Man. If there was a single golden year in heavy metal, that would be 1990! And I only became aware of this after I started making the list. So many bands released their best albums and so many had their debuts released. The year 1990 is as important as the period between 1986-1989, which I would collectively call the golden years of heavy metal. Thrash metal was at its peak, while death metal was growing stronger day by day. And the grunge slowly started to become a “they took ur jobs, DURKU DURRR“ kind of thing. This is by far the longest list I ever did. 55 bands and 55 albums that sound as fresh as they did 30 years ago. Therefore, I present to you Agoraphobic News’ list of top 55 heavy metal albums of 1990! Enjoy!
Canadian thrash metal underground gem! These guys have always been at the forefront of Canadian thrash metal. Still, they never got the attention they deserved... Sacrifice’s 3rd studio album, Soldiers of Misfortune is an uncompromising, full-speed-ahead thrash metal blitzkrieg. Relentless, brutal attack that might hurt your eardrums a bit. Pretty easy and fun to listen to. The band has released videos for As the World Burns and Soldiers of Misfortune. Since they are still active, these guys need to make a new album!
Yngwie Malmsteen’s 5th studio album! If you’re up for some neoclassical shredding mastery, this is the real deal! Yngwie is setting those frets on fire! I guess he melted quite a few by playing those incredible leads! So, if you’re up for an arpeggio overdose, Eclipse is the perfect album for you! It mixes hard rock, neo-classical and even some influences. I guess there’s something for anyone!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/officialyngwiemalmsteen/
Rest in Peace Dio! Lock up the Wolves is an absolute classic from Dio’s discography. Rowan Robertson was 18 when he recorded those magnificent leads. Hands down! And on this album, AC/DC drummer (1983-1989) Simon Wright joined the forces of pure heavy metal. The songs are more than strong overall, just like any Dio material. Lock up the Wolves is a great combo of classic heavy metal and hard rock. Rock in the heavens above!
Paradise Lost’s first album. Well, isn’t that Noob Saibot on the artwork? Or Predator from Alien franchise. Lost Paradise is a must listen album for all the death/doom metal fans. Pure evil! Who would have thought that Paradise Lost had Autopsy –like riffs once upon a time? Anyways, it’s cool to know how much Paradise Lost’s music progressed over the years. Death/doom freaks surely listen to this album on a daily basis.
Anacrusis’ 2nd studio album – Reason. This is definitely an underrated progressive/thrash metal gem. A true jewel of the underground. Their vocalist kinda resembles as if Bishop from Candlemass and Overkill’s Bobby Blitz were somehow merged. Really a fun album to listen to with dozens of changes. The fact that Death’s Chuck Schuldiner was a fan of Anacrusis says a lot! Btw, I couldn’t get over the fact that the artwork is, sadly, one of the worst I’ve seen recently. Anyways, highly recommended stuff!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnacrusisOfficial
That’s right! An underrated thrash gem right there! The kid on the cover is none other than Richie Cavalera, the singer of Incite, and step-son of Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura). The title track couldn’t have been more catchy! Not to mention “Too Late to Change“! That track is damn good! Not to mention that Gary Holt-sounding solo! “Process of Elimination“ is another striking one! Atrophy’s Violent By Nature is one of those thrash metal classics buried by the sands of time.
Damn. Believer is probably the only Christian thrash metal band that kicks some serious ass! Actually, Believer’s music can be labeled more accurately as technical thrash metal! That guitar tone will strike you as much as the vile Voivod-esque vocals! I mean, we have a shredder in the house! Just take a listen to those sick riffs (half of them sound like solos). Believer’s Sanity Obscure is an astounding piece of thrash metal history that surely deserves a lot attention! We are talking about a criminally underrated band! And that’s a fact!
There is really something about this album...Sounds quite unique. The artwork is one of the finest! Prong always had this fine imbalance between thrash metal and groove metal. Funny thing is that the song “Lost and Found“ was used during commercial breaks on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. Tommy Victor’s vocals and riffs are on spot! Ted Parsons, the band’s drummer even used some cowbell (out of the blue, especially for crossover thrash/groove metal). Prong did a cover of Chrome’s “Third from the Sun“. The band also did videos for Beg to Differ and Lost and Found. Great album, no doubts about that!
That album cover! And yes, this was the very first album of Mark Barney Greenway of Napalm Death. It isn’t Transcend the Rubicon, but this album surely counts as one of the best British death metal releases in 1990! Deadly riffs and RAW production is what makes this album so crushing! Not to mention Barney’s ghoulish vocals! Anyways, Subconscious Terror is one of those classic albums that put Birmingham death metallers on the map!
Go Saxon! Solid Ball of Rock is the band’s 10th studio album. And it’s more than solid, let me tell you that! And no, Wikipedia, this album wasn’t released in 1991! Saxon has always been the band that bridges the heavy metal and hard rock world. And on most of their albums, they get it right! The guitar duo, Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn were doing their chores when it comes to string ripping! It seems that Biff Byford’s voice cannot be altered by time, no matter what Saxon album we are talking about! Solid Ball of Rock is one of those laid back albums, for any time of the day!
An all time classic by the British thrash metal veterans! And no doubts, their best album! The band did a video for the title track – For Whose Advantage? The band did a pretty memorable album with this corporate guy, a suit & tie guy with big sun glasses. This is a must hear for all of those who like melodic thrash metal. These melodies are really what makes Xentrix stand out from the rest of the thrashers. The band did a cover of Gillan’s “Running White Faced City Boy“ and it rocks! The vocalist Chris Astley has a strong James Hetfield influence. You can tell that with certainty!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/xentrixmetal
Stone to the bone! Now that’s the heaviness of mastodonic proportions! Drony, yet still heavy and aggressive. When it comes to stoner/doom metal, there’s (almost) none heavier than the almighty Eyehategod. In the Name of Suffering is a relentless, crushing album! It surely is a stoner/doom metal masterpiece with couple of thrash metal influences. Quite a debut! The album itself was recorded and produced by the band for $1000 bucks. And that Black Sabbath jam is just brilliant! The guys nailed “Hand of Doom“ and that’s an understatement! They honored the fathers of metal pretty well!
Iced Earth’s very first studio release! This is the only Iced Earth album to feature the drummer Mike McGill on the drums and Gene Adam on the vocals. And yeah, this one was released in 1990 but a year later in US. The album has 3 artworks, two of which feature a demon killing an angel, and a blueish one, depicting angel’s fall from grace. This album was recorded in Tampa Florida at Morrisound studios by Tom Morris. This album is a win-win situation for both power metal and thrash metal fans.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialIcedEarth
Just wow! Such an enjoyable album, from start to finish. Sometimes, you get more from less…That’s how I would describe Helmet’s riffs. The tracks on Strap it On are so addictive! You can name it as you wish – post-hardcore, alternative metal…whatever. But it simply rocks! Merciless groove riffs included! This one will surely stay in my playlist for a while! It’s a pity that this piece of art lasts for only 30 minutes! And for the record, that artwork is so damn on spot! New album please! I am definitely looking forward to that!
Good old Biohazard. Their self-titled debut album just turned 30! The album starts with a Godfather II quote: “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer“. Damn, this album aged so well! Evan Seinfeld and Billy Graziadei are such a strong tandem! The album features the purest New York hardcore mixed with crossover thrash metal. Pure fun & awesomeness! I haven’t listened to anything like it for quite a while! And you might tell that Gwar meets Suicidal Tendencies influences are strong in this one! Hopefully we’ll get a new album soon! Up until that, crack ye old albums! And besides, their name couldn’t be any more relevant nowadays!
Another British death metal classic. And it just can’t get any better when it comes to a debut album! What a start! Cancer’s To the Gory End was mixed by Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios, which gave this album an unholy blessing. And yeah, John Tardy of Obituary had guest vocals done on the track “Die, Die”. The artwork features a scene from the 1978 movie – Dawn of the Dead /Zombie by the king of horror zombie – George Romero. So if you’re up for some classic, old school death metal, look no further than Cancer’s To the Gory End! And yes, we are talking about a death metal trio featuring John Walker on vocals & guitars, Ian Buchanan on bass and Carl Stokes on the drums. CANCER FUCKING CANCER!
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Long live US death metal! Master’s self-titled debut album is a death metal classic per se. With Paul Speckmann on vocals/bass, Chris Mittleburn on the guitar and Bill Schmidt on the drums… This trio raised some noise back then! Master’s Master is an old school death metal gem. Raw and dirty, as it’s supposed to be! This album was released with a sticker that said: Listen!!! The Legend is back! The ultimate masterpieces of Brutal Death!!! And that’s exactly what this album is! Master’s masterpiece that will smite you to ash! And you simply gotta love that bass solo that suddenly shifts to Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”! And definitely no one would expect a cover at that pace! KILLER to say the least
Pungent Stench. The first that comes to mind is sonic dirt coming out of the stereo. And they’re probably the best death metal band coming from Austria! For God Your Soul – For Me Your Flesh is one of those eternal death metal albums. Just by looking at the artwork, you might assume how raw and dirty their sound is. I mean, you don’t see a fat chick with a gas mask chilling out with two dudes on the couch pretty often. Brutal vocals and ripping guitar riffs. Do you need more? And yeah, the vocals are mostly about cannibalism. You can’t be more serious on your debut album! There is also an alternative version of the album artwork depicting a severed hand, foot and a skull. Yikes!
