Damage jackals ripping right through you
Sight and smell of this, it gets me goin'
Know just how to get just what we want
Tear it from your soul in nightly hunt
Fuck it all and fucking no regrets
Never happy endings on these dark sets

-- Metallica - Damage, Inc.

M.A.D. - Taboo Of The Western World
Canada 1991

1. I.T.'s Life... Generation Zero 2. Strait-Jacket Memories 3. Special Olympics 4. Hold Your Breath 5. These Days 6. Technological Noose 7. Transparent Solutions 8. Plastic Cast... For Me

There is no denying that M.A.D.'s Taboo Of The Western World has a strangely intriguing style of its own. The band's music tends to sound more complex than it really is, most songs being quite lengthy and technical pieces. It is a pretty clever piece of work as a whole, although lacking truly catchy bits. On occasion, this release resembles a more technical though not quite as energetic variation of Acid Reign. It is only at some point after the middle of the album that this approach starts to turn against itself, with a couple of aimless and plodding songs too many that take away from the initial favorable impression. Maybe M.A.D. could have spent some more time to think over their ideas and present them in a more compact form, but even now this debut release is strong enough to raise some real interest in their music.

Italy 1989

1. Bring Slavery To Trial 2. Harlequin 3. Your Sins Will Find You Out 4. Close Confinement

While this Italian band may have received little actual fame in their time, they surely must have gained a cult status over the years. Mad Poltergeist's mini album Mad 'n' Damn is a rare treat indeed, but it can also sound notably quirky and amusing to average ears, intentional or not. The music is certainly fast and all, but every now and then the output tends to appear strangely lightsome and even amateurish. There is a certain incoherent feel around this thing, and you cannot help but wonder what level of confidence the band really had in the days of this recording. Maybe Mad Poltergeist were in for a serious career after all, but in the case of Mad 'n' Damn the outcome tends to ring the wrong bell a bit too often.

MAD V - War Is The Same
Russia 2004

1. Mortal Play 2. War Is The Same 3. Talk Of My Gun 4. No Way 5. I Killed The Killer 6. Madness On Ice 7. Stop Destroying 8. Mad V. (Mad Vengeance) 9. The Silence Before The Storm 10. Evil Dozes

It becomes evident already on the first track of War Is The Same that Mad V's branch of thrash metal is more technical than the norm. The main focus is not on speed, instead many tracks are sort of jumpy and nervous. It would not be easy to highlight any particular songs, as the band's compositions lack truly memorable ingredients. But the production quality is clear and sharp in a good way, and the album as a whole manages to sound more convincing than its individual parts might suggest. Possibly War Is The Same could have benefited from a bit more streamlined direction and a couple of faster tracks as well. Even now the result is at least on an acceptable level, just not something that one would be likely to give a spin very often.

MAGNETRON - A Measured Timeframe
Netherlands 2011

1. Nice Teeth 2. The Human Race Has Been Cancelled 3. Right To Dislike 4. Born Witless 5. A Measured Timeframe 6. Compulsory Communication 7. For Your Life Let Justice Be Accused 8. Rob A Bank, Buy A Tank 9. A Bit Inconsiderate 10. Flashing Of The Brain

The good thing about Magnetron's approach is that it has something of a genuine unruly edge, complete with restless riffwork, manic drumming, and scratchy vocals. All these factors can make A Measured Timeframe appear a lot less boring than some more ordinary works in the contemporary genre do. Most songs here don't pass even the three minute mark, which kind of ensures that the pace remains quite hectic with almost no exceptions. Although the compositions may not be catchy enough to make this album really stick, some more distinctive and highly energetic tracks like Born Witless and Compulsory Communication contribute to a positive aftertaste. Which should be already enough of a reason for anyone to give this release a closer look.

MAGNUS - Scarlet Slaughterer
Poland 1992

1. Trash Attack 2. Tomb 3. Pharisee 4. Confession 5. Crosses Of War 6. Messenger Of Hell 7. Scarlet Slaughterer 8. Man Condemned 9. Destruction 10. Leprosy 11. Rabies 12. Achtung Magnus!!!

Those who tend to enjoy technical finesse are probably left shocked by the straightforward approach of Magnus. Scarlet Slaughterer is a strong reminder from the time when speed was pretty much the most important thing. You can be sure that slow complex passages are nowhere to be found on this album, as the band's attack is really relentless. When heard for the first time, the output can actually appear unconstrained and energetic enough to inspire you into spontaneous moments of jumping around just for the sake of it. The sound quality is not too great, but the production serves its purpose while adding some vintage feel to the whole thing. Although the music may not be of the most long-lasting quality, Magnus clearly put so much effort into it that no one is likely to be left cold by this powerful spirit.

MAJESTER - Misguided Faith
Canada 1992

1. Howlers Of Insanity 2. Inhuman Conditions 3. Bleeding Inferno 4. The Gathering 5. Desert Storm 6. Twilight At The Towers 7. Public Manipulators 8. Misguided Faith 9. The Arraignment Process

When you consider the history of the scene at the time of Majester's debut release, it is no big surprise that Misguided Faith is both technically and musically quite a refined piece of thrash metal. At that point any new band must have been already fully aware of what really works out and what doesn't, therefore it is not totally unexpected that the style of this album is very mature for such an early effort. The gritty guitar sound is good, and as far as songwriting goes this recording is sufficient for its kind albeit far from remarkable. On the downside, Majester sometimes sound awfully similar to certain older bands, and the riffs are not exactly what you could call catchy. Misguided Faith is therefore not guaranteed to raise any great interest, but at least it sounds professional enough right from the start.

MALAKYTE - Human Resonance
Australia 2013

1. 7.83 2. Embodiment 3. Inbetween Terminals 4. Zero Hour 5. Warhawk 6. Media Suicide 7. Skeksis 8. Fall To Khaos 9. Flood Of Flames 10. Resonance Cascade 11. Monolith

Despite their limited numbers, without Australian bands the thrash metal genre might have ended up a tad duller than it is now. The skillfully composed intro to Malakyte's Human Resonance is classy enough to start bringing memories of Annihilator's Crystal Ann to mind, but after that the guitar tone becomes notably rougher. The riffs are usually adequate enough, although you don't often even notice them due to the band's vocalist who sounds plain crazy and then some. With no doubt, this "singing" must be the major highlight of this release in both good and bad - imagine Hatchery but more frantic and hilarious by a notch or two, and you should get the picture. Admittedly the effect is most impressive on fast thrashers that are fortunately plentiful here. While it may be difficult to imagine how another release of the same kind would fare, for now Human Resonance is worth a listen especially if you're interested in some positively outrageous delivery in the vocal department.

MALICIOUS DEATH - Devilization
Finland 2003

1. Devilization 2. Hate Generator 3. I Am The Blood 4. Rageous Souls 5. Sacrifice 6. Soldiers Of Blackblood 7. Malicious Death 8. Tormentor 9. Antichrist

It seems there are always bands willing to play a specific type of highly conventional thrash metal. As yet another seemingly basic example of this kind, Malicious Death's Devilization is a safe bet on all counts. The album sounds completely unoriginal and ordinary, but anything more than that would have probably been quite surprising in these circles. Everything is done in a genre-savvy way, and mainly this release suffers from its songwriting that is very plain and uninteresting. Especially the slowest tracks on this album are quite dull, but most of the faster pieces are nothing to brag about either. Although it is easy to take Devilization as something of a semi-clever exercise on traditional thrash metal, the music can appear a bit too bland already in the short run.

Finland 2005

1. Possessed 2. Mind Of Violence 3. Deathmarch 4. Legion Of Doom 5. War And Power 6. Suffocation 7. Grave Under Ice 8. Enemy Unknown

If anything, War And Power is a vast improvement over Malicious Death's first release. If the opening track Possessed does not already blow your socks off within a minute or so then you must be either bare-footed or standing knee deep in quicksand. Much better produced than the band's debut, this album demonstrates a level of energy and enthusiasm that goes way beyond the usual norm and contributes to a fun experience on all grounds. The music is still not all speed all the time, but this time the riffage is constantly strong even though some repetition cannot be avoided. The vocals are more emphasized and can appear extremely brash though also quite refreshing, not unlike the whole album. War And Power is not among the most important productions, but it takes a real cynical mind not to enjoy this thing.

Finland 2010

1. Death By Dawn 2. One By One 3. Crooked Cross 4. No Justice 5. Reign Of Chaos 6. Blasphemy 7. Storm Of The Metal 8. Thrash Till Death 9. ...From Above

With their third full release out, it is clear that Malicious Death's entry to the scene was not meant to be a temporary visit. But it is nevertheless somewhat disappointing that ...From Above sounds a lot less exciting than its predecessor. It is more like another typical thrash metal album, and there are only few redeeming factors or actually anything worth a closer look to compensate for the general lack of highlights. With a new singer in the roster, the vocals have changed to a more generic direction, and although the band still maintain some respectable intensity, the style altogether lacks the amusing rough charm of War And Power. This time the songs can often leave you bored, mostly just because it could be practically almost any little known band playing and you wouldn't be too likely to notice any difference.

Canada 1989

1. Restitutional Rights 2. The Hunger 3. Vengeance Of Time 4. Submission 5. Freedom Fighters 6. License To Kill 7. Power Play 8. Branded 9. Cyber Wars 10. D.I.C.L. 11. Shades Of Black 12. Towards The Cross 13. Blood Sisters

The title of Malicious Intent's Shades Of Black fits the album very well, as there is certainly a persistent darkened feel over this music. Almost typically atypical for Canadian thrash metal, the band's style is slightly more diverse than the norm. Sometimes you cannot help but notice the obvious limitations of having only one guitar in the band's sound, though in a way this just adds to the total vintage feel. More than occasionally the menacing approach carries an unmistakable tone of proto death metal, not totally unlike Necrophagia's Seasons Of The Dead, for example. You still get some straightforward thrashers like License To Kill, but as a whole this pack of songs is quite varied and not in a bad way. While this kind of bands often come and go without a notice, Malicious Intent's sound is distinguishable enough to make something of a memorable impression.

