Best Bay Area Thrash Albums

Best Bay Area Thrash Albums

Best Bay Area Thrash AlbumsIn the early ‘80s, San Francisco’s Bay Area was the epicenter of the fastest, loudest, heaviest music in the world. Young, riff-hungry bands like Metallica, Exodus, Lääz Rockit, Possessed and Death Angel were pushing the genre’s boundaries, playing with more speed and dexterity than their metal contemporaries. They set the standard for American thrash. MetalRulz picks the scene’s 10 Best Bay Area Thrash Albums.

[10] Testament – The New Order (1988)

A lot of people would go with the debut, The Legacy, but they really came into their own with The New Order. It was less showboat, and to this day Disciples Of The Watch is one of the best songs they’ve written. This is where they found themselves. Even fond of their cover of Aerosmith’s Nobody’s Fault (from 1976’s Rocks).

Eerie Inhabitants
The New Order
Trial by Fire
Into the Pit
Hypnosis (Instrumental)
Disciples of the Watch
The Preacher
Nobody’s Fault (Aerosmith cover)
A Day of Reckoning
Musical Death (A Dirge) (Instrumental)

[9] Vio-lence – Eternal Nightmare (1988)

You can’t have a top 10 of Bay Area thrash without recognizing this record. People love it to this day; the energy is incredible and it’s lyrically brilliant. And the guys meant it when they played it. Vio-Lence shows were always crazy; the pits were nuts and people really latched onto it. Bodies On Bodies is an amazing song, as is Serial Killer and Kill On Command. When they came out in the Bay Area scene, they were a breath of fresh air.

Eternal_NightmareTRACKS :
Eternal Nightmare
Serial Killer
Calling in the Coroner
T.D.S. (Take It as You Will)
Bodies on Bodies
Kill on Command

[8] Sacrilege B.C. – Party With God (1986)

This is an obscure release that’s left off a lot of classic Bay Area thrash lists. This is their debut album. Originally they were called Sacrilege, but of course there was another band called Sacrilege. This is a great record from beginning to end and there are great thrash songs – there’s one Azemeroth, Slaughterhouse and Skinned Alive – so you get the vibe!


Fun With Napalm
Born of Hell
Time to Die
Skinned Alive
Judge Death
Death Toll
Wars of God
Final Rites

[7] Possessed – Seven Churches (1985)

They were one of the Bay Area’s most extreme bands and this was their debut. They were like a turbo-driven Venom, basically, and what Jeff Becerra did with his voice was ridiculous. Songs like The Exorcist, Holy Hell, Burning In Hell – they were the beginning roots of death metal and they did it extremely well. Seven Churches is really a great record.

Seven_ChurchesTRACKS :
The Exorcist
Burning in Hell
Evil Warriors
Seven Churches
Satan’s Curse
Holy Hell
Twisted Minds
Fallen Angel
Death Metal

[6] Forbidden – Forbidden Evil (1988)

This is another debut record. It was urgent; they had their own sound, amazing dual guitar work and phenomenal drumming. Russ Anderson was an incredible vocalist – doing it Halford-style, and was ahead of the game. The song Chalice Of Blood was an incredible song – (Machine Head frontman) Robb Flynn actually had a hand in writing that. He was originally in the band when they were called Forbidden Evil, then he left to form Vio-Lence. This is a damn fine record.

Forbidden_EvilTRACKS :
Chalice of Blood
Off the Edge
Through Eyes of Glass
Forbidden Evil
March into Fire
Feel No Pain
As Good as Dead
Follow Me

[5] Death Angel – The Ultra-Violence (1987)

This is their debut album and is epitome of a thrash record – from the production, to the songwriting and the urgency. If you wanted to explain what thrash was to a person from another planet, you could put on The Ultra-Violence and say ‘This is thrash metal’. It defines it. Its NWOBHM mainlined with adrenaline, but you can hear the innocence in the production and the lyric writing. There’s a 10-minute instrumental called The Ultra-Violence, too.

TheUltra-ViolenceTRACKS :
Evil Priest
Voracious Souls
Kill as One
The Ultra-Violence (Instrumental)
Mistress of Pain
Final Death

[4] Metallica – Kill ’Em All (1983)

Another debut! It truly changed the face of heavy metal. Didn’t think they’d take over the world to the extent they did. Just look at the album’s back cover photo of those spotty fucking teenagers! But that’s why Kill ‘Em All was even more of an accomplishment – these teenagers just got together and made a kick-ass metal album.

Kill_'Em_AllTRACKS :
Hit the Lights
The Four Horsemen
Jump in the Fire
(Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth (Instrumental)
Phantom Lord
No Remorse
Seek & Destroy
Metal Militia

[3] Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)

Its production is incredible and the song structures are just ridiculous. The album cover was wonderful, and lyrically James Hetfield had found his footing and was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in the metal scene. It was about true topics that affected people – it was about reality and not just about, fire and brimstone. He found something that was tangible that people wanted to latch onto. Battery is one of those songs that you’d put on and it would just pick you up, no matter what. It’s a brilliant, in-your-face record.

Master_of_PuppetsTRACKS :
Master of Puppets
The Thing That Should Not Be
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Disposable Heroes
Leper Messiah
Orion (Instrumental)
Damage, Inc.

[2] Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985)

The vibe of that particular line-up was incredible; the songwriting was amazing and lyrically it was violent! Violent, violent – That’s Exodus in their purest form. Mind-blowing. In the Bay Area, everyone had the bootleg copy of this album almost a year before it came out! Everyone loved it. And their live shows back then were just insane. You couldn’t top the violence of the pit at an Exodus show. They owned the Bay Area, and rightly so. And (late vocalist) Paul Baloff lived and breathed what he was talking about. His lyrics were true. He was a twisted, violent man!

Bonded_by_bloodTRACKS :
Bonded by Blood
And Then There Were None
A Lesson in Violence
Metal Command
No Love
Deliver Us to Evil
Strike of the Beast

[1] Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)

Absolutely, hands down Ride The Lightning. The first time you put the needle to the vinyl and Fight Fire With Fire blasts in after the acoustic bit? Nobody heard production that powerful. Everyone was blown away. Everyone was. Hands down, they won. The songs are phenomenal and it’s their best record to date. It is the ultimate thrash album.

Ride_the_LightningTRACKS :
Fight Fire with Fire
Ride the Lightning
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fade to Black
Trapped Under Ice
Creeping Death
The Call of Ktulu (Instrumental)

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