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Z-SECT (JAPAN)

This is another band to enjoy the vocal abilities of one of the most prominent Japanese metal voices: Nov (also Volcano, Aion). This band plays good old school speed/thrash of the more melodic variety, resembling the Aion debut album. The EP boasts really cool heavy thrashers ("Emergency") and nice speed metal pieces ("Inori"). The guitar sound, however, is too buzzy, and might annoy a bit.

N.O.V. EP, 1989

ZAANG (FRANCE)

This outfit indulge in choppy, jumpy modern progressive thrash which sounds like a more aggressive Tool having coffee with Treponem Pal with a few more aggressive chops ala Obliveon thrown into the melee ("Madoff"). "Dans L'obscurite" is an engaging progressiver with very good melodic leads, and "Tombe De Haut" is an excellent more classic-sounding galloper. "Degage" twists and turns into the least predictable directions influencing the closer "Je Suis Le Roi" which is a prime mechanical shredder with an officiant mid-section and a fast-paced operatic ending. This is a compelling curiosity which gives a nice modern twist to the progressive thrash movement.

Perdition Full-Length, 2015

ZADKIEL (JAPAN)

Based on the debut EP, Zadkiel brought first in Japan the black/thrash metal sound of bands like Venom and Celtic Frost. The music is actually quite energetic, sounding like a mix of Venom and Exciter, with only "Hell's Bomber" carrying the dark, brooding character of the Celtic Frost sound.

Hell's Bomber EP, 1986
Highway Z Single, 1986

Vibrations of Doom

ZADOK (GERMANY)

A heavy-handed, clumsy attempt at more complex power metal with timid touches of thrash; this is seriously bad, by the way, with unimaginative guitar work, repetitive song-structures, awful very flat vocal performance... stay away as far as possible; it could kill you (kidding, of course, but... don't push your luck too hard).

The Sign Full-length, 1995

Official Site

ZAFAKON (PUERTO RICO)

Based on the "Fall" demo, this act offer intense old school thrash with echoes of early/mid Kreator and Protector when the sound stays within the fast parametres; in other words, expect an intense fiesta with both a darker and a more melodic twist (check out the enchanting title-track for both). "Slain by Treason" is a very cool dramatic lasher with more adventurous build-ups bordering on death metal its macabre qualities strengthened by the harsh death metal vocals; watch out for the sudden hectic technical section at the end. "Nuke the Cross" is a faithful version of the Toxic Holocaust hit boosted with a more intense deathy tinge. The singer is a forceful death metal semi-shouter whose controlled rendings are always comprehensive.

The full-length debut runs away from the German influences except on the tracks featured from the EP, into a heavier sound which still leaves plenty of room for the obligatory speedy "excursions: "In Resistance", the Slayer-esque damager "Collateral Slavery". "Conspiracy" is a more seriously plotted galloper, but "Summoning The Vortex" is a direct simplistic cut where one can hear the vocal cords of Mr. Joel Grind straining: yes, that same one from Toxic Holocaust. The closing "At The Mercy Of Fate" notches it up again being a more complex number with some technical pretensions changing the pace the whole time also promising some more overt technical/progressive deviations on future works.
"Release" is a much more carefully plotted offering the band thrashing with more technicality, but also with a lesser sense of melody the guitars having a noisier, more abrasive edge. "Ecosfear" is a nice futurisitc shredder ala Darkane with a cool balladic interlude, and "Prevaricator" enters the fields of progressive death with more atmospheric arrangements. "Valor y Sacrificio" is a more direct headbanger with a great oblivious lead-driven mid-break; and "Phantom Scream" is a complex dramatic galloper again in the progressive metal camp, before "The Optimist" brings in more "optimistic" touches with a shade of abstract spacey progressive among the razor-sharp riffage. The closing title-track is balladic atmospheric doom with nice leads, and despite being an enchanting composition on all counts, it's a big departure from the intense approach on the preceding material which ranks among the best albums in the genre this year.

Fall EP, 2011
War as a Drug Full-length, 2013
Release Full-Length, 2015

Official Site

ZAHERIR (CHILE)

Thrashcore with shades of crust; energetic one-dimensional stuff with abrasive guitars, short tracks (1-2min), and hoarse shouty vocals.

Veraz Aversión Demo, 2010

ZAKLANA CELJAD (SERBIA)

Amateurish raw thrash/death metal; there's not much speed involved: this is very heavy, almost doomy at times, stuff coming close to the "atrocities" of Hellhammer and early Messiah with very brutal low death metal vocals and exits from the pattern in the form of short punk/funk breaks.

Ni Sam Ne Znam Kako Sam Osnovnu Školu Završio EP, 2003

ZALAZOBETON (SLOVENIA)

Wild aggressive thrash/proto-death with bashing musicianship which tries to make sense at times, especially on the closing joke "Polka" which is a 2-min rendition of the Polish national dance turned into unbridled crossover in the 2nd half. The singer is an unrehearsed deathy shouter, but doesn't take a lot of space.

Demo Demo, 1990

ZALTANA (BRAZIL)

This is modern power/post-thrash with an appealing gothic atmosphere and a touch of progressive. The music is mostly groovy and the male/female vocal "duel" is not bad at all; neither is the lead guitar work which produces some fine melodic moments. Actually, the overall feel of the album is quite melodic with more peaceful passages gracing almost every song. "Outliars" is a cool more dynamic shredder the female vocalist unleashing some scary deathy semi-growls to a startling effect. The final "Dukkha-Satya" will surprise you pleasantly as well at the very end with a portion of hard-hittting fast-paced riffs, something which should have been applied more regularly earlier.

Zaltana Full-Length, 2014

ZAMBONI (USA)

Energetic sincere old school thrash/crossover the band just having a good time here unleashing merry uplifting rhythms which only seldom thrash with passion ("Norman Bates"). The last three numbers surprisingly get longer although the approach doesn't change drastically, even becomes more punky recalling the early exploits of Broken Bones including in the carefree, semi-declamatory vocal department.

Zamboni Full-Length, 2016

ZANDELLE (USA)

This act, who was formed by the Gothic Knights singer George Tsalikis, started with the tribute to the NWOBHM, the debut "Shadows of Reality" (not featured here), but "Twilight on Humanity" is a different story: this is potent speed/power/thrash in the best tradition of early Iced Earth, Manticora and Dark Empire. "Warlords of Steel" is a vigorous galloping opener, with the soaring vocals of Tsalikis sounding as convincing as ever, well supported by the catchy chorus. "The Champion" is an epic power metal hymn, but the battle rages on, with "A Hero's Quest" and the speed metal anthem "Lord of Thunder". "Immortal Realms" is a dark mid-paced piece, and later on, till the end, we have an alternation between the two sides, both coming together on the larger-than-life closer "Twilight of Humanity", which is more than 12-min of epic/progressive power/speed/thrashing with all gamuts and moods within.

"Vengeance Rising" is mostly speed metal, a faithful rendition of the popular sound of the 90's, not containing too many surprises for the thrash metal fans (the short technical speed/thrasher "Vengeance Rising" the sole exception). "Flames of Rage" is more aggressive, bringing back the edgier, thrashy flavour of the guitars, well expressed on the galloping "Broken Trust" and the "dark" stomper "Dark Nemesis". "Face of War" is the highlight here, an encompassing 9-min opus of technical/progressive power/thrash, a mazey multi-layered composition with interesting complex arrangements, a major riff-fest which never speeds up. The problem is that it should have been left for the end since it easily overshadows everything which follows. The guys overdo it a bit on the gigantic closer "Eradicated Existence" which is 22-min of music, an apparent reference to the way Iced Earth used to end their early efforts, but here one will definitely get lost, since the nuances are so many that the listener may not be sure whether he/she listens to the same song at some point; still, it remains an engaging metal symphony summing up all which was heard in the band's repertoire so far.

"Shadows of the Past" is very close in spirit to the debut containing a milder brand of power/speed metal with no traces of thrash; still this is a cool energetic release with crunchy riffs and soaring melodies stepping the pedal harder for more speed near the end with vigorous cuts like "The Warrior" and "Unleashed", but watch out also for some cheese (the closing "Bad Boys", and elsewhere) sneaking in. Yes, indeed: the "shadows of the past" are pretty deep here...

Twilight on Humanity Full-length, 2002
Vengeance Rising Full-length, 2006
Flames of Rage Full-length, 2009
Shadows of the Past Full-length, 2011

Official Site

ZANTHROPYA EX (GERMANY)

This young outfit pulls out competent modern thrash/death with technical/progressive tendencies. The music is energetic with a frequent change of pace which makes the songs eventful pieces with various twists (check out the progressive saga "Sternenfeuer"; the diverse "Opeth-meets-At the Gates" deathster "Blutbad"). Short, hectic numbers ("Endzeit") work almost as well and are placed towards the end where the guys spare no speed even adhering to blast-beats on the black metal-decorated closer "Dämon Meiner Selbst". The singer is a normal mid-ranged, deathy semi-shouter.

Seuchenherr Full-length, 2009

ZAPLAHA (BULGARIA)

4 songs of modern post-thrash with hardcore overtones; this is heavy, but unimaginative, music which has a couple of heavier moments, but is boring and uninspired as a whole accompanied by rough shouty, semi-death metal vocals.

