TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.
Here I present a ten album sampler of some thrash metal (and thrash adjacent) releases I’ve so far overlooked this year. Consider it a soundtrack to your weekend spent with with the Blue Angels flying overhead, shaking your apartment and making your pets flee under the bed in fear every couple of hours. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two’s worth of insight beyond banal description. If you don’t like thrash metal I’d normally just say, relax! “This’ll be back every seven days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.” but really? You don’t like thrash? That’s fucked up.
Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be chunky ass riff-rehashes and chugged-up melodeath riffs stunting as thrash releases. This time I put a little extra time in sourcing thrash that was good, but kinda flawed in some interesting way. The inspiration came from listening to Megadeth‘s ‘So Far, So Good… So What?’ a few days ago and realizing how fuckin’ awful and crazy it was when considering the globe’s thrash output in 1988 but… it really works all the same. This isn’t so much a collection of dregs and flops but rather a selection of stuff from all over the planet that is slightly weird enough to fit into any underground metal loving weirdo’s collection. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.
|Title [Type/Year]||Chanting for the Fallen [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
I thought I’d kick this off with some breezy new age music typically used when teaching young ladies the traditional tea service of Korean dignitaries… Oh, no this is South Korean thrashers Sahon and that adorable bunny cover art is meant to celebrate their heritage with it’s traditional style. As they approach their twentieth year and sixth original release Sahon are still plugging away at a rhythmically sound approach to thrash metal that focuses on riffs that are purely variation on a theme; I read a bunch of odd reviews of this album and it seemed like it’s lack of variation stumped most writers. If you’re pointing towards Slayer, Metallica, and Motorhead (?) without specific reference maybe you’re not even trying? But there is some heavy amount of Bay Area influence, think of the pre-groove metal style of Outrage (Japan) and Kreator‘s slick ‘Coma of Souls’ sound but, glossed over with a simple death/thrash production job and almost no lead guitar work. “Condemnation” really mars the experience with a generic groove metal riff that kills it for me. The album is just OK and has plenty of solid riffs.
|Title [Type/Year]||Nightmares & Abominations [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
One of my biggest points of anxiety that comes from being an idiot is that I miss things pretty often. Being a dipshit only really affects me when I find some free time and dig back through my oldest e-mails and realize I missed out on reviewing a bunch of great albums. Australian black/thrash metal band Malichor have finally released their debut full-length after ten years spent blasting away in Melbourne’s underground and it smokes. Think of black/thrash along the lines of Desaster and Nocturnal but with an extra slash of black metal’s buzzsaw applied. They kind of straddle the line between later second wave black metal’s obsession with rock riffs and the roar of classic speed metal. Though my description sounds par for the course in terms of Australian black/thrash Malichor don’t lean as heavily into black metal structures (or really modern black metal, at all) and I found ‘Nightmares & Abominations’ plays more like a classic thrash record.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Lyricist [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [2.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Another project nearing their twentieth year in business and this one born as a side-project with musicians who’d contributed to groups like Old Man’s Child, Chrome Division, and Dimmu Borgir. Consider the high popularity of melodic death/thrash metal at the time and then add in a dash of Testament’s ‘Low’ and ‘The Gathering’ style and you’re on the right track for their modern melodic death/thrash metal sound. Intermittent live vocalist for Susperia, and longtime front man for power metal band Guardians of Time Bernt Fjellestad joined the band full-time in 2015 and ‘The Lyricist’ is their first album with him in the lead. So, yeah it isn’t classic or retro thrash so much as modern melodic death/thrash with a heavier emphasis on rekindling some black metal roots. It plays a bit like an earlier Dragonlord album in the sense that you’re getting some late 90’s black metal, some groove/thrash, and power metal vocals. I know that sounds like a nightmare for a lot of thrash heads but, ‘The Lyricist’ will prove itself pretty listenable if you like modern power metal and want something equally dramatic yet a few steps ‘darker’.
|Title [Type/Year]||As the Ages Passing By… [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Speaking of melodic thrash metal here is another project that have been working up to their debut in many forms for nearly twenty years and finally seeing the light of day in 2018. If you’re a fan of Sanctuary, Nevermore, and early Iced Earth everything about Sense of Fear‘s debut should make sense. With a sound crossing streams of melodic power/thrash metal and traditional heavy metal in a ‘modern’ heavy metal sense, it’ll more than likely appeal to fans who appreciate the ‘fantasy’ spectrum of metal rather than the street thrasher looking to mosh. Taken as a pure heavy metal band with some hints of Artillery and Sanctuary‘s power/speed metal approach it borders on epic heavy metal. You know first impressions kinda had me passing it by with it’s odd cover art but if you’re looking for something kinda Agent Steel-ish this is pretty solid. If you came to this list expecting riffs, whoa! Calm down!
|Title [Type/Year]||Entre el Campo De Batalla [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Thrash metal has always been potently political but I come across fewer and fewer thrashers willing to contribute to the grand-standing noise of social commentary every year. Named ‘Native Pride’ for good reason Orgullo Nativo aim their message towards the metalheads of Colombia as often as they point fingers at the meddling outside world that has stripped, mangled and manipulated their history for too long. The message is heavy handed, furious, and communicated through raw and straightforward death/thrash style. If you’re not a Spanish speaker it’ll be harder to grasp the seriousness of ‘Entre el Campo De Batalla’ but they communicate their ethos well enough. Colombia has long been stuck in it’s own difficult political situation as the ‘war on drugs’ continues to be a front for corruption and manipulation of it’s economy from outside forces. But enough awkward ranting from me, the struggle and the rage expressed by Orgullo Nativo is impressive despite the lower budget recording. I would have liked if they’d left out the interludes but once I took some time to translate what they were saying those interludes tell an important part of the album’s narrative.
