Friday, 23 December 2011

Fave thrash metal albums for 2011

27. Sabretung - Conquest
Unknown Aussie thrashers come up with a good album. It's slightly melodic but mostly very energetic, jumping rubber bean thrash metal with medium strength vocals.

26. Invection - Facet of Aberration
Another unknown underground band delivers some decent jumpy, riffy thrash with quite bad vocals but I can get by on them. The riffs are meaty and enjoyable so worth a bang for your buck.

25. Headshot - Synchronicity
Very heavy Finnish modern thrash here with blistering riffage and very harsh almost death metal vocals. I often find the bands that use death metal vocals with thrash backing less to my liking. However on this occasion the riffing wins the day.

24. Face Down Hero - Divisions and Hierarchies
Another new discovery for me. The band has industrial undertones or shall we call it slightly futuristic in feel but the playing and production are both very good. The songs are quite enjoyable too as are the shouted semi-melodic vocals which are powerful but not death metal level thankfully.

23. Crown the Lost - Cold Pestilent Hope
A top quality melodic thrash release with slight links to the heavy power metal scene but let's just call'em melodic thrash for now. These guys are skilled musicians and know a cool riff when they hear one. Not a world beater but enjoyable nevertheless.

22. Skirmish - Through The Abacinated Eyes
Another new discovery of mine and I forget where they are actually from. This is one of those borderline thrash/death albums which veers dangerously close to being brutal enough to be death but with one foot still firmly in the thrash camp. The band plays sizzlingly fast most of the time but the production is nice and heavy and the songs tear new assholes all over the place. Not a band for subtlety at all then and worth trying if you want your face removed in a thrashy deathly way!

21. One Man Army and the Undead Quartet - The Dark Epic
This band has been doing the rounds for a good while now without a whole heap of success but this is their best album by far IMO. The sound is thick, heavy and groovy. Ok it's not a classic styled rethrash album, but modern efforts can be good too. I think they toned down the growls a little bit as well to move away from death metal and the riffs got a bit more thrashy hence their inclusion here. Not a world beater but I found it good enough to include and the rather fat production helped me make up my mind.

20. Machine Head - Unto The Locust
I have never really liked Rob Flynn's vocals and a lot of times I find Machine Head's music to be a touch boring for my tastes however the last album pretty good and surprisingly I think I like the new one better. It sounds a little bit tighter and not so long winded as the last album. The music is pretty intricate for what I know about MH and their previous albums. The production is almost flawless. Mr. Flynn can still be a whiny bitch on occasion when he is trying to go all gooey and melodic but I'll have to get over it. Musically a very decent latter day MH album.

19. Injury - Unleash The Violence
Pretty vicious Italian thrash band come up trumps with a rottweiler of a thrash record. The bite and attack of the production renders the album a touch too aggressive but it's a minor complaint. The riffing is sharp as hell and the songs will soon have your head moving. If they could make the production slightly less acidic next time that would help matters no end. Still a really solid record.

18. Harm - Demonic Alliance
If I'm not wrong the band is Norwegian but I could be wrong. They play pretty evil catchy thrash metal with harsh vocals. If I'm not mistaken they have connections with the black metal scene, but the riffing in the band is straight up rip-roaring thrash metal with punchy clear sound. They sound very inspired on this release and it's by far their best album to date.

17. Dark Serpent - M.K.C
Another new band again with a cool rethrash release that hearkens back to late 80s early 90s tight trousered, white sneakered thrash sound. The production is lo-fi being a bit murky as I recall but it's heavy enough. The riffs are classic jumpy intricate thrash metal something like Death Angel mixed with Megadeth. They are also one of those slightly joky tongue in cheek thrash bands and don't take themselves that seriously I think. Worth a go for any old school thrasher.

16. Exeloume - Faiytale of Perversion
Never heard of them but Exeloume delivered an excellent almost melodic thrash metal album but with raspy growling vocals which is the only thing holding me back from placing this in the top 10 somewhere. The riffage in this band is just excellent, fully melodic and fully head bangable. The songs are a little samey but it's hard not to be in rethrash activities so I won't hold it against them.

15. Vektor - Outer Isolation
I see the thrash loving world and his wife going gaga over the new Vektor album but personally speaking there are some factors holding back my love. First of all how do you guys get over that dude's vocals? The guy is rasping, yelping and screaming his way through the album and is diminishing my enjoyment of the music. Secondly the production is a little bit flat and thirdly the songs are a bit long. And having said all that they album still has some great technical riffs to marvel at and fluid thrashy passages to enjoy. No doubt a good album but my personal taste holds me back from offering greater honours on this occasion.

