Thursday, September 23, 2010

Metal Briefs: Teutonic Thrash

Most anyone who knows anything about metal is familiar with the Bay Area thrash metal scene of southern California: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and the rest.* Far fewer know about the important German thrash scene, often called Teutonic thrash metal.

* I think it must have been Anthrax's manager who came up with "The Big Four". It's the only explanation for putting them on the same level with those three greats.

Destruction: Eternal Devastation (1986)

Destruction: Mad Butcher+Eternal Devastation (2 Albums) Destruction is one of the very first German thrash metal bands, and one of the most influential. On 1986's Eternal Devastation, they show some great riff-writing ability. The sound is crunchy and very Venom-influenced. Even the vocals betray a lot of Cronos, although there is some Tom Araya-style high-pitched work, too. It's generally a bit slower than the Bay Area thrash of the time, but they do faster sections as well, and they can really shred on the solos. Highlights include "Life Without Sense" and "United by Hatred". One problem, though, is every song starts with the same cymbal crashes to set the tempo--why they couldn't use hand signs on a few of them is beyond me. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Kreator: Terrible Certainty (1987)

Terrible Certainty Kreator is even more Slayer-influenced than Destruction. They keep a faster pace through most of Terrible Certainty, and every single solo could be one of Kerry King's best. Vocally as well as rhythmically, these guys are always knocking on black metal's door (especially on closer "Behind the Mirror"), but they never quite cross the threshold. Every now and again they throw in some gang shouts for emphasis, but it actually sounds cool. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sodom: Agent Orange (1989)

Agent Orange Think of Sodom as being a lot like Destruction and Kreator, but with a much more obvious influence from the predecessor of thrash, Motörhead. On Agent Orange, the riffs are extremely catchy, and even though their solos aren't as good as the above groups, this tends to be a more fluid and accessible listen. Everything seems cohesive, and it's well-produced. It does have a couple weak moments, especially the cover at the end, but highlights like the title track and the crushing "Baptism of Fire" more than make up for it. On top of all that, they throw in a huge nod to crossover thrash in "Ausgebombt". I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I honestly enjoy German thrash more than the Big 4 of American thrash right now. Maybe because it's newer to me, not really sure. I did a post on this some time ago as well.

    Kind of odd that we both covered Agent Orange yesterday.

  2. That is odd. I actually wrote this post and scheduled it to post on that date about a month ago, too.