Top 10 Thrash Metal Songs Of 2017
2016 was a huge year for thrash metal with legends like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Testament all releasing high quality albums last year. With 2017, thrash was mostly lead by bands of the new guard such as Municipal Waste and Havok who are keeping the style alive and well in the modern metal age. The speed and ferocity of one of metal's benchmark genres continues to gain new listeners and practitioners which is proof positive of thrash's staying power. The songs on this list are the best of the year's crop and as a rule, we kept it to one song per artist.
10. "Breathe Grease" By Municipal Waste
The kings of "party thrash" return with their well worn brand of irreverent crossover on their latest album Slime And Punishment. "Breathe Grease" opens the record up with its blistering speed riffage and Tony Foresta shouting at the top of his lungs directly into your ears. And it's all condensed into a sub-two minute package. Convenient for the A.D.D. listening habits of today. Enjoy!
9. "A Dying World" By Iron Reagan
Tony Foresta and "LandPhil" Hall are quite the busy bodies. Appearing on this list once again with their other band Iron Reagan, Crossover Ministry was a slightly heavier and more serious effort than Slime And Punishment. As the album title suggests, it's another crossover record with "A Dying World" as one of its highlights. Rumbling drums and guitar feedback kick the song off before the aggressive, punky verses begin. A slick solo near the song's end is icing on the cake to the short but sweet track.
8. "Lich King V: Stalemate" By Lich King
The name of the game for Massachusetts' Lich King is speed. The riffs on this track come at you with lighting speed as the vocals are delivered with the intensity of a doomsday preacher. The lyrics are part of a multi-part series about a fictional ruler of the dead called The Lich King (which is also the band's namesake) and may or may not be inspired by the game World Of Warcraft. This part details an apocalyptic battle with the frenzied instrumentation acting as a perfect backdrop. Intense and unrelenting, this song is thrash distilled to its core parts.
7. "Executioner's Tax (Swing Of The Axe)" By Power Trip
The hype around Power Trip has been huge this past year and for good reason. While not the most technical band around, they more than make up for it in brutality. Enough so to tour with the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, and Napalm Death. Their latest record Nightmare Logic is full of in your face bangers with "Executioner's Tax" being its crown jewel. It's catchy, driving rhythm will keep you headbanging until you're in a neck brace. And frontman Riley Gale's gravelly delivery keeps the mood primal. Definitely a can't miss for any metal fan.
6. "The Rise Of Chaos" By Accept
Since their reformation back in 2009, Accept has been on a hot streak. Four albums have been released since then and each one has enjoyed great critical and commercial success. Their latest record The Rise Of Chaos is an especially great release with its title track as one of its biggest highlights. It sounds modern with its high quality production and headbanging aggression. But maintains the fun of the classic metal style that the band helped pioneer. Proving without doubt that even forty years into their professional career Accept still has a place in metal.
5. "Intention To Deceive" By Havok
Havok are known as one of the leading bands in the modern thrash movement with their style being pulled directly from the 80's with authenticity. Their latest record Conformicide is like a Rust In Peace for 2017. Heavily political in its lyricism, it takes aim at many subjects such as political correctness and corrupt politicians. Musically the whole album is quality but "Intention To Deceive" stands out.with its displays of technical skill, evil riffs, group shouts, and authentic anger towards the issue of dishonest media in America.
4. "Satan Is Real" By Kreator
35 years and fourteen studio albums later the German kings of thrash, Kreator, are not only still going strong but are releasing some of the best material of their career. 2012's Phantom Antichrist is considered by many to be a modern classic and their latest, Gods Of Violence, is also in the running for some of the band's best material. The record is deep with heavy, creative riffs but also contains a strong anthemic element that gives the album accessibility. "Satan Is Real" is a prime example of this balance with its shredding riffs that seamlessly transition into "heroic" sounding melody for the chanting chorus. The track is infectious and shows why Kreator has been on of the most consistent thrash bands around.
3. "New Ways To Bear Witness" By Byzantine
Byzantine are West Virginia's best kept secret. Sporting a progressive tech-thrash style soaked in southern groove, the band has a sound all their own. Long, creative song structures, focused guitar solos, and nasty riffs with plenty of chug are hallmarks of their latest album The Cicada Tree. Their first for Metal Blade Records and one of my favorite albums of the year. "New Ways To Bear Witness" best shows the band's ability to balance melody and aggression as well as the versatility of frontman Chris "O.J." Ojeida who wields raspy growls and golden melodic vocals with equal skill. Look for Byzantine to become a household name in the metal world real soon.
2. "Mean, Green, Killing Machine" By Overkill
Overkill has been one of the more consistent thrash bands that came up during the genre's 80's heyday. Every album they release is almost guaranteed to have some bangers on it. Alike to Accept, the band has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity amid the modern thrash revival with their recent albums all charting well. The Grinding Wheel, the band's latest, has continued that trend and holds "Mean, Green, Killing Machine" as a highlight. Beginning with a tribal drum intro. alongside buzzy guitars it holds a driving rhythm throughout much of its length. Balancing out the aggression is a melodic middle portion where frontman Bobby Blitz gets to showcase his melodic range. All before descending back into aggressive riffs to close out the track. It's Overkill's style through and through and shows that the band still has plenty left in the tank.
1. "Remain Violent" By Warbringer
If Havok are the Megadeth of today then Warbringer would be Slayer. Borrowing more from extreme metal than many of their peers, their self-proclaimed "death thrash" reaches another layer of chaos and heaviness than the genre usually touches. John Kevill is one of few modern thrash vocalists who can hold a candle to the likes of Chuck Billy and Zetro Sousa with his snarling yet discernible delivery and high pitched howls. Their new album Woe To The Vanquished exemplifies this style with its non-stop riff-fests and themes of war and conflict. It's a modern classic and nearly any track would have a case for thrash song of the year. "Silhouettes" with its dizzying riffs and dark subject matter. "When The Guns Fell Silent" which displays a songwriting craft far beyond thrash's raw punk roots. But "Remain Violent" wins out because of pure fun factor. It contains a driving, headbang rhythm with a main riff that's pure mosh fuel. A catchy vocal melody complete with gang shouts in the chorus. A sweet guitar solo. And Kevill's distinct howls and vicious vocal delivery expressing anger at police brutality. Keeping with thrash's long running tradition of political lyricism. Warbringer are well worthy of carrying the torch for thrash in the modern era and run away with both thrash song and thrash album of the year.