Thrash Metal

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Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is characterized by its fast tempo and aggression. Thrash metal songs typically use fast, percussive and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. Thrash metal lyrics often deal with social issues using direct and denunciatory language, an approach which partially overlaps with the hardcore genre. The "Big Four" bands of thrash metal are Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer, who simultaneously created and popularized the genre in the early 1980s.

The origins of thrash metal are generally traced to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a number of bands began incorporating the sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, creating a new genre and developing into a separate movement from punk rock and hardcore. This genre is more aggressive compared to its relative, speed metal, and can be seen in part to be a reaction to the lighter, more widely acceptable sounds and themes of glam metal.

Thrash metal generally features fast tempos, low-register, complex guitar riffs, high-register guitar solos, double bass drumming, and aggressive vocals. Most thrash guitar solos are played at high speed, as they are usually characterized by shredding, and use techniques such as sweep picking, legato phrasing, alternate picking, string skipping, and two-hand tapping. Thrash lead guitarists are often influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Thrash guitar riffs often use chromatic scales and emphasize the tritone and diminished intervals, instead of using conventional single scale based riffing. For example, the main riff of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" is a chromatic descent, followed by a chromatic ascent based on the tritone. Rhythm guitar playing is characterized by extensive palm muting and down picking to give the riffs a chugging sound, along with extensive use of the pedal point technique (creating what can be considered a distinctive, 'thrashy' sound). Speed, pacing, and time-changes also define thrash metal. Thrash tends to have an accelerating feel which may be due in large part to its aggressive drumming style. For example, thrash drummers often use two bass drums, or a double-bass pedal, in order to create a relentless, driving beat. Cymbal stops/chokes are often used to transition from one riff to another or to precede an acceleration in tempo. To keep up with the other instruments, many thrash bassists use a pick. However, some prominent thrash metal bassists have used their fingers, such as Frank Bello, Greg Christian, Jack Gibson, Steve DiGiorgio, Robert Trujillo and the late Cliff Burton. Several bassists use a distorted bass tone, an approach popularized by Burton and Motörhead's Lemmy.

Lyrical themes in thrash metal include isolation, alienation, corruption, injustice, addiction, suicide, murder, warfare, and other maladies that afflict the individual and society. Humor and irony can occasionally be found, but they are limited, and are the exception rather than the rule.

Inclusive thrash metal music subgenres:
  • 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, 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.
  • Death-thrash combines elements from thrash metal and death metal. The most common type of death-thrash is based on thrash metal music (often played a bit faster than standard thrash metal) with growled vocals. Sepultura's "Schizophrenia", "Beneath the Remains", and "Arise" are considered examples of death-thrash. Given that death metal is derived from thrash metal, many early death metal bands played a style that was anchored thrash metal and could be considered death-thrash. Many of those artists are included under the death metal genre here on MMA.
  • Technical/progressive (or tech/prog) thrash metal is considered a legitimate genre by some (or even two legitimate genres), while others argue that it is a pseudo-genre. Bands included in this genre take emphasize technicality in their music, in the form of complex riffs and/or complex song structures, while others apply the ethos of progressive music more broadly without straying from their basic thrash metal sound. Examples of artists that are sometimes considered tech/prog thrash metal acts are Dark Angel, Death Angel (especially on "Act III"), Annihilator, Artillery (especially on "By Inheritance", "When Death Comes", and "My Blood"), and Invocator. Releases like "Master of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All" by Metallica are quite progressively oriented with complex song structures and numerous sections per song. Some bands like Voivod, Antithesis and Watchtower took the progressive approach so far that they are primarily considered progressive metal artists rather than thrash metal artists.
  • Blackened thrash metal is thrash metal with black metal elements. Its thrash metal basis is more primitive and akin to early German thrash metal. Examples of blackened thrash metal bands are Assaulter, Aura Noir, and The Metaphor. It should be mentioned that much early black metal, such as Venom and Hellhammer/Celtic Frost actually had its roots in thrash metal.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrash_metal

Written by Time Signature.

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres & shared with Speed Metal and Groove Metal):
  • Vim Fuego (leader)
  • Nightfly

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METALLICA Master of Puppets Album Cover Master of Puppets
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Doomsday for the Deceiver Album Cover Doomsday for the Deceiver
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thrash metal Music Reviews

ARMORED ASSAULT Blood Queen

Album · 2021 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Blood Queen" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Illinois based thrash metal act Armored Assault. The album was independently released in March 2021. Armored Assault formed in 2004 and released a couple of demos and EP before releasing "Blood Queen". They were formerly known under The RazorBlade Smile monicker.

