Metal Luminaries from Megadeth, Metallica, and More Share Their Favorite Thrash Records

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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.

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

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon