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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crossover thrash Music Reviews

ENFORCED Kill Grid

Album · 2021 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Kill Grid" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Virginia based thrash metal act Enforced. The album was released through Century Media Records in March 2021. It´s the successor to "At The Walls" from 2019. "At The Walls" was more of a compilation album than a regular studio album as it featured remixed versions of the tracks from their two 2017 demos and only two new original compositions, so therefore "Kill Grid" is the first Enforced album to solely feature new original material.

Opening track "The Doctrine" immediately sets the tone and reveals the music style of the album. Heavy, brutal, and aggressive thrash metal (with the occasional crossover leanings), not completely unlike a contemporary act like Power Trip, but also drawing influences from legendary artists like Slayer and (late 80s/early 90s) Sepultura. This is music for those who enjoy artists like that and also other late 80s/early 90s brutal thrash metal artists like Devastation, Exhorder, and Demolition Hammer. Thrash metal in the brutal end of the scale with an emphasis on caustic aggression, razor sharp heavy riffs, and energetic and powerful drumming. The vocals are raw, shouting, and angry. A little more variation would have made the impact of the vocals a little more intense, but as they are the vocals are well performed and suit the music perfectly.

"Kill Grid" features a well sounding, powerful and detailed production job, and it´s overall a very well produced release. Enforced were arguably off to a good start with "At The Walls (2019)", but it´s audible that the band have honed their skills and their songwriting on "Kill Grid", and it´s definitely a step up in quality from the debut album. It´s not a revelation in terms of introducing anything new, but Enforced are the type of band capable of using tried and true elements in a well constructed and convincing manner. This is music designed to put an angry snarl on your face and to make you bang your head like a maniac. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

CHILDREN OF TECHNOLOGY Written Destiny

Album · 2020 · Crossover Thrash
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Time Signature
Welcome back to the wasteland...

Genre: "crustover" thrash

Last year, in the middle of a pandemic wreaking havoc on the world, Children of Technology released their third album "Written Destiny". Their entire spiel has always been a road warrior-like post-apocalyptic concept, so I guess the timing couldn't be better.

The album is a short sharp shock featuring eight tracks, the song lengths falling between 2:41 and 5:39. In other words, they are not too long and not too short, and that's just perfect for Children of Technology's crust-punk infused style of crossover thrash metal. Pretty much all of the tracks are fast-paced and combine thrash-style fast picking with punky chord ripping, and this works really well, I think. Whether deliberate or not, there are even some elements on this album that are reminiscent of very early thrash metal along the lines of "Kill 'Em All" (think 'Motorbreath', 'Whiplash' or 'Phantom Lord'). Fans of old school punk and hardcore style breakdowns will also enjoy this album as there are plenty of those (but none of that metalcore breakdown stuff that was so popular a couple of years ago).

Energetic and aggressive, the compositions are not chaotic though but come across as rather meticulously structured. The production is not really lo-fi either, meaning that fans of more tech and polished thrash metal might find this album to be a gateway into the dirtier and punkier subworld of the genre. The vocals are more like a mix of yells and screams than singing or growling, and the lead guitars range from archetypical thrash metal histrionics to being quite melodic at time, which is nice.

Fans of dirty crossover thrash and hardcore punk (and Mad Max!) should find this album very enjoyable.

UNCLE SLAM When God Dies

Album · 1995 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"When God Dies" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, California based crossover thrash metal act Uncle Slam. The album was released through Medusa Records in January 1995. It´s the successor to "Will Work For Food" from 1993 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Amery AWOL Smith has been replaced by R.J. Herrera (formerly of Suicidal Tendencies).

Stylistically "When God Dies" is slightly different to "Will Work For Food (1993)". It´s still crossover thrash metal, but this time around with an occasional alternative edge (most audible on the opening title track, which features funk elements). Lead vocalist/guitarist Todd Moyer has changed his vocal approach too from a raw shouting vocal style, to a more melodic semi-raw delivery. It´s probably an aquired taste, but personally I prefered his raw vocals on the predecessor. The basis of the music is still relatively simple thrash/heavy metal riffing and hardcore punk influenced rhythms. It´s seldom as hard edged and sharp as on the previous releases though, and overall "When God Dies" is the band´s least heavy release.

