Agoraphobic News' Top 45 metal albums of 1989!

26/06/2019 Articles Share

Agoraphobic News' Top 45 metal albums of 1989!


 By the gods! 1989 was a  hell of a year for heavy metal! Scrolling down this list you’ll know why! I mean, just take a look at these masterpieces! And it was really hard to do the ranking due to the majestic nature of most of the releases on this list! No rankings could bring these classic albums justice but we tried to do our best and rank them correctly! 1989 was a year of thrash metal, no doubts about it!It also marked the rise of death metal and grindcore. Monstrous stuff! Funny enough, no Big Four album was released in 1989! No Metallica, no Megadeth, no Slayer, no Anthrax!  So, this is our list of the best metal albums released in 1989! Enjoy!

45) White Zombie – Make Them Die Slowly


A pretty solid, rock ‘n’ roll sounding release. It really has this garage vibe going on. However, Rob Zombie’s distinguished vocal style didn’t change a bit over the years!  White Zombie’s Make Them Die Slowly is a noise fix you can take any time and enjoy every second of it!

44) BelieverExtraction from Mortality

An untimely gem! Believer’s album Extraction from Mortality is a full-on thrash metal classic brought to you by the best Christian thrash metal band of all time – Believer. Their music can be described as a more technical version of Voivod. These guys will always be one of the greatest names of the thrash metal underground!

43) Wrathchild AmericaClimbin’ the Walls

Here it comes! Wrathchild America’s debut album Climbin’ the Walls is a perfect mixture of heavy, thrash and hard rock elements. Just take a listen to these schizophrenic solos! Neat! The artwork for this release was done by the legendary Ed Repka. Well, that’s probably the best cover of Pink Floyd’s song "Time"! Wihtout a doubt, this album will bring back a lot of good memories!

42)Xentrix – Shattered Existence

Lo and behold! Xentrix is, by far, one of the best UK thrash metal bands of all time! Period! Their easily recognizable melodic riffs will take you like a storm! And for the record, that Ghostbusters theme cover is simply epic! Xentrix’s Shattered Existence is one of those unavoidable albums if you’re up for some old school pure essential thrash record!

41) Whiplash – Insult to Injury

Whiplash’s finest album in our opinion! Insult to Injury is a prime example of how East-Coast thrash metal madness should sound like! Everything about this album is on spot: riffs, songwriting, vocals. Gotta love the loud-sounding bass! And that’s a godlike album cover for sure! 

40) Metal Church – Blessing in Disguise

Now that’s some pure heavy metal! Metal Church’s Blessing in Disguise is 80s old school heavy metal that will keep your head in motion! Hey, we are talking about one of the best and yet underrated US heavy metal bands of all time! This band perfectly combines traditional heavy metal with thrash and power influences, and Blessing in Disguise is no exception!

39) Forced Entry – Uncertain Future

An underrated thrash metal gem! These guys were really ahead of their game on both their releases! Forced Entry’s Uncertain Future is a groovy yet technical-sounding album, pretty innovative for thrash metal to say the least! Uncertain Future may be forgotten, but it stood the test of time. Musically, Forced Entry is surely above most thrash metal bands’ playing level! And hands down for that properly sounding bass! It intensifies the brutality to a new degree!

38) Excel – The Joke’s on You

Remember this album? If it wasn’t for Metallica this band would probably be completely forgotten. Still, Excel’s contribution to 80s thrash metal is solid, to say the least! … And the funny thing is that even the lesser known thrash metal acts sounded pretty damn good, even for today’s standards…Even though they’re from California, Excel’s music formula is closer to East Coast thrash metal. A lot of punky/crossover vibe’s going on in The Joke’s on You. Dan Clements’ vocals sound as if he’s an evil twin of Suicidal TendenciesMike Muir! P.S. Kudos for the Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” cover! 

37)  Accept – Eat the Heat

Bring it! Accept’s Eat the Heat was the first album that didn’t have the legendary Udo Dirkschneider on vocals. However, this is a really underrated album, both by the fans and critics alike!  He was replaced by David Reece, whose vocals occasionaly remind of John Forgety of Creedance Clearwater Revival which cannot be a bad thing at all! Music-wise, even though this album was heavily influenced by glam metal style, Wolf Hoffmann kept on delivering the goods! This is actually terribely underrated album you should give a chance!

36) Mordred – Fool’s Game

To this day, I have no idea how this band didn’t make it BIG!Mordred’s Fool’s Game is one of these hidden Bay area thrash metal bands whose music shines bright till this day! (Probably because of that ugly, ugly album cover). And oh boy, Mordred was delivering funky stuff before it was cool! Take a listen to Every Day’s A Holiday and you’ll see what I’m talking about! They appeared at the same time as Primus, but they managed to record a studio album before them. Mordred is surely one of the founder of funk metal genre!

