Agoraphobic News' Top 35 metal albums of 1988!

07/12/2018 Articles Share

Before you lies a list of the best metal albums of 1988! The golden age of Thrash metal was booming, and genres like death metal, black metal and grindcore were on the rise! It is astonishing to see how all these albums turned 30, and they still sound fresh & relevant as if they were written yesterday!  So take a look at our list!

 35) Atrophy – Socialized Hate  




Atrophy’s debut Socialized Hate is a good deal of in-your-face old school thrash metal. It may not be better than Violent by Nature, but it’s still strong enough to appear on our list.  Socio-political lyrics and an album cover representing a jester playing with US and USSR nukes evoke the paranoia & madness of the world we live in today.

34) D.R.I. -  Four of a Kind




D.R.I.’s third album Four of a Kind may not be their finest release, especially in terms of production. It’s somehow even overshadowed by its predecessor, Crossover.  Still, there is a plenty of good crossover thrash madness going on in these songs.

 33) Blind Illusion – Sane Asylum



A true underground Bay Area thrash metal gem.  This album features the legendary Les Claypool and Larry LaLond of Primus fame. It’s also cool to underline that Sane Asylum was produced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. Blind Illusion’s music is frequently called technical/progressive thrash metal because of it unpredictability. Claypool really delivers crazy bass lines! Wicked stuff!

32) Flotsam and Jetsam - No Place for Disgrace



The best Flotsam and Jetsam album period. If you’re looking for a thrash metal band with high pitched, vocals, No Place for Disgrace is the real deal. Erik’s melodic high pitched vocals combined with the power and fury of thrash metal  & exotic, eastern sounding riffs is breath taking!

31) Mekong Delta – Music of Erich Zann



Music of Erich Zann is a 2nd album of German progressive/thrash metal act Mekong DeltaMusic of Erich Zann is inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft novel of the same name. When it comes to music, this album has a lot of twists and turns and is by far one of the most technical from this list. Mekong Delta can be described as a mix of bands like YesKing Crimson, Voivod and Megadeth. It's sad to know that this band gets little attention among thrash metal fans.

30) Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction




Can it get any more uglier than this album cover? I don’t think so.  Carcass’ debut  is an outstanding album of goregrind masters.  Reek of Putrefaction is exact the opposite of Tampa Florida polished death metal. The sponge of all the dirt, all the hate and all the grotesque.  Following the gridcore standards, this album contains 22 tracks within 39 minutes. The fans of melodic death metal would not be fond of this album. For a reason.

29) Bolt Thrower – In Battle there is no Law



Birmingham-based death metal masters paved a way for many bands to come all across the UK & Europe. Guess what album was Swedish death metal scene based upon? The  answer is  probably – the very first release from Bolt Thrower - In Battle There is no Law . This album is in your face death metal done raw and dirty, the way old school fans want it to be! Bolt Thrower lives!

28) Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son



Iron Maiden’s seventh classic album – Seventh Son of a Seventh son is one of fans’ favorite for sure. This album has one of the best Iron Maiden songs ever, such as MoonchildCan I Play with Madness, Seventh son of a Seventh SonClairvoyant .  The album got its name from Orson Scott Card’s novel, Seventh son. And yeah, you can actually hear the use of keyboards in Iron Maiden for the first time in their discography.

27) Sanctuary – Refuge Denied



The very first album from power/heavy metal legends Sanctuary. Sadly, their frontman, Warrel Dane passed away. Rest in Peace brother! Only a few could reach his high pitch screams. Interestingly enough, this album was produced by the thrash metal god, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. The songs on Refuge Denied are astonishingly fresh, 30 years after its release. Even though Sanctuary’s music can be described as more of a traditional heavy metal, the aggressiveness on Refuge Denied can bring most of the thrash bands on its knees.


