Have you ever pre-booked a badge for a major race meeting and been sent a preview CD to "listen to on your way to the course".  I have, and let me tell you, they're crap.  They have obviously been made months before the event, as they talk up the chances of horses who aren't even running, (and in some unfortunate cases, aren't even alive).  A total waste of time and plastic.

So Ivor Donkey has compiled the following list of albums which will make your journey to the course far more pleasurable.  This is an updated version of the list that appeared on this site previously, as I've discovered loads more splendid albums since I wrote that quite a few years ago, though a few old favourites make a reappearance.  These are not in any order of preference, just in the order that I thought of them.

"World Downfall" by Terrorizer.

In 1989, Earache records released the now legendary "Grindcrusher" sampler album, featuring one track each from 9 of their bands.  All of the tracks were great, but the one that stood out a mile for me was "Dead Shall Rise" by Terrorizer.  I knew I had to get hold of their album as soon as possible, and to this day it's still one of my all time favourites.

This is the ultimate Grindcore album - crushingly heavy guitars, bass that could scramble your internal organs, incredibly fast drumming and vocals dredged from the very bowels of Satan. Excellent from start to finish, there is absolutely no excuse for not owning this.

This came out in 1989, and after a 17 year gap and a few line up changes, they've released a couple more albums under the Terrorizer banner in 2006 and 2012. Both are quite good, but they were on a hiding to nothing as the original is a masterpiece, and you just can't improve on perfection.

"Reign In Blood" by Slayer.

On it's release in 1986, this was considered to be the definitive thrash metal album, and now nearly 30 years later, despite thousands more thrash albums being released since then - it still is.  They took a fair bit of stick at the time due to the somewhat controversial subject matter of some of the tracks, but it certainly got them noticed.

From the blood curdling scream that opens the first track "Angel Of Death", to the sounds of rain that close the last track "Raining Blood" the quality level never drops.  The time between those 2 things is only 28 minutes, but better 28 minutes of greatness than 80 minutes of mediocrity.

Ultra fast and brutally heavy thrash, this really is as good as it gets, and nobody (including Slayer themselves), has even come close to bettering it since.  If you only ever buy one thrash metal album - make it this one.

"Achtung Bono" by Half Man Half Biscuit.

As well as having (arguably) the best band name of all time, Half Man Half Biscuit also write some of the funniest lyrics.  You can't help but love a band who come out with stuff like "Is your child hyperactive, or is he perhaps a twat?" 

I had a job deciding which of their fourteen albums to include here, having got it down to a shortlist of CSI:Ambleside, Urge For Offal and this one.  I went for Achtung Bono as it contains true classics like "Joy Division Oven Gloves" and "Restless Legs" to name but two.

They've been "Satisfying the bloodlust of the masses in peacetime" (according to one of their t-shirts) for 30 odd years now, and continue to get better and better with age.

"Witchcult Today" by Electric Wizard.

This lot are responsible for possibly the heaviest heavy metal album of all time, 2000's "Dopethrone", and as much as I love the sheer "bowel loosening" heaviness of that album, I just prefer this one. The songs are better, and Jus Oborn's vocals are not only a lot better, but also higher in the mix, as they got a bit lost amongst all of the extreme heaviness on "Dopethrone".

There aren't any duff songs on here, my personal favourite is "Satanic Rights Of Drugula", not only a great song, but you can't really go far wrong with a title like that can you. 

It is alleged that most of Electric Wizard's music is composed while under the influence of mind altering drugs. This may or may not be true, but if it is, they obviously do the job if the quality of this album is anything to go by.

"Sever The Wicked Hand" by Crowbar.

There can't be many bands around that are as consistent as Crowbar. They haven't released one bad album in their twenty or so years of existence, and this, their ninth is possibly their best. Nine albums in twenty years is by no means prolific, but mainman Kirk Wildstein also has various side projects, most notably Down and Kingdom of Sorrow.

This album arrived six years after the previous one, but was it worth the wait - oh yes. 

Some of the best songs that they've ever written are on here, and the production is top notch too.

It's hard to pick out standout tracks as the quality is so high throughout, but if I had to I'd go for the closing track "Symbiosis".

"Gluey Porch Treatments" by Melvins.

