Top 10 Best Thrash Metal Albums

The Top Ten
1 Rust in Peace - Megadeth

Is there really any competition? This is the finest thrash metal album ever and will probably never be topped. It is light years better than 'Master of Puppets,' 'Ride the Lightning,' or even 'Peace Sells.' By the way, 'Reign in Blood' shouldn't be in the top ten, or even top 15. 'Seasons in the Abyss' is way better.

And come on, 'Master of Puppets' isn't even really straight-up thrash. It's mostly diluted with ballads, slow parts, and repetitive riffs. It's mostly heavy metal. Do you see 'Countdown to Extinction' up here? No, because it's not really straight-up thrash. But all the Metallica fangirls came to vote for it. Apply the same standards to Metallica that you do for Megadeth. If you're a Metallica fan, vote for 'Ride the Lightning.' You know that album is way more thrash than MOP and, if we're honest, better.

2 Master of Puppets - Metallica

First, Metallica have written five of the greatest thrash albums ever made. Then, you move onto Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, etc. James Hetfield and co. were regarded as the greatest metal musicians and vocalists on the planet from 'Ride The Lightning' onwards. This is because no one knew what on Earth was going on when they released 'Kill 'Em All.'

If this thread is an opinion piece, fine, so be it. But Metallica at their best (a decade) were the founders of the greatest metal genre of all time, and no one has surpassed their first five albums. This is simply a fact, and if you think differently, you're younger than 40. 'Master of Puppets' shall never be equaled, and thrash cannot be reinvented because Metallica already invented it. It's as simple as that.

3 Reign in Blood - Slayer

Thrash is the epitome of intensity, and nothing comes closer to this absolute masterpiece. The best thrash album, hands down. Slayer is order through chaos. No one combined thrash and punk like them. This is not meant to be liked. It just simply is. The band did not give a flying care about what people thought of their music.

One of the most influential albums in heavy metal history! Death metal wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for Reign in Blood. It contains some of the finest songs ever made (Angel of Death, Necrophobic, Jesus Saves, Raining Blood, etc.). Dave Lombardo drums like a madman on this record, and Tom's vocals are insane!

4 Ride The Lightning - Metallica

'Ride The Lightning' is a metal masterpiece in a few ways. 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' does everything right - an incredible intro, a memorable riff, and vocals from Hetfield that give you goosebumps every time. The structure of songs throughout the album is very solid, with both fast and slow tracks that sound equally great. The opening riff of 'Ride the Lightning' is literally close to perfect, and the song in general works so well.

Megadeth does have some great songs, like 'Symphony of Destruction' and 'Peace Sells,' among many others, but no Megadeth album comes close to 'Ride The Lightning.' This album is so good that there is no reason to skip any song on it. It's enjoyable all the way through. The actual complexity of Metallica, both lyrically and instrumentally, is the best of the best. This album is one of the best from Metallica and is definitely the best thrash album.

5 Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? - Megadeth

This sophomore effort is simply remarkable, apart from the lousy I Ain't Superstitious cover. The song structures - and the lack of them on Wake Up Dead, The Conjuring, and Good Mourning/Black Friday - were either a fluke, a guy learning his craft, or genius.

I also own the 25th Anniversary of this masterpiece, and it contains a high-quality bonus live CD with the mighty Looking Down The Cross on it. Do yourself a favor. P.S.: I'm an early Metallica fanboy, but I love this album.

Hands down, Megadeth at their best. The production values are timeless, and there are songs on here that Mustaine won't play because of their subject matter. But that can't stop the fans from blasting them until the day they die. I believe this one is in the top ten metal albums of all time in Rolling Stone, and deservedly so.

6 Among the Living - Anthrax

Let's be articulate about why each album deserves its spot. 'Among the Living' is a thrash album delivered by a speed metal band. But, due to its brutal riffs, Benante's syncopated double-kicks, Ian and Spitz's frenetic riffing, and Bello's groovy bass lines, it's a hard album to pigeonhole.

'Spreading the Disease' was definitely a speed metal album, but this must go down as one of the most brutal speed metal albums of all time that it's basically a thrash album. I have a headache.

Flotsam and Jetsam's AK owns Belladonna, and Anthrax only released two great albums. Two of my favorite albums - Spreading The Disease and Among the Living - plus Exodus should be part of this Big 4 nonsense. As should Forbidden, Testament, and Defiance. Why not have a Big 8 instead? Or a Big 15?

Who came up with this exclusive Big 4 crap in the first place?