26) Bathory – Blood Fire  Death




By the Gods!  Blood Fire Death is one of these cult releases that shouldn’t be skipped by any metalhead. From beginning to the end, from the screeching horses and acoustic guitars in Odens Ride Over Nordland until the very end of 10 minute epic - Blood Fire Death your jaw will drop everytime you listen to this stuff. This album is considered to be the very first Viking metal release. After all, Bathory is one of the first black metal bands ever. Bathory’s legacy lives! RIP QUORTHON!

25) Ministry  - Land of Rape and Honey




Land of Rape and Honey is the 3rd album of industrial metal pioneers Ministry. Even though this album includes some of the love songs like Stigmatait seems like Al Jourgunsen outdid himself.  At this point, Ministry was two-piece band with Al Jourgensen on guitars & vocals and Paul Barker on bass. Both guys were sharing keyboard and sampling duties.  Ministry have proven that metal can be played differently. And yeah, the band was using a drum machine instead of a real drummer on this album. Pretty innovative for metal music in 1988, right?

24) Gwar- Hell-O

And the legend was born!  This is the very first album of thrash metal veterans,  Gwar! You just have to give these guys credit for what they did with their over-the-top costumes and performances! With their  humorous , sophisticated satirical attitude and  punky/crossover approach, Gwar will make you mosh with a smile! They have surely changed the face of thrash and metal forever!  Oderus Orungus may be dead, but his legacy will outlive us all!

23) Pantera – Power Metal



Power metal is a turning point for Pantera in so many ways.  This is the  Pantera album with traces of glam metal riffs and the very first  to feature the classic Pantera lineup featuring Phil Anselmo on vocals, Dimebag Darrel on guitar, Vinnie Paul on drums and Rex Brown on bass.  On this one, Pantera brought in thrash metal influences for the first time.  With all these great solos, Dimebag gave homework to other guitarists.   Phil’s vocals are really high pitched throughout this release. After all, Power Metal was a catalyst album for the almighty Pantera.

22) Suicidal Tendencies – How Will I Laugh Tomorrow




Suicidal Tendencies have always been fusing the best elements of both thrash metal and hardcore music into one fix. This approach, combined with Mike Muir’s vocals is what makes SxTx unique and easily recognizable.  Their ex-guitarist, Rocky George is delivering high class solos throughout this record. He is by far one of the most talented and yet one of the most underrated guitarists within the crossover/thrash metal genre. How will I Laugh tomorrow is a must listen album for Cyco family!

21) Sadus – Chemical Exposure/Illusions



The very first Sadus album. It was released under two names, Illusions and Chemical Exposure. Bay Area has never had such a brutal thrash metal band like Sadus.  This hellish act delivers brutal & aggressive riffs in your face!  It seems like Sadus was heavily influenced by the Teutonic thrash metal scene, which was always less melodic than its Bay Area counterpart. But still, Steve Di Giorgio’s basslines were highly technical from day one. Darren Travis’ & Rob Moore’s riffs and  Jon Allen’s rancid drumming  aren’t  behind as well! This album even put Slayer’s  speed and brutality in question! I guess that the band changed the name of this release from Illusions to Chemical Exposure because of the ugliness of Illusion’s album cover. You really have to have talent to make such shitty artwork. Roadrunners re-released the album in 1991 under name Chemical Exposure.


20) Tankard – The Morning After



Another great record by Teutonic thrash metal masters.  Just like Anthrax, Tankard has a comic element to their lyrics. Their third album, The Morning After  is undoubtedly worthy of your time. Within less than 40 minutes, Tankard delivers a high dosage of old-school thrash metal. Plus, their distinctive sound with elements of punk and blues separates them from the majority of thrashers.  Some of the strongest songs on this album are: The Morning AfterShit-Faced and  Mon Cheri  which incorporates full-on blastbeats!  The Morning After  lineup was: Gerre on vocals, Andy Boulgaropoulos and Alex Katzmann on guitars, Frank Throwarth on bass  and Oliver Verner on the drums. If I tell you that this album ends with football cheering and a toilet flush, you really have no other option than to start listening to this album instantly! A perfect album for all you alcoholics and the morning after!