Oh boy! That artwork is face-melting (no pun intended) and so is the music! The guy on the artwork looks like he experienced a Rammstein concert in the first row. Jokes aside, Demolition Hammer is a band that was simply more brutal than your ordinary thrash metal band. They always had a bit of death metal savagery going on! And this isn’t a coincidence since the album was recorded at Scott Burns’ Morrisound Studio in Tampa, Florida. Demolition Hammer’s Tortured Existence is a nice way to start your career though! Steve Reynold’s vocals are so damn good! When it comes to the songs, “.44 Caliber Brain Surgery” and “Infectious Hospital Waste” are the ones that stand out from the rest, especially the latter for the obvious reasons.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/demolitionhammerofficial/
And groove metal was born. Let me put it like this, if there was no Exhorder’s Slaughter in the Vatican, who knows how Pantera would have sounded like. I guess that Exhorder guys were huge fans of Nuclear Assault’s song, "Hang the Pope"… The album artwork for Slaughter in the Vatican shows the exact the same scenario, with pope John Paul II being captured and ready to be brought to the gallows with the angry mob around ‘em. When it comes to music, it’s just a merciless thrash/groove metal attack! The vocalist Kyle Thomas sounds just like Dark Angel’s Don Doty. Exhorder’s Slaughter in the Vatican has some more than brutal alligator chops that are as intense as they were 30 years ago when this album came out! Superb!
Boy, oh boy! What do we have here? Technically speaking, the album was recorded in 1988 but released in 1990. And the funny thing about it is that it was produced by Eric Greif, the legendary manager of Death! Actually, Morbid Saint’s Spectrum of Death is surely one of the best old school thrash metal albums that tilts on the edge of the death metal world. Just take a listen to these songs: “Lock up Your Children“, “Demian“, “Assassin“, “Spectrum of Death“. A classic album to say the least! Pat Lind’s witchy vocals is what makes this album so brutal to begin with. Not to mention the iconic cover, featuring a blood & gore look-alike of Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie. Even though the band is from USA, it sounds like your average German thrash metal on steroids! Pure madness!
Damn it Neurosis! This is actually a hell of an album! The band’s vocalist and axeman Scott Kelly sounds exactly the same as Martyr’s Dan Mongrain which can’t be a bad thing. This album was the first to feature Steve Von Till on the guitar and vox, and Simon McIlroy on keyboards and samples. Damn…By listening to this you can easily figure out where bands like Mastodon come from. The production on this album is just perfect! You can actually hear every bass note Dave Edwardson pulled off without getting the guitars buried in the mix. Urban legend says that you can’t be a great band if you don’t have your bass LOUD! To sum things up, Neurosis’ The Word as Law is simply one of the best underground releases of 1990! The band also did a cover of Joy Division’s “Day of the Lords”. Completely nailed it! And just for the record, that hidden track noise was completely unnecessary. Goddamn, you can actually listen to this album twice in a row without getting bored at all!
Hammerheart is a Quorthon’s 2nd from the Viking metal trilogy (the first being Blood, Fire, Death and the 3rd, Twilight of the Gods). The album cover is an actual painting The Funeral of a Viking by Sir Frank Dicksee (1853-1928). Quorthon directed and produced the video for One Rode to Asa Bay. The song deals with Christianization of Scandinavia. Quorthon dedicated this song to C. Dean Andersson. The village of Asa is named after Andersson’s pseudonym Asa Drake which he used in his books. Hammerheart is probably the most commercial side of Bathory (I would take Blood, Fire, Death anytime over Hammerheart). Rest in VALHALLA QUORTHON!
Another thrashterpiece! This is the band’s 2nd album. And it surely doesn’t lack anything compared to its predecessor. Twisted into Form was the last Forbidden album to feature the legendary Paul Bostaph (ex-Slayer) on the drums and the first with Tim Calvert (RIP) on the guitar who at the time replaced another legend – Glen Alvelais. Tim Calvert and Craig Locicero were a guitar leads dream team! And as always, Russ Anderson did a terrific job when it comes to the vocals. He is totally one of the most iconic thrash metal singers of all time! The band did the video shoot for Step by Step. It’s good to note that Death Angel and The Horde of Torment did guest vocals on “Out of Body (Out of Mind)” and “R.I.P.” which are among the finest tunes on the album!
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Way to go! Well…Sacred Reich’s 2nd album couldn’t have been any better! The American Way comes with an iconic video of the same name. Of course, the title track criticizes the American Dream and all that comes with it. Paint it Black, which is kind of a thing… The video was featured in 1992 movie Encino Man. Sacred Reich’s vocalist and bass player Phil Rind stated in the liner notes: "Musically, we've tried to expand our horizons without forgetting our roots. Some people will appreciate the changes. Others, let's just say, they'd be satisfied with 'Ignorance II'". I couldn’t put it any better myself. The song “Crimes of Humanity“ is still relevant. It is about “toxins, pollutants and poisonous gasses“ and about the “spread of disease“. Sounds familiar? It not only touches on the environmental issues but on the politics of the Cold War as well. “Who’s to Blame“ is a song about what Ozzy and Judas Priest had to go through regarding the PMRC and all that fuss around it. The last track, “31 Flavors“ is an off-the-tracks, funk rock song that has nothing to do with thrash metal at all. And I almost forgot...The artwork depicting Lady Liberty, in Planet of the Apes style with hands of people trapped inside. How poetic!
REST IN PEACE WARREL DANE! Into the Mirror Black is one of those albums that are easily attached to your heart and soul. The first thing that comes to mind about this album is the music video for Future Tense, with a mirror showing the ills of our society. Hands down, one of the best videos I’ve seen in my life. Sanctuary has always been on the verge of being thrash metal or power metal, depending on your perspective. But it kinda transcends these labels because it features the best elements of both genres, thus making it far away from being a one dimensional thing. Warrel Dane’s voice was really unique. He really had this perfect, shape shifting voice. Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosi did a remarkable job on the guitars, both riff and lead wise. Sanctuary’s Into the Mirror Black is one of those heavy/power/thrash metal albums that everybody holds dear to their heart. It’s such a shame that Warrel Dane is no longer with us. Rest in Peace legend! Your music lives on!
Sadus’ Swallowed in Black is undoubtedly one of the most brutal thrash metal albums of all time. And that can be said for their entire discography! We are talking about an essential thrash classic whose brutality outdid a bunch of death metal bands. Darren Travis’ brutal vocal assault paired with Steve DiGiorgio’ masterful bass fretting, Rob Moore’s outstanding riffs and Jon Allen’s unstoppable carnage levels things to the ground! And yeah, the bass is so well produced that you can hear every note Steve DiGiorgio plays. And he has a story to tell when it comes to playing! The artwork was done by Patricia Mooney. It kinda looks like those whitewalkers from Game of Thrones. And we’re all desperately waiting for a new Sadus album! Fun fact, the band had a song called “Arise”, a year ahead of Sepultura :D Sadly, we are talking about criminally underrated thrash giants. Let’s face it, most of the bands can’t get close to the almighty SADUS! DEATH TO POSERS!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sadusguy/
The definition of Swedish death metal. Carnage was the third Swedish death metal band (after Entombed and Tiamant) to record at the infamous Sunlight Studios in Stockholm. And how cult this album is shows the fact that Michael Ammott of Arch Enemy, ex-Carcass was the band’s guitarist, bassist and lyricist. Three out of four band members were from Dismember: Matti Karki on vocals, David Blomqvist on the guitar and Fred Estby on the drums. Not to mention that this masterpiece had artwork done by none other than the legendary Dan Seagrave! We put Carnage’s Dark Recollections on our list of the best Dan Seagrave artworks at #6!. Anyways, we are talking about one of the most influential albums coming from the Stockholm Death metal scene. Songs "Deranged From Blood", "Death Evocation", "Blasphemies Of The Flesh" and "Self Dissection" were previously released as Dismember’s demos between 1988-1989. Dismember also released Death Evocation as the bonus track for Like an Ever Flowing Stream and "Torn Apart" on Pieces EP. An unavoidable old school release, no matter which parameters are involved! And for all this heaviness, you have to blame it on Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal.
Destruction’s fourth studio album. Cracked Brain is the first Destruction album without Schmier on vocals & bass. He was replaced by Poltergeist’s Andre Grieder. Schmier told me in an interview that he disliked this album because it had too much Bay Area influence in it. But still, Cracked Brain is an absolute classic Destruction album! Mike Sifringer did groundbreaking leads and riffs on this one – from dissonant, and noisy leads to neo-classical shreddery. The band did a hilarious cover of The Knack’s “My Sharona“ which ended up on our list of top 40 pop/rock songs covered by metal bands at #21! With ease you can label Cracked Brain as technical thrash metal. When it comes to the best songs, one must single out “Cracked Brain“, “Frustrated“, “S.E.D.“ (a political rant against the German communist party from the final days of the Cold War). Despite the fact that the lineup doesn’t feature Schmier, Cracked Brain is an essential Teutonic thrash metal album!
Ah…Alice in Chain’s debut album. I guess all the thrashers see it as “they took our jobs! DUKURR DURRR“ album. How ironic, a band that was spat on by the Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax fans during the Clash of the Titans tour took over and outshined thrash metal bands out of their record labels along with many grunge bands. But still, Alice in Chains are metal enough to be on this list. The band did videos for "We Die Young", "Sea of Sorrow" and "Man in the Box". Facelift was the first Grunge album to be certified Gold in 1991. Just by looking at the artwork, you can totally tell where Metallicа’s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct comes from. Anyways, Facelift has a vast musical background that rages from heavy metal, grunge towards southern rock and blues. REST IN PEACE LAYNE STALEY! Too young to leave this world… When it comes to the best songs on this album, I’d easily say “Bleed The Freak“ is the finest, closely followed by “Love, Hate, Love“. Not to mention the funky sounding “I Know Something (Bout You)“. It simply kills!
