|UserSoundoffs 306Album Ratings 1786Objectivity 77%Last Active 02-21-19 9:33 pmJoined 09-18-16Forum Posts 0Review Comments 5,517
|Top Ten Extreme Metal Albums: 1987.|
While not as stupendous or influential as the previous year, 1987 brought to us the first pure death metal albums, and this marked the excellent second wave of 80’s thrash metal which was heading towards another peak not long from now. Some kickass debut records came out this year too.
Note: one album per band, albums count as “extreme” based on their time of release, you get the drill at this point. Nominees: Like last year, the nominees are all REALLY good, like ⅘ to 4.5/5 good.
Celtic frost - into the pandemonium
Overkill - taking over
Voivod - killing technology (really close)
Kreator - terrible certainty (really close)
Tankard - chemical invasion
Sacrifice - forward to termination (really close)
Exodus - pleasures of the flesh
Artillery - terror squad
Heathen - breaking the silence
Infernal majesty - none shall defy
Holy moses - finished with the dogs
Coroner - r.i.p
Carnivore - retaliation
Exumer - rising from the sea
Sacred reich - ignorance
Possessed - the eyes of horror
Agent steel - unstoppable force
Intruder - live to die (probably number 11. Really underrated)
Sarcofago - I.N.R.I (rec'd by bbgames)
Scream Bloody Gore
Necrophagia’s Season of The Dead may have come out a couple months prior, but this one is the embodiment of old school death metal and is the fantastic genesis to an illustrious career of defining death metal as the cultural counterpart of pop music for time to come. “Infernal Death,” “Zombie Ritual,” and “Baptized in Blood” are early displays of the band’s trademarks with atmospheric intro buildups, howling vocals, pummeling riffs, and complex, technical soloing and are some of the band’s grittiest material ever. The band would move forward into more progressive, technical realms with death metal and explore insighftul lyrical themes, but much credit and respect has to be given to their debut for truly kickstarting the movement and for its pure sense of energy. Excellent album and a must have for any death metal fan.
This is where Sodom cut loose of their black metal influences and fully embrace gritty thrash metal. While not as varied or musically accomplished as their pinnacle Agent Orange, it’s every bit as fresh and exciting in a more straightforward manner. “Nuclear Winter” is a killer opening with its swift pace, punchy rhythm section, aggressive, snarling vocals, and lightning fast riffing and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Simplicity is this record’s greatest strength, and the result is an album that is wholly memorable and catchy compared to Sodom’s German brethren at the time, and Angelripper proves to be a special, irreplaceable frontman from this point on. The band’s first career peak and a really good one at that.
Ah yes...the grunts of thrash metal. Make no mistake though, for they proved here that they could thrash with the best [and older] of them with their ‘ultra violent’ debut. “Kill as One,” “Evil Priest,” and my favorite “Mistress of Pain” are packed with killer riffs and all around aggressive musicianship, and “Voracious Souls” and “Final Death” show they can take on longer compositions like champs. The production values are appropriately gritty and loud, capitalizing on their larger-than-life sound and presence, especially for the bass and drums. An easy candidate for one of the best thrash debuts of all time and Death Angel’s best album.
Release from Agony
Infernal Overkill was pretty solid, and Eternal Devastation was close to appearing on my top ten extreme metal albums: 1986 list, but Germany’s most overlooked member of the big Teutonic thrashers adds a second guitarist and more technical approach songwriting to their formula and releases their best work to date. The vicious, technical guitarwork, grinding bass, well done drumming, Schmier’s unique harsh vocals, and some killer production all amount to one of Germany’s best thrash metal records. Top cuts include the t/t, “Sign of Fear,” and “Survive to Die.”