Listening to "Blood Queen" it´s obvious that these guys have been around since 2004, because Armored Assault are a very well playing band. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Sharp precision riffing, convincing raw vocals, and a poowerful playing rhythm section. Drummer Mark Suttner is one of those great drummers who is technically skilled and deliver precision playing but at the same time possesses an organic driving groove, and his playing is extremely important for the overall quality of the music on "Blood Queen".

Stylistically the material on the 7 track, 33:03 minutes long album is aggressive thrash metal with metalcore leanings. Especially the vocals often belong in the raw screaming hardcore influenced metalcore camp, but the vocals are actually relatively diverse and the album also feautures semi-growling vocals, raw thrash metal style vocals, and a couple of clean vocal parts. The tracks are predominantly fast-paced and energetic with fast syncopated thrashy riffs and beats and a high aggression level. "Blood Queen" is an interesting release because of the combination of elements from thrash metal, melodic death metal, and metalcore, and sometimes it´s a strength but other times it doesn´t work as well as intended. I could for example have done without the clean vocals, which I don´t find that convincing.

"Blood Queen" is well produced, featuring a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Blood Queen" is a decent quality debut album by Armored Assault. It´s an album for those who enjoy an eclectic and energetic type of thrash metal with metalcore elements, and there is enough promise here for me to give a recommendation to fans of that style. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

EXODUS Bonded by Blood

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Bonded by Blood" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Exodus. The album was released through Torrid Records in April 1985. "Bonded by Blood" was already recorded and ready for release in the summer of 1984, but because of issues between Exodus and the record label, the release of the album was pushed. In retrospect that was probably one of the main reasons why Exodus didn´t make it as big as contemporaries like Metallica and Slayer. They simply missed their window of opportunity. Formed in 1979 by drummer Tom Hunting and guitarist Kirk Hammett, Exodus were otherwise one of the seminal thrash metal acts on the San Francisco, Bay Area scene and released two well received demos in 1982 and 1983. Kirk Hammett departed in 1983 to become a member of Metallica, but the band soldiered on without him. The lineup who recorded "Bonded by Blood" are: Paul Baloff (vocals), Gary Holt (guitars), Rick Hunolt (guitars), Rob McKillop (bass), an Tom Hunting (drums).

Stylistically the material on the 9 track, 49:18 minutes long album is powerful thrash metal, featuring pounding drums, sharp riffs, screaming solos, and a raw sounding vocalist in Paul Baloff. He is not a particularly skilled singer, but his unpolished singing style suits the material well (complimented by shouting riot gang backing vocals). Like most early thrash metal releases, "Bonded by Blood" also features its share of speed/traditional heavy metal elements (a track like "Metal Command" could be mentioned as a reference here), but it´s generally a pretty hard edged thrashy release. There aren´t much variation between tracks, but all tracks are catchy with hook laden shout-along choruses, which means they are still easy to tell apart although the main ingredients (riff style, vocal style, song structure...etc.) are almost the same on every track. Highlights include the title track, "A Lesson in Violence", and "Piranha", but all 9 tracks on the 40:31 minutes long album are consistent in quality and style.

"Bonded by Blood" also features a powerful and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly, so upon conclusion it´s a high quality debut release. I always measure early- to mid 80s thrash metal debut albums up against "Kill 'Em All (1983)" by Metallica, because that to me is THE thrash metal debut album from that time, and none of the other contemporary thrash metal artists (Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill...), were able to reach the heights of that album, with their debut albums. "Bonded by Blood" on the other hand came close. To my ears this is one of the greatest thrash metal debut albums from that time as the songwriting is strong, the musicianship is on a high level, and the sound production is of a high quality too. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

MEGADETH Endgame

Album · 2009 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Endgame" is the 12th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Megadeth. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2009. It´s the successor to "United Abominations" from 2007 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Glen Drover has left and has been replaced by Chris Broderick, who was fresh out of a 1997-2008 period stint with Jag Panzer. The rhythm section of drummer Shawn Drover and bassist James Lomenzo are still onboard with lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine completing the quartet lineup.

"Endgame" is usually considered one of the more thrash metal oriented releases in the band´s discography, and tracks like "This Day We Fight!" and "Head Crusher" are definitely in the fast-paced and thrashy end of the scale for Megadeth, but there is a little more to "Endgame" than what those tracks might suggest. But when you think of it most of the band´s releases are quite varied in style, so it´s no surprise that "Endgame" also features heavier thrash/heavy metal tracks, more melodic oriented songs, and even a half power ballad in "The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With a Kiss".

