Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

thrash metal

Bathory – Requiem (1994)

A strange side step in the chronological order of Bathory’s evolution. After several records expanding and refining on the Viking themed epic metal, Quothorn side steps his project into a mid-90s mire of sheer sonic brutality. Gone are the epic 10 minute tracks, instead we get an unique brand of super intense thrash metal, where the riffs are so fast they are crazy blurs, where the bass is so loud and clanking that it almost drowns out the six string instruments, where the drums are so fucking crazy fast you wonder where the fuck this guy was for the other Bathory albums! And it’s over in a flash too. Bizarre, but great shit.

Deceased – The Blueprints For Madness (1995)

I’m no expert on Deceased but credit is due where credit is due: a.) the drumming on this is absolutely fucking fantastic! As a drummer myself I was fucking glued to my headphones for the entire listen (and then the repeat listen lol). Then, of course, there is point b.), which is that Deceased have such an unique personal take on the death metal template. Outside of “the greats”, how rare is that? It’s a sad reality that a lot of death metal does kind of all sound the same, but not Deceased. Not The Blueprints For Madness. Comparisons to Autopsy are understandable but also somewhat unfair, as the two bands are considerably different. Both bands have incredible drummers who also perform vocals, but that’s as far as it goes. I can’t say so much for some of the later Deceased stuff that I’ve heard, but this record is fantastic.

Schnauzer / Doktor Bitch – Split 7″ (2011)

There’s such a perfect air of rediculousness to Schnauzer that I just can’t help but be in a good mood after listening to it. “Gym Konya” is off his nut, in the most endearing way possible. The tracks here are more of the good ol’ absurdist Ohio “scrap metal” that you would come to expect from the project. RIP dude. This shit is one of a kind! Doktor Bitch (lol) took me by surprise. A compressed soundstage packs out with fuzzy, bass-heavy thrash. These guys really got it in for Sarah Palin, which is a reference that has aged like milk. Who gives a fuck about her? It really makes this EP show it’s age. Anyway, the execution is pretty good, I just don’t really give a shit about Sarah Palin.

Post Mortem – Coroner’s Office (1986)

A mixed bag of metallic styles, unfortunately not all of which stick the landing. When it does work however, Post Mortem’s quirky and unique take on the blending of metal hits like little else. There’s some interesting takes here, and the whole thing warrants multiple listens to get your head around, but the patchwork quilt of successes vs misses may put some people off. A for effort, though.

Forbidden – Forbidden Evil (1988)

Forbidden’s vocalist Russ Anderson is cheesy as fuck but let’s not allow that to detract from the fact that this is an excellent thrash record with extremely good production, amazing riffs and solid-as-fuck drumming. I’m not familair with the people who produced this thing but truly it is a marvel of consistent yet punchy sound, delivered perfectly by the band in the first instance, then hammered home by the engineering team. As I eluded to, I’m not totally sold on the vocals here, but I’m sure they will grow on me with time.

Death – Death By Metal (1984)

I’m no scholar on the work of Chuck and Death / Mantis, but this noisy rehearsal demo featuring the now legendary line up of Chuck, Rick Rozz and Kam Lee, is nothing but an absolute pleasure to listen to. It is perhaps easy to put this up on a pedestal due to its historical significance, but it is, at the end of the day, a noisy thrash-becoming-death metal demo made by a bunch of very talented kids. Beneath the haze of the production you can hear the incredible riffs and strong song structures. If I had to compare to other / later bands, parts of this gives me Autopsy vibes whilst other bits are more in the school of Kreator. Good shit.

Venom – Calm Before The Storm (1987)

Calm Before The Storm marks the point where I first was bitterly disappointed with a Venom album. Gone is Mantis, replaced by “Jim and Mike”. It says a lot about a guitar player if it takes two separate people to replace you, I think. Anyway, Calm… still has Abaddon and most importantly in this regard Cronos, so it is not immediately indistinguishable as a Venom release. After a few minutes however you begin to get the feeling that something is off, and even though this is Venom in name and has Cronos barking all over it, there’s just something about it which feels false and hollow. The production is pretty bad but I’m not really bothered by that. I wasn’t a fan of this one. It feels half-arsed.

Kreator – Pleasure To Kill (1986)

What can I say about a record this legendary? Pleasure To Kill is a classic of not just the thrash genre but an integral piece of metal music history. The production is clean and whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to call the band’s playing sloppy, there is definitely a youthful energy to their work here that is barely contained. It feels like each song wants to go racing off as fast as possible, and the guys are wrestling to keep things in check, which is fine with me!

Slayer – Undisputed Attitude (1996)

Cunnilingus and hardcore punk brought us to this! It says a lot about your relationship with a band when one of your favourite albums by them is a covers album but fuck it, Undisputed Attitude is the shit. Slayer are angry as fuck and it translates perfectly into the world of hardcore punk. They absolutely fucking kill it here. (As a side note I totally didn’t need to hear Tom Araya singing about putting his tongue in “that special place” – lmao)

Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss (1990)

Seasons In The Abyss is an amalgamation of the previous few Slayer albums. Good thing that these albums are some of metal’s all-greats, so Slayer retreating old ground here is not necessarily an awful thing in this case. I think they got away with rehashing stuff here for the first and only time, only because the quality of the songs are still very, very high. There are signs of the not-so-great groove / nu metal stuff that plagued them a bit in the 90s, but generally this album is fucking great. It’s got “War Ensemble” of course, and the closing title-track is one of my favourites from the band.