MANDATOR - Initial Velocity
Netherlands 1988

1. Attila 2. Black Rose 3. Faces Of Death 4. Jack Boots And Leather Caps 5. Power Of The Law 6. Evil Dead 7. Posers 8. I Will Be Your Last

Hailing from Netherlands, Mandator were initially not solely a thrash metal band - instead, their music in the beginning involved elements of thrash and more mellow power metal. The band's debut album Initial Velocity is in many ways very similar to Stricken By Might by E-X-E, in other words, some hectic thrash metal accompanied with more conventional tracks. It's like a half of the tracks represent fast, straightforward thrashing whereas the other half consists of calmer but still quite heavy stompers. Compared to E-X-E, Mandator's debut is somewhat more consistent but lacks definite highlights. The fastest tracks like Power Of The Law are fairly satisfatisfying and all, but this album has nothing like Crib Death or even Autopsy. On the bright side, it omits the cheesiest moments of E-X-E as well. The vocals range seemingly easily from raw and strained to more melodic and mellow depending on the track, and despite the different styles this album manages to sound rather uniform. Overall, Initial Velocity is not a bad example of old speed/thrash metal but not too great either.

MANDATOR - Perfect Progeny
Netherlands 1989

1. Stick Your Knife 2. Coition Interruptus 3. Surrealistic Manoeuvres 4. An Invisible Disease Strikes 5. Brain Desire 6. Perfect Progeny 7. Automatic Artillery 8. Life Is Calling

By their second album Mandator had refined their style closer to pure thrash metal, complete with some notably heavier vocals and more fierce attitude. Perfect Progeny contains fairly good, energetic full-speed thrash with some occasional striking moments. From the very first notes, a full attack is the name of the game, though the band do insert some stylish details into their music as well. Except for respectable speed and intensity, most tracks sound rather ordinary, the frantic and amusing Coition Interruptus probably being one of the more distinctive pieces. In the end this album has just the same problem as many others, as the devoted execution is not really enough to hide the fact that the music is composed of rather basic and unoriginal riffs, failing to rise too far above the average level. Perfect Progeny is an enjoyable piece of thrash metal but not really up to the higher standards of the genre.

MANTIC RITUAL - Executioner
USA 2009

1. One By One 2. Executioner 3. Black Tar Sin 4. Death And Destruction 5. Murdered To Death 6. Souls 7. Panic 8. Double The Blood 9. Thrashatonement 10. By The Cemetery 11. Next Attack

There should be no doubt that the best asset of Mantic Ritual's Executioner is the fluent nature of it all. The whole thing plays effortlessly and without glitches, and if this kind of consistent and undisturbing flow of thrash metal was the only thing that matters then this album would be an immediate milestone in the genre. Now the biggest remaining problem is that there is virtually nothing novel or memorable about this recording as far as actual songs are considered. Like said, there may be only few other albums that play in the background as smoothly as this, but when a recording contains little that would actually hold your attention longer than a couple of tracks into it, it is not surprising if your mind starts wandering to anything else before soon. Admittedly Executioner is very well done, but it seems quite difficult to retain any permanent mental impression from this album even after several listenings.

MARTYRD - Maniac
USA 2008

1. Blue & Black 2. Harvest 3. Seeds Of Vengeance 4. Trapped Within 5. Pressure 6. Soldier Of Fortune 7. Six 8. Betrayal 9. Mask 10. Maniac 11. Bombs Away 12. Casualties

It is almost amusing how quickly and spontaneously Martyrd's debut release can remind you of Metallica from the mid-1980s. Maniac indeed carries some strong echoes from the past, not only due to singing that resembles something that James Hetfield could have produced during his late teens. On the other hand, the vocals are also one of the problematic points of this album as they can occasionally appear somewhat too feeble for this kind of music. But if you can look past a few shortcomings, the songs on Maniac unarguably prove that Martyrd have both creative and technical skills necessary to put together stylish and intriguing lengthy compositions of their own. It certainly makes a much more pleasant listening experience than certain other bands whose idea of songwriting consists of circulating a maximum of three different notes in rapid succession. Apart from one odd ballad, there are good straightforward thrashers like Soldier Of Fortune and Casualties as well as some more technical but altogether quite listenable pieces. Add a bit more edge to it, and the results could be something great.

MASKIM - Maskim
Italy 1992

1. Backshock 2. House Of Trial 3. Wise Man Never Stall 4. The Xperiment 5. Bad Taste 6. Face Of Death 7. Fireblind 8. Death Tone 9. Between The Eyes 10. Rat's Ambition 11. Lethal Solution (D.I.H.)

As it seems, Maskim were not a bad representative of Italian thrash metal in their days, but somehow they failed to gain any big success. Apparently the band had a history in a different kind of metal already before this album, and there is one song here that directly reminds of their hard rock heritage. That aside, this is quite a nice package with a few truly catchy riffs and a good drive throughout. Not only do a couple of songs like Fireblind demand more than average listening time due to their positively effective impact, there are many memorable individual touches like the great stomping intro of The Xperiment that lasts almost two minutes before the remainder of the song kicks in. It should be noted that some may find the nasal vocal tone slightly annoying, though. Maybe Maskim just had their album out too late for anyone to notice, otherwise it would be hard to see why there never was any follow-up to such a promising release as this.

MASS CONFUSION - Confusion Intrusion
Australia 1990

1. Mangler 2. Love Your Disease 3. Heads 4. Culinary Chaos 5. Bean Bag Arse 6. Look Back In Anger 7. Out Of 8. Shutter Bug 9. Cool Cats 10. Bug 'er Off 11. Bowel Growl

Mass Confusion's Confusion Intrusion is an album of the kind that you don't encounter often these days, and not only because of the scarce availability of it. Featuring a strong essence of slightly unconventional thrash with occasional touches of punk and hardcore (as in the original 1980s vein), this one has more than a typical share of wild attitude to spare. The quality of the whole is two-fold at best - most of the less frenetic pieces are nothing special while the fastest tracks are downright comparable to Nuclear Assault's unmistakable frenzy, complete with a howling voice much like John Connelly's. Although it is fairly entertaining at times, most of Mass Confusion's music tends to end up sounding rather lightweight and disposable with no long-lasting charm. This is not necessarily a bad pick for those who spontaneously happen to stumble upon it, just far from mandatory by any means.

MASTER - Talk Of The Devil
Russia 1991

1. Intro Golgotha 2. Talk Of The Devil 3. Danger 4. Fallen Angel 5. Live To Die 6. Tsar 7. Heroes 8. Romance 9. I Hate Your Sex 10. Paranoid

For a Russian band, Master delivered some very straightforward thrash metal on their first recording in English. In comparison to their fellow countrymen Shah, Master's Talk Of The Devil is somewhat less complex, even close to formulaic at times, but sufficiently powerful for the most part. The general style of this album is not really too innovative or anything, but the trimmed production somehow makes even the more ordinary riffs sound slightly stronger than expected, and one must admit that the band's straight-to-the-point approach sort of works here, after all. Even the old Black Sabbath cover Paranoid is played through without any additional gimmicks whatsoever. This is not to say that Talk Of The Devil would be too much of a recommendable piece of work as it certainly contains nothing that hasn't been heard before, this time it's just done well enough.

Note: The official CD release of this album has different cover art than the original vinyl.

MASTER - Maniac Party
Russia 1994

1. Beastie Generation 2. Maniac Party 3. Lock Them In Graves 4. Burning In Hell (Civil War Disaster) 5. Screams Of Pain 6. Time X 7. They Are Just Like Us 8. Punk Guys 9. Go

As a slight surprise, Master's Maniac Party turned out to be a fairly satisfying thrash metal album done in the old style, despite its late release. When compared to Talk Of The Devil, the production is naturally a lot better, especially regarding how the instruments fit together, and the band sound definitely more vivid on this album. In addition, the music has got a lot more variety, which on the other hand results in some interesting individual tracks but also makes the overall quality more uneven. While the first couple of tracks are probably some of the best Master have done, some others appear pretty pointless and dumb. For this reason, Maniac Party does not rise to a higher level although it generally sounds more interesting than its predecessor. Maybe with a little more focused outcome the final impression could have been more favorable than now.

MASTER FURY - Circles Of Hate
USA 1989

1. Die In Your Sleep 2. Lies 3. Circus Of Hate 4. Son Of Man 5. Corporate War 6. The Way 7. Life's A Bitch 8. V.O.H.

As far as total obscurity goes, Master Fury deserve a cult status with no doubt. Nowadays the value of Circles Of Hate may be mostly based on other than solely musical factors, but this album is still not half-bad. While these songs do not make a diverse bunch, the band's sound is fairly enthusiastic, and a couple of more memorable tracks like Lies are arguably pretty well composed. The production quality is below even the late 1980s standards, but that only makes everything sound more authentic. Even though the music is nowhere near the same league as the releases from bands like Silence or Vacant Grave from the same period, there is some sympathetic feel to this album that helps it to overcome some shortcomings in other areas. Essentially Circles Of Hate represents a piece of underground mentality that any modern bands can only dream of.

MASTERMIND - Strange Aggression
Paraguay 2013

1. Gates Of Hell 2. Hell Line 3. The Triple Alliance 4. The Nightcomers 5. Strange Aggression 6. Terrible World 7. Victims Of Faith 8. Violence & Force 9. In Memory Of A Soldier

Mastermind's Strange Aggression is technically quite a fair first album, the production in particular is very sharp and refined. There is noticeably more variation here than on your average balls-to-the-wall thrash metal album, which is not a bad thing at all, but sometimes the less frantic moments in combination with the clean sound quality make a slightly restrained impression. Many riffs are at least semi-catchy though whole songs not that much, Hell Line probably ending up the most interesting piece due to its creative guitar lines. For clean-cut thrash metal this is by all means a passable effort, only nowhere near the most memorable products as a whole.

