Fiction: The Frontier

I wanted to get back into using my site and figured I would start by uploading a piece of old fiction I wrote. This piece was written for a competition with the theme of “isolation”. I’ve left the piece as it was submitted at the time.

The hull door of the rudimentary solo-craft lowered, letting light fill the interior, the only distinguishable sights were the still descending ramp and the blinding white of the new world’s light. With a dull thud the ramp hit the ground below. Blinking, Helena stepped forward onto the ramp, her eyes just beginning to adjust. As she continued down the ramp her vision filled with her first true glimpse of the new world. Beneath her feat was a dusty, ashen grey rock ridged like a furrowed brow. The rock stretched from the edge of the lake to the tree line of the forest to her north. The water of the lake was an inky purple and its lapping against the shore was the only sound save the gentle whine of her solo-craft’s engines cooling.  The peaceful near-silence should have been tranquil but served as a reminder of the emptiness. She forced these thoughts from her head and sought distraction. The most noticeable trees that made up the band of forest secluding her landing spot were perhaps the only truly otherworldly thing in her immediate surroundings. Their trunks spiralled up from a nexus of roots like a stretched out cork screw. The tip of each coil diverged into wiry branches each ending with a cluster of feathery leaves subtly fanning the sky above. The sky itself was a sunset violet like the whole palette of summer twilight spread across the midday sky in great swathes.  She’d seen these trees before, of course, in holo-simulations of the mission and her own research about this but it was incomparable to being faced with them now.  There was now a tangible aspect to her exploration, a brand new sight to associate with that first step on this new world and, if nothing else came from this mission, something to take back and show to her superiors on the Ark.

Placing her left foot next to her right, Helena no longer touched the craft at all. Her arrival was a lot more tentative than she had hoped. They were small footsteps unaccompanied by words that might be taught to future generations. Not that she hadn’t had any aspirations to a giant leap, it was simply pragmatic: no one could have heard anyway. It would have been nice to have said something memorable, perhaps now and let the suite record it, but then all the spontaneity would be gone and it would sound kitschy. Instead, she continued to think, she could tell them what she had said, or at least thought, but it was hard to capture awe in words. One thing she could tell them was about how cut-off from her surroundings she felt. The filters in her suite meant that this planet had no odour, the air was a comfortable temperature but had a sterile taste, she could tell them how disembodied she felt in her first few steps.  Considering her colleagues reminded her how vital it was that she set up the communications relay on her solo-craft, to let the Ark know that she was alive and give them a human report from the surface. There were some things that the remote drones were inferior to humans in reporting. It was this lucidity to her mission that also made her realise she was almost at the treeline, it was difficult not to be captivated by the trees and their lethargic coiling motion.

Nearly running, she made her way back to the solo-craft, making sure not to trip on the ridges in the rock in her haste. The relay to the Ark had a long delay; her message would first go through a deep orbit ship and would then be sent to the Ark, which could be a system away by now. The knowledge that it could be weeks until she heard from her closest friends and her partner was disheartening. There would be the faces and voices of her colleagues on the orbit ship but they seemed a poor substitution to the people she’d grown up with on Earth, the people who’d been with her through the Solar Foundry Academy, the people who’d gotten her in trouble at the Academy and gone to laugh about it over a beer when the sanctions were over. The sanctions had never harmed her career. She had made the rank of captain in the Foundry’s navy before she was noticed for her initiative and propensity for learning. She was quickly transferred to the navy’s exploration wing and after two other landings and assisting with the overseeing  of the establishment of a colony on Cassius III she had seen herself promoted to her first solo mission.

Back inside the ship, she removed her helmet and faced the holo-coder. ‘I’ve arrived,’ she said,  ‘as you’re probably aware. I’m safe and have yet to attract any native attention. Tell Achebe he was right, the spot by the lake provided perfect landing conditions and has given me a great spot to start cataloguing local flora and fauna. Based on my current success, I’m going to stick to the plan and spend the night here, tomorrow I’ll see if I can make my way to the large settlement we discovered North East of here. Ortiz, make sure this gets back to the Ark. I want them to know we’ve made it and if all goes well they can send a module here.’ She cut the recording off and hit send, ‘and I can see them again—’ she trailed off.

From the deck she saw the sun hanging lower in the sky. She’d tracked its descent and felt her apprehension for her first night here grow in proportion. There was nothing logical about this apprehension, she told herself, she’d made sure to land in an area without predators and the ship provided her with not just shelter, but a great deal of comfort. Comfortable living space was no replacement for companionship, but perhaps a reply to her message would come back to make the night bearable.

There were still some hours until nightfall, Helena believed the best way to spend that time would be outside continuing to acclimatise to the planet and her situation. She paused exiting the ship and tried to look over the tree line, there were silhouettes from the settlement she was going to tomorrow. Settlement was report language; from drone scans it looked much more like a city. She pulled out her binoculars and focused on the distant outline. Upon closer inspection, what she had seen was a group of seven magnificent spires, their heights rising like the crests of waves and cascading back down the other side like a waterfall. She had never seen such craftsmanship achieved in stone on such a large scale, it appeared to be stone but even zoomed in it was impossible to be certain. Suddenly she felt free of worry. Maybe tomorrow, when she made it to the city, one of the ambassadors would show her these marvels and many more besides. What other wonders might this unmet species be capable of? That was providing she was able to communicate with them. The idea that she would, ghost-like, have to observe without being able to interact was somehow more horrifying than the possibility that she would be treated as a hostile intruder or a new novelty. And another fear that preoccupied her; it was not as if Earth was without abandoned cities. Pompeii – a shadow from the past frozen in time by natural disaster; what if that was what she found? The abandoned debris of a culture that once was.

Not letting these thoughts rest, she sat down at the base of one of the trees and tried to make herself as comfortable as was possible against the alien plants. She began to type out her initial thoughts on the city and her plans for tomorrow, the bare bones of an official report. She stared out at her ship and the lake beyond, enjoying how the sky started to blend with it as the light faded. The first of the planet’s moons began to rise over the horizon, its pale light akin to the silver bark of the tree she was sat at and the birch in her garden as a girl growing up. She turned her report to describing the night. She then named the moon, her first discovery and first naming, ‘Silver Birch, the Companion’.

Draft to the Power 3

Over the last year my main gaming project was putting together a pauper cube. This is a huge pile of Magic: the Gathering cards put together to create a draft set using only cards at the common rarity. I decided to undertake this task after having a great experience drafting a pauper cube and realising that I really enjoyed limited formats. I wanted to have way of getting that draft fix without needing to buy booster packs and also having some more interesting and diverse interactions that could be found by going beyond the normal formats.

I set about going through my collection, reading things online, trading and doing occasional orders. Things moved slowly at first. One of the most helpful things I found was a series of articles by Alex Ullman which can be found here (seriously check them out if you’re interested in cube or game design). Alex Ullman’s list became the base of my own but a good deal of Lorwyn nostalgia made me include a tribal sub-theme that I will continue to work on.

Friday 15th August was the first time that I was able to have an eight player draft with the cube. There had been smaller tests ranging from two to four player but never had we reached the holy draft number of eight.

All of the drafters were friends of mine from the local area with a wide range of experience in magic. From regular drafters and brewmasters to pick-up casual players and those returning to the game. To try and even the playing field it was suggested that more experienced players had to play three colour decks and weren’t allowed to pick removal in the first two picks of each pack.

Here’s a breakdown of what was played:

  • Andrew – Bant Auras
  • Sam (me) – Bant “Skies”
  • Jonathan – Jund
  • Sam C – Jund stompy
  • Max – Dimir Tempo
  • Faye – Azorius
  • Jake – Rakdos w/ Green splash
  • Mike – Azorius

The draft portion, as always, was good fun and having stipulations in place led to some interesting picks. In the first pack I was forced to pass Repulse due to the no removal rule. I opted for Wild Mongrel instead hoping to end up in a deck that abused the discard ability for Basking Rootwalla and Werebear. When Werebear did finally show it’s face I passed up on the card and it’s amazing flavour text to branch out into blue for Ninja of the Deep Hours who more than pulled his weight in my deck. This also meant the end of man’s best discard-outlet-friend’s place in my deck. My positioning on the table and being set into my colours early on due to strongly cutting green and white early on I was passed some very powerful cards. My deck featured Seraph of Dawn, Guardian of the Guildpact, and Armadillo Cloak.