35) Mekong DeltaThe Principle of Doubt

These guys have always been criminally underrated! Mekong Delta can be described as a mix of Watchtower, Voivod and Coroner. Their music brings forth technical, and overtly schizophrenic riffs on the table! You just can’t predict how the next song is going to sound like! The Principle of Doubt will always be remembered as an all-time thrashterpiece. And btw, that album cover is creepy as hell!

34) Onslaught - In Search of Sanity

Such an underrated band. Onslaught’s In Search of Sanity is probably the best British thrash metal album of all time! Just take a listen to that majestic guitar work! Onslaught is one of the few bands within the genre who had a real singer, not the growler, a guy whose high pitch vocals may remind you of Joey Belladonna for instance.  Now you have a perfect excuse to give a couple of listens to this extraordinary record!

33) Toxik – Think This

Now that’s an epic album opener! Toxik’s Think This is arguably one of the best thrash metal albums of all time! When it comes to East Coast thrash metal, these guys were playing some over-the-top technical stuff! The artwork for this one was done by the legendary Ed Repka! It’s kinda sad to know how underrated, and yet, how profound Toxik is.

32) Gammacide – Victims of Science

By the gods! This artwork is as shocking as these guys’ music! Thrash metal just can’t go without gas masks, toxic waste, radiation etc. Sadly, we are talking about the only studio release by Gammacide. Victims of Science is as intense as any 80s Bay Area thrash metal, even though we are talking about a band from Texas. The vocalist kinda reminds of Vio-Lence’s Sean Killian

31) Evildead - Annihilation of Civilization

A thrash metal classic! Evildead’s Annihilation of Civilization is an album that made a considerable mark on the genre. The song “F.C.I. / The Awakening” contains a sample from the legendary horror classic, Evil Dead, by which the band got its name. The artwork for this album was done by the king of thrash art – Ed Repka, and it perfectly sums up the pathological negligence and indifference that, as self-fulfilling prophecy leads us on our path towards the Annihilation of Civilization.

30) Laaz Rockit – Annihilation Principle

Bloody hell! Remember these guys? Laaz Rockit is surely one of Bay Area’s finest bands of all time! Annihilation Principle is an uncompromising thrash metal assault! This album is an all-time classic in our book! The artwork representing  „the thing“ playing with lab chemicals conveys the absolute madness of the 80s through the depiction of nukes, vx gas, mutagens, toxic & radioactive waste… And lest we forget, this album has songs like “Fire in the Hole”, “Under the Gun”. And make no mistake, that “Holiday in Cambodia “cover rules! This band needs to reform! RIGHT NOW!


29) Venom – Prime Evil

The very first Venom album to feature TonyDemolition ManDolan on vocals.  And this is actually one of the best Venom albums, for sure! You just can’t compare it with Welcome to Hell and Black metal albums but Prime Evil put Venom back on the map! Songs like “Parasite”, “Megalomania”, “Blackened are the Priests”, “Skool Daze” are so in-your-face! This is actually an uncompromisable thrash metal release and you’ll surely enjoy every second of it if you’re not one of those „first two albums only“ kind of people. Мantas’ riffs and Abaddon’s drumming was on top of their game on Prime Evil!

28) Dark Angel – Leave Scars

The first album to feature Ron Rinehart on vocals. And with every album, Dark Angel pushed themselves further and further. Leave Scars is a prime example of how thrash metal record should sound like! Fast, aggressive and brutal enough to kill all posers in the pit!  The lineup features Gene Hoglan on the drums, Jim Durkin and Eric Meyer on the guitars, Mike Gonzalez on bass and Ron Rinehart on vox. “No One Answers”, “Never to Rise Again” are the band’s classic tunes! And just take a listen to that scream in “Immigrant Song”! Fuckin’ A!

27) Autopsy – Severed Survival

Nice way to start a career! Autopsy’s Severed Survival is unprecedented sonic filth that keeps our ears nourished for 30 years and counting! Just by looking at album cover will get you the idea of how intense Severed Survival was and still is when it comes to death metal! This album features Steve DiGiorgio on bass as a session musician and that fact is not to be taken for lightly! Chis Reifert’s monstrous vocals and hellish drumming combined with Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles’ savage riffs created a monster that has a life of its own! And try beating those SteveDiGiorgio bass lines! I dare you!

26) Rush – Presto

Awwww! Those bunnies are so cute and fluffy! Of course, Rush is recognized as one of the founders of the progressive metal genre and therefore we couldn’t resist putting their album on the list, even though it’s more of a prog-rock oriented release. It would be damn interesting to see whаt’s going on inside the brains of Geddy Lee, Neil Perth, and Alex Lifeson when they’re creating these magnificent tunes! If a main riff of “Show Don’t Tell” don’t blow you away, consult with your nearest psychiatrist. Make no mistake, this album needs more attention!

25) Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Damn! A classic industrial metal release, for sure! Ministry’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste is surely one of the most unique-sounding albums from the list. And can you imagine Ministry without politically aware lyrics and samples? I don’t think so.  Al Jourgensen and Paul Baker’s creative vision is unparalleled within and beyond the genre of industrial music. The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste was a crucial release for the band in which they found their sound. Just press play and be carried away by the dark atmosphere that surrounds this terrific piece of art!

24) Godflesh – Streetcleaner

Watch out! Dissonance! It really makes sense that Birmingham, an industrial city, is the birthplace of industrial metal! Streetcleaner is a hell of a sonic drug! This album surely was really innovative and influential back in the day! Godflesh really had the courage to experiment with a dozen of noisy effects and sampled drums. The band was playing around with pinch harmonics before it was cool!  And just for the record, that bass sounds exactly as if it was played by Overkill’s DD Verni. Legend says it that Streetcleaner is every trashman’s favorite album (j.k.) Seems like Earrache was cherrypicking the best bands at the time! You better play this thing LOUD!

23) Pestilence – Consuming Impulse

Death metal at its finest! Pestilence’s Consuming Impulse was the last album to feature the legendary Martin van Drunen on vocals (and bass). The band was steering the reins of death metal pretty damn hard. The overt dirtiness surrounding this masterpiece, especially when it comes to these thick, muddy sounding guitars is what makes this album so unique and influential. It seems that this album had a huge impact on Swedish Death metal scene at the time. The lineup for this release was: Patrick Mameli (guitar), Patrick Uterwijk (guitar), Martin van Drunen (bass, vocals) and Marco Foddis on the drums.  And btw, that album cover is a bit funny when brought in line with the overflow of pulverizing brutality coming out of the stereo.

22) D.R.I. – Thrash Zone

Well... what can be said about this classic masterpiece? D.R.I.’s Thrash Zone is, by far, one of the greatest crossover thrash metal albums of all time! Singling out songs from this album is kind of a stupid thing to do, but man! Songs like „Thrashard”, “Beneath the Wheel”, “Enemy Within”, “Strategy”are here to stay throughout eternity! This album features the classic D.R.I. lineup with Spike Cassidy on guitar, Felix Griffin on the drums, John Menor on bass and the man, the legend – Kurt Brecht on vocals. His lyrics and vox are just a class above most of the bands!  I said it a million times, and I’ll say it again: San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal is the best metal you can have! Especially if it’s from the 80s!

21) Carcass – Symphonies of Sickness

Now that’s an awful album cover!  It can’t get any nastier than CarcassSymphonies of Sickness! The guitars on this album are so dirty and in-your-face! The grotesque sonic splatter like this will surely affect your brain cells! This album features Carcass’ classic lineup: Jeff Walker on bass & vocals, Ken Owen on the drums and Bil Steer on the guitar. Since all of them contributed with their death growls, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the boys created a three-headed monster, Chimera or Cerberus of sorts. This album raised the bar for extreme music! No matter what category you put this release in, grindcore, goregrind or death metal.

20) King Diamond – Conspiracy

No heavy metal band can match King Diamond! Conspiracy is yet another classic release by the Danish legends! Spooky intros, and the ghastly atmosphere that can be heard on this album create a really unique, eerie vibe. King Diamond has always remained true their classic heavy metal formula, and unlike bands like Judas Priest, King Diamond never had a pop phase of their career. The lineup on this album is King Diamond on vocals. Andy LaRocque and Pete Blakk on the guitars and Hal Patino on bass and the last album to feature Mikkey Dee on the drums. Conspiracy is a must listen for everyone who deems to call himself a metalhead!

19) Candlemass – Tales of Creation

Now that’s an epic doom metal release! CandlemassTales of Creation is the absolute peak of this band’s career! This is also the last Candlemass album from the 80s to feature the legendary vocalist Messiah Marcolin. The godliness of this release is approved by the album artwork! The artwork was is a modified work of Gustav Dore’s The Creation of Light. Some of the songs such as "Dark Reflections", "Under the Oak", "Into the Unfathomed Tower", "Somewhere in Nowhere" and "A Tale of Creation" are one of Candlemass’ earliest material while the song “Under the Oak” is a re-recorded version that can be heard on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus album.  This album is still a main reference when it comes both to Swedish metal and doom metal in general. It’s up to you to push the play button!

18) Bolt Thrower – Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness

Still won’t admit to myself that this band is gone! Bolt Thrower’s Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness is one of the most influential death metal albums of all time! Gotta love that thick, unpolished guitar sound!! The album name was inspired by one of Warhammer 40.000 universe books while the artwork was taken from a 1988 book called Rogue Trader. Bolt Thrower delivered unprecedented brute sonic force towards our ears! This is one of those albums that had a huge impact on early the Swedish death metal scene and that’s a historical fact! Realm of Chaos featured the classic Bolt Thrower lineup with Karl Willets on vocals, Gavin Ward & Baz Thompson on guitars, Jo Bench on bass & Andy Whale on the drums.

