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

thrash metal top albums

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METALLICA Master of Puppets Album Cover Master of Puppets
METALLICA
4.53 | 278 ratings
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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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4.45 | 228 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.40 | 78 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
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ANTHRAX Among The Living Album Cover Among The Living
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4.35 | 85 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
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DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends Album Cover Darkness Descends
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SLAYER Reign in Blood Album Cover Reign in Blood
SLAYER
4.28 | 191 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

METALLICA Kill 'em All

Album · 1983 · Thrash Metal
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Tupan
The first Metallica album, like most debuts, has the energy and excitement generally found in young musicians. The sound is rougher and cruder than any of their late albums, the songs have an urgency that would be more polished later. We are talking about thrash metal, so these aren’t bad characteristics in this context.

And like most the debuts, their early influences are more obvious here. Kill E’m All is basically a mix of Motorhead, Diamond Head, Budgie, Misfits, even some Iron Maiden… Again, nothing wrong, they manage to package all these influences with a Metallica flavour after all. Songs like Seek and Destroy and Whiplash would become immortal thrash classics, and other less known tracks, like Hit the Lights and Metal Milita are pretty great too! There’s even some experimentalism, with the instrumental (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth.

And I have a personal story with this album. When I was a kid, I remember seeing a brazilian TV show named Fúria MTV. It was, for a long time, one of my only sources for metal these days, since the radio was crap (still is…) and only few friends shared my musical tastes. Anyways, the opening theme of this show was Metal Militia, the closing track of this album! And only years later I would know it, because in that pre-internet era all we could listen were the songs from the Black Album onwards, which played ad nauseam in the media at the time. So, Kill ‘Em All has a place in my metal heart since I’ve listened to it first time. Recommended!

DEAD HEAD Kill Division

Album · 1999 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Kill Division" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Dead Head. The album was released through Cold Blood Industries in 1999. It´s the successor to "Dream Deceiver" from 1993, so it´s been quite a few years since the release of the predecessor. There has been one lineup change since "Dream Deceiver (1993)" as original drummer Hans Spijker has returned to the fold and has replaced Marco Kleinnibbelink, who played on the predecessor.

Stylistically it´s onwards and upwards. "Kill Division" features aggressive and sharp death/thrash which is very similar in style to what Dead Head played on the first two albums. It´s closest in style to the more heavy "Dream Deceiver (1993)" than it is to the predominantly furiously fast-paced "The Feast Begins At Dawn (1991)", but the tracks on "Kill Division" features a bit of both worlds. Heavy riffs, ultra fast-paced riffs and rhythms, screaming chromatic guitar solos, and a raw snarling Tom van Dijk in front.

"Kill Division" features 11 original tracks and concludes with a cover of "Heavy Metal Thunder" by Saxon. All tracks are well written and effective and "Kill Division" is packed in a raw and powerful sounding production too, so all in all it´s a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

GO AHEAD AND DIE Go Ahead and Die

Album · 2021 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Go Ahead And Die" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by US/Brazilian metal act Go Ahead And Die. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in June 2021. Go Ahead And Die was formed in 2020 by vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera, his son Igor Amadeus Cavalera (vocals, guitar, bass), and Zach Coleman (drums). While Cavalera junior has been active on the scene for some years with lesser known acts, it´s of course the presence of Cavalera senior which is the initial attraction for most listeners. His legendary status on the scene and involvement with artists like Sepultura, Nailbomb, Soulfly, The Cavalera Conspiracy...etc. can not be ignored in importance and impact on the world of heavy metal. Coleman is a seasoned musician too having played with (or are currently playing with) acts like Black Curse, Dominion, Khemmis, Dagon.

The style of the material featured on the 11 track, 43:47 minutes long album is a combination of thrash metal, crossover hardcore/thrash metal, and a few nods towards death metal/deathgrind. It´s pretty much raw to the bone aggression and furious organic playing all the way through the album. Raw aggressive riffs and energetic drumming, and the raw shouted vocals of father and son Cavalera (predominantly by the latter), that´s the sound of Go Ahead And Die. There´s no pretence here, and you´ll get what you hear and you´ll be leaving bludgeoned and bleeding. I´m sure the music on the album will translate well to a live environment as the recordings sound almost live at times. The sound production is suitably raw and distorted, which brings out the best in the material. If I have to compare the music to other contemporary artists it would be Power Trip and Enforced, who both also operate within a similar no bullshit crossover thrash/thrash metal territory.

The above description of the music may make it sound like "Go Ahead And Die" is a relatively one-dimensional affair, but that´s actually not the case. While it´s a relentlessly aggressive and raw sounding album, the band are clever enough to vary pace, riff style, and songwriting approach enough to ensure that the album never becomes a tedious listen. These guys have quite a few tricks up their sleeves. It´s all implemented in a tasteful way though, which means that authenticity and brutality is never lost.