This was the list:

1x Benevolent Bodyguard

1x Attended Knight

1x Empyrial Armor

1x Phantasmal Bear

1x Kitsune Blademaster

1x Armadillo Cloak

1x Llanowar Elves

1x Guardian of the Guildpact

Land

1x Knight of Cliffhaven

1x Seraph of the Dawn

1x Selesnya Guildgate

1x Leafcrown Dryad

1x Mulldrifter

6x Plains

1x Mire Boa

1x Sentinel Spider

5x Island

1x Frilled Occulus

1x Search for Tomorrow

5x Forest

1x Aura Gnarlid

1x Hands of Binding

 

1x Nyxborn Wolf

1x Judge Unworthy

 

1x Trusted Forcemage

1x Raise the Alarm

 


It had a reasonably effective curve and I found myself being able to go on the beatdown early and often. My creatures outclassed those of my opponents early on due to  helping each other as either gifts bestowed by the gods or Trusted Forcemage lending her powers to the smaller members of my army.

This event also introduced me to an aspect of Cube that was new to me and that I’m excited to explore going forward. This was the first I started to discover synergies hidden deep in the history of Magic. The interaction that I stumbled upon this time was Ninja with Empyrial Armor. Ninja always restocks your hand meaning that you can continue to cast creatures and still get a great buff from the aura.

Playing three colours didn’t feel like much of a detriment but I sure felt the sting of no removal in any of the longer games that I played. This problem hurt me the most in the last game that I played.

Round 1

In this game I played against Max who’d recently come back to Magic with Conspiracy, meaning that he was no stranger to drafting with powerful cards. Game 1 started off badly for me, my side of the battlefield was sparsely populated with a lone Elf being one of the few creatures to stay around for anytime. I saw my creatures bounced, killed and countered whilst an Errant Ephemeron started to materialise from it’s temporal suspense. Trusted Forcemage made her way on to the battlefield and her magic bond with the Llanowar Elves gave them both the power to finish the game with help of enchanting Empyrial Armor. This was a game of doing the maths and hoping on the last attack as Max had me super dead next turn.

The next game went my way and cemented my game plan for subsequent games with this deck. I loaded the battlefield with good blockers and soldier tokens whilst my Ninja and Mulldrifter kept me ahead in the card advantage game. Eventually my flying guys proved too much and I took down the round 2-0.

Round 2

This round I was matched up against Sam. He’d drafted a Jund deck that excelled in the long game with powerful threats like Ulamog’s Crusher and Wildheart Invoker. Game one was a blowout for me but in the worst kind of way as Sam was colour screwed so this was essentially a non-game. It did involve a ten point swing with Ninja and  Guardian though which I was quite proud of.

Game 2 was a very different affair. I’d started off explosively again but Sam’s draw had a whole lot more gas than last time having removal and blockers meaning that I was unable to close the door before I was facing down Zhur-taa Swine, Wildheart Invoker and worst of all Ulamog’s Crusher.I was locked out from fighting back and facing certain defeat leading to some terrible combat maths when assigning blockers; meaning that I was out of options on my last turn alive. I think I could have won this game if I’d taken the time to work out blocking properly.

In the third game of this match my fliers found the skies were clear and claimed a strong victory for me.

Round 3

This was the last set of games of the day and saw me pitted against the only other undefeated player. Andrew was also playing a Bant deck. His deck was a lot more “go tall” than mine and since Andrew had sat to my left during the draft portion I suspected he might have benefitted from a lot of the removal I was forced to pass.

My suspicion was correct, I faced three Pacifism type effects and repulse in game one. The resolution of each of these spells was accompanied by a smirk that can only come from the smug feeling of knowing you’re beating your opponent the way they wanted to beat you. Despite having previously been able to overwhelm opponents, the removal suite Andrew played along with matching me creature-for-creature meant that my offense was brought to a halt before being able to close out the game.

Game two was a very different story. I resolved an early Guardian of the Guildpact and then suited it up an Armadillo Cloak. This was too much to deal with as it crashed in turn after turn.

As was poetic justice would have it I had something similar done right back to me in game 3 as a turn two Sage owl was blessed by the gods  of Theros again and again with various bestow creatures.      

 

I had a great time getting to do a full draft of my cube whilst playing a variety of opponents and a number of games with the deck I drafted. Everyone else appeared to enjoy themselves a lot and the draft didn’t seem to be too daunting to those unfamiliar with limited as I was afraid it might be. My only major concern was that in order to try and balance the field three of us were forced to play three colours but then the top four decks were three colour decks. Perhaps they were less inconsistent than we’d hoped. There was also a little less variety in colour combinations drafted than I expected but I’m certain this will change at different drafts. One drafter was worried that there was too much removal in the cube but I think this will become less of an issue as players adapt to the environment however, I will keep an eye on this in the future. Players also enjoyed the tribal sub-theme which I mentioned I plan to push more as the Cube continues to evolve.