Italy 2011

1. Nightmare 2. Hell Razor 3. The Sign Of The Sun 4. Last Try 5. Lord Of Life 6. Masterstroke 7. Kill 'em All

A rumor has it that original promo copies of Masterstroke's debut full-length can be found for sale for stupid amounts of money these days. Based on the official release finally out twenty years after its recording, it is difficult to see the point of this alleged value, rare or not. Silence represents a case where you probably must intentionally prioritize pure nostalgia over everything else, as this product has not aged quite as well as some of its peers over the years. While the band's speed/thrash metal would otherwise seem passable, even ambitious at times, the singing sounds often quite amateurish and awkward. Also, listening through this album can get seriously tiresome due to its dated style and mostly very lengthy tracks. There is admittedly some long lost sentimental value in Silence, after all, but it may not justify the effort of going to great lengths to obtain a copy of this release.

MEGACE - Human Errors
Germany 1991

1. Something Incomprehensible 2. Law Enforcement Agency 3. Repetitions Of Human Errors 4. Let Me Explain 5. Save Your Dignity 6. No Brain / No Pain 7. Discord 8. Monofaces 9. Better To Forget

Human Errors does not quite fit into your typical thrash metal formula. Megace's music is highly technical German speed/thrash metal, more often than not you could call it downright progressive. Sometimes the effect can be quite unusual and puzzling, but unlike many of their peers Megace are actually very listenable and at its best their style is engrossing. The sound is rather unheavy, though, and a better production could have given this album a great additional kick. One of the nicest things about the band's music is Melanie Bock's vocals that range from subtle to harsh, even though in the latter case they sound slightly undeveloped at times. Most of this album is fairly vigorous enough although some of the snappier but also less intense tracks occasionally sound almost too clever for their own good. Human Errors must be one of the more original pieces of work in the genre, but fans of a brutal and heavy style might do better without having a look at this one.

MEGADETH - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!
USA 1985

1. Last Rites / Loved To Death 2. Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good 3. Skull Beneath The Skin 4. These Boots 5. Rattlehead 6. Chosen Ones 7. Looking Down The Cross 8. Mechanix

Dave Mustaine's master project had an interesting but not dazzling start. The elegant intro Last Rites can be somewhat misleading as the rest of this release sounds much more down-to-earth. The songs have enough creativity put into them, and the bouncy rhythms and occasionally downright jazzy guitars certainly make the album stick out from the mass. The cover version of These Boots is quite an amusing (and unrespectful) treatment of the original but good for a change of pace. More original than heavy or fast, Killing Is My Business... was indeed a promising yet undeveloped debut for this band.

Note: All early four Megadeth albums have been later re-released as partially re-recorded and remixed versions that sound quite a bit different (and not necessarily better) than originals. Also, These Boots was first completely dropped and then re-added with censored lyrics on subsequent reissues of the debut album.

MEGADETH - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
USA 1986

1. Wake Up Dead 2. The Conjuring 3. Peace Sells 4. Devils Island 5. Good Mourning / Black Friday 6. Bad Omen 7. I Ain't Superstitious 8. My Last Words

Much heavier and better produced than Megadeth's debut release, Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? sounds very powerful and convincing even today. This album has actually several highlights - for example, Wake Up Dead and the title track are classic, highly effective pieces and some of Megadeth's most memorable moments ever. There is some particularly great and creative guitar work found here, Good Mourning being a prime example of that, whereas Black Friday is an epitome of violence as far as the lyrics are considered. The bluesy I Ain't Superstitious is the most unnecessary cover song, though, but the rest of this album does not disappoint. With quite a balanced sound and feel, Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? remains one of Megadeth's finest recordings to date.

MEGADETH - So Far, So Good... So What!
USA 1988

1. Into The Lungs Of Hell 2. Set The World Afire 3. Anarchy In The U.K. 4. Mary Jane 5. 502 6. In My Darkest Hour 7. Liar 8. Hook In Mouth

So Far, So Good... So What! is probably Megadeth's nastiest and thrashiest hour (actually, not more than a good half), with an authentic hate-filled and cold atmosphere that feels like a perfect recollection of the late 1980s. Maybe for this reason many people seem to despise this recording and consider it an inferior piece of work, but it is really one of Megadeth's most intense efforts ever. Into The Lungs Of Hell and Set The World Afire open the album in an apocalyptic vein as only appropriate, whereas In My Darkest Hour is the most memorable song with some very depressing lyrics. Anarchy In The U.K. must be one of the few decent cover songs out there, mainly because the style is not too different from the original and thus it feels more like a refined version, and Hook In Mouth makes truly a venomous closing track. The band's line-up was revamped prior to this release but they sound just as good as ever, and only the underproduced drums on a couple of tracks may be slightly irritating. Despite all its alleged faults, So Far, So Good... So What! can be a strangely captivating listening experience.

MEGADETH - Rust In Peace
USA 1990

1. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due 2. Hangar 18 3. Take No Prisoners 4. Five Magics 5. Poison Was The Cure 6. Lucretia 7. Tornado Of Souls 8. Dawn Patrol 9. Rust In Peace... Polaris

With Rust In Peace Megadeth took a step into a more technical direction. The sound of this album is fairly clean and polished, even progressive, and the level of musicianship is admittedly the highest so far. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due and Rust In Peace... Polaris could be some of the best opening and closing tracks ever found on the same album. However, some of the result may not appear quite as unrestrained as certain earlier works. This is not to say that Rust In Peace wouldn't be a great album, it is just a tad less aggressive than Megadeth's most vicious moments in the past. It definitely makes a lot better final impression than any of the more radio-friendly heavy rock that this band would later start to produce.

MEKONG DELTA - Mekong Delta
Germany 1987

1. Without Honour 2. The Cure 3. The Hut Of Baba Yaga 4. Heroes Grief 5. Kill The Enemy 6. Nightmare Patrol 7. Shivas Return 8. Black Sabbath 9. Back Home (In Hell)

Emerged from a need to push the limits of thrash metal, Mekong Delta exercised complete control over their musical vision from the very beginning. Loosely based on the theme of Vietnam war, the band's debut album could be described as slightly technical speed/thrash metal, something in the realm of Living Death during their late 1980s period. Already obvious on this album is the dead accurate delivery - few bands actually could play this fast with such precision as Mekong Delta. Of course, even high musicianship would matter very little if there were no memorable riffs to speak of, but that is not the case here. Except for a couple of more ponderous tracks with hardly audible experimental overtones, these songs run wild and energetic, from the raging Without Honour to the forceful Back Home (In Hell). Compared to the band's later, more refined releases, this is the most straightforward of the bunch and still holds some definite charm of its own.

MEKONG DELTA - The Music Of Erich Zann
Germany 1988

1. Age Of Agony 2. True Lies 3. Confession Of Madness 4. Hatred 5. Interludium (Begging For Mercy) 6. Prophecy 7. Memories Of Tomorrow 8. I, King, Will Come 9. The Final Deluge 10. Epilogue 11. The Gnom (bonus)

Following the conventions of its precedessor, Mekong Delta's second release The Music Of Erich Zann was also something of a concept album, this time deriving inspiration from HP Lovecraft's classic horror tales. The production is razor sharp and slightly more refined than previously. While the first three tracks alone are prime examples of technical thrash metal of the highest order, this album on the whole sounds a bit less coherent than the band's debut, especially towards the end. Whereas the sound of Mekong Delta was somewhat more organic and physical with a slight rough edge, The Music Of Erich Zann has almost a clinical approach. This is not to say that the result would pale in comparison, but it probably appeals to a slighly different taste. Despite the band's more complex ambitions starting to show up, for the most part the second Mekong Delta album still caters to the same audience who were attracted by the sound of the band's first release.

MEKONG DELTA - The Principle Of Doubt
Germany 1989

1. A Question Of Trust 2. The Principle Of Doubt 3. Once I Believed 4. Ever Since Time Began 5. Curse Of Reality 6. Twilight Zone 7. Shades Of Doom 8. The Jester 9. El Colibri 10. No Friend Of Mine

With The Principle Of Doubt Mekong Delta definitely lost their focus for a while. This album is without a doubt one of the band's most technical as well as diverse recordings, at the cost of memorable or even reasonably coherent songs. Many of these arrangements sound just way too quirky and chaotic, and you may be left downright puzzled after hearing this album for the first time. While many tracks are at least sufficiently thrashy efforts, their disjointed structures do no good in the long run. It is revealing that the best track Curse Of Reality is actually from the weirdest side of the album with a haunting, almost nightmarish feel - while the song is pretty much far out from a typical thrash metal point of view, it remains one of the most hypnotic pieces ever. If you like mental challenges then The Principle Of Doubt is certainly worth a second look, but be warned that it may give you a lot more than you wished for.

MEKONG DELTA - Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)
Germany 1990

1. Dances Of Death a. Introduction b. Eruption c. Beyond The Gates d. Outburst e. Days Of Betrayal f. Restless g. Sanctuary h. Finale 2. Transgressor 3. True Believers 4. Night On A Bare Mountain

After the disoriented feel of The Principle Of Doubt, it was more than appropriate that Mekong Delta returned to a lot more focused direction in their music. Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) must be one of the band's most consistent and stylish releases to date. The first half of the album is consumed by the multi-part title track Dances Of Death, the most ambitious composition of nearly 20 minutes that miraculously avoids all moments of dullness or disjointness. Preceded by a deceivingly subtle intro, Eruption is almost enough to drop you off the chair, and there is only more of the same to follow. As the second half of this release is not a let-down either, the result is near a perfection of the style that was introduced on the band's debut album and The Music Of Erich Zann, in other words, high-speed thrash metal played with admirable precision and imagination. In addition, Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) restores confidence in the fact that such a skillful presentation can be highly memorable, too.

