Most Important Albums in Thrash Metal History

Without these albums Thrash Metal wouldn't be as popular as it would be today.

The Top Ten

1 Kill 'Em All - Metallica

This is how thrash metal got going. One of the best.

Objectively, this album inspired so much of what thrash metal is. But I think that this shaped all future thrash metal. I'd say second most important is Peace Sells.

2 Welcome to Hell - Venom

Without Venom, there wouldn't have been thrash metal, black metal, death metal and other sorts of genres.

It's simple - no thrash without this album (1981). - Metal_Treasure

Thrash metal before Metallica!

3 The Years of Decay - Overkill

One of the albums that defines Overkill!

This should be #1

Some of Bobby Gustafson's best guitar work!

Dimebag owned this album. He was impressed with Terry Date's production work on it that Pantera decided to hire him to produce "Cowboys From Hell".

4 Reign In Blood - Slayer

You can't leave "Reign In Blood" out of a list like this. It was heavily influential for, not only thrash metal, but a certain amount of genres such as extreme metal, death metal, black metal and grindcore.

"Kill 'Em All" and "Welcome To Hell" are great albums, but this one's far more important.

5 Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? - Megadeth
6 Alice In Hell - Annihilator

Important because it was one of Roadrunner's best-selling records.

Supposedly this is what inspired Mustaine to make Rust in Peace. He even asked Jeff Watters to join Megadeth in '89 after hearing this record.


7 Master of Puppets - Metallica

Metallica's last album with Cliff Burton

This was the album that broke Metallica into large-ish mainstream audiences.


8 Bonded by Blood - Exodus

This album remains a very strong influence to at least two scenes of the mid-to-late 80's: the Bay Area thrash metal scene (Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, Vio-Lence, Heathen, etc.) and then then-upcoming genre death metal (Death, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Deicide, etc.)

"Bonded By Blood" was somewhat more important than anything the "Big 4" had released up to that point (1985). Like the first two Metallica albums ("Kill 'Em All" and "Ride The Lightning"), "Bonded By Blood" inspired so much of what the Bay Area thrash metal scene is all about. Most people say that if the album had been released immediately after its completion in the summer of 1984, it would've been remembered just as much as "Kill 'Em All" or received credit for launching the thrash metal scene.

9 Among the Living - Anthrax
10 The New Order - Testament


The Contenders

11 Pleasure to Kill - Kreator

This is one of the thrash metal albums that influenced the death metal genre.

Why isn't this album in the top 10 yet?

One of the "Unholy Trinity" of 1986!

Kreator's finest hour!

1 Comment
12 Practice What You Preach - Testament

Not only was this Testament's first album to enter the top 100 on the charts, but it also helped build the band's status as one of thrash metal's finest bands. Thanks to the considerable amount airplay of "Practice What You Preach" and "The Ballad", the album has sold more than 450,000 copies in the years since its release despite never achieving Gold Certification.

When this album dropped in '89, Testament was already becoming one of the hottest thrash metal bands.

Their first two albums are great, but I agree how important this album was.

13 Darkness Descends - Dark Angel

Supposedly, Randy Burns' production on this album inspired Kreator to work him as the producer for "Extreme Aggression".

The album that introduced the mighty Gene Hoglan!

14 Cowboys from Hell - Pantera

After a period of transitioning, from glam (as heard on "Metal Magic", "Projects In The Jungle" and "I Am The Night") to metal (as heard on "Power Metal"), Pantera finally got not only their biggest break yet, but reputation as one of the world's biggest metal bands with their fifth album "Cowboys From Hell". It was the time of that album's release in 1990 that many thrash metal bands (including "The Big Four" aka Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, as well as others like Testament, Overkill and Exodus) were at their creative peak. The success of "Cowboys From Hell" also allowed Pantera to embark on their first-ever tour, opening for up Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus in America and for Judas Priest on the "Painkiller" tour in Europe.

This album not only changed the metal scene of the 90's, but influenced lots of groove metal, alternative metal and even thrash metal bands.

Rob Halford became a huge Pantera fan after hearing this album. He even joined them on stage when Pantera opened for Judas Priest and did a collaboration with them on his solo song "Light Comes Out Of Black". And more importantly, Rob's love for Pantera inspired him to form the band Fight, one of the bands he was in during his hiatus from Priest.

15 Extreme Aggression - Kreator

Supposedly, Randy Burns' production work on Dark Angel's "Darkness Descends" inspired Kreator to work with him as the producer of this album. This makes sense as Kreator and Dark Angel are good friends, and Gene Hoglan even mentioned "Extreme Aggression" as his personal favorite Kreator album in one interview.

Probably the second best Kreator album, behind "Pleasure To Kill".

Not only was this Kreator's major label debut, but the album that finally broke the band in America, thanks to the airplay of their video for "Betrayer" on MTV's Headbangers Ball.

16 Beneath the Remains - Sepultura

Important because, by the time this album was released in '89, Sepultura was starting to build a following.

This was the album that broke Sepultura outside of their home country Brazil.


17 Ride the Lightning - Metallica
18 Control and Resistance - Watchtower

Technical thrash metal classic!

19 Agent Orange - Sodom

There are a lot of badass songs on this album!

This was the first thrash metal album to enter the German charts!

20 Man of Straw - Viking

Underrated classic!

This was Brett Eriksen's band before he replaced Jim Durkin as the guitarist of Dark Angel and played on their "Time Does Not Heal" record.

21 Forbidden Evil - Forbidden
22 The Legacy - Testament
23 Doomsday for the Deceiver - Flotsam and Jetsam

The only album F&J did with Jason Newsted before he went on to replace Cliff in Metallica.

24 Rust in Peace - Megadeth
25 Act III - Death Angel
26 Hell Awaits - Slayer
27 Lights... Camera... Revolution! - Suicidal Tendencies
28 Eternal Nightmare - Vio-Lence
29 Arise - Sepultura
30 Why Play Around? - Wargasm

Wargasm 3 piece monsters they are so under rated

31 Killing Technology - Voivod

How is this iconic album not in the top ten?... at the very least the top 20

32 Metal Church - Metal Church
33 By Inheritance - Artillery

Criminally underrated Danish thrash metal band!

34 Show No Mercy - Slayer
35 For Whose Advantage? - Xentrix
36 The Force - Onslaught
37 Dreamweaver - Sabbat
38 Handle with Care - Nuclear Assault
39 Thrash Zone - D.R.I.
40 Annihilation of Civilization - Evildead
41 Eternal Devastation - Destruction
42 U.S.A. for M.O.D. - Method of Destruction
43 Think This - Toxik
44 Terror Squad - Artillery
45 Terrible Certainty - Kreator
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200 votes
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2 years, 267 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Welcome to Hell - Venom
2. Kill 'Em All - Metallica
3. Reign In Blood - Slayer
1. Welcome to Hell - Venom
2. Reign In Blood - Slayer
3. Kill 'Em All - Metallica
1. Welcome to Hell - Venom
2. Kill 'Em All - Metallica
3. Reign In Blood - Slayer

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