Thrash In 2008?! Don't Mind If I Do - Why 2008 Was Far From A Lousy Year In Thrash

Written by: Thryce
Published: 10.01.2009
Thrash in 2008?! Don't mind if I do - Why 2008 was far from a lousy year in Thrash.


Prologue

In the light of the (upcoming) Metal Storm Awards 2008, there were a few related discussions going on in the domestic Staff circle coupled with these highly-anticipated Awards. One of them concerned the quality of Thrash metal releases in 2008. You see, it has been brought to my attention that the statement "shitty year in Thrash" has been dropped a few times already. In my eyes, this is only partially true, if not completely false.

In this article we'll briefly discuss the highlights and down gaps of the past year in a Thrashy year recap, where we try to keep an unbiased view when making critical comments and drawing conclusions (after all, there's no accounting for tastes, right). In a second part, we'll pay attention to a couple of more little-known 2008 releases who definitely deserve some acknowledgement and who are (at least in my eyes) likely nominees/winners in this year's Thrash metal category*. Again, I'll be trying not to push my own opinion forward, but instead I'll be trying to convince you to at least check these releases out before you make up your mind when choosing your personal candidate, and before you make a big mistake by voting for some "lousy Thrash record" instead because you didn't know any better.

* Article written before the final nominee list was cooked up.

The main point of this article however is not to convince you to vote for one of these releases, but to inform you that 2008 had a lot more to offer than only so-called shitty releases.



2008: Thrash Or Be Thrashed

Let's have a look at the obvious headliners to get started with. The fact of the matter is 2008 was the year in which a few eminent Thrash bands finally released a full-length album again after a few years of studio silence. We're talking about two long-running Bay Area Thrash bands Testament and Death Angel, but let's not forget about the new album of Teutonic Thrash veterans Destruction either. And as long as we're mentioning heavyweight names in Thrash-land, what to think of the debut album of Cavalera Conspiracy, the Cavalera part of Sepultura. Max Cavalera was a pretty busy man last year, because also his other brainchild Soulfly released some new stuff. Another busy outfit in 2008 was Legion Of The Damned, not only did they release a brand-new album, they also reissued an older album back from their Occult-era. And as long as we're talking re-releases, also Exodus rerecorded their legendary 1985 album "Bonded By Blood"... which brings us automatically to our next topic: remarkable new players in the Thrash scene. Well, the band named after the first Exodus album isn't exactly that new, however their debut was indeed only released this year. But the band who probably released the most notable debut album to his name is Warbringer.

Next, just to give you a precise overview, there are also a few more albums released by, what I call, hybrid Thrash bands, playing other genre-influenced Thrash, such as Dagoba, Venom, Toxic Holocaust and Torture Squad. And finally, I will also mention two more Thrash metal bands that need to rely more on their funny lyrics, image and/or gimmick than anything else: Lich King and Austrian Death Machine.


So far, so good, but what... about the rest? There are two more important points that need to be taken notice of when talking about Thrash in 2008:

  • First of all, the Metallica case. Too much has already been written about "Death Magnetic" but we need to admit that Metallica have clearly chosen to return to their olden days, which is a good thing. Whether you like to hear this or not, it must be said that Metallica have opted again for a more Thrashy approach (not Thrash, but Thrashy), something that can only be supported in the view of this article. And so, I would like to use Metallica in my argument that Thrash was most alive in 2008, yes, even on "Death Magnetic".

  • Secondly, we have the ongoing movement of (most of the time old school) Thrash revivals, another popular-thing-to-do to be more or less glad about. Exhorder, Whiplash, Sentinel Beast and Wehrmacht, to name only a few, are bands who have been reuniting in 2008. Hopefully we'll hear more good things about them in the not so distant future. Also recently reactivated bands like Artillery, Exumer, At War and Assassin have been releasing some new material this year. And then we have Thrash bands like Forbidden, Devastation and Sarcastic who have been reuniting for some 2008 live performances. In another way, also these many reunions and reunion shows were important highlights for Thrash metal in 2008.

    However, on the other hand we need to be fully aware that not every Thrash reunion is an automatic key to success and high-quality releases. One of the pitfalls in this argument encloses the danger of staging a Thrash revival just for the sake of staging a Thrash revival. There is indeed a tangible risk that some of these highly-anticipated reunions can turn out in an outright disappointment.



    Conclusion of this part: when you looked around a bit, Thrash was everywhere in 2008. When making a recap for Thrash metal, you need to take into account that also good things happened to the Thrash scene this year. So from this point of view we need to nuance the statement "shitty year in Thrash" for the first time.