MEKONG DELTA - Lurking Fear
Germany 2007

1. Society In Dissolution 2. Purification 3. Immortal Hate (Accepting Prayers Of Supremacy) 4. Allegro Furioso 5. Rules Of Corruption 6. Ratters (Among The Dead) 7. Moderato 8. Defenders Of The Faith 9. Symphony Of Agony 10. Allegro

Twenty years has passed since Mekong Delta's debut release, and suddenly the band resurface with a new line-up and an album that could be a direct follow-up to Dances Of Death if it weren't for a couple of less speedy but increasingly progressive offerings released in between. Lurking Fear reaches back to the band's prime era of technical speed/thrash metal, actually so much that at its best this album successfully reconstructs the unique outerworldly feel of The Music Of Erich Zann. From the very first notes, this recording is immediately recognizable as a Mekong Delta production, as no other band could ever sound like this. The first three tracks alone justify the existence of Lurking Fear, with their intriguing and captivating sound penetrating your senses in a flash, and the rest is nowhere near dull either. The difference between Mekong Delta and the murkiest depths of the thrash metal genre is nothing short of drastic, but if you ever need to present a prominent example of speed/thrash metal as close to an art form as possible then this is the way to go.

Chile 2013

1. Ruins 2. Red Skies 3. Cluster Bombs 4. Twisted Fate 5. Journey Into The Evil Control 6. Emptiness Minds 7. Denied Illusions 8. The Sentence 9. Chosen Sacrifice 10. Rise Of Deception 11. Unconscious Violence

Although Red Skies may at first look like a complete cliche bomb waiting to explode, it quickly becomes obvious that this album has a bit more going for it. Mental Devastation's approach to the genre is not really among the worst of its kind - above all, the band's sound is very energetic, uplifting and spirited, a good example of having a healthy level of genuine enthusiasm and letting it also show no matter how typical the music might otherwise be. The guitar is well done, the general performance quite lively, and most of the songs just fit the bill better than actually expected. Surely this release is not going to advance the western civilization a single bit, but sometimes it's enough to have just a dose of honest thrash metal done in the right way.

MENTALLY DEFILED - The Thrash Brigade
Greece 2009

1. Prelude To Violence 2. Necrohooligan 3. Mosh Pit Maniac 4. The Thrash Brigade 5. Schizophrenic 6. Lunar Chaos 7. Politisize 8. Leatherface (Watch Me Die) 9. The Thrash Brigade (extended version)

On the surface, Mentally Defiled's The Thrash Brigade doesn't raise any high hopes in advance. But although there is some truth to the idea of viewing this kind of releases as curiosity items at best, it would be too easy to write the whole thing off as completely unnecessary. The band play well, some of the riffs are not half-bad, and everything sounds reasonably tight. The biggest problem is just that the music does not have much personality of its own. If you are expecting stereotypical and unsurprising thrash metal, not to forget about some awfully cheap looks, then it's probably safe to say that this album is spot on. While it may be sometimes difficult to see the point of recordings like this, maybe some day The Thrash Brigade, too, will be a highly sought collectors item. Either that or a total oblivion, whichever seems more likely.

USA 2006

1. Slaughter Lord 2. Deadly Assault 3. Command Death 4. Burn In Hell 5. Exumer 6. Act Of Violence 7. Final Slaughter 8. Ready To Kill

Merciless Death's debut release is short, consistent and to the point. Evil In The Night has a fairly memorable style that resembles Slayer from the early 1980s put on overdrive. The guitar in particular is well done while the vocals are in a league of their own, appearing quite funny more often than not, intentional or not. Lyrically this album is full of your typical violent cliches, far from clever but also not much worse than on average in the scene. The songwriting is awfully predictable though, and after you have heard the first track the rest is going to sound exactly the same. It is still not too bad for a dose of thrash metal in a slightly humorous vein, and in the end Evil In The Night can be something of a guilty pleasure - if nothing else, it may give you a healthy urge to go back to those early Slayer albums and better appreciate how good some of them actually sound even today.

USA 2008

1. The Abyss 2. Realm Of Terror 3. Evil Darkness 4. Tombs Of The Dead 5. Death Warriors 6. Cult Of Doom 7. Tormented Fate 8. Fall To The Pentagram 9. The Gate 10. Summoning Of The Ancient Ones

Realm Of Terror sounds almost immediately more serious than Evil In The Night, mainly due to the more sinister vocal tone and somewhat grittier production. Essentially Merciless Death succeed in making a more convincing impression than before, but there is still something in their style that can occasionally put a grin on your face. As the album again fails to break even the half hour mark, it is not likely to draw you into boredom too easily even though the songs lack the most evident hooks this time around. Then again, the music does not sound quite as repetitive and cheesy as Evil In The Night arguably sometimes did. Although Realm Of Terror may not appear as cute as the band's debut, it seems to have some more long-time value that can prevent the album from growing old too rapidly.

MESSIAH - Hymn To Abramelin
Switzerland 1986

1. Hymn To Abramelin 2. Messiah 3. Anarchus 4. Space Invaders 5. Thrashing Madness 6. Future Agressor 7. Empire Of The Damned 8. Total Maniac 9. The Dentist

Evidently Messiah in their early form stood on the more energetic and unrestricted side of the thrash metal scene. Hymn To Abramelin contains some undeniably wild moments, largely due to the unforgettable vocals that more often than not can resemble the ravings of a lunatic, although the group as a whole didn't hold back either. For some reason the band saw it appropriate to fill the spaces between tracks on the first release with short spoken aphorisms which honestly sound incredibly hokey but fortunately not too distracting. Even though Hymn To Abramelin can be a bit rough around the edges, and a couple of tracks might have benefited from a higher pace, the debut release of Messiah manages to leave something of a positive aftertaste.

MESSIAH - Extreme Cold Weather
Switzerland 1987

1. Extreme Cold Weather 2. Enjoy Yourself 3. Johannes Paul Der Letzte (Dedicated In Hate To Pope John Paul II) 4. Mother Theresa (Dedicated In Love To Mother Theresa) 5. Hyper Borea 6. Radezky March: We Hate To Be In The Army Now 7. Nero 8. Hymn To Abramelin (live) 9. Messiah (Extra Version) (live) 10. Space Invaders (live) 11. Thrashing Madness (live) 12. Golden Dawn (live) 13. The Last Inferno (live) 14. Resurrection (live) 15. Ole Perversus (live)

With their second release Messiah created a collection of unique music that still remains pretty much unparalleled even today. The opening title track of Extreme Cold Weather must be among the most atmospheric and outerworldly compositions ever heard, a manifestation of creative insanity, and other songs are not too far behind. Therefore it may be a slight pity that most lyrics on this album can appear fairly silly, even more so considering the fact that the music would be otherwise a near-perfect match for literal depictions of Lovecraftian horrors at the mountains of madness. Excluding the live tracks that form the second half of the original release and have quite a raw sound quality, the overall feel of Extreme Cold Weather is wonderfully dark, inspired and stylish, which makes it practically a total opposite of the vast number of more stereotypical works in the genre.

MESSINA - Terrortory
Netherlands 1990

1. Messina 2. Attempted Suicide 3. Nothing Will Change 4. Terrortory 5. Who's For Dinner 6. Drop Dead 7. Deathrow 8. Ritual Killings 9. The Commencement

Basically Messina were just another Dutch thrash metal band appearing in the late 1980s, but the sound of their full-length album Terrortory is more convincing than you might expect, very heavy and gritty. Messina's style somewhat resembles their fellow countrymen Sacrosanct, complete with strong vocals and heavy but repetitive riffs. Of course, there are few innovations on this album, but the band put enough power into their music to make it fairly notable. The songs are mostly very derivative and not too memorable on their own though the aggressive, energetic delivery almost makes up for it. As a whole, Terrortory is a bonecrushing heavy piece of work, just slightly dull at times, and with some more original songwriting it could have made a bigger impact. Now the result is just a bit too weary despite the good attempt behind it.

METAL MILITIA - Perpetual State Of Aggression
USA 2003

1. Darkest Days 2. Arbitrary 3. Perpetual State Of Aggression 4. Sick Of It All 5. Six String Suicide 6. Slave Of Darkness 7. The Feeder 8. Omnicide 9. Machines Of War 10. The Impending Holocaust

If it's about a lot of riffs in a good taste that you are looking for then Metal Militia's Perpetual State Of Aggression delivers. While this album must have been something of a curiosity item at the time of its release, there is some rather smooth, not to mention consistent riffage here that sounds good even today. The speed varies a lot, yet the band seem to have had a coherent style of their own. The slowest tracks are easily the most dragging part of this recording, though. Another drawback is that the vocals could have used more development, now sounding sort of immature at times, which on the other hand is understandable due to the band's young age on average when this release was put out. In summary, there's nothing really new here, but if an album of well-played thrash metal sounds fair enough then you could choose a lot worse than this.

METALIZER - The Thrashing Force
Brazil 2013

1. Trails Of A Blood Storm 2. Peace In Pieces 3. Thrashing The Betrayers 4. Alcoholic Madness 5. Electric Homicide 6. Metalizer (The Thrashing Force) 7. Emptiness 8. Bleed By My Fist 9. Silent Desperation

It is sort of amazing how there can still be bands who name their releases and songs "thrash this and thrash that", as if their supposed audience just fell off a potato truck or something. But when the band in question is called Metalizer, you probably have to be prepared to accept some stereotypical cliches anyway. To be fair, The Thrashing Force sounds a lot less cheesy than it looks, the presentation is sufficiently convincing and by no means weak, if a bit simple. The vocalist's output is actually of such commendable strength that it would easily improve a few other contemporary albums around. It's just that regarding certain worn-out antics the cup ran over a long time ago. Points for the surprise element of Silent Desperation due to its unorthodox start, yet coming only at the end of this album it feels more like a band-aid on a gaping axe wound.

