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Mar 10, 2014 · Also, breakneck guitar riffing came under the spotlight in speed metal bands in the 80s and 90s. Speed metal bands are known for their technical versatility and time signatures. Exciter and Anvil were two bands responsible for getting wheels of Speed Metal rolling. History OF Thrash Metal. Thrash metal gained prominence in the early 80s and since then has gone on to become one of Heavy Metal’s most popular sub-genres.
A new generation of thrash metal bands emerged in the early 2000s, drawing lyrical and visual ...
- Metallica - Kill ’em All
- Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
- Exodus - Bonded by Blood
- Possessed - Seven Churches
- Slayer - Reign in Blood
- Megadeth - Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?
- Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
- Destruction - Eternal Devastation
- Testament - The Legacy
- Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
Metallica started off young, dumb and full of Absolut vodka. But they quickly outgrew their ‘Alcoholica’ nickname, denounced the thrash movement and distanced themselves from their peers. Nevertheless, debut album Kill ’Em All still sounds raw and rampant. The guitars rattle like Gatling guns, but there are also all-important songs, as NWOBHM influences are brought to bear. The track titles remain achingly familiar: Seek & Destroy, Phantom Lord, Whiplash… and, of course, (Anesthesia) Pulling...
Years before they pioneered rap metal with I’m The Man and Bring The Noise, Anthrax were battling with Testament for a spot in the thrash top three dominated by Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Shrill singer Joey Belladonna was too traditional a frontman for some, but what set Anthrax apart was a dark sense of humour (truly evident on side projects S.O.D and M.O.D). Spreading… recalls a lighthearted Metallica and is fuelled by Scott Ian’s chunking guitar playing. Anthrax set out their stall on...
Kirk Hammett was in an early version of this band’s line-up. Hammett was poached by Metallica to replace Dave Mustaine, and Exodus drafted in replacement guitarist Rick Hunolt. But by the time Bonded… came out, Metallica were poised to deliver their breakthrough Master Of Puppets; Exodus had become just another band in a burgeoning scene. That said, this is still full of pummelling power, and A Lesson In Violence is just that: a tutorial in bloody ferocity. Vocalist Paul Baloff (who died in ’...
Possessed never really got the attention they deserved and always stayed a cult band, despite the fact that they judiciously covered all the bases: a bit of thrash here, a soupçon of death there, and copious mentions of Satan to round it all off. A quick look at the track titles tells you all you need to know about Seven Churches: Exorcist, Burning In Hell, Pentagram… why, there’s even a song called Death Metal! Follow-up album Beyond The Gates sadly wasn’t as good, and then the band inexplic...
Incredibly, Slayer were something of a joke before Reign In Blood. Admittedly, the depraved Hell Awaits (’85) had the cognoscenti raising their coffin lids in curiosity. But it took Reign… to perform a full-blown exhumation. This isn’t just a superb thrash record, it’s one of the greatest metal releases ever. Producer Rick Rubin finessed Slayer into seriously warped gore-hounds. The album, which kicks off with the molten Angel Of Death, lasts for only about 30 minutes. But imagine standing fo...
Megadeth were the first act to take the essential ingredients of thrash – volume, attitude, brutality – and streamline them with shred-like soloing. Dave Mustaine’s fancy guitar brought hitherto uncharted musicality to the genre, and his highbrow lyrics had noise-hungry Neanderthals scratching their heads in bewilderment. But the seething indignation that crackled through Wake Up Dead and Black Friday, plus the songs’ convoluted structure, made people realise that thrash wasn’t simply about g...
Even though their singer laboured under the namby-pamby moniker of Don Doty, Dark Angel were immense. Some might quibble at our inclusion here of the band’s semi-obscure Darkness Descends, but in the language of the time we can only retort: FOAD. Produced by Randy Burns (Nuclear Assault) and stoked by bulldozing drummer Gene Hoglan, Dark Angel never matched the glories of this, their second album. Every song is an evil riff-monger, as you would expect with names such as Hunger Of The Undead a...
