Sunday, 24 January 2010

V/A - The Beginner's Guide to Thrash Metal

Presented here for your pleasure is a sterling and succinct introduction to the original thrash metal movement, by one of my favourite music fans on the web and stalwart/sugar daddy/patriarch of the Musicbanter forum. Thrash was initially a California-centric scene but was quickly indebted to the East Coast and Western Europe in particular; with bands surfacing worldwide like Brazil's influential Sepultura. This compilation not only covers the greatest bands of thrash that are perhaps lesser-known to casual listeners (i.e. not the Big Four), but it carries great import as the root of just about all the metal that would come in the ensuing decades.
Here's a thorough documentary-retrospective of the whole thing (stream works as of 24/01/10).

What follows is the comp as it was presented on the forum in June '09.

This is more of an introduction to a genre and hopefully some of the younger members might like it and see where the multitudes of metal sub genres came from initially. Thrash was a massive shot in the arm for metal as the NWOBHM was burning out along came Thrash with it's Metal roots influenced by Punk and Hardcore. All the tracks on here are pre 1990 and I have purposely excluded the big 4 here ( Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer,Anthrax). I have also seen 7 of the bands live although that is just me showing off! enjoy please!

1. Death Angel-Evil Priest
Recorded in '86 and released in '87 this bay area band are one of the most influential bands in the Thrash scene and not bad for a drummer who was only 14 at the time! lyrically this is bloody awful cliched crap but that bass line in the middle and the subsequent accelerating guitar riff is nothing short of stellar.
2. Vio-lence-Phobophobia
If you are wondering it's fear of fear! Vio-lence never really got the attention that they deserved probably due to Sean Killians vocal style which many found ill fitting amidst their razor sharp riffs. This track has plenty of riffs jostling for attention yet it is still streamlined and tight as! Guitarist
robb flynn went on to front a little band called Machine Head!
3. Testament-Burnt Offerings
Outside of the big 4, Testament were always the fans favourite and it could be argued that theirs is the quintessential Thrash sound. Again lyrically terrible, it makes up for that in the twin guitar muscular riffs and it remains a Thrash classic.
4. Sepultura-To The Wall
For many the band never recaptured the raw power of their second album Schizophrenia from which this track is taken and this awesome track backs that up. Brilliant raw production
and the stupendous drum work of Igor Cavalera make this another absolute classic and not nearly heralded enough amidst the bands later success's.
5.Kreator-Stream Of Consciousness
Always one of the rawer bands in the Thrash fraternity and a band that's live power has never been captured well on vinyl at all which was a shame as the efficient riffing and vocal power of Mille Petrozza has always given Kreator a unique sound. Love the openeing riff that bounces off the bass
drum pattern.
6.Sabbat-The Best Of Enemies
How I love that intro with the bass guitar and double bass drum punctuated with that guitar riff. Sabbat where always a band not quite of their time and if they were around in the 70's i swear that they would have been a Prog band! Musically they were very different from the usual sound and employed lots of time changes and unusual vocal techniques. Dreamweaver is another album that needs reappraising.
7.Mortal Sin-Mayhemic Destruction
Mortal Sin were unusual due to the fact that they were from Australia (hardly a mecca for Thrash) and the fact that they were unashamedly old school thrash. The same titled debut album suffered from bad production and the band fell into many cliches on the album. However this track showed their potential and really cements it's place here with it's change of pace and awesome riff that kicks in at 2:50. It remains one of my favourite Thrash riffs ever.
8.Dark Angel-No One Answers
The main stop start riff on this track is still absolutely fucking mental and still sounds heavy as hell even today. Dark Angel began life as a cliched speed/Thrash band dabbling in the usual Satanic/morbid lyrics but they changed tack with this album. Lyrically very powerful. It dealt with child abuse and it's devastaing effects on the young. It's a shame about the faster parts as the production cannot quite keep up with the band and it sounds a little murky. That riff is still worth it. Amazing.
9.Meliah Rage-Impending Doom
A bit of a cheat here as Meliah Rage were essentially a power metal band that jumped on the Thrash bandwagon and occasionally on their debut (from which this is taken) reached some great heights. The track is built around a number of excellent riffs and changes in pace that wa
rrant it's inclusion.
10.Nuclear Assault-Brain Death
Epic.Epic.Epic. Although Nuclear Assault took their influences from Punk and Hardcore, the first 3 albums are beloved in Thrash scene and the bands ability to keep that raw edge coupled with Dan Lilkers ridiculously fast bass work made them a live favourite ( I managed to catch the band twice in 4 days in different cities and I managed to hang with them on the later date). This track is worth it for the brilliant middle section that begins at the 3:40 mark and is a perfect send off for my intro to ya all!

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