METALLICA - Kill 'em All
USA 1983

1. Hit The Lights 2. The Four Horsemen 3. Motorbreath 4. Jump In The Fire 5. (Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth 6. Whiplash 7. Phantom Lord 8. No Remorse 9. Seek & Destroy 10. Metal Militia

Together with Slayer's Show No Mercy, Metallica's Kill 'em All is the grandmother of all thrash metal albums ever released and therefore deserves an extra deal of respect. It may be useless to comment on the musical aspects of this debut as everyone and their dog must know it more than well enough by now, but it is still interesting to notice how many of the band's characteristic features were already present on this recording. For such an old release, the sound is very sharp and clear if somewhat raw especially in the vocal department. In comparison to Metallica's later works, Kill 'em All can seem a bit simple today, but it proves that the band had a clear direction from the very beginning.

METALLICA - Ride The Lightning
USA 1984

1. Fight Fire With Fire 2. Ride The Lightning 3. For Whom The Bell Tolls 4. Fade To Black 5. Trapped Under Ice 6. Escape 7. Creeping Death 8. The Call Of Ktulu

After their essential debut release, Metallica took a leap to the absolute top. Ride The Lightning is the band's most beautiful moment and nearly a perfect album in every sense of the word, one of the very best ever. It is impossible not to admire the marvelous production which is incredibly heavy yet fully clear. Very appropriate for the theme, listening to this recording feels like being absorbed in a massive thunderstorm that keeps revolving around you, sending bolts of lightning everywhere. The powerful and darkened feel of the music is just unmatchable. From the pummeling Fight Fire With Fire to the epic The Call Of Ktulu, this album is ahead of everything else released during the early years of the genre, and something that Metallica should have always been.

METALLICA - Master Of Puppets
USA 1986

1. Battery 2. Master Of Puppets 3. The Thing That Should Not Be 4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) 5. Disposable Heroes 6. Leper Messiah 7. Orion 8. Damage, Inc.

With Master Of Puppets Metallica released something that would become widely known as their magnum opus. At this point the band's style had already changed to significantly more refined, massive, and complex than on Kill 'em All. It can be argued whether all this development was necessarily for the better, though. While Ride The Lightning was quite feverish and passionate, this album sounds a lot more melancholic and analytical. The overall sound is very classy and dry, even pompous at times. A couple of faster pieces have a touch of violent charm, but for the most part Master Of Puppets contains rather ponderous tracks. In comparison, Ride The Lightning still tends to sound a lot more energetic and exciting.

METALLICA - ...And Justice For All
USA 1988

1. Blackened 2. ...And Justice For All 3. Eye Of The Beholder 4. One 5. The Shortest Straw 6. Harvester Of Sorrow 7. The Frayed Ends Of Sanity 8. To Live Is To Die 9. Dyers Eve

...And Justice For All was an honorable end to Metallica's pioneering work in the 1980s and possibly their darkest hour ever. The general tone of this album is simply beyond depressive, making it probably a great choice for suicide music. The production is an interesting mix of bare sounding drums and bass-heavy guitars, which gives the recording quite an original feel. The songs are a bit uneven in quality, though. For example, Blackened, the title track and Harvester Of Sorrow could be some of the most wicked and memorable Metallica songs ever, not to forget about Dyers Eve that seriously goes for the speed record. On the other hand, there are also a couple of plodding or just fairly pointless pieces that somewhat hinder the overall impression. Nevertheless, in the end ...And Justice For All is a very satisfying release from this band, even more so when their later career is considered.

METRALIATOR - Satanic Machine
Brazil 2009

1. Speed Metal Machine 2. Banish The False 3. Kill The Oppression 4. Misanthropic Way 5. Motor Banger Man 6. Weapon Of Truth 7. Medicinal Sickness 8. Forca Alcoolica

While a mere glimpse of the cover art of Satanic Machine could bring connotations of a poor man's Voivod to mind, the reality is a lot less thrilling than that. Metraliator's debut album features thrash metal that is so commonplace it is not even amusing anymore. There is no reason to complain about the production, or any technical aspects for that matter, yet this album effectively lacks something fundamental. The vocalist demonstrates a respectable wild attitude, but that aside there is no single detail that would make this band's output distinguishable from a gazillion other releases in the scene. It is just too generic and predictable more often than not. When the whole album is also severely too long, you can be sure that the outcome is going nowhere near the top of the recommendation list.

METRALION - A Mosh In Brazil
Brazil 1989

1. No Way Out 2. Life In Flames 3. Disorder 4. N.M.I. 5. Another Brick In The Wall

At least in Metralion's case you could easily see where the band originated from. Otherwise it could be hard to guess, as A Mosh In Brazil is very unsurprising in almost every aspect, excluding the odd Pink Floyd cover Another Brick In The Wall. While the first moments of this recording may give at least a semi-promising impression, it is really the most typical brand of thrash metal that these songs are ultimately based on. Not only that, but a bit too many tracks on this short release seem to wander around aimlessly, which does not exactly make the listening experience worth remembering. If you happen to be a dedicated collector who must obtain every thrash metal album ever released then this is one more rare item to hunt for, but most others can probably live without it and not lose anything important.

MEZZROW - Then Came The Killing
Sweden 1990

1. Then Came The Killing 2. Ancient Terror 3. The Final Holocaust 4. Frozen Soul 5. Distant Death 6. Prevention Necessary 7. Where Death Begins 8. The Cross Of Torment 9. Inner Devastation

Despite hailing from Sweden, Mezzrow got quite a typical American sounding production, and the style of Then Came The Killing is very close to Testament. The production is laudably heavy with an emphasis on guitars and strong, powerful vocals. As for songwriting, it can be best described as consistent - songs are based on some rather basic but effective riffs with no particularly good or bad points. The tracks are admittedly a bit samey for a full-length release, but on the other hand this just makes the album sound more focused and better on the whole. Like said, the production is very good and fitting for this kind of music and helps the result quite a lot. Then Came The Killing is, if not too exciting, at least a reasonably solid and heavy thrash metal album.

MIDAS TOUCH - Presage Of Disaster
Sweden 1989

1. The Arrival 2. Forcibly Incarcerated 3. Sinking Censorship 4. When The Boot Comes Down 5. True Believers Inc. 6. Reminiscence 7. Sepulchral Epitaph 8. Lost Paradise 9. Accessory Before The Fact 10. Aceldama - Terminal Breath 11. Subhumanity (A New Cycle)

Midas Touch made a fairly interesting entry in the field of technical thrash metal with their only release. Presage Of Disaster bears a strong resemblance to Coroner's early albums although the clean vocals are obviously quite different. This does not mean a lack of intensity, as the music here is about as heavy as anything out there, despite the songs having a considerable amount of variety in them. While the band's sound can be a bit dry and not always fully focused, at least it shows a decent amount of originality. Presage Of Disaster is a refined and even intriguing technical thrash metal album - not too remarkable or anything, but it's been made well enough.

MINOTAUR - Power Of Darkness
Germany 1988

1. Into The Temple 2. Fierce Fight 3. Incubus 4. Maggots In My Body 5. Apocalyptic Trials 6. Prelude / Necromancer 7. The Power Of Darkness 8. Brainhead 9. Fall Of The Gods 10. Savage Aggressions

As an example of some of the most extreme traits in the German school of thrash metal, Minotaur's Power Of Darkness can be sort of valuable from a historical perspective. The style of this album is comparable to the earliest works of Kreator, Necronomicon and the like, with a violent and rough sound that almost completely lacks technical finesse but somehow manages to avoid collapsing into total chaos. When the scene at the time was getting increasingly crowded by usually much more refined acts of American origins, Minotaur's unpolished and raw, sometimes near barbaric tendencies represented something of a counterbalance. Let it be said that listening to this release can be quite an unpleasant and even intolerable task for those people who are not accustomed to this kind of crudeness, but if you're looking for things that go against certain conceptions of good taste, this one might turn out interesting to say the least.

MINOTAUR - Welcome To...
Germany 1993

1. Welcome To... Multi Morbidity 2. State Of Catatonia 3. We Hate You 4. Wish You Were Dead 5. Headcrash 6. R.A.T.

With Welcome To... Minotaur's style briefly transformed into something surprisingly different from Power Of Darkness, especially in the vocal department that sounds a lot less nasty and more controlled than on the band's debut release. In many ways, this mini album is a more typical offering in the genre, and the content may not exactly stand out in either good or bad. You should be able to listen to these songs with little effort, but there is probably no great impact due to any of it. Welcome To... is in no way a remarkable release, most likely a source of some brief entertainment at best, but at least it proves that Minotaur were actually capable of developing their music into various directions.

MINOTAUR - God May Show You Mercy... We Will Not
Germany 2009

1. Armegiddo 2. Rather Die 3. Full Speed Ahead 4. Princess Of Hell 5. Cannonballfire 6. Soulless 7. Damager 8. It's War 9. Into Oblivion 10. Tales Of Terror 11. Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)

Truth to be told, when it's been twenty years since Minotaur's debut release, one might not have expected God May Show You Mercy... We Will Not to sound almost exactly the same as Power Of Darkness. The production is naturally at least a bit better and heavier than in the past, but otherwise it's like the mini album Welcome To... never happened. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as from today's point of view Minotaur's grim style is hardly going to offend anyone anymore, quite the opposite. Still, in the end it is probably difficult to recommend this release to other than those who are already familiar with the band's original style and therefore fully know the name of the game in both good and bad. Not to mention that the closing W.A.S.P. cover song is only a curiosity item at best.

MIRRORBLAZE - Triumph Of The Villain
Bangladesh 2012

1. Land Of Tyranny 2. Imminent Conflict 3. Warhound 4. Eternal Beasts 5. Killing Spree 6. Triumph Of The Villain 7. Never Dead

As a sign that thrash metal has evolved into a form of "world music" over the years, Triumph Of The Villain is initially fairly interesting but eventually ends up just another standard addition to the ever-growing pile of basic thrash metal. Musically there is little difference between this and typical western products in the genre, while the sound quality is a bit rough around the edges but still acceptable. Mainly it can be rather difficult to find any great virtue in this kind of generic execution of the style. Then again, the album is pretty short so you won't be wasting much time anyway even if the content isn't exactly to your liking.

