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Hi Ben, can you add Exhorder's latest please?  "Wrath of Prophecies".


Used the playlist as the soundtrack to my dog-walking activities this morning, so I didn't keep track of the individual tracks, but enjoyed the list as a whole immensely with only three or so songs that missed the mark for me, with the last one (Mordred) being the hardest for me personally to swallow. Some really great stuff elsewhere though and it helped me maintain a good pace throughout my walk-time!


Hi Vinny, my suggestions for May:

Critical Defiance - "Critical Defiance" (from "The Search Won't Fall", 2024)
Destruction - "Black Death" (from "Infernal Overkill", 1985)
Exumer - "Fallen Saint" (from "Possessed by Fire", 1986)
Holy Terror - "No Resurrection" (from "Mind Wars", 1988) [On spotify as "Total Terror Disc 2"]
Vulcano - "Spirits of Evil" (from "Bloody Vengeance", 1986)


Here's my updated Top ten Groove Metal Releases of All Time list after voting Exhorder's "The Law" down for groove metal on its release page which sees it no longer qualifying for inclusion:

01. Coroner – “Grin” (1993)

02. Grip Inc. – “Nemesis” (1997)

03. Gojira - "Magma" (2016)

04. Pantera – “Vulgar Display Of Power” (1992)

05. Pantera – “Cowboys From Hell” (1990)

06. Sepultura – “Chaos A.D.” (1993)

07. Pantera – “The Great Southern Trendkill” (1996)

08. Pantera – “Far Beyond Driven” (1994)

09. Anthrax – “Sound Of White Noise” (1993)

10. Machine Head - "The Blackening" (2007)


Exhorder - "The Law" (1992)

I've always had a real soft spot for the more brutal end of thrash metal. That's really where my extreme metal roots lie & it's a sound that appears to have discovered a bit of a revival in recent years. One of the earlier exponents of the sound was New Orleans' Exhorder whose 1990 debut album "Slaughter in the Vatican" made some pretty big waves in this early 90's teenager's Walkman at the time. The band's 1992 sophomore record "The Law" has often been overlooked though, perhaps struggling a little to overcome the links to Pantera & the groove metal genre. I was very quick to pick up on "The Law" & have always thought of it as another excellent Exhorder thrash record with its brutal production job giving it something of a differentiator from the crowd. It certainly didn't see Exhorder following the trend for thrashers to move into a grungier & more commercial sound at the time either. I've been looking forward to revisiting "The Law" for quite some time now & have blasted the shit out of my ear drums on the way to work this week. The album has lost none of its zest so let's take a look at it in a little more detail.

"The Law" is a record that simply sounds like no other. In fact, it's instantly identifiable from its ball-tearing guitar tone alone with the searing metallic high-end threatening to sheer your eye drums in two & leave you with ringing ears for a week (like I have right now actually). When these guys hit on a huge thrash, groove or sludge metal riff it's accentuated ten-fold by the extreme amount of metal that's been genetically infused into that guitar tone & I for one applaud them for it. It may pound the listener into submission at times but it also gives me a visceral, primal reaction that sees me returning to it time & time again. If I had to guess I'd suggest that Exhorder were aiming to get close to Exodus' ultra-crunchy tone from records like 1989's "Fabulous Disaster" or 1990's "Impact is Imminent" but things got a little out of hand & they just decided to run with it. Thank goodness they did because it's resulted in one of the most metal records you'll find.

"The Law" does sound a little different to "Slaughter in the Vatican" from a stylistic point of view too though. It's less of a balls-to-the-wall thrasher with more variety in the tempo department. When these boys thrash out they do it with a hell-for-leather reckless abandon that few can keep up with but when they slow things down they can manage to muster some of the most immense riffs from the bowels of Hell. Just look at the outro of opening track "Soul Search Me" for example! How can that riff be beaten?? Answer: It simply can't & it's these moments when the influence on Pantera's sound can be seen as plain as day. Vocalist Kyle Thomas sounds exactly like Phil Anselmo for the most part with his vicious delivery being the perfect foil for the aggressive instrumentation around him. Despite the uniqueness of the guitar tone, you can easily see the parallels with Dimebag Darrell's as they both accentuate the power of the riff in a magical way. And those devastating groove riffs often see the two bands running alongside each other in parallel too. Exhorder are far more consistently fast & thrashy though & aren't tarnished by the same yobbo-isms that Pantera's less sophisticated work has been.