The first couple of minutes of the first track "Eye Flys" gives the unsuspecting listener a fairly gentle lead in to the unrelenting, mega heavy 17 track sludge-a-thon that is to follow. Clocking in at less than 40 minutes, this album is unusual for sludge metal as most of the songs are fairly short. Though as we know, size is no guarantee of quality.

Even the song titles suggest extreme heaviness, "Influence Of Atmosphere", "Big As Mountain" and "Heaviness Of The Load" to name but three.  Some of the other song titles suggest extreme weirdness as well, such as "Over From Under The Excrement", "Steve Instant Neuman", and the title track itself "Gluey Porch Treatments".

This was their debut, their third album "Bullhead" is another classic, but this one just beats it by the shortest of short heads.

"Wolverine Blues" by Entombed.

Entombed started life as a full on death metal band, but after 2 albums they changed to a slower, much less extreme style.  As a fan of their early stuff, I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but it's actually a lot better.

At the beginning of the first track "Eyemaster", it seems like business as usual with that familiar buzzsaw guitar sound, but then things slow down and everything's more spaced out. 

This new style was dubbed "Death 'n' Roll" in the music press (which is a pretty stupid name, but they felt the need to call it something), the lyrics were still in Death Metal territory but the music rather less so.  Also the vocals were cleaner, as opposed to the throat buggering death grunting of the first 2 albums.

So a radical change in style, but definitely for the better in my opinion.

"Monotheist" by Celtic Frost.

You never know what to expect from Celtic Frost, back in the 80's when they were in their thrash/doom metal prime, having just released the awesome "To Mega Therion", they followed up with the experimental (and pretty dodgy) "Into The Pandemonium", then alienated their fans completely by becoming a glam rock band and releasing the now infamous "Cold Lake" opus. They followed that in the early 90's with the slightly better "Vanity/Nemesis", and then split up and disappeared for 15 years, then in 2006 they reformed, and released "Monotheist".

I didn't expect much from this to be honest, as albums released by bands who've reformed after such a long lay off tend to be crap as they're on their uppers and only doing it for the money, but this is the exception as it's a stunning return to form. They've mostly ditched the hyperspeed thrash of their first couple of albums and adopted a predominantly doom metal approach with some truly monstrous riffs on offer throughout, and the production is skull crushingly heavy.

This is the best thing they've released since "To Mega Therion" by a country mile and I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, since this album was released they've fallen out with each other and split up again, and from what I read, a reconciliation is fairly unlikely.

This time though, at least they've gone out on a high.

"Cop" by Swans.

"Early Swans really is like little else on the planet before or since." and "The ideal soundtrack for mass suicides or nuclear holocausts." Those are just a couple of quotes from reviews of early Swans albums (this was their second full length album after 1982's "Filth"). To be honest, this album is pretty difficult to describe, it's heavy but definitely not metal. 

B******s, I can't describe it, just buy the thing, you'll love it.

Swans packed up in 1996, but reformed in 2010 and released a new album called "My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky", which is a bit of a mouthful. 

Swans are nowhere near as extreme these days.  The most extreme thing about their latest opus, 2012's "The Seer", is the length as it clocks in at about 2 hours, with a title track that is over half an hour long.

"The Lord Of Steel" by Manowar

You've got to love Manowar.  For 30 years they've been preaching "Death To False Metal" and "Real Men Play On Ten".  I'm convincd that all metal fans love Manowar, those that say they don't actually do, but won't admit it as they are uncomfortable with the "loin cloths and oiled bodies" type publicity shots that they've done in the past.

Forget all that though and concentrate on the music, this is heavy metal for manly men with balls like grapefruits.  The lyrics cover all the usual subjects - heavy metal, raise your fist in the air, death or glory, vikings, valhalla, big swords etc.  Musically though, this is their best album in years. 

Their last album "Gods Of War", was a patchy affair with too many non metal interludes, but this is metal from start to finish, and heavier than the hammer of Thor.

"We Will Be Dead Tomorrow" by Raging Speedhorn

As soon as the furious opening track "The Hate Song", comes blasting out of the speakers, you just know you're going to love this album.

Some bands just defy description, this isn't thrash metal, death metal, speed metal, power metal, hardcore, metalcore or grindcore.  It's just a brutal assault on the senses from start to finish.  My favourite track is "Iron Cobra", and there's a bit towards the end of it that just compels you to headbang, trust me, you won't be able to resist. 