17) Blind Guardian – Follow the Blind

Blind Guardian’s Follow the Blind is not just an ordinary power metal album. It consists of tons of Bay Area thrash metal influences that suits the needs of both thrash & power metal fanbase! Afterall, we are talking about one of the greatest German metal bands of all time! Follow the Blind has it all -ultra fast, thrashy riffs, memorable vocal lines and some killer lead playing! Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen raised some hell with these full-speed-ahead songs! Make no mistake, Hansi Kursch’s vocals are absolutely on spot! His vocals contribute greatly to the overall epicness of this release! Follow the Blind has tons of catchy songs to sing along! This is how every power metal should sound like! P.S. That Barbara Ann (The Regents cover) came out unexpected!


16) Watchtower – Control and Resistance

Another larger-than-life record! Watchtower’s Control and Resistance will bring you to your knees! Did any thrash metal band from the 80s reach Watchtower’s level of technicality? Maybe Coroner. Maybe… Alan Tecchio’s vocal reach is as high as some opera singer’s. And you’ll either love it or hate it! Ron Jarzombek and Doug Keyser are a perfect guitar/bass duo. You may apply jazz fusion/progressive or technical thrash metal label to this band but they will always stick out of the genre categorizations! Watchtower was one of Chuck Schuldiner’s favorite bands, and that fact alone says a lot! And yeah, Watchtower has some pretty intelligent lyrics. Song “Mayday in Kiev” was a rant about Chernobyl calamity while “Dangerous Toy” warns us of a dystopic loss of freedom, rights, and privacy. Fast-forward 30 years and you’ll be shocked with the results!

15) Repulsion – Horrified

This untimely gem was at least 3 years ahead of its time, meaning that the songs were released in 1986 as a demo titled Slaughter of the Innocent, a year before Napalm Death’s Scum. And that’s why people refer to Repulsion as the pioneers of grindcore. Undoubtably, this  album left a huge mark on the genre. Repulsion standardized grindcore both musically and lyrically; they, just like Napalm Death, popularized minute-and-a-half song format which was something new in metal, but not in hardcore. Lyrics-wise, except for blood & gore, and the zombie apocalypse, the band focused on sociopolitical themes typical for the 80s such as nuclear war, corporate genocide etc. Pretty apocalyptic if you ask me!  The lineup featured Scott Carlson on bass & vocals, Aaron Freeman and Matt Olivo on the guitars, DaveGraveHollingshead on the drums. People who aren’t into extreme music would likely end up with a face just like as the one on the album cover- MUTILATED by the unpolished sounds that would even make Satan run in circles, begging for mercy.


14) Terrorizer – World Downfall


Well, you can’t say grindcore without thinking about this album! Terrorizer’s World Downfall is one of the most important albums that standardized grindcore genre both musically and lyrically. The artwork represents the madness called the 80s in a pretty sophisticated way. You have everything, from communists burning the American flag, mujahideen, hostages, the Iron Lady herself, a nuclear reactor and Jesus Christ brainwashing the masses! The classic Terorrizer lineup featured Jesse Pintado (RIP) on the guitar,  Oscar Garcia on vocals, Ex-Morbid Angel’s Pete The Feet Sandoval on the drums & David Vincent on bass! Songs like “After World Obliteration”, “Fear of Napalm”, “Corporation Pull-in” to name a few are what grindcore is all about!  The album was produced by the legendary Scott Burns and brought to you by Earrache who at the time had only the best bands on the label!

13) Obituary – Slowly We Rot

UUURRRGGGGHHH! Can it get filthier and more brutal than this? I think not! Obituary entered the stage of history with a debut that fundamentally changed the face of extreme music! And, just to make it straight, John Tardy is the best death metal vocalist of all time! PERIOD! His inside-out howling growls will make you cry for your mama! His growls eat Godzilla’s growls for breakfast! The aesthetics of Slowly We Rot is undoubtedly the nastiest in death metal if we are speaking of 1989! None of the death metal albums at the time had an atmosphere so dark and haunting! And it’s worth noting that Obituary’s debut was one of the first albums produced by Scott Burns, the guy who gave Tampa Florida death metal its genuine & easily recognizable sound. The lineup on this album features John Tardy on vocals, Allen West and Trevor Peres on guitar, Daniel Tucker on bass and Donald Tardy behind the drums.