The tracklisting kicks off in splendid fashion & never lets up for the entire 39-minute duration in a super-consistent display of savage metal worship. The incredible "Unforgiven" & the blistering title track were genuine classics in my teenage years but the other seven songs are nothing to scoff at either. Even the sludgier rendition of Black Sabbath's "Into The Void" is a welcome addition in that it not only suits Exhorder's ability to maximize the impact of a big groovy riff but it also takes the original to a slightly darker & more imposing place. Almost every track contains stellar riffs that'll see you struggling to sit still while Thomas grabs the back of your head & progressively smashes your face into the table or seat in front of you. Boy, these guys must have been something to behold in a live environment & I once again find myself reaching for Exodus as a point of comparison. On the negative side, I have no doubt that the iconic guitar tone would tend to make things sound a little samey if you're not committed to the cause. Thankfully, I'm totally onboard with what Exhorder are dishing out though so I've never felt that "The Law" suffered from that affliction.

Now for the elephant in the room i.e. the whole groove metal thing. Look... there's no doubt that "The Law" is a true showcase of where the rumours that their mates Pantera ripped off their sound come from. It's fucking obvious to be honest but that doesn't make "The Law" a groove metal release overall in my opinion. It's far too fast, thrashy & aggressive for that with the groove metal riffs being greatly outnumbered by the thrash ones. In fact, there's only really the one song that should qualify as groove metal in my opinion in the rock solid & more rhythmically structured closer "(Cadence) Of The Dirge". The rest of the original pieces are thrashtastically energetic extreme metal numbers that have been custom made for casual mosh pit murder & I for one can't get enough of them.

Perhaps "The Law" isn't Exhorder's best record but it's a damn fine one nonetheless & I wish more metalheads would give it the credit it deserves rather than simply overlooking it because it sounds a little different to the debut album they've placed on such a lofty pedestal. For those that are uninitiated, if the idea of taking classic Pantera & combining it with Steve Souza-fronted Exodus & then feeding it Demolition Hammer level amounts of testosterone sounds appealing then you know what you need to do & quickly too.



Here's my review:

Chilean thrash metallers Critical Defiance & I have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship over the last five years. In a scene that has largely maintained itself purely off the back of its distant heritage, these South Americans have managed to release a couple of records that have proven to been worthy of my interest in their own right, particularly 2022's "No Life Forms" sophomore album which I consider to be fairly essential for fans of the modern-day Chilean thrash scene. So, I think it's fair to say that I had high hopes for the brand new follow-up album "The Search Won't Fall..." which has predictably been receiving a fair amount of praise from the underground thus far. It hasn't disappointed either with Critical Defiance delivering yet another solid piece of thrash metal designed specifically for an audience that have been starved of high-quality material in recent times.

The production job that "The Search Won't Fall..." is built on is pretty decent but is perhaps a little too heavy on the mid-range frequencies & I think the album could have done with a little more highs as a result. The musicianship is top notch though with the five instrumentalists all proving themselves to be highly proficient in their chosen crafts. As with "No Life Forms", we once again see the unusual inclusion of a third guitarist, a differentiator that the band make good use of but probably won't be picked up by the band's less informed listeners. I really enjoy the shredding Slayer-esque guitar solos which are generally well timed with former Demoniac shredder Nicolás Young being a welcome addition to the band. The song structures feature a crap-tonne of changes too although I struggle to see any justification for the tech thrash claims that seem to be associated with the album as I honestly can't hear anything particularly technical here. Front man Felipe Alvarado's aggressive vocals are well-suited to this style of music but its drummer Rodrigo Poblete (also formerly of Demoniac) that's the clear highlight of the album with his powerful, precise & exciting contribution clearly indicating the role that Slayer's Dave Lombardo has played a clear role in his musical up-bringing.