14. Anthrax - Worship Music
Well who'da thought it - a good Anthrax album! This is really a good album with many positives and a few negatives. First the positives. The production is absolutely immense and crystal clear. Belladonna whips up a storm on vocals and sounds clear as a bell. The songwriting is also mainly pretty catchy however this leads on to the negative which is that they can't keep up the quality all the way through. Towards the end of the album the songs become a bit boring and some of the gusto and power of earlier tunes goes missing. Still Worship Music is a pretty unexpected and worthy comeback from a band I have never really been into in my life.

13. Megadeth - TH1RT3EN
Ok many people are saying this is not a proper Megadeth record cause so many of the tunes have been around for years and some even decades and it's a point I take, but a Megadeth record still should have the stamp of quaity on it and 13 does have that with some reservations. First of all the production is absolutely amazing. Whoever this Johnny K guy is he done an amazing job. The guitars especially sound punchy and powerful as hell. Some of the pre-hype was mentioning a more melodic affair than Endgame which is true to a point but not something I exactly concur with. Actually on my first few plays I was a bit disappointed with the new songs and their lack of a catchy vocal hook or guitar melody like I am used to with Dave's writing style. However I completely warmed to some of the songs that were lacking after repeated plays. This album is definitely a grower and after numerous plays you'll get into it more for sure. Having said all that of all the songs on the album i still find myself enjoying the older tunes more than the new ones apart from Public Enemy No 1 which is just has a great old school classic metal feel. Oh and note I placed this at No.13!

12. Martyrd - Maniac
This is an actual 2008 release reissued in 2011 but as no one gave a shit then they tried again and it has to be said they did the right thing! This is a really powerful melodic thrash record somewhere between Metallica, Megadeth and Iced Earth. The main influence is however classic Metallica around AJFA era with some Megadeth and Iced Earth circa Stormrider era. The singer in this band does a rather dodgy take on Hetfield but believe it or not he's actually rather good at it. The negatives for this album are that it's a bit too long winded and it takes them time to get going. The songs are a little samey as well but that's minor. The production is warm and fat but could be clearer and crisper if I'm being pedantic and finally the singer needs to be a little more powerful. So there is not any originality on offer but if you like to hear some classic old metallica then a listen to Martyrd is on the cards.

11. Sylosis - Edge Of The Earth
English band playing very tight and almost technical melodic thrash with unfortunately pretty savage hardcore vocals. Musically this band is through the roof but because they are originally from the deathcore scene the singing is of that variety. The production and riffing quality is completely ace in this band. The one slight problem they have is lack of focus to make the songs a touch shorter as they do tend to go on a bit and the album is very long. Even with all these criticisms, Sylosis can hold their heads proudly high with regards to playing ability. The singer/guitarist Josh Middleton really is a pretty amazing front man. How he plays all these intricate tight riffs and screams his nuts off at the same time I'll never know. Try Sylosis for amazing music but watch out for those vocals!

10. Demolition - Kill Zone
A recent discovery and a very impressive heavy thrash record. They don't really feel retro to me as the sound is thick and modern with punchy vocals and drums. Thankfully he doesn't scream his lungs out too much and sticks to understandable barks. The music is just great, in your face, thrash metal with cool tunes. The riffs never get too tech but they sound pretty involved and flow well from one to another, making the songs sound cohesive rather than disjointed.

09. Mortal Sin - Psychology of Death
Long running Aussie thrashers return with a quality release with simple headbanging riffage and a strong melodic edge. The vocals are also clear and melodic but not of amazing brilliance. It's the songwriting in the band that wins me over in the end as they are not so ambitious and make the songs concise and catchy. Some of the lyrics are a bit dodgy here and there but I'll over look it as I don't care too much it's the music that counts. I also enjoy the gang vocal sections quite a bit. A very good effort indeed by the Aussies.

08. Godslave - Into the black
Can't remember where Godslave are from but they make an almighty angry thrash racket on this release. The music is heavily produced, with razor sharp thrashy riffage to sink your teeth into. The vocals are very harsh evil rasps and take some getting used to but I have managed it over time. The riffs in this band will definitely win the heart of any thrasher out there. Give it a go and prepare for headbang armageddon!

