Most Important Early Releases of Technical and Progressive Thrash Metal

This list tries to reveal who invented technical and progressive thrash metal - I'm starting with the most important releases. I focused on the time order and not on the quality of the songs, EPs and albums but you can vote for what you like.

Technical and Progressive Thrash Metal emerged in the early to mid-80s. The first releases were demos on cassettes with bad sound quality but I actually enjoyed listening to them - the joy of the discovery.
Some of these first songs were re-recorded later and released on albums many metal fans know.
The Top Ten
1 Meltdown - Watchtower (1984, demo)

A demo with four songs released in 1984. The song Meltdown doesn't have much thrash, but the other three have a progressive and technical thrash feel.

To me, this demo sounds more like prog metal with thrash elements. The songs are:
1. Meltdown
2. Tyrants in Distress
3. Argonne Forest
4. Cimmerian Shadows

Watchtower was a massive inspiration for other metal bands to start adding progressive elements to their music. They definitely deserve to be at the top of the list.

2 Welcome To Your Death - Annihilator (1985, demo)

This demo includes songs that later appeared on Annihilator's debut album, released four years later in 1989: Human Insecticide, Welcome to Your Death, Crystal Ann, and Burns like a Buzzsaw Blade. Human Insecticide is on the demo under a different title, Lust of Death.

This is already true thrash with technical and progressive elements.

Songs:
1. Crystal Ann (instrumental)
2. Welcome to Your Death
3. Lust of Death (this is Human Insecticide, just renamed)
4. Burns like a Buzzsaw Blade
5. Back to the Crypt
6. I Am in Command (appears on their second album, Never, Neverland (1990))

3 Energetic Disassembly - Watchtower (1985, album)

This album was recorded and released in 1985.

"Energetic Disassembly is notable for its heavy use of time changes and is considered to be a landmark in progressive metal." (Wikipedia)

4 Death Cult - Coroner (1986, demo)

Coroner's sound was influenced by Rush in its progressive and technical aspects. They were originally roadies for Celtic Frost, and the vocals on this demo are provided by Celtic Frost singer Tom G. Warrior.

5 Meltdown - Watchtower (1983, song)

This song sounds like Aces High by Iron Maiden meets YYZ by Rush. The singer often imitates either Geddy Lee (but better) or Bruce Dickinson. The drumming is occasionally thrashy.

To me, this song is more prog metal than prog thrash, but the idea of mixing metal with Rush's prog sound and technicality was important.

6 Trilogy of Terror - Blind Illusion (1985, demo)
7 Perceptive Incentive - Realm (1985, EP)
8 Phantasmagoria - Annihilator (1986, demo)

Look at the songs on this demo. Annihilator fans recognize them from the band's first two albums released 3-4 years later (1989 and 1990):

1. Gallery
2. Alison Hell
3. Phantasmagoria
4. Ligeia

9 Transgressive Sentience - Hellwitch (1986, demo)

Hellwitch released an earlier song, Nosferatu, in 1984. I listened to it expecting thrash, but it's actually death metal (with small technical and progressive elements). Who knew there were death metal songs before Possessed...

10 R.I.P. - Coroner (1987, album)

This is Coroner's debut album. I love it. The songs are great, but I wish the mixing was better.

The album features bass player Ron Broder on vocals, and he remained the band's singer for the rest of its existence.

The Contenders
11 Killing Technology - Voivod (1987, album)
12 Punishment for Decadence - Coroner (1988, album)

Probably my favorite Coroner album.

13 Alice In Hell - Annihilator (1989, album)
14 Too Scared to Scream / Cockroaches - Voivod (1987, EP)
15 Slow Death - Blind Illusion (1986, demo)
16 Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta (1987, album)
17 D.T.R. - Sadus (1986, demo)

D.T.P. stands for Death To Posers. The correct demo title is D.T.P., not D.T.R. I made a mistake, sorry!

It's about 30 minutes long, and I liked it a lot. I even found a remastered version on YouTube.

18 Certain Death - Sadus (1987, demo)

A 10-minute demo with two songs: Hands of Fate and Number One (instrumental).

I liked Hands of Fate, but Coroner instrumentals are much better.

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