Stylistically, there's a bit more to Critical Defiance than your run-of-the-mill 80's-worshipping thrash outfit these days. They tend to mix things up a bit by throwing in some well executed curve balls & also varying their track lengths & song structures fairly drastically. You'll no doubt notice that there are a few longer & more expansive pieces included than we found on "No Life Forms" with some progressive options having been explored. There are a couple of tracks that showcase a clear black metal component too (particularly the outstanding "Full Paranoia") while "Long Distance (The What's to Come)" & "Absolüt" are built as much on speed metal as they are on thrash. You can also expect to receive a classical guitar piece ("The Blind Divine"), a progressive rock instrumental ("Margarita") & a full-throttle grindcore number ("All The Powers") so you can hardly claim "The Search Won't Fall..." to be samey. There aren't any weak inclusions either so it's a very consistent affair from a highly competent & experienced artist.

"The Search Won't Fall..." really does pick up where "No Life Forms" left off. It's another very solid release from Critical Deception that will likely come into consideration for my end of year list & will no doubt be receiving return visits from me in the future too. I'd suggest ignoring the tech thrash claims & going into the record expecting more of a Kreator/Vio-lence brand of aggressive thrash only with a slightly more adventurous edge that sees them drawing upon a more diverse array of artists such as Hellripper & early Emperor for inspiration at times.



Teutonic thrash metallers Darkness have their seventh album "Blood on Canvas" coming out on 26th April. I haven't heard anything they've done since their 1988 sophomore album "Defenders of Justice" but have time for both of their first two full-lengths so this might be one I throw on at some point.