An absolute classic. Suicidal Tendencies’ Lights…Camera…Revolution is the band’s 5th studio release. And by far, probably the band’s best album ever! This is also 2nd SxTx album to feature the legendary bass god Robert Trujillo, with the previous album, Controlled by Hatred/ Feel Like Shit…Déjà vu being his first appearance. Hence the funk influences on this release! The artwork photo was taken at the Visa Theatre in Los Angeles. The band also did a video for the song You Can’t Bring Me Down, which is surely among one of the very best Suicidal Tendencies songs of all time! The videos were also done for songs Alone and Send Me Your Money. This album features probably the best SxTX lineup of all time: Mike Muir on vocals, Rocky George and Mike Clark on the guitar, Robert Trujillo on the bass and R.J. Herrera on the drums. The song “Discо’s Out, Murder’s In“ reffers to La Mirada Punks, South Californian brutal hardcore punk band who were among the bands that influenced SxTx. The song “Send Me Your Money“ bashes evangelical televangelists and it refers to James Orsen Bakker specifically. Too bad Rocky George isn’t in the band. The man is probably one of the best, yet terribly underrated guitarists. His solos are unmatched!
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Cannibal Corpse’s first studio album! With the old logo! This album was banned in Germany New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea other countries because of the “violent cover and the extreme nature of the lyrics”. Australia also banned almost the entirety of their catalogue but revoked it in 2006. And in Germany, they still can’t play the first three albums. Luckily, the band haven’t had any more brutal and horrific material in their discography to this date! Deicide’s Glen Benton and Incubus/Opprobrium’s Francis H. Howard did backing vocals on “Mangled“ and “A Skull Full of Maggots“. Within the album, there is a note that says: “This album is dedicated to the memory of Alferd Packer, the first American cannibal (R.I.P.)".” The album was recorded in Tampa Florida at Morrisound Studios and was produced by the legendary Scott Burns who gave this album perfect production settings! The lineup was (for dummies): Chris Barnes on vocals, Alex Webster on bass, Jack Owen and Bob Rusay on the guitars and Paul Mazurkiewicz on the drums. Sick album to say the least!
And that's a moment in history when Deicide launched their career. Deicide's self-titled album is an absolute death metal classic no matter which standards are in question. The album itself was recorded in Morrisound Studios by the legendary producer Scott Burns. The dream lineup was the following: Glen Benton on bass & vocals, brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman on the guitars and Steve Asheim on the drums. The album itself is essential satanic death metal, for all of the nonbelievers! The song “Lunatic of God’s Creation“ deals with Charles Manson murders. And for the record, it’s one of the best song titles of all time! Cannabis Corpse payed an homage to it with their parody version – “Lunatic of Pot’s Creaton“.The song “Carnage in the Temple of the Damned“ is about Jim Jones and Peoplе’s temple where a US congressman was killed while visiting “Jonestown“ in Guayana in November 18, 1979. After being denied asylum by USSR, Jim Jones and his followers did the biggest mass suicide in history. Jim Jones and 909 of his followers drank a Jones’ flavor aid and cyanide mix. However, he blew his brains out. Anyways, the song “Dead by Dawn” was inspired by the legendary 1981 horror movie The Evil Dead . Fun fact: Phil Anselmo wore Deicide t-shirt during the infamous Monsters of Rock 1991 concert. Deicide’s Deicide was cited as the best selling death metal album of all time. However, according to Nielsen SoundScan lists Deicide was surpassed by Morbid Angel’s Covenant. Anyways, Deicide got its way in the pantheon of one of the best death metal albums of all time!
And Swedish death metal was born. This is what happens when you lower the guitars to B and put Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal and the DS-1 Distortion pedal into a Peavey amp. All settings maxed! Fun fact: The originator of the infamous Swedish death metal sound is Nihilist guitarist Leif "Leffe" Cuzner. Some of the Nihilist tracks ended up on this album. The artwork was done by none other than the legendary king of Death metal artwork – Mr. Dan Seagrave. It ended up on our list of top 50 Dan Seagrave albums at #14! The album title, Left Hand Path was inspired by Anton LaVey’s book The Satanic Bible. Left Hand Path is the dark side of magic while Right Hand Path is the exact opposite. At 3:54, the song “Left Hand Path“ contains samples from the classic 1979 horror movie Phantasm. The tombstone on the artwork says "REIGN IN FESTERING SLIME! HERE BURN THE SOULS OF A THOUSAND GENERATIONS. JOIN THE CLUB". The lineup couldn’t have been any better: Lars Goran Petrov on vocals, Uffe Cederlund on the guitar and bass, Alex Hellid on the guitar and Nicke Anderson on the drums. Nicke also designed the band’s logo. Recorded by Sunlight Studio in Stockholm. Released by Earrache. Left Hand Path is by far one of the most influential death metal albums of all time! Stockholm death metal all the way! We’re with you Lars! STAY STRONG!
Now we’re talking! Scumdogs of the Universe is the band’s 2nd and best selling album to date. This is a concept album which shows how Gwar (Scumdogs) have taken over the Earth and installed their reign of terror upon our pesky little lives. The song “Death Pod“ tells a story of their arrival on our planet. The song “Slaughterama“ features both Nazis and hippies alike, in which Gwar ends up killing both. The song “Salaminizer” contains a reference to N.W.A.’s song “Gangsta, Gangsta“. The song “Vlad the Impaler“ tells a story of the real-life Dracula, Vlad Tsepes, while “Horror of Ygg“ was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft mythos. This album also features one of Gwar’s singing anthems – “Sick of You“. Scumdogs of the Universe is also the first Gwar album to feature more than 2 vocalists (on Hell-O Oderus Urungus and Techno Destructo shared vocal duties). The band's manager Sleazy P. Martini can be heard on “Slaughterama“, while Sexecutioner sings the song of the same name, while Beefcake the Mighty sings on “Cool Place to Park“. The rest of the album features Oderus Urungus on vocals. This album marked the very first appearance of Danielle Stampe (Slymenstra Hymen), Michael Derks (Balsac the Jaws of Death), Chuck Varga (Sexecutioner), and Brad Roberts (Jizmak Da Gusha) as part of the slimey death machine from outer space extraordinaire. Scumdogs of the Universe is Gwar’s seminal album, a true thrash metal masterpiece! Crank it up to 11 and make Oderus Urungus’ Cuttlefish of Chtulu proud!
Vio-Lence’s 2nd album. Oppressing the Masses is an absolute classic of Bay Area thrash metal! The artwork represent oppressed masses, naked bodies whose skulls are crushed by higher powers. I mean, just take a look at those songs... The band did a video for World in a World, one of Vio-Lence’s finest songs. And to set the record straight, Oppressing the Masses > Eternal Nightmare! (though the latter has better album artwork). It’s really hard to single out the best song, since the whole album is without a single filler. But “I Profit“, “Officer Nice“, “Subterfuge“, “World in a World“, “Liquid Courage“ and the title track – “Oppressing the Masses“ are PERFECT! You may cry as much as you want about Sean Killian’s vocals, but the guy is ripping! And the lineup: Sean Killian on vocals, Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn on the guitars, Dean Dell on the bass and Perry Strickland. Vio-Lence is simply one of the most ferocious bands coming from the San Francisco! The band’s record label at the time, Atlantic, censored the lyrics for “Torture Tactics“ and ended up destroying 20.000 copies of the album. The band protested and made T-shirts with a sign “Censored...20.000 albums DESTROYED!“ and “Fuck Atlantic“. I almost forgot, the album was produced by the legendary Alex Perialas in the Pyramid Studios. To sum it up, Oppressing the Masses is one of the best thrash metal albums coming from the Bay Area! Can’t wait to hear the new lineup!
Testament’s 4th studio album. You simply can’t say no to these Nazgul-looking wraiths on the artwork! And if you take a closer look, you’ll see a face in the sky! Brutal stuff. This album features the classic Testament lineup with Chuck Billy on vocals, Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson on the guitars, Greg Christian on bass and Louie Clemente on the drums. Even though the album was rushed due to the fact that Testament wanted to secure their spot on the infamous Clash of the Titans tour with Megadeth, Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies, Souls of Black is still a force to be reckoned with. And for the record, Souls of Black was released on the same day as Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss. The only downside to this album would be the production. Practice What You Preach sounds 1000 times better. The band did a video for the title track Souls of Black. Just try to beat that bass line! Greg Christian at its finest! The band did a re-recorded version of “Souls of Black” for the video game Rock Band 2. Testament also did a video for the iconic ballad The Legacy. The songs "Beginning of the End", "Love to Hate", "One Man's Fate" and "Seven Days of May" have never been played live. Best songs? I’d say “Face in The Sky“, “Souls of Black“, “The Legacy“. The song “Seven Days of May“ is a political one and is about Tiananmen massacre. Skolnick-Peterson duo did an amazing job with leads and riffs. Chuck Billy sounds as brutal as always, while Greg Christian did astounding job on the bass. However, Louie Klemente’s drumming was a bit lacking. Anyways, ladies and gents, if yоu’re up for some classic Bay Area thrash metal, look no further than Testament’s Souls of Black!
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Long live the King! The Eye is 5th studio album by the heavy metal gods – King Diamond. This album was the only to feature Snowy Shaw on the drums, and the last to feature the guitarist Pete Blakk and bassist Hal Patino, who afterwards returned on bass duty on Abigail II:The Revenge album. This is also a concept album. It tells a story about the guy who found a necklace that allowed him to see the events that The Eye had seen in the past. Through it, the main protagonist sees a guy called Jeanne Dibasson who was tortured and burned on a stake. After that, two little girls find The Eye in the ashes of the burned victim. What they saw in The Eye eventually kills them. Then the story shifts to Madeleine Bavent, a nun working in the Louviers convent. She discovers the necklace and puts it. After being raped by Father David, she uses the necklace and kills him by forcing him to look into the Eye. Then, the story changes to new Chaplain, Father Picard, who organizes the gathering. He controls the masses through something he put in wine and uses Madeleine and other nuns to ritually torture and kill children. And in the end, in 1642 they all get arrested. The main part of the story is based on historical events that happened in France between 1450-1670. The following characters were real and historical persons:
When it comes to the music, the production on this album was kinda anemic. Better production would make the songs even better. The Eye was the first album where King Diamond heavily relied on the keyboards, which greatly contribute to the spookiness of the whole album. Satanic lullabies at their finest! The King did an exceptional job with his eerie vocal melodies. And so did Andy LaRocque and Pete Blakk with their masterful riffs and leads!
Sodom’s 4th studio album! The album is opened by a quote from the 1989 movie, The Punisher. This was the first album to feature the new guitarist Michael Hoffmann. Better Off Dead was recorded at the infamous Music Lab Studios in West Berlin and produced by Harris Johns. The artwork was done by Andreas Marschall and was inspired by Sodom’s sightseeing of ancient Mayan pyramids. It revolves around the theme of being buried alive. Sodom did 2 cover songs for this album – Tank’s “Turn Your Head Around“ and Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat“. The song “The Saw is the Law“ was featured in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. It is arguably one of the most iconic Sodom tracks of all time! The band brought a real chainsaw in the studio and recorded it for the sake of the song. On Better Off Dead, the lineup was: Tom Angelripper on vocals, Michel Hoffmann on the guitar and the legendary Chris Witchhunter on the drums. REST IN PEACE WITCHHUNTER! Speaking of songs, this album has no fillers! Brutal tracks such as “An Eye For an Eye“, “Shellfire Defense“, “Capture the Flag“, “Never Healing Wound“, “Better off Dead“ are among the strongest. Not to mention the iconic punk-thrash supersonic assault called “Stalinorgel“. The song “Ressurrection“ was dedicated to the late father of Tom Angelripper. Sodom was definitely one of the strongest trios in thrash metal! You can’t argue with that! And Better Off Dead as a whole is a must listen Teutonic thrash metal classic! Sodom uber alles!
Exodus’ criminally underrated 4th studio album is a force to be reckoned with! Impact is Imminent was the first Exodus album without the original drummer Tom Hunting, who was replaced by John Tempesta behind the kit. This was also the last album to feature Rob McKillop on bass. It’s really impossible to comprehend how this album ended up with bad reviews. I mean, the riffs brought to you by the H-Team, Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are stellar! Not to mention Steve Zetro Souza’s vocals that fit the music perfectly! The album cover is a reference to the title song Impact is Imminent, a “don’t drink & drive” song. AND IT SAVED LIVES. The only bad thing that can be attribute to this album are the somewhat muddy guitars in the mix. Other than that, it’s Error 404: No weak songs can be found. I mean, just take a look at the song titles: thrashy “Impact is Imminent“, a Cold War political rant such as “A.W.O.L.“, “Within the Walls of Chaos“, a terribly catchy track...followed by “Objection Overruled“ and magnificent “Only Death Decides“ where Souza nailed the lyrics so well! The last three tracks “Head They Win (Tales You Lose)“, “Changing of the Guards“ and “Thrash under Pressure“ are a sonic blow to the head. The whole album has a ton of memorable riffs and melodic guitar parts that will be stuck in your ears for a while! The more you get used to the production, the more you’ll love the songs! I tell you that! Exodus’ Impact is Imminent is as underrated as its successor Force of Habit, but that doesn’t make ‘em bad albums at all! On the contrary! The Bay Area thrash metal kings have NO bad album!
This album… I don’t know where to begin. The Meaning of Life is Tankard’s 4th studio album. And it is beyond legendary. Contrary to popular belief, Tankard’s songs aren’t exclusively about beer (even though they had quite a few songs related to our favorite beverage). The album was produced at the infamous Music Lab Studios in West Berlin, located near Checkpoint Charlie. And it was released by the legendary Noise Records. This album featured the classic Tankard lineup, featuring Gerre on vocals, Alex Katzmann & Andy Boulgaropoulous (the guy with the epic mustache and even more epic yellow axe) on the guitars, Frank Thorwarth on bass and Arnulf Tunn on the drums. The iconic artwork features Tankard’s mascot – Alien & Mad Scientist, Pope John Paul II, German chancellor Helmuth Khol and Mike Tyson in a bar, not knowing what to do with their pesky little lives. There is also a video release called Open All Night released in 1990. What comes first to mind regarding to this album is the funny, tongue-in-cheek music video for Space Beer, recorded amongst the ruins of the freshly torn down Berlin wall. Yeah, “Space Beer“ is damn catchy both lyrics and riffs wise, but not all songs are that silly. “Dancing on our Graves“ is about our dying planet “beset by parasites, a terrifying plague.“ The song is an actual environmental rant that criticizes pollution, depletion of the Ozone, nuclear energy, acid rains etc. “An eco-revolution is the only solution, but we are dancing on our grave“ Still relevant I’d say. “Mechanical Man” is one of the best songs on the album. And it’s about brainwashing and people becoming mindless robots. “Beermuda” may have silly lyrics but it is one of the best too! The song “Always Them” examines the subject of racism. The point is, Tankard has plenty of songs with serious topics. Tankard’s The Meaning of Life is absolutely one of the band’s strongest albums. It’s a pity to know how terribly underrated they are, even though they are officially a part of The Big 4 of Teutonic Thrash metal.
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Remember this album? Nocturus’ The Key is state-of-the-art Tampa Florida technical death metal. And it’s probably the very first death metal album to feature a keyboard player and what’s most important, DOING IT RIGHT! Just like Chris Reifert in Autopsy, Mike Browning did both vocals and the drumming on this extraordinary release. The album artwork, featuring a cyborg alien on his throne was done by none other than the king of death metal artwork – Dan Seagrave, which we ranked at #5 of Dan Seagrave’s best 50 album covers. The Key is a conceptual album which merges Mike Browning’s occult with guitarist’s Mike Davis’ sci-fi influences. The Key tells a story about a cyborg alien who comes to Earth in 0 AD to assassinate Jesus Christ. He therefore destroys Christianty which is depicted in the song “Destroying the Manger“ and as a result creates “modern empire“. Interestingly enough, Kam Lee of Massacre did backing vocals on this album. Mike Davis & Sean Mc Nenney couldn’t come up with riffs more brutal than this! Btw, the bass lines weren’t recorded by Jeff Estes, but by Mike Davis, since the former was drunk out of his mind during the recording session. And the keyboardist Louis Panzer surely did an exceptional job! His keyboards create this horror/sci-fi atmosphere which contributes greatly to the album. Best songs? Well, they’re all great but our favorites are “Lake of Fire”, “Standing in Blood”, “Neolithic”, “Empire of Sands”…But the whole album simply has no filler track! The band also did a video for Lake of Fire. Nocturnus’ The Key is simply put, one of the best death metal albums OF ALL TIME!
Now we’re talkin’! 2nd studio album of Canadian thrash metal masters – Annihilator. If Alice was in Hell on the first album, she is surely in Neverland on the 2nd. Never, Neverland is by far THE best Annihilator album of all time! The lineup was: Coburn Pharr on vocals, Jeff Waters on the guitar, Wayne Darley on bass and Ray Hartmann on the drums. I mean, the album has some of the best Annihilator tracks of all time! The band did videos for Fun Palace (gotta love that melodic guitar leak!) and Stonewall, and both are one of the strongest songs on the album. “Sixes and Sevens“ start with this creepy, clean guitar intro and then it goes full speed ahead with merciless thrash riffs. “Stonewall“ is an environmental rant that is still relevant after all these years! “Road to Ruin“ has those catchy verses that Coburn did exceptionally well! The title track, Never, Neverland is a yet another, semi-ballad classic tune. “Kraf Dinner“ is a comic relief kind of thing but it still rules! “Imperilled Eyes“ is another technical thrash metal rampage! Jeff Waters really knows how to make those guitar leads pretty damn technical and hard to pull off. When it comes to the best Annihilator song of all time, the winner is undoubtedly “Phatasmagoria“ (SLEEP WELL)! I mean, nothing tops it, it’s actually one of the most brutal thrash metal songs ever made! Hats off to Mr. Jeff Watters for that! Songs “Reduced to Ash“ and “I am Command“ are another thrashterpieces that will keep the mosh rollin’! Lots of arms, legs and elbows were broken to honor this song. The whole album Never, Neverland is filled with masterful riffs and guitar leads that will dig deep into your brain! The thing that separates it from the rest of thrash metal albums is that it has lots of clean guitar leaks, dissonant discharge, and savage, brutal thrash metal parred with unmatched technicality of our favorite Canadian guitar hero – Jeff Waters.
Oh my! This is the 3rd and by far the best Death Angel album of all time! Act III was produced by Max Norman and it was their only album to be released on a major record label – Geffen. The band did videos for Seamingly Endless Time and Room With a View. This was the last album to feature Gus Pepa on the guitar. The lineup was: Mark Osegueda on vocals, Rob Cavestany and Gus Pepa on the guitars, Dennis Pepa on bass and Andy Galeon on the drums. At the time, Death Angel was supposed to be a supporting act on Clash of the Titans 1991 tour, but that didn’t happen because the band had a terrible road accident in which Andy Galeon was badly hurt. And as a result, Death Angel disbanded. If they went through that Clash of the Titans tour, they could have been as big as Suicidal Tendencies or Megadeth, but the guys were really out of luck. However, Act III was a game-changer for the whole thrash metal genre. It can be said that Death Angel was even a step ahead Metallica’s Black Album when it comes to their more commercially appealing yet striking thrash metal vibe. Everything about Act III is exceptional – the songs, the artwork, the production and godlike sounding thrash metal with occasional funky vibes added to the whole picture.“Seemingly Endless Time“ is one of the strongest songs on the album. Masterful thrash metal riffage combined with Mark Osegueda’s beautiful vocals (he actually SINGS which was unheard in the genre, except for Joey Belladonna of Anthrax). “Stop“ is a track for some major headbanging! I’m kind of at a loss of words when it comes to it. It’s that good! Those solos are mindboggling! The songs “Veil of Deception” and “Room with a View“ are pretty nice acoustic ballads. I guess that those songs pissed a lot of thrashers off! “Тhe Organization” is a catchy tune. One of the best in Act III. But I guess that “Discontinued” is simply one of the best, if not the best song on the album! The way Andy Galeon builds this song, attacking the high hat + funky bass slapping that follows…One of the best moments on Act III, for sure! Not to mention those sweet, sweet solos! “Stagnant”, well, we are talking about everything but stagnant… a pretty dynamic song that combines the best elements of thrash metal with funky grooves. “EX-TC” (whatever that means) is a pretty catchy and melodic song to say the least! “Disturbing the Peace” is also a cool track with some heavy riffs! “Falling Asleep” is a thrash metal lullaby done right! With Act III Bay Area Phillipinos have proven that thrash metal can be played differently! The final result was one of the best thrash metal albums ever made!