|Title [Type/Year]||Daño Colateral [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Another Spanish sung thrash metal album but this one comes with a higher budget sound from Mexican tech-thrashers Centauro. You can hear them borrow liberally from their influences (see: “IDS”) but overall it is a strong prog/tech etc. thrash metal album with a reasonably modern sound a la Hexen, Teleport, or maybe Droid. I appreciated the melodic thrash moments and I think this should draw some attention from folks who liked Hexen‘s ‘Being and Nothingness’ as it comes across heavily influenced by it’s progressive and melodic style, going as far as to borrow a few riffs in the process. The bass guitar performances really stand out most and I think this is something the band could latch onto even harder in the future as it enhances their more melodic ambitious. Definitely a band to keep watching as I think they’re right on the edge of greatness as they find the right musical structure to house their progressive ambitions and tech-death influences.
|Title [Type/Year]||Operation Misdirection [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [2.75/5.0]||LISTEN on Spotify!|
Italian technical thrash metal band Ultra-Violence have had an odd obsession with A Clockword Orange since formation and honestly I couldn’t possibly be more bored with the theme. Yep, mind-altering book and great movie but the combination of standardized, overly polished thrash metal production and a surface level treatment of Anthony Burgess feels tired on this third act. I appreciate their homage to Death Angel with a tight, technical and heavy sound but at some point albums like ‘Operation Misdirection’ become a lesser caricature of the classic Bay Area thrash metal sound. I’m sure you’ll scoff at that and just enjoy this accessible, well produced thrash metal album, but for my taste it feels like a very talented group of musicians stuck in a rut of soulless iteration. Yes, “The Acrobat” has this really cool Megadeth moment and “Money For Nothing” somehow becomes a power-thrash great in their hands but the album is a “Meh” for me overall.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Lost Tapes of Poetical Freakscream [LP+CD/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from F.O.A.D. Records!|
Jester Beast were a Torino, Italy based speed metal band who started out unsure of where they’d go. They loved the inspirational 80’s hardcore scene that swept through Italy hard, they loved the rising extremity of Slayer as it scraped across the globe, and they discovered Voivod at just the right time to tie it all together. Consider their 1991 debut ‘Poetical Freakscream’ a crazed mutant that combines the unpredictable racket of ‘Rrröööaaarrr’ with the driving grooves of groups like No Mercy circa 1988. This release offers an entirely new look at the album which was stripped of a guitar track and wiped of it’s atmosphere in a mix aimed to please their label at the time. ‘The Lost Tapes of Poetical Freakscream’ offers a sort of redemption for the band’s original vision and should be worthwhile for fans excited at the prospect of a thrash band mixing influence from crossover/thrashcore and technical thrash. The album also includes the full ‘Destroy After Use’ (1988) demo which features vocals that sound a bit more Poison Idea influenced than the album would. A live show is also thrown in, including some unreleased songs (like uh, “Suck My Powerful Dick”) that are worth experiencing for longtime admirers. To be clear I’m talking about the CD included with the LP reissue of ‘Poetical Freakscream’, to get this CD I believe you need to order the LP from F.O.A.D. Records.
|Title [Type/Year]||The King of Hell Arrives [EP/2018]|
|Rating [2.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Portuguese blackened speed metal band Satan My Master arrive with a straightforward black metal bulldozer that stretches pretty far outside of the usual black/thrash comfort zone. They’re not ‘good’ yet and it might just be my admiration for ‘Worship Him’ rubbing off a bit, but I like the first wave sound they’re going for. The drums sound a bit programmed, the keyboards pop up at odd times, and the chugging riffs occasionally take some time to find their timing and it is hard to complain about these things when in the context of old school black metal. I look forward to hear what the band does next, they’ve got the right idea with this demo and are almost there with the execution of ideas.
|Title [Type/Year]||Hallux [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Last but actually one of the best records on this short list comes Vancouver, British Colombia black/death/thrashers Hallux. Their sound is hard to pin down because you can tell they were fairly democratic in it’s design. The trio embraces the urgent, bone-stripping tones of death/thrash, the blackened rasp & Voivod-winking riffs of Vektor, and the punkish heel-clicks of early Toxic Holocaust. ‘Hallux’ is certainly multi-directional as a debut but occupies it’s own space halfway between technical thrash, black n’ roll, and punkish death metal. I see it as a smaller conglomeration of Vancouver’s extreme metal scene minus all of the very stoned atmospheric post-metal bands and retro heavy metal groups. Sure, it isn’t highly memorable at first but these rhythms will weasel their way into you after a few listens. If this glorious anti-Christian mutant thrash is what Hallux is up to on their debut no doubt they’re on the right track for even bigger things down the road.
Did I miss your favorite 2018 thrash album? I’d like to know if there are any 2018 releases you loved but didn’t get enough recognition. Drop me a line to tell me! It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.
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