Top 10 Thrash Metal Albums Of 1986

In 1986, the metal sub-genre known as thrash metal exploded. Mostly a reaction against hair metal, thrash took the traditional metal sound and mixed it with the intensity of hardcore punk. So many thrash metal albums were released in 1986, many of which are by major players and legends in the genre. Here we will take a look at the best thrash albums from that year.

Vulcano – Bloody Vengeance

We start the list off with a nice underground gem from Brazil. This album contains elements that would influence death metal and the second wave of black metal.

Destruction – Eternal Devastation

One of the scenes that really exploded was Germany’s thrash scene and one of the most iconic bands from that scene was Destruction. On this sophomore effort, the band strips away its early black metal elements for a more traditional thrash sound. This album is really fast and intense and feels like you are listening to a tornado of riffs.

Cryptic Slaughter – Convicted

The punk crossover style of thrash also had some greats in ’86, including Cryptic Slaughter’s Convicted. Playing a fast, in your face style of crossover, this album helped influence the powerviolence genre. Highly recommended for those looking to get into this style.

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

For those who live under a rock, Master of Puppets is one of metal’s most well known albums. This record was the first thrash release to ever go platinum. The politically charged lyrics and complex songwriting helped the album please critics outside of the metal scene.

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends

For the most part, the heaviest and most extreme thrash bands tend to come from Europe and South America. A big exception to this is L.A.’s Dark Angel. Their sophomore record displays the band’s ultra fast style they call “caffeine metal” at its finest. This is also the first studio album to feature drumming icon Gene Holgan.

Voivod – Rrroooaaarrr

Hailing from Canada comes one of Dave Grohl’s all time favorite bands. On this album, the band would add experimental elements to their thrash sound, something they would continue to expand upon on later releases. This release still remains one of Voivod’s finest hours.

Nuclear Assault – Game Over

Wanting to play a more aggressive style, Nuclear Assault was formed by ex-Anthrax members John Connolly and Danny Lilker. Here on their debut, the band blends old school speed metal with crossover. The distinct vocals and political lyrics make this release a favorite among thrashers everywhere.

Slayer – Reign in Blood

Reign in Blood is the third album by Slayer and the band’s most popular release. The album is also their fastest release to date and the first one to be produced by Rick Rubin, who would produce most of the band’s albums. The album spawned Slayer’s two most popular songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death“.

Kreator – Pleasure To Kill

Kreator’s best album is also the greatest and most well known release from the German thrash scene. The record’s cover is very accurate, as you will be crushed by it’s riffs and intensity. This album is now seen as a huge influence on death metal.

Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying

Containing the same exact line up as Killing is Business, Peace Sells is  Megadeth’s breakthrough album. The band got signed to Capitol Records and the production values went up. This is also the first Megadeth album to have politically charged lyrics, something that would become a staple of the band, though also had songs with satanic lyrics such as “The Conjuring“.

Honorable Mentions:

Metal Church – The Dark

Tankard – Zombie Attack

Sodom – Obsessed by Cruelty

Holy Moses – Queen of Siam

Razor – Malicious Intent

  • Felonious Punk

    Reign In Blood is still fucking mighty 30 years later.

    Fun fact: before he was known as the beloved felonious asshole he came to be known for on AN, Felonious Punk went by the name Pasta of Muppets on AN and was subsequently banned for…I can’t even remember, tbh.

    Obviously, whatever tweeks I gave my personality paid off in the long run..

  • Robert Brooks

    Both Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood are the best of albums of that year. Peace Sell, Who Buying isn’t far behind. 1986 was a great for metal.

  • dakotablue

    Friend o’ mine in Chicago area just attended the Slayer/Testament/Carcass show–said Testament blew Slayer off the stage. Pit was jumpin’, too.