Good day all,
Last week I wrote about my love for all things thrash and a gave a shout out to the Big 4 as well as devolving into a discussion on the states of Teutonic Thrash (German Thrash) and giving big props to these bands from Germany. After thinking about that post for a couple of days I have found myself wondering why I journeyed into the German thrash scene while forgetting about the excellent thrash that was born right here on the shores of America. I think it might be that we all get so caught up with the Big 4 that we sometimes forget about all of the other great thrash bands that come from America, that seems to be what I did, and for that I apologize and offer this redux of a post.
When discussing metal with people who don’t usually listen to it the most that people know about thrash or harder heavy metal is the Big 4, they have not listened to all of the other Bay area and New York thrash bands that started around the same time as the Big 4 but for whatever reason do not have the popularity or fame of the these bands. One of the larger reasons could be because for the most part the Big 4 have really had stable line-ups throughout their careers and if there where changes they where minor, the exception of course being Anthrax, but John Bush stayed on for several albums and was not a one-off replacement. But if you look at a band like Testament that Chuck Billy basically kept going by himself until the reformation of the original band for the excellent album Formation of Damnation in 2008. Hell, for a while Chuck and Testament didn’t have a lead guitarist and wouldn’t have guitar solos on the albums. Wierd right? In addition to Testament though there where many other American bands that could be mentioned with the Big 4, and I personally think that some of them where (are) better than those that have been crowned the Big 4. OK, not all of them, just Megadeth who I personally feel is completely overrated. Bands like Exodus, Overkill, Annihilator (OK, they are Canadian, but still better than Megadeth and I need them to make my point), Dark Angel, Pantera, Nuclear Assault, etc… where far superior to what Megadeth had to offer.
Here is the thing though, of all of the bands that I just mentioned, none of them where able to keep a solid lineup throughout their years and for times didn’t even exist as a band. Annihilator most of the time was just Jeff Waters performing all of the instruments on the albums and hiring a band to take on the road with him. If you look at the two seminal Annihilator albums Alice in Helland Never, Neverland, you will find two thrash masterpieces. These albums of the late 80’s early 90’s should have put Annihilator right up there with Anthrax and Megadeth, but if you can’t hold your band together it can’t happen. Similar things have happened to all of the other bands I mentioned, internal strife, in some cases the death of a founding member and many of the other usual causes of a band breaking up or not being able to grow because of circumstances.
But the reality is that there is a lot of great thrash that comes from America that sometimes gets overlooked because of our infatuation with the Big 4 and being overlooked for the European imports. Obviously my previous post did not help that either. The good news is that thrash is making a resurgence and there have already been some really great thrash albums release this year that everyone should be adding to their music catalogues. One of them has come from Overkill whose newest album is a non-stop barrage of in your face, power mad thrash. Currently one of my favorite albums to date from this band. Additionally, Testament has a new album coming out this summer that I am hoping and praying is as good if not better than their 2008 release. Plus there is a newer California based band, Witchaven whose debut album Terrorstorm is well worth your time.
Hopefully this post can be my mea culpa to American Thrash and I will not be exiled to the land of horror metal (because that is just scary). Just remember when you read this that I am not saying that thrash from America is better than any other, I just felt that I may have short-changed American metal in my last post. I hope everyone who reads this goes out and buys any metal album from their favorite music merchant. As long as we continue to purchase metal it will be with us, and with our future generations. Hell, let’s start a new campaign, forget save the trees how about save the metal…OK, OK, I will stop, but seriously go out and buy some awesome thrash today…and hug a tree!
Until Later, Peace,