Crossover Thrash

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Crossover thrash, often abbreviated to crossover, is a form of thrash metal that contains more hardcore punk elements than standard thrash. It is sometimes referred to as punk metal, though this is generally incorrect due to the existence of other music genres that combine forms of punk rock and heavy metal, such as grunge, crust punk, sludge, grindcore and more recently metalcore and its subgenres.

While thrash metal is heavily influenced by hardcore punk, the overall sound of crossover thrash is more punk-influenced yet more metal-sounding and aggressive than traditional hardcore punk and thrashcore. The term was coined by the band D.R.I. with their album Crossover, released in 1987.

The term 'crossover' is based on the metaphor of crossing over from one genre into the other, thus capturing artists the operate within the transition zone between thrash metal and hardcore punk. With the metaphor comes the conception of directionality, such that the genre is applied to hardcore and crust punk artists who have crossed over into thrash metal territory, such as D.R.I., Discharge, The Exploited, The Accüsed, Agnostic Front and Suicidal Tendencies (who eventually ventured into alternative metal), and thrash metal artists who crossed over into hardcore punk territory, such as Nuclear Assault and S.O.D.

A number of death metal bands (especially those of the first wave of Swedish death metal) draw on hardcore punk, mainly because their members listen to crossover thrash - these bands are included under the death metal subgenre here at the MMA.

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D.R.I.
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SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Get Your Fight On!

EP · 2018 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Get Your Fight On!" is an EP release by US California based thrash/crossover/heavy metal act Suicidal Tendencies. The EP was released through Suicidal Records in March 2018. Although "Get Your Fight On!" is labelled an EP release by the band, it features 10 tracks and total playing time of 44:55 minutes.

The EP features two Cyco Miko covers (both re-recordings of tracks which originally appeared on Mike Muir´s 1996 solo album "Lost My Brain! (Once Again)", one The Stooges cover, three original Suicidal Tendencies tracks, and four different versions of the Suicidal Tendencies track "Get Your Fight On!". One version is the original studio version from the band´s 11th full-length studio album "World Gone Mad" from 2016, one is an acoustic version of the song, one is an instrumental version featuring a bass solo, and one is an instrumental version featuring a guitar solo.

Stylistically the material on the EP is Suicidal Tendencies as they´ve sounded on the last couple of releases. It´s quite the eclectic mix of crossover thrash, hardcore punk, and funky rhythms. Mike Muir´s vocals are as distinct sounding as ever and defines the band´s sound, but the instrumental part of their music is also very well performed by all involved.

The material is powerful and varied, and although I would normally not find four different versions of the same song on the same release very interesting, it actually works really well here. "Get Your Fight On!" may not be a groundbreaking release by Suicidal Tendencies, but it´s a good quality release well worth your time if you are a fan. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

BODY COUNT Body Count

Album · 1992 · Crossover Thrash
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siLLy puPPy
Ice-T had already shown his appreciation for metal and punk on his hip hop classic “The Iceberg / Freedom Of Speech… Just Watch What You Say” with the music of Black Sabbath introducing the album alongside Jello Biafra giving a speech about the impending police state. On his followup “O.G. Original Gangster” he cleverly advertised a new track called “BODY COUNT” which introduced the band of the same name where along with Ernie C (lead guitar, acoustic guitar), D-Rock the Executioner (rhythm guitar), Beatmaster V (drums), Mooseman (bass) and the two Seans: E Sean (sampler, backing vocals) and E. Mac (hype man, backing vocals), he and his posse were determined to jump back into the rock universe that most black musicians had abandoned for the safer ground of soul, funk and hip hop.

On the debut album BODY COUNT, Ice-T and gang followed in the footsteps of T’s solo album’s stylistically and lyrically only they left behind the funky beats and rapped lyrics (mostly) and traded them in for a metal and punk infused musical outburst that took elements of thrash, punk and trad metal and incorporated the hard hitting hip hop subject matter of inner city life. BODY COUNT took everyone by surprise. It shocked the hip hop community which mostly eschewed the world of rock music and strived to separate itself (despite Run-DMC bringing hip hop to the masses with tasty guitar riffing tunes). Of course accusations of selling out plagued Ice-T at this time but he politely reminded his fans that rock WAS black music with its origins stemming from Chuck Berry, Little Richard and of course the great Jimi Hendrix.