19) King Diamond – Them



Do you know any intro creepier than the one called Out from the Asylum? Right after, the album is opened by recognizable drum patterns by Mikkey Dee. Them is the last album to feature Motorhead’s drummer.  Them is definitely one of the strongest albums coming from King Diamond opus. Andy La Rocque always delivers high quality memorable solos that stick in your head for ages!  Besides, King Diamond is a truly talented singer. The dynamics and range of his vocals are more than astonishing! Lyrical concept of Them  which  deals with a bloody tea party (haha) could easily be turned into a great horror movie.

18) Death Angel – Frolic Through the Park




Arguably, one of the most underrated and underappreciated thrash metal albums of all time! Frolic Through the Park is a second album from Bay  Area thrashers  Death Angel. This release is full of diverse sounds – you can hear funky riffs, dissonance and melodic parts as well. Songs like Road MutantsBoredWhy You Do This are among one of the finest from this record.  This album also features classic Death Angel lineup with Mark Osegueda on vocals,  Rob Cavestany and Gus Pepa on the guitars,  Dennis Pepa on the bass and Andy Galeon on the drums. Highly recommended!

17) Napalm Death – From Enslavement to Obliteration



Another classic album from Birmingham-based grindcore pioneers, Napalm Death. Their second album, From Enslavement to Obliteration is a straight forward  29 minute unpolished sonic fury. This release also comes with a 5 minute long EP The  Curse which features the infamous  Phan Thi Kim Phuc photo (the very photo Zuckerberg took down from facebook  few years ago). But you know, you can’t censor Napalm Death CDs and T-shirts. The lineup for this album was: Lee Dorian on vocals, Shane Embury on the bass, Bill Steer on the guitar and Mick Harris, the original drummer of the band. From the Enslavement to Obliteration is the last raw grindcore album by the Birmingham legends.

16) Nuclear Assault - Survive



Without a doubt, one of the greatest East Coast thrash metal bands of all time.  Nuclear Assault’s third album -Survive is probably the band’s strongest release along with Handle with Care. The lineup on this album is: John Connelly on vocals & guitars, Anthony Bramante on the guitar, heavy metal mercenary Danny Lilker on the bass, Glenn Evans on the drums. Brainwashed, F#, Survive , Fight to be Free, are some of the best tracks from this masterpiece. As always, John Connelly’s lyrics deal with Cold War schizophrenia of the 80s. This album also features a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Good Times, Bad Times. When the music is in question, Nuclear Assault have always been strongly influenced by the New York hardcore scene and that’s why a lot of their songs are so punky in nature. Besides, Anthony Bramante’s solos and Glenn Evans’ drumming is heavily influenced by rock music and that’s what make Nuclear Assault sound so easily recognizable & unique.

15) Pestilence-  Malleus Malleficarum




It’s hammer time! Pestilence’s magnificent debut, Malleus Maleficarum  is an album that pushed the boundaries of death metal. This album has also put Netherlands on the map. Still, this is their thrashiest release for sure. The album got its name after a German medieval witchcraft treatise of the same name (Malleus Malleficarum means Hammer of the Witches in latin).  It’s also good to notice that Martin Van Durunen had bass & vocal duties. Rest of the lineup was: Patrick Mameli and Randy Meinhard on the guitar and Marco Foddis on the drums. Some of the best songs on the album are: ParricideSubordinate to the Domination, Chemo TherapyBacterial Surgeryand others!  Malleus Malleficarum is one of these albums you have to take a listen whether you are into thrash or death metal.

