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|a definitive thrash top 25|
if you disagree idk what to tell you
gonna stick with one album per band
Epidemic of Violence
This album is pretty much known for how unequivocally heavy it is. Pretty much the apex of thrash, with the killer vocals which lie somewhere between death metal and thrash metal, the fattest kick drum in existence, vicious riffs, varied tempos and killer solos. It's the top of the pile.
Technical thrash's finest hour, Mental Vortex is the perfect marriage of technical skill, progressive influences, and cleanly put together metal music. Every track is pretty much a masterclass in the genre, but personal favourites include Pale Sister, Metamorphosis and the brilliant opener Divine Step. Easily one of the most accomplished metal albums ever.
Reign in Blood
I think this album is probably the one most popularly identified as the best thrash metal album, and for good reason. People often describe it as a monolithic blur of evil, lightning fast thrash, but I think it would be more accurate to describe it as monolithic only in tone. The tempos and approach to a lot of the tracks vary significantly: the legendary opener and closer, Angel of Death and Raining Blood, take a dynamic approach, switching from some of the fastest tempos of the entire album to some eerie harmonies. Add the monstrous chunkiness of tracks like Piece by Piece and Postmortem, and you honestly have the best album to come from the big 4, and a well recognized classic.
Killing Technology is probably inadvertently one of the most important metal albums of all time, but of itself it's still absolutely killer. The heightened punk influences compared to Dimension Hatross give it an aggressive edge and crustiness that make the wild, dissonant chord work all the more vicious. It's also quite subtly catchy on tracks like Overreaction and This Is Not An Exercise, which helps to balance out the sheer swirling shrapnel vortex elsewhere. Truly amazing, and utterly unique.
Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Rust In Peace is obviously amazing but this album slightly edges it out in my opinion, due to the more consistent songwriting quality and a proliferation of standout moments. The structure to the songs feels extremely unorthodox a lot of the time, and the heaviest moments of tracks like The Conjuring and Wake Up Dead are well and truly pulverizing. Add to that the exceptional leads and bass, and Mustaine's talent for mixing in plenty of catchy, often bluesy riffs into the churning thrash, and you have a winner.
Technical thrash usually falls into the trap of not necessarily providing too much flash and not enough actual content, but despite a differing approach from the genre masters, Coroner, Artillery found an excellent balance on By Inheritance. Yes, the leads and soaring vocals are great, but what really catapults it into the next level is the band's talent for hooky choruses and bridges on tracks like the supreme Bombfood. The prominence of lead and harmony sections overlaying the riffs also exceeds that of other thrash albums, with tracks such as Life in Bondage and the opener Khomaniac really going above and beyond.
Alice in Hell
Whilst there's not much in it between this album and Never, Neverland, Alice in Hell just has some little wonder moments that propel it past its successor. Technical, but in a way that just feels tighter and cleaner than most contemporaries, Annihilator really found some exceptional tricks with the spiraling riffs at the end of Word Salad, the speed-metal catchiness of Human Insecticide, and the phenomenal guitar solos on every track.
Beneath the Remains
One of the best rounded thrash albums, neatly falling into a middle ground between the catchier styles of the Big 4 and the extremity of your Exhorders and Dark Angels. There's a certain confidence and immediacy present that seems to link every track. Between the great closer Primitive Future and other highlights like Mass Hypnosis, this one is pretty much the highlight of Sepultura's whole career, and is an easily in the top-tier of thrash albums.
Slaughter in the Vatican
Occasionally called the heaviest album in existence, Slaughter in the Vatican is essentially Pantera without the dumb groove riffs. The truly special thing about this album is that the insanely intense high-tempo sections don't overshadow the slower, riffier parts of songs like Homicide, Death in Vain, The Tragic Period. There's also a lot of neat finesse and catchiness to the riffs which exceeds that of most other thrash, due to pervasive southern influences. A wild ride.
Sodom delivered easily the most polished effort of the big 4 German thrash bands with Agent Orange, which manages to switch between catchy and melodic thrash on Remember the Fallen to much faster and more aggressive tracks like Incest and Exhibition Bout. The instrumental performance is tight, the overall tone is varied, but Sodom accomplish it all very easily. Certainly one of the best thrash albums ever.
Somewhat inconsistent, probably by design, Manic Impressions weird mix of somewhat melodic thrash metal and post-punk atmospherics results in one of the most characterful albums out there. Between the New Model Army cover which doesn't even sound very different from the rest of the tracks, the meatheaded riffs on Something Real, and the numerous clean sections through Paint a Picture and Still Black, Anacrusis manage to weave a complex web of elements into an unquestionably effective package.
This album doesn't mess around at all, sounding like a more death-metally version of Slaughter in the Vatican. Fast, but with some absolutely brutal moments when it chooses to slow down, such as on the opener Deliver the Suffering and on Souls of Sacrifice. It's no one trick pony, though, as the great Legacy of Faith proves with its higher register riffs and extremely catchy second half.
