to have become more mature and intelligible. When the music still preserves a definite natural feel of its own, Vengeance Is My Name easily becomes the best sounding Witchtrap album to date. In comparison to many more hastily composed and executed productions of today, this stands out as a better controlled and more mature release that does not wear out quite as quickly.

WOLF SPIDER - Kingdom Of Paranoia
Poland 1990

1. Manifestants 2. Pain 3. Black 'n' Whites 4. Foxes 5. Waiting For Sense 6. Desert 7. Sickened Nation 8. Nasty - Ment 9. Survive

Wolf Spider's Kingdom Of Paranoia is an album of somewhat less ordinary technical speed/thrash metal from Poland. Comparisons to early Mekong Delta or even Realm are not too far-fetched, although Wolf Spider's music is notably less experimental and often much more blatantly catchy. The compositions are almost too clever at times, many of them you could label as "jumpy". Then again, if such tracks as Pain and Foxes do not immediately stick to your head like a permanent glue, in both good and bad, then you should have your hearing examined. While Kingdom Of Paranoia has its lightsome moments as well, the songs are generally very well written and played. If you happen to like the style of Mekong Delta's first two albums, with a bit lighter tone and some more melodic touches added, this one is practically a no-brainer - a pretty cool album, no less.

WOLF SPIDER - Drifting In The Sullen Sea
Poland 1991

1. Blind Faith 2. Liberated Woman 3. Inclined 4. My Home 5. Drifting In The Sullen Sea 6. King Of The Animals 7. Freedom 8. Black 'n' White Part II 9. Enterprising Man 10. Orphanage 11. Mustapha (bonus)

If Kingdom Of Paranoia had been a double album, Drifting In The Sullen Sea could have been the second half of it. This recording continues to exercise Wolf Spider's technical style to such extent that you may notice some obvious mannerism. One could argue that a certain amount of trickiness and a playful feel are an elemental part of Wolf Spider's sound, but there is almost a danger of slight overload here. It cannot be denied that the songs remain as catchy as it gets, and the first three tracks alone probably make this album worthwhile to most people. The production is good even though the general sound could have been a bit heavier to compensate for repeated light technical twiddling. If Kingdom Of Paranoia hit the mark for you then Drifting In The Sullen Sea is almost a required pick with more of the same, however, it might not be recommended as the first peek into Wolf Spider's music.

Poland 1991

1. Sex Shop 2. It's Only Vodka 3. Sex Maniacs 4. Mafia 5. Homeless Children 6. Terrorists 7. Down The Drain 8. Puppet 9. Verge Of Sanity

Expecting Hue Of Evil to share the same kind of quality as Kingdom Of Paranoia and Drifting In The Sullen Sea could lead to a slight disappointment, as this album shows Wolf Spider playing more straightforward and typical speed/thrash metal than on previous releases. There are still some slight technical touches audible on these tracks, but the band have toned down their melodic tendencies by a notch. As a result, the songs are not quite as catchy anymore although not totally unmemorable either. The music is generally faster than earlier, and some of the most frantic pieces are respectable for their sheer speed alone. The album does not quite draw your attention in the same way as the band's other works, though, and the lack of real highlight tracks gives something of a lackluster impression. It's not too bad for an ordinary thrash metal album, but Wolf Spider have done also better than this.

WOLFPACK - Total Head Removal
United Kingdom 1987

1. Full Scale Attack 2. Hell On Earth 3. Vigilante 4. Devils Child 5. Maniac 6. Death By Default 7. Evil Lives 8. Traitors Gate

By looks only, Wolfpack's musical demonstration had potential to become something worth a special note. But even though Total Head Removal must have got one of the best titles ever given to a metal album, the content of this release has not aged too gracefully. In large part, Wolfpack's music is quite straightforward and simple speed/thrash metal of the most vintage kind, comparable to At War's style from the same period. While it is indeed a strong contender for extra nostalgia points, today this album just doesn't feel as hard-hitting as in the old days. Wolfpack's attack is still worth mentioning for its unpolished rough charm, carrying genuine echoes of the past, but it must be said that this is not nearly the sharpest example of its kind anymore.

