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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LAWNMOWER DETH Ooh Crikey It's... Lawnmower Deth Album Cover Ooh Crikey It's... Lawnmower Deth
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4.98 | 3 ratings
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S.O.D. Speak English or Die Album Cover Speak English or Die
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D.R.I. Full Speed Ahead Album Cover Full Speed Ahead
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D.R.I. Crossover Album Cover Crossover
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D.R.I. Four of a Kind Album Cover Four of a Kind
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crossover thrash Music Reviews

IRON REAGAN Crossover Ministry

Album · 2017 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Crossover Ministry" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US crossover thrash metal act Iron Reagan. The album was released through Relapse Records in February 2017. It´s the successor to "The Tyranny of Will" from 2014. There have been no lineup changes on "Crossover Ministry" since the predecessor. Iron Reagan was formed in 2012 as a side-project by members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour and released their debut full-length studio album "Worse than Dead" in 2013.

Stylistically the material on the 18 track, 28:48 minutes long album more or less continues the crossover thrash metal style of the predecessor. The tracks balance the hardcore punk side of the band´s sound with the thrash metal side, but that´s no different from the musical style on the previous releases. The tracks are generally short, to the point, aggressive songs with politically motivated lyrics about society, political corruption, and violence, and Iron Reagan are generally a pretty angry bunch, pissed about the state of the world. The musicianship is overall strong and lead vocalist Tony Foresta has a suiting raw and aggressive delivery.

The material is well written for the style, but nothing out of the ordinary, and a more personal sound would have elevated the album to a higher level. The tracks are also slightly one-dimensional in nature, and it´s a blast when Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies suddenly appears on "Megachurch" as a guest vocalist, because it adds a bit of variation to the album. Overall "Crossover Ministry" is pretty entertaining while it plays, but soon forgotten after it is finished. So upon conclusion it´s a well produced, well played, and relatively well written album, but it´s also pretty generic and even though it´s only 28:48 minutes long, the album actually feels longer, and that´s seldom a good sign. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

RINGWORM Snake Church

Album · 2016 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Snake Church" is the 7th full-length studio album by US, Ohio based thrash/hardcore act Ringworm. The album was released through Relapse Records in July 2016. It´s the successor to "Hammer of the Witch" from 2014. There have been two lineup changes since the predecessor as drummer Danny Zink has been replaced by Ryan Steigerwald and guitarist John Comprix has been replaced by Mark Witherspoon.

Stylistically the material on "Snake Church" pretty much continues down the same thrash/hardcore road as the material on "Hammer of the Witch (2014)", although several of the tracks lean a bit more towards hardcore than the case was on the predecessor. "Snake Church" is in fact an album which is hard to label correctly, because sometimes it´s almost pure hardcore with D-beat drumming and fast hardcore punk riffing, and other times we´re treated to Slayer type thrash metal riffing and thrash metal oriented rhythm work. The vocals are in the screaming hardcore camp though, and although they are well performed and James "Human Furnace" Bulloch has a raw and passionate delivery, the vocals do feel a bit one-dimensional after a few tracks.

The material is generally well written and actually a bit more varied than what initial listens might suggest. While the music is one-dimensionally aggressive all the way through the album´s playing time, Ringworm do change pace a couple of times (from predominantly fast-paced to heavy), and there are even a few melodic guitar moments featured on the album too (very few). It is in the variation department the band could improve though and some of the tracks could have been a bit more hook laden and thereby a bit more memorable too.

When that is said "Snake Church" is still a high quality release by Ringworm. The album features a top notch sound production, strong musiciansip, and the band obviously understand how to write a powerful thrash/hardcore tune. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CEREBRAL FIX Disaster of Reality

Album · 2016 · Crossover Thrash
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Vim Fuego
The ‘Fix is fucked. Long live the ‘Fix!

Cerebral Fix never fitted neatly into a single, definable genre of metal. Mixing crossover thrash, death metal and doom, Cerebral Fix would have been equally at home sharing a stage with Bolt Thrower, Cathedral or The Exploited. The closest reference point for ‘Disaster of Reality’ is the band’s first album, ‘Life Sucks... And Then You Die!’ an immature but promising slab of heavyweight crossover thrash, part Cryptic Slaughter, part Celtic Frost. ‘Disaster of Reality’ is a throwback to that previous age, with a casual, under-produced feel to it, with a bit of fuzz and static round the edges, but the band itself is tight as fuck. It has a 1980s crossover thrash feel, mixed with a 90s doom/death attitude, and a fuck-it-all attitude.

First track “Justify” is a solid, heavy hitting opener, a doom/death monster of epic proportions. “Mosh Injury” is Lawnmower Deth-esque silliness, but then without skipping a beat, blasts into the deadly serious “Crucified World”. The song hits one of those slow paced Godzilla grinds which made ‘Tower of Spite’ such a compelling album. And then the band rockets into “Realities of War”, one of the most convincing Discharge covers you will hear. It is followed by “Skate Fear”, which might seem a bit trivial after a serious song, but this cuts right to the core of what crossover thrash used to be- equal parts societal observation and childish fun. And that really is the essence of this band. Fuck only knows what’s coming next, but it’s going to be good.

