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Best Of thrash

Welcome to, what will hopefully be the first in a series of "must have" heavy metal releases, as recommended by the current (2006) HailMetal.com staff and contributors. This, I guess, is intended to be a guide as to what we collectively consider to be albums that have brought something to the table in the way of heavy metal releases, furthering the respective genre through innovation, brilliance, conviction and sometimes just brilliant music. We are segregating the lists by sub-genre (only the main ones, so there is no argument about whether the list was necessary in that respect) and for each fan of that respective genre, you should consider each album on the list an essential piece of heavy metal history. For those of you unfamiliar with a genre, or band, it will also hopefully help provide you a starting point on what to be looking for in a release. Anyway, without further adieu, I'll get cracking on the detail.

The first sub-genre off the rank is none other than THRASH. HailMetal.com staff decided on this genre first, because we felt we could get the most definitive list from it due to the fact that all of us are into the genre in one way or another. The main contributors for this were militia, oli, Damien-X, Bird, Lukelord, Decadent and myself (byrne), although there were some mild bits of inputs here and there from others. The list began as an idea probably at the start of '06, just after we had finished our "Top 25 albums of 2005" list. Everyone was pretty keen for the idea to get going, but as you will note from my brief discussion below, it was quite a time consuming process. Once it had been decided that the site needed some firm in-house recommendations for users to perouse through, we confirmed the genre we would start with and that's when the structure and composition of the list began.

The first step was originally designed as being one where we would gather potential contenders for a top 10 or 15. As the list grew in the admin forums (not without me reminding the guys that we "probably only needed 20 recommendations or so"), Goran (militia) realised that we couldn't really limit or decide on only 20, so it was extended to 50. From there, we collated everyone's recommendations for their favourite thrash albums. Several emails and weeks later, we finally developed a complete list of potential albums which were likely to make the top 50. We ended up being content with somewhere around 90 - 100 albums. In the meantime, I had been maintaining a highly technical (yeah, right) ratings list. Every album had to be rated by people in one way or another. Staff either gave the album a score out of 100, or rated it zero if they hadn't heard it sufficiently to comment. Now, in case you are thinking people would rate on uneven scales, it didn't matter - based on the assumption I made (which I hope is reasonable) that people rated their albums consistently.

There were also checks in place to ensure that the list was free of bias and so forth. So after the list had been decided based on average marks, there was somewhat of a sensitivity analysis on what it looked like. Sure enough, it wasn't in its best shape. Thus the second limitation - due to averaging, the list began to look somewhat "samey". By that I mean, on average, our tastes reflected the same bands over and over. We literally had blocks of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Kreator (etc) albums. So a little bit of rework went on, to make it more reflective of who the best thrashers actually are.

Throw in a touch of web design, a little bit of commentary (hopefully you don't think this is too long winded, but fuck, you don't HAVE to read it) and hey presto, you have your top 50 thrash til death albums list.

One further point, the list is just based on what we considered as thrash. I am well aware that there is probably room for genre crossover for some of the bands on our list. There are possibly other bands you think are worthy of making a "thrash" list we haven't otherwised mentioned. But we had to draw the line somewhere! You get to the point where you go "if we consider To Mega Therion thrash, then why not Unchain the Wolves"? Not that I am suggesting they sound similar .... but you get the point. For simplicity such albums were left outside the list. So the albums you see are albums which adhere to the more traditional definition of the genre, ignoring things like anus.com's definitions of "thrash" and "speed" metal.

The List

The list was fucking hard to put together. People had different views on what is considered "thrash", people had wildly conflicting tastes, some people hadn't heard what others considered to be essential listening. Getting everyone thinking on the same page was a nightmare. But overall, if you look at the result, I think we did pretty well. Sure some people will be disappointed with where their favourite albums rated (or in some cases didn't rate), but that's life. Just so you get a bit of a feel with what happened with some of those albums - Exodus - Bonded By Blood was one which had some quite heated discussion. It rated fairly well, but it essentially ended up where it was due to the law of averages. Some people think its the greatest, some think it is the most overrated. Another point of discussion was Metallica - Master of Puppets. Typically rivalling Reign in Blood for the greatest thrash album of all time, it didn't fare so well on HailMetal.com's list. We had a think about shifting it around, but the end result was there was no justification for it. And so it went on, until you get what you currently see.

Other notable absences included things such as, Sabbat - A History of Time to Come, Nuclear Assault - Game Over, Onslaught - The Force, Kreator - Endless Pain, Sepultura - Schizophrenia, Annihilated - The Ultimate Desecration and Morbid Saint - Spectrum of Death. It would have been nice if these "classics" could have also made it, but not everyone is going to be a winner.

Lastly, some overall commentary on the list. As mentioned earlier, we are pretty happy overall with what we have come up with. The typical favourites are there (despite some not ranking AS WELL as you might expect), there is some different stuff on the list and a good mix of mainly old, but some new stuff too.