Apr 24

1. Municipal Waste – “Waste ‘em All” (from “Waste ‘em All”, 2003) [Submitted by Sonny]

2. Anthrax – “Protest and Survive” (from “Attack of the Killer B’s”, 1991) [Submitted by Daniel]

3. Nailbomb – “Wasting Away” (from “Point Blank”, 1994) [Submitted by Daniel]

4. Toxic Hollocaust – “War is Hell” (from “Evil Never Dies”, 2003) [Submitted by Sonny]

5. Sextrash – “Seduced by Evil” (from “Sexual Carnage”, 1990)

6. Morbid Saint – “Rise from the Ashes” (from “Swallowed by Hell”, 2024)

7. Sadus – “Good Rid’nz” (from “Swallowed in Black”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

8. Epidemic – “Insanity Plea” (from “Decameron”, 1992) [Submitted by Sonny]

9. Biomechanical – “The Unseen” (from “Cannibalised”, 2009)

10. Exhorder – “Year of the Goat” (from “Defectum Omnium”, 2024) [Submitted by Vinny]

11. The Very End – “Zeitgeist” (from “Zeitgeist”, 2021)

12. Vektor – “Pteropticon” (from “Terminal Redux”, 2016) [Submitted by Sonny]

13. Su Ta Gar – “Mari” (from “Jaiotze Basatia”, 1991)

14. Hell Fire – “Sirens of the Hunter” (from “Metal Masses”, 2016)

15. Agressor – “Bloody Corpse” (from “Neverending Destiny”, 1990) [ Submitted by Sonny]

16. Celtic Frost – “The Usurper” (from “To Mega Therion”, 1985) [Submitted by Sonny]

17. Grotesque – “Submit to Death” (from “The Incantation E.P.”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

18. Sabbat – “Satanasword” (from “Karmagmassacre”, 2003) [Submitted by Sonny]

19. Unpure – “Small Crooked Bones” (from “Prophecies Ablaze”, 2023)

20. Antichrist – “Militia of Death” (from “Forbidden World”, 2011)

21. Sadistik Exekution - “Agonizing the Dead” (from “The Magus”, 1991) [Submitted by Daniel]

22. Forbidden – “Tossed Away” (from “Twisted into Form”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

23. Dust Bolt – “I Witness” (from “Sound & Fury”, 2024)

24. Mutilator – “Brigade of Hate” (from “Immortal Force”, 1987) [ Submitted by Sonny]

25. Mentor – “Equal in Fire” (from “Wolves, Wraiths and Witches”, 2021)

26. Demolizer – “Cancer in the Brain” (from “Thrashmageddon”, 2020)

27. ThrashWall – “War Outside the Wall” (from “ThrashWall”, 2020)

28. Martyr – “Into the Darkest of All Realms” (from “You Are Next”, 2016)

29. God’s Hate – “God’s Hate” (from “God’s Hate”, 2021)

30. Lowest Creature – “Reapers Fool” (from “Sacrilegious Pain”, 2019)

31. Mordred – “Killing Time” (from “In This Life”, 1991) [Submitted by Daniel]


My only previous experience of Kat was their previous album to this, 1988's "Oddech wymarłych światów" of which I was no great fan. In all honesty, Bastard has done very little to improve that situation. It just sounds oddly sloppy for an album that purports to be a technical-leaning release. I am not the world's biggest tech-thrash fan at the best of times, but this didn't chime with me at all. The riffs aren't engaging enough to appeal on a visceral level and the technical aspect feels forced and, well, just not that special. The pacing seems plodding at best and the soloing felt flat and uninspiring. Add to this the awful clean vocals that are occasionally employed for some reason and I just found myself getting irritated with the whole thing.



A perfect epic of stoner/sludge/thrash metal:


Here's my adjusted Top Ten Technical Thrash Releases of All Time list after revisiting KAT's "Bastard" this week. Destruction's "Cracked Brain" is the unlucky one to drop out of the list.

01. Coroner – “Mental Vortex” (1991)

02. Sadus - "Swallowed in Black" (1990)

03. Sadus – “A Vision Of Misery” (1992)

04. Coroner – “No More Color” (1989)

05. Hellwitch - "Syzygial Miscreancy" (1990)

06. Cryptic Shift – “Visitations From Enceladus” (2020)

07. Ripping Corpse - "Dreaming With The Dead" (1991)

08. KAT - "Bastard" (1992)

09. Obliveon - "From This Day Forward" (1990)

10. Toxik – “World Circus” (1987)


Thanks Sonny.  Actually one of the playlists that I have done at the last minute due to work being crazy at the mo.


Here's my review:

My introduction to German extreme metal outfit Protector came via their 1989 sophomore album "Urm the Mad" which I quite liked at the time & that experience led me to follow the band throughout their entire career. I've been pleased to see that they've been able to maintain a fairly consistent standard throughout with just the one blemish along the way too. Protector's 1987 debut "Misanthropy" E.P. has been a particular talking point for me over the years actually as, despite being claimed by many to be a thrash metal release, I regard it as not only being one of the earlier examples of genuine death metal you'll find but also one that eclipses some of the more prominent releases of the time as well. The Protector record that's most highly regarded though is unquestionably their 1991 third album "A Shedding of Skin" & with good reason too because it's an absolute beast of a death/thrash album.

Those of you that are new to Protector will not be left waiting long to find out what they're all about. The inclusion of a short one-minute intro track at the beginning of the record was a strange one as its pleasant new-age atmosphere has no place on an extreme metal release like this one but as soon as the proper songs kick in the listener is subjected to a savage beating like they've rarely experienced before. This album presents Protector's sound as the perfect amalgamation of death metal & Teutonic thrash metal with the death metal component taking the ascendency for the most part. The raw production is perfectly suited to this style of music with the guitars possessing a face-ripping quality that accentuates the aggression in the performances beautifully. The growled vocals of main man Olly Wiebel are deathly & evil which only provides further weight to the fully committed metal assault Protector unleash here with the Hannemann/King style guitar solos generally being saved for the most intense sections of the songs too. The influence of Teutonic thrash bands like Kreator & Sodom is important as the speeds that Protector reach during the thrashier sections is one of the record's main calling cards too.