Aggression Demo, 2004

ZAQUEO (ARGENTINA)

Based on the debut, this band pulls out modern thrash with brutal low-tuned death metal vocals. The music is close to the new American school (God Forbid, Lamb of God, Chimaira, etc.), but is more complex and more aggressive moving into the death metal fields at times. So as a whole this stuff has energy despite the few slower doom/gothic throw-ins. The guitar work is not bad relying more on melody rather than sharpness, and that's why those faster more brutal passages are more than welcome even when they rudely interrupt a more peaceful Cemetary/Sentenced-like moment.

Inquietante Extrañeza Full-length, 2005
Siempre Guerras Full-length, 2009

My Space

ZARATHUSTRA (GERMANY)

With an intelligent name like this (I guess you know who Zarathustra is, if not-check it out) one might expect that this would be a progressive metal band or something at least more technical. Well, the truth is that we have mostly black metal not too far from Darkthrone, but mixed with a fair amount of thrash riffs (mostly on their last work) with a slightly dragging and monotonous feeling; would be of bigger interest to black metal fans.

Dogma Antichrist Full-length, 2000
Heroic Zarathustrian Heresy EP, 2000
Nihilistic Terror EP, 2003
Perpetual Black Force Full-length, 2003
Contempt EP, 2005
In Hora Mortis Full-length, 2006

Official Site

ZATARRAS VENGEANCE (AUSTRALIA)

Modern groovy thrash with less conventional guitar work offering more energetic moments ("Wasted Youth") which come with good melodic hooks.

Demo Demo, 2008

ZASTUP JINYCH (CZECH)

Based on the "Empty Hours" demo, this outfit unleash a rough heavy blend of modern and retro thrash which is devoid of any faster-paced surprises, but its monolithic mid-paced nature should be satisfying for the 90's trends' lovers. The singer is a cool semi-cleaner who strains his voice a bit for a couple of higher-pitched heroics and generally leaves a positive impression.

Poslední v Rade Demo, 1991
Labyrint Demo, 1992
Empty Hours Demo, 1992
Abuse Demo, 1994
The Eyes Demo, 1994

ZATH (USA)

These are 2 tracks of "shitty", also "piggy", moderately complex, also dynamic, classic thrash which tries to keep the headbanging by also making things a bit more complicated with a few more or less obvious "tricks". The bass support is very good, but the singer rends his throat hysterically deafening the instruments quite a bit, and is generaly the weakest link here.

Shit Pig EP, 2012

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ZATMENIE (RUSSIA)

Melodic thrash mixed with more traditional heavy metal tunes; there are the obligatory for such mixtures balladic moments, but when the guys thrash, they pull out awesome heavy riffs: the 8-min monster epic thrasher "Lubov".

Hatred (Nenavist') Full-length, 2004
Zatmenie (Eclipse) Full-length, 2005

Official Site

ZAVOTAGE (PERU)

These Incas pull out cool rapidfire old school speed/thrash which contains loads of sharp lashing riffs all played with a very good sound quality topped by slightly weaker sinister raspy death metal vocals. The fans will be moshing out a lot here shot at close range by lashing blitzkrieg guitars recalling Tankard, Exumer, and other old timers.

Frenesh De Agresividad EP, 2012

Official Site

ZEALOUS WITNESS (CANADA)

Based on "Punishment-Pain", this band provides a cool, more aggressive version of the Forbidden debut mixed with a heavier more elaborate approach akin to late-80's Metallica. This is good well-constructed music with very nice bass support and forceful attached vocals reminiscent of the early Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (Overkill) style, maybe a bit gruffer and less melodic. The guitars crush admirably coming with the casual more technical hook. The tempo is pretty fast reaching proto-death heights for a while on "The Day That Will Never Come". The more clever arrangements work better on the slower material: the pounding jumpy creeper "The Suffering"; the diverse technical closer with a nice speedy twist at the end, "Windows Of The Mind".

Man In An Empty Grave Demo, 1992
Punishment-Pain Demo, 1992

ZEDDICUS ZU'L ZORANDER (RUSSIA)

This Russian trio unleash aggressive vitriolic thrash/crossover which is also spiced by grndcore and death metal; in other words this is pretty uncontrolled music reflected in short bursting tracks which, even despite their short length, may be a tiring listen to some. The sound quality is crystal clear giving an enormous boost to the guitars which at times acquire a really nice technical edge ("Night of the Blade"). The rest is furious bash assisted by dramatic high-pitched hardcore/punky vocals.

The Wizard Full-Length, 2016

Official Site

ZEDEKIAH (JAPAN)

Four girls from Japan produce some of the most stylish, perfectly executed technical thrash to ever come out of the Land of the Rising Sun. Incredible, but a fact... Track 1 (the song-titles are spelled in Japanese) is the ultimate encyclopaedia of precise technical thrash which will take you through all corners of this sub-genre during its over 7-min: fast, winding, complex, choppy, weird, you name it. Track 2 is more on the quirky, avantgarde side combining Voivod with their compatriots Doom for the creation of one hallucinogenic, disorienting opera which still finds time to thrash in a more straightening way near the end reaching headbanging heights with ease. Track 3 is creepy and minimalistic, more meloidc, too, but the bass implements and the strange melodic deviations should keep everyone hooked till the end. The closer is short and to the point lashing fiery riffs from the get-go and seldom lets the up-tempo down which reaches a crossover pitch at the end the bass again playing a prominent role. The girl behind the mike delivers in a levelled, not very pitchy, manner recalling Dawn Crosby (R.I.P., Detente, Fear of God) and Leather Leone on the more lyrical moments.

Karma Demo, 1993

ZEITGEIST (UK)

Despite the relative length of the songs (some are 5-7min long, and there is one monstrous track, "Paradise Lost", which is almost 10-min long), this is nothing more than pure thrash/crossover, the way it was played by more famous representatives of the genre like D.R.I., Rumble Militia, Lawnmower Deth. There is nothing technical here, and the music is not very heavy, but delivers the goods. "Suspended Animation" is a fairly good attempt at crossing crossover with a ballad, highlighted by the excellent lead guitar. The aforementioned "Paradise Lost" offers a different deviation from the formula, this time crossing doom metal with crossover, and surprisingly, this also works well.

Mindstorm Demo, 1989

ZENITE (BRAZIL)

Based on the debut, this act play capable old school thrash graced by brutal guttural death metal vocals. The guys know their craft pulling out competent music alternating fast with slower songs abandoning the more aggressive delivery at times for the sake of mellower speed metal cuts ("Santurine's Widow"; the galloping winner "Psycho") which work almost as well also seeing the singer (if that's the same one) acquiring a more melodic tember. Actually, the album has 2 sides (the other one is the more intense coming with a certain deathy flavour) which sometimes create the feeling that it's 2 different acts playing since the approach on both is quite different. It's a curious, quite varied, recording also featuring a few dark doomy tunes near the end, but it has its peculiar charm introducing a band who are yet to find their most fitting "face".

Brutal Enigmatic Prophecies Full-length, 2000
Tales of Death Full-length, 2002

My Space

ZENITHAL (UK)

This new British act are a fairly interesting listen offering on their debut more complex thrash which owes to their compatriots and peers Seventh Angel, with thought-out compositions with a dark/gothic edge which would bring another veteran from the British scene to mind: Deathwish. It would be safe enough to label their approach as progressive thrash; the tempo is mid-paced to slower, but doom metal is just barely touched on some tracks. On the other hand we have straight passages with a clear modern groovy edge, rubbing shoulders with the exploits of Pantera and Exhorder from the early 90's, which are an acquired taste since some fans might find them detracting from the much less immediate rest.

"Death Race" is a decent mix of modern and classic thrash metal mixing faster with slower numbers, still succeeding in keeping the tempo above the slow parametres with the slower tracks "acquitting" themselves with brisk galloping riffs. The guys successfully avoid the groovy "traps" along the way managing to sound convincing not without the help of a few clever Swedish-styled insertions (the nice melodic tunes on "Shrink n' Grow").

Mad Shadows EP EP, 2006
Vendetta Full-length, 2008
Death Race Full-length, 2010

Official Site

ZERBER (RUSSIA, UFA)

Based on "Tsar Zverei", this act specialize in a varied blend of thrash, post-thrash and power metal, both classic and modern-sounding, the more brutal part of this recording being the death metal vocals which duel with the much better clean ones. The guys evoke quite a bit of atmosphere with keyboards and varied tempos applied appropriately including several balladic interludes. The problem is that the delivery is too calm and not very eventful the faster cuts near the end being way more interesting than then previous much more ambitious material the final "Tsar Zverei" pulling it out with its more attached approach, a progressive opus with very good leads and a few more intense speedy moments.
"Schwarzes und Weisses" is a mild bland affair which circles around crossover and post-thrash with a few industrial gimmicks incorporated; not much thrash here, the guys obviously enamored with Rammstein at this stage trying to make the fanbase dance rather than headbang. The album is entirely sung in German and the singer (if that's the same one) does an admirable job delivering the lyrics with panache almost without an accent.

