Technical Thrash Metal

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CORONER No More Color Album Cover No More Color
CORONER
4.31 | 31 ratings
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VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss Album Cover Dimension Hatröss
VOIVOD
4.28 | 43 ratings
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VEKTOR Terminal Redux Album Cover Terminal Redux
VEKTOR
4.30 | 21 ratings
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CRYPTIC SHIFT Visitations from Enceladus Album Cover Visitations from Enceladus
CRYPTIC SHIFT
4.43 | 7 ratings
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MADROST The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh Album Cover The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh
MADROST
4.41 | 7 ratings
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VEKTOR Outer Isolation Album Cover Outer Isolation
VEKTOR
4.18 | 35 ratings
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WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance Album Cover Control And Resistance
WATCHTOWER
4.20 | 26 ratings
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VOIVOD Killing Technology Album Cover Killing Technology
VOIVOD
4.15 | 36 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) Album Cover Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)
MEKONG DELTA
4.22 | 9 ratings
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CORONER Mental Vortex Album Cover Mental Vortex
CORONER
4.08 | 27 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Lurking Fear Album Cover Lurking Fear
MEKONG DELTA
4.20 | 7 ratings
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INVOCATOR Weave the Apocalypse Album Cover Weave the Apocalypse
INVOCATOR
4.20 | 7 ratings
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EXMORTUS In Hatred's Flame

Album · 2008 · Technical Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Emerging from the Los Angeles metroplex city of Whittier, California in the year 2003, EXMORTUS hit the ground running as a bonafide technical thrash metal powerhouse whose sound showcased an uncompromising extreme metal fury with lightning fast tempos accompanied by punishing twin guitar attacks with traces of death metal and NWOBHM that would later lead the band out of the world of tech thrash and more into the world of neoclassical infused power metal.

After a series of demos and EPs, EXMORTUS unleashed its furor onto the metal world with its full-length debut IN HATRED’S FLAME which was released from the fiery pits of hell in the year 2008 and immediately displayed the three man team of Conan (Lead and Rhythm Guitars), Balmore (Vocals, Lead and Rhythm Guitars) Bass and Mario (Drums) as a raging technical explosion of molten metal madness with outstanding musicianship conspiring to craft 11 tracks of high energy sophisticated thrash metal that added the extra touches of neoclassical shredding solos as well as the death metal vocal growls of Balmore.

This is one of those albums that doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath as it’s high octane incessant battlefield action for its entire 43 minute jaunt into the world of war which the band has been most proficient at narrating through a never-ending series of lyrical devotion to the incessant slaughter of enemy forces and in this case it’s your ear drums! This is probably the only example i’ve come across where an extreme metal band has forged an unholy union between the technical prowess of tech thrash metal that infuses neoclassical power metal and traces of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest into their overall style. Add the death metal growls and EXMORTUS really stands out as something out of the ordinary.

Perhaps the main problem with IN HATRED’S FLAME is that the band is on full adrenaline mode for the entire album’s run and therefore comes across like one of those CGI battle scenes that runs by so quickly that there’s no time to process all the bantering stimulation but on the flip side, this metal madness is so perfectly performed and embodies the spirit of an incessant battle between forces that it works perfectly. While i prefer more varied metal experiences, sometimes just a laser precise focus on a single reaction is what the doctor order and nothing embodies the most horrific bloody war scene like EXMORTUS achieves on this excessive barrage of extreme metal splendor. This is an electric storm of epic battle metal matched by the seasoned musicianship with an intensity like few others.

CORONER No More Color

Album · 1989 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"No More Color" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swiss thrash metal act Coroner. The album was released through Noise Records in September 1989. Coroner was formed in 1985 and released their debut full-length studio album "R.I.P." in 1987. They are widely regarded as one of the seminal thrash metal acts on the Swiss thrash metal scene along with artists like Celtic Frost, Poltergeist, and Messiah. The three-piece lineup which recorded the debut album and "Punishment for Decadence (1988)" is intact: Tommy T. Baron (Tommy Vetterli) on guitar, Ron Royce (Ron Broder) on bass and vocals, and Marquis Marky (Markus Edelmann) on drums.

