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Top 5 Thrash Metal Band Tees of the 1980s


Top 5 Thrash Metal Band Tees of the 1980s

We’re inaugurating our top 5 list with a bang by covering some good old-fashioned hardcore thrash metal. You know, just like momma used to make. This isn’t a list of whose music is better; rather, who put out a better array of vintage t-shirts that could seriously harm a small child (while also putting a dent in their college savings account).

Click on the band’s name or photos to view their current vintage t-shirt selection on eBay.

1. SLAYER Value:$100-$750

Satan is very proud of Slayer’s merchandising. Death, dismemberment and other horrors of hell depicted alongside their blood-dripping logo usually intertwined in a pentagram. These guys make Motley Crue’s so-called Satanic image look like a unicorn ride through heaven.

vintage slayer t-shirts

2. MEGADETH Value: $50-$400

It’s definitely a close call between Slayer and Megadeth. A slight edge goes to Slayer because of the prices they fetch – thus we can assume they are more rare. Most of the artwork on Megadeth shirts is far more graphic, disturbing and in higher resolution. They also get bonus points for having an evil mascot named “Vic Rattlehead.” He’s basically thrash metal’s Ronald McDonald – and that’s just darn good evil marketing.

vintage megadeth t-shirts

3. METALLICA Value: $50-$250

Metallica could have been #1. With famed horror artist Pushead on the team, they put out some pretty bad-ass skull and bones designs. The problem is that they started releasing shirts that weren’t the least bit demented, and re-issued their old shirts. Shame on them.

vintage metallica t-shirts

4. ANTHRAX Value: $50-$200

Named after a disease that kills livestock – Anthrax was responsible for putting the speed in 1980s metal. The shirts weren’t really all that disturbing. They had more of a cartoonish sense of humor sometimes complimented by curse words. Bonus points for free publicity resulting from the post 9-11 anthrax mail terror scare.

vintage anthrax t-shirts

5. EXODUS & NUCLEAR ASSAULT (TIE) Value: $25-$125

Both played with a toxic/nuclear theme so we thought they deserved each other. Exodus showed flashes of cartoon horror brilliance, while Nuclear Assault played on our paranoia of the bomb being dropped.

vintage exodus nuclear assault t-shirts

6. Dishonorable Mentions

Sacred Reich, Overkill and Kreator. And if the ’90s counted – Testament. As far as the most consistently disgusting graphics? Cannibal Corpse takes the human flesh cake.

Check out our last interview with The Godfather of vintage heavy metal t-shirts.

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