Spreading the Disease
Anthrax hit on a pretty unique model with this album. Somewhere between NWOBHM and the thrash metal of their peers, Spreading the Disease scores big on melodies and, importantly, fun. There are neat details in there besides the pervasive catchiness, such as the leads on The Enemy and the stop start dynamics on Medusa.
A Shedding of Skin
This album is probably the most evil thing ever created. The vocals are some other level unmatched by other thrash bands, the title track is honestly my favourite thrash track ever, and the thick, lumbering production is among the best out there. Sadly, not every track keeps the standard up, but Thy Will Be Done and Unleashed Terror are up there.
Ride the Lightning
Finding the middle ground between the raw aggression of Kill Em All and the extended songwriting of Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning is where Metallica hit upon a winning formula, and most of their better songs. The title track, Creeping Death and For Whom the Bell Tolls are the obvious highlights, but even tracks like Escape and Trapped Under Ice that are often considered weaker are pretty great. The right balance of heaviness and progression.
Fabulous Disaster always stuck out to me in the Exodus discography as just being a bit different. Consistently catchy, not necessarily always amazing (Open Season), but always slightly more polished than their later, more elongated albums and tighter than Bonded By Blood, it's their best album. Album highlights like Verbal Razors, the title track, and of course The Toxic Waltz are pretty much unquestionably atop the band's pile.
Progressive thrash received a new hero very briefly when Toxik produced this excellent album. Featuring maybe the only good thrash ballad ever (besides that one by Cyclone Temple I guess), and a huge variety of songwriting tricks, Think This gets a huge amount right. The tracks intros are pretty annoying, but the actual music is ace. Personal favourites include WIr NJnB/In God, and Out On the Tiles.
Much like Beneath the Remains, Extreme Aggression finds the middle ground between the extreme thrash of their earlier work and tighter, smarter thrash. The title track is an obvious early highlight, but Betrayer, Some Pain Will Last, and Stream of Consciousness are the real winners here. Just a really great album all round.
Lying in Wait
This is a weird one, but one that reaches excellence. Where the progressive elements of this succeed compared to, say, Thought Industry, is that they build their mood more methodically, and the approach to the heavier tracks feels a little more orthodox. Simpler tracks like Where also works pretty fantastically, whilst Way Out reaches heights of bands like Coroner.
The Years of Decay
Despite suffering issues with pacing at times, The Years of Decay features plenty of pretty legendary tracks by the band. Time to Kill is catchy enough to start with but it soon reaches an evil, lumbering drive that few other tracks manage so menacingly. Other obvious highlights like Evil Never Dies and Elimination are great too, cementing this album as being among the band's best.
The New Order
Testament managed to find a pretty excellent balance between melody and meatheaded thrash on The New Order. A bit better produced than The Legacy (not saying much), and containing several band signatures like Into the Pit, Disciples of the Watch, and The Preacher, it's the best of Testament's output. Chuck Billy's vocals are typically superb and always forceful, whilst Alex Skolnick's solos are on another level.
Spectrum of Death
Meaty, fast as hell, and relentlessly angry. Dunno how else to describe it honestly, but certainly one of the most extreme thrash metal albums, with some real blazers like Burned at the Stake (no pun intended there), and Beyond the Gates of Hell. The vocals deserve a shout for their banshee-esque power.
People have described this album as though it's the craziest thing on planet earth, but truthfully it is a very good thrash metal album, just not as wildly original and exceptional as they say. There are tonnes of amazing riffs and interesting tempo changes throughout, such as on the opener It Came (Aspid), but the obvious highlight is the closing title track, with some phenomenal riffs and some of the best thought bass works out there. A great album from an obscure band.
Angry as hell, fast as lightning, and with some of the best riffs in the business, Violent Restitution is practically the epitome of thrash metal. There's a bit of inconsistency with track quality, but the good tracks are REALLY good. The title track thrashes out of this world, but tracks like Edge of the Razor can bring the tempo down and stay menacing and heavy.
