Get Thrashed! Five Forgotten Thrash Metal Classics

As a child of the 80s, I am a full fledged metal head. I went to school with a Metallica Ride the Lightning patch on the back of my denim jacket tattooed with Anthrax, Motorhead, Overkill, and Megadeth arm patches. I grew my hair long, wore my jeans torn, and didn’t give a damn about pop trends and high school. This was my youth and while you can take me into adult hood, my metal youth will never leave.

My favorite metallic sounds are the thrash metal movement which emerged in the 1980s underground, and went – to a degree – “overground” during the early 1990s. Interestingly enough, thrash at its peak had a very short shelf life for about three years. The emergence MTV Headbanger’s Ball and heavy metal magazines brought thrash from the grungy clubs to arenas around the world. Sadly, those days ended the day Nirvana and Pearl Jam took over terrestrial radio and MTV.

I still listen to all of my great metal sounds whether it is in the gym, at my desk, or in my car. Unfortunately the kids today think metal started and stopped with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. All are great starting points, but you have robbed yourself of some of the best Thrash Metal music in the world by ignoring some of the great metal classics. Today I look back at four underappreciated and forgotten thrash metal classic CDs that should be owned by every metal fan.

Suicidal Tendencies – Lights, Camera Revolution. I disagreed when people said Rob Trujillo got the job of a lifetime when he became Metallica’s bassist. I think Metallica are the ones who got the bassist of a lifetime. For Trujillo fans like myself, I was actually disappointed that his great talents would be wasted on Metallica. With all due respect to Cliff Burton fans, Trujillo is the best bassist to ever play with the band and took the band to new levels on their current CD.

This is without a doubt a classic ground breaking CD. Suicidal started as a punk/hardcore band. They blended punk, thrash, hip hop, and even a little rap on this album. I love these guys and have seen them quite a bit over the years. “You Can’t Bring Me Down” would turn into an instant metal anthem kicks off one of the greatest albums in metal history. Between guitarist Rocky George and Trujillo, the CD features some of the most intense riffs that you will ever hear out of your speakers. Added with Mike Muir’s intensity, this should be included in every true metal fan’s ipod and CD collection.

Grab Suicidal Tendencies – Lights…Camera…Revolution! by clicking here.

Download the single You Can’t Bring Me Down [Explicit] from Amazon by clicking here.

Metal Church – Blessing in Disguise. I could never understand why this album never broke through the ranks to classic status. These aren’t your typical two-minute thrash anthems. These are melodic, lengthy, intense pieces that feature one of the greatest vocalists in thrash metal history. Like Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church also has lineage that leads to the Metallica family tree. Guitarist John Marshall played with the band after James Hetfield burnt his hands on the G N’ R/Metallica stadium tour.

Fans of complex music lyrics will be blown away by the lyrics on this CD. The riffs are dynamic and blazing throughout the album. Two singles Fake Healer and Badlands were featured in heavy rotation on MTV Headbanger’s Ball. The Powers That Be is a forgotten great metal song off the CD. The musical chairs at lead singer could be one of the reasons why this band never ascended to proper levels. Regardless, give this CD a shot and you won’t be disappointed.

Order Metal Church Blessing in Disguise by clicking here.

Exodus – Tempo of the Damned. For Exodus fans, this is probably a surprising choice. Fabulous Disaster is the most well known music from the group and is generally regarded as a classic. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to write about Tempo of the Damned. Tempo is the kind of a CD which can best be described as Fabulous Disaster all grown up, no bull, and a CD a fifteen years past its prime. While most of the great metal came out in the late 1980s-1990, Tempo of the Damned was released in 2004.

I love this CD and it never gets old. It is a very crunchy CD in terms of metal riffs. The riffs are extremely distinctive where once you hear this CD, you would recognize the riffs off of any song twenty years later. The music was recorded well past the prime of thrash metal in 2004. It was the first album in twelve years and the music is much more mature than any of the previous albums.

The album opens up with an in-your-face song, Scar Spangled Banner. The tempo (no pun intended), continues throughout the CD and builds to a crescendo with Tempo of the Damned. Shroud of Urine features the dynamic vocal abilities of Souza. Like everyone else, there is also lineage to the Metallica family tree. Metallica hired or stole guitarist Kirk Hammett while he was playing with Exodus in the early 1980s. Ironically, I think the band improved immensely with Rick Hunolt. Hunolt’s sounds became a distinctive difference in life-after Hammett for Exodus.

Order Exodus – Tempo of the Damned by clicking here.

Download the single Scar spangled banner from the CD by clicking here.

Overkill – The Years of Decay. Overkill is one of my favorite all-time bands and continues to put music just as good as the music they put out in the ‘80s. While most of the classic thrash came out of the Bay area, Overkill is New Jersey bred and born. Who said the east coast was only know known for punk music in the 1980s? If you said that, you have never heard the blazing guitars of Overkill and the Years of Decay.

This was one of my first introductions to thrash music. Overkill received a lot of play on Headbanger’s Ball with a single from their previous album. This was thought to be the logical step into the Metallica/Slayer/Anthrax headlining realm of thrash metal in the 1980s.If not for grunge, I have no doubt that this would have been one of the biggest metal albums of all time.

The CD features fast, catchy, and at times poppy riffs. Overkill are one of the only bands I can think of that can blend a poppy riff with destructive thrash. Guitarist Bobby Gustafson is an all-star on this CD with his speedy riffs. Sadly, this would be Bobby’s last Overkill CD before he left the band. Blitz has one of the most unique vocal sounds in metal blending screaming, melody, and at times a throaty metal sound.

What I love about this CD is the mix of music on the album. Quite honestly that could be one of the reasons that this CD didn’t explode the way it should have. Skull Krusher is a slow, grungy song, while Elimination is super fast and in-your-face, whereas I Hate kind of takes a poppy approach to thrash metal. Even better news is that to my knowledge this band has no lineage to the Metallica family tree. The CD was produced by Terry Date who’s credits include Pantera, White Zombie, and Soundgarden.

Order Overkill the Years of Decay by clicking here.

Watch one of my favorite documentaries on thrash metal with music and interviews, Get Thrashed by clicking here.

Order Slayer’s new CD World Painted Blood with a free DVD by clicking here.

Order the documentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil by clicking here.

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