12) Atheist – Piece of Time

Warning: THIS ALBUM CAME OUT IN EUROPE IN 1989! If you didn’t grow up with this album, we might have some problems here! Atheist’s Piece of Time will still give you an adrenaline rush with every listen! Atheist will always leave us speechless! No matter what album you put on. Just have in mind that Atheist had two left-handed guitar players, Kelly Schaefer playing and singing at the same time & Rand Burkey actually playing the guitar upside-down, Jimi Hendrix style; not to mention the jaw-dropping virtuosity of the late Roger Patterson who waged war on his bass frets unlike anyone before + Steve Flynn who brought some over-the-top jazzy drumming into the whole picture....this leads us to a conclusion that Atheist is definitely one of the most genuine & influential Tampa Florida Death metal bands of all time! And we almost forgot, the artwork for this untimely masterpiece was done by Ed Repka, the king of thrash metal artwork. The album cover shows that it is only a matter of time when we’re gonna bring ourselves to a new stone age.  Piece of Time has plenty of thrash metal influences which can be heard in songs like “Unholy War”, “On the Slay”, but still, some songs like “No Truth” led to an accelerated and definitive transition towards technical death metal.

11) Nuclear Assault – Handle With Care

Oh boy! The world hasn’t changed a bit since this baby was out in the record stores! Nuclear Assault’s Handle with Care is a reminder of how wicked the world has become. It is a warning to all of us that if we don’t change our behavior, we will smite ourselves to smithereens. Everything about Handle With Care is on spot, from the thick, pounding bass sound of Danny Lilker, to ear-chopping riffs Anthony BramanteJohn Connelly,’s vocals, and Glenn Evan’s fearsome drumming. The song “When Freedom Dies” has some of the most profound one-liners in metal music: We Become the Enemy when Freedom dies for Security! And not to mention the eye-opening “Critical Mass” which can be called the hymn of our own demise...and stupidity. Music-wise, Nuclear Assault always had checks and balances in place, meaning that John Connelly and Danny Lilker represented the hardcore & thrash metal influence while Anthony Bramante and Glenn Evans brought rock elements to the table. This musical formula gave birth to quite a few all-time thrash metal classics with Handle with Care as one of them. East coast thrash metal rules!

10) Voivod – Nothingface

Here we go! Voivod’s Nothingface is surely a fan favorite! This one was the most experimental album of the Canadian thrash metal veterans to date. And it is also Voivod’s most commercially successful release that was sold in more than 300 000 copies! Nothingface is surrounded by an eerie atmosphere that stands in perfect correlation with Away’s artwork. Other than the surreal Pink Floyd cover of “Astronomy Domine”, this release is plentiful of iconic Voivod songs, all of which can be seen as a separate universe. Denis D’Amour’s guitar riffs have never been so dissonant and unpredictable! Everything about this release is oozing in eerie, radiant brilliance. And of course, Nothingface features the classic Voivod lineup that changed the face of thrash metal forever: Snake on vocals, Piggy on guitar, Blacky on bass, and Away on drums. Voivod’s musical language always incorporated out-of-the-box thinking and out-of-this-world artistry. This album proves that the band was never afraid of being more experimental and innovative. And when it comes to Nothingface you’ll hear everything from cosmic blues to good old Canadian thrash metal elements. REST IN PEACE PIGGY! Your legacy lives on!

9) Coroner – No More Color

No matter which album is in question, Coroner always deliver a jaw-dropping experience! And with every new release, the band was pushing forward the boundaries of heavy metal music. No More Color is more than a profound statement. Calling this release the best Coroner effort is a cursed thing to do, ‘cause the awesomeness of the rest of their discography would haunt our dreams! Regardless,  Tommy T. Baron, Ron Royce, and Marquis Marky were on top of their game! No More Color still retained the essential neo-classical approach, elaborated in a symbiotic relationship with the band’s thrashing madness. Does this album have fillers? HELL NO! „Last Entertainment (TV Bizarre)” was featured in the 1990 Thrashing East documentary. Coroner’s No More Color - Live at East Berlin concert is a testimony of the band’s greatness! They actually pulled off all this technical thrash metal stuff with such ease. Taking a look at this tracklist will eventually get you vertigo due to the heaviness embedded in 35 minutes of absolute thrash ingenuity. “Die By My Hand”, “Read My Scars”, “D.O.A”., “Mistress of Deception”, “Last Entertainment (TV Bizarre)” are the ones that first come to mind, and they’re all mindblowing, aren’t they?

8) Annihilator – Alice in Hell

This one will make you lose your words! Annihilator’s Alice in Hell is one of the most iconic thrash metal albums of all time! Make no mistake, Annihilator is the best Canadian thrash metal band along with Voivod. Their debut Alice in Hell raised the bar of technicality ridiculously high…high even for present day standards. The beauty of this release is within its schizophrenic duality. Throughout the record, you’ll hear soothing guitar interludes like the one which can be heard in “Crystal Ann” classical guitar masterpiece.  On the other side, you can hear the creepiness of guitar at work in the intro for the song “Alison Hell” as well as in that wicked-sounding clean guitar part in “Word Salad”. Jeff Waters really knows how to balance things out, combining both melody and aggression without losing the intensity of the music. And he was only 23 when he wrote all this stuff, including all these amazing bass parts! Randy Rampage’s vocals made this album pretty memorable! It’s a pity that he left us. Rest in Peace legend!  It is no exaggeration to say that this album has no weak songs at all! But we would definitely single out “Alison Hell”, “Wicked Mystic”, “W.T.Y.D”., “Word Salad” and “Ligeia” as the best ones! And cheers to a person who made the album cover!  And remember kids, “Alice in Hell” will never get old!

