If the story of 1980 to 1984 was how NWOBHM (and more specifically, Iron Maiden) awoke metal from its dormancy to tear the boundaries of popular music, then 1985 – 1987 is about the coronation of thrash metal atop the metal throne, and the subsequent underground rumblings of a closely linked cousin, a blood brother faster, more brutal, and more astonishing — death metal.
Due to the way we’ve decided to divide up the time zones, correspondence with an international audience from the humble southern continent of Australia often feels akin to looking into the past. Yet, despite this perceived futurism, Australian culture often trails its American and European counterparts by some distance. So it is that, while the northern thrash revival has come and (more-or-less) gone, the Australian metal scene is currently experiencing the biggest genre boom it has undergone since thrash metal originally emerged in the mid ‘80s. Back then, we brought our own quality acts to the fold, most notably in the form(s) of Mortal Sin and Hobbs Angel of Death, and the Allegiance in the ’90s. Yet, while the style had effectively remained dormant since then, the last five-to-ten years have seen an explosion in the amount of world-class thrash metal bands to have emerged from these southern shores.
Every once in a great while we have calendar years that see iconic releases across a range of styles. It is rare that we see this happen in just one particular style. 1987 was one such year, though, as the entire spectrum of heaviness saw iconic records drop like so many tears from the eyes of mainstream pop music stars that these albums would devour. At the time, it didn’t seem like this was any different of a year for music until fans started to take a look at their growing record collections and what would spin out from the influence of so many landmark albums.
Welcome back to our Taxonomy series, where we break down umbrella genres like progressive metal, post rock and doom metal and outline all of the progressions and subgenres that have matriculated over the past few decades. The dissection of thrash metal you’ll find below contains a detailed dissection of the most crucial genre in extreme metal style. Thrash led to incredible innovations over the years, and in turn, a multiplicity of styles has made its way back into the genre’s core traits to form some of the most forward thinking metal coming out today. Seriously, many of the bands mentioned below have released records less than a year ago, and in some cases, less than a month. There’s a ton of ground to cover here, so without further ado, let’s riff on some of the best thrash you can use to mosh in your bedroom.
For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.
This episode is just too good. Seriously, just listen to it. What does it contain? Edgy cultural/political jokes, a history of black metal and racism, an extended cool people section shitposting on philosophers like Kant, and much more. I’ll just tag some of the relevant bands here for SEO purposes, and the left is at your own peril. Abandon all hope, we who enter here. Warbringer, Suicide Silence, As I Lay Dying, Dream Theater, Overkill, Nidingr feat Myrkur, Sikth, Megadeth, Angra, Killswitch Engage. There you go.
Overkill is back. And although they haven’t reinvented the (grinding) wheel, the old thrash geezers still have an impressive array of riffs to offer. Although the riffs are generally pretty crushing for a bunch of nearly sexagenarian metalheads, the veteran production job is what really makes this album’s millstones turn. It might sound like a poor compliment to say that an album’s most resounding success is in its production, but it really is that effective. One can hear it as soon as the riffs of “Mean Green Killing Machine” rip through the speakers. The guitar sounds appropriately meaty and aggressive, but it’s the thrum of D.D. Verni’s bass, sonorous and yet foreboding, that sticks out as unusually excellent.
Though it may seem like we talked ad naseum about how fucking spectacular 2016 was in terms of new music, the fact remains that we saw more fantastic albums drop than we could seemingly keep up with. But just when we thought our palates were satiated, here comes 2017 with an excellent early roster of release announcements, some we’ve expected for a while and others that came out of nowhere. The following is a surely incomplete list of all the albums worth craving as we ring in the new year. Some of these albums have been fully announced with pre-order links and all that jazz, while others are merely probable assumptions based on various updates on social media. Regardless, these are all phenomenal projects worth looking for in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to comment with some albums you’re anticipating so we can share in your excitement.
Way back in 2012, Paul Mazurkiewicz (drummer for Cannibal Corpse) sat down with Billboard (via Metal Injection) and was posed an interesting question: who are death metal’s Big 4? Now, boiling any genre down to a definitive group of four is realistically impossible – as important as the Big 4 of thrash are to the genre, bands like Sepultura, Overkill, Kreator and Destruction deserve just as significant a portion of credit. So too was the case with Mazurkiewicz’s naming of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation as the Big 4 of death metal, which leaves out a whole slew of bands seminal to the genre’s evolution (Death, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Autopsy, Carcass and innumerable others). Yet, in terms of balancing popularity, influence and an active status, it’s hard to argue with Mazurkiewicz’s picks; all four bands are nothing short of genre pioneers who played pivotal roles in defining death metal from its post-thrash transitional stage. However, when we fast forward to the genre’s current landscape, it’s clear time hasn’t been as kind to the infamous blasphemers from the Sunshine State as it has for the rest of DM’s Big 4. Despite being near the top of the pack in terms of influence and album sales, Deicide has experienced a noticeable fall from grace from their prime in the early-nineties. But the question is – why? What caused these luminaries to become lost?
Welcome to A Gift To Artwork, where we at Heavy Blog inspect the various art that has defined the heavy metal aesthetic through an in-depth introspection. For previous installments, please click here. Mostly, the Gift to Artwork segments focus on one album cover, or, sometimes, a few by a single…