Writing a top 10 list vacillates between easy and hard faster than the questions in a typical Trivia Crack game. Sometimes, the lists flow right out and you nail it. Others, though, you stew on and cross off items on the list, add them back, and cross them off again as the little voice in the back of your head reminds you constantly about every argument you can think of as to why the list is wrong. This week's cover story, The Ten Best Thrash Metal Records of All-Time, explores a storied genre and posits what list would be complete without the input of a few veterans of the scene.
So we asked them. Here are some of the responses we got.
Jason Newsted, ex-Flotsam & Jetsam, Metallica, Voivod
Motorhead - Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades
Voivod - Voivod, Killing Technology, Nothingface
Venom - Welcome to Hell
Exodus - Bonded by Blood
Sepultura - Beneath the Remains, Chaos A.D., Roots
Slayer - Show No Mercy, Reign in Blood
Metallica - Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets
Megadeth - Killing Is My Business . . . And Business Is Good, Peace Sells . . . But Who's Buying?
Vio-lence - Eternal Nightmare
Death Angel - The Ultra Violence
Sacred Reich - Ignorance
Anthrax - Fist Full of Metal
Cro Mags - Age of Quarrel
Metal Church - Metal Church
Corrosion of Conformity - Eye for an Eye
Phil Rind, Sacred Reich
1. Slayer -Reign in Blood
2. Metallica - Master of Puppets
3. Slayer - Hell Awaits
4. Metallica - And Justice for All
5. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
6. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
7. Megadeth - Killing Is My Business . . . And Business Is Good
8. Corrosion of Conformity - Animosity
9. Exodus - Bonded by Blood
10. Sepultura - Arise
11. DRI - Dealing With It
12. Corrosion of Conformity - Blind
13. Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
14. Sepultura - Beneath the Remains
15. Voivod - Killing Technology
16. Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
17. Destruction - Eternal Devastation
18. S.O.D. - Speak English or Die
19. Venom - Black Metal
20. Forbidden - Forbidden Evil
Phil Rind speaks:
Metallica and Slayer are on a different level than everyone else. Slayer gets the top nod due to Reign's sheer pummeling aggression. Metallica are the better band, but Slayer makes me want to punch people in the face.
The Megadeth and Exodus records were big early influences when we started Sacred Reich (in addition to the main two, see above). Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. were big influences early on, too, especially lyrically.
The Sepultura records are just brutal and have an intensity that is Slayeresque. Vulgar is a heavy record for something more "recent."
Voivod, Death Angel, Destruction, SOD, and Venom were early favorites.
We toured with Forbidden very early on and I saw firsthand what a great band the were.
1. Metallica - Master of Puppets
2. Slayer - Reign in Blood
3. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
4. Anthrax - Among the Living
5. Death Angel - The Ultra-Violence
6. Exodus - Bonded By Blood
7. Megadeth - Peace Sells . . . But Who’s Buying?
8. S.O.D. - Speak English or Die
9. Voivod - Dimension Hatross
10. Annihilator - Never Neverland
11. Testament - The New Order
12. Sepultura - Beneath the Remains
13. Overkill - Taking Over
14. Suicidal Tendencies - Join the Army
15. Sacred Reich - Ignorance
16. Sacrifice - Forward to Termination
17. Kreator - Terrible Certainty
18. Voivod - Killing Technology
19. Forbidden - Twisted Into Form
20. Razor - Shotgun Justice
Danko Jones speaks:
This list is one-quarter Canadian. Yes, I’m Canadian, but Canada had a lot of great metal.
With the exception of S.O.D. and Suicidal Tendencies, I kept it to strictly heavy metal bands.
1) Dave Carlo (Razor) is an overlooked metal riff maestro
2) I would’ve included Age of Quarrel by Cro-Mags, but it’s a crossover album
3) Maybe switch Reign in Blood with Master of Puppets? Nah, leave ’em like that. No, switch ’em. No, leave ’em.