Slayer – Show No Mercy (1983)

I’m just gonna say it: Slayer were way cooler when they did Bathory-esque metal (pre-Bathory metal, even!). I’ve coined it “evil Slayer” (original, I know) and it’s better than “thrash Slayer”, “nu metal Slayer” and “legacy band releasing shit for the sake of it Slayer” all put together (thrash Slayer is pretty cool though). I’m obviously breaking bawls here but fuck this shit rules so hard. In layman’s terms this is Slayer’s Kill ‘Em All, but even such a debut from a youthful incarnation of the band showcases excellent songwriting prowess and that “special sauce” feeling that these guys really had something special, even back then.

Voivod – Lost Machine (2020)

An excellent set, featuring some of Voivod’s best tunes, and – of course – their Pink Floyd cover. The sound is a bit flat in places but generally the production is very well balanced, especially between Chewy and Rocky. Snake sounds just like he does in the sound, it’s uncanny.

Voivod – Ultraman (2022)

I’m not gonna lie to you, chief. I have zero fucking clue who or what Ultraman is. I can only assume, this being Voivod, that it is some sort of obscure sci-fi movie or TV show. I did not expect, in any universe or pocket dimension, to ever hear Snake singing in Japanese. Sometimes even a band like Voivod, where you should expect the unexpected, continues to out-pace my imagination. Fair play. But yeah, these are covers of the various Ultraman themes, backed with some pretty good live recordings. All in all, a pretty fun release. I saw this for sale at the recent 40th anniversary tour, but I didn’t buy it. Maybe this will end up as a collector’s item, who knows?

Voivod – The End Of Dormancy (2020)

Of all the tracks from The Wake, “The End Of Dormancy” is far from the best, the first few minutes of it even being tedious, not a word I would often use to describe Voivod’s music, but here we are. The version of the track here, with the additional brass sections, is a fun experiment, but not one that I feel really pays off. The track doesn’t really get interesting until mid-way through and even then it’s not the additional brass parts that are making it interesting. The other live songs here feel like filler, making this feel like a pretty pointless release, all in all. I for one champion experimentation and I also think Voivod are one of the greatest bands to ever exist, but this release didn’t stick the landing.

Voïvod – Post Society (2016)

You gotta love it when bands release EPs that almost reach LP status due to their run time. Voivod is one such band; a band that is always bestowing onto us the most interesting and engaging dystopian metal gifts. Post Society is no different. Come for the off-kilter sci-fi thrash, stay for the Hawkwind cover (yes!). As always with the “modern” era of Voivod, production is fantastic and everyone is performing on point. This EP also has some of my favourite Away artwork, which I have on a t-shirt. Long live Voivod!

Kreator – Endless Pain (1985)

Early Kreator is such a treat. It’s not totally dissimilar to early Sodom, but nowhere near as messy. Endless Pain is a fucking wild dose of thrash, however. Production is a bit thin (it probably sounds better on vinyl) but it’s not unworkable and the songs are just absolute classics.

Vektor – Black Future (2009)

Vektor – Black Future (2009)

Like latter era Death on intramuscular steroids, getting into a fight with Nocturnus at a Voivod gig. Voivod have stopped their show to watch the fight unfold in as near silence as a fight can happen. The Voivod guys are having brewskies and a sneaky joint. “It’s not bad, eyy?” Asks Snake from Voivod to nobody in particular, but his colleagues and audience are too enthralled by the chaotic mess unfolding before them.

Schnauzer / Sloth – Split 10” (1998)

Schnauzer / Sloth – Split 10” (1998)

Schnauzer is a trip, as always. Not sure what I can add here that I’ve not already said before, but solid, chugging Ohio “scrap metal” underpins the various outpourings of madness that Jim puts us through. Sloth is a bit more disjoined, with samples and dare I say “acoustic” passages meandering between blurs of manic noisecore and more uhh “traditionally” paced songs of varying styles and genres. All in all, a fun split that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Driller Killer – Total Fucking Hate (1995)

Driller Killer – Total Fucking Hate (1995)

Man that cover art is eye-catching as fuck. I’ve kinda become desensitised after years of listening to grindcore and death metal but there’s something about this one that just hits you right on the “disturb.exe” button (or is that “disturb.dmg”?). Anyway, this shit pares down the harsher elements of crust punk like Doom, Discharge etc and fills the void with the harsh, deep tones more associated with thrash and early death metal. The d-beat roots keep things moving at a decent pace however, making this disgusting gory music that you can have a lovely little dance to. Oh, also check out “Skåneland” in particular, that track is really a moment of surprise in this whole turbid bag of death and hate.

Megadeth – Rust In Peace (1990)

Megadeth – Rust In Peace (1990)

I’m no Megadeth expert so what I can offer here is only going to be fraction of what other writers can and have already put down, so I’ll keep this brief. Thrash, innit. Rust In Peace is an extremely well produced album, to the point where you could time a watch to these songs. Even if Mustaine’s voice is an acquired taste, this thing fucking seriously rips. Production wise, the whole thing is in perfect balance, and every performer is firing on all cylinders. Oh, and it gets bonus points for having a song ripped off by Bobby Prince for the Doom soundtrack.

Virus – Forced Recon (1988)

Virus – Forced Recon (1988)

Feel like I’m about to come on here and throw down a J-Dawg style rant about the botched fucking digital release of this shit. Whichever asshat uploaded this to streaming services has ripped it straight from a tape or busted up vinyl copy by the sounds of it – it sounds like complete dogshit. I have the vinyl too and I’m fucking positive that it didn’t sound this bad. But hey, it’s been a minute… Virus play fairly chunky, heavy thrash and its a shame that the version most people are gonna hear is some watered down half-baked conversion. Definitely worth hunting down a phyisical copy of this badboy to truly appreciate it.

