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This massive five-disc compilation serves as an aural companion piece to author Ian Glasper's book of the same name, both diving deep to chronicle the history of the U.K.'s often overlooked thrash metal scene. Where the "big four" of U.S. thrash metal (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) were more commercially successful than any of the dozens of bands covered in Contract in Blood, Glasper's meticulously curated collection of tracks aims to expose the entire spectrum of U.K. thrash: those that could have given the Big Four a run for their money, the mere imitators, and those far too unique and on their own paths to ever make mainstream waves. A collection this dense is bound to be too involved for the passive metalhead, but those willing to sift through the 83 tracks will find no limit to the obscure adrenaline-pumping U.K. metal. The five discs are divided regionally, offering North-East acts like Venom, Warfare, and Hellbastard in one volume; Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish bands on another disc; North-West and Midland U.K. acts like Sabbat and Metal Messiah on another; and so on. Along with the attention to regional scenes, the presentation of Contract in Blood differs from many archival compilations in that it doesn't follow a chronological time line, but instead jumps between decades, placing '80s bands like Driven to Distraction alongside 2010s acts like Besieged. The playlist also tends toward demos, live tracks, and other deep cuts, with a handful of the songs dug up from the vaults for the first time. With so much focus on demos and quick jumps between eras, the recording quality can differ wildly from track to track, and the dated nature of '80s and '90s production contrasts with the tracks recorded later. Contract in Blood nevertheless manages to maintain a consistent and engaging flow as it goes above and beyond in its extensive documentation of some of metal's shadowiest circles.