MOBILE DEATHCAMP - Black Swamp Rising
USA 2008

1. One Brain 2. Feed The Machine 3. L.S.D. (Lead Singer's Disease) 4. Negative Minds 5. Offensive Release 6. The Buffalo Song 7. It Is So 8. Death Revealed 9. Order Thru Kaos 10. Vicious Smile

With a name like Mobile Deathcamp, it is clear that this band's motives were not about making it big in country music. Black Swamp Rising is an unapologetic slab of anarchistic thrash metal with a curious redneck feel. The album does not really conform to stereotypical rules of the genre, and it carries an appropriately rough yet refreshing tone of its own. Except for an odd tribal track The Buffalo Song, the content is pretty consistent and credible. While it is not the catchiest stuff around, there should be no danger of boredom as most tracks (as well as the whole album) are quite short. Black Swamp Rising is not exactly a highly commendable recording, but it certainly makes a welcome exception from the most ordinary traits in the scene.

Note: The original self-release of this album has different packaging than the newer official re-release.

MONASTERY - Thrashing Pictures
Poland 2005

1. Dancing On Your Grave 2. Hour Of Destruction 3. Speed Up 4. Blind Faith 5. Red Bitch 6. Our Love 7. Innerself 8. Shattered Faith 9. Medial Shit 10. Scream 11. Raining Blood

Monastery's Thrashing Pictures is an inconsistent affair. The album starts off effectively with a couple of nifty tracks like Dancing On Your Grave and Hour Of Destruction that easily catch your attention. The female vocals stick out in a positive manner, although their tone could have been a bit heavier instead of the current punkish vibe. But somewhere near the middle of this album fatigue creeps in. Although Our Love is a fair ballad, it seems out of place here. In addition, the band had the nerve to record the most unnecessary cover versions of two very well known Sepultura and Slayer staples, both of which do not exactly live up to the originals and only break the mood of an otherwise promising release. Thrashing Pictures does contain a fair share of worthy songs, but it seems that it could have been made even better with some healthy trimming of content.

MORAL CRUSADE - An Act Of Violence
Ireland 1990

1. An Act Of Violence 2. Streetwise 3. Hate War 4. Premeditated Murder 5. No Mercy 6. The End 7. Persecution 8. A Change In Two Directions 9. When The World Dies

Irish thrash metal was not totally non-existent in the old days, that's what Moral Crusade's An Act Of Violence is a solid proof about. Right from the start, this album sports a nice sound quality with chainsaw-like sharp guitars, almost perfect for this kind of fast thrash metal. The title track is a refreshing opener, and it effectively sets an energetic though also a slightly repetitive mood for the whole album. Apart from this one example, there are not too many memorable individual pieces to be found here, but the general feel remains sufficiently powerful and satisfying until the very end. Even though the songs mostly just variate some simple elements, the drive of the band is strong enough to win you over, and the music never gets too dull. An Act Of Violence has all the basic blocks firmly in place, something you cannot say about a random album too often.

MORBID CARNAGE - Night Assassins
Hungary 2010

1. Warlust 2. Slaughtering 3. Funeral Pyre 4. Empty Graves 5. Deviant 6. Castle In Pain 7. Night Assassin

The looks of Morbid Carnage's Night Assassins don't necessarily make a promising impression, but the band cannot be completely ignored as yet another pointless retro thrash metal act. Right at the start it becomes obvious that this release is on the more frantic end of the spectrum, especially the aggressive vocal delivery adds to the music by a fair amount. While there was probably not much imagination lost in the songwriting process, some of the most intense moments are quite memorable after all, and the band's energy comes through sufficiently unfiltered and credible. As a whole this album may not quite hold water in the long run, but apparently Morbid Carnage did at least something right in their music as Night Assassins is not a totally lost cause.

MORBID CARNAGE - Merciless Conquest
Hungary 2013

1. Beyond The Grace Of God 2. Werewolf Legions 3. Triumph Of Evil 4. Lamb Blood Bath 5. Turn The Crosses Down 6. Far Away From Heaven 7. Vengeance Of Ghouls

It would seem to go against common sense that shamelessly unoriginal bands like Morbid Carnage could produce something valuable, but Merciless Conquest is yet another proof that a dedicated performance can do miracles against all odds. Despite being a complete cliche of thrash metal, this album is very listenable, an eager and well presented piece of relentless thrashing with virtually no dead moments. Granted, after the first couple of tracks the rest of this recording keeps repeating the same tricks and the level of variety is really not that high. But what can you do when the whole album rushes forward like a bloodthirsty wolfpack closing in on their prey. Between this and some other, much more indifferent and generic thrash platters, the choice should be clear.

MORBID SAINT - Spectrum Of Death
USA 1989

1. Lock Up Your Children 2. Burned At The Stake 3. Assassin 4. Damien 5. Crying For Death 6. Spectrum Of Death 7. Scars 8. Beyond The Gates Of Hell

This album is quite a rare treat indeed. With some truly vicious vocals and the nastiest riffs, Morbid Saint's Spectrum Of Death must be one of the more ferocious old thrash metal albums you can find. The vocalist sounds positively feral and couldn't better fit the band's style. The production could be a lot better, though, but that cannot be helped. It is not so bad as to actually distract you from the music, anyway. As a whole this album is very consistent and almost every track has the same level of intensity from start to end, the most explosive tracks like Lock Up Your Children, Damien and Crying For Death being just slightly more distinctive from the rest. With better production values and some actual distribution in the first place, Spectrum Of Death could have become better known also outside the groups of the most dedicated collectors, now one actually needs to really search for it. Definitely worth the effort, still.

MORFEUS - Disbelieved World
Brazil 1993

1. Rigor Mortis 2. Hopeless 3. Witness (Desolation Of My Generation) 4. Human Degradation 5. You Die (Nothing To Say) 6. The Creep In My Grave 7. Dead Gods 8. Ratkill

Despite the time it took them to release a full-length album, Morfeus were not exactly a latecomer in thrash metal. As another representative of the Brazilian scene, Disbelieved World may sound slightly familiar to some people, but most of the time this record proves itself worth genuine interest. The production adds to the "live" feel of this album in a notable manner, and some rougher corners are compensated more than enough by the audible juveline energy of the band. Rigor Mortis is quite a powerful and frantic starter with several more tracks following in the same vein. Probably the most important element of this album is the general uplifting quality of the band's sound, which on the other hand leads to quite an amusing contrast with the conventional dark lyrics - the impression is really way more gleeful than gloomy. While it may have been overshadowed by many more famous releases in its time, Disbelieved World sounds like a fun effort on all grounds.

Germany 2007

1. Here We Are 2. Next Level 3. My Revenge 4. Wake Up Horror 5. Scars Of Life 6. Conscience 7. Hatred 8. Respect 9. Dying Inside 10. In The Line Of Fire

Among the bands that somehow manage to avoid the public spotlight on a regular basis, Mortal Remains cannot be completely labeled as just another forgettable generic act. Next Level can admittedly appear quite dry and bare, with no prominent features other than hoarse female vocals, and the overall picture is rather mundane. But although the band's music hardly captivates a casual listener right away, there is something to this album that may grow on you the further you get into it. Using Conscience as an example, some tracks especially during the second half start off sounding pretty ordinary and then build up momentum to a respectable degree almost by surprise. The foremost impression that Next Level gives may be unremarkable, even dull to some people, but there is a thing called credibility that this album demonstrates to a greater extent than some other more flashy works these days.

MORTAL SIN - Mayhemic Destruction
Australia 1987

1. The Curse 2. Women In Leather 3. Lebanon 4. Liar 5. Blood, Death, Hatred 6. Mortal Slaughter 7. Into The Fire 8. Mayhemic Destruction

Probably the best known speed/thrash metal performer from Australia ever, Mortal Sin caught some serious attention with their debut album. Mayhemic Destruction has a laidback, rhythmic sound that was quite characteristic for the band. The music is certainly not the heaviest or fastest around, but somehow the relaxed, almost uplifting feel starts to win you over after some listening. Considering their style, Mortal Sin were not that different from their American counterparts of the time, except for their "happy" sound. As a memorable exception from the more easy-going material, the heavy and frantic title track is a definite highlight of the album. While Mayhemic Destruction is not the most classic release of the 1980s, it has its fair share of good moments.

MORTAL SIN - Face Of Despair
Australia 1989

1. I Am Immortal 2. Voyage Of The Disturbed 3. The Infantry Corps 4. For Richer For Poorer 5. Martyrs Of Eternity 6. Innocent Torture 7. Suspended Animation 8. H 9. Terminal Reward 10. Robbie Soles

The second album of Mortal Sin was a direct follow-up to their laidback yet vigorous style started on the first release. While Face Of Despair features somewhat better production and technically improved songs, it preserves much of the feel of Mayhemic Destruction. The material is a bit less distinctive than previously, but on the other hand the quality of songs is more consistent, and the overall feel of this album is very coherent and relaxed even though there are no such highlights as the title track of Mayhemic Destruction. All in all, Face Of Despair is not an important album by any means, but it definitely makes a nice, uplifting listening experience.

MORTAL SIN - Psychology Of Death
Australia 2011

1. Psychology Of Death 2. Blood Of My Enemies 3. Paralysed By Fear 4. Burned Into Your Soul 5. Deny 6. Doomed To Annihilation 7. Kingdom Of Pain 8. Down In The Pit 9. Hatred

Mortal Sin's Psychology Of Death must be one of those releases that most people couldn't claim to have seen coming. With more than twenty years since the days of Mayhemic Destruction and Face Of Despair, excluding a few forgettable haphazard efforts in between, the sound of the new album is surprisingly powerful and convincing. Naturally it is also different to some extent, most notably a lot heavier than the band's older works, but it is still solid traditional thrash metal that we are talking about here. Even though this recording is practically comparable to a dead man walking against all odds, the level of maturity and sheer street credibility is light years ahead of the majority of more recent acts - and that alone is already worth an honorary mention.

