I like to fancy myself quite a thrash head. It’s definitely my most beloved subgenre of metal and I listen to it on a daily basis. Whether it’s trying to fall asleep, brushing my teeth, having a family dinner or weekly Satanic rituals, there’s never a time where thrash metal doesn’t fit the task at hand. Quite obviously, the 1980s were home to the absolute best metal albums to see the light of day and after seeing so many other countdown lists out there, I felt it’s more than appropriate to list my top 10 thrash metal albums of that fine decade.
Only three rules. The album had to be a original studio release in the ’80s, it has to be thrash metal and only one album per band. So, unfortunately, for all you Metallicats out there, you won’t see that band pop up four times. Here we go, with #10 through #6.
10. Kreator’s Extreme Aggression
In my opinion, Kreator’s finest hour was their fourth studio album. Many people would cite Pleasure To Kill as the band’s best, but I thought this particular release had better quality overall.
Popularity was at an all-time high for the German thrash masters as their previous tour with D.R.I. opened up a bevy of fans, new and old. The track “Betrayer” would gain heavy rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and Mille Petrozza would cement himself as a huge name in the genre.
9. Sodom’s Agent Orange
Back to Germany for the next entrant, this would be Sodom’s last album with Frank Blackfire on guitar before he jumped ship to stable mates Kreator.
A fascination with the Vietnam war would be the moral of this story as Tom Angelripper was more than inspired by the events that took place overseas. It was their third album of the 80′s and definitely their breakthrough release. It sold over 100,000 copies in Germany alone and proved that Sodom would be a mainstay for years to come.
8. Overkill’s The Years Of Decay
Yet another 1989 release. What is it about my birth year that made metal so good? Every band was really hitting their stride and once again Overkill’s fourth studio effort was no different. It spawned such classics as “Elimination” and “Time To Kill.”
As East Coast thrash went, Bobby Blitz and the boys had it right. Straight up, balls-to-the-wall guitar-heavy thrash. Even though Overkill never really charted high, this particular release managed to sell over four million copies worldwide. Not bad for a singer whose laugh sounds like a hyena.
7. Anthrax’s Among The Living
Finally, we leave 1989! Now anyone who is a fan of the ‘Thrax most assuredly claims this one as their magnum opus. It boasted so many hits such as “Efilnekufesin,” “I Am The Law,” “Caught In A Mosh” and “Indians.”
Quite the subject matter on this album as John Belushi, Judge Dredd and Arabian douchebags get their just desserts. I’ve met Scott Ian twice and he was a dick both times but even I know great guitar work when I hear it. This album is so popular amongst fans that they had an entire tour circling around it. They played it in it’s entirety and it even seemed like other songs they played not on this album were out of place. It’s a true testament to how amazing this lick is.
6. Megadeth’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying
Rust In Peace might be Megadeth’s finest songwriting album, but this effort more than had enough memorable riffs to make it their best from the ’80s. “Wake Up Dead” is my all-time favorite ‘Deth song and the title track was a hit from the beginning. Says Dave Ellefson of that song: “I remember the day it was written. Dave and I were picking up Gar on our way to rehearsal… you remember that old van we used to have? Anyway, Dave asked me, ‘What do you think about Peace Sells… for a song idea?’ We then went to our rehearsal studio and he wrote the chorus, we rehearsed it a couple of times and — bam! Within a couple hours the song was pretty much done… It was one of those magical moments.”
Magical it was as Gar turned out to be the best drummer the band would ever have and Chris Poland would lend a hand to some of the sickest leads this group ever turned out. A drunk Dave Mustaine is a Mustaine who writes amazing pieces.
Tune in soon for part 2 where we’ll get to entries #5 through $2.
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