So much history related to this timeless, groundbreaking release! Harmony Corruption is the 3rd album of Birmingham grindcore pioneers! This album features a classic Napalm Death lineup with Mark Barney Greenway (ex-Benediction) on vocals, Terrorizer’s Jesse Pintado (RIP) and Righteous Pigs’ Mitch Harris on the guitars, Shane Embury on bass and (still legendary) Mick Harris on the drums! And yes, this was the very first Napalm Death album for Jesse Pintado, Mitch Harris and Barney Greenway. Without a single doubt, Harmony Corruption was the turning point for the band, that made the unstoppable grinding death metal machine rolling for the years to come! The album artwork is striking! It looks like something drawn by Picasso! The album was produced by the legendary Scott Burns of Morrisound Studios, in the infamous kingdom of death metal, Tampa, Florida! And there is no coincidence that the band went there and changed their overall sound from grindcore to death metal! The tracks from Mentally Murdered EP were earlier included on this CD even though now this album only has 11 tracks. The band did a masterful cover of Godflesh’s “Avalanche Master Song“ with Justin Broaderick as a guest (who was a part of an earlier incarnation of Napalm Death, on Scum album and From Enslavement to Obliteration demos). The song “Unfit Earth“ features guest vocalists – John Tardy of Obituary (that scream!) and Glen Benton of Deicide! Napalm Death released a video for one of their best songs up till this day – Suffer the Children. Those riffs are some of the finest to be found in the whole death metal/grindcore genre! Not to mention probably the best sounding death metal drums! I mean, Mick Harris sounds as if he got the cymbals, pedals and snares from Satan, Beelzebub & friends themselves! That crash and china cymbals sound like the swing of a fiery whip! And the video itself is pretty iconic, with Mick Harris beating the living sh*t out of those drums! The song “Inner Incineration“ is the only song on the album written by the grindfather Jesse Pintado. Best songs? Well If I had to single some out, that would be “Suffer the Children“, “Vision of Conquest“, “Mind Snare“, “Unfit Earth“ (SILENT SCREEEEEAAAMSS), “Circle of Hypocrisy“. Thirty years after and Napalm Death's Harmony Corruption still rips to shreads!
An album with surreal heaviness. Obituary’s 2nd release, Cause of Death is arguably one of the best and most influential death metal albums of all time! The artwork was done by Michael Whelan. And yes, it was supposed to be the artwork for Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains album, but Obituary got it in the end (both bands were at Roadrunner Records at the time). The artwork is called Lovecraft’s Nightmare and was taken from one of H.P. Lovecraft illustrations. The 2nd part of Lovecraft’s Nightmare cover was used for Demolition Hammer’s 1992 classic Epidemic of Violence. There was even a dispute between Igor Cavalera and Roadrunner’s Monte Connor because Cavalera hastily tattooed the artwork on his arm. So the artwork went full threesome, being used by three bands. This album was mixed and mastered by our lord & savior Mr. Scott Burns of Morrisound Studios. And make no mistake, this is one of his most brutal works. The eerie evilness and creepy atmosphere that fills every inch of this record is unparred. Cause of Death was Obituary’s first album with Frank Watkins on bass (REST IN PEACE) and first and only album with James Murhy on the guitar. The lineup was: John Tardy (the most brutal growls/vocals in whole death metal!), Donald Tardy on the drums, James Murphy on lead guitar, Trevor Perres on rhythm guitar and Frank Watkins on bass. James Murphy (ex-Death, Disincarnate) did leads for the album. Obituary did a cover of Celtic Frost’s “Circle of the Tyrants“ and this is actually 10000 times better than the original! Obituary made it a gazillion times more brutal! MEAT’S BACK ON THE MENU BOYS! And that’s an understatement! From the very start, the album is opened by creepiest intro you could find AND the song “Infected“ is still relevant! This one is absolutely one of the best Obituary songs of all time! “Body Bag“ is where John Tardy’s lycantrophy takes place. He puked his guts out while singing this! The growler extraordinaire! And the mantric riffs on this track are absolutely crushing! “Chopped in Half” is exact what the song title says! BRUTAL catchy track with John Tardy unleashed! “Dying“ is an instrumental track in the middle of the album. Let’s call it sonic butchery! Brutal grooves! The next track, “Find The Arise” is another mind boggling carnage! The title track, Cause of Death is hands down, one of the best Obituary songs of all time! And if you ask me, that’s probably the best solo James Murphy ever did! Those groovy riffs imbued by the pure death metal madness is something no one can resist! “Memory Remains“ is also among the strongest. It makes me wonder how the hell did John Tardy manage to pull his growls out of his guts like that? And the break in the song with this church-bell keyboards is haunting to say the least! The last track is goddamn insane – “Turned Inside Out“. That song title instantly reminds me of Obituary’s iconic performance caught by MTV. Total madness! I really enjoy this album. You can tell. Obituary’s Cause of Death is simply one of the best death metal albums of all time. And no one can argue against that!
A band whose entire discography could be summed up in these words: “Come to the Dark Side. We Have Cookies“. Jokes аside, Anthrax’s Persistence of Time is quite a dark album with no humor involved. Way better than its predecessor – State of Euphoria. A lot of the lyrics Scott Ian wrote were about his divorce with his ex-wife Marge. This album was the last to feature the legendary singer Joey Belladonna (who re-joined the band in 2011 album Worship Music). And what makes this album even better is the fact that Anthrax managed to make a masterpiece such as this even though they were falling apart internally as a band. This was also the last album to feature a classic Anthrax lineup with Joey Belladonna on vocals, Scott Ian and Dan Spitz on the guitars, Frank Bello on the drums and Charlie Benante on bass. Scott Ian and Dan Spitz were such a great guitar duo! They brought forth some of the most memorable riffs and leads on this album! Persistence of Time is a really lengthy album, 11 tracks and 60 minutes of masterful thrash metal! And even though the songs are 5+ minutes average, yоu just can’t get bored. The band did videos for In My World, Belly of the Beast and cover version of Joe Jackson’s Got the Time. The band did a guest appearance in Married with Children episode – “My Dinner With Anthrax” where they played “In My World”. The songs on the album are simply masterful. The catchy, mid tempo “Time” with clicky riffs is connected with the death-skull clock on the album cover. The song “Blood” is one of the best coming from New York thrashers. I could listen to that main riff for ages! “Keep it in the Family” is quite a catchy track, especially the chorus. “In My World” is another brilliant song where Joey did a great job! “Grindlock” is a thrashier one. “Intro to Reality” features a dialogue from The Twilight Zone, episode “Deaths-Head Revisited”. That one is a masterful instrumental. Gotta love those clean guitars and guitar melodies. It is followed by “Belly of the Beast“, a song about the Holocaust. “H8 Red“ comes with these iconic Anthrax riffs. “One Man Standing“ is another mid tempo thrashy masterpiece. And yes, right after the masterful thrashy song called “Discharge“, Anthrax paid tribute to the legendary hardcore veterans Discharge by covering “Protest and Survive“, a testimony to the Cold War’s nuclear lunacy. Scott Ian nailed the vocals in that one! Songs "Keep It in the Family", "In My World", and "Belly of the Beast" were re-recorded for 2004 album Greater of Two Evils. Make no mistake, Anthrax’s Persistence of Time is one of the finest album coming from Anthrax bacteriology! It stands shoulder to shoulder along with Spreading the Disease and Among the Living.
Kreator’s 5th studio album. Coma of Souls is by far one of the best records from the catalogue of Teutonic thrash metal gods. That being said, Coma of Souls can be regarded as a culmination of Kreator’s pure thrash metal era, before the band started experimenting. This is also the very first album to feature Frank Blackfire Gostzik who left Sodom two weeks before the Agent Orange tour. Call it revenge lol. The lineup was: Mille Petrozza on the guitar and vocals, Ventor on the drums, Frank Blackfire on lead guitar and Roberto Fioretti on bass. Randy Burns did an excellent job producing this album! The band did videos for Coma of Souls, People of the Lie, World Beyond, Terror Zone and Twisted Urges (they were making ‘em as if there was no tomorrow). The album opener, "When the Sun Burns Red" have THE BEST lyrics Mille Petrozza ever wrote. The song is actually about the environmental catastrophe that leads to the destruction of the planet. Still relevant! And that riffing carnage is god freakin’ awesome! Ventor is killing it on the drums! The title track, Coma of Souls is simply crushing! That intro riff and short double bass attack…Kreator’s dynamics are really creative! Despite the double bass rapid fire and machine gun sounding riffs, the song itself is an anti-war anthem. And man, Frank Blackfire and Mille Petrozza solos are a gift to mankind! "People of the Lie" is another classic. Kreator’s shows can’t go without it! The song is against Nazis and racism in general. "World Beyond" is a fast, thrashing sonic aggression on your ears with Mille Petrozza’ ferocious vocals that carry the heaviness of the song. “Terror Zone“ starts with this melodic intro. You can totally tell that modern-sounding Kreator comes from that over-the-top epic intro. As the album goes by, the riffs are getting better and better. Hands down! “Terror Zone“ has a total dark vibe attached to it. The lyrics are about the creatures that haunt you in the night. “Agents of Brutality“ is hands down, one of the best Kreator songs of all time! Mille’s scream in the beginning is just haunting! Those riffs can melt the ice-caps with ease! Gotta love the “calm before the storm“ riff that implodes as Mille starts to sing. “Material World Paranoia“ is another striking track! Mille Petrozza’s lyrics are still relevant 30 years after! Material World Paranoia / Corporations dominate Earth/ Material World Paranoia/ enslavery begins at birth/ Good luck trying to be more brutally honest about this world! The lyrics are put in nature vs environmental destruction caused by industrialization and corporations kind of framework. And the lyrics Promise of a better future is a lie are still, still relevant. The melodic riffs that come in when Mille is singing that is one of the best moments on the album! “Twisted Urges“ start with this dissonant, yet melodic dual guitar attack. Pure in-your-face thrash metal assault! “Hidden Dictator“ is what comes next. Mille Petrozzа’s hat of riffs had no bottom on this album! The melodic break that comes after thrashing is simply BEAUTIFUL! The album is closed by “Mental Slavery”, another of Kreator’s finest! To sum it up, Kreator’s Coma of Souls is one of the best thrash metal albums of all goddamn time! It was near impossible to single out the best solo on this album, since Frank Blackfire and Mille Petrozza did so many great leads.