There are clearly enough highlights included to justify my elite ratings but unfortunately I can't quite get there. The issue is more around quality control as, despite not including any real duds apart from the previously mentioned intro track, "A Shedding of Skin" is definitely a few tracks too long which sees it including a couple more filler tracks than I'd like. I feel that the duo could easily have dropped off two or three of the more thrashy numbers & still comfortably achieved an appropriate run time for a release like this one but, as it is, this is still a very fine death/thrash release that almost got there anyway. Fans of bands like Merciless, Possessed & Poison (the German one) will absolutely froth over this stuff so I hope a few of you will be converted to what is a largely overlooked but thoroughly deserving band.



1. Celtic Frost– “Nemesis” (from “Vanity/Nemesis”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

2. Frightful – “Spectral Creator” (from “Spectral Creator”, 2021) [Submitted by Sonny]

3. Killjoy – “Enemy Within (Cycle of Insanity)” (from “Compelled by Fear”, 1990

4. Anthrax – “Armed and Dangerous” (from “Spreading the Disease”, 1985) [Submitted by Sonny]

5. Vulture – “Clashing Iron” (from “The Guillotine”, 2017)

6. Bombarder – “Speed Metal” (from “Speed Kill”, 1989)

7. Hellcrash– “Volcanic Outburst” (from “Demonic Assassinatiön”, 2023)

8. Hellish – “Goddess Death” (from “The Dance of the Four Elemental Serpents”, 2022) [Submitted by Sonny]

9. Lucifuge – “From Cosmos to Chaos” (from “Monoliths of Wrath”, 2023

10. Create A Kill – “Decimate” (from “Summoned to Rise”, 2023)

11. 8 Foot Sativa – “Perpetual Torment” (from “Breed the Pain”, 2004)

12. Soulfly – “Defeat U” (from “Prophecy”, 2004)

13. Cypecore – “Values of Life” (from “Take the Consequence”, 2010)

14. Lazarus A.D. – “Revolution” (from “The Onslaught”, 2007)

15. Ghoul – “Noxious Concoctions” (from “Noxious Concoctions”, 2024)

16. Exodus – “A.W.O.L.” (from “Impact is Imminent”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

17. Cold Steel – “Full Tilt” (from “Deeper into Greater Pain”, 2023)

18. Torque – “H.L.S.” (from “Torque”, 2023)

19. Gama Bomb – “Mask of Anarchy” (from “BATS”, 2023) [Submitted by Sonny]

20. Xentrix – “Questions” (from “For Whose Advantage?”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

21. Asylum – “Eternal Violence” (from “Tyrannicide”, 2022)

22. Distillator – “Guerilla Insurgency” (from “Revolutionary Cells”, 2015)

23. Flotsam & Jetsam – “Suffer the Masses” (from “When the Storm Comes Down”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

24. Terminalist– “Frenetic Standstill” (from “The Crisis as Condition”, 2023) [Submitted by Sonny]

25. Eight Sins – “Street Trash” (from “Straight to Namek”, 2023)

26. Life Cycles – “Serpent’s Kiss” (from “Portal to the Unknown”, 2024)

27. Abandoned - “Visions of Death” (from “Thrash You!”, 2007)

28. Killing – “Killed in Action” (from “Face the Madness”, 2021)

29. Obliveon – “From this Day Forward” (from “From this Day Forward”, 1990) [Submitted by Daniel]

Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

I agree that Hellripper is enjoyable, but lacking in what I really look for in my metal nowadays and only managed a 3.5 from me. Enforced was much more up in your face and better for it, garnering a 4.0. Demoniac was still my favourite thrasher of the year however and #4 on my yearly list behind Panopticon, Convocation & Khanate.


So with the start of a new year it's once again time to have a look at the covers for all the releases for each clan. I personally like to rate a whole stack of covers all at once, rather than doing them one at a time throughout the year, as it allows me to get a better feel for where each cover sits in comparison to others. With that in mind, I've just rated every cover for releases in The Pit for 2023.

Below are the releases that are currently competing for the prestigious 2023 The Pit Cover of the Year Award (i.e. they rate at least 3.7 and have 3 or more ratings). The winner will be announced on the 1st of February, so there's still time to get your ratings in.

Holy Moses - Invisible Queen

Legion of the Damned - The Poison Chalice