WOSLOM - Time To Rise
Brazil 2010

1. Time To Rise 2. Soulless (S.O.T.D.) 3. Power & Misery 4. The Deep Null 5. Mortal Effect 6. Despise Your Pain 7. Downfall 8. Checkmate 9. Beyond Inferno

The primary impression of Time To Rise is somewhat divided. The album opens with its title track which is fast, sort of catchy but also a bit dull. There doesn't seem to be much to change this course as the flow continues. Mostly the songs are reasonably energetic, sometimes even rather ambitious thrashers with occasional echoes of old Metallica and Megadeth in them. While the effect is at least satisfactory during the first few tracks, the lack of interesting developments soon starts to test the limits of your attention span. The Deep Null shows hints of more intriguing songwriting, and more of this kind might have made this release more appealing in the long run. Now it is a display of competent performance but arguably lacks something that would make it rise above the average.

WOTAN - Tranquility
Germany 1996

1. Assassinator 2. Face Of Truth 3. Burnt To Death 4. Bring It To An End 5. Wheel Of Pain 6. Idiocy Of Faith 7. Chained Man 8. Dark Dreams 9. Incarnation

Releasing their debut album during a period of time that was not exactly known to be favorable for thrash metal anymore, Wotan were destined to remain something of a lost cause from the very beginning. Nonetheless, Tranquility is not a bad presentation at all. The album contains fast-moving thrash metal with a ripping guitar sound and harsh vocals, and the result is not particularly worse than any other average offering released up to this point. Curiously the band omit guitar solos completely, though, which is kind of odd as the music is otherwise well played and competent thrash metal. Mainly Tranquility is just hindered by the non-memorable quality of these songs, even though this collection of dense and sawing riffs is respectable.

WOTAN - Children Of Technology
Germany 1999

1. W.O.T.A.N. 2. This Heart Is Dead 3. Survive 4. Temple Of Love 5. Before Death 6. Insanity 7. Magnum Song 8. Squash Your Jerry

Wotan's second release is in no way radically different from the band's debut. Children Of Technology still provides a load of hectic thrash metal, and about the only exceptional detail must be the time frame when the album was released, with very little competition around. Maybe there are some more small technical touches this time, otherwise the band's offering is consistent and aggressive as usual. Only the cover version of Temple Of Love (from The Sisters Of Mercy) is a peculiar choice to be included on a thrash metal album, possibly hinting at the band's interests outside the conventional metal realm. All things said, it's really difficult to make any notably positive or negative remark about this recording. If Tranquility sounded good enough to you then this one is basically a mandatory follow-up to pick up.

WRATH - Nothing To Fear
USA 1987

1. R.I.P. (Ripped Into Pieces) 2. Mutants 3. Hell Is Full 4. Painless 5. Fear Itself 6. Sudden Death 7. Incineration / Caustic Sleep 8. When Worlds Collide 9. Victims In The Void (bonus)

Having started somewhere between genres, Wrath made a fine speed metal album with Nothing To Fear which closely resembles the early works of Overkill (Feel The Fire and Taking Over in particular). The vocalist sounds like a more nasty version of Overkill's Blitz and it takes some time to get used to his voice, however, the style perfectly fits the general feel of this album. The music is pretty solid in the early Overkill vein, with a great dynamic and heavy production. Tracks like R.I.P. and Sudden Death are some great thrashers that even many bigger bands would be proud of. Wrath's approach is not the fastest or most frantic around, with a lot of variable tempos and somewhat technical feel, but with some of the better riffs collected together and a good dose of nasty attitude the outcome sounds surprisingly good.

WREKKING MACHINE - Mechanistic Termination
USA 1993

1. Hear Me Now (Listen To Me Later) 2. Me Myself & I 3. Brother Man 4. I Am What I Am 5. Wrongful Snagulation 6. Without Direction 7. Cripple 8. Scoey's Place 9. Nothin' Ta Do (And All Day Ta Do It In)

Wrekking Machine's Mechanistic Termination is a small positive surprise, something that occasionally pops up against all odds. Hear Me Now (Listen To Me Later) opens the album with some perfectly fitting riffs and very nice versatile vocals. Playing semi-inventive technical thrash metal, the band sometimes sounds like a lighter version of Anthrax. The production is awfully unheavy by default, therefore this must be one of those few releases where it actually seems appropriate to put the equalizer in your stereo system into good use. On the downside, some of the material on this album can appear unnecessarily tricky with a lot of tempo variations and other quirks, and a couple of songs in particular seem to go practically nowhere. But it's the fastest tracks that really pay off, making Mechanistic Termination pretty satisfying for such a less known recording of its time.