I quite often listen to this in the car, so if you see a bloke in a silver Ford Focus trying to recreate the "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene from Wayne's World, that'll be me.

Raging Speedhorn packed up in 2008 after four studio albums, all are well worth a listen, their self titled debut being the best of the other three.

"Killing Joke" by Killing Joke

Killing Joke have covered various musical styles in theiir 30 year existence, jangly guitar music (1985's "Night Time"), synth pop (1988's "Outside The Gate") and extreme heaviness (2003's "Killing Joke").  This is where they started though - heavy industrial rock.

I once read that this was supposed to be the bleakest album ever recorded, I don't agree.  I think that another album on this list ("Cop" by Swans), is far more deserving of that accolade.

There are some bona fide classics on here, the ultra heavy duo of "Requiem" and "Wardance" being my personal favourites. 

The follow up to this (1981's "What's THIS For...|) is just as good and is highly recommended, but if you're new to Killing Joke, this is a good starting point.

"The Fear" by Acid Reign

I'll always have a soft spot for Acid Reign as they were the first band that I ever saw play live back in the 80's.  I saw them several times after that too, often with Lawnmower Deth (more on them later), and their live shows were always great fun.  This was their first full length album after the mini album "Moshkinstein", and it's top quality thrash from start to finish, and well produced by the wonderfully named "Unkle Bastard".

All 3 of Acid Reign's albums ("Moshkinstein", "The Fear" and "Obnoxious") were re-released as digital downloads in 2011 by a company called Lost And Found, which was good news for me as my vinyl copy of "Obnoxious" had started to skip.

Unfortunately their "Worst Of Acid Reign" compilation hasn't been re-released, which is a shame as it contained some of the live favourites that weren't on their albums, such as the classic "Big White Teeth".

"Pleasure To Kill" by Kreator

As I mentioned earlier, Slayer's "Reign In Blood" is widely regarded as the greatest thrash metal album of all time, and for me, this one would be runner up.

Making cars and winning penalty shoot outs against England aren't the only things that Germans are good at, they're pretty good at thrash metal too. 

This was their second album after their 1985 debut "Endless Pain".  That was excellent but this is on a whole new level, containing some true thrash classics such as "Command Of The Blade", "Riot Of Violence", "Death Is Your Saviour", "Under The Guillotine", the list goes on and on.

This album also features my all time favourite sleeve artwork, it looks pretty good on a t-shirt as well.

"Ooh Crikey It's Lawnmower Deth" by Lawnmower Deth

Like the aforementioned Acid Reign, Lawnmower Deth's live shows were great fun too.  They divided opinion in the music press that's for sure, Metal Hammer loved them and Metal Forces hated them, I'm firmly with the Hammer as they were certainly a big favourite of mine.  There's a "tribute" song to Metal Forces editor Bernard Doe, called "Dodo Doe" on this album, and one to M.O.D. singer and Lawnmower Deth critic Billy Milano called F.A.T. (Fascist And Tubby).  How can you not love an album containing song titles like "Got No Legs? Don't Come Crawling To Me". 

Their first album, which was a split album with Metal Duck, called "Mower Liberation Front" is now available as a digital download and I strongly recommend it.  Any album containing a song called "Thermonuclear War Is Good For Your Complexion" has to be worth getting, and if "Seventh Church Of The Apocalyptic Lawnmower" doesn't get you headbanging, then nothing will.

"Back In Black" by AC/DC

At the end of the 1980's, they had a poll in Metal Hammer magazine where all their writers voted for their top ten albums of the decade, and this won hands down.  As a huge thrash metal fan at the time (still am for that matter), I'd never listened to AC/DC, but on the assumption that they knew what they were on about, I bought a copy.

They certainly did know what they were on about as this album lives up to it's lofty billing, and according to Wikipedia, it is now the second highest selling album of all time, and fifty million people can't be wrong, (though given that the highest selling album is "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, maybe they can).

I would also recommend that you go on You Tube and watch the video for "You Shook Me All Night Long" as it's an absolute classic.

"Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables" by The Dead Kennedys

I said in the original version of this article that Dead Kennedys mainman Jello Biafra was the greatest lyric writer of all time, and he still is.  Not just on the five Dead Kennedys albums, but his other side projects, most notably Lard, and collaborations with other bands such as Melvins and Nomeansno.