Droid – Terrestrial Mutations (2017)

Droid – Terrestrial Mutations (2017)

Yo dawg I heard you liked Voivod! So we sounded like Voivod! Haha! To be fair, its easy to compare anything with dissonant riffing and space / sci-fi themes to the legends that are Voivod. I could say Droid sound like Voivod (which I just have) as much as Vektor sounds like Voivod, but of course Vektor and Droid sound nothing alike. Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this? (Perhaps not, I’ve had too much caffiene) Terrestrial Mutations is a solid hour of proggy, weird metal. That much at least, cannot be debated. Their music is equally spacey / experimental as it is precise and hard-hitting. Truly, an all-round winner. I hope they release more albums.

Aspid – Кровоизлияние (1993)

Aspid – Кровоизлияние (1993)

What a hidden gem! One that not only rewards those who go exploring “off the beaten track” as it were, but one that continously rewards its listeners upon repeat visits. On the face of it, Aspid are a typical thrash metal band, but you can peel back the layers on this thing and unravel some amazing technical feats. The drumming in particular is my favourite but this whole thing hangs in the balance of exquisite musicianship.

Bathory – Blood Fire Death (1988)

Bathory – Blood Fire Death (1988)

For a black metal record, Blood Fire Death sure doesn’t half thrash hard! (I’m messing around, but damn does this thing go hard in parts). Nothing really hits the spot like Bathory (except maybe one of a thousand Bathory clones), here the band takes two approaches: one of building thrashing walls of whirlwind speed and another of conjuring powerful, hypnotic grooves. Both of these things are then pulled together into a dense production job, giving you a rich, reverb-blanketed tapestry of what extreme metal was all about back in 1988.

Agathocles / Nunslaughter – Split EP (2011)

Agathocles / Nunslaughter – Split EP (2011)

Agathocles are once against testing my hearing, seemingly deliberately wanting to give their listeners tinnitus with the mixes on their EPs. Honestly, the songs sound absolutely great but fuck this production all the way to hell. Anyone have an address so I can post some of this treble back to the band? Jesus fucking Christ. Nunslaughter on the other side of this disc are absolutely fucking excellent, bringing two songs of grinding, thrashing sonic carnage. NS are also guilty of sometimes having shoddy sessions but this shit sounds amazing and blows your head off. The artwork on their side of the split’s sleeve is really sick too.

Carnivore – Carnivore (1985)

Carnivore – Carnivore (1985)

The first Carnivore album probably isn’t as good as the second but it’s still a pretty solid album. Some of the doomier riffs are fantastic, despite the trashy nature of the album in general. You can tell from the off that it has that unique Pete Steele sound, not to play down the other members. There is plenty of hay-wire ideas here, as well as strange interludes and takes on things (the chilled bongo sections in “God Is Dead” being a perfect example of what I’m talking about). I love the production, especially the drum sound, but to be fair most of the record is very well balanced. Tidy bit of thrash, and something a little different.

Sarcofago – I.N.R.I. (1987)

Sarcofago – I.N.R.I. (1987)

Messy, nasty, horrible metal cranked up to 11. You can feel the youthful energy of this thing overflowing throughout the whole record; be it in the raspy vocals, the crazy guitars or the sloppy, scattered drums. This is like combining early Possessed and early Venom in that machine from The Fly and turning it up to 666%. I.N.R.I. almost sounds to me like the accidental template for “war metal” (stuff like Beherit, Blasphemy and more recently Revenge, Conqueror etc.). I love how track 7 is misprinted as “Ready To Fucky” on some versions of this album – that is just absolutely hilarious, and jarring with the sinister tone here (I can’t wait to ask my partner that question the next time she seems even remotely in the mood – I’m sure it will seal the deal, so cheers Sarcofago). Stand out tracks include “Satanic Lust”, “Desecration Of VIrgin” and “Deathrash”.

Bulldozer – The Day Of Wrath (1985)

Bulldozer – The Day Of Wrath (1985)

Silly but very, very entertaining blackened thrash back from the days when blackened thrash wasn’t really a thing outside of Venom, and to be honest, Bulldozer is so much more than a Venom clone. Labelling them as such merely does them a disservice. The production is rough but serviceable, and the music has that looseness to it that only adds to proceedings, rather than coming across as sloppy and useless. The subject matter is a weird one, fluctuating between “serious” takes like “The Great Deciever” and silly tracks like “Whisky Time” (which is a banger though).

Metallica – 72 Seasons (2023)

Metallica – 72 Seasons (2023)

Nowhere near as bad as people are making it out to be, but still lacking in spark and originality, that’s for sure.When I first heard the tracks that the band dropped in anticipation of this record, to me they sounded overcompressed, synthetic and false. Lars’ drums sounded quantised to all hell, and James’ vocals were autotuned to death. I understand my man James is pushing 60, but y’know, idk, fuckin’ Michael Gira doesn’t use autotune. Hey, fucking Lou Reed didn’t use autotune on LuLu, you feel me? Haha Thankfully, the rest of the album is not so bad. The production style remains the same, but I think the speedy, thrashier songs like those released in advance (in order to snag the true metalheads and start a “Metallica are back and they are heavy again!” kinda conversation, no doubt) expose the dirty studio trickery more because, well, as I’ve said, these guys are old now and playing at that intense thrash metal speed is just not doable anymore. I mean, Voivod are still thrashing after 40 years, for example, but even their latest effort – as good as it was – uses the same studio trickery. You can’t stay young forever. Anyway, I’m rambling. Songwriting wise, this is probably on par or better than Hardwired, and probably on par with Death Magnetic. It isn’t the car crash the internet made me think it would be, but it’s also pretty uninspired. Would I listen to it ever again? Probably not.