14) Jason Becker – Perpetual Burn



Perpetual Burn is the very first album of renowned shredder Jason Becker. I guess that his name does not need introduction for the fans of neo-classical music.  Only a year after the release of his debut album, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease which robbed him of his ability to speak, move and play guitar.  It’s really sad to know that he can’t perform to this day. On the brighter side, Perpetual Burn is a guitar journey that left thousands of people jaw dropped! The moment you hear it, you’ll realize that we are talking about a gigantic Guitar God. All the bends, arpeggios, and his magnificent tremolo use will leave you speechless for more than 41 minutes (which is the actual length of this record). His music is unpredictable like an ocean, calm for a moment and aggressive and merciless in another.  His playing was an unattainable lesson to many.  It’s really sad to see that such a guitar prodigy had the worst of luck.

13) Marty Friedman – Dragon’s Kiss



Marty Friedman’s first album!  Goddamn!  Dragon’s Kiss proves how colossal Marty Friedman really is as a guitar player. It is no coincidence why Dave Mustaine picked Marty to play on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace album. Who wouldn’t like to have such a talented musician in the band?  1988 was a year when Cacophony released their second album Go Off!  (featuring both Marty Friedman and Jason Becker)  but we chose their solo albums over their band. Dragon’s Kiss is an awesome release which shows the full capability of Marty Friedman’s playing abilities in best light. Not many people developed a style of their own from the start. His technique is remarkable, especially when we have in mind his weird pick holding. Oddly enough, Marty’s Thunder March was ripped off by Yugoslav rock band Viktorija in their  most popular song Rat i Mir. It is clear that Marty Friedman was more heavily influenced by heavy metal bands, which seems not to be the case with his partner in crime, Jason Becker. Dragon’s Kiss is a must hear record, whether you’re into neoclassical shredding stuff or not.

12) Forbidden – Forbidden Evil



Damn right! Bay area legends Forbidden are a true gem of the 2nd wave thrash metal. Forbidden Evil is easily one of the strongest debuts on this list. If you are not familiar with their stuff, you’ll become a fan the moment you hear that opening riff in Chalice of Blood. What makes these guys unique is the fact that they fused rancid thrash metal riffing with high pitched vocals of their frontman, Russ Anderson. Forbidden’s dual guitar attack, delivered by Craig Locicero and Glen Alvelais has overflowed this album with more than tasty solos and riffage.  The lead work is done with a lot of passion and details. These solos will get stuck in your head for sure! It is also cool to note that Forbidden Evil was the first studio experience of Paul Bostaph (present day drummer of Slayer). Chalice of BloodOff the EdgeThrough Eyes of GlassChalice of BloodForbidden Evil and Feel no Painare among the strongest songs from this masterpiece. Forbidden Evil is by far the greatest studio effort of these Bay Area thrashers. A must-listen album for every metalhead!


11) Vio-Lence – Eternal Nightmare   




By the gods!  Vio-Lence is better known as the first band of Robb Flyn and Phil Demmel of Machine Headfame.  We are talking about another Bay Area thrash metal gem. Eternal Nightmare is a brutal dose of pure thrash metal. These riffs are just hammering! Vio-Lence is really easy to recognize, especially because of the unique approach of Sean Killian’s vocals. Nobody in thrash metal has ever sang like that!Sean is a hell of a lyricist. Just take a look at lines like I cursed the devil THEN I WATCHED HIM DIE!  These guys were destroying Bay Area clubs back in the day! The album cover of Eternal Nightmare was done by the legendary king of thrash artwork, Ed RepkaEternal NightmareSerial KillerPhobophobia, Kill at Command are probably the finest tunes off this record.  The riffs are so challenging and elaborate. If I had a dime for every time I played the album-title song and Serial Killer riffs, I’d be a millionaire! Vio-Lence’s Eternal Nightmare is an album you’ll either love or hate depending on how well your ears can accept Sean Killian’s vocals. Crushing record from a crushing band. Period.

