The Top 21 Bay Area Metal Albums: The Complete List

9. Death Angel, The Ultra-Violence
Recorded when the members of Death Angel were under the age of 20 (precocious monster drummer Andy Galeon was all of 14), The Ultra-Violence bristles with relentless, youthful energy. Even if the intricate, interlocking guitar parts of "Thrashers," "Evil Priest" and "Kill As One" owe an obvious debt to Metallica's complex riff architecture (Kirk Hammett produced the demo that preceded the 1987 album), the breakneck ferocity heard on Death Angel's punishing debut outweighs any possible criticism over originality. The 10-minute title track can go toe-to-toe with Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" and Exodus's "Deliver Us to Evil" as one of the great thrash epics of the decade. -- Dave Pehling

8. Neurosis, Through Silver in Blood
These Gilman punks had already been more than the sum of their crust-prog-doom parts, but with 1996's Through Silver in Blood, their gravity found new depths.Tucking in the apocalyptic psycho-spirituality of Philip K. Dick and the grandeur of Wagner via the scuzzily demented guitars of Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till, Neurosis stumbled upon a strange strain of science fiction metal that may have been too intense to be repeated. At once creepy, miasmic and prophetic, Through Silver in Blood still sounds like the future and remains without peer. -- Alee Karim

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7. Testament, The New Order
On their sophomore album, second-generation Bay Area thrashers Testament managed the tricky task of writing more sophisticated, memorable songs without losing the vicious edge of their earlier work. Guitar heroes Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick move easily from moody, gothic intros to aural curbstomp riffage on "Trial By Fire" and "Disciples of the Watch," while singer Chuck Billy's emotive roar gives a frenetic urgency to longtime Testament standards "Into the Pit" and the title track. Bonus points for boosting the menacing strut of Aerosmith's "Nobody's Fault" to new heights with a modern, thrash-tinged twist. -- Dave Pehling

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