SUCK ON THIS! PRIMUS SUCKS! Primus' debut album, Frizzle Fry is a moment in history when funk metal was born. You can call it “psychedelic polka” as much as you wish but this album deserves the spot on this list. The lineup? The Thumb of Death, Pain & Agony, the legendary Les Claypool on bass & vocals, the guy who played the guitar on Possessed’s Seven Churches (again) on the guitar, Larry “Ler“ LaLonde, and Tim „Herb“ Alexander on the drums. Half the guitar melodies on Frizzle Fry were written by Tod Huth. On this album, Primus paid respects to The Residents with their cover of “Hello Skinny/ Constantinople“. To be honest, Primus made it even weirder! Lest we forget that the album is opened by Rush’s "YYZ" drum intro (RIP NEIL PEART), taken from live version of “John The Fisherman“ from Suck on This live album. And then “To Defy The Laws of Tradition“ kicks in. That tapping bass part in the song is CREEPY. It reminds me of Luc Lemay’s tapping part in Gorguts’ “Obscura“. “Groundhog’s Day” is a masterpiece of its own. It starts slow, with a jazzy guitar solo and after a while, the songs becomes a sonic mess! The band did a pretty eccentric video for the song Too Many Puppies that features deranged army veteran with PTSD. “Too Many Puppies” was the very first song Les Claypool wrote (back in 1988!). It is an anti-war song that criticizes USA’s military industrial complex and blood-for-oil policies. The name of the song is a reference to “dogs of war”. Remixed version of the song can be heard on 1998 Rhinoplasty EP. “Mr. Knowitall“ is another classic track. And grandpa-on-the-edge-of-life vocals. The track turns to boil right after the solo, when Primus unleashes their fury upon the instruments! “John the Fisherman“ is another over-the-top song. Hard hitting bass, noisy guitars, hella funk...it’s all in there! The weird instrumental break “You Can’t Kill Michael Malloy“ is a sample taken from The Spent Poets’ song of the same name. Btw, Michael Malloy, better known as “Iron Mike“ or “Mike the Durable“ was a firefighter from NYC, who survived numerous assassination attempts on his life because of insurance fraud he debunked. LOL. “The Toys Go Winding Down“ is in all its greatness, one of the best songs Primus EVER wrote! It features Tom Huth with a wicked acoustic intro. Claypool couldn’t come up with a more suitable bass line for this song! The alternative version of this song “Toyz 1988” can be heard on Sausage’s 1994 album Riddles are Around Tonight. “Pudding Time“ is a funkadelic assault on your brains! “Sathington Willoughby” is a funny sounding 20 seconds break that leads to “Spegetti Western”, another brutal track. Gotta love the way everything’s packed here. Crushing bass line, even more crushing drums and tasty, “background“ riffs…Superb! “Harold of the Rock“ has these psychedelic vibes added to the picture with traditional Primus rampage. Larry LaLonde delivered quite a memorable solo in here! You could tell that he was Satriani’s student. The album is closed with a short track “To Defy“. Primus is a band where the guitarist and bass player switched roles – the guitars are doing more of a background role, whereas the bass takes the lead. Hearing Frizzle Fry for the first time was an absolute mindf*ck. And I’m quite sure everyone relates to that. Frizzle Fry is an album where funk, psychedelic rock, fusion & thrash metal collide, creating a Big Bang-like imploding critical mass. No matter how you prefer to label them, psychedelic polka, funk metal or whatever, Primus’ music has always been the soundtrack for the weird kids!
Spiritual Healing is Death’s 3rd studio album. The lineup on this masterpiece was: Chuck Schuldiner on the guitar & vocals, James Murphy on the guitar, Terry Buttler on the bass and Bill Andrews on the drums. The album was recorded and mixed in Morrisound Studios with Scott Burns. The artwork of Spiritual Healing album was done by the legendary Ed Repka. It landed at # 2 on our list of Ed Repka’s 50 best album covers! Make sure to check out our story about this album in our Tribute to Chuck Schuldiner! Spiritual Healing is the pinnacle of Death’s old school death metal sound. James Murphy contributed to the writing on this album on the following songs: “Within the Mind”, “Lowlife”, “Genetic Reconstruction” and “Killing Spree”. On this album, Chuck Schuldiner made kind of a thrash metal, socially aware lyrics that deal with the ills of the modern society. The album opener, “Living Monstrosity“ is a pure death metal assault. The lyrics deal with the crack scare from 80s and 90 by which was believed that cocaine is responsible for genetic addiction and deformation in newly born babies. The riffs are as creepy as the subject. “Altering the Future“ has these wicked, really dark-vibed riffs. The song deals with the matter of life and death, abortion, capital punishment, Talion principle. The lyrics are also about the corruption within the judicial system. That riff right after Chuck says ALTERING THE FUTURE is so damn good! Classic track! “Defensive Personalities“ is another death metal sonic offensive. Those grinding riffs always make my day! The song deals with the alter ego and split personality disorders. That melodic riff and Bill Andrews’ hi-hat attacks are combined perfectly! “Within the Mind“ is about the power of the mind and the unconscious. That drum beat is just perfect! Not to mention that screeching melodic part. The title track “Spiritual Healing“ is hands down, the best song on the album! It starts with this EVIL I mean, really EVIL tapping riff. The song touches on religious fanaticism whether we’re talking about religious wars, brainwashing or witch burning. Chuck Schuldiner’s growls sound as if he is one of the Nazgul. Another tapping part where he screams SPIRITUAL HEALING right before the solo is one of the best moments in the song! “Lowlife“, another striking track in which Chuck Schuldiner brings forth the whirlwind of riffs. I guess that the lyrical background needs no further examination. “Genetic Reconstruction“ deals with biotechnology, eugenics and dystopian equilibrium that surround us. “Killing Spree“ opening riff couldn’t have been any better! Again, the lyrics need no further examination. There were actually people who hated this album when it came out for being “too sterile“. Mad gone world... Anyways, with Spiritual Healing, Chuck Schuldiner closed the chapter of old school death metal in his career. That being said, this album was a gateway towards more technical stuff. However, it’s still relevant both musically and (even more) lyrically. Death lives! Rest in peace Chuck Schuldiner!
All bow down to one of the best heavy metal albums of all time! Painkiller is the 12th studio album of Birmingham-based metal gods – Judas Priest. This was the last album to feature Rob Halford on vocals (until his return on Angel of Retribution in 2005). This was also the very first album to feature the drummer Scott Travis, who replaced Dave Holland in 1989. Therefore, Painkiller featured iconic Judas Priest lineup with Rob Halford on vocals, Glen Tipton and K.K. Downning on the guitars, Ian Hill on bass and Scott Travis on the drums. You can tell that his double bass playing was a game-changer for Judas Priest! Painkiller was the first album since 1976 Sad Wings of Destiny with Chris Tsangarides as a producer. Believe it or not, this album had horrible reviews when it came out, because it was perceived by the music critics as Judas Priest’s take on thrash metal (in vein of old dudes playing young people’s music). Tragicomic to say the least! The band did videos for Painkiller and A Touch of Evil. The self-titled track “Painkiller“ is simply one of the greatest songs coming out of the Metal Gods’ discography. It starts with the iconic Scott Travis’ rapid fire bashing and then the almighty riffs kick in. Rob Halford’s vocal transformation on this album is completely insane! Hands down for what this guy managed to pull off on this album! I’m sure that Rob Halford stepped on a Lego block at 01:22! His wicked, haunting screams pierce our ears with every listen! Tipton and Downing brought forth some of their best solos in this song! “Hell Patroll“ starts with traditional heavy metal galloping thunder. It’s mid tempo song where Rob Halford keeps on delivering! “All Guns Blazing“ is among the best song songs on the album. It’s catchy, and hella brutal, and the chorus is quite an earworm. “Leather Rebel“ is another masterful track. Galloping riffs, shredding riffs and Halford’s vocals at its best! We are talking about a heavy metal anthem! “Metal Meltdown“ is among the finest and most brutal on this record, as if the previous track wasn’t heavy enough. Halford’s vocals are so wickedly EVIL in this one! The chorus is so addictive! “Night Crawler“ is also one of the finest on the album. It starts with this eerie, clean guitar intro and then erupts into sonic fury! Halford outdid himself with his singing and lyrics on this track! His wicked poetry combined with spooky clean guitars is clear and present awesomeness! I’m kind of at a loss for words when it comes to “Between the Hammer and the Anvil“. What a song! Epicness level: over 9000! Halford nailed the lyrics so well. And those leads are beyond godlike. “A touch of Evil“....goddamn! Rob Halford delivered some of his best lyrics and the singing. The keyboards played by Don Airey fit the song perfectly! Hands down for that! They create such a great atmosphere for an already evil sounding song. Short instrumental “Battle Hymn“ announces the beginning of the end. The last song, “One Shot at Glory“ is yet another classic Judas Priest heavy meat grinder. Catchy lyrics, to say the least! And the riffs are in place as well! Not to mention those hellfire driven solos! Straight outta 9th circle of Hell!!The bonus song “Living Bad Dreams“ is a filler. I heard it, like, yesterday for the first time. Judas Priest’ Painkiller is surely one of the heaviest metal albums of all time. It is louder than an atom bomb if you ask me!