We once saw Destruction support Motörhead. Lemmy and co had an off-night and the German band took full advantage, reducing them to the level of a geriatric string quartet. Spearheaded by charismatic bassist/vocalist Schmier, Destruction showed that even if the local take on traditional heavy metal was clueless, by contrast Deutschlanders were born to distort. Destruction struck just the right chord on Life Without Sense, which bristles with breathless hate and power. Curse The Gods is equally...
Testament began life as Legacy with vocalist Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa (later of Exodus), but Chuck Billy joined for this first album, whose title paid homage to the band’s, er, legacy. Testament also gained a new guitarist (Alex Skolnick) and the results were spectacular. The band were more adept than many of their rivals. Twin-guitar harmonies and melodic intros dragged you out of the pit and gave you a hose-down. Then tracks like COTLOD (Curse Of The Legions Of Death, natch) threw you back into...
Brazil’s Sepultura were more of a death metal outfit on their initial releases. But by the time …Remains came around the band had refined their sound, replacing studied morbidity with superhuman intensity. This is a marvellous record, up there with the best of Slayer. It’s a triumph of lacerating technicality, with high-speed grinding riffs and a sludgy industrial undercurrent. You know exactly what you’re getting on Lobotomy with its chant of ‘Brain killing brain!’ while Inner Self (‘Walking...
Shit cover art aside, Hydra Vein were a ferocious and precocious late 80’s thrash band whose Rather Death Than False Of Faith debut deserves to be heralded as a minor classic. Wallowing in the same dirty cess pool as early Onslaught and Venom, Rather Death Than False Of Faith stands toe to toe with the cream of late 80’s thrash metal. These guys could out slay Slayer when they put their filth-encrusted minds to it and the pure thrash carnage of “Crucifier” and “Rabid” (in ...
Apr 01, 2007 · 1984's Ride the Lightning established Metallica as the thrash act with not only the most personality but the most skill and ambition. Its follow-up took James, Lars, Kirk, and Cliff's newly epic palette into cinemascope — and did so with such mastery that Master consistently polls as the greatest metal album of all time, thrash or otherwise.
- Carnal Forge. Veterans of Sweden’s highly-populated melodic death metal scene, Carnal Forge have the dark spirit of thrash pulsing through their veins. After several albums of heads-down, no-nonsense speed worship, they’ve diversified somewhat in recent times, but if you want music that promises to kick your face off, few do it better.
- Blood Tsunami. Powered ferociously along by former Emperor drummer and notorious ex-jailbird Faust, these Norwegian miscreants are so in love with thrash that they named their debut album after it.
- Bolt Thrower. The Coventry crew released eight studio albums over the course of their thirty year career. Steadfastly influenced by thrash and punk, their energetic breed of death metal made a huge impact on the metal scene right up until they called it quits in 2016, following the death of their drummer Martin Kearns.
- Death Angel. Once regarded as the most likely band to succeed The Big Four, Death Angel’s time for greatness might have gone. But, after a decade away, they re-formed in 2001, and have been busy since.
Mar 14, 2020 · Thrash Metal in the ‘80s. Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It was the most successful metal subgenre of the ‘80s. Thrash was a movement that came into existence when bands started experimenting with aggressive fast tempos fused with low register guitar riffs. The thrash sound influenced music throughout the decade.
- Cyclone – Brutal Destruction
- Holy Terror – Terror and Submission
- Target – Mission Executed
- Violent Force – Malevolent Assault of Tomorrow
- Blind Illusion – The Sane Asylum
- Deathwish – Demon Preacher
- Vendetta – Brain Damage
- Num Skull – Ritually Abused
- Wargasm – Why Play around?