Megadeth are as well playing as ever, and Broderick brings a lot of shredding to the plate. "Endgame" is absolutely loaded with blistering guitar solos and lead guitar themes in top of the sharp thrash/heavy metal riffs and the powerful playing rhythm section. Mustaine sounds great on the album, although his voice and vocal style will always be an aquired taste. The sound production is courtesy of Mustaine and Andy Sneap, and although I could have wished for a slightly more organic production on the drums, the production is a high quality job. Powerful, sharp, and detailed, perfectly suiting the material. Upon conclusion "Endgame" is a strong release by Megadeth and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved.

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Cuatro

Album · 1992 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Cuatro" is the 4th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Flotsam and Jetsam. The album was released through MCA Records in October 1992. It´s the successor to "When the Storm Comes Down" from 1990 and there has been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Troy Gregory has been replaced by Jason Ward. The band recruited producer Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Nile...etc.) to work on the album.

All previous releases by Flotsam and Jetsam had been a combination of speed, thrash, and traditional heavy metal, but on "When the Storm Comes Down (1990)" a slight alternative edge began to creep in. That alternative element is further explored on "Cuatro", and the speed and thrash metal elements of the early releases are scaled down considerably. Actually to a point, where you can no longer call Flotsam and Jetsam a thrash metal act, although that´s usually how they are labelled. "Cuatro" has more in common with contemporary Metallica, than it has with anything thrashy out of the 80s.

The main focus of the music is the vocals and vocal melodies of lead vocalist Eric A.K.. While the instrumental part of the music is intriguing enough and very well performed too, it´s definitely Eric A.K. who makes the album shine. He is an incredibly skilled vocalist with a distinct sounding voice and singing style. His performance on "Cuatro" elevates the album from solid to great. The material are generally well written, but there are tracks on the album, which either don´t stand out much or which simply don´t work very well. Highlights include the opening trio of tracks "Natural Enemies", "Swatting at Flies", and "The Message", but tracks like "Wading Through the Darkness", and "Never to Reveal" also deserve a mention.

The Neil Kernon production is decent but not perfect. To my ears it sounds a bit disjointed, with a slightly odd sounding drum production. It´s not a major issue though, and the sound generally suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Cuatro" is a solid heavy metal release by Flotsam and Jetsam, and fans of an album like "The Black Album (1991)" by Metallica are recommended to take a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DARK ANGEL Live Scars

Live album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Live Scars" is the first live album release by US thrash metal act Dark Angel. The album was released through Combat Records in 1990. "Live Scars" bridges the gap between the band´s third and fourth full-length studio albums "Leave Scars (1989)" and "Time Does Not Heal (1991)". The album title is obviously a reference to the title of the former mentioned album. The tracklist features material from the first three Dark Angel albums "We Have Arrived (1984)", "Darkness Descends (1986)", and "Leave Scars (1989)". The original vinyl version only features five tracks, while the CD version features three bonus tracks (among them a cover of "I Don't Care About You" by Fear).

"Live Scars" features a raw and authentic live sound, which probably gives the listener a good indication of what a Dark Angel show sounded like in those days. It´s not one of those polished live releases with fake audience participation and corrected errors. You get what you hear, and that is both good and bad. The raw presentation of Dark Angel´s music is obviously a positive as their furiously fast-paced and aggressive type of thrash metal is best presented that way, but there is no arguing that a sligthly more clear sounding production would have made the listening experience a little more enjoyable. Mostly because some riffs, the bass drums, and other details are often buried in the loud and messy soundscape. The tracks aren´t always easy to follow and the technical nature of the band´s playing doesn´t help either. At times it simply becomes a bit too muddy for comfort.

The band´s performances are pretty much flawless with the impressive drum work by Gene Hoglan as the most attention demanding feature. The man is a monster...his playing is out of this world. Lead vocalist Ron Rinehart pulls off a performance which sounds a lot like his studio performances, so that part is also solid enough, and the same can be said about the guitar and bass parts.

