Contract In Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal
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.
FOR FANS OF: SLAYER, KREATOR, METALLICA
Sabbat: a beacon for the UK thrash scene