I’m not usually a big fan of instrumental songs, aside from some jazz and classical-type stuff. For some reason, I just prefer songs with vocals. That said, thrash metal has produced some damn fine instrumentals. This is unsurprising, as thrash metal by its very nature requires top-notch musicianship. Some of these are intros to songs/albums, some of them are just shorter interlude pieces, and some of them are gargantuan 7-minute-plus riff monsters. All of them are fucking excellent, and could serve to ease a friend or family member who doesn’t normally enjoy metal into the wonderful world of neck-snapping, ear-popping, skull-fucking, blistering thrash metal. By the way, this is in no way a comprehensive list, and these are in no particular order. Onward!
Megadeth – “Into the Lungs of Hell” (from So Far, So Good…So What? – 1988) – This is the opening song and intro to the blazing apocalyptic tale “Set the World Afire”, which Dave Mustaine says he wrote the lyrics to on the bus ride back to California, after being unceremoniously booted out of Metallica.
Testament – “Confusion Fusion” (from Practice What You Preach – 1989) – If you’ve spent any amount of time on this blog, you already know I love Testament more than most things in life, and this song is a perfect example of the high caliber of musical ability that this Bay Area Thrash Metal beast has always boasted.
Death Angel – “The Ultra-Violence” (from The Ultra-Violence – 1987) – You might recognize the beginning of this song – it was used in a Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr commercial last year around this time, wherein a guy shoved a ludicrously large Jalapeño Turkey Burger into his mouth. When you listen to this one, remember that the drums on this song were played by a 14-year-old kid. Your soccer-playing honor student can fuck right off.
Razor – “The Marshall Arts” (from Violent Restitution – 1988) – I love the title of this one. Canadian thrash metal will own your soul.
Metallica – “The Call of Ktulu” (from Ride the Lightning – 1984) – “Orion” (from Master of Puppets) holds a very special place in my heart, but “The Call of Ktulu” is no slouch, and it’s thrashier, so here it is. This fan made video is fucking sweet. RIP CLB.
Coroner – “Nosferatu” (from R.I.P. – 1987) – Coroner hails from Switzerland, and they are criminally underrated. You really can’t go wrong with any of their albums, but No More Color (1989) is my favorite of theirs. They released their last album of original material in 1993 (grunge must’ve killed them)(haha), and they broke up in 1996, but they’ve been reunited and playing shows (primarily festivals) together since 2010. Guitarist Tommy Vetterli has stated that the band has plans to eventually record new music. I have no doubts that it will be fantastic.
Flotsam and Jetsam – “Flotzilla” (from Doomsday for the Deceiver – 1986) – Perhaps best known as former Voivod bassist Jason Newsted’s first band, Phoenix, Arizona’s Flotsam and Jetsam have always flown just under the mainstream radar, and that’s a real shame, because they have always kicked a ton of ass.
Dark Angel – “Cauterization” (from Leave Scars – 1989) – I don’t like Leave Scars quite as much as I like the albums that bookend it (1986’s Darkness Descends and 1991’s Time Does Not Heal), but it’s still tight as hell.
Rigor Mortis – “Welcome to Your Funeral” (from Rigor Mortis – 1988) – This is the first song off the first album from this amazingly talented Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas band. Guitarist Mike Scaccia would go on to play with Ministry (and several of Al Jourgensen’s 600,000 side projects) before joining back up with his Rigor Mortis bandmates in 2005. In 2012, he collapsed onstage from a sudden heart attack (brought on by heart disease), while playing a show to celebrate Rigor Mortis vocalist Bruce Corbitt’s 50th birthday, and later died at the hospital. Rigor Mortis had recorded another album before Scaccia’s death (Slaves to the Grave); it was released last month, and everything I’ve heard from it so far has been utterly fucking tremendous. RIP Mr. Scaccia.
Nuclear Assault – “Live, Suffer, Die” (from Game Over – 1986) – When Nuclear Assault were on top of their game, they were goddamn near untouchable. Dan Lilker is such a badass motherfucker.
Anthrax – “Intro to Reality” (from Persistence of Time – 1991) – This one cuts off abruptly, because it’s supposed to fade into the next song, “Belly of the Beast”, but I didn’t want to include any singing on this mix, so just deal with it. State of Euphoria (1988) is my favorite Anthrax album, but Persistence of Time will probably always be their high water mark.
S.O.D. – “March of the S.O.D.” (from Speak English or Die – 1985) – This is probably my favorite intro to any metal-related anything ever. Completely unfuckwithable. And further evidence of Lilker’s total badassery. It also cuts off abruptly, as it should bleed into “Sargent D and the S.O.D.”. If you want to hear that version, look it up. In fact, queue up the entire album, lie back, and let the Stormtroopers of Death kick your damn fool head in.
That’s all for today. Tell me about some other badass thrash metal instrumentals I should check out. And don’t forget to stay heavy, always!