5 Older Metal Albums That Demand a Listen, by Knox Colby (Enforced)

Photo: Michael D. Thorn

Earlier this month, Enforced dropped an excellent record in At the Walls. Available now via WAR Records, the 9-track affair perfectly exhibits the Richmond, VA quintet's affinity for savory thrash riffs that get stick to the insides of your skull from the onset. Integrity's Dwid Hellion is a fellow Enforced fan, not only guesting on the song "Skinned Alive," but also handling the artwork for the record.

Knowing how much of a metalhead he is, I asked Enforced singer Knox Colby to hit us with a list of 5 Older Metal Albums That Demand a Listen. Seen below, I'll say that I was quite impressed with his choices. —Carlos Ramirez


To preface, I’m happy to be writing an article like this. I’ve never had the chance or opportunity, so any and all love, praise or hate mail should be forwarded to No Echo or WAR Records, respectively. I’ve chosen five albums that I think deserve looking into more if you’re not familiar with the nit and grit of thrash metal or further specific subgenres; and if you are, revisit some classics! —Knox Colby

Attomica — Disturbing the Noise (1991)

This album is fast. There are times when it feels like entire songs are about to buckle and fall apart from the sheer speed, yet Attomica holds fast to boot your brain dead skull in. With songs like "The Chainsaw," "Deathraiser," and "Forbidden Hate," Attomica is up there with the best of them, and their entire collection deserves combing through. The pacing is obnoxious, seamless and doesn’t budge; it’s what your puny ass deserves.

Protector — A Shedding of Skin (1991)

This band is near perfect to me. A great blend of thrash and death metal. The vocals lend a heavy hand in adding a gruff and gnarled edge to the otherwise clean recording. The speed is held in check, opting for chunky, heavier moments that feel familiar within a lot of modern hardcore. From all I can find, this band from Germany never really got a stable footing and has been plagued with lineup changes since the early '90s. Check this album out and their peppered catalogue.

Opprobrium — Beyond the Unknown (1990)

For the sake of consistency in digital searching, I’m using this band’s current name. Originally named Incubus, they lost the rights to some alt-rock band of the same name (weird!). If you use either name, you’ll probably find what you’re for, but out of respect to the masters, I’ll use Opprobrium. Southern thrashy death metal that keeps it mean and dirty, but gets a heavy treatment of stellar solos layered on top. Like Protector, they shine when they opt to coast for a stretch. A great band foiled by an apparently popular band name.

Celtic Frost — Vanity / Nemesis (1990)

This is Celtic Frost’s last studio album before 2006’s Monotheist (which is impeccable in its own right, peep that as well as Tom G. Warrior’s newer outfit, Triptykon. What I love about Vanity / Nemesis is its Lego-like structure. Any riff would work for almost any song on the album; it’s kind of a diamond disaster. Granted, I know Cold Lake really tanked Celtic Frost at the time, and to try and regain traction (whilst trying to progress) was a steep uphill venture, I’ve always really appreciated Vanity / Nemesis.

I can admit and be didactic that there’s a lot of missteps in this album, but in my opinion, a lot of the structures and riffs are far more relevant to hardcore today than they were to heavy metal or any boiled subgenre in 1990. You can hear it in the tempo, chugging progression, drumming, an obnoxious breakdown in "Wine in My Hand," Tom G. Warrior’s aggressive use of the non-word "UGH." I’ve heard half of this album’s bag of tricks in the last 5 years of hardcore, yet no one seems to know or credit the source. No shame, no hate, just listen. It’s tight, please try it on. I know it’ll look good on you. 

Sacrilege — Behind the Realms of Madness (1985)

From beginning to end, this is a heralded mix of punk/metal/thrash/crust/etc. Sacrilege is aggression. For most metal-leaning readers, I understand why you’d say “there’s nothing overlooked or understated about Sacrilege.” I’d agree, but for a recent or younger fan of hardcore, punk, metal, etc., Sacrilege may have been missed in the perview; in my opinion, they should have a spotlight on them. It is important that you’ve listened to Sacrilege. They’re a great foundational band. You’d be remiss if you didn’t give them at least a cursory listen. It got remastered recently and is streaming with some old gems tucked away. 


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