MORTAL THREAT - Psychotic Paralysis
Greece 2011

1. Psychotic Paralysis 2. Black Domain 3. Guilt After Life 4. Justice Of Mind 5. Ironic Trust 6. Inhuman Effective Terror 7. Chains Of Life 8. Mortal Threat 9. Protest And Survive (bonus)

The first few minutes into Psychotic Paralysis can turn out slightly surprising. Even though Mortal Threat's debut release contains some fairly basic thrash metal, the steady high tempo on the first couple of tracks pulls the right strings to draw your attention. The songs are generally quite short and compact, which admittedly helps in driving the message home. For a full-length album the style is arguably a bit too one-dimensional and unvaried to make the initial favorable impression last, but the result is still not too bad for the band's first effort. If anything, it shows that they already got the basics right.

MORTIFER - Euthanasia
Russia 1993

1. Euthanasia 2. Illusions Of Life 3. Hangman's Confession 4. Power And Might 5. Crematory's Yard 6. Phantasm 7. Abyss Of Damnation 8. Hells Visions 9. Breaking The Law

Starting from Euthanasia, Mortifer have been long-timers in Russian thrash metal. With a highly consistent style as on all this band's recordings, their debut release has even a certain monotonous feel to it. There is simply not that much variation to speak of, the cover version of Judas Priest's Breaking The Law being the biggest deviation from the rule. The band's original material is handled in a professional manner and you can expect a reasonably tight performance on every song, it's just that as a whole Euthanasia sounds like a fairly standard thrash metal album. In other words, Mortifer's output is not likely to cause you great pains due to hearing inadequate work or anything like that, you will probably just realize before soon that not too many creative thoughts about riffs were lost in the process of making this album in the first place. Not to say that the result still wouldn't have some value of its own.

MORTIFER - If Tomorrow Comes
Russia 2000

1. If Tomorrow Comes 2. I'm Your Fear 3. Fatality Insane 4. Slave Of Fate 5. Crematory's Yard 6. Sea Of Tears 7. Realm Of Shades 8. Don't Say Never

Despite a long period of inactivity in the release front after Euthanasia, Mortifer's If Tomorrow Comes came out very similar to the band's previous works. It is essentially the same familiar formula put into effect, but it tends to sound a bit tighter this time, giving this album a fine edge over its predecessor. This may be at least partially due to the more consistent high tempo as well as the production that now has a slightly grittier feel than on the debut. The impression is still undeniably one-dimensional more often than not, the only major exceptions being the routine cover version of Running Wild's Realm Of Shades and the surprisingly mellow ballad Don't Say Never at the end. Let's just say that in case of Mortifer you can be sure of what to expect from each album, and except for a couple of tracks this principle fully applies to If Tomorrow Comes, too.

MORTIFER - Blind Faith
Russia 2002

1. Blind Faith 2. A Day Of Reckoning 3. Beggar 4. Please Your Master 5. Dance With Death 6. Empire Of Madness 7. Misanthrope 8. Cannon Fodder 9. Somebody Put Something In My Drink

Even if there was no information about the performer available, it probably wouldn't be too hard to guess it right when Mortifer's Blind Faith starts to play. The band's style has not changed a bit, and despite being far from original it is pretty easily recognizable. In many ways this album is as good or bad as any other release from Mortifer, with rather repetitive riffs and monotonic vocals, songs being still carried out with no signs of sloppiness. One can only imagine that some other bands would drop this kind of unvaried, even dull compositions already in the jamming phase since they couldn't remember how to distinguish between them for life. Ending with yet another cover song (from Ramones), Blind Faith plays fairly nice and tight as usual, but in all honesty, at this point Mortifer could be almost compared to Tankard as one of the least progressive bands in thrash metal.

MORTIFER - Total Darkness
Russia 2004

1. Marching To Die 2. Total Darkness 3. Better Escape 4. Experimental Hell 5. Until The End 6. Place Of Unknown Graves 7. Deliverance From Disgrace 8. Guilty 9. Killed By Destiny 10. Nuclear Demon 11. Digital Bitch 12. Into The Fire 13. Shot Down In Flames 14. Come Together

Despite its modern looks, Total Darkness is musically no different from Mortifer's previous works in the slightest. From the very first notes, the dark and unvaried tone is very much the same as in the past. The most noticeable composition of the band's own may be the balladish Guilty, and this is only because it differs from the rest at least a little bit. But the biggest deviation from the norm can be found at the end of this album - already on their debut release Mortifer established a habit of including at least one cover song, and this time there is a whole lot of four cover versions of other bands' songs. The origins vary from Black Sabbath to Beatles, and although these tracks seem kind of pointless, one must admit that this album would have been an awfully boring experience without them. Of course, this is not exactly a compliment on Mortifer's original material here.

MORTIFER - Cybernized
Russia 2006

1. Cybernized 2. Recharge Of Morality 3. Tower Of Wisdom 4. Ivan The Terrible 5. Cryogenic Dream 6. Re-generation 7. Roll The Dice 8. God Kills The Towns 9. Agony Is Wired

The fact that Cybernized is Mortifer's fifth release is actually rather impressive based on the face value only, as the band's monotonous style already in the very beginning didn't show much promise for a career this long. Against all expectations, this latest offering so far can be fairly listenable as long as certain inherent limitations are properly discounted. The opening title track even appears quite hard-hitting at first, although most other songs repeat the same maneuvers almost unchanged and eventually the initial effect kind of goes to waste. The whole package still makes a better impression than the previous couple of releases from the band, as the flow is generally smoother and less tedious, and the album is not overlong. It might be too far-fetched to give an outright recommendation, but if you had to pick one Mortifer release to listen to, Cybernized would make a good candidate.

MORTIFIER - Underground Noise
USA 2008

1. Mountain Killings 2. Dead By Dawn 3. Black Plague 4. Viking Rampage 5. Wizard Trees 6. Desert Holocaust 7. After The Fall Of Man 8. Underground Noise 9. Vocal Struggleeeee

As a thrash metal album, Mortifier's debut release may be quite basic and uncomplicated, but that's only a good thing in this case. Despite being the first serious piece of work from a young band, Underground Noise doesn't seem like a hurried job. Quite the opposite, the outcome suggests that existing capabilities and limitations were well understood during the recording process, and the effort was tailored to fit these conditions. As a result, this album is a lot more coherent than some other recent debuts. The band's sound is sufficiently credible, focused and aggressive, and leaves little to be desired. All songs are pretty short, therefore the product as a whole is not too dull either. While there are not too noteworthy individual tracks, Mortifier could have done so much worse that Underground Noise is almost a small positive surprise.

MORTIFIER - Anatomies Undone
USA 2011

1. Reality Control 2. The Peoples Temple 3. Nails In The Coffin 4. Into The Abyss 5. Death Brings Life 6. Exodus Earth 7. Tortured By The Night 8. Anatomies Undone 9. Untold Terrors

There is no great difference between Anatomies Undone and Mortifier's first release, which can be only expected as the band's sound was quite complete already in the beginning. Maybe the output is a bit more refined than previously, apart from that this album is almost an equally solid example of elementary but well-made American thrash metal in contemporary times. While these songs don't exactly open any new paths in the field, Mortifier managed to tackle the problem of making listenable thrash metal in a fairly strong, convincing and uncompromised way. Obviously something was done right after all, as this album seems to wear out at a slower pace than many other average releases of the same kind usually do.

MORTILLERY - Murder Death Kill
Canada 2011

1. Murder Death Kill 2. Sacrifice 3. Evil Remains 4. Fritzl's Cellar 5. Outbreak 6. Despised By Blood 7. Countless Suicide 8. Voracious Undead 9. Without Weapons 10. Mortal Artillery

It might be too far-fetched to call Mortillery's Murder Death Kill outright delightful, but this recording does have a certain likeable feel to it. The band's speed/thrash offering sounds slightly punkish and even homespun, which actually makes it appear a bit more "real" in comparison to some sleeker studio productions available nowadays. As for the female vocals, they manage to bring memories of some very early Battlefield and Detente recordings to mind, being more than sufficiently powerful for the music. With nearly non-stop speed and generally an energetic and brisk attitude, Murder Death Kill gives an impression of a band that could be a great act to witness playing live some day.

MORTILLERY - Origin Of Extinction
Canada 2013

1. Battle March 2. No Way Out 3. Cease To Exist 4. Creature Possessor 5. Seen In Death 6. Feed The Fire 7. The Hunters' Lair 8. F.O.A.D. 9. Maniac 10. Sunday Morning Slasher

Mortillery's first release was sort of refreshing for its brand of natural sounding speed/thrash metal. The follow-up Origin Of Extinction is not vastly different in this sense, but it does feature a lot more variation in speed than the debut album. Some moments you could call downright laidback or just more moderately paced with a close resemblance to Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM bands in the early 1980s. That alone doesn't make the result less worthy of attention, but admittedly Murder Death Kill appeared a bit more interesting already at the first sight. Mortillery's sophomore effort may be slightly more refined than its predecessor, yet it doesn't quite have the same kind of original rough charm.

MOTTEK - Fatal Violence
Germany 1990

1. Desperate Maniacs In Endless Confusion 2. Fatal Violence 3. Bury Your Remorse 4. Dream About Her Dying 5. Bombs Over Bombay 6. Requiem Shuffle 7. Fact And Fiction 8. Tear Me Apart 9. Escape In Death

A German band turned from hardcore into total thrash metal, Mottek provided a pleasant surprise with Fatal Violence. The band's guitar sound is really awesome, razor sharp and gritty, and the rhythm section is up to speed like no other. Not only that but there's some original thought behind many of these riffs. This is basically a thrash metal attack at its keenest. No new grounds opened here, but what is done proves that some true and tested antics never get too old or ineffective. Granted, the thing goes around the same circles from start to finish, but at least they got it quite right from the very beginning. Mottek gave a ripping example of what it really means to play thrash - original or not, there's a lot worse than this available.