Hart-Fest! Full-length, 2003
Schwarzes und Weisses Full-length, 2004
Griaznui Pir Full-length, 2006
Tsar Zverei Full-length, 2008

Official Site

ZERBER (RUSSIA, PSKOV)

One of the lesser achievements from the prolific Russian scene, this band come up with a raw undeveloped thrash/death metal mixture which sounds much more appealing when it's fast, and these are the moments when it makes more sense, even acquiring a slight progressive edge. The problem is that this musicianship is not sustained throughout the whole album, and some parts are clumsy with a thin sound and repetitive riffs. On top of that come the gruff, low-tuned amateurish vocals. Their style is by no means without merits, and a follow-up could have honed their approach further.

Gates of the Abyss Full-Length, 1992

ZERGOTH (USA)

Energetic music which begins in an open speed metal manner with "Unlikely Force", but "Strange Stuff" is already a full-fledged thrasher, "strange stuff", with brooding crushing riffs. Apparently speed and thrash metal will alternate here since the next "Revengence" is another speed metal happiness. Then comes the cool instrumental "Wakala" which slows down again, but delivers with creepy lashing riffs. Speed metal takes over from then on, and till the end we have optimistic music with soaring melodies and catchy choruses delivered aptly by the clean mid-ranged singer. Thrash metal comes back on the excellent closing galloping instrumental "Psychological Defense" which is a sure-handed exit with technical pretensions. Although speed metal is the dominant "force" here, the energy and vigour put into the recordings will satisfy the thrash metal fan who will find the purely instrumental pieces the more appealing part.

Psychological Defense Full-length, 2010

Official Site

ZERO FOR LIFE (USA)

Abrasive modern post-thrash with more aggressive thrashy breaks appearing out of nowhere to break the monotony which moves forward in a steady mid-tempo with super-heavy riffage and angry deathy shouty vocals. The 2 "Final Bows" at the end show the guys' tender heart being ballads, quite good close to being the highlights, the exiting one just a nice acoustic instrumental; a very surprising epitaph to this fairly rough affair.

Looking Back Full-Length, 2009

ZERO HOUR (CANADA)

Dark heavy power/thrash reminiscent of the Nasty Savage debut and mid-period Manilla Road; the guys seldom speed up, but the crushing rhythms are a "saviour" as well as the cool dark instrumental "After Midnight (Stew)". The vocalsit is a bit of a downside with his not very rehearsed semi-clean baritone, and he doesn't really sing, but recites with authority partly hampered by the not very clear sound quality.

Nature Demo, 1987

ZERO HOUR (USA)

This is by far one of the finest progressive metal acts for the past 10 years. The guys have been playing quite heavily and hard from the very beginning, with frequent nods to thrash on every album, producing some of the most complex, intense technical moments on the whole scene. The debut, which was later re-recorded under the name "Metamorphosis" in 2003, is the band's most melodic, but by no means less impressive, work. The aggressive shredding starts on the colossal "The Towers of Avarice": a progressive metal masterpiece which can only be compared to the output of the mighty Watchtower ("Control & Resistance", in particular); riff after riff overwhelm you, bringing constantly changing tempos and moods to a surreal, hallucinogenic effect.

"A Fragile Mind" carries on in the same vein: another dark complex gem, with more emphasis on techno-thrash on the shorter compositions, which are smashing riff-fests seldom achieved before or after, with the melodic vocal lines providing a great desirable contrast. "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond" increases the complexity to the point that some parts are maybe just elaborate shredding done for its own sake, but most of the time it is exemplary technical thrash, which makes more sense as separate magnificent moments, rather than as whole songs. "Dark Deceiver" could be considered the band's magnum opus, which easily beats most of the competition on the progressive/technical power/thrash metal field of recent times, including offerings from acts like Nevermore, Scariot, Communic, and Chaoswave. In 2003 the guys found time to record an album under the name Death Machine (also reviewed here), and the guitarist Jasun Tipton (whose brother, Troy, also plays in both Death Machine and Zero Hour) has 2 solo albums released so far.

Zero Hour Full-length, 1999
The Towers of Avarice Full-length, 2001
Metamorphosis Full-length, 2003
A Fragile Mind Full-length, 2005
Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond Full-length, 2006
Dark Deceiver Full-length, 2008

Official Site

ZERO OPTION (CANADA)

Melodic thrash meets power metal on this album. The music is surprisingly modern for this early stage of the decade, and is quite heavy at times, but the bad news is that thrash metal is only used sparingly, and is never of the exciting, energetic variety; comes close to the future Flotsam & Jetsam transformation during the 90's, but less original and memorable.

Gates Of Utopia Full-length, 1991

ZERO POINT (FRANCE)

Gothic thrash/death in mid-pace with nice female vocals taking part from time to time; "Infinite Republication" breaks the "idyll" in the middle with more aggressive riffs, and "Failed Machinegun" tries to justify the "machinegun" part of its title, and actually succeeds rather than fails, speeding up quite a bit, but the rest is morose smelling gothic/doom ("Earth Illusion", "Evolve Or Die") more than occasionally.

Prototype EP, 2009

My Space

ZERO TO BALLISTIC (USA)

This band is actually only one man: Ali Sugerman. He does a fairly good job, offering progressive metal with certain nods to thrash, not miles away from Zero Hour (see the review above). The opening "...Bring on the Pain" is a marvellous progressive thrasher which will keep you fairly entertained within its 8-min, hitting both with force and technicality in almost equal dozes. "Epiphany in Black" is another masterpiece of technically-minded music, concentrating on the complex side, coming up with some of the most head-spinning riffs one might encounter on the contemporary metal scene. "Hope Springs Eternal" is a nice piece mixing slow atmospheric sections with more aggressive ones, ably supported by brilliant technical melodic guitars. "Indomitable" is a very eclectic avantgarde number with no ties to thrash metal, but is very enjoyable as well, maybe a bit too long (12-min). After that the album loses its edge almost completely, following the example of this "monster", coming with a couple of abstract, "out there" progressive tracks, permeated by brilliant genuine Oriental atmosphere, which even the best Middle Eastern acts could only dream of. "Nails in Your Coffin" returns to the thrashy patterns from the beginning, and is a great intense technical song, reminiscent of Mekong Delta even. "The Guns Fall Silent" is in the same vein: an aggressive thrashing piece of complex stuff, followed by the fine balladic closing "The Plains of Abaddon". Although the middle of this album might stretch the thrash metal fan's nerves a bit with the sudden and lasting exit from the more hard-hitting side of the music spectre, it is by all means a satisfying work of complex metal with enough intense moments to please the hard-boiled audience.
"1776 v2.0": Sugerman is not a very regular presence on the scene, but his odes to the more intricate side of metal should by all means be much better known. Like in the case of the debut, there's a very wide range of references one of which is the one of late-80's/early-90's Holocaust that becomes instantly evident from the ambitious opener "A Word to the Knaves", a complex meandering masterpiece with doomy reliefs provided mid-way. "Shotgun and Revolver Problem Solver" is a jarring epicer with weird riff-formulas reminiscent of slower, crunchier Rush; and "Loud Enough" isn't really "loud enough" being a serene bluesy ballad. "Police State Blues" has a scary title, and indeed this is another bluesy pacifier. "Funeral for My Career" borders on hectic Confessor-esque doom, but "Gold, Bitch!" is a more dynamic composition with quirky Oriental motifs, progressive dramatic build-ups, and a really memorable chorus. "Let Them Eat Snakes" is raging thrashing complexity at its most mathematical and accurate, an absolute stunner with impetuous gallops blending with schizophrenic, mind-scratching riff-formulas which would make even Coroner and Deathrow proud. A masterpiece like that is hard to beat, but Sugerman pulls it out again with "Rotter", a short perplexing thrasher with twisted riffage galore recalling Watchtower at their most logically scattered, with the man unleashing a few brutal deathy shouts to oppose to his clean dispassionate tirades. "Last Call to Arms" gives more room to the leads initially, but before long the man starts weaving these serpentine bewildering riff-patterns which here are more hectic and jumpier again giving Watchtower and Realm a run for their money. All the way to the closing "Slaughter of the Ignorant" which relaxes with a moodier, doomier delivery with spastic Confessor-esque guitars which pile on top of each other for nearly 9-min assisted by fine lead sections. It's a real pity that the guy doesn't have the time to produce more delights of the kind; the scene would be a much better place to reside in...

Idiom Full-length, 2006
1776 v2.0 Full-Length, 2011

My Space

ZERO TOLERANCE (CHILE)

This young act play competent modern thrash with expressive shouty death metal vocals. The guys shred with passion and bear expected decent "fruit", like the energetic "Falso Creador", the more technical and longer "Zero Tolerancia", and the groovily technical "Agonia". Things hit the top later with the headbanging rager "Ahogando el Tormento", but the band slow down near the end waking up eventually, first with the rising speed metal anthem "Esclavos Del Poder", and finally with the more technical, but equally as vigorous, title-track. The vocals are suitably gruff with semi-shouty tendencies, but still play a secondary role to the better music.

Abismal Full-Length, 2014

Official Site

ZERO TOLERANCE (FRANCE)

This act is the somewhat logical continuation of the death/thrashers Massacra who on their last two albums have surrendered to the modern 90's tastes. Instead of frustrating their hard-core fans even further, the guys decided to change their name. The music is an almost direct follow-up to "Humanize Human", but not as consistent, and more diverse: industrialzed groovy post-thrash with heavy mechanical riffs, atmospheric non-metal elements, plodding moments, and more. One will have big problems recognizing the mighty Massacra here, but lovers of the 90's post-side of the genre will definitely be entertained.

Zero for All Full-Length, 1996

ZERO TOLERANCE (SWEDEN)

Based on the "End of Aeons" EP, this band pull out a heavier brand of the modern thrash with rough death metal vocals. The guys hammer pretty heavy, doom-laden riffs which are not very far from Mindrot, maybe a tad more melodic, except for the aggressive headbanging mechanical riffs on the closing "The Machinery". There's also a suitable quasi-industrial atmosphere "floating" around thanks to the distorted, robotic guitar sound.

Prime Time Mind Surgery EP, 2006
End of Aeons EP, 2008

Official Site

ZERO TOLERANCE (USA, BUFFALO, NY)

A nice obscure demo of intense classic thrash in the spirit of the Bay-Area with a couple of more modern angry notes thrown in here and there including one crossover joke as well ("A Thousand Deaths") at the end. The guitars are sharp with a nice semi-technical edge ("Fuel The Fire") at times, but the singer isn't an asset with his gruff hardcore/punk tember.

Fuel the Fire Demo, 1991

ZERO TOLERANCE (USA, NEW YORK CITY, NY)

Three songs of heavy modern post-thrash topped by fairly good attached clean vocals except for the times when they plainly recite in a rhythmic, almost rappy, fashion; this is jumpy, often not very predictable, music which still relies on the groovy patterns too much to truly impress the listener despite the solid heavy riffage applied for most of the time.

Tortured Existence Demo, 1996

ZERO VISION (BRAZIL)

Based on the "Ultimate Encore" demo, this band play modern thrash metal with an industrial edge, but with a strong presence of the authentic guitar sound, mostly mid-tempo, and sligtly monotonous. Expectedly groovy sections are also present ("Worms"), but they are of the more dynamic, Pantera-like type. This is actually cool stuff, especially to those who are fans of the modern industrial 90's trends.
"Acrid Taste" is not miles away style-wise from the sound on the demo being heavy modern 90's post-thrash with a shade of industrial, somewhere on the way from Sepultura's "Chaos AD" to Nailbomb. More up-tempo riff-monsters are present ("Daddy Gun", "Life Ends"), but speed is hardly the order of the day on this one. The end is preserved for a faithful, albeit industrialized cover version of Black Sabbath's "Disturbing the Priest".

"Southamerican Nightmare" is nothing more than the rehashed rough modern groovy post-thrash and as such is the guys' least attractive achievement. "Die 4 Sex Rites" is a sudden brutal explosion, but it would only sadden the listener who may switch off the player right after it.

Under Confusion Demo, 1991
Ultimate Encore Split, 1994
Acrid Taste Full-length, 1994
Southamerican Nightmare Full-Length, 1998

ZERO VOID (KAZAKHSTAN)

This young outfit acquit themselves with fast energetic thrash/death which isn't completely "zero" devoid of the odd more technical hook. The guys march forward with hard relentless rifforamas which range from the wild and the blast-beating ("When Your Tears Become Blood") to the exquisitely technical ("Time to Feel New Fear", the chaotic brutalizer "Manipulation Catalyst") akin to Suffocation and Cryptopsy. Thrash shines on the more moderate material ("Silent Night", the bonus track "Legion of The Dead") and is usually accompanied by screamy piercing leads which still contain a pinch of technicality.

Progression Towards Zero Full-Length, 2013

Official Site

ZEROED (GERMANY)

Thrash/death metal with the classic and the modern sound mixed well together; there are stomping numbers which will remind of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, but the thrash assaults are prevalent having the aggressive Devastation/Sepultura-flavour.

Death Notes Full-length, 2002
War of Liberation Full-length, 2003

Official Site

ZEROFOUR (AUSTRIA)

Based on "The Downfall of Humanity", this band plays cool modern thrash metal with classic insertions and hoarse death-ish vocals. The music packs a punch offering really cool headbangers: "Dishumanized Society", "Warfaith", but the slower heavy numbers are by no means less worthy: the atmospheric doomy "Where Is Your God Now?", which boasts nice Oriental hooks and really brutal, low-tuned growls; the balladic "Zeronation", which again comes with a nice melodic guitar work and more melodic, semi-clean vocals. The last song "The Dreadful Genocide" is a 12-min progressive opus which begins like a gothic track with atmospheric melodic passages and female vocals, before it switches onto full-blooded intense thrash in the middle, and carries on like that for a while giving place to the great acoustic outro. Bands from Austria are a rarity, especially those playing thrash (there's a big gothic/doom metal scene out there), but this one is more than worth checking out providing good diverse stuff which would appeal to a wider range of metal fans.

The Desert of Reality Full-length, 2006
The Downfall of Humanity Full-length, 2008

Official Site

ZEROZONIC (SWEDEN)

Based on the demmo: this is a side project of the mastermind behind Scariot Daniel Olaisen. The style here is nothing like the technically-exuberant one of the other band; this is modern groovy post-thrash with a slight alternative twist which owes a lot to bands like Pantera, Machine Head and GZR.
"Zerozonic": Olaisen continues with this project of his abandoning his work with Scariot... Anyway, although the music here can hardly pass for a substitute of the other band, at least here it's not stale at all. "It Never Dies" is an energetic sterile opener even with shades of the classic school; and later on the situation doesn't worsen with dynamic shredders like "Get Me Back" (check the great leads on this one) and the semi-headbanger "Never Let It Fall". "The Other Kind" is an angry stomper taken straight from "Burn My Eyes", and "Instrumentalis" is of course an instrumental lasting for over 8-min alternating hard pounding sections with quiet balladic ones, this attractive modern saga closed by the vigorous "Just Turn Away".

Demo Demo, 2005
Dead on Arrival Full-length, 2007
God Damn, Better, Best Full-length, 2010
Aftersane Full-length, 2012
Zerozonic Full-length, 2017

Official Site

ZEUS (GREECE)

Based on the Live, these guys provide choppy groovy post-thrash of the radio-friendly type with balladic stretches and echoes of The Black Album, but with less striking, semi-shouty hardcore vocals. The somewhat boring mid-tempo delivery may wear out at some point, but the very good sound quality of the recording (is this really a live recording?) is by all means a plus.

Hijos de San Lázaro Full-length, 2000
Concierto Live, 2012

Official Site

ZERSTÖRER (GERMANY)

This band is a side-project of the guys from the black metal act Hailstorm. The music here is not miles away from the one heard on the Hailstorm releases with a slight pinch of thrash metal thrown in, up-tempo, but never very fast or brutal. More atmosphere comes served with more laid-back pieces like "Slaughter of Divinity" which carry the late-80's Bathory spirit. "Total Frost" is a pure Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost-worship, but make sure not to miss the following "Infernal Warfare": less than 2-min of blasting black/thrash. Certainly the black metal fans will be happier with this one, and possibly even the doom metal ones after hearing the closing gloomy apocalyptic "Shattering Universe" which may not "shatter" the Universe, but will surely "shatter" (or ultimately depress) you.

Panzer Metal Full-length, 2002
Declaration Of War Full-length, 2009

Official Site

ZHELEZNY POTOK (RUSSIA)

A noteworthy thrash metal band from Russia who, unlike the majority of the Russian bands who appeared at around the same time (Aspid, Koma, Valkyria, Mafia, Mortifer), didn't change radically their sound, or split up after just one album. Their first two releases were energetic, but not very skillful, Bay Area-influenced thrashers, maybe longer for the style, graced by cool melodic leads.
"Infinite Pain" comes as a pleasant surprise, showing the band in a new light, with better musicianship displayed. "Bloody Rain" comes with smashing intense technical riffs to show that this will be a different affair. Among the stylish delivery not very convincing mellow tracks can still be found ("Don't Die") although this situation s is nicely compensated by the better moments. The guitars lose their technical edge here and there going into straight speed/thrashing, and the jolly joke song at the end "Beer Passion" could have been more convincing, but this effort showed the band in another better light, staying true to the classic patterns with no hesitations towards the trends of the time.
It was interesting to see how long the guys would hold against the fashion of the day. "Calling Eternity" still sounded pretty classic for most of the time, and was even better (depending on the taste, of course): well executed technical thrash which would remind you of Equinox, Voivod, and even a more accessible Mekong Delta. The guitar sound is thicker and heavier, but the fast sections have been reduced to a minimum, and there are two cool melodic instrumentals: one balladic with a good acoustic Latino guitar, accompanied by a sax; the other being a bit faster with nice leads, among other melodic, but interesting passages, scattered throughout the other tracks. The lack of many sharp guitars and the numerous more abstract moments might let the regular thrash metal fan down, but still more hard-hitting sections could be found. Seemingly having reached their creative peak, the band members scattered around the music field into bands with no relation to thrash.
"Perezagruzka": another veteran from the Russian thrash metal scene is back to the front. From the original line-up there are two members left, Alexey Karpov and Sergey Okhrimenko, but from the new comers one sees the name of Vladimir Blesnov, the former guitar player of the technical death metal wizards Succubus. The band disappeared after the stylish metamorphic "Calling Eternity", apparently not willing to succumb to modern trends at the time, and here they are restored for some more impetuous old school thrash. Because this is exactly the case once the listener is reached by the opening "Belaia Smert", pure unadulterated retro thrash boosted by the relatively modern production. "Demoni" slows down to introduce heavy, hammering riffs which turn into a virtuous lead-driven exit which leads to "Tarakani", the only filler here, a modern post-thrashy anthem with laid-back riffage. Comes "Vojna" and things become wonderfully more technical and more intense the guys showing their more intricate side which is also expressed in several vortex-like passages among the more aggressive thrashisms. The title-track carries on with the stylish thrashing the band now having accumulated inertia pulling out awesome tecnhical riffs, not to mention the exquisite lead section. "Stop" is a heavy pounder with a more modern, proto-groovy flavour; and "Sni" is the lyrical balladic deviation the guys giving it a more intense edge in the 2nd half to turn it into a nice progressive composition with plenty of lead histrionics again. The closing "Dob" is another exemplary technical thrasher, in the mid-tempo confines, the leads duelling with drier, more sterile riffage producing a consummate conglomerate of modern and classic technicality as a finishing touch. This is a marvellous comeback for this talented outfit who may finally be able to get a well deserved, wider exposure outside their homeland.