    Can You Lend Me Some Thrash, Mate?

    The second point of view concerns the more unnoticed Thrash releases that are doing equally good, if not even better than the big, mainstream and popular Thrash icons. Releases that are making 2008 less lousy in Thrash than one would first think it would be. Because face it, although it's a good thing the big bands released new material, most people will agree the quality of that material wasn't exactly what we would expect from such calibers, to keep it polite.*

    * On that matter I also want to mention two other albums that were just not doing it for me, namely Holy Moses and Exciter.

    Now, that's why we'll be having a closer look at seven of those lesser known gems that have been undeservedly overlooked*... but who will more than likely save the year from being shitty in Thrash.

    * And dare I even say most (if not, ALL) of these releases simply blow all the aforementioned releases out of the water. Maybe not, maybe so, but this quote should certainly start the discussion. Check it out and let me know what you think.




    Acid Drinkers - Verses Of Steel
    Acid Drinker is probably the most consistent band in this little list with a non-stop long-running career of 22 years in the Thrash business. And after all these years and countless releases they're still masters in bringing top-notch Thrash with some modern twists and grooves. Acid Drinkers are recognized as one of the best Polish band of the 90's, and on this powerful album they'll remind you once more why...


    Gama Bomb - Citizen Brain
    Old school Thrash played by young, upcoming bands shouldn't be a contradiction. Gama Bomb certainly are fast, mean and powerful, and they are reaching the sub-top level standards very fast (as proved once again in a recent Terrorizer Magazine's 2008 Reader's Poll). Expect some slaying riffs and solos and get ready to bang your head like there's no tomorrow. This is what 80's Thrash in 2008 was all about!


    Guillotine - Blood Money
    "Blood Money" is the sophomore album of these Swedish Thrashers, after a break of ten years as the band reactivated last year. I couldn't have said it better myself when their label writes the following on a promo sheet: "Guillotine sets the benchmark of intense Thrash Metal to deadly new heights; essential melodic hooks with just the right amount brewed into perfection to split your skull into pieces!" Fast and furious all the way, baby.


    Hallows Eve - The Never-Ending Sleep
    And yet another Thrash revival marked by Hallows Eve. This is the band's second album after their resurrection in 2004, and they never have sounded better. This is somewhat downtuned but most of all dirty and pitchblack Thrash with a clear US metal catch. Very mature-sounding and topnotch album, definitely worth your time.


    Hexen - State Of Insurgency
    Hexen's sophomore album is another scholarly example of how old school-worship is supposed to sound like. With a lot of sense for melody and variety, Hexen bring you 100% kickass songs and no fillers - Hexen deliver, and how. This is an extremely solid and tight album that simply cannot disappoint. Fresh albums like this are exactly what the overcrowded Thrash scene was waiting for.


    Lääz Rockit - Left For Dead
    One of the Bay Area's most notable reunions a few years ago was the one of Lääz Rockit. Now the band with the moniker token from the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Enforcer", is back with their first full-length in seventeen years. The record picks up the same thread as the other Lääz Rockit albums, this time with a couple modern sounding hooks. The band has matured, but they still know how to rock your socks off like in their olden times.


    SSS - The Dividing Line
    Witty crossover Thrash is not dead, and what Municipal Waste can do, we can do it too but better. Those are probably the mottos of this young UK-based band, fully called Short Sharp Shock. And these guys sure know how to be fast, sharp and deadly infectious. Killer album, no more, no less. Thrash with a small moustache is definitely the next best thing around here.




    Epilogue

    As you can see 2008 had a lot to offer for Thrash. Agreed, this wasn't exactly an excellent year either, as there were far too many subpar releases too, but this wasn't only the case for Thrash metal to be honest. Nevertheless stating 2008 as a shitty year in Thrash is definitely - as one could tell from the article - a bridge too far.

    Final reflection I want to make here is the overwhelming presence of USA Thrash metal bands in this article. Coincidence or not, it is clear that next to the Power metal scene, the USA is also lead runner when it comes to bringing forth quality Thrash metal.



    ...and a Thrashy New Year

    As a bonus, let's conclude this article with a few (quite possible) prime Thrash releases to look out for in the new year, beginning with the big bands. Kreator are releasing their twelfth studio album soon, while Exodus will plausibly unleash the second part of their "Atrocity Exhibitions" this summer. And then of course there is Slayer: their tenth full-length is also tentatively scheduled for a 2009 summer release. And if we may believe Tom Araya, this would maybe mean Slayer's last-ever album - but let's stick to the facts and we'll just have to wait and see how this turns out. Other bands that have already named a new album title on top of a 2009 release date are Hirax, Flotsam & Jetsam, After All and Lamb Of God. And also Warbringer, Heathen, Suicidal Angels, Artillery and Defiance are set/rumored to release a new album due this year.