MUNICIPAL WASTE - Hazardous Mutation
USA 2005

1. Deathripper 2. Unleash The Bastards 3. The Thing 4. Blood Drive 5. Accelerated Vision 6. Guilty Of Being Tight 7. Set To Destruct 8. Hazardous Mutation 9. Nailed Casket 10. Abusement Park 11. Black Ice 12. Mind Eraser 13. Terror Shark 14. The Thrashin' Of The Christ 15. Bangover

Municipal Waste may be one of the better known thrash bands in recent years, and it is easy to see why. Following their early, more crossover oriented works, Hazardous Mutation can be seen as a turning point where thrash metal took over the band's more simplistic tendencies. While the album is still quite short, most songs are long enough so that they actually start to make sense. There are not too many bands who can consistently write serious riffage that immediately sounds good, but Municipal Waste succeed in the effort with flying colors. On top of it all, Tony Foresta's eager shouts fit in like a glove. In addition, the production quality is something that bands like D.R.I. probably couldn't even imagine in the 1980s, fully clear and appropriately heavy. Fast, hard-hitting and rarely dull, Hazardous Mutation can leave you happy and out of breath at the same time.

MUNICIPAL WASTE - The Art Of Partying
USA 2007

1. Pre-Game 2. The Art Of Partying 3. Headbanger Face Rip 4. Mental Shock 5. A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Destroyer) 6. The Inebriator 7. Lunch Hall Food Brawl 8. Beer Pressure 9. Chemically Altered 10. Sadistic Magician 11. Open Your Mind 12. Radioactive Force 13. Septic Detonation 14. Rigorous Vengeance 15. Born To Party 16. Thrashing's My Business... And Business Is Good (bonus) 17. I Just Wanna Rock (bonus)

If Hazardous Mutation had been a double album, The Art Of Partying would have made a perfect second half. There are no practical differences other than that the average track length is again slightly longer than before, although none of the songs still breaks even the 3 minute mark (obviously Born To Party does not count). All the positive notes about the previous album apply here, too, and in practice the only major negative remark is that when you hear two or more recordings of this kind in a row, they can appear quite similar to each other. Therefore it may be advisable to limit your exposure to Municipal Waste accordingly. Apart from that, there is no denying that The Art Of Partying is an enjoyable piece of thrash in the same vein as its predecessor.

MURDERWORLD - Out Of The Ashes
Australia 2007

1. Backstab 2. Engulfed In Fire 3. Out Of The Ashes 4. Derived From Destruction 5. Humanity's Infection 6. Minutes To Live 7. Darkest Fears 8. Obsession For Aggression

Quite possibly the first thing about Out Of The Ashes that will draw attention is the sound quality which is almost too good. It is not really overproduced, just somewhat sterile and artificial, and especially the drum sound may appear plain irritating to some. This is not an absolute drawback but it can take something away from the experience. That aside, technically this album is by all means a well-made effort, and there is no shortage of speed either. Yet the music does not necessarily make the best impression as pretty much all the tracks sound like they were composed in the same pipeline with very few variations. All this can lead to something of an indifferent response in the end. Out Of The Ashes must be about as adequately performed as reasonably possible, and still the outcome is rather cold and uncompassionate.

MUST MISSA - The Target Of Hate
Estonia 2005

1. Madness Reigns 2. The Scapegoat 3. You Filthy Pig 4. Holy Disease 5. Human Target 6. Pure Fuckin' Hate 7. Overloaded Maniac 8. Our Future Is Black

The idea of a black metal band turned to pure thrash metal might seem rather hilarious these days, but probably better that than the alternative. With this background, Must Missa's The Target Of Hate sounds almost surprisingly typical and average. Regarding the general style, this product is quite close to the German school of straightforward thrash metal, and the level of innovation is practically zero. Obviously the band put some effort into it and formally the album is not half-bad, but in the seriously saturated genre of thrash metal a highly ordinary offering like this does not impress in the least. To be honest, it should be no wonder if you feel that the urge to skip tracks becomes nearly overwhelming at times.

MUST MISSA - Martyr Of Wrath
Estonia 2007

1. Devil's Reject 2. Here To Destroy 3. Regret Or Deny 4. Martyr Of Wrath 5. Blackened Thrasher Hordes 6. Fanatic Possession 7. Thirsty And Mad 8. Hallowed Be Thy Whip

Even though Martyr Of Wrath is not a huge improvement over Must Missa's previous release, this album does have something of an audible edge over its predecessor. The production and performance sound immediately more forceful than on The Target Of Hate, and occasionally the band's output can even bring Destruction's modern recordings to mind. This arguably demonstrates a certain level of professional quality, although points on originality remain naturally very low. Martyr Of Wrath is by no means a distinctive piece of work, far from it, but at least most songs are actually quite listenable and the result as a whole does not appear quite as dull as some of the band's older works.

MUTILATOR - Immortal Force
Brazil 1987

1. Memorial Stone Without Name 2. Blood Storm 3. Butcher 4. War Dogs 5. Mutilator 6. Brigade Of Hate 7. Immortal Force 8. Tormented Soul 9. Paranoiac Command

Another example of less known underground bands from Brazil, Mutilator's Immortal Force features some very straightforward thrash metal with poor production values and somewhat rushed feel. The production is really raw, resulting in a thin although surprisingly clear sound. The tracks are very fast and primitive pieces that do not exactly differ too much from each other, making it slightly difficult to get a good grasp of this album. The audible enthusiasm in the band's raw sound helps the result at least a bit and makes it easier to forgive some of the unimaginative delivery. Although Mutilator's sound is undeniably quite consistent, at times it can appear even unintentionally funny from today's perspective. Immortal Force is not exactly a great piece of music although there's no reason to completely ignore the effort.

MUTILATOR - Into The Strange
Brazil 1989

1. Raise The Strange 2. Vanishing In The Haze 3. Greetings (To The Dead) 4. Lost Words 5. Fighting In The Past 6. Into The Strange 7. Five Minutes Beyond The Walls 8. A Place To Go

No matter how you look at it, Mutilator's second album Into The Strange was a definite improvement over Immortal Force. Clearly a lot more thought had been put into songwriting, not to mention that both musicianship and production appear much better than on the previous release. Many songs actually feature some quite catchy riffs, and the guitar sound in general shows notable development from the past. Still, all these changes do not mean that Mutilator would have lost their initial rush. These tracks carry much of the same energy as the band's debut, but it is now presented in a more controlled format than before. It is only near the end of this album that the positive impression starts to wear out. Even though Into The Strange may not belong to the group of the most classic or important recordings in the genre, it holds on its own in a fairly respectable manner.

MX - Simoniacal
Brazil 1988

1. Dirty Bitch 2. Fighting For The Bastards 3. Satanic Noise 4. Inquisition 5. Dead World 6. Jason 7. Restless Soul 8. Dark Dream

Expecting your typically energetic but not too memorable Brazilian thrash metal, an unsuspecting listener could be caught off-guard by MX. While the first couple of tracks on Simoniacal sound pretty much like the early Protector with all their controlled chaos ripping through you, near the middle of this album the guitars suddenly develop a new kind of variety that really draws your attention. While constantly relentless and heavy, the debut of MX actually shows serious touches of inspired, even semi-innovative songwriting that certainly helps the album to rise above a great bunch of more stereotypical releases. Although it doesn't really open any new doors with its approach, Simoniacal is a surprisingly worthly staple of thrash metal done with some real talent.

MX - Mental Slavery
Brazil 1989

1. Mental Slavery 2. Behind His Glasses 3. Fake Truth 4. The Guf 5. Obvious, Who Isn't? 6. I Will Be Alive 7. I'll Bring You With Me 8. What Am I 9. Ritual Of Strings 10. No Violence

While the second MX album is still quite an intense effort, it is slightly more formulaic in comparison to the debut. Whereas Simoniacal had a few truly inspirational moments, Mental Slavery is more typical for a thrash metal album in every sense. Most of these tracks lack the genuine spirit of the band's first release, and while the overall pace is pretty relentless, there is very little originality and variation in this music. As a result, it almost feels as if you're hearing the same track repeated several times. It's not exactly of the most memorable kind either. This is not to say that Mental Slavery would be really bad, the album is just a bit too ordinary and forgettable that you'd like to get back to it in the long run.

MX - Again
Brazil 1997

1. Torment 2. Another Game 3. Psycho To The Bones 4. Buy My Impunity 5. Criminous Command 6. Silent Confession 7. Ashes To Ashes 8. Drown In Holy Water

Again was something of a positive surprise from MX after a long break in the recording front. The album starts out very promising with a couple of relentless thrashers that go back to basics in quite an effective way. But not all tracks run in the same vein, and as a whole this release ends up being a mixture of fast thrash metal and some more mid-to-low paced stompers with occasional speed bursts. You cannot help but feel that the end product could have been more intense as well as memorable with a higher number of consistent high-speed tracks than now. Even then some of this variety does add to a carefully favorable impression, though, and at least Again is a fair step up from Mental Slavery while maybe not fully comparable to the band's best original works.

MYSTREZ - The Indictment
Netherlands 1990

1. Intro: Voices 2. Schizophrenia 3. The Ultimate Dark 4. Migration As A Mission 5. Tools Of Humanity? 6. The Endless Sleep 7. A Hidden Disease 8. Mock Soldiers Of Distress 9. Trouble Shifting 10. Inevitable Alterations 11. Instruments Of Genocide 12. Outro: High Roads In The Sky

Mystrez seem to have been a bit strange band in the classic thrash metal genre. The Indictment features some intriguing, rather complex thrash that doesn't directly resemble the output of any other act. Even though this Dutch band may on a couple of occasions sound like a heavier and faster Megadeth, in general their music has a style of its own. The riffs do not really stick to your head, which makes this album not an easy one to remember. Despite the style being not too straightforward, the band play constantly fast, which gives the tracks quite a consistent feel after all. Actually the only major nitpick is that the vocals sound somewhat forced and can get slightly irritating at times. As the music appears to avoid all the easy hooks, it is guaranteed to take time to get into this one, however, The Indictment seems to hold more value than it might initially promise.