With a brash bravado ever present on all his albums, BODY COUNT unapologetically tapped into the world of heavy metal where the band was also condemned for trampling on sacred cows. Metal purists hated this album and when the band played an impromptu appearance opening for Metallica and Guns N Roses in 1993, the band was plodded with dirt clods. Hard to believe but in a genre that is all about shock and awe, many were not open minded enough to allow an all black band to express themselves in the context of heavy distorted guitar oriented music that whites had come to dominate throughout the 80s. Despite the haters, the album still generated a lot of interest following in the footsteps of another black band, Living Colour who had put African-American oriented heavy rock back on the map with their phenomenal debut “Vivid.”

Ice-T generated controversy wherever he went and flipped the middle finger with glee and on BODY COUNT he only continued his “fuck the world” stance and in the process created one of the ugliest albums of his career in a good way of course. The album is bookended by two slams of cops. The introductory skit of “Smoked Pork” finds a cop unwilling to help a downtrodden black man and ends up dead whereas the original version ended with the anthemic “Cop Killer” that triggered the wrath of the entire American police force. All the controversy generated enough pressure for the band to remove the song off future releases that was subsequently replaced by “Freedom Of Speech” which sampled a Jimi Hendrix groove and once again featured Jello Biafra along with Ice-T delivering biting criticism over the state of true freedoms in a country that claims to protect them.

This album is really awesome! Despite the lack of technical musicianship or extraordinary metal talent, this is a lot of fun and displays a lost spirit of music delivering a message. The album is divided up amongst extremely serious topics such as the saddening plight of the African-American communities being left to rot in ghettos, left to battle each other to the death with gang shootings and drug escapism running rampant. This theme is most evident on the title track, “Bowels Of The Devil” and “There Goes The Neighborhood,” but Ice-T has no problem injected a lot of humor into an otherwise bleak outlook on the American culture. “KKK Bitch” is a hilarious sequel to Ice-T’s “The Girl Tried To Kill Me” which narrated an unbelievable tale of a near fatal experience with a dominatrix, however in this case it’s about having nasty sexual relations with the daughter of the KKK! Likewise, one fo the funniest tracks in music history, “Evil Dick” demonstrates how men in general are mere slaves to their master slaves, their saluting members of the priapic libido army.

Ice-T originally rejected the idea of joining his friends’ metal band because his singing voice isn’t exactly the best and that perhaps is the weakest aspect of the album but i couldn’t think of a better rapper to have been involved in this project than Ice-T. His lyrical biting critiques and adept play on words adds a whole other dimension to this music that is missing from most metal bands which more than makes up for the lack of technical prowess. Despite not being the best singer, Ice-T does the job with an interesting mix of singing, semi-rapping and spoken narrations. The rest of the band ain’t bad either. The music mixes thrash metal, punk rock and more classic 80s metal. Ice-T spends the majority of the album critiquing the fucked up American scene but also pontificates against drug use on the melodic well-sung “The Winner Loses” and preaches against racism against whites on “Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight.”

While the controversy behind the track “Cop Killer” may have gotten this album more attention than it would’ve otherwise, the fact is that BODY COUNT is an infectiously well executed album that delivers hard hammering thrash riffs, epic trad metal melodies and brilliantly composed lyrical content. Subjects like voodoo, black ghetto life and African-American subject matter that are completely absent in most metal albums of the era are strewn all about BODY COUNT and make this a fascinating listening experience without sacrificing the true authentic metal experience. Metal purists who don’t like this can go fuck themselves. This album is brilliant on many levels. While the band would continue on and release not so brilliant albums, on this one they shine like no others of the other. A true alternative metal experience that doesn’t get enough love.

M.O.D. Surfin' M.O.D.

EP · 1988 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Surfin' M.O.D." is an EP release by US crossover act M.O.D.. The EP was released through Megaforce Records in 1988 and bridges the gap between the band´s debut full-length studio album "U.S.A. for M.O.D. (1987)" and their second full-length studio album "Gross Misconduct (1989)". Four of the tracks featured on the EP had already been featured on the "Surfin' U.S.A. (1988)" single, but here those four tracks are accompanied by three additional tracks, and a 23:33 minutes long track titled "The Movie", which is a spoken word piece which features the music tracks from the EP in between the spoken parts. So side 1 of the original vinyl version of the EP features "The Movie", and side 2 features the seven music tracks without the spoken word sections.

Although the tracks are generally slightly more goofy and rock´n´roll oriented than the material on the debut album (which at times were also pretty goofy), this pretty much sounds like a natural successor to "U.S.A. for M.O.D. (1987)". The spoken word part of the project provides it with a slightly experimental touch, but this is at it´s core still crossover thrash. The biggest attraction here is probably the cover of "Surfin' U.S.A." by the Beach Boys, but honestly even that track isn´t that great (although not completely without it´s charm). Billy Milano struggles to hit the right notes, which gives the cover a pretty raw and flippant sound, but pretty it ain´t. To my ears the highlight is "Surf´s Up", which is a nice little catchy crossover track.