    2009 looks quite promising on first sight. Let's just hope these forthcoming releases come up to the expectations.


     




  • Comments

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    Mr. Doctor - 10.01.2009 at 23:28  
    Woooooooow. You really showed some awesome bands.
    And I agree some of this ones beat the shit out of the big bands tbh

    I really hope that the following bands will be on the competicion for best thrash album:
    - Acid Drinkers
    - Gama Bomb
    - Guillotine
    - Hexen [especially this one.... really good shit]

    I'm sure that some of this bands wuld have some of my votes if they are in.

    Thanks for the recommendations! great thread!
    Syk - 11.01.2009 at 06:40  
    Good article dude, makes it easier for me and everyone else to check out what we haven't already. I just wanna mention Exmortus as a new "hybrid" for 08 (hear some clips here), and I'm not sure but maybe add Forbidden to the rumour list for 09? Anyway, great job, I'm sure I'll enjoy the hell out of at least one thing covered here
    destroyah - 11.01.2009 at 11:47  
    Good work, dude!

    I've been quite busy so I've hardly had any time to listen to new releases this year, so this summary is great for pointers.


    Thanks again
    Doc Godin - 11.01.2009 at 11:52  
    As far as a shitty year for thrash, I didn't find it to be so. I found it no more or less good or bad than any other year, or maybe I just haven't been noticing. Regardless of the aim of this article the content itself was quite nice and I did enjoy the Municipal Waste inclusion in the title.
    Bad English - 12.01.2009 at 00:34  
    Huh good one, I miss such type articles
    Personaly I had hear soem good old school sounding demo this year(sorry dont remeber bands) also I have hear boring bands to

    From list I like Testament and Warbringer, Toxic Holocaust , each band in ''Secondly'' part, (mainly all old albums because never hear anything after 2008 reunion, like Thyrice sad not ALL BANS ARE good after re union, and I dont like such re unions, usualy its bad, but I deeply respect and like legacy what they left behind ), I also like Guillotine, Hallows Eve , Hexen,

    From upcomming albums I want hear Hirax, Flotsam & Jetsam, Warbringer, Heathen, and Suicide Angels

    Ehh why I post it?
    Just want say those people who say thrash was at 80's are wrong, ok bands who was popular those days and still play nowdays suchs, but there fiew good new bands newcomers, some not so know bands and they play good thrash like at 80's damn AtILERY was best of them all , realy I sugest you all go to vib of doom and try lsiten some bands (even there 80's albums) what Thyrice mentioned

    like i sad I had hera soem good album and demo this year, but I forgot band names, being in MA 16 hours at day and looking true countries i had hear many bands but my memory are limited
    Daggon - 12.01.2009 at 03:30  
    I think 08 was a good year for thrash, and of course I'll be checking the new releases for this year, specially for Slayer. Let's see what's next on 2009 for the mighty Thrash metal!
    BreadGod - 13.01.2009 at 00:16  
    I should do an article like this, something like awesome albums of certain years.
    JENNYJUDAS87 - 15.01.2009 at 23:41  
    GREAT REVIEW!!!!!

    2008 was the year of the start of thrash having a strong comeback...but this year hopefully may top last years!!!! Exumer is coming to Los Angeles in May, forbidden as well(saw them last year with Death angel), and Finally Kreator will be headlining with Exodus on the same bill!!!So many shows to look foward to and ofcourse new releses!!! Gald that you mentioned Hexen they are alwayz great!!!
    Dane Train - 16.01.2009 at 16:53  
    Looks like there are several albums I need to go pick up. I must admit that I have never been a fan of Thrash Metal, maybe these albums will spark something in me. Sure I have all of Metallica's 1980's career, including the EPs on vinyl, but I am still not pumped about their music. I do enjoy Nevermore quite a bit, so many it is newer Thrash that I'd like. Who knows.
    Warman - 17.01.2009 at 19:02  
    Damn, there's so much I wanna hear! But so little time, money and other ****** bands taking up all of my time.
    Deadsoulman - 18.01.2009 at 00:10  
    Ahem, I'm one of the persons who dropped the "shitty year for thrash" comment

    Now I realize that from your list, I've only heard Hexen. It's an awesome old school album that kind of redeemed 2008 as a thrash year in my eyes. Still, I guess I have some homework to do if I want to catch up with all the apparently good thrash albums that were released without me noticing
    Ozman - 18.01.2009 at 00:21  
    I am another one who called 2008 a shitty year for thrash. And I still stand by my words. Although a couple of the albums you mentioned are good they miss that freshness and spark to deem them great. And that is exactly my problem with the current thrash revival. Loads of retro bands but missing the freshness and spark which defined the great years of thrash of yore.
    The freshest thrash album by far was released by an old band, although the band members are still in their early thirties, namely Death Angel.