Sepultura is a special band that helped pioneer black metal and death metal, cement the status of thrash metal, and even pioneer groove metal and nu-metal (for better or worse). Their humble beginnings originate from black metal-tinged thrash with Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions, and they move on to Death-tinged thrash metal with the follow-up Schizophrenia which would also carry over to Beneath The Remains and (to a lesser extent) Arise. They show considerable musical maturity here as the guitarwork and song structures are far more progressive, technical, and well developed, and they don’t sacrifice speed or heaviness at all. In fact, this is probably their heaviest, grittiest album to date, and the production values are a step-up from previous efforts as well. “Escape to The Void,” “From The Past Comes The Storms,” “Inquisition Symphony,” and closer “R.I.P (Rest In Pain)” are top cuts. An outstanding and often overlooked album from a legendary band.
Among the Living
One cannot deny that Anthrax had all the ingredients for a definitive thrash group that didn’t focus on dark themes or gory lyrics, and they take no shortcuts with their most noteworthy album Among The Living. Inspired by Stephen King, indian heritage, and political corruption, Anthrax lay the groundwork for their pinnacle release packed to the brim with riffs, catchy choruses, and thrash metal staples like “Caught in a Mosh,” “Indians,” the t/t, and my favorite “I am The Law.” They weren’t just fluff either; their guitar tone, grinding basslines, and lightning fast drumming make for a satisfyingly heavy, swift album, and Joey’s vocals are a little more gruff this time around (his melodic high notes and singing are intact too). You can pick between this and STD as their best album, but even if you don’t like Anthrax (I don’t know why you wouldn’t), this is their career highlight and a real showstopper from the Big Four’s least revered member.
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Often noted as their best pure black metal record, Bathory really ups the ante from their competent debut and its gloomy follow-up here. The themes are ‘black’ as usual, but the choruses are on point, and the musicianship is actually professionally executed; the guitarwork is the highlight for its vicious riffing and beautiful soloing, and the drums are powerful and aggressive. Quorthon’s venomous vocals are the icing to the cake, and the production values, while low-fi for low-fi sake, are much improved from their previous albums. “Woman of Dark Desires,” “Enter The Eternal Fire,” and “of Doom…” are standouts. Bathory’s best album up to this point and undoubtedly one of the best black metal albums of all time.
I don’t love Think This. It’s appropriately cold and mechanical to fit its political themes and concept, and the second guitarist helps elevate the solid material, but it’s just….not fun or exciting. It’s missing something. World Circus, however, is a much different story. Wasting no time with its opener “Heart Attack,” we are sucked into a 37 minute whirlwind of wild, sprawling guitar work, Mike Sander’s commanding banshee vocals, and an outstanding rhythm section backed by reverb-heavy production. Josh Christian is a special guitarist, hell I’d even call him the Eddie Van Halen of thrash metal just based on his contributions here alone. The riffs are wild and truly memorable, and his solos are technical, melodic, and hypnotic. “Heart Attack,” the t/t, ‘False Prophets,” and “Victims” are outstanding cuts, and as far as thrash metal debuts are concerned, this album is easily up there with the likes of Bonded By Blood, The Legacy, and Kill em’ All. This is Toxik in their prime.
Testament is arguably the biggest thrash group NOT part of the Big Four and may as well be the fifth member. The New Order expanded on their sense of melody, but on The Legacy, they really thrash out at a brisk 38 minutes, and the result is their most pummeling, aggressive album before their shift of direction with The Gathering and onward. The melody is definitely here too, especially in the choruses, the guitar harmonies, acoustic passages, and the out-of-this world guitar solos and riffs (the band’s very best are here). Chuck sounds like a dog off a leash here, and this is Louis Clemente’s best drumming with the band hands down (he even does double bass rolls on “First Strike is Deadly”). Stir all of these wonderful ingredients with bombastic production, and you get thrash classics like “Over The Wall,” “First Strike is Deadly,” and “Alone in The Dark,” and everything here is really good and unique in its own right. Testament’s best album and the best thrash metal album of 1987.
