Everyone feels a special link with a particular genre of music, and despite there are new styles and trends which appear regularly on the scene, there will be always those songs that, although not innovative or revolutionary, still manage to awaken special emotions. In my case, I will be always emotionally connected with thrash metal. Clearly it’s because this kind of music has been the soundtrack of my teenage phase, but there are also the unique rhythms and dynamics, the rebel spirit, the speed, the energy. And everytime I discover that there is a new release for thrash, I found myself waiting for the opportunity to listen to it with particular trepidation.
This year, however, was not particularly happy for thrash metal and in true honesty it wasn’t easy to identify five records to be mentioned as the best of all. Apart from a couple of interesting publications, I feel that the first half of 2018 has been relatively weak. We shall remain optimistic for the continuation of the year… in the meantime let’s see which are the five records that deserved to be part of this prestigious ranking.
At the end of the list you’ll find a widget which provides the access to the Spotify playlist named “Thrash Metal Feast”. This includes the best thrash metal songs of the past 18 months. Follow it because it’s being updated frequently with new songs.
Finally, if you arrived here through a search engine, don’t forget to check the metal section of the blog for other charts and, potentially, even updates of the chart you’re navigating today. Enjoy!
#1) Chain Reaction by Pripjat
Pripjat, from Germany, entered the metal scene three years ago with a really interesting debut album, named Sons of Tschernobyl. In 2018 they released a follow-on LP, Chain Reaction, which confirms and improves all the positive elements that we appreciated in their first record. The music played by Pripjat is a kind of thrash which doens’t make any particular effort to differentiate itself from the standard references of the genre, but which is performed with great passion, adrenaline and precision. The album unleashes an incredible charge of energy and adrenaline and the average level of the songs is definitely good, with a few really exciting tracks which make the album to stand out from the rest of the contenders. As anticipated, we observe a positive evolution in the style and quality of their music when compared to the debut record, and as a matter of fact three years of intense touring have helped the band to refine and increase both their songwriting and playing skills. Pripjat is a band to be followed with great attention, we can expect great things from them in the future.
The last album can be streamed from here.
#2) Cabaret De La Guillotine by Angelus Apatrida
Born at the dawn of the new millennium, Spanish band Angelus Apatrida has progressively evolved its own style from the heavy & power metal of their first works to a kind of metal that’s decidedly more in line with the classic Bay Area thrash, enriched here and there by various and interesting inserts and influences coming from other styles of metal. But whatever the specific genre they played in their albums, Angelus Apatrida have always shown the will celebrate the the masters of the past rather than chasing the different trends of the moment. Their latest album, just to make an example, is reminiscent in many parts of the early works of Testament, and this is certainly not a bad comparison for a band that today devotes heart and soul to thrash metal. Cabaret de la Guillotine, which is the newest LP released by the band, is definitely one of the best albums they released so far, in particular for the impressive number of tight, furios and enjoyable riffs that are packed in every song. The album doesn’t shine for originality and it’s definitely derivative of many different thinghs we have heard in the last thirty years of metal, but nevertheless it will please many of the lovers of old-school thrash metal.
The new album from Angelus Apatrida is available here for streaming.
#3) All Men Shall Fall by Kill Ritual
In the relatively short timespan since their formation in 2010, Kill Ritual have already published four long-play records, with the last one, All Men Shall Fall, released in March 2018. The band was formed initally by members of Imagika, Dark Angel and Eldritch, but today only ex-Imagika guitarist Steve Rice still remains from the original formation. Kill Ritual have established themselves as a a sort of “revival band” which plays a mix of old-school thrash with major inserts of power and heavy metal. The results are not always exciting and the magic of reviving a musical genre like classical thrash-power is not achieved in all the tracks that are present in the album. There are however some pretty exciting moments in the LP and a couple of songs deserve for sure an higher attention and, as usual, will be included in our metal mixtapes.
All Men Shall Fall is available for streaming here.
#4) Aura Noire (S/T)
Aura Noir, from Norway, are active since more than two decades and during this timespan they have basically kept playing the same mixture of thrash and black metal with which they moved the first steps into metal. The sound of the band is thus essentially remained unchanged, if only for a natural but limited slowdown of the rhythms and a relatively lower brutality. Their last effort, the self-titled Aura Noire, makes no effort to appear as a “modern” record in order to appeal the young generations of metalheads. Starting from the arrangements – dry and rough – up to the way the songs are structured and performed, everything in the album is substiantally a tribute to the particular genre of metal that the band has developed during the initial stages of their musical journey. In this respect, Aura Noire is certainly a genuine and uncompromising album, the fruit of the passion of three musicians who continue to dedicate themselves to their favorite genre of metal. On the other side, however, it may be perceived in a few sections a note of fatigue, perhaps some form of renovation in their music would not hurt the overall result.
Aura Noir may be streamed from here.
#5) Propaganda by Destractive
Destractive is a quintet of Finnish metallers who started playing and recording their music as back as 10 years ago, but who eventually released their debut full-lenght album only this year. Their first LP, named Propaganda, features a particular version of thrash metal that is characterized by furious and dynamic rhythms that are sometimes extremely close to death metal. As a debut album we can assume that most of the songs in this LP leverage the extensive background and experience they built during the last decade, and in fact – although we don’t find anything incredibly original – the album is enjoyable and quite interesting to hear. The sections of the songs where the thrash elements prevail over the death metal ones are in my opinion the most successful of the album.
The album may be downloaded for free from their bandcamp page.
As promised, this is the Spotify’s playlist Thrash Metal Feast, which features the best and newest tracks of thrash metal. Enjoy and follow it to stay updated with new songs as soon as they’re released.