- Evildead – Annihilation of Civilisation
Belgium’s Cyclone weren’t particularly active – just 2 albums in a 9 year career – but they were the instigators of some distinctive riffage and Brutal Destructionremains an underrated collection of tenacious, tightly focused and terrorising thrash anthems. Admittedly, Brutal Destruction may sound antiquated to modern ears but this semi-forgotten title had some clout in 1986! Slightly dubious title aside, “Incest Love”(?!) remains one hell of a closer while the razor-sharp riffs and unrefined shrieks found on “Long To Hell” and “Fall Under His Command” still leave scars! One of those albums that belongs in a true thrashers collection – even though it may not receive a regular airing – Cyclone’s sound was more mid-level American than European and for this reason alone, Cyclone were up against it; they were never going to make an impact in the US when bands of this calibre were already ten a penny.
Holy Terror’s debut from 1987 remains one of the more aggressive albums from thrash’s golden age and this cult band deserved far greater acclaim for this and its equally accomplished follow-up, Mind Wars. One of the most original sounding thrash bands of the 80’s, Terror And Submission recalls the classic clatter of Venom and Possessed and retains the filthy sound that thrash originally pioneered before Metallica and Megadeth etc bought a commercialised sheen to the genre. Still indebted to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, “Evil’s Rising” particularly paid homage to the classic sounding, harmonised riffs of Diamond Head and Tygers Of Pan Tang while “Blood Of The Saints” updated Judas Priest’s British Steelfor speed obsessed thrash enthusiasts. Caught between speed metal’s barely in control histrionics and the melody of the NWOBHM, it’s the insanely varied vocals that push Terror And Submissioninto the realms of ‘classic’ status. Delivering a tour-de-force of ear-shattering shrie...
Utterly obscure yet teeming with raw talent, Target‘s debut album, Mission Executed, was a technical blast of feral thrash that, in 1987, was way ahead of the pack in terms of ideas and execution. Drawing on the likes of Artillery, Mekong Delta and Living Death for inspiration, a welcome dose of intensity backed Target’s technical verve as these Belgians went about destroying ear-drums over 8 tracks of nerve-shredding THRASH! Although Mission Executedlacked anything approaching filler, it was actually the opening one-two of “Mission To The Andes” and “Hordes Of Insanity” that hit the hardest; a double-whammy of fiendish grooves and whip-crack time changes that marked Target out as potential world-beaters. Make no mistake,Mission Executed was technical Euro-thrash at its absolute finest….and to deliver an album of this quality andremain so unrecognised is a crime that deserves to be tried in The Hague!
Something of a cult curio, Violent Force‘s Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow deserves to be revered instead of forgotten and it’s high time this agonisingly aggressive and frantic thrash gem was rediscovered. Opening with the Motörhead-indebted “Dead City”, the album actually improves after this bout of hero worship is finished with. Settling into a groove of their own, it’s on “Sign Of Evil”, “Vengeance And Venom” and “S.D.I” where Violent Force really prove their mettle. 100% committed to thrashing you senseless, their salaciously filthy riffs and demented drumming may be highly reminiscent of comrades Kreator, but Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrowis straight-to-the-face thrashing with absolutely no effort to confound tradition or break new ground. That can be taken as a compliment by the way! Sometimes thrash should be simple, brutal and without remorse and on their one and only full-length album, Violent Force ticked all three boxes and lived up to their name perfectly.
Blind Illusion‘s debut is a cult item of considerable aplomb, growing in stature as the years roll by and claiming its place as one of thrash metal’s unsung gems! Featuring guitarist Larry LaLonde (Possessed) and bassist Les Claypool (before they went on to form Primus) and produced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, The Sane Asylumis one of those unique recordings which practically defies categorisation, such is its idiosyncratic nature and distinct lack of conformity. An alchemic brew of jazz-influenced, progressive time changes and abstract song structures, The Sane Asylumwas conveniently wrapped up in a technical thrash bow, a description which doesn’t even come close to describing the sheer madness at work here. Quite unlike anything recorded before orsince!
