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Thrash Under Pressure: Slammer

As Thrash Under Pressure delves into some of the more obscure and forgotten bands of the genre the name Slammer came up. For some reason I always had the idea that Slammer were Dutch or German, but it turns out they were from somewhere far more exotic, somewhere where metal runs through people’s veins like nowhere else on earth. Bradford.

Slammer formed in 1987 and released their first EP, Born for War, in 1989.

The EP was little more than a teaser of what was to come. All four tracks featured on the full length The Work of Idle Hands which followed soon after. This is possibly why I didn’t realise they were British. I had this album on cassette in my youth and if I remember rightly my Walkman (or cheap imitation of a Walkman from Dixon’s more like) chewed it up while I was doing my paper round, but more importantly it didn’t sound like UK thrash. It didn’t necessarily sound European either and the claims by the press that Slammer were the most American-sounding of British thrash bands is also inaccurate. They had made their own, indistinguishable sound. This album is a veritable riff-fest and never really received the praise it deserved. It might be one of the best debut albums within thrash and it would take some beating by Slammer.

Such was the impact of the album though that it led to opening slots for Onslaught, Acid Reign, Xentrix and Celtic Frost.

If The Work of Idle Hands was Slammer‘s Master of Puppets, then the EP which followed – Insanity Addicts – was their St Anger. What had gone wrong? The songs aren’t as good as the stuff on their previous offerings, but they are by no means bad either. The production is definitely bad though. Everything is too quiet and a better sound could have been achieved by recording it at a rocket launch site. This release was widely panned, which is quite harsh. It is a decent slab of thrash and it’s stood the test of time fairly well.

1991 saw the release of Slammer‘s second LP and what would turn out to be their final release. Nightmare Scenario was an improvement on Insanity Addicts, but nowhere near as good as The Work of Idle Hands. They were slowing down a bit, but for any thrash band to release an album that was remotely thrash-like in 1991 was quite an achievement.

Of course thrash was about to die on its arse and Slammer bailed out of the scene altogether after this release.

They have so far eschewed the trend of comebacks and perhaps are lying dormant waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Who knows?

Put them on your playlist: Razor’s Edge, I.O.U, I Know Who I Am

About the author

Tim Jones

I’m an East Yorkshire-based fan of thrash, hardcore and punk who likes to write about it as much as he likes to talk about it.