Honestly I was slightly worried that "Go Ahead And Die" would be a standard quality product and that Max Cavalera would overshadow his son or that he may just be involved in the project to promote his son´s band, but both statements or fears if you will, turn out to be utter rubbish and completely unfounded, as Cavalera junior shines here and is obviously the driving force in the band, and the older Cavalera also contributes and pours from his wealth of experience. Coleman deserves a mention too for his powerful organic playing, which drives the music forward in an irresistable raw fashion. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

PARADOX Heresy II - End of a Legend

Album · 2021 · Thrash Metal
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The Spotlight Kid
German Thrash Metal icons Paradox have returned with a sequel to their 1990 classic Heresy. Released through AFM Records, Heresy II End of a Legend, brings the story of the original concept album forward and reaffirms the band's intention to remain one of the best Thrash Metal bands in the game. Frontman, guitarist and driving force of the band Charly Steinhauer has assembled a killer line up to tackle this material in the hopes of living up to the classic first installment. Coming back into the band after a one album layoff is guitar wizard Christian Munzner and long time bass player Olly Keller, as well as, Paradox founding member, drummer Alex Blaha who hadn’t played with the band since Heresy. Also included for the task of completing the story concept was the original lyricist from Heresy, Peter Vogt.

Musically the band is in electrifying form. The songs are vibrant, heavy, melodic and exciting. Taking equal parts Thrash, Melodic Thrash, Technicality, Classic Heavy Metal and Power Metal and even elements of Doom and molding them into a completely coherent mix that works to perfection. Lyrically “Heresy II End of a Legend” continues the story of the crusade of the Catholic Church against the schismatic Cathars in the 13th century. “Heresy II End of a Legend” begins somewhat doomy with “Escape From The Burning” and as the song builds up they unleash the Thrash and absolutely nail it. There are even some touches of groove metal in “The Great Denial''. The song also has fantastic vocal melodies from Charly and of course Christian showing once again, as he does throughout the album, why he is one of the best guitarists in metal these days. Songs like “The Visitor'' and “A Man Of Sorrow'' among others highlight the band's anthemic power while never getting anywhere near the cheesiness of some power metal. The guitar solo’s throughout “Heresy II End of a Legend” are the epitome of excellence, which is the hallmark of Christian’s playing on all the albums he’s done. Vocally Charly delivers a perfect hybrid of Thrash delivery and Power Metal melodicism. It always feels that it could all derail at any moment but it never does and so that gives the music a great tension and danger that makes it so compelling. Alex Blaha is a pummeling force to be reckoned with and drives the whole album forward with dynamic ferocity, and Olly Keller’s melodic bass lines are classy and enrich the whole album. Also the band has managed to achieve a modern production sound while also capturing the old school thrash sound as well. An Impressive feat.

The mission of this album was to live up to Heresy and they have succeeded in not only reaching that level but surpassing it. “Heresy II End of a Legend” is overflowing with amazing, hard hitting riffs, epic and uplifting melodies, in your face Thrash pummeling onslaughts, doomy escapades and top tier guitar playing. Most importantly each song on this album is a beast and even though I’m personally more of a fan of shorter run times for albums, and even with the 1hour and 16 minute runtime, in this case, there is zero filler and only killer. “Heresy II End of a Legend” is a masterclass in Melodic - Power Thrash.

[Originally published on Sea of Tranquility]

MEGADETH TH1RT3EN

Album · 2011 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"TH1RT3EN" is the 13th full-length studio album by US thrash metal/heavy metal act Megadeth. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in November 2011. It´s the successor to "Endgame" from 2009 and is´s notable for the return of original bassist Dave Ellefson, who had not recorded with the band since "The World Needs a Hero (2001)". He replaces James LoMenzo who had recorded and toured with the band in the 2006-2010 period.

The music on the album is thrashy heavy metal, which of course is no surprise if you are familiar with the band´s back catalogue. Some of the band´s albums have leaned more towards heavy metal than thrash metal and visa versa. "Endgame (2009)" was one of the more thrash metal dominated releases by Megadeth, but with "TH1RT3EN" I think the band again lean a bit more towards heavy metal, although the album still features many thrash metal riffs and rhythms.

One of the greatest assets on the album is the high level musicianship and especially guitarist Chris Broderick who delivers one shredding, melodic lead after another. He is able to lift even some of the more standard quality tracks to a higher level with his diverse and skillful playing. The rest of the band are also, as usual, very well playing including frontman Dave Mustaine who delivers yet another nasal, snarling, and distinct sounding vocal performance. He shows his softer more melodic side on occasion though. His performance in "Millennium of the Blind" is an example of that, but quite a few of the tracks on "TH1RT3EN" feature relatively melodic choruses.

Although the standard of the songwriting is pretty high throughout there are some less remarkable tracks on the album and only a few standout tracks. Highlights include the two opening tracks "Sudden Death" and "Public Enemy No. 1" and album closer "13". Some of the material on the album had previously been recorded as demos, and therefore written several years before, but was re-worked and re-arranged for "TH1RT3EN". It can be heard in the riff style on some tracks, which is similar to the riff style on various preceding releases. In that respect "TH1RT3EN" isn´t the most original or unique sounding Megadeth release, but it´s recognisable and the overall quality of the album is solid. Featuring a powerful, detailed, and well sounding production job, it is another quality release by Megadeth, but still a slight step down from the quality of "Endgame (2009)". A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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