Abattoir: Vicious Attack

Songs from the slaughterhouse.

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Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth might’ve grabbed the 80s thrash headlines but there was a swarm of lesser-known bands beneath them.

Thirty years after its original release via Combat Records, the brutal enticement of Abattoir’s debut remains undiminished. The Los Angeles speed demons never bettered this breathtakingly intense album, which began life as an eight-song demo.

If you find modern-day metal overthought and overwrought, Vicious Attack – the clue is in the title – will come like a breath of fetid air. Hysterical shrieking vocals, blazing-mad guitar solos and lyrics such as ‘Eating human flesh/Dressed in steel mesh’ combine to create something inexplicably magical.

These prime cuts are trimmed of fat: 30 minutes and that’s your lot. There’s an uncanny degree of commerciality too, so don’t blame us if you start humming the chorus of Screams From The Grave at an inopportune moment.

As a bonus there’s a ridiculously fine cover of Ace Of Spades which, legend has it, prompted Lemmy to scour the ranks of Abattoir for future members of Motörhead.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.