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The Best Thrash Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2020


1.  Sepultura - Quadra 163
2.  Sylosis - Cycle Of Suffering 140
3.  Mr. Bungle - The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo 87
4.  Warbringer - Weapons Of Tomorrow 85
5.  Bütcher - 666 Goats Carry My Chariot 73
6.  Testament - Titans Of Creation (write-in vote) 37
7.  Skeleton - Skeleton 29
8.  Sodom - Genesis XIX (write-in vote) 22
9.  Havok - V (write-in vote) 17
10.  Hexecutor - Beyond Any Human Conception Of Knowledge... 14
  Autonoesis - Autonoesis 14
12.  Hazzerd - Delirium 13
13.  Raider - Guardian Of The Fire 12
Total votes:
740



This debut album by Autonoesis from Canada is a successful blend of technical thrash metal with progressive and melodic death/black metal, and it is one of these rare cases in which the record gets better and better with every listen. Imagine Voivod, Coroner, Death, and Dissection jamming together and churning out invigorating and acrobatic riffs, as well as eclectic and emotional melodies, with a strong progressive undertow. This is a surprisingly good album, especially considering that it came from out of nowhere.

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What's faster than a laser bullet, louder than an atom bomb, brighter than a thousand suns, and ready to claw your face off at 666 bpm? It's Bütcher, the sadistic, goat-slaughtering demon child of Agent Steel and Deströyer 666, with some Mercyful Fate mixed in for good measure. Armed with garage-style production, belligerent riffs, and piercing vocals that resemble echolocative shrieks more than singing, Bütcher hits like a 666-ton locomotive, hurtling into the shattered, infernal hellscape of a metallic apocalypse. 666 Goats Carry My Chariot blends the ferocity of proto-black metal and the velocity of speed metal for one of 2020's rawest and wickedest offerings.

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Harkening back to the raw aggression and high-octane stylings of thrash's origins, Hazzerd incorporate their hardcore punk influences with masterful instrumentation and a delivery that rivals the intensity of their youthful predecessors. Delirium features the typical thrash standards in terms of riffs and pacing, but their songwriting proficiency and ability to navigate through varying degrees of technicality help separate them from their peers while honoring the genre's forefathers by way of spreading an infectious primitive energy hidden beneath all the catchy hooks and choruses.

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Quick question: does it count as Teutonic thrash metal if it comes from Bretagne, France? Probably not, but it could fool you, unless you could somehow make out that the language is neither English nor German. Hexecutor come from a certain branch of thrash metal that was already steeped in extremity in the mid-'80s, but it throws in the oddball moment pretty often, too, like a game of tug-of-war between first-wave black metal and heavy metal that lasts for 50 minutes. I'd say the former won, but the solos disagree.

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So let's say you're a cult avant-garde band from the '90s. Do you come back with a record that is in line with your classic records, do you reinvent yourself, or do you re-record your obscure demo? If you chose the last, congrats! So did Mr. Bungle. The Patton/Spruance/Dunn trio is joined here by Dave Lombardo and Scott Ian to re-record 1986's The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny, as well as some covers and unreleased songs from the era. Juvenile, bonkers, and wacky, since they're Mr. Bungle, after all, but for the most part just a fucking rampage. And maybe a "demo", too.

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Plenty of thrash bands describe themselves as "ripping", but few could live up to that description as well as Raider, having burst onto the scene with an absolutely massive, riff-centric thrashfest, never afraid to mix in crushing death metal hooks and supplemental groove to balance the sinister vibe of Angelo Bonaccorso's blackened vocal shrieks. Guardian Of The Fire's blatant old-school influences further enhance the overall brutal and ferocious mentality, backed by its relentless, screaming melodies and pummeling percussion.

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Some of you are no doubt surprised to see Sepultura nominated in the MSAs - and in the thrash category, no less, for this band's dalliances with groove, hardcore, and alternative metal in the years following their thrash classics have earned them no small amount of ire and disappointment. Well, unfair dismissals of their later-career work notwithstanding, Quadra is an unexpected turnaround for Sepultura, who are now charging back to the top of their game. Drummer Eloy Casagrande is unquestionably one of the greatest talents in the genre today, and with the unyielding support of a virtuosic rhythm section, it is possible for Sepultura to rebuild its characteristic thrash sound over a modern groove (which you may recall they also helped to spearhead). In the spirit of its name, however, Quadra is a work in four stages, much more than simply an old-school revival album to appease fans; pay close attention as this album evolves and signals new futures that await Sepultura.

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Other than making you wonder how come the band name "Skeleton" was still available, Skeleton will most importantly make your bang you head like crazy. They were originally a hardcore band, and some of that hardcore past still seeps into the more blackened thrash sound they currently have, making sure that the punk ethos of simple, powerful d-beat drumming is not lost while riffs and riffs and riffs just come at you. It pretty much sounds like what Darkthrone have been trying to do for the past 15 years, but with even more riffs. So it's barely under 30 minutes of black metal shrieks over heavy metal riffs, crust punk riffs, thrash metal riffs, first-wave riffs, second-wave riffs, hardcore punk riffs. Uhh... riffs.

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Back after a three-year hiatus, Sylosis have undergone a couple of line-up changes since Dormant Heart, with the record seeing Bleed From Within drummer Ali Richardson's studio debut and the resulting (mostly delayed) live shows featuring Conjurer bassist Conor Marshall. In the meantime, frontman Josh Middleton has been touring and recording with Architects, and Cycle Of Suffering shows hallmarks of Middleton's time with the metalcore powerhouse, with a number of modern metal features appearing on the record, including but not limited to downtuned guitars and an abundance of breakdowns. Whilst the style has shifted, Sylosis retain the capacity to deliver an onslaught of irresistible thrash riffs, with the signature epic climaxes and endings also appearing on the likes of "I Sever", "Apex Of Disdain" and the title track. The sound may have changed post-hiatus, but the ability of Sylosis to kick your ass into next week remains fully intact.

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Never ones to shy away from their influences, Warbringer return with their signature deep-impact sound and pure power to deliver a persistent onslaught of solid riffs, tremendous solos, and impressive vocal work, encapsulated by their impeccable sense of closure and storytelling. Weapons Of Tomorrow may draw on the inspirations of yesterday, but the simultaneously refreshing and familiar aural assault readily fulfills expectations of long-time fans while enticing from under their rocks everyone who still hasn't discovered this gem of a modern thrash act with a maturity and professionalism rivaled by few in the scene.

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