7) Kreator – Extreme Aggression


Behold! Extreme Aggression is arguably one of the best Kreator releases from the 80s for sure! The lineup on this thrasherpiece included Mille Petrozza on lead guitars & vox, Ventor on the drums, Jorg Tritze on guitars and back vocals and Rob Fioretti on bass. The self-titled song is about what’s happening inside the brain of a madman on a killing spree. This album features some of the most memorable verses from Kreator’s frontman Mille: "Society! What have you done to me? Society! Brings you to your knees!" When it comes to the lyrics, “Some Pain Will Last” is a song that deals with the destruction of nature by human lust for greed and power is arguably one of the best Mille’s lyrical efforts. Those lyrics are even more relevant today. The video for the song “Betrayer” was recorded at Athens’ Acropolis even though the band didn’t have permission to do it. You just need to take a look at the song titles from this monstrous release to realize that we are talking about a Teutonic thrash metal jewel that shines brightly to this very day! “Loves and Hate Us”, Some Pain Will Last”, “Bringer of Torture“are the songs that leave no one indifferent.

6) Overkill – The Years of Decay

Well, well, well… isn’t that one of the most iconic thrash metal albums no matter which parameters are involved? The title, the artwork, the production, and the freakin’ 56 minutes of East Coast state-of-art thrash metal! We had a New Jersey Dream Team lineup that kicked some major ass: Bobby Blitz Ellsworth on vox, DD Verni on bass, Bobby Gustafson on the guitars and Sid Falk on the drums. By the gods, DD Verni’s bass sound on this release is as mind-boggling as his over-the-top playing! Not to mention Bobby Gustafson’s creative force embodied through masterful, head-chopping riffs and leads! Bobby Blitz? Well, his raspy, devilish voice is nowhere to be found in the whole world of metal! It is a no-brainer that he actually had something to say in his poetic lyrics. Sid Falk is probably one of the most underrated drummers in thrash metal! The Years of Decay is one of those albums that have no SINGLE filler! Every track is just beyond awesome! “Playing with Spiders/ Skull Crusher” is by far the doomiest one and it stands out easily from the rest of the tunes due to its length and tuning. When it comes to more thrashy material, songs like “Elimination”, “Birth of Tension”, “ E.vil N.ever D.ies” are the first that come to mind!

5) Sodom – Agent Orange


A monstrous, 3rd release by German thrash metal veterans Sodom! This album goes beyond legendary! The notes inside the album hit right to the head: “This album is dedicated to all the people – soldiers and civilians - who died from the senseless aggression of war all over the world!” And half of the songs on the album are about the horrors of war – “Agent Orange”, “Remember the Fallen”, “Magic Dragon”, “Ausgebombt”. The self-titled track deals with the horrors of chemical warfare in Vietnam war, depicting the consequences of the infamous deadly defoliant, Agent Orange used by the US forces to destroy the crops and jungle in order to crush the guerilla resistance of Viet Kong. The deadly consequences of Agent Orange are haunting the people of Vietnam to this very day. “Magic Dragon” is the song that also deals with the Vietnam war and is arguably one of the best tracks Sodom had ever written! The immense evil surrounding this track is unmatched within the genre! Not to mention the awesomeness of “Remember the Fallen”, a true Teutonic thrash metal hymn! And not to mention the punk extraordinaire – “Ausgebombt”! That’s the best solo Frank Blackfire ever wrote in his career, I tell you that! (German version is better!)  The album is closed by a more than fun cover of Tank’s “Don’t Walk Away”! Agent Orange album is living proof that Sodom was on top of their game! The hellish trio is arguably the strongest Sodom lineup with Tom Angelripper on bass and vox, Frank Blackfire on the guitars and surgically precise drum god Chris Witchhunter that pushed the boundaries of thrash metal further and set new standards within the genre with his over-the-top extreme drum whipping! (REST IN PEACE). Agent Orange was the last Sodom album to feature Frank Blackfire on the guitar. Agent Orange will be remembered as the most controversial Sodom release and as an album that changed the history of thrash metal forever!