10) Voivod – Dimension Hatröss




Eerie. Twisted. Unpredictable. Dimension Hatross is the 4th album of Canadian masters, Voivod. They are one of the most influential, yet one of the most underrated thrash metal bands of all time.  The wickedness of Piggy’s riffs can easily make Voivod to be recognized as pioneers of dissonant thrash metal. The moment you see that album artwork, you’ll realize that you’re dealing with unconventional artists. Voivod are one of those bands that include out-of-the-box thinking with every record they make. Dimension Hatross is no exception. This one includes classic Voivod lineup with Snake on vocals, Away on drums, Piggy on guitars and Blacky on vocals. Some of the greatest songs from this release are Tribal Convictions, ChaosmongersBrain Scan...  Snake’s robotic voice which can be heard in Cosmic Drama will put you in another dimension! Without a question, Piggy seem to be one of the most talented musicians within the thrash metal genre. Sadly he passed away too soon. RIP PIGGY! You are the greatest!

9) Coroner – Punishment for Decadence




The most technically proficient thrash metal band of all time! Whether you want to label them as technical thrash metal or not, Coroner are the most criminally underrated virtuosos within the genre. These guys are among the first to combine the elements of sheer thrash metal brutality with neo-classical (and even eastern) guitar approach which is strongly felt on their first two albums.  Punishment for Decadence is a masterful accomplishment of Swiss legends. You really won’t find fillers on this album.  This release is plentiful of memorable riffs and solos. Masked JackalSudden FallSkeletons on Your Shoulder are one of the strongest tunes off Punishment.  Both Ron Royce and Tommy T. Warrior have proven to be masters of their instruments. Coroner’s drummer Marquis Marky may be overshadowed by his bandmates’ playing abilities but he was the one who wrote the most of Coroner’s lyrics and was behind concepts, artworks, and ideas of the band and therefore, is not to be underestimated. The album is closed by an amazing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. Noise Records really knew which bands are the best!

8) Overkill – Under the Influence




Third release from East Coast thrash legends. Under the Influence is by far the darkest Overkill release. This album had a classic Overkill lineup featuring Bobby Blitz Ellsworth on vocals, D.D. Verni on bass, Bobby Gustafson on the guitar and the then-new drummer, Sid Falk.  Album artwork was executed in Marvel-comics style  and is one of Overkill’s greatest. There is really something about this album that makes it stand out from the rest of Overkill’s catalogue. Blitz’s vocals and lyrics are pretty damn dark to say the least. The only cheerful song on this masterpiece is Hello from the Gutter. The production on this release is simply amazing! You can hear every instrument at any second. As always, D.D. Verni’s thrusting bass sound dominates the record. Some of the strongest tunes from Under the Influence are Shred, Hello from the Gutter, Drunken Wisdom, Overkill III: Under the Influence (probably THE heaviest from the series) and a 7 minute epic The end of the Line. New Jersey legends just can’t fail, can they?


7) Judas Priest – Ram it Down



Good old Judas Priest. Ram it Down is one of Judas Priest’s  most experimental albums, especially in terms of production.  The drum machine was used in the song Love Zone. This release is a continuation of their Turbo phase. Even though the band wanted to make a double album  under the name Twin Turbos, their record label at the time (Columbia Records) refused and that’s how you have Ram it Down.  However, songs like Ram it Down, Hard As Iron, Love You to Death and Monsters of Rock were supposed to be published on that double album. It’s kind of funny how Turbo album got all hate. Ram it Down  was the last album with Dave Holland on drums. He was in the band from British Steel album onwards. Rest in peace!  Song Johnny B. Goode is a cover of Chuck Berry’s classic which was featured in a 1988 comedy film  Johnny Be Good. Both Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing brought some magnificent leads for the songs. And as always, Rob Halford nailed it for his part. Ram it DownHeavy Metal, Blood Red Skies, Love Zone and Monsters of Rock are the best tunes from this album. 