7 Bonded by Blood - Exodus

Ok, I'll go with the Dukes-led 'Let There Be Blood' remake on this one. This album is an immense remake and not the cash-in many think, because this classic deserved a remake. From the classic opener 'Bonded by Blood,' to 'A Lesson In Violence,' 'Piranha,' 'No Love,' 'Deliver Us To Evil,' 'Strike of the Beast,' and the real bait being the previously unreleased track with Hammett, 'Hell's Breath,' this is exactly how to honor an already timeless classic. This version is the one to own because very few thrash bands can claim to be playing this sort of thrash today, barring Testament. 9/10.

8 Kill 'Em All - Metallica

Metallica's epic first five albums are all thrash albums. People who think otherwise are suggesting they didn't invent it and hence don't define it. Thrash does not have to be fast, satanic, gory, or out-and-out aggression. Why? Because Metallica said so, that's why.

Reiteration time. Metallica (Mustaine included) invented thrash. Every release before 'Load' (of crap) is thrash. They invented thrash, they define what thrash is, and they own it. How many bands on this thread can claim they invented an entire movement of metal? One! (Pun intended).

9 ...And Justice for All - Metallica

Placing them at number 12? Quit the bias. Metallica invented thrash, so every single one of their albums, including the 'Black' album, are, by definition, the greatest thrash albums ever made, no matter which you prefer. Every thrash album from 'Kill 'Em All' on must be measured against Metallica's first five releases.

'Master of Puppets' is regarded as the greatest thrash album ever made and has not been rivaled in any way, shape, or form unless you compare it to their other four earlier releases. I regard '...And Justice for All' as their most triumphant record. They came out smoking after Burton's death and made the most technical love letter to him by playing out of their skins.

Its production is immense, despite the inaudible bass. Hammett, Hetfield, and Lars were regarded as the best musicians in metal that year and the year before and the year before that.

Throw on 'Dyers Eve,' 'Eye of the Beholder,' 'Harvester of Sorrow,' 'One'... and crank it! Yes, they suck, but for over a decade, they made five of the greatest thrash albums of all time. Only Tool can come close to reaching that kind of quality output. No one has done it better than them, and three decades on, they still haven't. They are the Michael Jordan of thrash. It's just that MJ quit while the going was good - just.

10 Seasons in the Abyss - Slayer

Blood Red, Spirit in Black, Dead Skin Mask, and Seasons in the Abyss are some of the best tracks Slayer ever made. Most mentioned were sinister, foreboding, atmospheric, and technical. Yes, Reign in Blood is thrash personified, but do you know how many fans dug Slayer's more restrained and thoughtful songs? Plenty!

I think they're too one-dimensional now, and they should go back and reference their other four earlier albums for future releases.

Their last iconic album and definitely their best album. I wouldn't go as far as to say they haven't had any good albums since, like the guest below. They have had several good albums since, just none of them have a full album of good songs.

The Contenders
11 Beneath the Remains - Sepultura

This album is the definition of death-thrash! This should be even higher and should get more recognition like Slayer's Reign in Blood. Music is subjective, and I get that, but the technicality and the atmosphere of the whole album should be noticed more and appreciated for sure!

I'm voting for this one. There's not a single crappy song on here at all! There's absolutely no filler too. Just a straight-up hour of pure thrash metal. Sepultura are definitely one of my favorite bands ever.

Beneath the Remains is actually not that raw. It's a quantum leap from Schizophrenia and is one of the most fantastic riff-fests around. It is so damn creative it's not funny, and Andreas's solos were gold. The production needs a remaster is all. 10/10.

12 Pleasure To Kill - Kreator

It stands in line with Slayer's Reign in Blood and Dark Angel's Darkness Descends. A true timeless masterpiece of brutal thrash metal at its best and an influence for all kinds of extreme metal like death and black metal.

Raw, intense, and crushing guitars that rear their chaotic sound like a wall into a new dimension of violence. A necessary experience in the '80s.

Yeah, Under the Guillotine is a beast. One of the most violent albums released in thrash history. How good were the '80s?

13 The Years of Decay - Overkill

Here's why this is their best record and lineup: it had one of thrash's great young guitarists, Gustafson. He was so good that when Chris Poland went AWOL, Mustaine wanted him. It also contains Ellsworth's excellent vocals. He could be aggressive, emotive, and had a pretty good range.

The drums double kick ass, and it also contains songs like Elimination, Nothing To Die For, Birth of Tension, and Evil Never Dies. Excellent and diverse album.

Yes. Overkill are very consistent, well-respected, and have not compromised their values in any way, unlike others.