Hellhammer – Demon Entrails (2008)

Hellhammer – Demon Entrails (2008)

I’m a listen to a demo in it’s original form kinda guy, but Demon Entrails is one of the exceptions, as it pulls together a pile of Hellhammer OG demos into one compilation. I mean, that’s what demo compilations do, right? LOL I’m not sure what it is about this that I prefer to listen to over the originals, but I think it has something to do with the seemingly endless amount of old shit here (over 100 minutes). Anyways, this is basically proto-everything when it comes to extreme music. There is very little one can do to deny the influence of Hellhammer on metal music. As far as how these demos sound, well, they are demos, so expect stuff to be very rough around the edge. However, these are far from unlistenable. There is very little difference between the sessions presented, and both of them are buried under plenty of tape hiss, wow and flutter. But as I’m sure you know if you are into plumbing such depths of musical antiquity, this is all just part of the fun. The audio is clear enough for you to appreciate everything that is going on. A legendary compilation, no doubt.

Voivod – Negatron (1995)

Voivod – Negatron (1995)

Since I discovered this album about ten years ago, there has been a war raging inside my head: is this the greatest album cover of all time or the absolute worst album cover of all time? Honestly, like, what the fuck? Hahahah As for the sound, I rather enjoyed the 90s industrial-influenced incarnation of Voivod. The new influences don’t overtake the sound, except for moments here or there (closer “DNA” being the biggest culprit, and sounds hideously dated now). Some of the wailing guitars and gruff vocals recall the work of Justin Broadrick, and I am more than OK with this. For real though, this isn’t going to win any awards, but it fuckin’ slaps.

Siberian Meat Grinder – Join the Bear Cult (2022)

Siberian Meat Grinder – Join the Bear Cult (2022)

Caught these guys live with Napalm Death recently so wanted to check out some of their stuff beforehand. I gotta say, off the bat, this stuff is not for me, so take my review with a pinch of salt. I don’t really like the whole bear cult act thing, and honestly, you can get better party thrash stuff done elsewhere. Join The Bear Cult is not awful, the musicianship is faultless, and the production is solid too. I am however, struggling to find the record exciting in any way.

Voïvod – Synchro Anarchy (2022)

Voïvod – Synchro Anarchy (2022)

Synchro Anarchy is another amazing offering from Canada’s legendary Voivod. The fact that these guys are even still going is nothing short of a miracle. They seem to have been on something of a Killing Joke-esque latter-career renaissance since Target Earth; forging the chaotic and dissonant madness of their 80s output with modern production and a sharper yet more mature streak. I do understand why some fans have started to say that Voivod are falling into a rut, what with Synchro Anarchy being the third album in a row with a very similar sound. I also think that Synchro Anarchy is the weakest of this era of releases, but that opinion is relative – the quality is still amazingly high and no doubt many fans of more experimental thrash metal will enjoy this one. Stand-out tracks are “Sleeves Off” and the outstanding “Planet Eater”.

Voïvod – Rrröööaaarrr (1986)

Voïvod – Rrröööaaarrr (1986)

Early Voivod records are a treatment in pure blunt sonic force. Sure, the weirdness was there right from the start, but didn’t start developing properly I would say until the record that came after this one. However, Rrroooaaarrr is absolutely worth your time and it’s probably one of the hardest (if not the hardest) Voivod record. It just comes at you, in it’s little weird alien tank thing, and it comes at you guns blazing. Stand out tracks are for sure the opening duo of “Korgull the Exterminator” and “Fuck Off & Die”, as well as the closing duo of the insane “Build Your Weapons” and “To the Death!”. I had the time to listen to both the original and the 2017 remaster back to back, and whilst I haven’t listened to the original demo mixes yet (I was pretty much Rrroooaaarrr’ed out at that point), I will say here that both mixes have merit, despite what you may have heard or read elsewhere. The 2017 remaster is definitely a little clearer, but there is just something about the blunt assault of the 1986 master that tickles me just that little bit more. Lol. Either way, you can’t really go wrong. Long live Voivod!

Sepultura / Overdose – Split LP (1985)

Sepultura / Overdose – Split LP (1985)

The Sepultura Bestial Devastation session is amazing. In fact, I would even perhaps go out on a limb and say that I prefer the sound here to that on offer on Morbid Visions. As far as proto-Sepultura goes, it doesn’t get any better than this. Old school evil thrash in all of it’s glory. As far as Overdose goes… I tried, I really tried. I didn’t want to be another one of those people who listens to the Sepultura stuff and leaving off the other band, but Overdose’s vocalist is, how can I say, an acquired taste. It’s not awful per se, and the music is fairly well put together, but it’s not for me. A piece of metal history this is, mind you.

Sepultura – Schizophrenia (1987)

Sepultura – Schizophrenia (1987)

After a few listens I gotta just admit to myself that I prefer Morbid Visions. However, Schizophrenia is notable for the decent step up in production, and the incredible progress that Igor Cavalera makes as a drummer is outstanding. Couple this two things together and you’ve got a backbone for an amazing metal record (the drum fills are to die for). I just prefer the songs on other records. No shade though, this is really well made metal.

Sepultura – Morbid Visions (1986)

Sepultura – Morbid Visions (1986)

You gotta love Sepultura, especially looking back now at how far they have come and how much they have changed. From 2023, this release sees them as almost unrecognisable. The trademark thrash of the earlier days began in earnest with their second record, Schizophrenia; the looser metallic grind of Morbid Visions is more in-line with something like Bathory and Venom. There’s just something so pure and blazing about the way Sepultura perform metal however, and even in these proto, shaky days of their sound, they absolutely own this.