6) Metallica – And Justice For All




The very first Metallica release with Jason Newsted on bass. Of course, And Justice for All is dedicated to the string master Cliff Burton (RIP). The only downside of this album is the awful drum production and the bass was buried in the mix (they should have called it And Justice for Bass/Jason). This album is the last from Metallica’s thrash phase. And Justice  is a full on thrash metal masterpiece from beginning to the end.  Singling out some of the songs as the best ones would be kind of a stupid thing to do, ‘cause they all rule. Blackened is probably the most sophisticated in terms of both music and the lyrics which deal with an average Cold War era state of mind concerned with possible environmental (read nuclear) apocalypse. However, in dynamic songs like And Justice for All and One Metallica’s creativity has reached its peak. Harvester of Sorrow is another golden tune with some great lyrics as well.  The Eye of the Beholder is a masterful tune with some very profound riffing. Shortest Straw is probably the “shortest straw” of the album, but still good enough tune. The only instrumental on this album (and the only one where you can hear Jason Newsted’s bass clearly) To Live is to Die is the last song to feature Cliff Burton, who co-wrote some parts of this magnificent composition. The speech that can be heard in the song: "All this I cannot bear to witness any longer. Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home?" was written by Cliff Burton. Still, Jason Newsted took credit for playing it. Frayed Ends of Sanity is probably the most underrated tune from this album and it would be really killer for Metallica to play it more often live. The last song on the album – Dyers Eve is also the fastest from the whole Metallica opus with Lars Ulrich’s crushing double-bass part. Throughout the whole album, Kirk Hammet has delivered earworm solos that will never fade away from your memory. As the fourth classic release  from Metallica , And Justice for All  closed out one chapter in the careers of thrash metal pioneers.


5)  Death – Leprosy





Death’s second album Leprosy is an essential part of Chuck Schuldiner’s opus. To many, Leprosy is widely considered as an embodiment of old school death metal.  Chuck’s partners in crime on this album were Rick Rozzon the guitar, Bill Andrews on the drums and Terry Butler on the bass.  This album is also the last Death release with blood & gore themed lyrics. The album cover for Leprosy was done by legendary Ed Repka. The production on Leprosy is so good that you would need less than a second after hearing those guitars or that thick drum sound to recognize it. That’s easily the best snare sound ever (and double bass sound is not far behind)! Evil Chuck’s vocals on Leprosy sound as if he is a Nazgul of some sorts. The brutality of his voice was unheard of at the time.  Just hear his haunting growls in Left to Die  for instance. Chuck’s screams are terrifying! What’s cool about Leprosy is the fact that each song contains these melodic parts, whether we are talking about riffs or solos. Rick Rozz’s leads can easily be recognized due to his frequent use of tremolo violence. One of the most wicked sounding tunes from the entire Death opus is Choke on It. Those schizophrenic riffs are unheard within the whole genre!  That’s right, Leprosy is 38-minute-long super-sonic madness. Once it gets in your head, it will never come out! Until you PULL THE PLUG (just kidding, say no to suicide!)  Speaking of Pull the Plug, I guess everyone is freaking out over and over again along with that tune. Self-titled song and Born Dead  fall into the category of the best Death  songs ever!  Open Casket and Primitive Ways  are filled with slimy riffage and are the rawest tracks on Leprosy. The lyrics in Forgotten Past  is one of  Chuck’s most brutal takes. Just read these lines and you’ll know why:

Images of the forgotten past
Your first life revealed at last
Now you'll find to your surprise
All the corpses you left behind

All in all, Leprosy has no bad songs, nor a single bad riff if you ask me! Everything about it is so iconic, and unique. This album really has a life of its own.  It’s 30 years old and it still kicks some major ass! Rest in Peace Chuck Schuldiner! Your music will outlive us all!