Fantastic record. Iron Maiden’s 8th studio album – No Prayer for the Dying is plentiful of great songs. And as a matter of fact, it’s among the best Iron Maiden albums of all time. The band did videos for Tailgunner, Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter, and Holy Smoke. Guitarist Adrian Smith left the band because he wasn’t happy with the musical direction of the band. He was replaced by Janick Gers who played on Bruce Dickinson’s first album, Tatooed Millionaire. The lineup was: Bruce Dickinson on vocals, Steve Harris on bass, Dave Murray and Janick Gers on the guitars and Nicko McBrain on the drums. The album was recorded somewhere in Britain on the Rolling Stones Mobile studio. Unlike Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of the Seventh Son, this is a straight forward Iron Maiden album, with no progressive rock nor keyboards included. And above all, all songs are less than 6 minutes long. Even though Bring Your Daughter…To the Slaughter was banned by the BBC, the band managed to make it #1 UK single. Bring Your Daughter…To the Slaughter was originally written for Bruce Dickinson’s solo album as a part of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child soundtrack. The album has 2 album covers, with one where Eddie is breaking out the grave with notes: "After the Daylight, The Night of Pain, That is not Dead, Which Can Rise Again." It’s a shame that this album has tons of bad reviews, with 65% on metal archives. And I say that considering the fact that I am not a big Iron Maiden fan.”Tailgunner“ is a great opening track, with melodic hooks in the riffs, typical for the band. It even reminds a bit of Led Zeppelin due to the guitars. “Holy Smoke“ is another catchy tune with Bruce Dickinson’s rant against religious fundamentalism. “No Prayer for the Dying“ is a great ballad with some earworm guitar melodies. “Public Enema Number One“ start with a typical Maiden riff. Bruce Dickinson’s chorus makes this song shine brightly. “Fates Warning“ starts with this melancholic intro and it then goes into a completely different direction. “Assassin“ is among the best songs on the album. Really dark and catchy song at the same time. The same can be said for “Running Silent, Running Deep“. Another brutal track with Bruce Dickinson at his finest! “Hooks in You“ is a cheerful, heavy metal tune with Bruce’s evil sounding vocals. The chorus riff kinda reminds me of Anthrax. Overall, great song. “Bring Your Daughter...to the Slaughter“ is also among the strongest songs on the album, for pretty obvious reasons. Bruce the Almighty is flawless in here. And the last song on the album, and by far the best of them all – “Mother Russia“. That’s Steve Harris’ take on the then ongoing dissolvement of The Soviet Union. It’s funny how Iron Maiden’s “Mother Russia“, Entombed’s “Left Hand Path“ and King Diamond's “The Eye of the Witch“ are based on the same melody. And all 3 songs were released in the same year. But back to “Mother Russia“, it’s simply one of the best songs from the Iron Maiden discography. The choral intro suddenly turns into a heavy metal nightmarish barrage of riffs. The band also added some Eastern flavored Russian Orthodoxy to the singing riff. The bridge is also amazing, with keyboards that create such a unique atmosphere in the song. “Mother Russia“ is as iconic as Sting’s “Russians“. Bruce Dickinson said the following regarding this track: “the tragedy of a great land, which has an incredible history of being overrun and people being massacred, for centuries, and this song says: wouldn't it be great if Russia could finally get itself together now and live in peace?". 1995 re-issue comes with bonus covers: Stray's “All in Your Mind“, "Golden Earring's “Kill Me Ce Soir“, Free –“I’m a Mover“ and Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown“. No Prayer for the Dying is a terrific, yet terribly underrated album. It deserves more attention, that’s for sure!
Far beyond anything that was done at the time. Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell is the band’s 5th studio album (or the first if you put their glam metal phase aside). It’s kinda true that Pantera put the last nail to the coffin in a nonsense called glam rock/ metal. They got rid of makeup and hair sprays with the capability of destroying the ozone layer, and were on a mission of taking over the world! It’s really interesting to note that the band chose Terry Date as the producer, because Dimebag Darrell liked the way he produced Overkill’s The Years of Decay and Bobby Gustafson’s guitar tone. The artwork is basically a 1910 photo of “Cosmopolitan Saloon“ in Telluride, Colorado with band members put over it. Could lineup be any better? Phil Anslemo on vocals, Rex Brown on bass, Dimebag Darrell Abbot on the guitar, and Vinnie Paul Abbott on the drums. REST IN PEACE! Jam in heaven cowboys! It would be funny to see Dime and Vinnie playing on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace, but who knows if Pantera would have existed if that happened? The band did videos for Cowboys from Hell, Psycho Holiday and Cemetery Gates. The album is opened by the self-titled “Cowboys from Hell“, one of the most iconic heavy metal songs of all time! Pantera was taking over this world with those over-the-top outbursts of riffing fury. In this song, Dimebag’s riff gallops take you out of you saddle! Dimebag Darrell delivered some of his best solos in this track. “Primal Concrete Sledge“ is absolutely the best Pantera song EVER MADE! It starts with Vinnie Paul’s drum molestation, Rex Brown’s bass punch and one of Dimebag’s angriest riffs! Not to mention the power of Phil Anselmo’s vocals. The riff after the chorus is where Dimbag outdid himself! I could listen to it for hours! “Psycho Holiday“ is another groundbreaking track! Phil Anselmo’s vocals are so powerful in this one. Dimebag’s wacky solo surely dropped some jaws to the floor. “Heresy“ is also one of the best songs on the album with razor sharp guitar chops and beyond brutal singing. “Cemetery Gates“ is a power ballad that everyone’s fond of. In this song, Phil Anselmo proved that he is a real singer. Phil manged to shift from clean singing to brutal yelling with such ease. And make no mistake, in this song he delivered some of the most powerful screams in all of the heavy metal. Judas Priest style. Not to mention Dimebag’s leads. His solos had so much soul! The guy just couldn’t run out of killer leads & riffs. “Domination“ is a straight forward, relentless thrash metal assault where Phil brought forth some of his death metal growls. FIRST TAKE LIKE A MOTHER FUCKER! Vinnie Paul destroyed his drums with his merciless double bass barrage. Not only that this song features brutal guitar leads, but also one of the most brutal breakdowns in the history of heavy metal. 000 000 000 000 000 000 000! “Shattered“ is another thrashing storm where Phil Anselmo sings like the Metal God, Rob Halford. In this song Dimebag played more of a bluesy guitar solo. “Clash With Reality“ starts with this mantric riff. It is surely among the best Pantera songs. “Medicine Man“ comes with this buzzy, brutal riff, powerful enough to eradicates corruption within our society. “Message in Blood“ kinda reminds of “Clash of Reality“ riff. Dimebag did quite a masterful solo in here. “The Sleep“ is hands down one of the best Pantera songs of all time. It starts with this beautiful acoustic guitar intro and then the crushing riffage kicks in. Rex Brown played acoustic bass in the intro. The solo...well that guitar weeps like there’s no tomorrow. And the last one “The Art of Shredding“ is surely among the most brutal tracks on the album. It starts with Rex Brown’s bass hammering and then this catchy riff comes to the picture. And then, straight out of Pandora’s box all the anger is unleashed. Dimebag’s guitar playing could be explained as the art of shredding. Anyways, Cowboys from Hell is one of the best albums of 1990. It is often cited as the very first groove metal album (with plenty of thrash metal influences). In Cowboys from Hell album Dimebag Dimebag redefined the use of floyd rose and pinch harmonics, that’s for sure. Rest in peace Dimebag & Vinnie! I hope that you are jamming in heaven with Eddie Van Halen!
Goddamn! Slayer’s 5th studio album is surely one of their finest! Seasons in the Abyss combines all the best elements from its predecessors – sheer thrashing brutality of Reign in Blood and melodic aspects of South of Heaven. The band did videos for Seasons in the Abyss and War Ensemble. Seasons in the Abyss was the last Slayer album to feature the original lineup with Tom Araya on bass/vocals, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman (RIP LEGEND) on the guitars and Dave Lombardo on the drums, who soon after its release left the band and wasn’t a part of it until 2006’s Christ Illusion. The album was produced by Rick Rubin and Andy Wallace. Music-wise, Seasons in the Abyss album was mostly written by Jeff Hannemann, who was credited for writing 7/10 songs on the album, while the more than a half of the lyrics (6/10) were written by Tom Araya. Kerry King contributed to 5 songs musically and 4 songs lyrically. The album is opened by the iconic anti-war song – “War Ensemble“. The studio version doesn’t feature Dave Lombardo’s ride hit during the short break, but the song still destroys! Not to mention how catchy the chorus is! Dave Lombardo beats the living sh*it out of these drums. “Blood Red“ is hands down, one of the best Slayer songs of all time! That riff is one of the best Jeff Hanneman ever wrote. The song itself is Tom Araya’s rant against totalitarian communist regimes such as the Soviet Union which was falling apart at the time, and specifically about the Chinese Tienanmen Square Massacre which occurred in 1989. “Spirit in Black“ is another awesome track. Once again, Hanneman delivered a high class riff to the table, while Kerry King did his fantasy-horror lyrics exceptionally well! Gotta love those melodic solos! “Expendable Youth“ has a really catchy riff written by Kerry King. The lyrics Araya wrote are about the brutal street-gang wars in Los Angeles. Kerry nailed that riff after the chorus! Total Slayer carnage! “Dead Skin Mask“ is another classic. The song is about serial killer Ed Gein and his brutal murders. And the intro really has this haunting vibe going on. Not to mention the lyrics… The melodic riff kinda reminds us of “South of Heaven“. “Hallowed Point“ is one of the fastest and thrashiest songs on the album. It sounds as a barrage of machine-gun fire. And the lyrics are totally about that. Guns killing people. The song itself is kind culminating moment on the album. “Skeletons of Society“ is mid tempo song with freakin’ awesome lyrics which are Kerry King’s vision of the apocalypse. “Temptation“ has this acapella singing going on. Tom Araya nailed it! I was lucky enough to hear this one live two times. And the breakdown is BRUTAL! Especially when Lombardo is hitting the china. “Born of Fire“ is another thrashing assault, with full-force, 200 mph. The last song on the album, “Seasons in the Abyss“ is a creepy-sounding track. The clean intro may remind you of “Spill the Blood“. Actually, the song sounds as if was recorded during the South of Heaven era. The video for the song Seasons in the Abyss was recorded at the Giza Plato, with Sphynx and Pyramids in the background (the only remaining out of the 7 wonders of the Ancient World). The riffs are so damn on spot. Tom Araya’s singing in “Seasons“ is superb! The solos Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman delivered in this one are among their finest. Hanneman-King were simply one of the strongest guitar duos in the history of heavy metal. PERIOD! What Slayer did on this album is against the Geneva Convention. It’s that brutal. The mighty Slayer was, is and will always be one of the best metal bands of all time. And same can be said for their album Seasons in the Abyss. 30 years and still reigning! REST IN PEACE JEFF HANNEMAN!
