Well, we’ve finally made it. 10 through 2 have been uncovered and now we’re at the 80’s thrash metal promise land. Before I get to numero uno, I need to make some honorable mentions. These albums just couldn’t quite make the grade but are still killer.
Annihilator’s Alice In Hell
One of Canada’s all time best thrash metal bands stormed out of the gate with this release in 1989. It garnered many fans with their version of “Thinking Man’s” thrash, and it still remains Annihilator’s magnum opus. Although I’ve heard many a bad thing about how Jeff Waters is the so called czar of that band, the fact remains that this album stands the test of time.
D.R.I.’s Thrash Zone
I have a real soft spot for crossover thrash and it seems that 1989 was an insane year for metal too. Thus is D.R.I. and it might have taken them a few tries to really get it right but once the proper formula was decided, Thrash Zone hit it out of the park. Crossover at it’s finest, we realized 2 things. Beneath The Wheel is an all time classic and Spike Cassidy needs to president… yesterday. Jeez, I probably could have made this a top 20 countdown.
Vio-lence’s Eternal Nightmare
Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel have had it going on for quite a while. It seems everything they do is awesome, as noticed here. Vio-lence was a sick band, even before these young lads started Machine Head. The title track is one of my favorites and guitar playing, quite obviously, is at a premium. 3 years after this album, Machine Head would form. Hallelujah!
Alright, the fat has been cut, it’s time for numero uno!
1. Slayer’s Reign In Blood
So Slayer seemed like they needed their sound to evolve by 1986. They released Show No Mercy, Haunting The Chapel EP and Hell Awaits by this time and although those were all great showings, they lacked a quality punch. They were fast, but they could have been faster. The production quality needed to be eons better.
Along came Rick Rubin and all that changed. Sure he did Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C. and was apart of Def Jam which was basically a rap only label but his input helped changed Slayer for the better forever. This album defined the sound of 80’s thrash metal and has been received so well over the years, that people still ooze over it.
It has influenced countless bands and has caused many controversies due to the lyrics, especially on “Angel of Death.” It’s 29 minutes of pure chaos at around 210 beats per minute for almost the entire recording.
The riffage is so intricate and deadly and Dave Lombardo’s drums are absolutely heart pounding. This is the way thrash metal needs to be, straight to the point, uncontrollable mayhem.
Jeff, your legacy will live on til the world explodes and then we’ll all be somewhere else, still banging our heads to Postmortem.