4) Anthrax – State of Euphoria



It’s really funny to know that all four bands from the infamous Big Four released an album in 1988. State of Euphoria is another majestic Anthrax album. Within 52 minutes, Anthrax will lead you through an 80s thrash journey. It’s pretty ironic to know that ‘Thrax members aren’t satisfied with this release, because the writing process was rushed up due to the band’s wish to support Iron Maiden on their European Seventh Son of a Seventh son tour and because of the pressure coming from their record label as well.  This album contains a fan favorite – Antisocial originally performed by the French band Trust. And you know, Anthrax are like Johnny Cash, when they cover something, that song instantly becomes better and more popular than the original.  That’s a good thing, right? This album also had a classic lineup with Joey Belladonna on vocals, Scott Ian and Danny Spitz on the guitars, Frankie Bello on the bass and Charlie Benante behind the drums. With professionals like this, you simply can’t get a bad album! A lot of the lyrics on this album deal with Scott Ian’s relationship with his ex-wife. But some of the songs, like Make me Laugh are a protest against Televangelism of PTL Club (or more precisely against Jimmy and Tammy Fae Bakker). Misery Loves Company is based on the Stephen King novel MiseryNow is Dark  is inspired by David Lynch movie – Blue Velvet which deals with a sociopathic murderer Frank BoothSingling out songs from this album is kind of a dumb thing to do. We are talking about some major high class  thrash metal! Song like Make me Laugh, Now It’s Dark, Who Cares Wins, Misery Loves Company are by far some of the greatest pieces of art coming from the New York thrash legends Anthrax.

3) Testament – The New Order




Damn right! Second album of Bay Area thrashers is as heavy as it was 30 years ago. The New Order is arguably one of the best Testament pieces of art. It’s kind of pointless to compare it with The Legacy or Practice What You Preach ‘cause all three albums rule so much. Despite the fact that the song Reign of Terror was released on Trial By Fire EP, the song didn’t make it on the album. The New Order album could have been even better if that was the case, since we are talking about one of the best Testament songs of all time. The album starts with one of the creepiest intros of all time which can be heard in Eerie InhabitantsAlex Skolnick and Eric Peterson really know how to make a spooky atmosphere. Classic 80s Testament lineup with Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson on the guitars, Greg Christian on the bass, Chuck Billy on vocals and Louie Clemente on the drums seemed to be flawless in making music.  The riffs and melodies on this release will leave you speechless! The music in the song The New Order is so intense and elaborate, so it is no wonder why this song is included in almost every Testament set. Trial by Fire is another groundbreaking classic that starts with a creepy as fuck intro.  Chuck’s vocals and the pounding bass sound of Greg Christian are building tension to another level! Into the Pit is the band’s thrash anthem I guess.  Hypnosis instrumental makes things calmer for a while and then Disciples of The Watch riff kicks in. That song is based on the movie Children of the Corn.   That song is one of Testament’s finest. It’s pretty amazing to hear how Chuck Billy can deliver high pitch screams in, let’s say, The Preacher, and these deep sounding, almost growl-like vocals in Disciples.  Undoubtedly, The Preacher is among the strongest and the most brutal tunes on this album. When you look how every song is followed by another classic one, you realize that we are talking about a masterful piece of art from top notch musicians in their prime. As always, Alex Skolnick is raising the bar of lead guitar playing with every solo he brings on the table, while Eric Peterson is the one to blame for the awesome riffs. A Day of Reckoning is another thrash tune with a really sweet melodic chorus riff. The song Nobody’s Fault is an Aerosmith cover. The album is closed by masterful instrumental Musical Death (A Dirge)The New Order is Testament’s magnificent accomplishment that brought thrash metal standards to a whole new level.