Gwar – War Party (2004)

Gwar – War Party (2004)

The temptation to refer to this record as Gwar Party is never ending. Anyways, this is as solid as a Gwar record can get. After the 90s the band adopted this long-form storytelling thrash metal angle that ran more or less until the demise of Brockie. This thing is seriously sharp, if you can look past the gimmick.

Abattoir – Viscous Attack (1985)

Abattoir – Viscous Attack (1985)

I have absolutely zero clue where I picked this recommendation up, but its been on the to-do list for a few years. Viscous Attack is an excercise in mid-80s thrash, I guess where the genre was finally coming into its own away from the speed metal tag. I’m no metal scholar, but that’s where I place this stuff anyway. Honestly, I figured this was out of Brazil or something (it really gives me that vibe) but these guys are from LA. Viscous Attack is a solid metal record though. I’m not super into the vocals myself, but thats not to say the guy has no talent. That’s just my view on it. Oh, and putting a Motorhead cover slap bang in the middle of the track list kinda cheapens the whole thing. A bizarre choice.

Municipal Waste – Slime And Punishment (2017)

Municipal Waste – Slime And Punishment (2017)

Wow, I slept on this fucker. I thought this was a new record! D’oh! Opening track “Breath Grease” is one of my favourite MW thrashers – it bolts straight out the gate and lets you know what you are in for. If you’ve heard these guys before then you surely know whats coming here. That’s not to say this is rehashed or boring, I’m just prepping you in regards to: expect some of the best party-tinged thrash metal you can ever hope to hear. Seriously, this band are so fucking good and I need to get into their back catalog. I love this and I loved The Art Of Partying (and the one that came after, that was a little more serious in vibe if I recall). If you’re still hankering for a Pepsi after all these years, then this could be the band for you.

Voïvod – The Wake (2018)

Voïvod – The Wake (2018)

Voïvod have a special place in my heart. They’ve slowly grown from the Lost In Space of thrash to idk, the 2001: A Space Odyssey of thrash. Ha! Is it derivative at this point to pull together a bunch of purposefully dissonant riffs and awkward tempo changes and call it sci-fi thrash? The answer is, of course, fuck no. Especially if you’re Voïvod. For me, I feel the band have been on something of a second wind since Target Earth dropped in the early 2010s and The Wake is proof of this continuing perfection of the space-thrash sound. Sure, there may now be faster or more technical bands playing in this style, but nobody does it quite like Voivod, and their awkward, nerdy metal a la The Wake will always be special to me.

Slayer – Hell Awaits (1985)

Slayer – Hell Awaits (1985)

There’s a firmly drawn line between “evil” Slayer and “angry” Slayer, and this 80s classis is of course firmly in the “evil” camp. For me, its not as good as South Of Heaven or Reign In Blood but damn this is some sinister thrash right here. Stand out track? Fuck it, just play the whole thing through in one go and be done with it.

Metallica – …And Justice For All (1988)

Metallica – …And Justice For All (1988)

inb4 dat bass tho. It was a wild choice mixing this thing the way they did, but for better or worse Metallica achieve one of the most immediately recognisable production sounds in the history of metal music. The story goes they were raging from the death of Cliff, and with newbie Jason Newsted, they shat out this super dark, heavy, angry and bleak album. Saint Anger around my neck, right? This was the first Metallica album I ever heard so I have a soft spot for it. It’s definitely the heaviest album they ever did, and has some of the greatest songs of their career. “One” anyone? Fucking “Blackened”? “To Live Is To Die”? “Dyer’s Eve”? I could go on.

Hirax – Noise Chaos War (2010)

Hirax – Noise Chaos War (2010)

I was turned on Hirax after seeing them life at OEF and being blown away by their chaotic grinding thrash. Noise Chaos War is a fine example of this, being something of a compilation, and churning out absolute noise chaos for its entire duration. If the music wasn’t aggressive enough, the vocals take it over the edge, making these guys stand out from a ton of other thrash bands.

Gwar – Battle Maximus (2013)

Gwar – Battle Maximus (2013)

Urrrgh! Been on a bit of a Gwar kick lately, and this is yet another quality offering from the bands 00s output. Its not as good as Beyond Hell (what an album) but its still got some absolute corkers on it. One of the highlights for me is the final track, which is a fitting tribute to the life of Cory Smoot. What makes it extra heartbreaking is that Dave Brockie would also pass on not long after. Sad, sad shit.

Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

Sodom are such a good fucking band. Agent Orange is probably their most well known album, and for good reason. Being one of the “big four” of the German thrash bands, Sodom have influenced countless metal musicians the world over. Their punky thrash is often imitated, but there’s no better example of it than here on this little blast of goodness.

Gwar – Beyond Hell (2006)

Gwar – Beyond Hell (2006)

Fuck, how good is this? Easily the best later Gwar record with Oderous on vocals, and thats tough competition. There really is so much more to Gwar than the gimmick and this record is the perfect example. Technical, concept-heavy thrash, with insane vocals and incredible instrumentation. One of the best thrash records I’ve heard in a while. RIP Oderous and Cory.

Metallica – No Life ‘Til Power (1989)

Metallica – No Life ‘Til Power (1989)

No Life ‘Til Power is, I believe, some sort of bootleg or unofficial compilation of tracks taken from the early years of Metallica and shoe-horned into a fake full length album. I took a dive into this on the cover art alone, knowing next to nothing about pre-Kill ‘Em All Metallica. I guess some of these tracks are supposed to be on demos like Metal Up Your Ass and so on? (2021 edit: bro, it is clearly an unofficial release combining the No Life ‘Til Leather and Power Metal demos, idiot!) Who knows. Either way, it was a fun listen.