Kreator was the favourite by a considerable way and from the very get-go, looked to be the firm #1 favourite. Following Kreator, I would say you probably aren't all that surprised with the names that feature in the top 15. Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, Sodom, Testament, Exodus etc. However, it is the albums that I would expect throw somewhat of a spanner in the works. Ride the Lightning over Master of Puppets, Show No Mercy pipping Hell Awaits and Reign In Blood. I think this really illustrated our coverage of the genre - comprehensive and individual. The message to the public - forget what the fucking magazines tell you. They force feed you the crap they know you want to hear. Go out and try things with more of an open mind. For example, the biggest shock from my perspective was Coroner. I think we found somewhat of a Coroner haven here at HailMetal.com. Everyone loved both Punishment for Decadence and RIP - but we just couldnt justify Coroner rating two albums in the top 10.

Anyway, there is only so much I need / can say without just getting annoying. So I'll let you interpret the rest as you please. Enjoy!

HM Administrator



Pleasure to Kill is undeniably one of THE most influential albums of all time. Released in 1986, it was at the forefront of thrash (and death) metal. Compromising for no one, this album is pure thrash aggression delivered like only the German's know how. Loaded with riffs that will rip your skull and spine straight out of your back, lyrics screaming unending pain and delivery commanded as if the dark prince himself was burning your very soul. Killer from start to finish, with cornerstones of thrash history such as "Ripping Corpse" and "Pleasure to Kill", this is worthy of all bowing down and acknowledging THE GREATEST THRASH METAL ALBUM OF ALL TIME.


Listening to Rust in Peace is one of the fastest ways to give your ears an orgasm. This album slays all in its path, with some of the best riffs you will ever hear, perfectly timed solo’s, thunderous drumming and killer lyrics to belt out as you wreck your neck to 35 minutes of metal mania. This is the album Megadeth articulated their musicianship best on - the distinct yet cohesive differences between Mustaine and Friedman bring a creative melodic thrash fusion to each and every song. Unforgettable classics are littered throughout; 'Hangar 18', 'Holy Wars', 'Tornado of Souls' , 'Five Magics' - when does it end? It fucking doesn't! To not have heard this thrash masterpiece, is to not have experienced heavy metal in one of it's finest moments.


Picture this: Switzerland. 1989. Regan hands over Presidency to the first (and unfortunately not the last) Bush. What are you thinking? I bet it wasn't about some of the best tech-melodic thrash metal you'll ever hear? Right? Crash-landing at number 3 are is none other than the Swiss army itself - Coroner. After their heavily revered debut, Coroner returned in full swing with Punishment for Decadence, which contained faster, more eccentric, technical humming riffs. Musicianship is the key to this absolutely mind-blowing album, with each song being packed with electric solos. But the album isn't limited to virtuoso guitaring! There is an attention to detail in the production which makes this album gel and to no suprise, some serious Swiss attitude. All of this combines into one of the most different and crushing thrash metal albums of all time.


'Metallica’s Ride the Lightning comes in at number 4. 1984’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ was, and continues to be a thrash album seminal in its influence around the world. A pivotal album for both Metallica, and metal fans in general, it contains furious thrashing tracks like ‘Fight Fire with Fire’ as well as the classics ‘Ride the Lightning’, ‘For whom the Bell Tolls’ the slower ‘Fade to Black’ and the almost 9 minute instrumental ‘Call of Ktulu’.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this album is undeniably a classic and well worthy of its place in the HM best thrash albums of all time.'


Smashing in at number 5, Slayer’s Show No Mercy set a precedent in 1983 that would see the then 18 year olds rise to dizzying heights as one of the most revered metal bands of all time. Despite occasional criticism for what some consider lacklustre production, this album whacks you in the guts and pummels your eardrums without mercy.

It’s got the riffs, and Araya’s vocals display a rageing gutteral quality that is not often matched on later albums. 23 years on and Slayer still Show No Mercy!


Beneath The Remains is the 4th release in Sepultura's catalogue and the most defining album in terms of groove and aggression, it was a great turning point from Schizophrenia and continued up until Chaos AD, but to me, and many Sepultura fans 'Beneath The Remains' stands to be Sepultura's strongest release to date with Arise coming in at a close 2nd, such great songs lie within the borders of Thrash-era Sepultura, three of the main tracks residing on this album, being Inner Self, Stronger Than Hate and Mass Hypnosis... neckbreaking rhythms and bone crushing solos ensue throughout without holds barred, without a moment to stop, this is Brazilian aggression at it's best and with a position of #6 of all time best thrash albums, one must think, the hard work has really paid off, especially for the fact that they got signed by bigtime metal record label Roadrunner Records and till today
still stand as an international metal icon.


While Agent Orange would be hard to classify as "balls to the wall", this album personifies Sodom rather well, in its mid-paced approach and aggressive themes.

And though it doesn't have the status of "In the Sign of Evil", it's none the less a well developed and well thought out album, both musically and lyrically, which gives it the 'classic' status it deserves.