I’d definitely advise limited junkies like myself to build a cube of some sort and I’m already looking out for the next opportunity to draft the cube. If you’re interested my own Cube can be found in this spreadsheet

 

The Testament According to Thrash Pt. 2

Welcome back for the second and concluding portion of last week’s article.

  1. Megadeth – Rust in Peace (1990)

I really wanted a Megadeth album on this list but I was seriously torn between Peace Sells… and Rust… . I think they’re both incredible albums and at different times of my life my favourite of the two changes greatly. I’ve picked Rust… in this case because in this case because it was one of the first albums that I bought with my own money and was a gateway into heavy music for me. Whilst I also have a personal story tied to Peace Sells… it doesn’t quite have the same nostalgia tied to it for me as picking up Rust… for the first time. I remember the cover had a major impact on me as well trying to work out what was going on, why is this skeleton surrounded by world leaders? What’s up with his face? Is he resurrecting an alien? And then the songs, the complex riffs and exotic sounding solos from Marty Friedman were like a drug to a young, aspiring guitarist. There was a point where I could sing along to every word and every solo in Hangar 18 this was product of my obsession with this album and my own inability to actually play the songs.

Rust… was also my first exposure to metal songs that could have meaning to them, as songs like Holy wars and the title track tackled issues relevant to the time of the album’s recording. A number of the other songs explored Dave Mustaine’s personal battles with intoxicants and relationships. Megadeth have always been a group of incredibly talented musicians and as an album Rust in Peace not only showcases skill but a coherency and ability to transfer musicianship into well written and tight compositions. As such this album comes recommended as a very strong metal album and not just one that I personally love.

This album is home to a few Megadeth classics like Holy Wars and Hangar 18 which are both really worth a listen. Another track that is great to get a feel for this album is Tornado of Souls.

Where to go next : This one is obvious. Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying

  1. Testament – The New Order (1988)

I want to be brief here because Testament are showing up again somewhere so I’ll simply focus on this as an album. The New Order is one of the strongest Sophomore efforts I’ve heard from any band. It shows musical growth yet still maintains the same direction as the debut album. In many ways it feels like the restraints of the first record have been taken off as more time is given to slower melodic passages either as instrumental tracks or introductions. All of the band members perform at a very high level on this album.  With Alex Skolnick’s jazz infused shredding leading the charge in an assault backed by Eric Peterson’s furious riffing, if there ever was a guitar duo that I felt was underrated it’s these two.

Into the Pit is headbanger’s anthem and is closely matched by Disciples of Watch another Testament classic.

Where to go next: Dark Roots of Earth is fantastic Testament with a modern edge

  1. Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (1986)

This was an album I stumbled upon and then didn’t think about for a while. I then had it suggested to me by a couple of people and decided to buy it earlier this year. It hasn’t been out of heavy rotation since then. There’s something addictive about these frenzied songs. Gene Holgan’s drumming is superb in powering out each track but also anchoring the craziness that comes from the guitars and bass. This album is an onslaught of fire, death and darkness of the best kind. Vocalist Don Doty displays an impressive range but his growling occasionally gets lost in the mix.  

The opening track (and title track) Darkness Descends is an album definer and if I could write a song like this I think I’d be happy to call it a career. Other gems on this album are Merciless Death, Death is Certain, Life is Not and Perish in flames.

Where to go next: Death Angel – The Ultra-violence and Slayer – Reign in Blood

  1. Kreator – Pleasure to Kill (1986)

Kreator are an integral part of my origin story, they were the first metal band that I listened to by choice. I’d picked up an SPV sample compilation in Germany that had Reconquering the Throne on it. This song isn’t on Pleasure to Kill but it opened my eyes to the world of heavy music. A few years later I read an article about the writing and recording of the album in Metal Hammer and the morbid themes captured the imagination of the young teenager I was at the time. Fast forward another few years and I bought this album in Cambridge on the way home from my interview. I sat listening to it the school library the next day. This is not the appropriate environment for Kreator but the experience was mind blowing.

The production on this album is very raw which is part of it’s charm. It makes it sound like pure rage and aggression in recorded form. The version of the album that I own came with the Flag of Hate EP which means more anger for your money. The best way to describe this album is a record packed with songs that violently thrash around but I realise that doesn’t mean a great deal in this context. This is a chaotic, dark and gritty work of music with perhaps the lightest moment being the opening Choir of the Damned (I think that says it all really).