Cryptic – Demo 1989 (1989)

Cryptic – Demo 1989 (1989)

Seemingly revered, but I’m not really vibing this. It sounds like any old band rehearsing in their garage. The riffs are awkward and the band doesn’t seem to gel all that well. The quality of a lot of cult demos is questionable, but this is just plain rubbish. Sorry. (Edit: this may seem very harsh a review, and this record isn’t as bad as I’m making out, absolutely not. But, its not for me)

Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989)

Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989)

Good ol’ Annihilator. Sometimes you just need to reach for the cheesy metal, and this nasty little thrash record has cheese in spades. The acoustic intro is a little too Metallica (not that they have a monopoly on widdly acoustic intros to trash records, but still) but the music thereafter is nothing but a pleasure to listen to. The lyrics are hammy as fuck but the music is not to be fucked with. Please try to ignore the horrible cover art.

Municipal Waste – The Art Of Partying (2007)

Municipal Waste – The Art Of Partying (2007)

Outside of the “big four”, Municipal Waste was probably the first real thrash band that I got into. Their beer-soaked antics, which also proudly boasted hardcore punk influences, resonated with the battle jacket wearing metal fiend that I was at 19 years old. The Art Of Partying is a perfect example of that crazy sound, the ultimate party thrash vibe. The late 00s thrash revival didn’t quite go to plan, but Municipal Waste stood the test of time, as did this record.

Sepultura – Beneath The Remains (1989)

Sepultura – Beneath The Remains (1989)

Punishing heavy thrash from the legends that are Sepultura. For the most part growing up I only ever really associated Roots with Sepultura. It was only in later years that I went back and discovered their earlier 80s/90s output, which is of course savage as fook and all of which are now mostly metal classics. Beneath The Remains is no different. It is a perfect example of the band’s earlier output, and a stunning thrash-tinged metal output to boot.

Voïvod ‎– Target Earth (2013)

Voïvod ‎– Target Earth (2013)

Target Earth was the first Voïvod record that I ever heard, asides from a few minutes of Dimension Hatröss when I was a younger gentleman (Lies! I was never young!). Target Earth is also the first record that allowed me to “get” Voïvod’s bizarre brand of sci-fi thrash. Expect the usual wailing guitars, robotic vocals and odd time signatures, but of course, with Voïvod, always expect the unexpected. A fantastic progressive metal adventure.

Voïvod ‎– War And Pain (1984)

Voïvod ‎– War And Pain (1984)

Without looking back it is sometimes easy to forget just how brutish and blunt a weapon early Voïvod was. Before the trademark dissonance and progressive science took over the band’s mesmerising songwriting, the band purveyed an interesting blend of unforgiving thrash metal. Sure, compared to some other efforts, the production is somewhat lacking, but I find that the unpolished, rugged edges to War And Pain add to the aural assault on the senses, much in the way that the grime of the early black metal movement added to the compositions those artists were working on. Good stuff.

Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)

Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)

Building on the strong debut of Kill ‘Em All, Metallica, ahem, electrify their sound with new found depth and songwriting chops. The compositions on Ride The Lightening are, for the most part, dense and experimental (for thrash at least), and possess a new level of maturity. This is a sound that Metallica would arguably perfect on Master Of Puppets, but Ride has it’s own set of incredible tracks. “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “The Call Of Ktulu” and “Creeping Death” are all time favourites of mine, but the less said about “Escape” and “Trapped Under Ice” the better.

Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (1985)

Megadeth – Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (1985)

Megadeth’s first record is full of vitriol, hate and boundless energy. Its quite sad that Mustaine’s entire career has been a case of trying to one-up Metallica, but off the mark with Killing Is My Business…, it certainly shows that there are far worse motivations than this kind of thing. The album is fast and fairly heavy. I can’t get my head around the Megadeth “version” of “The Four Horsemen” but that’s a small price to pay.

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

Did someone say proto-thrash? You can literally smell the BO when listening to this record. I conjure images of a band of spotty teenagers or twentysomethings playing Flying Vs and wearing cut off shirts; performing before a crowd of greasy-haired, denim jacket wearing beer drinkers bumping into each other in time to the music. Metal is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? A lot of the “bigger” bands either seem to come out blazing; defining their sound, style and image from the get-go, or instead take a few records to build up to their career defining mainstream success, but with Kill ‘Em All, you can literally taste the inexperience on display. The maturity on their sophomore album, Ride The Lightening, is a sound developed a thousand fold from the tunes presented here, and that’s what makes Kill ‘Em All so delicious. It’s not so much the sound of a band finding their feet, but the sound of four snotty youths with absolute unwavering confidence in the punk-infused metal that they are peddling. Kill ‘Em All is a fucking joy to listen to. This is metal in its purest form.

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013)

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013)

Power Trip has been on my to do list for fucking years. I have no shame in saying that it was the grisly reminder of Ryan Gale’s untimely death that led me to finally taking this record and listening to it. I can only offer my condolences to his friends and family; he seemed well liked and of course loved, and after listening to this record I can attest that he was a brilliant front man too. I’ve seen Power Trip live. The memories are there in my booze addled mind somewhere or other, but Manifest Decimation is the first time I’ve sat down and spent time with the band. What I’m treated to is a hardcore-tinged romp through something altogether more thrash based. But, it’s more than, IDK, Municipal Waste without the silly songs about beer, or as trite as a DRI for a new generation. Power Trip is it’s own thing; Manifest Decimation draws on – at times – a darkness from something altogether more Nails-y and a heavy tone you’d associate almost with some beatdown acts. Either way, whichever way I cut it, this is a fast and heavy record that is fully deserving of your attention.