Black Force (Chernaya Sila) Full-length, 1988
Sign (Znamenie) Full-length, 1991
Infinite Pain (Beskonechnaya Bol') Full-length, 1993
Calling Eternity (Zovuschaya Vechnost') Full-length, 1995
Perezagruzka Full-Length, 2016

Official Site

ZIGOKU QUARTET (JAPAN)

Based on "Senritsu no Zigoku Yuugi", these Japanese, who include the famous vocal guru Nov (also Aion, Volcano, etc.), provide a light-hearted mix of thrash, power and speed metal, a style so well epitomized by hordes of Japanese acts (the aforementioned Aion, Volcano, Sex Machineguns, Hellhound, etc.). The antics range from all out-speedsters ("Aoi Tsuki no Shita de") with a strong thrashy edge, to forceful galloping power/thrashers ("Yomi no Yuuenchi"), to calmer proto-groovers ("Kimi no Ushiro ni Boku wa Iruyo") with a balladic shade. Nov is traditionally the star of the show with his emotional high-strung voice, but music-wise this band doesn't really offer anything which hasn't been heard before already on the works of the other bands from the trend.

Konoyo no Zigoku Monogatari Full-length, 2009
Senritsu no Zigoku Yuugi Full-length, 2010

Official Site

ZIDIZ (EQUADOR)

Look no further than the Swedes Cranium judging by the demo title, and you will be correct, but only half the way through; the surprises come in the form of very brutal low-tuned death metal vocals, and the husky black-ish rasps which accompany them from time to time. Otherwise the music is right as rain being the good old speed/thrash metal ala early Whiplash and Piledriver's "Stay Ugly" the latter being honoured with a cool cover of "The Fire God" of the same album. Towards the end the sound becomes very bad, and little can be enjoyed from the last 4 songs; apart from a constant guitar buzz and noisy audience (the songs are apparently recorded live) not much else can be distinguished leaving these guys to discover their full potential at some later stage.

The full-length doesn't betray the approach on the demo, both because all the songs from it are featured here as well, and because the delivery is exactly the same without any deviations whatsoever: simplistic direct riffs spiced with short screamy leads, samey moderately fast tempos, unholy semi-whispered black metal vocals, and a raw underground sound quality.

Ecuadorian Satan Speed Metal Demo, 2009
El Poder Brutal Full-length, 2010

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ZIMMER'S HOLE (USA)

This is thrash metal played strictly for laughs. A side project of two members from Strapping Young Lad, with the great Gene Hoglan on drums, Zimmer's Hole mix many styles on their efforts, covering almost anything you can think of from the metal spectre. Thrash is the most consistent style, but there is also death, gothic, classic heavy, doom metal: you name it. The tracks are very short, within the 1-2 min-range, with almost everyone being dedicated to a different style; could be enjoyable, if not taken too seriously.

"When You Were Shouting At The Devil..." is a nice turn for the band to a more serious song-wtiring, more strongly concentrated on thrash metal than the previous efforts. The title-track is an awesome energetic, complex (compared to the guys' previous output, and not only) opener with great tempos, nice chorus, and sharp riffage (not many relations music-wise to the Motley Crue hit). "We Rule The Fucking Land" is first-rate heads-down speed/thrash which, with its galloping guitars in the end, will remind you of "The Four Horsemen" (hello, Metallica!). "Flight Of The Knight Bat" is even more aggressive with cool grinding sections ala Strapping Young Lad and smashing heavy riffs. "1312" is thrashing madness at its best, accompanied by cool high-pitched vocal performance ala Rob Halford and Ralf Sheepers (the singer does a very good job on every track, as well as the rough death metal growler who helps him from time to time). "Devil's Mouth" ruins the impression, first because of the obnoxious intro and outro, featuring someone farting in the toilet, among other stuff, and second because of its mild 90's power metal nature, not far from Gamma Ray. "The Vowel Song" is 2-min of death/grind insanity, but is listenable and enjoyable. "Fista Corpse" is very heavy with some of the most crushing riffage around, after which the speed returns with "Anonymous Escophagus": great speed/thrash with nice lead guitar work, and another notable display of high vocal talents. "Alright" is cool mid-paced steam-rolling thrash metal reminiscent of the Fight debut. "Hair Doesn't Grow On Steel" is laid-back, still containing a couple of hard-hitting riffs, but strictly belongs to the epic/power metal field where it scores very high, not without the help of the singer again, and the nice soaring melodies. "What's My Name... Evil!" is a stylish closer thrashing with force with 10-ton tank-like guitars and brutal death metal growls. If the band wasn't taken too seriously by the metal fraternity earlier, after hearing this album few will be those who would regard them as a joke from now on.

Bound by Fire Full-length, 1997
Legion of Flames Full-length, 2001
When You Were Shouting At The Devil...We Were In League With Satan Full-length, 2008

Official Site

ZIONS ABYSS (CANADA)

An interesting one-album wonder mixing doom with thrash metal: imagine early Solitude Aeturnus with a more thrashy approach to song-writing, and you'll know what Zions Abyss sound like. The concentration is more on doom; that's why some thrash metal fans might find it too slow for their taste, but this is a worthy effort from the less ordinary side of the genre.

T.A.L.E.S. Full-length, 1991

Official Site

ZNÖWHITE (USA)

A speed/thrash metal band with a girl behind the mike (Debbie Gunn is the name- the same one who also sang for Ice Age, Sentinel Beast, and Brutal Groove; quite a career, isn't it!). She does a very good job, and seldom have I heard such good female vocals in metal. The music is just great, especially the full-length which is one of the summits of the whole American speed/thrash metal scene: fast intense riffs with nice memorable choruses which you might find addictive. This is so essential that I don't think that there's even a handful of fans out there who don't know this masterpiece by heart... Later some of the band members formed another good, but much less interesting band: Cyclone Temple.

All Hail To Thee EP, 1984
Kick 'em When They're Down EP, 1985
Live Suicide Live album, 1986
Act of God Full-length, 1988

Vibrations of Doom

ZOBIBOR (SWEDEN)

Two people are behind this misanthropic take on retro underground thrash/black which develops in mid-pace with sharp, but slightly noisy, guitars and vicious, low-tuned snarly vocals. Early Bathory is an obvious influence although here the guys are sometimes fond of more melodic touches ("Funeral Freakshow").

In Transylvania EP, 2011

Official Site

ZODIAC (CZECH)

Based on "Never Say Never", these guys play diverse modern thrash which also has echoes of hardcore and death metal the latter ably reflected in the brutal guttural vocals, above all. The guys like it heavy and stoner/doom metal is another close call on the heavier material which completely takes over in the 2nd half also coming with merry more playful rhythms.
“Breathe the Darkness” is slower and less exciting the band now epitomizing the post-thrash idea for the sake of the previous energetic delivery and the repetitive jumpy grooves will tire the listener way before the end this time. The only more interesting moment is the closing tile-track which is a more ambitious doomy opus.

Buh Te Hledá Full-length, 1998
I Love You Full-length, 2000
Never Say Never Full-length, 2013
Breathe the Darkness Full-Length, 2015

Official Site

ZOETROPE (USA)

Another fine band who never made a breakthrough; their debut is a solid speed/thrash metal effort similar to Exodus' "Bonded By Blood". The second one follows in the same direction, but is a kind of less interesting. The band got lost for six years, before resurfacing again with the excellent "Mind Over Splatter", where, among the heavy Slayer-esque riffs, one could hear more-light hearted ones with a speedier, Exciter flavour ("New World Order"), as well as some with a cool crossover spirit ("It's My Life"): a diverse and enjoyable listen, which tries to be even technical at times, and succeeds ("Spilling on Blood", which, apart from the more clever guitar work, features the most aggressive riffs as well).

