There was simply too much great thrash in 2012 to let so many great bands go unrecognized in our Best 50 Metal Albums of 2012 list, so here we aim to showcase one of our favorite corners of the metal universe.
I absolutely love this band but with only four songs on the band’s 2012 EP, it would not be fair to weight its value against the following full length efforts. The band is currently writing new music for a 2013 release.
15. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience (Earache)
Guitarist/singer Dave Silver remains the lone original member of the band, but that’s not slowing him down as Savage Messiah returns with its third offering of muscular and melodic thrash. There are a few moments that we might have done without, but overall this is a damn fine piece of headbanging.
Exodus was the first of the Big 6 thrash metal gods, and only misfortune and bad timing kept them from breaching the gate with their monstrous debut from wence this band takes its name. That leaves Bonded By Blood a hefty burden to carry, but the boys do it well, and The Aftermath is another captivating manifestation of their abilities. What they lack in originality they make up for with a genuine passion for the art of thrash.
This one slipped in just under the wire, being released in Europe mid-December, but the rest of the world has to wait until next month/year. Sadly it comes on a sad note as the band announced to day that Charly Steinhauer, the German thrashers guitarist/vocalist is scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery this Christmas Eve. He says, “I’m very sorry that I have to tell you that I’m in the hospital right now, and I will have a difficult heart surgery on Monday. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. I will survive and carry on making some good music for you. Paradox will never die! I don’t know if I will be able to go on stage again… Right now, I don’t think so.”
Another dominating piece of cohesive and memorable thrash metal from yet another German dynamo. Unlike their brethren in Kreator, Dust Bolt are creating something that feels fresh though they’ve been hailed as thrash revivalists. The album is filled with speed, sonic dexterity, bombast and aggression. Basically everything one loves in a metal album. Perhaps we should move this up the list…
With over a decade under their belts and considered by many to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning metal underground in India, Kryptos have spearheaded the steady rise of Indian heavy metal over the years and have been the flag-bearers of Old School Heavy Metal in the country. In metal, the RIFF is the holy spire from which all else bows and pays tribute. With The Coils of Apollyon, Kryptos has built an album that has not forgotten the God-like majesty of the almighty riff! – Owais Nabi
Having had the good fortune to come up in the Bay Area when American thrash metal was born, I have always maintained a fondness for that early sound. Massachusetts based metal merchants, Lich King, channel that early 80s thrash vibe that so many others attempt, but few do well. On Lich King’s fourth album, Born Of The Bomb, they do just that. Born Of The Bomb finds Lich King at the top of the New School of Old School Thrash hierarchy alongside the likes of Havok. Perhaps one of the most under-the-radar thrash releases of 2012, Born Of The Bomb is non-stop riff-fest and a more than worthy addition to any headbangers Xmas list.
Thrash might be only strengthening in the last few years, but it’s the older bands like Destruction that are still forging the ways for what the genre is and will be. Three decades into the band’s existence, Destruction still shows no obvious sign of aging or slowing down which is basically a testament to the band´s authenticity and drive. They have taken their lumps, they have returned from the backlash of an entire decade, and they are still writing tunes, as Spiritual Genocide attests, that pound most thrash initiates into hamburger. – Owais Nabi
Sick riffs, rib cracking rhythms, and furious aggression: It’s all here on this cranium rattling re-thrash crossover from Municipal Waste. It’s simply good violent, brutal fun for the whole gang. Jump in the pit and pinball your flesh to maximum bruisiture.
Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust turned me on to these guys, and his praise was not unwarranted. The band’s debut sounds like old school Metallica meets Black Sabbath with the blood-sister of Jill Janus and Angela Gossow on vocals. Plenty of punkish overtones here which keep the album propelling forward rather than plodding along. My only complaint with the album is the somewhat tinny nature of the production, but the songs are strong enough that it can be overlooked. When Metalholic threw up our list on Ranker.com for fan voting, Mortillery edged out all the other bands on this list. Check out our interview with founder and guitarist Alex Gutierrez. Vocalist Cara McCutchen and bassist Miranda Gladeau made Metalholic’s New Breed of Female Metal list for 2012.
After three decades, one cannot ignore the fact that Overkill still comes across as a hungry band looking to make a name for themselves as the undisputed kings of underground thrash. Some may be surprised not to see this in the top three, but while it’s a beast of an album, it doesn’t stand as tall as 2010’s Ironbound. Admittedly, this was one of those albums that didn’t strike a chord right away, but as the year wore on it became more impressive with each listen.
This thrash-oriented quartet has made some nice gains since their last release. Still present are the straight ahead aggressive riffs thrash lovers will enjoy endlessly. Whereas State of Insurgency was a straighter forward thrash sound, Being and Nothingness has a more mature sound with even more edge. I suggest you put down your copies of Sartre or Nietzsche and pick up Hexen’s new album, Being and Nothingness. The band has put together an outstanding album that deserves to be heard. – Ron House
4. SYLOSIS – MONOLITH (NUCLEAR BLAST)
Monolith makes for an album title that is hard to live up to, yet the English thrash quartet didn’t seem to struggle with it at all. Mixing its own variation on Bay Area thrash with a little death bleeding into the mix. Frontman Josh Middleton reminds me a bit of Robb Flynn (Machine Head) from his Forbidden and Vio-lence days. Many bands really seem to hit a stride with album number three and Sylosis has done just that. A masterful, nee, monolithic effort.
Holy balls! Rumpelstiltskin Grinder has taken thrash and put it through its extreme metal paces. These guys have upped the bar for all thrashers to step up their game and put forth a delivery that goes beyond booze and denim. RsG has thrown down the gauntlet and there are no excuses for not meeting the challenge. Thrashers, either meet the challenge or step aside for there are is a new force in thrash and it hails from Pennsylvania. – Ron House
Definitely a beast of an effort by one of the Big 6 (fuck that Big 4 shit). Chuck sounds as menacing as ever, Hoglan is a precision-timed beast behind the kit and Skolnick is simply masterful with a guitar in his hands. He manages to float through his solos like a empathically guided missile. He fingers know just what notes should be played to hit the mood of the song. Eric Peterson has written some of his best songs for this record. All of that comes together for one of the Testament’s finest works to date.
During our various year end interviews we asked band after band for their favorite metal album of 2012, and one after another hailed the new Kreator beast above all others. The Teutonic thrash mercenaries have kreated a sonic force with Phantom Antichrist. The band hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, they’ve simply brought fans a monstrous slab of riff heavy chaos with which to train one’s neck muscles. While others are carrying the Testament/Overkill gauntlet, this for me is the best thrash album of 2012.