Saturday, 24 December 2016

Recommended Thrash Metal Albums for 2016

A solid year for Thrash metal indeed. I managed to find 32 titles that I liked overall which is not a bad return at all. Here they are in reverse order.

32. Poltergeist - Back to Haunt
The return of the old Swiss band. I don't really remember but they're back from the dead with a rethrash offering. It has a nice thick sound which is the first reason for making the list and the second is the riffs are truly headbanagble. When they slow down it does get a bit boring. So my advice is forget about slow riffs and put the pedal to the metal and Slayerize!

31. Helstar - Vampiro
Yeah it's good and makes my list but it's not great all the way. It get bogged down here and there but they still have those classic galloping Helstar riffs in abundance. Not as good as the last album for sure but Helstar still have quality although it's hit and miss this time round.

30. Revolution Within - Annihilation
The band is pretty much thrashcore and the only band of that ilk in this list. They remind me of my old faves Stampin' Ground. The riffing is groovy and headbangable with a few breakdowns typical of thrashcore bands of old. The riffing and production is ace even if the vocals are not great. The rage is long and hard with these guys.

29. Vektor - Terminal Redux
I don't like this ultra raspy blackened vocals at all and it detracts from my enjoyment somewhat but I can't deny the band has great riffs here and there. It's a bit long winded though and I like my thrash more concise and to the point but it should make the list in any case for the convoluted, spacy ideas the band has.

28. Godslave - Welcome to the Green Zone 
Fun Germanic ripping thrash with thick riffs. Vocals sound much less black metal than before. I enjoyed this. Bouncy and cool goodness.

27. Abduction - From Uranus to Your Anus
Funny and goofy thrash this time not to be taken too seriously but still enjoyed. Songs like Raped by Aliens tell you all you need to know as does the album title of course!

26. Dust Bolt - Mass Confusion
German thrashers return with their 3rd album. The first I didn't like at all. The second was a vast improvement and now the 3rd has arrived and it's a little bit more refined still than the second. The riffs are intricate and will test air guitar fans that's for certain. There is utter sonic overload and then more groovy tunes and there's even a touch of hardcore punk crossover at times that I can hear. Their best yet no doubt.

25. Woslom - A Near Life Experience
Pretty cool thrash from South America. Some cool riffs to get the old neck wrecked...what's left of it that is! Production is pretty groovy and crisp. Vocals usual shouty affair, no worse or better than most bands. Regular thrashing fun!

24. Drunkard - Inhale The Inferno
Modern ripping thrash with heavily distorted death metal vocals. I like their last album and this ain't no different despite the shitty vocals. He really does not belong in a thrash band but you get used to his under water garble after a song or two. The riffs meanwhile crush you to death with much gusto.

23. Aggravator - Sterile Existence
Not perfect but pretty enjoyable riffy thrash with aggressive, grunted vocals. All about the riffage and Aggravator works well enough for me in the end.

22. Exumer - The Raging Tides
The Germans returned with some killer thrash way back in January. Mem sounded great and the band sounded energised like a mix between old Metallica and Kreator. Great stuff although it was released nearly 12 months ago now.

21. Revocation - Great Is Our Sin
Revocation have slowly toned down the OTT speed and brutality for a more refined and modern technical approach and this album reinforces that move. The riffing is still wondrous at times and leaves you breathless and then slows down to a more relaxed pace. The songwriting is still a bit disjointed for my taste and I find songs can be "messy" sounding. I quite like the shouty semi clean vocals used and to be honest if they dropped the growls and went that route completely I wouldn't be disappointed at all. Guitarwise the band is shit hot but there's just a little something missing memorability wise to really wow me enough to allow it to reach the top

20. Metallica - Hardwired.. To Self Destruct
SO yes Metallica makes the list. The album is pretty enjoyable though not very thrashy at all apart from about three songs. Still have to say well done that it's the best album since the Black Album at least. Next time don't take 8 years and also do 3 more faster songs!