Amnesty Full-length, 1985
A Life Of Crime Full-length, 1987
Mind Over Splatter Full-length, 1993

Vibrations of Doom

ZOIA (BRAZIL)

A thrash/crossover trio from Brazil who mosh in an intense, direct fashion adding a hefty doze of groove and doom to spice their venomous approach which is assisted by very shouty quarrelsome vocals. "Grupo De Exterminio" introduces nice melodic leads, but niceties of the kind are a rarity the guys' efforts heavily obstructed by the awful sound quality.

Demo Demo, 1999

ZOLDIER NOIZ (FRANCE)

The debut: retro thrash with shades of hardcore along the lines of Hellbastard's "Natural Order" and early Celtic Frost, and even Hellhammer on the slower passages; the French experiment more adding both more melodic (the laid-back punkcore "Outcast Thrasher" which can not pass even for an "outcast thrasher") and more aggressive elements (the brutal proto-death madness "Flesh for Whip" which also crushes at some point with bloody doomy riffs). The gruff death metal vocals are not a hindrance for the listener to enjoy abrasive heavy thrashers like "Remnants of Blitz" and "The Truth" the latter recalling the Canadians Slaughter.
"Regression Process": these French "zoldiers" are here again for the making of another rough primal thrash/proto-death which this time comes with a more distorted guitar sound which, however, suit the more relaxed Motorhead-ish approach the latter partly brutalized by the gruff death metal vocals. The band put a lot of energy into the recordings as the more death metal-laced moments ("Vacant Worlds") seem to be the most convincing.

Schizoid Reject Full-length, 2009
Regression Process Full-Length, 2014

My Space

ZOLTAR (BRAZIL)

Aggressive thrash with shades of death metal, especially in the vocal department; the tempo is quite fast most of the time with nice guitar work, both in the riff and the solo sector. This is classic stuff which was typical for the late 80's/early 90's (the French scene at that time, the Swedes Merciless (their debut in particular), even Massacre and Entombed could be heard on the more intense death-ish parts, and it's nice to hear this sound brought back with style.

Into The Dephts To Burn Full-length, 2002

ZOMBIE (BRAZIL)

Noisy brutal thrash/death, and the main reason why this band aren't mentioned right beside pioneers from their motherland like Sarcofago and Volcano is the amateurish delivery and the sloppy production. Otherwise the approach is as violent as the one of early Messiah the vocals a bit more agonizing and shouty. This is an obscurity which is worth hearing merely out of curiosity.

Demo Demo, 1988

ZOMBIE (USA)

Based on the Split, this is simplistic fast-paced thrash along the lines of early Slayer (before "Reign in Blood") and early Whiplash. The vocals are modelled on Tom Araya. The songs tend to be longer for the style (5-6min), but there's nothing complex going on if we exclude some cool leads, not too typical for the aforementioned bands.

First Bite Demo, 2006
Sacrificial Blood/Zombie Split, 2006

ZOMBIE ATTACK (UKRAINE)

The EP: look no further than the "empty Tankard!"; the Ukrainians' style adheres at times to slower, stomping numbers ("Justice"), but the rest is well-constructed German, "alcoholic" speed/thrash which suddenly branches out into raging Kreator-esque thrash ("Nuclear Disaster"). The band's "godfathers" are honoured at the end with an excellent faithful cover of "Zombie Attack", the only difference coming from the gruff deathy vocals.

Based on the full-length, this is a "zombie attack" from Ukraine which is a bit more intense than the barrage of their idols Tankard the guys thrashing on full-throttle the whole time the cool melodic leads taking some of the pressure. A "bullet" after "bullet" are shot some cuts ("Werewolf Circle", the more serious "Red Light") also echoing early Destruction, among other German veterans. Some more restrained crossover can be caught on the high-spirited "Shut Up and Die", but fillings will fall on the following exploder "Hell March". "Nuclear Disaster" is already on a more brutal Slayer-esque territory which leads a short string of very short hardcore-ish tracks as a finishing touch.

Dead & Drunk EP, 2011
Through the Circles of Hell Full-Length, 2014

Official Site

ZOMBIE COOKBOOK (BRAZIL)

Based on the single, this is aggressive retro thrash/death with crossover shades which develops in a fast, but very seldom blasting, pace with simplistic direct riffs and screamy death metal vocals. Some of the musicicans have been members of the 90's doom/death outfit Lyric Butcher.

The full-length uses the tracks from the single as a backbone for the release, along with a faithful cover of the grindcore legends Impetigo's "Boneyard", of this aggressive thrash/death/grindcore saga which is primarily sustained in a fast intense fashion the guys thrashing and grinding with passion the brutal shouty death metal vocals leading the pack changing the tember at times to a more screechy one the latter also appropriate to the musical "carnage" which surprisingly becomes more proficient and thought-out in the 2nd half: check out the excellent melodic leads on "V.O.D.U.N. (Vile Odor Of Decomposing Unborn Necropolis)", or the almost technical rhythms on the raging "Harvest of The Damn", all this finished with the neck-sprainer "Then You Scream": an encompassing death/grindy rifforama which aptly sums up all what this compulsive effort is about.

Cinetrash EP, 2011
Scared Stiff Single, 2012
Outside the Grave Full-Length, 2012

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ZOMBIE FIGHTER (USA)

This band offer melodic modern, competently done, thrash which is pleasant and feelgood without missing completely in the more aggressive department (check out the speedy "Skullfucker"). There's also dramatism and technicality involved (check out "Carnivore" for both) so there won't be too many boring moments despite the effort's generally predictable nature.

Run for Your Life EP, 2012

Official Site

ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (USA)

Hailing from the Bay-Area, these guys steer away from the established style of their region offering (based on the debut) fast relentless old school thrash with a shade of crossover coming as a cross (not over this time) between early Nuclear Assault and Rigor Mortis. This is really fast stuff also touching Slayer on the more intense moments ("Illegally Dead", the devastating short explosion "Psychological Torture"). "Massive Attack", despite its "massive" title, is the softest track here being pure hardcore ala early Prong. The singer is the perfect match to the aggressive music with his gruff, but clear and intelligible, semi-hardcore delivery.
"Entitled To Enlightenment" is another enjoyable roller-coaster with a softer crossover edge which is also strengthened by the overabundance of melodic hooks the latter detrimental to the thrash metal idea making it disappear more than just now and then. As a result we have a decent crossover entertainment for the more tender souls who may also be attracted by the more serious attitude epitomized on the longer material which occupies half the space here. The band may think of changing their name, though: with the current one they will attract the wrong crowd... Some of the guys are also active with another thrash/crossover act, Fog of War.

Massive Attack EP, 2007
Strike Force Full-length, 2009
Entitled To Enlightenment Full-Length, 2013

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ZOMBIE LAKE (INTERNATIONAL)

This international outfit, featuring members of Protector, Arkham 13, Decimation, etc., indulge in a not very impressive version of the modern thrash vogues which is at its best when it stays closer to the classic school: the death metal-laced "The Cemetery". "Deceased and Obssessed" is wonderfully chaotic and technical with echoes of Nasty Savage's "Penetration Point", but such impressive exploits are not too many here, replaced by doomy cuts like "Blessed Are the Dead" which is an allusion to Morbid Angel's... well, both music and title-wise. Some impressive hard-hitting thrash/proto-death has been provided as a finishing touch the closing "Zombie Lake" coming with another portion of more stylish technical hooks.

Plague of the Undead Full-Length, 2013

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ZOMBIE RITUAL (JAPAN)

A nice young band from Japan who play a mixture of classic thrash and death metal, similar to bands like Ghoul and Frightmare, with the obligatory "duel" between deep growls and vicious snarls in the vocal department. The Japanese are more thrash-inclined with their sound moving at times towards Venom and Bathory ("Zombie Axe Massacre", "Zombie Party").

"Dawn Of The Zombie Slaughter" is another splatter thrashy roller-coaster the guys playing with energy and a tad of death metal ala the aforementioned acts, seldom losing it with a not very appropriate grinding break ("Braindead Zombies"). Hats down to the guys for the very cool attempt at twisted technical death metal with the short shredder "Zombie Surgery" which later echoes in a couple of more restrained technicality-wise numbers. Another plesant surprise would be the atmospheric pensiveness of "Zombie Angels Fallen", but a rude awakening awaits you here at the end in the form of a vicious grinding break. No more "desserts" of the kind, "Welcome To Zombieland" being a merry crossover-laced number, "Zombie Drinkers Want More" thrashing roughly in a stripped hardcore-ish fashion; and "Zombie Vomit Zombie" losing it all near the end with another portion of brutal grinding bash. So expect quite a bit of diversity here with not very expected turns and twists, at this stage still for the better.

Night of the Zombie Party Full-length, 2004
Zombies from Tokyo EP, 2007
Dawn Of The Zombie Slaughter Full-length, 2012

Official Site

ZOMBIE SCARS (ITALY)

Some guys from Fear Traders have decided to try something a bit different from their more elaborate technical style wiith this "zombie" formation. The approach here is way more light-hearted and direct the band lashing simple intense riffs under an optimistic crossover atmosphere. The delivery is both classic and modern the riffs from both sides co-existing well taking over at different stages from the album's development. This is unpretentious stuff which could hardly serve as a substitute for the Fear Traders' more engaging music, but works all right if taken with the necessary pinch of humour both music and lyrics-wise.

