The Best Thrash Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2016




Even 29 years after the release of The Ultra-Violence, one of the most auspicious debuts in the history of thrash, even after a decade-long string of reunion albums that dominated album-of-the-year lists, Death Angel still somehow showed us that we have been underestimating them this whole time. The Evil Divide is the darkest, heaviest, and most mature release yet from this legendary Bay Area quintet, stacked to the ceiling with thunderous chord progressions and bleak, ripping choruses. It almost defies logic that a veteran act could still tear it up so furiously, but Death Angel has always been exceptional.

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The music of Deströyer 666 certainly lives up to their name, and then some. Right from the get-go, Wildfire decimates everything with the band's signature blackened deathened thrash metal riffs that are also hyper-charged with adrenaline and melody, leaving a trail of inferno in their wake which can make Satan blush and leave everyone else horn-tossing in no time.

Bandcamp
Are you sick of all these young thrash bands ripping off the old thrash bands who are also ripping themselves off? What if we told you there's a band out there on the frontiers that makes music the old-fashioned way, by channeling influences and creating a new personality instead of just parroting all the aging bastards? What if we could promise you an album that sounded old and new at the same time, blending the intuition and creativity of one with the energy and passion of the other? "Madness," you'd say. "A revivalist thrash band that writes good songs and stands on its own merits?" "Shut up," we'd tell you right back. "Listen to Dust Bolt."

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Exmortus is a peculiar band; the members carry themselves like Manowar, practice their scales like Bach, and churn out kickass thrash metal like nobody's business. "Neoclassical power thrash" sounds pretty dumb, but the playground of intensely catchy songs dominated by lightning-fast and ultra-technical guitar playing sounds like pure glory. You've never heard classical music committed to metal quite like Exmortus's take on Beethoven's Appassionata, and if you get tired of that, tracks like "Death To Tyrants" and "For The Horde" will satisfy that power thrash sweet tooth like no other artist can.

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When you've been in business for over three decades, it's easy to sit on your laurels and call it a day while basking in the glory of days long-gone. Flotsam And Jetsam certainly thinks otherwise, as evident from a self-titled album that sees the band somehow managing to channel their trademarked F&J magic of the '80s. Make no mistake that this album is just for fans yearning for a nostalgic trip, because new listeners will surely find this off-kilter aggression and groove type of thrash a breath of fresh air.

Official Site
Seasons In err Awakened From The Abyss features all the wonderful things you love about thrash. Fast riffs. Midpace chugging riffs. Chaotic solos. Not terribly polished mid-'80s-style production. Hellbringer wear their (*cough*Slayer Slayer*cough*) influences on the sleeves of their so-worn-they-are-now-pale-gray Reign In Blood tour shirts, but it's forgivable given the frantic, frenetic and faithful delivery. Awakened From The Abyss is a lot of thrashtastic fun. Hell(bringer) Awaits!

Bandcamp
In case you didn't know, Inculcator is a brand new act formed by the Abyssal mastermind G.D.C. His debut full-length, Void Abecedary, is nothing less than an epic cosmic-themed journey. If you want, you can compare it to Vektor. The riffs are varied and the soloing pretty unconventional for a thrash band. Only the vocals need some time to get used to.

Bandcamp
Testament have been the band to beat in thrash ever since they revitalized themselves in 2008 with The Formation Of Damnation, and they have only continued to improve with age. Brotherhood Of The Snake brings more of the tight, muscular, and groovy thrash Testament has become legendary for, directed by the unmistakable grunts of Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick's lightning licks. Few thrash bands can hold a candle to the armor-plated juggernaut of Testament in terms of power alone, but Testament doesn't slack in the songwriting category, either, and Brotherhood Of The Snake is a... it's a... something to that fact. It testifies to that fact. There we go.
Terminal Redux will go down in history as one of the greatest landmarks of progressive thrash; of this, there can be no doubt, for we could have said as much about Black Future or Outer Isolation, and Terminal Redux is far, far more ambitious. Vektor's characteristic chilling, mood-shifting, ultra-technical thrash expands to fill over 70 minutes of pitch black vacuum with impossibly precise riffs that race each other to the death, explosive drum fills that sound like asteroids punching through a ship's hull, and vocals that perfectly capture the sound of dying gasps being sucked out of an airlock.

Bandcamp

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After six years, Witchery have returned with one of the best pure thrash albums in 2016. In His Infernal Majesty's Service features bludgeoning riffs, back-breaking drums and vicious growls courtesy of a new vocalist. The arrangements are fluid and the overall mixing and production are very pro/modern-sounding - the texture feels very clean - and seems to be starting a new era of thrash metal but with old-school sensibilities. Let's mosh along for the ride.

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Write-in votes

Acid Drinkers - P.E.E.P. Show
Anthrax - For All Kings
Arakain - Arakadabra
artillery - Penalty by perception
Crisix - From Blue to Black
Desaster - The Oath Of An Iron Ritual
Exumer - The Raging Tides
Ghoul - Dungeon Bastards
Gotsu Totsu Kotsu - Where Warriors Once Dreamed A Dream
Lost Society - Braindead
Megadeth - Dystopia
Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct
Nervosa - Agony
Ragehammer - The Hammer Doctrine
Revocation - Great Is Our Sin
Ripper - Experiment Of Existence
Sodom - Decision day
Sodom - In Retribution
Suicidal Angels - Division Of Blood
Suicidal Tendencies - World Gone Mad
Whipstriker - Only Filth Will Prevail
Wildhunt - Descending