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

How does one critique an album like Reign In Blood? I often ask that of myself when I start to write about something that is often considered legendary, timeless or even just historically important in regards to the genre at hand. This time, the genre is thrash metal, or arguably even just metal as a whole, and the impossible album to analyse is Slayer’s magnum opus. I’ve never really been that big a fan of Slayer. Granted, their legacy hasn’t been lost on me, but as a kid getting into metal at the turn of the 00s, Slayer appeared to be just another band that had some classic records before releasing a whole bunch of stinkers as they tried to remain relevant with the times. All this of course, has absolutely nothing to do with Reign In Blood so let me shut up about all of that for now. Reign In Blood reset the bar for how heavy and ferocious thrash metal could be. Don’t get me wrong, thrash has always been fast and pissed off, at least in its proto-form, but Slayer brought a whole new sense of evil and dread to the table. Hanneman’s riffs, King’s solos, Lombardo’s intense battery attack, and Araya’s Venomesque snarl mixed with his powerful, King Diamond worshipping vocals of old, all come together to make the perfect storm of metallic goodness. Like, without wanting to sound cliche, its fucking Slayer. In the rare occurrence that you’ve not heard any of this album, click below to have a goosey gander.

Kreator – Coma Of Souls (1990)

Kreator – Coma Of Souls (1990)

A discussion at work about the greats of thrash metal led me to streaming this Kreator stormer. I’ve seen the cover for Coma Of Souls many times but had never actually checked out the record until now. Noticeably more progressive than the glorious Pleasure To Kill era, but doesn’t lay off with the savagery either. Kreator’s solos are just to die for. A pleasure to… listen haha

Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)

Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)

Master of puppets pulling your strrrrings! Realising I hadn’t done an entry for this was a strange one. It is, of course, a classic. I treated myself to a spin of the remaster recently when I was at the gym and was surprised at how good it sounded. I’ll have to do a side by side listen one day to see what the differences are, but in all honesty I was just glad for the volume pump. That shit sounds huge. Yay for the loudness war! It seems to have survived into the streaming age. More importantly however, I found myself marvelling at Lars’ drummer more-so than usual, so unsure if that too is now louder or at least more present in the mix.

Sextrash – Sexual Carnage (1990)

Sextrash – Sexual Carnage (1990)

Sextrash play raunchy, messy thrash metal that verges on the edges of insanity. Think Sacrilege, or Hirax, with the “attitude” of Motley Crue and the production approach of a 90s death metal cassette demo. It is honestly, a weird mix. It is almost as if the style of music does not match the cover art that the band have chosen, which I cannot decide is either one of the coolest sleeves I’ve seen or one of the cringiest things on the planet. What a dilemma. Anyways, if you like the scatterfuck approach of Sarcofago, but maybe just drenched in lube rather than corpsepaint, give this one a spin.

Voïvod – Nothingface (1989)

Voïvod – Nothingface (1989)

….And that was it; November 2016 marked a turning point into my journeys through metal – November is the month when I finally *got* Voïvod. (March 2019 edit: shows how long it takes for me to get around to posting half of these reviews, eh?) I don’t know where this random enlightenment spawned from, but asides from the records they did in the 90s with Eric Forrest as frontman, I have always struggled to digest Voïvod’s bizarre prog-cum-thrash; everything from the metallic lurch of Target Earth, to the revered legend of Dimension Hatross. Anyways, jamming Nothingface, everything finally made sense.

Sodom – Tapping The Vein (1992)

Sodom – Tapping The Vein (1992)

It’s thrash-o-clock here at Lines in Wax! Its not often that I spin a thrash record, but when I do, you’d best be sure that it is a nasty thrash sound. Sodom always hit the spot every time, and I was reminded to write a little bit about them after catching them live briefly back in November. Tapping The Vein is a solid, denser-than-dark matter metal record, with a tight, condensed production and a dry, crisp sound. Sodom entering the 90s took on a more amped-up, terrifying sound; tighter and more brutal, much like the death metal stylings at the time, which have an obvious influence on this album, if only in the production job. The tracks remain quite punky; that springy, almost sloppy hardcore drumming jars madly into the watertight song structures (almost in the same way as if you program a d-beat into a drum machine it just doesn’t sound quite right). Highlights include the hat-trick of “Bullet in the Head”, “The Crippler” and “Wachturn”, as well as the excellent closing track, “Reincarnation”. One has to wonder if Rage ATM took any “inspiration” from that “Bullet…” track, as the choruses are barked in a remarkably similar manner (the songs as a whole are entirely different however). Decent bit of German thrash, my luvvies, with more-90s-than-the-90s art to go with it. Bonza!

Vektor – Terminal Redux (2016)

Vektor – Terminal Redux (2016)

Ahhh, the twisted and wonderful world of Vektor; coming across like a mix between Voivod and Dragonforce, and packing a vocalist that sounds like Chuck Schuldiner on crystal meth. I’m not really into this breed of hyper-thrash, but the sci-fi elements and the incredible density to the proceedings really adds a whole new edge to things. This is incredibly precise, dream-like yet lightening-fast metal, as if Devin Townsend drank too much coffee and smoked heroin at the same time. Terminal Redux is a concept album. Personally, I’ve not quite scraped below the surface of this story yet, but I enjoyed the album all the same. Highlights for me include the opening / closing tracks and the ‘trio of Ps‘; “Pteropticon”, “Psychotropia” and “Pillar of Sand”.

Nervosa – Victim Of Yourself (2014)

Nervosa – Victim Of Yourself (2014)

It has taken me so long to review this album that the follow up came out recently (2016’s Agony). That is pretty shameful, as I have been pretty stoked about this bunch of Brazilian thrashers since catching them at 2015’s Obscene Extreme. Nervosa are an all-female act, and it is incredibly refreshing to not see this used to their “advantage” as some sort of gimmick or selling point. Victim Of Yourself has the perfect production job for a thrash metal record; clear and concise, with the drums protruding clearly through the mix, and the bass clanking away and not hidden by the guitars. Vocalist / bassist Fernanda Lira boasts a frankenstein rasping howl, drawing blood from Death’s Chuck Schuldiner and ex-Arch Enemy front-woman Angela Gossow.