This was their debut, and contains some legendary punk classics such as "Kill The Poor", "California Uber Alles", "Chemical Warfare" and the immortal "Holiday In Cambodia".

All five of the Dead Kennedys albums are essential listening, but don't bother with anything they released after 1986's "Bedtime For Democracy", as they reformed a few years later without Jello after a dispute over royalties. They played some live shows with various other singers and released a crap live album, but without him the whole thing is a bit pointless as he wrote virtually their entire back catalogue.

"Nobody's Heroes" by Stiff Little Fingers

It's hard to choose a favourite between this and their debut album "Imflammable Material" as they're both excellent, but I think that this one just shades it, still raw and aggressive, but with better songs.

Unlike quite a few punk bands of that time whose lyrics just seemed to be anarchy by numbers, Stiff Little Fingers really sounded as though they meant it.

While you're on You Tube watching the aforementioned AC/DC video, also have a look at Stiff Little Fingers infamous (and hilarious) appearance on Top Of The Pops in 1980 performing "At The Edge".  Singer Jake Burns makes no attempt to disguise the fact that he's miming, and just bursts out laughing when he's supposed to be singing.  They were told afterwards (not surprisingly), that they wouldn't be appearing on the show again, but they did appear a couple more times.

"A Holocaust In Your Head" by Extreme Noise Terror

Despite containing 15 songs, this clocks in at just over 25 minutes, which is probably just as well as this is fast, ferocious and pretty intense stuff, and prolonged exposure to it could well cause this album to live up to it's title.

Instead of the customary one singer, Extreme Noise Terror have two of them who take it in turns.  This sharing of the load is very sensible as the extreme death grunting that this style of music demands must be hard on the throat, especially when playing live night after night.

Despite being in existence for nearly 30 years, Extreme Noise Terror have only released 5 full studio albums.  There are numerous split LP's and EP's, though some of them might be a bit hard to track down these days.

Extreme Noise Terror are more Grindcore than Hardcore these days, lyrically and musically, but they're still as extreme as they ever were.

"History Of A Time To Come" by Sabbat

I've read a few times recently that there was no thrash scene to speak of in England, well I strongly beg to differ on that one.  Acid Reign, Lawnmower Deth, Virus, Deathwish, Onslaught, Xentrix, Cerebral Fix, Bolt Thrower, Xyster, Slammer, D.A.M., Re-Animator - the list goes on and on.  Sabbat, though very much at the forefront of this scene, stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Most thrash metal bands tended to look similar, long hair, tight jeans, baseball boots, and t-shirts, Sabbat looked more like something out of a JRR Tolkien novel.  Their music stood out too, their songs tended to be longer ("Horned Is The Hunter" clocks in at over eight minutes), and more complex musically and lyrically.

Their second album was even more ambitious, a concept album based on the book "The Way Of Wyrd", and is also excellent, but I just prefer this.

"The Legacy" by Testament

As in football, when thrash was at it's peak there was a "Big four".  In no particular order - Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, and staying with the football analogy, Testament would be the thrash metal equivalent of Tottenham - on the periphery of the big four but never quite able to make the breakthrough.

This was their debut, and to be honest it's better than, or at the very least as good as any of the big four's debut's.  Testament have a unique style that is instantly recognizable, fast and furious but at the same time quite complex too.  The whole album is great, but in my opinion they save the very best for last.  "Apocalyptic City" is a true thrash classic.

Testament are still going strong, their latest offering, "Dark Roots Of Earth" which came out in 2012 is well up to their usual high standard.

"Lost Ritual" by Raging Speedhorn

Do you remember earlier when I said Raging Speedhorn packed up in 2008 ? - well ignore that because they're back, and if this album's anything to go by, they're better than ever. 

This is just as good as the aforementioned "We Will Be Dead Tomorrow".  Featuring the usual Speedhorn mixture of fast and slow songs.  Though the fast songs like "Halfway To Hell" are great, for me the three best songs on the album are the slow and skullcrushingly heavy "Hangman", "Evil Or Mental" and "Ten Of Swords".  In fact, "Ten Of Swords" is probably now my all time favourite Speedhorn song.

Don't bother trying to buy this from Amazon or HMV because you can't, but you can get it from https://ragingspeedhorn.bandcamp.com

I strongly recommend that you do, because if a better album has come out this year (I'm writing this in September 2016), I'm yet to hear it.