How could they top their miraculous, influential debut? Enter Messiah Marcolin (one of the coolest names ever). His operatic, soaring vocals steal the show on the band’s pinnacle Nightfall. He proves himself not just a worthy vocalist but the group’s definitive frontman, and the band’s talents are on full display here too. Lars Johansson’s guitar playing is powerful and noteworthy as he switches between thrashing riffs and slow, sludgy chords, and his guitar solos are killer. The stadium vibed production puts a lot of backbone on the competent rhythm section too, especially the drums. “Gothic Stone...the Well of Souls” is a terrific album opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album with eerie sung passages and constant sense of melancholy and powerful musicianship. A golden formula that stood the test of time to what I feel is Candlemass’s best album to date and one of the best extreme metal records of the 80’s.
|What a great year...and what a tough one to rank! These are getting more difficult as we reach the peak years. Plenty of nominees this time. Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. \m/|
|@bbgames You did it again dude. That's great. I'll add that to the nominees list because it's pretty awesome.|
|Napalm Death - Scum|
|All good stuff on this list, even though I never was that into 8 as others are.|
1987 was an incredibly strong year. I went through my own collection and records from '87 I own that are not included on this list are:
Agent Steel - Unstoppable Force
Carnivore - Retaliation
Coroner - R.I.P.
Dark Quarterer - Dark Quarterer
Dream Death - Journey into Mystery
Heathen - Breaking the Silence
Holy Terror - Terror and Submission
Infernal Mäjesty - None Shall Defy
King Diamond - Abigail
Kreator - Terrible Certainty
Manilla Road - Mystification
Mayhem - Deathcrush
Napalm Death - Scum
Nasty Savage - Indulgence
Nihilist - Demos
Overkill - Taking Over
Pentagram - Day of Reckoning
Sacrifice - Forward to Termination
Sanctuary - Refuge Denied
Sarcofago - INRI
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King
Slaughter - Strappado
Tyrant - Too Late to Pray
Voivod - Killing Technology
|Each list is like walking into a candy store on Halloween and yeah it’s gonna hurt keeping ensuing years to 10 picks.|
|Can someone tell me how Candlemass, Testament and Anthrax are extreme. |
|Well, they ain't michael jackson|
|@GhandhiLion when I make these lists, I have to consider their categorization based on their time period.|
|hmm. Whilst contextualising to the time period makes sense for Bathory and Death. I'm personally not sure what is so extreme about the operatic doom of Nightfall. Also given the existence of Voivods Rrröööaaarrr I'd say the thrash of Anthrax and Testament are pretty tame for 1987. |
|I'm probably just focusing to much on the terms relation to black and death metal . |
|Yeah Extreme Metal is a large umbrella term encompassing many subgenres of heavy metal including black metal, death metal, thrash metal, speed metal, doom metal, etc. I don't agree on your stance of Testament and Anthrax but to each their own.|
|The Legacy is honestly fine to include as it is easily some of the best stuff to come out of the Bay Area at the time along with the likes of Ulysses Siren's demos and there's some pretty cutthroat stuff in Testament's early material.|
That said, putting Among the Living above Release from Agony, let alone implying that it's extreme in any capacity, is ridiculous. Easily one of the tamest (in the worst possible sense) albums and groups in thrash. Bland as hell.
|" some of the best stuff" perhaps but the list is on best extreme. I don't think testament is that far away from what the big four were doing years prior. |
|"many subgenres of heavy metal including black metal, death metal, thrash metal, speed metal, doom metal," You are right and now i'm confused. |
|I'd honestly restructure this list with Nasty Savage - Indulgence and Infernal Majesty - None Shall Defy somewhere near the upper half. |
|@Casavir as mentioned before, Anthrax are a thrash metal band which puts them under Extreme metal despite how 'tame' they may have been to some or compared to other groups of their time. I'm personally a fan but to each their own. Majesty's None Shall Defy came close, but it wound up being a nominee.|
|You gotta remember too that I considered every nominee at least a 4 out of 5 too so everything is getting a fair rating imo. These are my opinions anyway. ;)|
|Listen to Gluey Porch Treatments. Cant believe I didnt mention it before.|
|@Nero I'll check it out.|
|Then you'll edit this list and place it at 1|
|lol we'll see.|