Bulldozer – Unexpected Fate (2009)

Bulldozer – Unexpected Fate (2009)

Bulldozer are a ridiculous thrash band from Italy. They have been broken up for quite a while, but they played Obscene Extreme a few years ago and this turned me on to them. They keep parading that some dickhead Kerrang! journalist labelled them as the worst band in the world (like anyone ever gave a fuck what Kerrang! thinks anyway) and with a history of songs about pornstars and terrible experimental techno records, I can see why people would think this. But despite the gimmicks, including the zany onstage presence, this is a solid record. It has a proper pacy old school thrash feel to it, kinda like classic Slayer if I could be so bold with my comparisons. I’ve checked out quite a lot of their old stuff too, and whilst some of the of the charm is lost through the fairly meaty studio production sound, this is still a thoroughly entertaining listen, despite what the cover art would have you think. Tune in!

Lahar – Umění Strachu (2011)

Lahar – Umění Strachu (2011)

Lahar is a thrashy, hardcore-tinged band from the Czech Republic (I believe thrashcore is the preferred term) and Umění Strachu is their second album (third if you count the original demo, which has a fair amount of songs on it). It kinda has a skate-punk feel to it, which mixes oddly with soaring melodies and more traditional metal parts to form an unique brew of styles. Considering I saw these guys as Obscene Extreme, this record isn’t particularly speedy, but lacks no energy or punch because of this. Doomentia Records put this out in 2013 on CD and vinyl which is still readily available. 150 copies of the coloured vinyl release came with extra heavy packaging and a record player slipmat, which is pretty cool.

Gwar – Bloody Pit Of Horror (2010)

Gwar – Bloody Pit Of Horror (2010)

I dunno the last time I listened to a Gwar record all the way through. In fact, I dunno the last time I even attempted to listen to a Gwar record in the first place! Ever since Oderus’ untimely death last year I’ve been meaning to check out more Gwar stuff – simply because they are one of my favourite live bands ever, and I feel like I haven’t given them a proper chance. Dave Brockie’s death was a sullen remind of that, and so eventually I actually started my listening of Gwar records. I started with Bloody Pit Of Horror because I remember reading an hilarious interview with Oderus where he mentioned in passing that Bloody Pit is by far the heaviest Gwar album. And he was totally right, because this doesn’t sound like Gwar at all. They’ve been heavier in their later days than at any point in the past, but the band seemed to perfect it’s own crazy brand of story-telling thrash metal, which is present here on the Bloody Pit, but this album incorporates a lot of influences from heavier metal subgenres such as death metal and doom. I never thought I’d hear Gwar do anything that could ever even be remotely interpreted as doom metal, but there you go. The album begins with the title track(s) – a four part epic split into different segments. It’s a bit much, but hey – this is Gwar motherfuckers; if you can’t accept shit is going to get ridiculous, then stop listening. After that though, the album sails by at a quickening pace. “Tick Tits” reminds you of what band you are actually listening to, and then the rest of the album is over and done with before I know it, surprisingly leaving me with the urge to listen to more Gwar albums. Well, fuck. 

Voïvod – Phobos (1997)

Voïvod – Phobos (1997)

I’ve never really been into Voïvod. I even tried to witness the band play all of Dimension Hatröss at Roadburn Festival 2012, which is hosted in Tilburg’s 013, a venue with arguably the best sound in the world, and I still couldn’t get into it. I just don’t get it – is it thrash? Is it prog wankery? Is it a tired display of both? Phobos though, blew my fucking head off. It works better as background music (I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but most metal just goes in one ear and out the other these days, unless I’m high or something) but it’s a chunky, hard-hitting, more-metal-than-metal journey. Everything I thought Voïvod wasn’t. Typically it turns out that this album is from an “iffy” mid-period in Voïvod’s history that most fans avoid like the plague. All the power to them, I say – you keep enjoying those dodgy stoner rock records they did with Jason Newstead and I’ll keep blasting this epic sci fi record. The reason this album sounds so different from normal Voïvod is that theoretically only half the band performed on it. The usual bassist and vocalist were replaced for a time by Eric Forrest, who took over both duties. His harder vocal delivery really makes this (and the Negatron album) stand out in the extensive Voïvod back catalogue. Some REAL sci-thrash, motherfuckers!!!

Re-Animator – Condemned to Eternity (1990)

Re-Animator – Condemned to Eternity (1990)

I don’t particularly find this record exciting in any way . As far as middle of the road, no frills thrash goes, Re-Animator have got it down to a tee. I’m sure that there is a bunch of metalheads out there who love this, without question, but the reason this is in my collection actually has nothing to do with the music on the disc. It is there because of its artwork. The artwork was done by a man called Terry Oakes, who just happens to be my mother’s brother (my uncle, if you can’t figure that out ha ha). I always knew that he did paintings for a living but I was unawares for years of a.) the type of paintings that he did and b.) that he did record sleeves. This is just one of many album covers that he has done in his time as an artist. I have more by him in my collection (donated kindly by the man himself) but I am still searching for a fair few others out there. I do kinda feel bad that someone in my close family has been doing something this cool for years and I didn’t even bother to find out more about it. Ah well, if anything it was my loss! Lucky for me I now have a whole ton of prints and a bunch of original pressings featuring Terry’s art. Can’t go wrong with that. Shame about the shit thrash! 😉