Death Angel's average age when recording ‘The Ultra- Violence’ was 16, (including drummer Andy Galeon age 14). Not too many bands can claim to release an album as incredible as this and on debut at that age. It is an album which is defining in so many ways - songs like ‘Thrashers’ and its machine gun riffing cause subconscious head banging. Other tracks like ‘Voracious Souls' and ‘Kill As One’ the riffing and soloing is fucking flawless. Perhaps it was even the amazing vocals which set Death Angel apart from a frantic pack of thrashers from the bay area at that time, with his endless range, from his melodic clean vocals, to deep growls and howling screams. This is a timeless masterpiece of metal that is a must have for anyone even remotely into thrash metal.


Let me take you back, way back to 1988, when a little known, but hugely influential band called EXHORDER self-released a demo entitled "Slaughter in the Vatican". The demo, which effectively became the full length release in 1990 (plus the song "The Tragic Period") was and still is one of the most indirectly influential releases on today's metal scene. Strong hardcore influences mean there is little in the way of solos , but lots in the way of pure fucking neck-breaking aggression. This album will offend all and please only those with a true appreciation of brutal heavy metal. A worthy 9th place for these Southern thrashers!


Back in 1986 the streets of Sydney were getting brutalized by wave after wave of Mayhemic Destruction. The then Bay-Area-Scene inspired thrash youngsters had just unleashed apocalyptic terror upon all, which in turn ensured them a worldwide fan base resulting in numerous gigs alongside Metallica and other genre elite...

Mayhemic Destruction sent a signal of defiance. Classics like 'Lebanon', 'Into The Fire' and 'Mayhemic Destruction' met by remarkable high degree vocal competence made the songs into metal anthems of today. British metal magazine Kerrang! labeling the band as the next big thing was a string of deserved accolades the band received. Rightfully no top 10 thrash metal list would be complete with out Mortal Sin's debut 'Mayhemic Destruction'.


11. Testament - The Legacy
12. Slayer - Hell Awaits
13. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
14. Coroner - RIP
15. Sodom - Persecution Mania
16. Slayer - Reign In Blood
17. Kreator - Terrible Certainty
18. Artillery - Terror Squad
19. Megadeth - Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?
20. Testament - The New Order
21. Holy Terror - Mind Wars
22. Iced Earth - Night Of The Stormrider
23. Onslaught - In Search Of Sanity
24. Heathen - Breaking The Silence
25. Sepultura - Arise
26. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
27. Forbidden - Twisted Into Form
28. Hypnosia - Extreme Hatred
29. Kreator - Extreme Aggression
30. Drunkard - Hellish Metal Dominate
31. Metallica - Master Of Puppets
32. Slayer - South Of Heaven
33. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster
34. Metallica - And Justice For All
35. Kreator - Coma Of Souls
36. Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
37. Metal Church - Blessing In Disguise
38. Vio-lence - The Eternal Nightmare
39. Destruction - The Antichrist
40. Shah - Beware
41. Overkill - Feel The Fire
42. Megadeth - So Far, So Good, So What?
43. Hirax - Raging Violence
44. Sabbat - Dreamweaver
45. Overkill - Taking Over
46. Anthrax - Among The Living
47. Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
48. Sadus - Swallowed in Black
49. Sodom - Obsessed By Cruelty
50. Destruction - Eternal Devestation


Individual Staff Recommendations - Top 10's
01. Slayer - Show No Mercy
02. Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
03. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
04. Sodom - Persecution Mania
05. Testament - The New Order
06. Coroner - RIP
07. Slayer - Hell Awaits
08. Onslaught - In Search Of Sanity
09. Heathen - Breaking the Silence
10. Mortal Sin - Mayhemic Destruction
01. Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
02. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
03. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
04. Slayer - Hell Awaits
05. Mortal Sin - Mayhemic Destruction
06. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
07. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
08. Hypnosia - Extreme Hatred
09. Vio-lence - The Eternal Nightmare
10. Slayer - Show No Mercy
01. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
02. Anthrax - Persistence Of Time
03. Slayer - Hell Awaits
04. Sepultura - Arise
05. Slayer - Reign In Blood
06. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
07. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
08. Slayer - South Of Heaven
09. Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
10. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
01. Artillery - Terror Squad
02. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
03. Drunkard - Hellish Metal Dominate
04. Kreator - Coma Of Souls
05. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
06. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
07. Sodom - Agent Orange
08. Exhorder - Slaughter In the Vatican
09. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
10. Sepultura - Arise
01. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
02. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
03. Slayer - Show No Mercy
04. Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
05. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
06. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
07. Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
08 Coroner - Punishment For Decadence
09. Metallica - …And Justice For All
10. Mortal Sin - Mayhemic Destruction
01. Metallica - …And Justice For All
02. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
03. Kreator - Violent Revolution
04. Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
05. Mortal Sin - Mayhemic Destruction
06. Exhorder - Slaughter In the Vatican
07. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster
08. Death Angel - Act III
09. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
10. Slayer - Reign In Blood
01. Sabbat - Dreamweaver
02. Suicidal Tendencies - Lights Camera Revolution
03. Kreator - Terrible Certainty
04. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
05. Slayer - South Of Heaven
06. Slayer - Show No Mercy
07. Death Angel - The Ultra Violence
08. Sodom - Better Off Dead
09. Coroner - RIP
10. Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow

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