First we looked at the best thrash songs from 1983-85, but now we're getting into the real deal – the years when the Big Four went supernova and Metallica started their ascension to the biggest metal band of all time. We've already explained why 1986 was the best year for thrash, but here are ten examples of why the years 1986-89 kicked huge amounts of arse for those who like their music a bit faster.
Metallica – Battery (Master Of Puppets, 1986)
A beautiful acoustic melody is shattered by a merciless volley of heads-down riffs, proving that the scene’s biggest band were still the best at thrashing.
Megadeth – Black Friday (Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?, 1986)
Slayer – Angel Of Death (Reign In Blood, 1986)
Pouring buckets of toxic Nazi controversy over several of metal’s all-time greatest riffs, Slayer were boldly thrashing where no band had thrashed before.
Kreator – Pleasure To Kill (Pleasure To Kill, 1986)
“We really, really worked hard on that album,” attests frontman Mille Petrozza, and it shows in the concentrated aggression of this breathtaking thrash attack.
Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh (Among The Living, 1987)
Anthrax really had their own thing going, Scott Ian’s exuberant crunch and Joey Belladonna’s melodic pipes a unique combination, especially on this classic narked anthem.
Testament – Over The Wall (The Legacy, 1987)
Opening Testament’s high-stakes debut, this is Bay Area thrash in a nutshell: killer riffs, pounding tempos, slavering vocals, and the fluid melodic leadwork of guitar prodigy Alex Skolnick.
Sodom – Nuclear Winter (Persecution Mania, 1987)
Refining their early chaos, Sodom signalled newfound focus with this immersive whirlwind opener, a prime exemplar of thrash’s late-80s nuclear war obsession.
Voivod – Macrosolutions To Megaproblems (Dimension Hatröss, 1988)
Constructing a parallel thrash universe of their own, Voivod honed their extraordinary vision on four albums from 1986-89. If you don’t own them all, buy them immediately!
Xentrix – No Compromise (Shattered Existence, 1989)
A spirited cry of defiance in the dying days of the 80s, from Preston. Xentrix deserved their shot at glory, but couldn’t surpass the inspirational fervour of this rousing singalong.
Sepultura – Mass Hypnosis (Beneath The Remains, 1989)
You can take your pick from this album, really, but the dark, atmospheric twists and boiling chemistry are damn-near definitive on the incredible Mass Hypnosis.