19. Exmortus - Ride Forth
The American neo-classical thrashers slightly disappointed me at first but then I realised yeah this still kicks ass. The production is crystal clear but it lacks the heaviness of Slave to The Sword. It's also not quite as catchy even though the guitar work is totally incredible. These guys are thrashing shred masters. The vocals are however better than the previous CD being a bit less annoying raspy. Good stuff overall!

18. Game Over - Crimes Against Reality
Italian thrashers return with a somewhat tongue in cheek rethrash effort. The production is great as are the jumpy, energetic riffs. It gets a bit jokey at times but I can abide by that. The production is fat and crystal clear and it ticks all my thrash boxes. Better than Anthrax and in similar territory by my reckoning.

17. Space Chaser - Dead Sun Rising
This band plays rethrash that sounds pretty much exactly like Northern Irish boys Gama Bomb. In other words super speedy thrashy speed metal with very high pitched vocals that carry quite a bit of melody strangely enough. Someone in the comments on youtube said this is what happens when Bruce Dickinson fronts Slayer! Pretty apt description indeed!

16. Mass Deception - Revelations
Very cool melodic thrash with rough vocals. Great riffs and cool songs to boot. This one came from out of nowhere basically to get the adrenaline pumping yet again.

15. Crisix - From Blue to Black
The Spaniards return with a much heavier but still fun thrash album with a slightly goofy flavour. Riffs hurtle along and make you raise your fist and bang your head. The screamy vocals are a bit shit but I don't even care as usual. Some killer breakdowns as well. Well worth any thrasher's time!

14. Bull Riff Stampede - Enraging the Beast
English band with stomping speedy ripping thrash with a very aggressive vocal. In fact the singer is almost slightly annoying to me but I'll get over it. The band's name is perfectly in unison with the music on offer here. The riffs pummel like a maniacal bull on the loose but they still have a lot of crispness as well. Aggressive thrashers will be happy with this release as it doesn't take no prisoners no sir!

13. Accuser - The Forlorn Divide.
Germans go super heavy this time. Everything is set to the maximum that it can be. More groovy than usual and borderline death metal at times. When in the mood for something to break shit to then this will do!

12. Violblast - Conflict
Another very cool recent release for thrash nuts to enjoy. I like these guys' last album so this was a no brainer for me. This time round they sound crisper and more polished than before. They've beefed everything up to make it as heavy as possible. They still go hell for leather which is always cool to hear and haven't slowed down for nobody some jump in and fasten your seat belt!

11. Warfect - Scavengers
Fast and clean ripping thrash with overtly aggressive almost death rasping vocals. Guitars and drums are completely over the top with a relentless barrage though which makes this very enjoyable to listen to. It's so fast it's almost impossible to head bang to. Still can't help but love the sheer audacity to play at this breakneck speed and still maintain a high technical level!

10. Devastation Inc - No Way For Salvation
A recent discovery that sounds like Megadeth's angry snotty nosed little brother. That sounds quite good to me indeed. It has Rust in Peace like riffs and also sounds a bit like old Anthrax as well. Cool band name too!

09. Flotsam and Jetsam - st
The Cold didn't even make my list last time out for Flots but I know most folks loved it but the self title opus from this year has knocked it out of the park for me. It has a great, clean production with all instruments in perfect harmony to create melodic thrash metal. This allows Erik AK to do the business over the top. The melodic aspect is very cool this time with memorable choruses all over the place. The song Iron Maiden is one of the thrash songs of the year written as a tribute to the band. The rest of the songs are all flat out very enjoyable with loads of melodic content and Eric's melodic but slightly psychotic vocal delivery adding further character to the proceedings.

08. Toxic Ruin - Subterranean Terror
Haha awesome semi-tech thrash! Countless great riffs and I mean countless. These guys wrap their fingers round their collective frets like a spider on his web! They jump here there and everywhere. Production is light and clean and could do with being polished up a touch. Vocals average and get the job done. I enjoyed this unknown band a lot!

07. Unhoped - Sonic Violence
What a stupid name but what a fuckin' ragin' thrash record! Unhoped really turn the screw on this release. Thrash pits the world over would explode with fury on hearing some of these fearsome riffs I tell ya. The singer is a bit harsh for my taste but to be honest I didn't even have time to get annoyed as colossal riff passages hurtled at me one after another. Thrashers the world over will be going ape shit to these guys if there's any justice. Face melting Sonic Violence indeed!

06. Xenophile - Systematic Enslavement
An album and band that came out of nowhere with a superb slice of melodic thrash. Very cool and unexpected indeed. These guys somehow remind me of some old American tech thrash bands like Forbidden and bands of that ilk. These guys won't make waves in the thrash scene but they really are excellent. I love how the singer has a very clear voice and you can understand most lines. The riffing is top level tech thrash although the production could be sharper. The song writing is totally insane being just all over the place. These guys have their own ideas about thrash which is quite refreshing. Very enjoyable and slightly odd!  

05. Destruction - Under Attack
I don't recall liking any recent Destruction album as much as Under Attack. I've always been a lukewarm fan of the band in any case but this alum really brought it home to me and then some. The riffing is crisp and catchy as hell and Schmier's vocals which normally rasp too much are quite acceptable here. In the end as usual I say the same thing. It's all about the riffs man! Destruction pulled out all the stops this time, there's enough tech in it to keep you guessing but it's not so much to get progressive either. They always make the songs pretty memorable, with a catchy chorus guaranteed to pop up sooner or later. they even added some nice shredding here and there. Horns up for Schmier's crusty old crew!

04. Testament - Brotherhood Of The Snake
I liked the last Testament album but didn't love it in the end. People say this is a bit below that album but oddly I am of the opposite opinion. This seems to be the best Testament album to me in an age. I am not a huge fan of the opener and title track but after that I love most of it. The production is massive and better than before with a much thicker guitar sound. I was expecting the lack of more melodic parts to be off putting as the band tries to sound heavy and angry, but you know what I can still hear classic Testament underneath it all. There is still the classic Testament riffing style that I can hear and Alex's solo still shred like hell.

03. Megadeth - Dystopia
Of course I'm a Mega fanboy of the highest order, I even like Risk for Christ's sake! That I was gonna like Dystopia was a given, but it was just a matter of how much I was gonna like it. Well I like it a lot..a bloody lot in fact! This is the best Mega album since Endgame at least or United Abominations. It has elements and little clues throughout about old songs and you can hear cool little riffs or ideas which reek of classic Megadeth. It has a little bit of everything really. I think those expecting full on thrash would've been slightly disappointed in this at first but you have to consider the Megadeth fan in general and it has songs for every type of fan. Sometimes you shouldn't cater to every part of your fan base but I think Dave did great this time. I look forward to how the band progresses next time when Kiko will unleash more or his killer melodic solos.                                    
02. Suicidal Angels - Division of Blood  
My Greek bros came back with more savage Slayer worship. They still have that knack for great grooves and Slayeresque breakdowns like no one else and I guess they'll never run out of 'em either! The solos have gotten a bit better and more melodic over the years which is always good. Another really solid thrash record to add to their already great discography. SA give you a guaranteed good head bang session make no mistake.                        

01. Artillery - Penalty by Perception.
The best Artillery album in the new era of the band IMO. This thing frigging' rages hard! Very heavy and yet with a great sense of melody too thanks to the new singer. To me they are not out and out thrash any more as they mix so much more melody which brings them to regular speedy classic metal. The singer is awesome too and he really lifts the band to the premier league of melodic thrash whilst the music rattles your brains and leaves you breathless. Hard to pick out fave tunes as most of them rock but the title track really rips and is very catchy indeed with a vast array of great riffage. Headbanger's paradise this album.                  

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