14 The New Order - Testament

Having 'Master of Puppets,' 'Among the Living,' and 'Kill 'Em All' in the top ten is a joke. They can be influential thrash albums, but not the best. 'Master of Puppets' has about three true thrash songs. Now, 'Among the Living' - do I really have to explain why? It's Anthrax. 'Kill 'Em All' barely sounds thrash. It sounds punkish. And 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?' is overrated, and I dislike the vocals and some of the lyrics on 'Bonded By Blood,' which seem like they were written by a young teen just getting into the genre.

Other than that, I agree with the remaining albums being in the top ten. Finally, this album by Testament, which I believe is their best, should be in the top tier. The guitar work, lyrics, and production are what thrash should be defined as - all killer, no filler, except for that cover by Aerosmith, which is the only song I don't like from this album.

15 Alice in Hell - Annihilator

I think this should be in the top ten instead of Master of Puppets, which is a pretty good album, but it's not pure thrash by any stretch of the imagination, and there is some obvious filler material. Not so on this thrashterpiece.

Jeff Waters was born with a guitar in his hand and came out of the womb wailing on it. Beast!

Excellent technical thrash - fast, technical, and sophisticated riffs and solos.

16 Extreme Aggression - Kreator

Kreator is still smoking it after a plethora of equally brutal releases. Their best albums left Ventor doing what he does best, drumming, and left Petroza doing what he does best, crushing your skull with his riffs and vocals.

17 The Legacy - Testament

Yes, it is great. No doubt about it. But how many great thrash albums were made in the '80s? I think we were spoiled rotten with choice, and if there could be 25 #1 albums, this would be one of them. COTLOD was monstrous.

I think this is ranked so low because Testament fans see The New Order at #10 and just vote for it to try to get it higher. They're both great.

Every single one of these songs is amazing. Definitely deserves top 5.

18 Handle With Care - Nuclear Assault

Now this is one I must track down. I'm ashamed that I don't own it.

Probably their most thrash album. Less punk influence.

19 Release From Agony - Destruction

Yes, this album was Destruction's attempt to dethrone Master of Puppets. The production is similar, it's extremely technical, and although I think it falls short of Master of Puppets, these incredible musicians had the balls to try. One of the best.

Perhaps the best thrash album of all time, Destruction manages to create intricate, progressive song structures while still being heavy.

When I first listened to this, I had only heard one Destruction song. This album totally blew me away.

20 Agent Orange - Sodom

Sodom was in a purple patch of their career. They improved immensely, musically speaking, with their brand of thrash. That said, Sepulchral Voice is still a classic.

This album is so much better than the first 10 on this list. It's a classic. The lyrics are amazing, and every song is good.

Definitely one of the best on this list. I don't know why it is so behind.

21 Schizophrenia - Sepultura

Sepultura reached the pinnacle of their musicianship with only their second album. The sound on this album is much darker and heavier than on Arise or Beneath the Remains, and the song structures are ten times harder to play.

Underrated Sepultura thrash album. Troops of Doom, Escape to the Void, etc. All kill it.

22 Horrorscope - Overkill

Many regard this as their best, and it's easy to see why. From the album opener Coma to the closer Solitude, it is as solid as a rock, and it's all killer material. Highlights for me are New Machine, Horrorscope, and Thanks For Nothing. It's all good, though.

Getting rid of Gustafson and replacing him with two new guitarists could have spelled disaster, but it didn't - just.

Very excellent, but overshadowed by The Years of Decay.

23 Arise - Sepultura

Really! Please, just listen to songs like Dead Embryonic Cells, Orgasmatron, Arise, and Desperate Cry. This is definitely the best album of Sepultura.

Sepultura's third best, behind Beneath the Remains and Chaos A.D. It is great though, no doubt.

I love it, but the production is flat. Still a gold album.

24 Darkness Descends - Dark Angel

The embodiment of thrash metal. Fast, aggressive, and absolutely unrelenting. The most perfect vocal performance in thrash metal, some of the most intense drumming, and seriously chaotic guitar playing.

Proud owner of this beast on vinyl, and I don't know why they got rid of the vocalist on this one because he was insane. The lyrics were damn good too. Dark Angel could have been anything...

Wow! Why is this all the way down here? The list should go: 1. Rust in Peace, 2. Reign in Blood, and then this for number 3. This album has all the fast riffs and great drumming of Reign in Blood and only falls short of it by a little bit. It's a disgrace seeing this album all the way down here.

25 Ultra Violence - Death Angel

Wasn't the drummer 16 on this one? Weren't they all under 18? If I'm correct, this album is stark bonkers. I was learning Stairway to Heaven on my crappy SG copy, and these guys come up with this? Talk about eating some humble pie.

Youth gone wild. This band could have been anything. Someone throw in Frolic Through The Park and Act III because I couldn't be bothered.

What a debut! Mistress of Pain, The Ultraviolence, you name it. Classic!

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