On "No More Color", Coroner continues the technically well played thrash metal style of "Punishment for Decadence (1988)", but add a few more progressive ideas and a generally more adventurous approach to the compositions. None of the aggression or rawness of the predecessor is lost here though, and "No More Color" is still a pretty intense thrash metal album. The band are incredibly well playing, and there are some jaw-dropping moments featured on the album. It´s especially the guitar playing by Tommy T. Baron, which is out of this world. His tone, his dexterity, his speed, and his choice of notes are very effective and quite tasteful. Marquis Marky and Ron Royce deliver very convincing performances too and the latter´s quite distinct vocal style provides that part of the band´s music with something unique. He has a talking/singing raw vocal style, featuring an understated aggression, that´s rather unconventional.

The material on the 8 track, 34:21 minutes long album is relatively varied, while still staying within the band´s core style. So while the music features quite a few adventurous/progressive ideas and sections, it´s not like Coroner suddenly shifts into jazz rock/fusion mode or they play extented instrumental sections or anything like that (although some of the guitar solo sections go through several tempo/section changes). Everything is neatly arranged and fits well within the band´s technical thrash metal style. While I think of the whole album as one long highlight, I´ll mention tracks like "Read My Scars", "why It Hurts", and especially "Mistress of Deception" as standout tracks.

The whole thing is packed in a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. Every instrument is placed perfect in the mix, which results in a sound which does the music as much justice as possible. The guitar tone is fierce, the bass has a great powerful sound, and the drums feature a powerful organic sound. The vocals are placed slightly low in the mix, but that´s always been Coroner´s style, and once you get used to it, it only adds to the uniqueness of the album.

Both "R.I.P. (1987)" and "Punishment for Decadence (1988)" are great albums, but to my ears Coroner were only honing their skills and songwriting craft on those two releases and ultimately just warming up to this beast of an album. "No More Color" is intense aggression, technical superiority, and songwriting originality in one package, and there´s really nothing like it out there. Coroner hit gold here and I consider "No More Color" a technical thrash metal masterpiece. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

VEKTOR Black Future

Album · 2009 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Black Future" is the debut full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Vektor. The album was released through Heavy Artillery Records in November 2009. Vektor formed in 2002 under the Locrian monicker but changed their name to Vektor in 2004. They released the "Nucleus" demo in 2004 and the album length "Demolition" demo in 2006. The "Hunger for Violence" demo was released in 2007, which was the last demo release before the release of "Black Future"

Stylistically Vektor play a technical/progressive type of thrash/speed metal. It´s like listening to the bastard child of Voivod and Destruction. Fast-paced and aggressive thrash metal featuring screaming high pitched vocals. The vocals are obviously loaded with effects and they sound somewhere between Chuck Schuldiner (late in his career) and Schmier from Destruction. Quite frankly they are somewhat of an aquired taste, and personally I think they are a bit hard on the ears and that they are often taken too much to the extreme (a raw sounding Mickey Mouse on helium). It´s of course my subjective opinion of the vocal style, and I´m sure others will enjoy the vocals greatly.

The instrumental part of the music is very well performed and the tracks are generally pretty long (three of them over 10 minutes in length) and features complex structures and many intriguing songwriting ideas. This is certainly progressive music. Featuring 9 tracks and a total playing time of 68:06, "Black Future" is a long album, and maybe also a bit too long for its own good. It´s not that there´s anything on the album which is sub par in quality, but about half way into the album it feels a little like you´re listening to the same stylistic elements being used again and again. The vocals don´t change much, the riffs are pretty similar on all tracks, and the atmosphere doesn´t change much either, despite Vektor´s efforts to include mellow clean guitar sections, instrumental parts, and other adventurous ideas.

"Black Future" features a raw, powerful, and well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality debut album by Vektor, regardless of my personal issues with the album. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CORONER Punishment for Decadence

Album · 1988 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Punishment for Decadence" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swiss thrash metal act Coroner. The album was released through Noise Records in August 1988. Coroner was formed in 1985 and released their debut full-length studio album "R.I.P." in 1987. They are widely considered one of the seminal thrash metal acts on the Swiss thrash metal scene along with artists like Celtic Frost, Poltergeist, and Messiah. The three-piece lineup from the debut album is intact on "Punishment for Decadence". Tommy T. Baron (Tommy Vetterli) on guitar, Ron Royce (Ron Broder) on bass and vocals, and Marquis Marky (Markus Edelmann) on drums.