The band are relatively well playing, and the sound production is also acceptable, so "Surfin' M.O.D." is overall a decent release by M.O.D.. There´s little here which really makes my blood boil, but a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.

S.O.D. Speak English or Die

Album · 1985 · Crossover Thrash
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martindavey87
Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D... duh!), is a crossover thrash side project of Anthrax members Scott Ian and Charlie Benante, along with Nuclear Assault’s Dan Lilker (formerly of Anthrax himself) and Billy Milano of the band M.O.D. Their debut album, ‘Speak English or Die’ was released in 1985, and is mostly a metal album with a punk mentality, with plenty of short, minute-long songs featuring satirical, aggressive, and downright offensive lyrics.

The problem for me is that it’s not 1985 anymore, and most of the satire, irony and downright offensive material goes straight over my desensitized head. The music is fast and heavy, and when the band do play for more than 30 seconds, there are a couple of decent headbangers here. But for the most part, these are all comical tracks, recorded by a bunch of friends who had some leftover studio time to kill. Oddly, this would go on to be a hugely influential album. Wish I could get that lucky.

Ultimately, this just isn’t my cup of tea, and the only reason it’s in my collection is because I’m a huge Anthrax fan. For what it’s worth, the songs ‘March of the S.O.D.’, ‘Sargent ‘D’ and the S.O.D.’ and ‘Milk’ are alright, and I’ve always found ‘What’s That Noise’ a pretty laughable track, but otherwise this is mostly immature and juvenile, and that’s probably exactly how the S.O.D. intended it to be.

‘Speak English or Die’ is not an album to be taken seriously, and whilst I’ve never been under the illusion that it was anything else, it’s just not something I’m into.

BODY COUNT Murder 4 Hire

Album · 2006 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Murder 4 Hire" is the 4th full-length studio album by US heavy/crossover metal act Body Count. The album was released through Escapi Music in August 2006. Body Count took a longer hiatus after the release of "Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997)" and there have been quite a few lineup changes in the 9 years between the two albums. Beatmaster V, who died of leukemia shortly after recording "Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997)", has been replaced by new drummer O.T. and Vincent Price has taken over the bass duties from Griz. Rhythm guitarist D-Roc the Executioner died from lymphoma cancer in 2004, which stalled the recording of the album some until the band recruited Bendrix as their new rhythm guitarist.

9 years between albums and lineup changes doesn´t change the fact that the music on "Murder 4 Hire" sounds unmistakably like Body Count. With a charismatic singer like Ice-T behind the microphone it´s really not that strange, and the band´s usual combination of rap, hardcore/punk, heavy metal, crossover thrash, and rhythm´n´blues is also in place.

Despite a few decent tracks (the chorus to "The End Game" is for example really great), the material unfortunately feels a bit uninspired. Something the band themselves have also mentioned in inverviews over the years. But it´s not only the tracks which generally aren´t that memorable, it´s also the delivery, and the sound production which aren´t up to par with the band´s usual standards. First of all new drummer O.T. doesn´t do a very good job at replacing Beatmaster V. He has a drumming style, which sometimes makes me wonder if it´s actually a machine playing. Secondly the normally well playing Ernie C is a shadow of himself. There are not many interesting guitar solos featured on the album, and the riffs are pretty generic and lifeless sounding too.

Combine that with a weak sounding production, where only the vocals stand out in the mix (the instrumental part of the music is way too low in the mix), and you more or less have a recipe for disaster. Not surprisingly "Murder 4 Hire" is a self-produced effort with Ernie C and Ice-T acting as producers. In my experience it´s very seldom a good idea to self-produce your music (with exceptions), and "Murder 4 Hire" is proof of that.

When that is said "Murder 4 Hire" isn´t a total disaster and it´s still obvious we´re dealing with relatively skilled musicians, and the basic song material isn´t completely uninteresting either. It´s just a flawed album which clearly could have been better and the 9 years of waiting for a new Body Count album definitely wasn´t worth it. A 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

crossover thrash movie reviews

S.O.D. 20 Years of Dysfunction

Movie · 2005 · Crossover Thrash
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Vim Fuego
'20 Years Of Dysfunction' celebrated the anniversary of the release of the venomous `Speak English Or Die'. Recorded in three days, this relatively short album created huge waves in both the metal and hardcore scenes at the time. Sgt. D stomped into town, annoyed everyone and promptly left again. What started as Scott Ian's hardcore/metal crossover brainchild became Billy Milano's lovechild. S.O.D.'s vocalist has become its biggest fan, and pieced together its recorded history like a fan would.

