Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Beginner's Guide To Thrash Metal

I love metal of all genres, but thrash metal holds a special place in my heart. I used to own so many Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Testament and Anthrax t-shirts as a teenager that I think I could have clothed every homeless person in the state of Florida. I love going on Amazon and sites of that nature and reading the "starter kit" or "must have" lists for various music genres. I've never seen a beginner's guide to thrash metal that I 100% agree with, so I figured I'd go ahead and post my own. Each band I have listed has multiple albums that are essential to the thrash movement, so I've listed albums that I think are the best starting points for each. Here are my ten picks for a proper introduction to the wonderful world of thrash metal (in no particular order):

1. Metallica - Master Of Puppets
I think anyone who has ever said the word "metal" in reference to music could figure out that a Metallica record would be on this list.

2. Slayer - Reign In Blood
I personally like South Of Heaven and Seasons In The Abyss more, but this record really was one of the craziest things people had heard at the time of its release.

3. Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
I can never decide if I like this record or Rust In Peace more, but at the time of this writing I am listing Peace Sells because I heard "Devil's Island" off of it on my iPod earlier today and it got me fired up.

4. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster
Most metal fiends would probably say Bonded By Blood and not Fabulous Disaster, but I always liked Steve Souza's vocals better than Paul Baloff's (not to take anything away from Baloff's vocals at all) and they have a killer cover of "Overdose" by AC/DC on this album.

5. Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power
I still get the same chills running up and down my spine when I listen to this record today that I got 16 years ago when this album first came out. There was nothing like it at the time and nobody has really topped it...including Pantera themselves. A timeless classic and the album that launched a million metal and hardcore bands. R.I.P. Dimebag

6. Sepultura - Chaos A.D.
I have similar feelings about this record that I do to Vulgar Display Of Power. It is so raw and angry, yet the music and lyrics made you feel inspired and empowered...which actually seems very appropriate for four guys who rose up from the slums of Rio. Great, great band.

7. Death Angel - Act III
I think most people wouldn't include Death Angel on their lists, but I love this band and this album especially. They were incredibly young when they put out their first album (I think the drummer was 13 or something like that), but they matured by this their third album and put out a thrash classic. I remember taking the song "Room With A View" in to my guitar teacher so he could teach me how to play it. I can't play guitar, but I can still actually play the intro to that song.

8. Anthrax - Among The Living
Anthrax rules.

9. Overkill - The Years Of Decay
Blitz's vocals are an acquired taste, but I always liked them. This album isn't even their best in my opinion (that honor goes to Horrorscope), but it is a fantastic representation of what the East Coast was contributing to the thrash metal movement of the '80s.

10. Testament - Practice What You Preach
I don't think Testament has actually ever put out a bad record per se, but rather some are just better than others. I own and enjoy all of them, but this was the first one I ever bought by them and it is a great example of what talented players they are.

Honorable Mentions:
Machine Head - Burn My Eyes
Corrosion of Conformity - Blind
Nuclear Assault - Handle With Care
Metal Church - Blessing In Disguise
Flotsam and Jetsam - No Place For Disgrace

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