Revenant Full-Length, 2012

Official Site

ZOMBIEKRIG (SWEDEN)

The debut: well done classic speed/thrash with black metal insertions, mostly in the vocal department where we have vicious black metal "ravens" occupying the mike; the music is very energetic with a slightly dirty guitar sound, but the riffs lash with passion seldom pausing for a break: "Fill You With Black" is such one, a peaceful gothic hymn which is a cool touch, by the way, recalling mid-period Amorphis. The tracks in the 2nd half contain more melodic riffage "flirting" a bit with modern power/speed metal ala Children of Bodom.

"Den Vänstra Stigens Ljus": the guys offer entertaining old school speed/thrash, at least in the beginning, full of catchy sharp riffs and a few memorable melodies. The screamy black metal vocals aren't the biggest asset of the band, neither are the digressions from the fast blitzkrieg pace, like the dragging heavy metal anthem "Tral". There's quite a diversity later in the 2nd half, for better or worse, including a nice epic ballad ("Evigt liv"), ruined by the hoarse vocals, and one high-octane doomster ("Den Vänstra Stigens Ljus") with dramatic pounding riffs. This isn't a true dedication to thrash as the band "court" other styles along the way, but the fast-paced numbers are major headbangers which wouldn't leave anyone cold. Some of the musicians involved here try something more aggressive with the thrash/death metal formation Poem.

Undantagstillstånd Full-Length, 2010
Den Vänstra Stigens Ljus Full-length, 2012

Official Site

ZONA ABISSAL (BRAZIL)

This band started well with a good heavy/power metal album (self-titled, released in 1988), but they failed to capitalize on the good quality of the music there and 3 years later experienced themselves as thrash metal practitioners with this cool 4-track demo. The guys had managed to preserve the quality offering edgy thrash with sharp guitars and clever song-structures. Their power metal past is well evident ("He Passed Away") seeing a band influenced by acts like early Helstar, Griffin, and Laaz Rockit, plus the casual more technical hook ala Have Mercy and Ulysses Siren. "Kill And Die" is an excellent speed metal cut in the Exciter vein, and "Full Of Desire" is an enjoyable semi-ballad with energizing galloping riffs. The singer has a not very emotional clean voice which seldom shows a fuller involvement in the proceedings (the aforementioned semi-ballad).

Kill and Die Demo, 1993

ZONA MORTA (BRAZIL)

This band is a pleasant deviation from the brutal thrash/proto-death practiced by the horde of Brazilian metal acts at around the same time. The cool orchestral intro "Prelúdio Para Zona Morta" can't possibly be a prelude to some senseless bashing, and certainly this isn't the case: the guys offer melodic power/thrash metal which has both teeth and an edge: the up-tempo thrasher "Catedrais", the galloping power/thrash number "Nomades", with an American flavour. The singer is the weakling with his gruff, semi-death metal delivery which doesn't quite fit the much more melodic music. So there is, after all, something taken from Sarcofago and the likes...

Nomades EP, 1989

ZONA NEGRA (ARGENTINA)

Based on the full-length debut, this band is another fine addition to the growing Argentinian thrash metal scene. This is good classic thrash with slight nods to the Bay Area scene, but more along the lines of Viking's "Man of Straw" and their compatriots Nepal's debut album. The predominant pace is up-tempo, but there are quite a few sections where the music becomes more aggressive and faster recalling Slayer. "HaBitat Enferma" is a cool power/thrasher which slows down, but only for a while, followed by the album's highlight: the excellent headbanger "Interiores Nuestros" which also shows the band's more technical side. The rest of the songs are by no means less impressive; easily one of the better thrash metal debuts of 2007.

"En El Ansia Del Anhelo" is another brisk offering the guys speed/thrashing with gusto their efforts slightly clouded by the noisy boosted guitar sound which deafens the otherwise not very impressive semi-death metal shouter serving as the vocalist. The tracks are generally short and to-the-point the band seldom making any "trips" towards the power/thrash metal sector where so many of their compatriots ended up. Although not as convincing as their older material, this effort still rings true, but could have sounded even truer with a more suitable, more attached, throat behind the mike.

Destino Estancado EP, 2004
Por Tu Misma Patria Full-length, 2007
En El Ansia Del Anhelo Full-Length, 2011

Official Site

ZORATES (BRAZIL)

Based on the "Spiritus Zoratus" demo, these guys offer an aggressive old school blend of thrash and death metal with each song mixing fast blasting passages with heavier more moderate ones topped by brutal growly vocals. "Inferno" is a very cool hectic technical piece with echoes of Atheist and Decapitated, and "Stigmata" is a brutal exercise in visceral death metal which is graced by stylish leads and a few Morbid Angel-esque hooks.

Vergasta Demo, 2000
Rehersal Takes Demo, 2002
Spiritus Zoratus Demo, 2003

My Space

ZORD (HUNGARY)

Ex-members of veterans like Akela and Atomic have joined forces for the creation of some more of the good old 90's post-thrash (based on "Thorns & Wounds") with a pinch of the frolic Motorhead-ish sound. The band press on the "pedal" harder on "Pedal to the Metal" which is a fuller-blooded thrasher, but the party mood is seldom broken by such "distractions" (another one is the optimistic speedster "The Thundersmith"). The singer has a warm bluesy, semi-clean voice accompanied by a slight inebriate note.

Disasters Grind Full-length, 2007
Thorns & Wounds Full-length, 2013

Official Site

ZORDON (CZECH)

Based on the "Blind Crowd" EP, this is mostly dark heavy death metal with some thrash metal implementations. The aproach is consistent, but not very eventful the band relying on evoking atmosphere too much which comes for the sake of the hard riffs which would have been a better match to the very brutal low-tuned Chris Barnes-esque vocals. The short 1.5-min closer is an aggressive cut with a few grindy tendencies and doesn't quite suit the sombre officiant tone of the rest.

Another Victim EP, 2008
Blind Crowd EP, 2011

Official Site

ZOTZ (MEXICO)

Modern thrash metal of the mellower melodic variety; this is relaxed feelgood music with nice melodic hooks and certain both crossover and gothic tendencies. The guys lift up the pace here and there, but the dominant tempo is mid at best, livened by sharper more intense passages which, unfortunately, never expand into whole songs. The singer is hardly the perfect match for the music with his gruff semi-clean tember. The 4 bonus tracks at the end reveal a sound much more aggressive and darker, apparently recorded at some earlier stage, reminiscent of early Pyogenesis with a solid pinch of thrash.

Hermetic Full-length, 2001

Fan Site

ZOV (RUSSIA)

Classic thrash metal with good melodic guitar work and excellent bass performance; the singer has a nice powerful mid-ranged voice, something which can't be said about most of the Russian metal acts where the vocals have always been the weakest link. The band's style has something in common with Mafia (from the same country), but often does the sound take a more melodic slower turn resulting in the demo's best moments: "Abyss", "Madness". Apart from those, there are enough faster numbers to satisfy the more aggressively-inclined fans. The Russian metal scene really needs talented bands like this one to put its name back on the metal map, and hopefully these guys would soon be given a chance by some label.

Çîâ Demo, 2005

Official Site

ZSARNOK (HUNGARY)

Classic thrash which mixes intense fast sections with slower hardcore-ish ones; the final result is a bit uneven with the all-out thrashers much superior to the rest, some of them reaching a Slayer-esque intensity ("Utolsó Vacsora"), although the fuzzy guitar sound takes away some of the sharpness.

Világégés Demo, 2008

Official Site

ZUEL (USA)

This is awesome, first-rate progressive thrash which goes straight into a Coroner and Target territoty with opening shredder "Face" which is nothing short of the ultimate instrumental technical thrasher with its spastic rhythms and virtuous time and tempo-shifts. This is so brilliantly executed that one may only wonder whether the band wold be able to at least match this; tthe next "Johnny" is a bit more moderate and oblivious clinging more towards the spacey progressive, but "Shit Hammer" brings back the thrash with full force although its performance is more on the direct, more linear side. Comes "1984", though, and the intricate arrangements are brought back with style the guys thrashing with the utmost precision "MS Rapture" another stylish exercise in more aggressive music. "Guerrillas on a Bus". "Guerrillas on a Bus" offers more sterile, mechanical riffage on a stomping, dramatic base; and "Unfettered" by all means deserves its title thrashing with reckless abandon and an inordinate amount of intricate, technical decisions including a surreal mid-break. "RBD" is the next in line display of technical exuberance the elaborate riff-patterns overlapping with straight-forward passages to a dizzying effect. No rest for the wicked, and here comes "10" to shatter your senses with another portion of mind-boggling complex thrashing the guys relying on the stop-and-go technique which is led to its perfection here. The closing "The Eyes" is the last masterpiece of immaculate technical thrashing although it starts in a fairly quiet, minimalistic manner with ambient melodies before the band moves up even reaching death metal heights among the dominant djent-like rhythmic patterns applied later. This is a really strong effort showing a talented outfit venturing into a challenging, not very easy to perform, arena.