Before becoming a straight-ahead death metal band, Pestilence released this magnificent slab of death-thrash. Whilst not as calculating as the superb Consuming Impulse, Malleus Maleficarum rushes in with tonnes of fast and sinister riffs and wild, Slayer esque leads. Not particularly original or unique, but a great effort by a band destined for even better not long after.
|Incredible list mate.|
1, 6, 8, 9 are the definitive thrash records imo.
|Agreed with 1 and 2.|
|1 is 1 so yay. Check Thanatos' Realm of Ecstasy, either my 2nd or 3rd fav Thrash.|
|For Depressive Age, I would choose the debut album.|
|4 is immense|
|Lying In Wait clicked with me but the debut is pretty killer too|
|Demon of the Fall|
|This is an interesting list, I like the sound of the heavier or progier ones. I really need to explore thrash, may as well start with no.1 & work my way down!|
|Also; no Mekong Delta, no party :-P|
I would add the debut album
|why do people get so annoyed by the track intros for Think This? They're literally like 5 seconds max and don't do anything negative for the song.|
|really cool list|
but where's Heathen?
|where is Deathrow - Deception Ignored|
|I think there are some albums out there that could easily replace some of the ones on this list, but overall this is real solid.|
|yeh i was actually gonna make a top 50 but i had some uni work to do and doing descriptions for 25 albums and relistening to them took like 2 hours so i had to abridge it basically|
i actually don't particularly like Victims of Deception so no Heathen. the riffs aren't that good imo and the vocals are pretty eh
|Deathrow is a good shout tbh, simply forgot it|
|Where's terminal redux|
|Forced Entry is missing |
|Spreading the Disease over Among the Living?|
NICE FUCKIN' LIFE!
|24 fuckin rules|
|forced entry isn't that good|
|1 is best thrash agreed.|
|how to know which Kreator album is really best?|
|Good list but I'd put 22 and 25 higher myself. 8 is probably 1 for me as well, but 1 would make the top 5 for sure.|
|Heathen and Tortured Existence need to be on this, but otherwise dope list |
|Sweet list. I'm sad to say I haven't heard like a handful of these :(|
|I don't think Tortured Existence is as good as Epidemic of Violence and I tried to stick to 1 album per band for sake of variety. Still hate Heathen so no dice with that one too but I do recognize that people like them for whatever reason, just not for me.|
|Forced Entry is way better than most on this list. Also, where's Realm? Acrophet? Witchery?|
|I really don't rate Forced Entry at all, pretty bland tech thrash. Realm is good and around the echelon of the stuff here, dunno Acrophet. Witchery is cool but not as good as anything here, will add it to my modern thrash list since I forgot it.|
|It's really a great list, congrats on the feature brother.|
|No prob, butch |
|Sax - Moravske Narez needs to be on this list.|
|I haven't heard alot these yet but they all sound interesting. Alison Hell is probably my favorite thrash metal album.|
|fuck yeah demo hammer|
|not a destruction fan?|
|Thrash lives but Rust in peace is 1|
|Sweet list. That Protector album owns.|
What about Thanatos? Emerging from the Netherworlds and Realm of Ecstasy both go hard. Apologies if someone mentioned that already, just kinda skimmed the comments, didn't really read 'em.
|What about Thanatos? |
Realm of Ecstasy 2nd best Thrash ever.
|destruction is on the next list. i don't think release from agony or their first album are necessarily good enough to be top 25|
haven't listened to Realm of Ecstasy enough to know yet.
|the ones I know off here are quite good, I guess this is the nudge I needed to check some thrash out (more of a death guy here). thanks for the list!|
|Solid list although I'd never place 3 that high|
|Pretty solid list - needs some Dark Angel, Gammacide, Sacrifice, and Stone though. |
|I've got Dark Angel and Stone on the next list. Gammacide is pretty good but isn't exceptional. Sacrifice is good but I haven't heard Forward to Termination in ages. Will recheck to see what i think nowadays|
|Great list. 3 is defo in the top 5|
|Disagree hard with that Gammacide assessment, that's a top 10 thrash album for me, but to each their own. I think that Sacrifice record easily deserves a spot here too over Depressive Age or Anthrax (never was too fond of the latter).|
|Not a fan of thrash at all, but 14 straight fucking R I P S|
|i love spreading the disease myself compared to among the living, i think the latter gets sold as the band's best by default but it's really not. |
As for Lying In Wait, it was one of the first thrash album i've listened to since 2013 that actually made me sit in wonderment. it just has some fire ideas. gammacide just seems like "yeh decently produced and chunky thrash" but that's literally the gameplan of nearly any thrash band. unless it has something extra that's not gonna sell it to me when i can listen to Devastation or Exhorder which do that and more
|I get what you're saying with Gammacide - it's ultra straightforward and doesn't deviate from the thrash blueprint at all, but I just think they do it better than almost anyone else. It just riffs so hard and never lets up and that's pretty much all I'm looking for in thrash 99% of the time.|
Anyway, list is good - glad to see Morbid Saint, Devestation, Toxik and Protector in here - great choices.
|Indisputable classics here, as well as on the other list. Although, and I'm just nitpicking here; no love for Nasty Savage or Pyracanda?|
|I do actually like Nasty Savage a lot, I did a very positive review of Penetration Point wayyyy back, but I find that album a little too inconsistent now. Dunno Pyracanda though, will check it.|
|Awesome list. Need to check some of these. 8 is my personal favourite|
|17 and 18 are unbeatable. So is 20.|