Var­i­ous artists

Con­tract In Blood: A His­tory Of UK Thrash Me­tal

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Reviews | Albums. Lives. Merch. - CHRIS CHANTLER


A near-ex­haus­tive survey of Blighty’s un­sung speed-freaks Vet­eran British metalheads

might re­mem­ber grum­bling that the UK wasn’t pulling its weight dur­ing the 1980s thrash ex­plo­sion. After Ju­das Pri­est, Motör­head, UK punk and NWOBHM so pro­foundly in­spired the US and Eu­ro­pean thrash scenes, we Brits seemed con­tent to put our feet up for a 20-year tea break, so a five-disc, 80-song boxset of UK thrash could sound like a ter­ri­fy­ing en­durance test. How­ever, at some point dur­ing this marathon en­deav­our you’re blown away by how many di­a­monds have been res­cued from the rough by noted mu­si­cian and writer Ian Glasper – al­though Ian’s own em­i­nently wor­thy bands, Deca­dence Within and Stampin’ Ground, are alas nowhere to be found. They’re not the only glar­ing omis­sions; keenly felt is the ab­sence of Xen­trix, whose song No Com­pro­mise is ar­guably Bri­tain’s great­est thrash an­them. Xen­trix were one of the UK bands groomed for star­dom be­cause their mu­sic ap­prox­i­mated the lu­cra­tive Bay Area sound, but apart from Slam­mer’s ad­mit­tedly killer Ten­e­ment Zone, there’s a sur­pris­ing lack of wannabe-Amer­i­can­isms. Many bands re­flect the char­ac­ter of their home­land; not just the wacky hu­mour of Lawn­mower Deth and Me­tal Duck, nor the pover­tys­tricken, two-fin­gers-in-the-air racket of Ani­hi­lated and Hell­bas­tard, but also the touches of arch ec­cen­tric­ity en­liven­ing even the most ob­scure cuts by long-for­got­ten foot-sol­diers like Death­wish, Xys­ter, Dec­i­ma­tor and Warp­speed.

But al­though it’s a nos­tal­gic hoot re­vis­it­ing the scene’s gen­uine le­gends (Venom, Sab­bat, On­slaught) along­side the bud­get-lager also-rans (Drunken State, Tor­toise Corpse, Zeit­geist), it’s the post-mil­len­nial thrash re­vival­ists like Evile, SSS, Gama Bomb and

Sav­age Mes­siah who up-ratchet the power, pas­sion and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, pro­vid­ing a neat coun­ter­point to hoarier mu­seum pieces. The ge­o­graph­i­cal track se­quenc­ing doesn’t re­ally make much sense, but there is so much joy to dis­cover, in­clud­ing sev­eral songs never be­fore pressed to CD, now heart­en­ingly saved from the slow de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of demo tape rib­bon.


Sab­bat: a bea­con for the UK thrash scene

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