Like Metallica's seminal `Cliff `Em All' video, the live footage here is mostly bootlegged, although generally of a better quality than the Cliff Burton memorial due to technological improvements.

This is an incredible compilation. For sheer power and head banging, fist pumping enjoyment, there is no better way to start any show than with "March Of The S.O.D/Sgt D & The S.O.D." Scott Ian stomps about the stage like a short, bald Godzilla, destroying buildings and eardrums with his flaming six-string. His polar opposite Dan Lilker is anchored to the stage, skinny and hirsute, head in a THC cloud, sub-sonic bass strung impossibly low. Charlie Benante sits at his drumkit, akin to a manic alchemist, turning gold leaden, amazing all with the dark arts of his craft. Enter Billy Milano. Larger than life in both persona and build, Milano bellows like a wild rhino, and like a rhino looks both comic and dangerous at once.

The ballads are a definite highlight. The original "Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix" provides the template for the rest of the ballads: steal a riff from a dead artist, play it twice and shout "you're dead!" Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Small, Frank Sinatra, INXS and Jim Morrison all get the treatment. Offensive? Of course. Hilarious? You bet!

Another prime moment of comedy was Milano encouraging a stage diver to jump, so he does- up and down on the spot...

The package includes extensive extras. Pick of the bunch is an interview with producer Alex Perialas, he of "What's That Noise?" infamy. There's an interview by Metal Maniacs reporter Liz with Billy, which covers all things S.O.D. Surprisingly, Billy also included a 9/11 tribute. All New Yorkers were affected by the 2001 terrorist attack, and he witnessed the World Trade Center towers collapse. For someone so often derided for being an insensitive, politically incorrect oaf, Milano's tribute is both thoughtful and poignant.

The largest part of the extra features is the raw material from which the main feature is cut. There are five mini-concerts from around the world, captured during the `Bigger That The Devil' tour, but featuring only `Speak English Or Die' songs.

Included is the audio CD of the infamous `Pussywhipped', bootlegged in 1985 during one of S.O.D.'s initial seven shows. The quality is dodgy, as you'd expect, but it's been cleaned up a little, and the vitality and energy of the original performance remains intact.

The 21-year-old Billy Milano is like a kid whose dreams have all come true at once. Here he is, a singer with limited ability, little different to the assembled audience, backed by three of the world's top thrash musicians. He gives his performance absolutely everything, and it's quite possible to picture the veins bulging, the sweat flying, the fists and eyes clenched as he shouts his way through "Milano Mosh", "Milk", "United Forces", or any of the other tracks. His performance as a screaming harridan on "Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues" is hilarious.

The great thing about the ratty production quality is that all three instruments come through loud and clear. There was nothing technical to tackle, so all the emphasis was on speed and power. Charlie Benante kicks “Speak English Or Die” along faster than the studio version, as he does with a number of tracks, and you get the feeling he could play faster still. Dan Lilker’s bass is so distorted it almost sounds like a guitar, a sound as thick as a prehistoric mammoth-swallowing tar pit. Scott Ian thrashes his guitar like a madman, but never misses a note, sharp and vicious throughout.

As in all S.O.D. performances, there are some priceless moments of spontaneity: Charlie was supposed to play the lead on "United Forces", but it was a little difficult from behind the drum kit; Scott broke his guitar on "Kill Yourself", which forced Dan and Charlie to improvise while he fixed it; and Billy's idiotic introductions to pretty much every song. “Diamonds And Rust” appears three times throughout the show, while “The Ballad Of Jimi Hendrix” receives three consecutive airings.

There are a few non-studio album rarities which pop up here, but were also included on the platinum edition reissue of ‘Speak English Or Die’. “Momo” and “Vitality (Milk Part Two)”, originally by Crab Society, both appeared on the 1992 ‘Live At Budokan’ album, while the cover of Inferno’s “Ram It Up Your Cunt” appeared on the Megaforce ‘Deeper Into The Vault’ compilation. Last track “Not” is exclusive to ‘Pussywhipped’, not that it’s much of a hidden treasure.

The best thing about the inclusion of `Pussywhipped' is that it's a small but important slice of metal history, which is far better presented in this format than on some twelfth generation cassette tape, and the band might finally make something from it.

This is an extensive collection of S.O.D. memorabilia, presented raw and unpolished, just how the band was. The volatility of the relationships between the band members may be such that there might never be any more output from S.O.D. ever again, but the snarling, cigar chomping skull Sgt. D will be remembered forever.

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