And finally! We have a winner! I guess that’s not a surprise. Megadeth’s Rust in Peace is 100% masterpiece, the state-of-the-art thrash metal. The artwork for this album was done by the legendary Ed Repka, the King of Thrash metal artwork, who previously did artwork for Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? and for singles No More Mr. Nice Guy, Holy Wars…the Punishment Due, Hangar 18 and later for Rusted Pieces video. And of course, Rust in Peace came at #1 on our list of Ed Repka’s best 50 album covers! The artwork shows Megadeth’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead , standing above the alien probe with a radioactive element in his hand. Around them, inside the secret Hangar 18 are Cold War politicians such as: president of America George H. W. Bush, General Secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, President of West Germany Richard von Weizsäcker, Japanese prime minister Toshiki Kaifu and British prime minister John Major (but the actual figures on the album cover don’t match John Major, nor Richard von Weizsäcker). This album was the first to feature the classic Megadeth lineup with the legendary Marty Friedman on lead guitar (ex-Cacophony, ex-Hawaii), another legend behind the drums, Nick Menza (REST IN PEACE!), Dave Mustaine on the guitar & vocals, David Ellefson on bass. Nick Menza was actually Chuck Behler’s drum tech and eventually replaced him. Before that, Dave Mustaine tried to bring Bobby Gustafson (ex-Overkill), Jeff Waters of Annihilator, Eric Meyer of Dark Angel, Slash, Chris Oliva of Savatage, Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell to the lineup, but that never materialized. Chris Poland actually recorded the Rust in Peace demo with the band but but was initially declined by the band’s manager. Marty Friedman was brought in after Mustaine heard his solo album – Dragon’s Kiss. Megadeth did videos for Holy Wars…The Punishment Due and Hangar 18. The album was sold with a coffin-shaped box with a pop-up Vic Rattlehead.
The album got its name after a bumper sticker Dave Mustaine saw which said: May all your nuclear weapons rust in peace! The first song, "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due" is an absolutely masterful thrash metal track. The song was actually inspired by the 1988 Antrim, Northern Ireland incident where Dave Mustaine, drunk out of his mind said “Anarchy in Antrim! Bring Ireland to the Irish“ during the concert which eventually split the catholics and protestants apart and caused riot. The band was transferred to Dublin via bulletproof bus. The song criticizes the idea of religious wars, emphasizing that religious wars could happen anywhere. The music video for Holy Wars...the Punishment Due features archival footage of Iraq-Iran War, political upheaval, riots and wars in the Middle East, as well as Libyan dictator Muammer Ghadaffi and PLO leader Jasser Arrafat. The band is playing shirtless with bullet belts, inside the airplane hangar. In the video, Dave Mustaine can be seen parachuting. The 2nd part of the song, “The Punishment Due“ that starts right after Marty Friedman’s iconic Middle Eastern clean guitar part. The 2nd part of the song was inspired by the Marvel’s comic book The Punisher, which also inspired the song “Killing is My Business...and Business is good!“. The solo Dave Mustaine did for this song was done in one take! “Hangar 18“ is one of the finest songs on the album. The opening riff was based on a chord progression from “Call of Ktulu“ that Dave Mustaine wrote while he was in Metallica. The lyrics of the song were inspired by Nick Menza’s interest in aliens and conspiracy theories about the “Area 51“. There is also a 1980 movie Hangar 18 after which the song got its name and was inspired by. The actual Hangar 18 is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Hangar 18 revolves around the 1947 Rosewell UFO incident in which allegedly an alien aircraft was brought from Rosewell to Hangar 18. Hangar 18 single depicts Vic Rattlehead holding a jar with a baby fetus and an alien in the cryogenic chamber in the background. Anyways, Megadeth spent at least 200 000 dollars for the making of the video for Hangar 18. The video was shot at in San Pedro, Los Angeles at a Water & Power building. The extended version of the video (06:27) includes the track “Dawn Patrol“. Video is opened with a notes on the screen: In 1947 near Rosewell, New Mexico eyewitnesses reported something has landed... The video depicts Vic Rattlehead, scientists and generals tracking down an alien aircraft that fell down in the desert. The soldiers capture the aliens while Vic Rattlehead commands: “To the Hangar“. Well, at least the aliens behind the bar were watching Megadeth for free. In the video, the generals are planning their next move while the scientists are examining and experimenting on aliens. The scientists are also experimenting on human cyborgs. One of the aliens has a head as big as the Elephant man. Female cyborg is then put in a cryogenic chamber. In the final scene of the video, Megadeth is shown in a cryogenic state. Then the words on the screen appear: “All Eyewitness reports were denied by the authorities“. This is actually one of the best music videos I’ve seen. You can totally make a cool sci-fi movie out of it!The Simpsons made a reference to Hangar 18 in an episode called Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming where the alien is trying to escape the hangar from the guards. In the scene, the alien is holding a green radioactive gem, just as on Rust in Peace album cover. The song “Hangar 18“ is simply perfect. The lead barrage of 11 solos that Marty Friedman and Dave Mustaine brought forth is simply outstanding! This song also has one of the most profound statements in whole heavy metal: “military intelligence/ two words combined that can’t make sense.” It sounds like something president Dwight Eisenhower would say back in 1961 in his farewell address about the military industrial complex but actually, in his book Rust in Peace, Mustaine states that he borrowed that line from a comedian George Carlin. It is reported that Carlin stated the following in 1975 “it’s like Military Intelligence – the words don’t go together, man.“. The next song, “Take no Prisoners“ is a relentless, thrashing, supersonic butchery. We are talking about an anti-war song from a perspective of an abandoned veteran. The song also deals with WW2 and the fall of the 3rd Reich. In the song, Mustaine completely inverts Kenendy’s quote: “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” to “don’t ask what you can do for your country/ ask what your country can do for you". Friedman delivered a kick-ass solo for the track. “Five Magics” is another brilliant track. It starts hard and then David Ellefson starts playing this soothing bass line while Marty and Dave are playing these terrific melodies. It ain’t no coincidence that “Five Magics“ is a dark sounding tune since it deals with alchemy and magic. The song was inspired by the book Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy. “Poison was the Cure” is another classic – it starts slow with Ellefson’s bassline and then speeds up. It s actually the fastest, and hardest to play and sing track. At least for Dave Mustaine. The song is actually a thrashy blues splatter. I was lucky to hear it live in Budapest in 2011. “Lucretia“ is surely one of the best songs Mustaine ever wrote. It starts with this short laughter and then Mustaine brings in one of his finest chord progressions. The lyrics are actually autobiographical. Marty Friedman outdid himself with that solo. The best solo on the album, PERIOD! “Tornado of Souls“ is another iconic tune. When you hear a title like that, you simply don’t think that the song is going to be about Dave Mustaine’s break up with Diana. She inspired Dave to write some of his best songs such as: “Loved to Death“, “Wake up Dead“, “Trust“. And in the name of the whole world, we thank her for that. It isn’t the solo from “Lucretia“, but Marty did amazing job with this one. “Dawn Patrol“ is David Ellefson’ bass line with Mustaine’s creepy lyrics over it. The song deals with environmental disintegration and greenhouse effects. The conclusion of the song is that we will end up living like moles “in the dark of dawn patrol“. CREEPY! “Rust in Peace...Polaris“ is the culmination of the album. This is actually one of the earliest songs Mustaine ever wrote, back in 1982-1983. The band Child Saint ripped Mustaine off and released a song of the same name in 1988. "Rust in Peace...Polaris" is a song written from a perspective of a nuclear warhead – submarine launched ballistic missile Polaris (UGM-27 Polaris). And therefore, the song itself is about the Cold War threat of nuclear war between the USA and USSR, as well about the threat of nuclear proliferation. The album is finally closed by a song “My Creation“. Short but sweet! This is actually a song written by Nick Menza and Dave Mustaine and was released as a bonus track on a Rust in Peace 2004 re-issue. It is no coincidence that Megadeth’s Rust in Peace is #1 on our list. This place is goddamn well deserved! Ironically, Megadeth started a whole new chapter on this album due to the new, classic lineup but it simultaneously closed the chapter of pure thrash metal (at least in the 90s). But anyways, Rust in Peace is made of stainless steel that will be sharp for centuries to come!
So what is your favorite album of 2020? Did we miss anything? Do you agree with the ranking? Let us know in the comments down below! And don’t forget to hit LIKE & SHARE buttons! HAIL SA(N)TAN!
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