Zuel Full-Length, 2016

ZURCURSAL (DENMARK)

A less usual clever take on the modern 90's post-thrash with several classic gimmicks (the wild versatile death-bound headbanger "Dreaming") "roaming" around plus more stylish technical riffage ("Frozen Conscious") involved at times as well. The sound quality is just amazingly clear putting to shame many official releases at the time, and the singer is not bad at all with his forceful semi-clean mid-ranged tember.

Unreal Colours Demo, 1994

ZUUL FX (FRANCE)

Based on "Unleashed", this French act play industrial modern thrash/death with Fear Factory a very close soundalike to the point of emulation even at times. The presence of the ex-No Return guitarist Steeve "Zuul" Petit is hardly felt the delivery being strictly dry and sterile coming as one big "soulless new machine" with overt computerized aesthetics. The tempo is mostly mid, but there are fast headbanging passages to be savoured (check out the machine-gun firer "The Fight") among the bleak sonic landscapes which are aptly supported by apocalyptic shouty death metal vocals those seldom interrupted by better cleaner ones those are a bit more emotional than the ones of Burton Bell (Fear Factory again).

By The Cross Full-length, 2005
Live Free or Die Full-length, 2007
The Torture Never Stops Full-length, 2011
Unleashed Full-length, 2012

Official Site

ZVRATOR (CZECH)

"Asphyxiation" offers quite good thrash/death metal reminiscent of the first two Pestilence albums, or No Return's "Contamination Rises". "Totální Masakr" is rawer and more simplistic with a very heavy bass-bottom which stifles the guitars a bit, quite fast and brutal at times, sounding not too far from early Messiah and Protector, featuring also one heavier, doomy song with the not very appropriate title "Brutalica". "Hnijící Embryo" is apparently the band's first initiation into good quality music as this effort isn't miles away from "Asphyxiation", but more aggressive and faster. The guys are better with less speed involved as is evident from the best song on the demo "Hnijící Embryo", and the Sepultura cover of "Troops of Doom" (although it's also quite fast, but not too aggressive).

Totální Masakr Demo, 1991
Asphyxia Single, 1992
Hnijící Embryo Demo, 1992
Asphyxiation Single, 1992

ZWANZIGER (FINLAND)

The drum guru Janne Parviainen (Barathrum, Waltari, etc.) is in charge here for the production of two vigorous power/speed/thrashers which boast fast ripping guitars, a few soaring melodic licks, really good melodic leads (the highlight), and passable, not very emotional, clean vocals. "The Paint" is the least impressive cut spending half the time in more epic power metal arrangements.

Studied to Be Civilized/The Paint Single, 1989

ZWARTKETTERIJ (HOLLAND)

Based on "Sodomizer Dirty Sodomizer": this is old school black/thrash metal which on its best moments recalls Bathory's "Blood, Fire, Death" ("The Black Fucking Heresy"), but there's also brutal bashing used so often by the modern black metal bands. Fortunately the guys don't stick to this side of their music for too long, and they are not strangers to cool speed/thrash numbers in the vein of Nocturnal (Germany) and Alastor (Portugal) ("Jack Hellfire Necrotrash"). "Neslepaks" is a very faithful cover of the folk/black metallers Isengard although it sounds awkward and offbeat, having almost nothing to do with the style presented on this album.
"Cult Of The Necro-Thrasher" is not miles away from its predecessor, offering the same blend of black and thrash metal with black here being a pretty loose description. This time semi-clean melodic vocals sneak here and there, accompanied by more laid-back guitar passages which are still way more hard-hitting than the ones on the power/speed metal works. The blast-beats are more frequent, but are quite short. "Macedonian Horror Cries" contains a nice epic part which will again remind of mid-period Bathory. The rest of the songs are mostly fast-paced headbanging thrashers with one exception: the softer, and somewhat awkward, power metal hymn "Hammer Of Hardrock"; it's not exactly hard rock, but still...

Sodomizer Dirty Sodomizer Full-length, 2005
Cult Of The Necro-Thrasher Full-length, 2007

Official Site

ZYANIDE (COSTA RICA)

Cool brisk retro thrash with a few more aggressive deathy leanings, but nothing going beyond the controlled "outrages" of Devastation and Morbid Saint. The guys possess a fine lead talent in their midst who gives this otherwise pretty direct recording a less ordinary flavour. The rolling riffage on "Extermination Shelter" is a nice "wink" at Destruction and later on one may notice other allusions to the German school, among other more technical "excursions: the wild clever shredder "Massive Nuclear Exposure", the stylish galloper "War Master". The final "Eternal Damnation", another nod to the aforementioned German act title-wise, is a more varied number with energetic guitar work and more frequently changing paces. The vocals are on the authoritative semi-deathy side descending to semi-whispering at times.

Tactics of Death Full-Length, 2012

Official Site

ZYGNEMA (INDIA)

The demo: 3 tracks of ordinary uneventful groovy post-thrash; heavy riffs, angry vocals, and all the rest. The full-length contains the 3 songs from the demo, but the rest is kind of more appealing, with more energy and vibe to it, even featuring clever semi-technical moments ("Into The Darkest Night"; the jumpy technical closer "Born Of Unity"). Still, the dominant feel is pretty groovy and modern, spiced with the casual headbanger (the ripping semi-hardcorer "National Disaster"). The singer is quite angry and deathy, a fitting choice for this heavy hammering music.
"What Makes Us Human Is Obsolete" is way better constructed the approach now much more dynamic and thrashy the band even affording a few neck-sprainers like the title-track, the jumpy, not very predictable "Endangered", and the excellent mechanized closer "Reform Rebirth" which is a stylish piece with great twisting rhythms.

Zygnema/Demo Demo, 2009
Born of Unity Full-length, 2010
What Makes Us Human Is Obsolete Full-Length, 2015

Official Site

ZYKLON-B (ARGENTINA)

This "thrashionando" is a rough affair with harsh mid-paced riffage which creates quite a bit of noise at times except for the times when the band decide to speed up: "Que Te Salve Dios", the short faster cut "Desterrando el Miedo". This is a hesitation between the two trends (modern & classic) in a way quite similar to Horcas and Lethal from their homeland although this act here need to do some corrections in the vocal department: this harsh unrehearsed hardcore-ish shouter mars the other guys' efforts almost beyond repair...

Thrashionando Full-Length, 2013

ZYKLON-B (USA)

Based on the "Mass Asphyxiation" demo, this not very known band serve very brutal violent thrash/proto-death which is pure death metal for at least half the time. So this is one of the first genuine attempts at death metal from the States, really aggressive bash ironically the most melodic riffage witnessed on "Death" which is a tad more relaxed with elements of crossover sneaking in. The rest isn't for the squeamish with brutal shouty death metal vocals deafening the instruments when in action.

Gorenography Demo, 1988
Mass Asphyxiation Demo, 1988

ZYKLON X (GERMANY)

This is the continuation of the talented progressive thrashers Lost Century. This is quite a turn form the sophisticated progressive approach of the previous act the guys now thrashing with a more modern edge also incorporating more aggressive shouty death metal vocals. The music is still not bad at all mixing fast deathy tracks with more laid-back heavier ones not far from mid-period Slayer (think "South of Heaven"). "Niha Sux" is a first-rate shredder with shades of Paradox and early Deathrow, but the rest is more on the ordinary side without too many exciting moments if we exclude the cool semi-ballad "Gesegnetes Land" which is a "wink" at the last Lost Century album with its more serious, soulful delivery.

Tod und Leben Full-Length, 1997

My Space

ZYNC (USA)

Boring, tedious groovy semi-thrash coming as a mix between Biohazard and Anthrax's 90's period with awful rap vocals; the music completely lacks energy going for heavy, but unimaginative guitars.

Bring Forth The Element Full-Length, 2005

ZYNTHOMA (MEXICO)

Power/thrash metal with progressive pretensions on the longer songs, some of which are actually worth checking out: the multi-faceted "Mas Alla del Ser". The shorter biting thrashers are not bad, either: "Inerte", but the dominant pace is mid-tempo with the obligatory slow passages on the longer material. The guys are close to overdoing it on the overlong(done) "Diez Mas Uno" which develops as a full-blooded ballad for whole 6-min before the guitars explode into awesome faster moments which go on until the end. And let's not forget about the short, but still technical pieces which are close to being the highlight: the excellent intense technical speed/thrasher "Burutal Silencio".

Brutal Silencio EP, 2007

Official Site

ZYPREXA (FINLAND)

"Fat Fuck" is the guy behind all that, and one shouldn't be surprised to hear some not very professionally-executed abrasive thrashcore topped by very hysterical screechy vocals. This is unpretentious stuff served in various tempos despite the short song length (1-2min) so there's variety, and the guy never goes into any speedy extremes keeping things within the moderately up-tempo confines on the more intense material.

Saasta Full-Length, 2013

Official Site

ZÄHC (BRAZIL)

Nowadays is hardly the "dawn of the thrash", and these folks are hardly the most prominent practitioners, even only in South America. The music on offer is thrashy crossover with brutal death metal vocals of the dual type. At their more inspired the band could touch gore acts like Ghoul or Frightmare, but the approach here is less serious with much shorter tracks (1-2min) often turning into pure bashing with sincere grindcore references ("Faces Da Vida Cotidiana").

Dawn of the Thrash EP, 2007

My Space


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