4) Testament – Practice What you Preach

Blimey! Testament’s 3rd studio effort Practice What You Preach is a part of the band’s golden triad along with The Legacy and The New Order. Surely, Practice What You Preach is one of the most notable thrash metal albums, not just in the 80s, but of all time! And yeah, this album will always be dear to me ‘cause of the song “Nightmare: Coming Back To You” was my baptism of fire when it comes to Testament! And even after 3 decades, this album is still fresh AF! And it is one of the few where you can hear that bass out loud from start till the end! And there’s really few guitar duos that can match the ingenuity of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson! Hyyyaah! Just for your information, this album was rated 69% on metal-archives. These people are smoking some bad stuff, I tell you that! Skolnick’s solos just have the soul that many guitarists’ are lacking! The guitar harmonies brought to you by the badass guitar duet are beautifully orchestrated and simply on spot! No fillers included! The overall album is pretty political and some of the lyrics such as “Greenhouse Effect” deal with the environmental holocaust caused by deforestation of South America. For the first time ever, Chuck Billy showed his growling capabilities in songs like “Practice What You Preach” and “Sins of Ommision”! Chuck Billy really made these songs memorable! His contribution to this masterpiece is unquestionable! Damn, without a doubt, “The Ballad” is one of the most chilling ballads of all time! The album is closed by breathtaking instrumental “Confusion Fusion” whose greatness can be parred by “Urotsukidoji!” Complete mindfuck! Practice What You Preach is an epitome of Bay Area thrash metal at its greatest! No matter which parameters are involved!

3) Exodus – Fabulous Disaster

Lo and behold! Exodus’ 3rd album Fabulous Disaster is arguably one of the band’s finest from the 80s! Bay area thrash metal kings had a story to tell with this one! The lineup on this masterpiece featured Steve Sousa on vocals, Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt on guitars, Rob McKillop on bass and Tom Hunting behind the drums. What makes this album so unique is the chugging, noisy distortion that creates this vibe of a clearly unstoppable thrashing force! The song “The Last Act of Defiance” is quite political, and it deals with the horrors inside the US prison system. Damn, those riffs are the definition of thrash metal! You just can’t find an album cover more epic than Fabulous Disaster! Just looking at the track list will make your head spin! The self-titled song clearly represents the madness of the Cold War’s US/USSR arms race (a nuclear one!) And let’s face it, that’s one of the best songs Exodus had ever written! Politics aside, this album includes a thrash anthem from Steve Sousa’s era – “Toxic Waltz” that mixes Paul Baloff’s kill-the-posers-in-the-pit vibe with good friendly violent fun. But there are also some really underrated songs that make this album glow in the dark: Not to mention the hilariously awesome version of War’s “Low Rider”! It sounds nothing like the original. This tune justifies the H-Team monicker - Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt’s interchanging leads are simply crushing! “Low Rider” is probably one of the earliest tracks in metal that incorporates cowbells (along with Carnivore’s 1985 song “God is Dead”). “Cajun Hell”, a terrific bluesy tune with some major usage of guitar slides. And harmonica!  Simply put – a track that merges thrash with blues from the swamp! Those solos are like...hands down. And the sheer awesomeness of the “Like Father, Like Son” riff! Simply brutal! “Corruption” is another political tune that sums up the 80s perfectly! But the track that brings the blues to a whole new level is “Verbal Razors” – a razor-sharp thrashterpiece! It just can’t get any better than this! Just take a listen to those frantic leads! The band should include “Verbal Razors” and “Cajun Hell” in every live performance! “Open Season” is another bone-breaking tune...And yeah, Steve Souza totally nailed the cover of AC/DC’s “Overdose”! To sum it up, “Fabulous Disaster” is a groundbreaking release! Only a few bands can match the brain-splitting virtuosity such as this!

2) Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness

Hail Satan! Morbid Angel’s debut album Altars of Madness is a game changer! No one sounded so nasty & brutal back in 1989! We are talking about one of the greatest death metal albums of all time! This untimely masterpiece is a perfect representation of what Tampa Florida death metal is all about! The album cover was done by Dan Seagrave, the king of death metal artwork! The lineup on this unholy masterpiece featured David Vincent on bass & vocals, Trey Azagthoth and Richard Brunelle on guitars and the unstoppable Pete Sandoval behind the drums! The band was surely possessed by some evil spells back then! Let’s face it, is there anything more evil than the reversed opening riff of “Immortal Rites”? Don’t think so! Those riffs are coming straight out of the 9th circle of hell! Man! Sandoval really pushed the boundaries further with those furious blast beats in “Suffocation”! And that riff when the bass kicks in and all the heaviness of the world falls on your back & David Vincent’s line” IT’S THE DAWN OF THE CRUXIFIED! SUFFOCATION!” Outstanding! “Visions from the Dark Side” has this wonderful, black metal-sounding dual guitar attack that leads straight to hellfire! This track is a vision of hell on earth, where corporations, mind control, and wars made our lives even more miserable. It’s actually probably the only political track on the whole album. “Maze of Torment” has this classic, power chord riff that implodes as soon as  Pete Sandoval clears the path for total destruction! These riffs are scorching the earth and laying waste! “Lord of all Fevers and Plague” is some sort of invocation of the old Mesopotamian gods – Pazuzu and Ningishzida. And by the Ancient Ones, Trey Azagthoth is prone to some wicked tremolo violence! Make no mistake, that’s one of the greatest Morbid Angel songs of all time! That “RIDE THE WINGS OF DEATH” moment is soooo brutal! “Chapel of Ghouls”…well, that’s another classic! Man, Sandoval was whipping those drums mercilessly! And damn, those keyboards in this track fit so perfectly! And when you think that all this madness will end  “Bleed for the Devil”kicks in! “Damnation” is surely a catchy and brutal track. Those riffs are on spot! “Blasphemy” is what the whole album is all about! The cut-throat brutality of this track is unmatched! Let’s face it, Trey Azagthoth is the Bach of death metal! This album should be studied at Berkley! And the last track – “Evil Spells” is another fan favorite! We are talking about the essential Morbid Angel track that closes this album & the gates of Tartarus. Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness is an unprecedented masterpiece that standardized the genre and filled all the empty spaces & deficiencies that death metal had at that moment. This album changed our lives. Forever!