“Reality Pill” and “Dear Mother Earth” strike a more serious tone again, and are followed by a cover of The Exploited’s “Dead Cities”.

And then when you think you have a handle on things, out comes “Felted Cross”, which wouldn’t sound out of place on Cathedral’s ‘The Ethereal Mirror’, an ode to all the bands of yore which influenced Cerebral Fix’s music.

“Inside My Guts” is a full on hardcore roar of a song, like Agnostic Front with a gutsache. The last track is untitled, a bastard remix of guitar and movie samples, electronica, a throbbing bass line and reggae style vocal shout-outs, with a trip-hop style rhythm. It’s a fucking mess, but it makes sense when you hear it.

The absence of Simon Forrest’s distinctive death/thrash rasped vocals might put some listeners off. Fortunately, Neil Hadden is a strong vocalist, and does not fall into the trap of trying to imitate his predecessor, using more growl than rasp. It still fits in with the band’s bleak, sand-blasted sound, just in a different way.

The word “swansong” often gets used to describe a band’s farewell release, the original definition coming from the belief that a swan gains the ability to produce a beautiful song as it dies. It is bullshit. It would also be bullshit to call “Disaster of Reality” a swansong. Yes, it is Cerebral Fix’s final album, but the music is still as ugly as it always was, and as it should always be.

R.I.P. Cerebral Fix 1986-2017

ANGKOR WAT Corpus Christi

Album · 1990 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Corpus Christi" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US crossover/industrial thrash metal act Angkor Wat. The album was released through the Metal Blade Records subsidiary label Death Records in May 1990. Angkor Wat formed in 1986 and was originally a hardcore punk act playing cover tunes, but slowly moved towards a crossover thrash metal sound before the release of their debut full-length studio album "When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake! (1989)".

While "Corpus Christi" (which is named after the band´s Texas placed hometown) was released only a year after "When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake! (1989)", there´s been quite a bit of development of the band´s sound and style in that year. "When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake! (1989)" is characterized by an incohesive crossover thrash metal style. The tracks sound like they were written over a couple of years and then crammed into the album, because that´s the material the band had at that point (which is of course not unusual for debut albums). "Corpus Christi" on the other hand is a very cohesive release with a relatively defined sound and the tracks sound like they were written with an album flow in mind.

Stylistically Angkor Wat have started using industrial metal elements like repetitive rhythms and samples in their crossover thrash metal style and this is the first taste of what Adam Grossman (Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Samples) and Danny Lohner (Guitars, Bass, Samples) would develop further in their next band Skrew. "Corpus Christi" is more industrial metal influenced than it is pure industrial metal though (although the opening track "Indestructible: Innocence 1990" could have fooled me) and there is still a strong crossover thrash metal dominance featured in the music.

While the material is both well played and relatively well produced, and as I mentioned above also cohesive (which means most tracks feature a similar sound and style), it´s ultimately not the most intriguing nor the most memorable music. It´s obvious that Angkor Wat have learnt a few tricks since the debut album, but they still sound undecided on which musical direction they want to pursue. They have one foot in industrial metal and the other in crossover thrash metal, and the outcome is only partially successful to my ears. A 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

ANGKOR WAT When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake!

Album · 1989 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake!" is the debut full-length studio album by US crossover thrash metal act Angkor Wat. The album was released through the Metal Blade Records subsidiary label Death Records in April 1989. Angkor Wat formed in 1986 and was originally a hardcore punk act playing cover tunes, but slowly moved towards a crossover thrash metal sound before the release of "When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake!".

And the music on the album indeed is a marriage between hardcore punk and thrash metal. Angkor Wat are not terribly unique sounding, but deliver their aggressive and predominantly fast-paced tracks with conviction. David Brinkman is a raw and aggressive sounding frontman, but his vocal style is slightly one-dimensional and the intensity of his delivery varies a bit from track to track. Sometimes he sounds really dedicated to the project and other times he sounds a bit tired.

While Angkor Wat is a Corpus Christi, Texas based act it´s actually the early output by artists like Lawnmower Deth and Cerebral Fix (both British acts) that I´m mostly reminded of. But when Angkor Wat are in hardcore punk mode more than thrash mode it´s Dead Kennedys I hear references to. Angkor Wat are a relatively well playing band so they pull off both styles with conviction.

"When Obscenity Becomes the Norm... Awake!" is not the most well produced album out there and that´s a minor issue, but if I have to mention an issue that´s a bit of a show stopper it´s that the material aren´t that memorable. One song is followed unnoticed by the next and even though there are often a stylistic change happening, it´s not like you´ll be able to remember the tracks anyway. It´s still somewhat a solid release by Angkor Wat though and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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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