Okay, think I can put this together now:
10. Vektor "Black Future" - the clever bit about "Black Future" is that I forget I am listening to a thrash record at various points across the record only to be soon enough brought back on topic as this album twists and contorts like some serpent now free of confines. Go back 18 months and this wouldn't have even been in my top 100. I heard it once and dismissed it (which was ridiculous i now concede). Now it sits in my top ten. Thank fuck for revisiting this.
9. Condor "Unstoppable Power" - if "Black Future" occupies my top ten for being challenging and diverse, "Unstoppable Power" occupies it for half of the same reasons. The uncompromising attack of the blackened thrash on display here from these Norwegian bastards holds a comfort in that it sounds like an artist just letting fucking rip and raising a giant middle finger all the way. Vile, fast and relentless. I fucking love this record.
8. Sodom "Agent Orange" - Sodom's finest record (just about edging "Persecution Mania") just ahead of the disappointing "Better Off Dead". I always sit an take notice when I put this album on, it is impossible to try and do anything else as it will not permit use as background music. Instead I make lots of silly faces and throw myself around my room like I am 13 again. It is memorable, catchy and dripping with fucking riffs man!
7. Metallica "Kill `Em All" - the fucking energy on here is what stays with me after each listen. The youthful sound of Hetfield's vocals and the sheer chug of the riffs, stoking the Metallica engine for another 3 great albums to follow, are to me what Thrash is all about as a genre. Rebellious attitude, breakneck pace and absolute fucking fun to boot. The start of a true golden run right here folks. For the record, I laboured over whether to have this or "...And Justice For All" in this top ten. For all the technical perfection of the latter record the energy of the debut made it a no contest.
6. Sepultura "Arise" - my first experience of Max and co. was "Arise". It just blew me the fuck away at 15 years of age and I just played it to fucking death for the best part of four years. The build to the opening of "Altered State" still puts the willies up me and when that fucking riff drops I lose my shit every time. The memorability factor is ramped up to the max here with "Dead Embryonic Cells", "Infected Voice" and the title track all permanently ingrained in my brain. Fuck yeah!
5. Dark Angel "Darkness Descends" - if aggressive thrash is the flavour of choice for your coffee then a hot steaming mug of "Darkness Descends" should get you wet for some caffeine baby! As well as that savage aggression to the sound here there's a real menace in the delivery that creates an atmosphere perfectly complimented by that record cover. It is thrash firmly on the Destruction, Slayer and Kreator side of the fence (no melodies here baby) and deserves a place in everyone's thrash collection.
4. Demolition Hammer "Epidemic of Violence" - I never tire of this record - I mean it opens with a song called "Skull Fracturing Nightmare" for fucks sake, what's not to love?? Yep, "Tortured Existence" was a good debut but fuck me did the unrelenting chaos and brutality get stepped up for full-length number 2! This is so aggressive it borders on insanity but never once comes across as sloppy.
3. Slayer "South of Heaven" - there's no "Reign In Blood" in my top ten (spoiler alert)! I get the hype and think it lives up to it (to a point) but for me "South Heaven" is my go to Slayer record. The tracks are all here, ripe for the picking! "Mandatory Suicide", "Ghosts of War", "Behind the Crooked Cross", "Spill The Blood" or the title track could all make my thrash desert island disc compilation!
2. Sadus "Swallowed In Black" - super stoked to finally have this on CD. It isn't just the ripping intensity that shreds away at your very soul, it is Steve DiGiorgio's mind bending bass work that just adds dimension to the whole sound of the record. Fundamentally a death/thrash record which is not a blend that always works well, this is a complex and varied assault on the senses with sharp contrast between those clean bass tones, the crisp guitar sound and the shrillness of the vocal work.
1. Kreator "Pleasure To Kill" - Teutonic Thrash makes its second and final appearance in my top ten, occupying the top slot. I just can't fault "Pleasure to KIll" (yes it trumps "Endless Pain" even in my book). It stands up today still in terms of strength and relevance some 32 years after it was released. The record just ploughs through my very existence every time I hear it. There's almost an unorthodox sound to it for me, yet it carries a real surety with it at the same time (something "Seven Churches" lacks IMO). It is like an "extreme" thrash album that takes the core values of the genre and somehow darkens them and fills them with looming menace and tangible threat. The memorability on here comes from the total album experience as a whole, not just as a result of one section of the instrumentation or vocals for example.