2) Slayer - South of Heaven




FUCKING SLAYERRRRR!  After 30 years, the gods of thrash metal still reign! Their 4th studio effort, South of Heaven is still fresh after all these years. This album really stood the test of time! Most of the songs from this release were written by the Angel of Death himself, the late Jeff Hanneman. May he reign in peace! After all, he was the main songwriter in Slayer on the first 5 albums.  South of Heaven starts with one of the most recognizable melodies in heavy metal.  Tom Araya’s screaming BEFORE YOU SEE THE LIGHT, YOU MUST DIEis one of the best moments in metal PERIOD! Silent Scream is by far one of the fastest Slayer tunes ever!  Dave Lombardo’s contribution to this release is jaw-dropping! His drumming on South of Heaven marked the peak of his virtuosity!  It’s pretty amazing to hear all these tempo changes, drum fills & double bass attacks. And when you add  Kerry King’s and Jeff Hanneman’s aggressive riffs to it, you get another classic Slayer song. Live Undead is another magnificent track written by Jeff Hanneman. These riffs speak for themselves. In this one, Tom Araya delivered one of his thrusting high pitch screams. Behind the Crooked Cross is a pretty political song which deals with blind indoctrination of the Nazi war machine. On the bright side, Tom Araya’s singing in this tune always reminded me of The Doors’ classic song Peace Frog.  Hanneman’s riffs combined with Dave Lombardo’s rancid drumming really give this song a high dose of energy. Mandatory Suicide is one of Slayer’s most popular songs which deals with soldiers of misfortune & the horror of war.  Tom Araya’s poetic speech towards the end of the song is by far one of his greatest lyrical efforts.  Ghosts of War is another song co-written by Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. This is one of Slayer’s thrashiest tunes! The riff right after the solo is just perfect! Read Between the Lies is against the religious brainwashing and televangelism. This song is among Slayer’s finest!.And yeah, Hanneman has always delivered the finest of the riffs! Cleanse the Soul is another cool track with some really headbangable riffs.  Right after the solo,  Lombardo changes the beat and the song intensifies! Dissident Aggressor is a Judas Priest cover from their 1977 album Sin after Sin which deals with a person who tries to make it to the other side of the Berlin Wall.

1) Megadeth – So Far, so What?




Good old Megadeth.  Not many bands have such a long lasting legacy behind them. So Far, So Good, So What  is an album with Megadeth’s shortest lasting lineup with Dave Mustaine and Jeff Young on  guitars, David Ellefson on the bass and Chuck Behler behind the drum kit. The album is opened by a kick ass instrumental track Into the Lungs of Hell. Lead parts of this song are simply breathtaking!  The next tune, Set the World on Fire was actually written in 1983, right after Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica. The sample in the beginning was taken from the 1941 The Ink Spots’ song I Don’t Want to Set The World on Fire. However, MegaDave’s song has nothing to do with love, but the horrors of nuclear war or more precisely, how the bombs will either kill us all or bring us back to the Stone Age. For Anarchy in the USA, Dave brought Johnny Rotten to the studio for 100$. Mary Jane is one of Megadeth’s finest and yet the most underrated songs of all time.  The lyrics are about a girl who was beheaded for witchcraft in Minnesota in 1881.  Everything about that tune is epic! Megadeth’s riffs have never been so epic like in Mary Jane!  The next one, 502 is a straight-forward tune – a 80s prototype of Motopsycho and an homage to fast cars. Probably the most popular song off So Far is In My Darkest Hour, the only ballad on this record.  Dave Mustaine wrote this song after hearing the bad news of Cliff Burton’s death in 1986. However, the lyrics for this song deal with Dave’s breakup with his ex-girlfriend Diana. The intro and that psychotic sounding guitar riff will probably never leave your head. Liar is another crushing song, filled with rage, fury and vengeance, an invective against the former Megadeth guitarist, the legendary Chris Poland who played on Killing is my Business...and Business is Good!  and on Peace Sells...but Who’s Buying!?  The last song on the record, Hook in Mouth is one of the finest pieces of art that have ever gotten out of Dave Mustaine's guitar. This song deals with censorship pointed at the most hated woman of the 80s – Tipper Gore and PMRC. However, Dave's lyrics also deal with  the the fact that we live in an Orvellian nightmare,where history is either erased or rewritten, where Damnatio Memmoriae is more than a frequent fenomenon.  Jeff Young's and Dave Mustaine's lead parts in Hook in Mouth are arguably the peak of this record! The only bad thing about So Far, So Good...So What? is that it has one of the ugliest album covers of all time!


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