1) Sepultura – Beneath the Remains

When you say Sepultura, Beneath the Remains is what first comes to mind! Man! This is the album that outdone the whole metal scene in 1989! PERIOD! No one can deny that old Sepultura was one of the most influental metal bands of all time! With Beneath the Remains, Brazilian metal masters put themselves on the throne of thrash metal! Everything about this album is just staggering! This album includes a classic Sepultura lineup with Max Cavalera on vocals and guitars, Andreas Kisser on lead guitars, Paulo JR on bass and Igor Cavalera on the drums. And yes, Scott Burns mixed the whole thing and that fact alone doubled the greatness of the songs. What I really love about this album is the fact that it perfectly incorporates pure aggression with tons of memorable melodic parts without being pop oriented and losing heaviness at all! Let’s face it, Beneath the Remains intro is so iconic…The soothing melody is ripped to pieces the moment those guitars start grinding in! Self titled track is one of the best anti-war songs in metal! The lines Who has won? Who has died? BENEATH THE REMAINS are so damn powerful and in your face! These downpicked riffs sound like a rampaging gunfire! And damn, Andreas Kisser nailed the leads in this one! Max Cavalera’s vocal performance on this album is simply crushing! Godzilla’s growls sound childish when compared with his brutal voice! Along with Beneath The Remains, Inner Self is by far one of the best Sepultura songs of all time! This is a track where you can hear Igor Cavalera’s best drum performance! The guy’s drum rolls and rapid fire double bass put most metal drummers in a garbage bin. And those lines are damn catchy: NONCONFORMITY IN MY INNER SELF! ONLY I GUIDE MY INNE SELF!  Funny enough, the song title was named after Kelly Schaefer (the guitarist and vocalist of Atheist). This song is so simple, yet so brutal! Those chugging palm muted riffs are ripping heads off! Not to mention that melodic riff & clean guitar part! And that part where the drums kick in and everything explodes in raging fury! UUURRRGHH! Stronger than Hate is another killer track! The lyrics are written by Kelly Schaefer and it also includes him and John Tardy of Obituary & Scott Latour & Francis Howard of Incubus on backing vocals.  In this track you can hear how versatile Andreas Kisser’s playing is! From earth splitting riffs to brain snappin’ leads! I mean, the whole band is merciless in this track! Not to meniton the beautiful bass line in the end! Mass Hypnosis is by far one of the most recognisable tunes off this album! That screeching, noisy intro is just an overture of the thrash assault that is yet to come! Mass Hypnosis  is another anti-war song that criticizes brainwash, “cowardly leaders” & religious wars. Kisser yet again delivered 2 beautiful & melodic solos! Hands down! This is a prime example of how furious thrash metal stuff can also incorporate staggering melodies without losing any of the brutality. Max Cavalera’s vocals have never been that awesome! Lobotomy starts with this wicked sounding drums with these groovy riffs that in the end turn into a thrash/death bloodsplatter! Hungry is another killer track with these shredding riffs that simply cannot leave your head easily! This is actually one of a hell of a catchy song! Primitive Future is surely one of the most brutal tracks from Beneath the Remains! Sepultura is grinding down with immense, breathtaking force.The album is closed by A Hora E A Vez Do Cabelo Nascer (Os Mutantes cover).  Sepultura’s Beneath the Remains is by far THE BEST release of 1989! With this album, Brazilian legends were standing still on the throne of thrash metal! Sepultura’s doors to world domniaton were open wide!

What is your favorite album on the list? Who do you think should have ended up on #1? Did we miss some of your favorite albums? What list should we do next? Let us know in the comments down below! And don’t forget to hit those LIKE & SHARE buttons! If you like what we are doing, like our Facebook  page, follow us on Instagram Twitter and subscribe to our Youtube channel to help us grow!  Big shout out to our patron Season of Mist. Make sure to follow our photographer Artnokmas on instagram! You can also support us by donations via Paypal and by becoming our patron!  Don’t forget to like & share this article!

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