Stylistically the music on "Punishment for Decadence" continues the technically well played thrash metal style of "R.I.P. (1987)". Ron Royce delivers another snarling vocal performance, with his oddly "laid back" vocal style. Sometimes it almost sounds like he talks instead of sings. His vocal style suits the music perfectly though, and the above description is definitely not meant as a critique, just an attempt at describing a relatively unique sounding vocal style. The instrumental part of the music is also quite spectacular for the time. Royce bass playing is unfortunately lost in the mix, but Marquis Marky´s slightly fusion influenced drumming is a great asset, and even more so Tommy T. Baron´s guitar playing. His skills are considerable and in addition to his powerful riffs, his solos are incredibly well played.

The material on the 10 track, 38:54 minutes long album is also relatively well written. I say "relatively", because when the album has ended, it´s not all tracks I´m able to remember. "Masked Jackal", which the band also made a promotional video for, is one of the most catchy and memorable tracks on the album, but the instrumental "Arc-Lite" also stands out. Coroner´s cover of "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix stands out too, but not in a particularly positive way. So it´s a bit up and down with the quality of the material. "Punishment for Decadence" is still overall a solid release though.

Featuring a sound production which is decent but still leaves a bit to be desired, my overall impression of "Punishment for Decadence" is a bit mixed. To my ears it´s not the giant step forward from "R.I.P. (1987)" one could have hoped for, but it´s not a step down either. I´d put it pretty much on par with the predecessor in regards to the overall quality of the release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved. The signs of greatness are here in abundance, but the final product just lacks that last thing to make it reach the excellent level.

SADUS Out for Blood

Album · 2006 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Out for Blood" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The album was released through Mascot Records in February 2006. It features the same lineup, who recorded "Elements of Anger" from 1997 in Darren Travis (guitar, vocals), Steve DiGiorgio (bass, keyboards), and Jon Allen (drums). While 9 years is definitely a long time between album releases, some of the members of the lineup have kept really busy in the intermediate years. Both Drummer Jon Allen and bassist Steve DiGiorgio worked with Testament guitarist Eric Peterson on the Dragonlord black metal project, and DiGiorgio also worked as a session musician on several other projects in those years, including Testament, Control Denied, and Iced Earth (...among others). It seemed at this point that Sadus had become more of a project to the members than a full-time band, and it probably had a lot to do with their lack of commercial success and recognition. The former is not so strange given the relatively extreme nature of the band´s music, but it´s a real shame that they were only ever able to gather a rather small cult following, because the quality of their music has always been pretty high. Sadus are certainly one of those acts who didn´t get what they deserved.

Stylistically the material on "Out for Blood" continues the aggressive and technically well played thrash metal style of "Elements of Anger (1997)". There is good rhythmic variation on the album, so there are both furiously fast-paced thrash metal parts, as well as both slow- and mid-paced grooves in the music (although the latter style is more dominant here). "Elements of Anger (1997)" was quite an atmospheric release too, and while "Out for Blood" is generally not as atmospheric, there are a couple of atmospheric moments on the album (sometimes the subtle use of keyboards/synths provide that), which is great for the variation of the music. Darren Travis sounds as angry as ever, and his distinct sounding snarling vocal style is one of the great assets of Sadus music. He can go from a deep growl to an almost hysterical sounding screaming vocal style in seconds. Mostly he just sounds pissed off and ready to bite your head off.

"Out for Blood" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. DiGiorgio´s busy bass is as always placed high in the mix, and it works well and is one of the features of the band´s music which gives Sadus their unique sound. The sharp riffs and powerful organic drumming are worth a mention too. Sadus are a band with a clearly defined sound, and although they´ve developed that sound considerably throughout the years, it´s still unmistakably the sound of Sadus no matter which of their albums you put on. "Out for Blood" overall follows the more groove oriented and heavy direction of it´s predecessor rather than the furiously fast-paced and aggressive direction of the band´s early releases, but that´s only natural if you´ve followed their musical development.

So "Out for Blood" is another high quality release by Sadus, where they continue to develop their trademark sound while still staying true to their roots. Like most of Sadus releases before it, "Out for Blood" went by largely unnoticed and was probably only picked up by their dedicated cult following, so I´m here to advertise that if you´re a fan of technically well played and aggressive thrash metal with a unique sound and pretty good diversity in the songwriting department, "Out for Blood" is worth your time and money. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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