Listen to Pleasure to Kill and Pestilence first and then have no regrets about buying this album.

Where to go next: I actually think newer Kreator is really good so go listen Enemy of God or Phantom Antichrist. Also check out fellow German thrash titans Sodom

  1.  Testament – The Legacy (1987)

I said they’d be back and here they are. Testament were the first band that I ever saw live so they’ve had a huge impact on me and in particular this album. It’s most surprising that this album is a debut album, everything about it feels very complete. This is band who knew their trade well early on and didn’t shy away from showing it. Skolnick’s leads are one of the things that really sets this album a part from what else was being made at the time. This is melodic thrash and it’s a thing of beauty. I like it more than the follow up, from earlier in the list, simply because all the songs feel a lot more to the point. I also think the tracks are all a great deal more memorable than on The New Order.

The fact that Testament have two albums in this list really speaks measures about how good I think these albums are. There are some moments that I’d like to highlight on this album that are entertaining for different reasons. Firstly the solo in Over the Wall, this is one of my favourite guitar solos in metal music. It never feels self-indulgent, Skolnick doesn’t descend into pure speed or mindless shredding, there’s something very soulful about this solo but it’s still in keeping with the intensity of the song. It’s also wonderfully dark sounding. Raging Waters has a moment that I’m not sure I’ll ever not find funny. Chuck Billy growls ‘THE TRIANGLE’ in the way that only Chuck Billy can before hastily clarifying that this is ‘the Devil’s triangle’. It’s amusing, which I doubt was the intention, but doesn’t ruin the song.

my favourite track on this album is The Haunting but for a short burst of why Testament are great check out C.O.T.L.O.D.


Where to go Next: Go back and read the list!

The Testament According to Thrash pt.1

As I begin to write this Metallica are playing on the mainstage at Glastonbury, that’s right, one of thrash metal’s progenitors playing at the largest music festival in the UK and perhaps the world. This is a far cry from the clubs in the Bay Area and LA in the early 80s and shows just how far thrash has come. It’s a feat displaying thrash’s resilience after facing near death through the 90s as bands put out records that deviated from the sounds that made them famous. 2014 is also being hailed by Metal Hammer as a year to celebrate 30 years of thrash. As such I wanted to write about some of my favourite records in the genre and records that should work as a great gateway into the world of neck-breaking riffs.

This is not really a top ten list, instead think of this as a collection of some of the gems of the genre so the order is by no means absolute. I can’t claim to have listened to every thrash album out there but these albums are all very important to me and I think everyone should give them a listen. So let’s kick this off with a leftfield choice.

      10. Helloween – Helloween EP (1985) & Destruction – Mad Butcher (1987)

Odd because this is two instead of one but neither of these are full length releases so I don’t feel they quite warrant their own entries but they sure deserve a spot on the list.

The Helloween EP is the band’s first release and the start of a very illustrious career with the band still touring and making high quality albums. Whilst more of speed metal album, the eponymous release has the blistering speed exhibited by other thrash bands. It’s also the bands later shift towards speed metal and power metal that have led this record to be considered anything other than a thrash record.

The opening radio noise cemented the band’s status as ‘Happy, happy Helloween’ before tearing into the fantastic opener Starlight. Another of this record’s highlights is Victim of Fate a longer track with a somewhat more complex song structure than most thrash songs of the time but a Helloween classic none the less, using an early version of the band’s frequent explorations conflicts between God and Satan and really setting a tone for the subsequent albums. Any of this EP’s tracks are suggested listening but it doesn’t get better than Victim of Fate and Cry For Freedom. The best version of this album to get is the double disc version with Walls of Jericho included.

The main reason for the inclusion of Mad Butcher by Destruction is its title track which is undeniably a thrash anthem and was one of my earliest experiences of thrash. A version of the song is also on the band’s first release Sentence of Death but this later version is tighter than the original and has some great lead work by both Mike Sifringer and Harry Wilkens. A version of this EP can be bought with the full-length Eternal Devastation which also has some killer tracks on it which I would recommend checking out.