4) I should’ve included Vio-lence.
Michael Gilbert, Flotsam & Jetsam
1. Metallica - Kill 'Em All: A defining moment for me the first time I heard this on cassette tape. I remember it well. Sitting on a milk crate behind 7-Eleven drinking a Mountain Dew 32-ounce Big Gulp with a few of my buddies listening to a boombox. When "Hit the Lights" started and the fast guitar starts after the fade-in, it unleashed demons for me and changed how I listened to music. I found the Holy Grail that day.
2. Megadeth - Killing Is My Business . . . And Business Is Good: This album is the very definition of speed metal. Not the greatest production, but tons and tons of vibe and emotion.
3. SOD - Stormtroopers of Death: For me, this was kind of the crossover where chunk meets punk. Two very fast and very angry types of music coming together for the first time, creating new dimensions in heavy music.
4. Anthrax - Spreading the Disease: From a guitar player's point of view, Scott Ian's precise rhythms and catchy riffs gave speed metal a new kind of groove. I very much think that Scott is the founder of that type of groove. Thirty years later, that opening track, "A.I.R.," still stands monumental.
5. Metal Church - Metal Church - I will confess to this, as this record was probably the biggest influence on me while I wrote some of the music on Doomsday for the Deceiver. Great guitar playing. Killer dark vibe.
6. Destruction - Eternal Devastation - These guys were ahead of their time. Speed metal? Death metal? Maybe both? Nonetheless Eternal Devastation = eternal fuckin' killer album. I love Schmier's vocals. Again, killer guitar playing and fast-as-hell rhythms.
7. Exodus - Bonded by Blood - Scary guitar playing on this album and catchy, fast, choppy rhythms. Another record that helped set the pace of speed metal.
8. Testament - The Legacy - Testament is old reliable and keeps the Testament sound intact album after album. They still sound like they did when The Legacy came out.
David Ellefson, Megadeth
1. Metallica - Master of Puppets: This record raised the bar during the early days of my own career, as far as production and really full, big-sounding songs. I lived in L.A. when it came out and heard it constantly on KNAC, so it was easy to become a fan of this album just driving around in my car with the radio on. They also landed the Ozzy tour on that record, which gave me hope that Megadeth would be able to have those opportunities, too, which we did with Alice Cooper on his 1987 “Constrictor” tour during our Peace Sells tour.
2. Motorhead - Ace of Spades: The original thrash record, in my opinion. They were the predecessors to all things speed, reckless, and fun.
3. Nuclear Assault - Handle With Care: Such a great band with killer intent. Loved by the thrash community but somewhat overlooked by the mainstream. I loved the vocals and lyrics with this band . . . and brutally heavy.
4. Exodus - Bonded by Blood: This band never apologized for just being a full-throttle thrash band, almost to the point of being funny because they were so rowdy. They probably represent Bay Area thrash better than anyone, and for the longest period of time, too!
5. Crumbsuckers - Life of Dreams: They were the young, fun thrash band of New York who were cool and fun to hang out with. We had many good times, including a great unguarded moment of them appearing in the “Peace Sells . . .” video. This record set the ball in motion and they even did dates with us and Overkill in 1987. Really, a great group with fun energy.
6. Stormtroopers of Death- Speak English or Die: In my opinion, the epitome of thrash meets hardcore for the 1980s. We listened to this record daily on the pre-“Peace Sells” tour in 1986. The songs are great top to bottom, the guitar tones are killer, and it was funny, funny, funny! A perfect 10 of an album.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Marty Friedman, ex-Megadeth, ex-Cacophony, solo artist, Japanese TV personality
1. Raven - Wiped Out
2. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
3. Metallica - Master of Puppets
4. Raven - Rock Until You Drop
5. X Japan - Jealousy
6. Megadeth - Peace Sells . . . But Who's Buying?
7. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
8. Slayer - Seasons of the Abyss
9. Angel Witch - Angel Witch
10. Iron Maiden - Killers