Upon conclusion "Live Scars" is a nice documentation of a Dark Angel show from those days, but as the sound quality is as raw and unpolished as it is, I deem this very much a fan release. It´s definitely not the first release by the band that a casual thrash metal fan should listen to. Even as a fan I´m having a hard time enjoying this at times. More objectively this is still a decent release and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

thrash metal movie reviews

MEGADETH Megadeth - VH-1 Behind the Music Extended

Movie · 2001 · Thrash Metal
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martindavey87
The Megadeth episode of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’ series is pretty much exactly what it says it is; a look at the history of one of heavy metal’s most beloved bands. The VH1 name gives this a bit more credibility and authenticity than your typical unofficial band biography, and as such, this features interviews with band members past and present, as well as other people associated with the band at one point or another.

Looking candidly at Dave Mustaine’s expulsion from Metallica, the bands early days and their later attempts to break into mainstream territory, as well as Mustaine’s endless battles with addictions, other than being a bit outdated now, (being released in 2001), this is overall a very interesting watch, and a worthy addition to any Megadeth fan’s collection.

METALLICA Some Kind of Monster

Movie · 2004 · Thrash Metal
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martindavey87
‘Some Kind of Monster’ is an interesting look at the personal problems that arise amongst band members after having worked together throughout careers that span decades. The biggest rock band in the world is on the verge of breaking up, with one member leaving, one member in rehab and one member being the most hated man in music. It’s compelling viewing, that’s for sure.

However, it’s been often stated that this will appeal to Metallica fans and non-fans alike, and I do consider that a bit of an overstatement. I’m a huge, huge die-hard fan of the band, but at two hours and 10 minutes in duration, and a couple of hours of extra material, even I find this quite a tedious viewing at times.

Essentially, it boils down to the egos of two men, James and Lars, and goes on to become nothing more than “Temper Tantrum: The Movie”. Still, it’s always fun and interesting to see what musicians I admire get up to when they’re not on stage. The process of recording their 2003 dud of album ‘St. Anger’, what they do in their spare time, the auditions for a new bass player and the endless promotional events they partake in.

While this isn’t essential viewing to the average movie-goer, fans of the band will enjoy this stripped and bare movie that shows that even rich and famous rock stars have egos and emotions, and the tolls that that stardom takes on them.

METALLICA Classic Albums: Metallica - Metallica

Movie · 2001 · Thrash Metal
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martindavey87
This is basically a DVD highlights package of the two Metallica VHS releases, ‘A Year and a Half in the Life of…’ that the band released in the early 90’s. A harmless enough watch, which looks at the making of one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums, we’re given a track-by-track look at the process of writing and recording each song, and there’s some additional material with band members reflecting upon the album years later.

It’s interesting to watch, but it mostly comprises of footage we’ve already seen in countless other videos, and it lacks all the emotional depth of Metallica’s 2004 movie ‘Some Kind of Monster’.

Still, while it’s hardly going to be the most riveting thing you’ve ever watched, if you’re a fan of Metallica it’s certainly not a bad way to kill two hours.

METALLICA The Videos 1989-2004

Movie · 2006 · Thrash Metal
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martindavey87
Let’s face it, when it comes to music videos, Metallica have had some absolute bangers, and some absolute stinkers. Some of them, such as the iconic ‘One’ and ‘Enter Sandman’, have become heavy metal classics, which stand up as well today as they did upon release. Then there’s the not-so-classic ones… ‘Hero of the Day’, ‘King Nothing’ and ‘The Unforgiven II’, all of which are great songs, but the videos could easily be any other generic rock band from that era.

With that said though, this is a cool disc for any die-hard Metallica fans. Music video compilations are obsolete now thanks to YouTube, but it’s still cool for a collector to have these on DVD, especially if they insist on owning everything a band puts out.

METALLICA Cunning Stunts

Movie · 1998 · Thrash Metal
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martindavey87
It feels like a lifetime ago that I bought this DVD! Back in 2002, at the impressionable age of 15, this was such an awe-inspiring show to watch. Metallica were (and still are) so much larger than life, and everything about this home video release was amazing.

The main show, despite being at the peak of Metallica’s mid-90’s alternative rock era, shows a band who could rock out with the best of them, and while the set list may not hold up amazingly well by today’s standards, it’s still brimming with heavy metal and hard rock anthems.

There’s an abundance of extras that show the behind-the-scenes process of the show and it’s titular stunts, and the pre-show footage is a blast to watch, so much so, that lurking somewhere out there is a home video my friends and I (all aged 15 and in our first band) made of us embarrassingly recreating many of the scenes.

While Metallica has certainly released better home videos and DVD’s, ‘Cunning Stunts’, with its top notch sound and picture, and brimming with fantastic visuals, still holds up just as well today as it did 20 years ago.

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