Where to go from here: Helloween – Walls of Jericho and Blind Guardian – Follow the Blind

  1.   Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984)

It would be a herculean task to write an overarching article on thrash without mentioning Metallica. When it comes to Metallica it doesn’t get better than this album. Arguments can be made for Master of Puppets but whilst being an incredible album it lacks the all out speed and ferocity to the extent that can be found in most thrash albums.This album kicks-off with Fight Fire with FIre, opening with its melodic, acoustic section before roaring into the riffing that really holds this album together. The opener is followed by a barrage of Ride the Lightning and For Whom the Bell Tolls and then a slowing down of pace for the moving ballad; Fade to Black. These four tracks wouldn’t seem out of place on a Metallica greatest hits album.

The quality of the album remains high but some of the later tracks aren’t Metallica classics in the same way as the early album. However, there’s a kick in the tail. The penultimate song Creeping Death is a real killer; making use of a dark, Biblical plot and a famous line from the 1956 film, the Ten Commandments to craft a great song. The closer is equally strong but in a different way, a gloomy and progressive instrumental The Call of Ktulu also has some striking resemblances to a song I hope to talk about later in the list.

This is a fairly hard album to narrow down for a track or two but my recommendations are Creeping Death and  For Whom the Bell Tolls

Where to go next: Any other album on this list (There aren’t many bands with the exact Metallica sound), Kill ‘em All and Master of Puppets.

  1. Iced Earth – Night of the Stormrider (1991)

So what Iced Earth don’t have the strongest thrash pedigree? I defy you to listen to this album (particularly the title track) and tell me that it isn’t thrash. Beginning the Iced Earth tradition of concept albums Night of the Stormrider  tells a Faustian tale of a man who gains great power leading him down the road to damnation. The difference being that our Stormriding protagonist rejects the religions of mankind and becomes an avatar of nature rather than making a pact with the Devil.

Musically this album is dark making use of melodic flourishes to help create the settings of each chapter of the story from “The blackened forest” and “Astral Plain” to the desert heat and stygian realms. The songs are well thought out with the relentless riffing of Jon Schaffer being broken up by the cleaner sections, giving the album and story great pacing and adding subtlety to the darkness. Stormrider is probably the most straightforward thrasher on offer here with a multitude galloping riffs. Amongst other tracks to sample are Desert Rain and Pure Evil as both do a great job of flexing the album’s thrash and melodic muscles.

Where to go Next: The other thrashiest Iced Earth album is their eponymous debut album but there are stronger efforts like Something Wicked this Way Comes.

   7. Gama Bomb – Tales from the Grave in Space (2009)

This is only album by a newer band on this list. The omission of newer bands is due to the fact that I haven’t had a chance to listen to too many of them beyond live performances yet, I don’t want to display a bias to well established bands but my aim with this list is to promote the albums I would recommend.   

When Tales… was first released it was available to download from the record company for free but has seen subsequent, physical releases. This was how I found the album and I think it was good model as it brought the band’s music to a whole lot of people who might have passed it by in the modern market. It shouldn’t be looked down upon though as a marketing demo, this is a serious album with some real clout. Maybe ‘serious’ is the wrong word, thematically this album is very tongue-in-cheek with lots of references to old horror movies and B-movies which reaches its pinnacle in We Respect You with the band paying tribute to their heroes like JCVD and Christopher Lee.

This is a fun album and the band feels a bit like a modern Anthrax, their songs are filled with pop culture references and are exactly the kind of tracks I want to put on in a metal club or at a party. Start with Slam Anthem and New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C. and enjoy this album.

Where to go Next: Check out the band Municipal Waste or for some more serious, new thrash Abadden. If you enjoyed this and don’t already own a copy you should probably pick Anthrax’s Among the Living.

   6.  Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985)

Exodus are one of those bands that started it all and fortunately I also love this album.It’s aggressive, it’s angry, it has great riffs and is full of lyrics about violence, the apocalypse and black magic. To all extents and purposes this is metal home run.

This really is one of those albums that captured the essence of thrash metal and defined what it would become. I like the developing version of thrash that this album presents with the Heavy Metal roots far more visible than say on the works of Dark Angel and Kreator. This means slower songs but also perhaps a more accessible album. This is a fantastic album for both listening to on your own or for putting on at metal parties.

The first track I heard was Metal Command which is as good a starting place as any but my favourite track on the album is And Then There Were None which has an absolutely killer refrain.

Where to go next: For more Exodus Fabulous Disaster is probably a good choice. I also think that Bonded by Blood is complimented well by Metallica’s Kill ‘em All.

See you next week with part two and the final five.