How the actual fuck were Deathwishnot bigger? With opener “Death Procession” leading us on a morbid march through bell-tolling, doom-inflected pathways, the classic sounds of 70’s UK heavy metal soon meets the crunch of Bay Area thrash on the Slayer-esque title track and Deathwish’s inspirations immediately became apparent! A marriage made in heaven (or should that be hell), this juxtaposition of the UK’s world-conquering 70’s output and the equally successful US thrash sound pioneered by Metallica, Slayer et all is best exemplified on Deathwish’s gritty thrashed-up reworking of Sabbath’s all time classic, “Symptom Of The Universe”. Cover version’s by their very nature are generally disappointing but this updated version of Iommi’s classic riff-fest for a thrash audience remains recognisable but utterly feral. However, the 70’s worshipping song structures weren’t all Deathwish had in their locker, “Wall Of Lies” and the unfathomably epic “Prey To The Lord” were a sonic boom of rabid...
They don’t come more unique than Vendetta’s Brain Damage, an album that retained the required thrash crunch of the era while significantly maturing and offering unparalleled diversity to the discerning thrash fan. This was the sound of a band that should have left the underground, seriously skilled and home to such consistently impressive songwriting that a breakthrough seemed inevitable. Alas, it just wasn’t to be. But, that’s no reason to overlook its merits now as Brain Damage‘s fiendishly catchy melodies and exquisite guitar work are as impressive now as they were back in 1988! On a par with the awe-inspiring work found on Artillery’s By Inheritance and Annihilator’s Alice In Hell, Vendetta’s technical prowess and crystal clear clarity showcased a band whose merits were writ large. After all, Brain Damagetruly is an unsung masterpiece from the golden era of thrash!
Ritually Abusedmay have been ritually ignored on release but there’s no denying its thrash pedigree and albums this savage rarely reared their snarling, slathering head in the late 80’s. Redefining what it meant to be truly brutal, Num Skull‘s debut may have been neanderthal in essence but fans of Kreator’s early noise – and those fond of the ferocity of Reign in Blood era Slayer and Exodus circa Bonded By Blood – would undoubtedly offer themselves up to the kind of abuse Num Skull were dishing out. Speed, aggression and unbelievably unhinged vocals characterised album highlights “The Henchman”, the Exodus-esque “No Morals” and the utterly merciless title track….true American hate performed by absolute maniacs!
Fusing the sonic onslaught of all-out thrash with the melodic nous of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the classic sounds of old-school Heavy Metal, Wargasm’s Why Play Around? is ignored by the majority but beloved by connoisseurs. “Bullets & Blades” took the speed and aggression of Motorhead and Tank and thrashed the sh*t out of it while “Revenge” harnessed a mid-paced crunch to drive home some truly catchy riffing and it’s “knee deep in blood” refrain. So much potential, so much talent. Why Play Around? may have failed to stand out in a crowded scene of quality releases in 1988 (Metallica’s …And Justice For All, Anthrax’s State Of Euphoria, Exodus’ Fabulous Disaster, Flotsam’s No Place For Disgrace, Testament’s The New Order…) but that’s no reason for ignoring it now!
Perhaps not quite as obscure as some of the albums on this list, EvilDead‘s bloody brilliant Annihilation Of Civilisation is still unjustly ignored in favour of high profile releases of the era. The truth is, these L.A. thrashers were just as capable as Anthrax and Slayer etc at penning some seriously shred-heavy crossover thrash and Annihilation Of Civilisationis a second-tier, stone-cold classic! “Annihilation Of Civilisation”, “Future Shock” and “Living Good” indicate the high level of thrashin’ prowess this band held in abundance and serve as accomplished aural evidence that for a short while EvilDead stood toe to toe with the greats of thrash Metal’s second wave; Sacred Reich, Forbidden and Vio-Lence. Although in 1989 Annihilation Of Civilisationpractically broke EvilDead into the thrash mainstream, its obvious qualities seem to have been largely forgotten in the preceding years. EvilDead’s direct approach to the fundamentals of thrash and consistently varied, and consistently...
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