07. Accu§er - Dependent Domination
The previous album from these stalwart Germans was terrible but they have realised the error of their ways and then some. This is a blistering, heavy thrash record with vicious almost death metallish growling for vocals. This is one of those album that removes your face from the word go and doesn't let up until the last note. there is zero subtlety in this band, no fancy acoustics, no smooth transition sections. They fire up the heavy piston guitars and blast you with one heavy riff after another until you get the message. Very samey sounding, but what a power packed neck wrecker it is!

06. Destruction - Day of Reckoning
Everyone knows Destruction and what they stand for as German thrash pioneers so they need no introduction. I have never been huge into them but I appreciate many of their songs and albums. Since their comeback which was actually many years ago now, they've done about 4 or 5 albums all of pretty much similar quality with the odd dip. Day of Reckoning however is not a dip at all, no sir. In fact it's probably one of their best if not THE best since they came back. I find Schmier's voice a touch abrasive and grating at times but riff wise they really shine on this release. If you enjoy Germanic thrash this is a no brainer.

05. Bywar - Abduction
A huge surprise to me as this release by pretty much unknown Brazilians came out of the blue one day and floored me. I was so taken aback by the melodic angle of the songs with lots of tasty riffage to enjoy. I liked their previous album as well but nothing like this album. This is a nice mix between melody and thrashiness and works a treat for me. The songs are simple in the main but on occasion get cerebral with a tech line or two to spice things up a bit. I even hear a little Death in their sound on occasion. An unexpected underground gem.

04. Cavalera Conspiracy - Blunt Force Trauma
I am a big supporter of Max these days with both Soulfly and CC providing me with great recent albums. There's something about the simplicity of Max's style that appeals to me a lot. The riffing is just simple, heavy and rocking and allows Max's barking vocals to provide you with their usual rhythmic bite. The songs on the latest CC album had their usual attack and catchiness and although I realise it won't be every one's cuppa, I found myself often reaching for CC when in need of a good head bang session and a catchy listen. I also found the production to be rather excellent with great crunch. Lastly Marc Rizzo is an excellent guitarist both in CC and Soulfly. The guy can shred his ass off and plays off well with max's simplicity.

03. Revocation - Chaos Of Forms
Are they thrash or death?; I think I lean towards technical thrash but with some death metal blasting as well but anyway here they are at number 3 in the list and that should tell you I liked the album rather a lot. These guys are just stupendous players. They can't always write a succinct song but what they can do is wow you with riff after riff amazing technical dexterity. The production on this release is also fantastic allowing all instruments to be heard clearly. The album sometimes sounds very adventurous as well and not so one dimensional. They really tried out a few cool ideas here and there to spice things up but in the end it boils down to how the riffs grab you and Revocation did a real solid job on this occasion.

02. Evile - Five Serpent's Teeth
English worshippers of all things Metallica came up with possibly their best album yet. I say possibly because I still find Infected Nations to be an amazing disk and need more time with Five Serpent's Teeth cause it is a very long and rather complex record. Not complex in a musical or technical sense, but in the sense that the songs are sometimes not as immediate as I would like. I say all that and still it proudly sits at number 2 cause it is no doubt a brilliant thrash record. The sound is masterful and the vocals especially on this album are immense. He sounds much more confident in his vocal abilities and delivers a more melodic vision than he was able to on previous albums. The riffage on this albums sways between fast to mid paced but always with a sense of foreboding or darkness. It sounds like quite a dark thrash album, there is not much happiness here and it's a bit gloomy all round. Not that it is a negative in my mind as it seems to give the songs added depth. Special mention of the ballad which is actually awesomely sung and played and is an ode to their deceased bass player - a great tribute on an intriguing and quality laden melodic thrash record.

01. Havok - Time Is Up
Finally we arrive at my favourite thrash record of the year with the American boys of Havok. I was supposed to see them a few weeks ago but the gig got cancelled for some reason which is a shame. Anyway what to say about this record. This is a huge turn up in quality from their previous album which was already good but everything's been turned up a notch or two. The production is crystal clear, heavy and precise. The instrumental skills are developed to the maximum. The songwriting is catchy, but in the end the thrasher in me wants to have amazing riffs and boy do the Havok boys come up with them. Not much more I can say other than any thrasher worth his salt needs some Havok in their life.

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