THE HEAVY LIST: TOP 10 THRASH ALBUMS

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Written By Matt Bolton

Every genre has its most iconic albums. When it comes to thrash the number of albums and artists can be a very hard task to administer. HEAVY have made up a list of ten iconic albums in the thrash metal genre with six honourable mentions. Thrashers unite!

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HONOURABLE MENTIONS

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Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

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Destruction – Release From Agony (1987)

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Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989)

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Armored Saint – March Of The Saint (1984)

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Overkill – Years Of Decay (1989)

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Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (1986)

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10. Death Angel – The Ultra-Violence (1987)

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Coming from the Bay Area thrash scene, Death Angel continues to put out stellar albums, providing us with furious thrash since the iconic debut. All of the members were under the age of 20 when recording  ‘The Ultra-Violence’ at Banquet Sound Studios, Santa Rosa, California in 1986. Drummer Andy Galeon was  incredibly at the ripe age of fourteen. Classics such as Thrashers and the epic instrumental title track, The Ultra-Violence are still crowd favourites today.

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9. Coroner – Punishment For Decadence (1988)

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Swedish thrash trio, Coroner deliver the goods on their second release, ‘Punishment for Decadence’. The album was released through the aptly titled Noise label and recorded at Sky Trak Studios in Berlin. Things get real technical on this album and it stands the test of time as one of the greatest European thrash masterpieces. The distinct vocals of front-man, Ron Royce sets the band apart from their peers and the melodic guitar work of Tommy T. Baron is in complete unison with Royce and drummer extraordinaire, Marquis Marky, who also writes all lyrics for the album. The infamous Masked Jackal single featured a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Purple Haze as a B-Side. The song also featured as bonus track on the album after the thrash-fest Voyage of Eternity.

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8. Kreator – Extreme Aggression (1989)

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Another monster of a thrash album to come out of Europe was ‘Extreme Aggression’, from German four piece Kreator. One of many speed metal bands to show influences from Celtic Frost and Bathory alongside Coroner and their German peers, Sodom who are another honourable mention with ‘Agent Orange’ (1989), in particular. Like Coroner before them, the album was released on Noise records however, the album was recorded in Hollywood, California. Mille Petrozza provides a powerful vocal delivery as he shares riffs with lead guitarist Jörg “Tritze” Trzebiatowski. The duo shreds along to the frantic bass of Rob Fioretti and chaotic drum work of Jürgen Reil.

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7. Megadeth – Rust In Peace (1990)

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Choosing between this and ‘Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?’ (1986) was a difficult task however for what it’s worth this is one incredible thrash record from the opener Holy Wars… The Punishment is Due, with that infectious riff to that final note of Dawn Patrol or Rust in Peace… (Polaris) if you have the reissue. Dave Mustaine’s distinct vocals set him apart from singers of genres across all spectrums apart from Thrash. The guitar wizardry of Marty Friedman and drum technique of the late, Nick Menza are standouts, particularly on the band’s fourth release. Menza is greatly missed.

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6. Testament – The Legacy (1986)

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The debut from the mighty Testament has the history to back it up as an ultimate thrash masterpiece. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, bassist Greg Christian and drummer Louie Clemente were all in a band that went by the name of Legacy. They were fronted by Steve “Zetro” Souza who went on to sing for thrash legends Exodus. Souza wrote most of the lyrics for the album, with Chuck Billy taking over the mic. The band changed the name from Legacy to Testament, released this beauty and the rest was history. Stand out tracks include opener Over the Wall, First Strike is Deadly and Alone in the Dark.

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5. Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985)

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The debut album features the mighty vocal delivery of the late Paul Baloff. It is the only full-length to feature the man, features Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt on guitar, Rob McKillop on bass and Tom Hunting it is truly an iconic thrash album with greats such as the title track, Bonded by Blood, A Lesson in Violence, Piranha and Strike of the Beast. The nine tracks were recorded at Prairie Sun Recording Studios, Cotati, California by the San Francisco Thrash titans.

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4. Anthrax – Among The Living (1987)

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The third album from thrash legends Anthrax contains classics such as the title-track Among the Living, Caught in a Mosh, I Am the Law, A Skeleton in the Closet and Indians. All these songs usually feature in the band’s live set. The album was recorded at Quadradial Studios, Miami, Florida and Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas. The album was certified gold and is definitely the band’s signature album. Joey Belladonna fronts the band that features guitarists Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante.

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3. Sepultura – Arise (1991)

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Brazilan thrash veterans Sepultura continue to put out stellar records but none can deny the power of the early Max Cavalera days. Although it is a matter of opinion when it comes to the greatest Sepultura record nobody would deny that ‘Arise is definitely right up there. From the title-track, Arise, Dead Embryonic Cells, Desperate Cry to the final track Infected Voice or the awesome rendition of Orgasmatron, a Motorhead cover on the European release, this album stands the test of time.  Recorded at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida, United States and released through Road Runner Records it is a valid contender of the top ten thrash classics. The album featured the classic line-up of Max Cavalera on vocals and rhythm guitar, brother Igor on drums, bassist Paulo Jr. and Andreas Kisser on lead guitar.

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2. Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

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Slayer’s third album and first release through a major label, Def Jam is an instant classic. Bassist/Vocalist Tom Araya screams over the guitar duo of the late Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King and drummer extraordinaire Dave Lombardo. The album is just short of half an hour and the band is relentless from Angel of Death to the epic Raining Blood. There is not a dud track on the album and it is hard to not headbang your way till the album is complete. Rick Rubin has produced a masterpiece here.

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1. Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

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One could have chosen ‘Ride The lightning, ‘Master of Puppets or ‘…And Justice For All to be Metallica’s best record although the album to start it all was this 1983 debut. This is what makes it the most iconic thrash record. The classic line-up to feature James Hetfield on vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, the late Cliff Burton on bass and drummer, Lars Ulrich. Burton is known for his bass wizardry on the instrumental track, (Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth. Other highlights include Hit The Lights, The Four Horsemen, Jump in the Fire, Whiplash and Seek &  Destroy. Every song on the album is a classic in its own right. The album was recorded at Music America Studios in Rochester, New York and was released via the Megaforce label. It is sure to play a big part in any thrash fans lives and is one of the reasons most continue to headbang today.

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Get the HEAVY Digi-Mag in-boxed weekly. 100% HEAVY / 0%SPAM.

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