    And if the new Kreator is anything to go by 2009 will be another mediocre year for thrash.
    Bad English - 18.01.2009 at 00:37  
    Written by Ozman on 18.01.2009 at 00:21

    I am another one who called 2008 a shitty year for thrash. And I still stand by my words. Although a couple of the albums you mentioned are good they miss that freshness and spark to deem them great. And that is exactly my problem with the current thrash revival. Loads of retro bands but missing the freshness and spark which defined the great years of thrash of yore.
    The freshest thrash album by far was released by an old band, although the band members are still in their early thirties, namely Death Angel.

    And if the new Kreator is anything to go by 2009 will be another mediocre year for thrash.


    Thets why I dont like those retro bands nowdays, ok new Testament album was good, I think good albums in 2008 was from newer bands or not those from 80's even I hear some good thrsh this year to
    Same why I dont like some good band in 80;s who decide re play again, moiustly those who's ricco post in US metal tread, I prefere old albums more

    Kreator, I like 80's albums but somehow I think Enodorama is best album from band, even its not thrsh
    K†ulu - 18.01.2009 at 01:27  
    This article pretty much made me think the opposite of what you, Thryce, were trying to prove. I listened to everything from the Can You Lend Me Some Thrash, Mate? section, and the only band that impressed me more or less was Hexen, but the best Thrash album of 2008 is of course "Killing Season" by Death Angel. Testament's creation (although I listened to it a long time ago) sounded very "artificial."
    In Bone Factory - 21.01.2009 at 16:55  
    Very helpful article.
    at least I'll listen to some more thrash before voting.
    and I agree with K†ulu about Death Agels's album.
    Thryce - 23.01.2009 at 15:47  
    Written by Doc Godin on 11.01.2009 at 11:52

    As far as a shitty year for thrash, I didn't find it to be so. I found it no more or less good or bad than any other year, or maybe I just haven't been noticing.

    Uhu, so how come there's not a single Thrash album in the Top 45(!) albums of 2008?
    Written by K†ulu on 18.01.2009 at 01:27

    This article pretty much made me think the opposite of what you, Thryce, were trying to prove. I listened to everything from the Can You Lend Me Some Thrash, Mate? section, and the only band that impressed me more or less was Hexen, but the best Thrash album of 2008 is of course "Killing Season" by Death Angel. Testament's creation (although I listened to it a long time ago) sounded very "artificial."

    Of course you have the right to disagree with me, just as I have the same right to say I think you're wrong here. Besides, it was never the goal of the article to proof my right in the first place, rather to introduce ya'all to some lesser known (and in my eyes top) acts of the last year.

    Also, one could wonder what you mean with "listened to everything"? Because if you only listened to the two songs on the band's MySpace, you simply cannot judge the album in its whole.

    Thirdly, what's so "of course" about "Killing Season" being the best Thrash album of 2008? I really don't see why "Killing Season" is so obviously the best Thrash album of 2008. Agreed, it's a pretty good album at best, but not the best of the year. "Killing Season" is a moment album; it has some very good moments, but it's not good all the way. I can't help but feeling there's something missing.
    Written by Ozman on 18.01.2009 at 00:21

    The freshest thrash album by far was released by an old band, although the band members are still in their early thirties, namely Death Angel.

    Like I said, Death Angel? By far? Really? If we're talking fresh I think Guillotine, Lääz Rockit and Hexen are certainly equally fresh.
    Written by Ozman on 18.01.2009 at 00:21

    I am another one who called 2008 a shitty year for thrash. And I still stand by my words. Although a couple of the albums you mentioned are good they miss that freshness and spark to deem them great. And that is exactly my problem with the current thrash revival. Loads of retro bands but missing the freshness and spark which defined the great years of thrash of yore.

    That's exactly the same problem I've been having with Hatchet's "Awaiting Evil", it's pretty good, old school wannabe Bay Area, but the spark's just not there.

    I think the biggest difference between you and me is that you were there from the beginning, moshing like a homeboy while I was still poop filling my diapers. I think it's harder for you to actually label a Thrash album as fresh, because you have a lot more to compare it to. Don't really know how to properly explain this, but I think you will less easily appreciate a contemporary Thrash release, because you have the whole Thrash history, which you vividly experienced, in your backhead, while I am maybe somewhat quicker satistfied. Who knows?
    K†ulu - 24.01.2009 at 08:49  
    Thryce, when I said "listened to everything" I meant whole albums; I never do the myspace listening sessions because that won't do for assessing anything. From the list I haven't listened only to SSS - The Dividing Line, but I think I'll get to it soon.

    As far as Death Angel, I have changed my mind a little, and I do agree that it's kinda a moment album. I realized this when I listened to it the last time: the second half or so isn't as good as the first, so I dropped the rating to 8 from 9, which is fair I think.

    Hallows Eve - The Never-Ending Sleep was also pretty cool, but it needs more attention, and there are still a lot of albums to listen like Destruction's...
    Syk - 24.01.2009 at 15:12  
    Written by Thryce on 23.01.2009 at 15:47
    what you mean with "listened to everything"?
    There's ways of hearing stuff for free/cheap other than myspace...
    Written by Thryce on 23.01.2009 at 15:47
    Death Angel? By far? Really? If we're talking fresh I think Guillotine, Lääz Rockit and Hexen are certainly equally fresh.
    I thought Guillotine was quite Destruction-derivative, not that fresh at all - which, I don't think you were getting at this, but IMO definitely goes for Death Angel too.
    Written by Thryce on 23.01.2009 at 15:47
    same problem I've been having with Hatchet's "Awaiting Evil", it's pretty good, old school wannabe Bay Area, but the spark's just not there.
    And this one just about made me sick, lol, to me it sounded incredibly uninspired.

    One other up-and-comer for 2009 should be Havok from Denver, Colorado, who just signed with Candlelight for their debut (though I don't think they're yet up to the quality of the rest of that label's roster). They might be one for fans of earlyish Testament/Metallica/Megadeth.

    edit 23/02 - just noticed the SSS link in the article is wrong, their current one is http://www.myspace.com/shortsharpshockuk
    metalmilitia26 - 25.01.2009 at 09:06  
    NOOOOOOOOOOO SLAYER CAN'T STOP MAKING ALBUMS!!! THEY MUST CONTINUE TILL THEIR FINGERS FALL OFF!!!!! If this happens, that's it I'm practicing every slayer song, learning their style and grouping guys to reincarnate their legend in another name! lol. Other than the sad rumour/news there, I believe this was a good look deep into the bowels of thrash for 2008. Nice article. I will be sure to check out these albums!
    Syk - 27.02.2009 at 05:19  
    Now that I've listened to something from all '08 full-length releases mentioned here, as well as all thrash noms + write-ins in the awards and a bunch of others, I'll conclude that it definitely was a crap year for thrash. Exmortus I mentioned at the top of comments here remains my favourite, though since no one voted for them in the awards I'll be going for Warbringer. Other "highlights" would be Bonded By Blood, SSS, Paradox while all others I would rate 5/10 or lower
    Damnated - 27.02.2009 at 12:28  
    I thought Destruction's newest was mediocre, but after listening to the other albums released in 2008, i came to conclude that unfortunately D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. is one of the best thrash albums of the year.

    and that means that 2008 was another bad year for thrash.
    Dangerboner - 18.04.2009 at 01:07  
    Bonded by Blood and HMP are easily the best new thrash bands that I've heard. Live or on CD, they fucking deliver.

    Sure, a good portion of the bands are mediocre, but I'm still glad this thrash revival is happening.
    Maxx666 - 26.07.2009 at 21:43  
    Great article dude, looking for some great article about the evolution of thrash in recent years and this article is a good insight to new thrash albums released in 2008.

    And to mention I really liked Hexen and Guillotine from that list.Superb thrash
    Maxx666 - 26.07.2009 at 21:43  
    Written by Guest on 25.01.2009 at 09:06

    NOOOOOOOOOOO SLAYER CAN'T STOP MAKING ALBUMS!!! THEY MUST CONTINUE TILL THEIR FINGERS FALL OFF!!!!! If this happens, that's it I'm practicing every slayer song, learning their style and grouping guys to reincarnate their legend in another name! lol. Other than the sad rumour/news there, I believe this was a good look deep into the bowels of thrash for 2008. Nice article. I will be sure to check out these albums!

    Yeah i feel very sad listening to that!!Slayer must continue untill the fall of man else all thrashheads will starve to death:(

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