The sound production is relatively well sounding, and the musicianship is decent, but ultimately the impression of the album is that it´s a step down and that the new change in direction isn´t working that well for the band. It´s not a bad quality release by any means though, and there are some pretty strong material on the album although highlights are few and far between. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

UNCLE SLAM Will Work For Food

Album · 1993 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Will Work For Food" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, California based crossover thrash metal act Uncle Slam. The album was released through Restless Records in January 1993. It´s been almost 5 years since the release of the band´s debut full-length studio album "Say Uncle (1988)". The three-piece lineup who recorded the debut album is intact on "Will Work For Food": Todd Moyer (vocals, guitars), Simon Oliver (bass, backing vocals), and Amery AWOL Smith (drums, percussion, backing vocals). While it may appear that there have been no lineup changes in the period between the two album releases, Simon Oliver was actually out of the band from 1988-1991 and in that period first Louie Mayorga (Los Cycos, Suicidal Tendencies) and then Angelo Espino (Bitch, Heretic) took over the bass duties.

Stylistically the material on "Will Work For Food" is a slightly more mature and thrashy continuation of the crossover thrash metal style of "Say Uncle (1988)". The powerful and raw sound production makes the music sound sharp, heavy, and aggressive, and it´s a clear upgrade from the less powerful sound of the predecessor. Todd Moyer has a raw sandpaper delivery, and the tracks feature one raw and powerful riff after another. While Uncle Slam don´t sound exactly like their contemporaries (at least not in a clone type way) they do belong the the same crossover thrash metal school as artists like Suicidal Tendencies, Beowülf, and Excel.

The material on the 11 track, 40:33 minutes long album is well written and quite effective. It´s hard edged, aggressive, and raw. Raw lead vocals, riot gang shouting backing vocals, fast- and mid-paced heavy riffs and rhythms, and a generally healthy focus on cathiness. You don´t have to listen to the album many times to be able to sing along to most of the tracks (at least the chorus parts). Tracks like "Hangin' In The Hood", the title track, and the rather unconventional but really great cover of "Dazed & Confused" by Led Zeppelin, are some of the highlights on the album, but there are only few unremarkable tracks on the album, and it´s overall a pretty strong release.

It´s not perfect though, and while the sound production is mostly of a good quality, it does feel like a bit of an odd choice to put an effect on the vocals, to make them sound like they were recorded in an empty bathroom. The drums could have featured a slightly more organic sound too, but other than those minor sound related issues, "Will Work For Food" is a relatively well sounding release. It´s not groundbreaking within its genre (considering this was released in 1993, the crossover thrash metal scene wasn´t exactly experiencing its heyday), and you won´t hear anything here, you haven´t heard before, but it´s a solid release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is definitely deserved, and may even be a bit too low.

POWER TRIP Manifest Decimation

Album · 2013 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Manifest Decimation" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Texas based thrash metal act Power Trip. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in June 2013. Power Trip was formed in 2008 and released a demo and two EPs before releasing "Manifest Decimation". The album features the following lineup: Chris Whetzel (bass), Riley Gale (vocals), Nick Stewart (rhythm guitar), Blake Ibanez (lead guitar), and Chris Ulsh (drums).

Power Trip play a powerful, aggressive, and occasionally rather brutal thrash metal style on "Manifest Decimation". The band are well playing and lead vocalist Riley Gale has a suiting raw and aggressive delivery. Unfortunately the band (or the producer) has chosen to put effects on the vocals, which make them sound like they were recorded in the room next door. They are slightly too low in the mix, distorted, and sound distant. The instrumental part of the music thankfully makes up for some of that by being sharp, aggressive, and hard edged. Power Trip are both able to deliver fast-paced riffs and rhythms and heavy mid-paced grooves with equal conviction.

Other than the odd vocal effect choice, the sound production is powerful and well sounding. It suits the rawness of the music perfectly. The material on the 8 track, 34:38 minutes long album is well written, catchy, and effective too, so upon conclusion "Manifest Decimation" is a promising debut album by Power Trip. They don´t have much in way of an original sound though and that is a minor issue, but if you enjoy all the classic virtues of the more aggressive and brutal end of the US thrash metal spectrum, "Manifest Decimation" is recommended. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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