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 | 295 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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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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thrash metal Music Reviews

ENFORCED At The Walls

Album · 2019 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"At The Walls" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Virginia based thrash metal act Enforced. The album was released through War Records in July 2019. Enforced formed in 2016 and released two 2017 demos before being signed for the release of "At The Walls". While "At The Walls" is considered Enforced debut full-length studio album, it´s actually more a compilation album, as the album consists of remixed versions of the seven tracks from the two 2017 demos, and only two new original compositions. The tracklist opens with the two new tracks, then the three tracks from the second 2017 demo "Retaliation" and closing the album with the four tracks from the "Demo 2017" demo. The tracks are as a result presented in diverse order in terms of the time of recording.

Stylistically the material on "At The Walls" is aggressive, heavy, and punchy thrash metal with crossover influences. The crossover elements (hardcore tinged riffs and rhythms, brutal heavy breakdowns, riot gang backing vocals) are most prominent on the tracks from the "Demo 2017" demo, and less and less prominent on the more recently composed tracks. While the material are generally well composed and effectful, Enforced´s greatest strength is their aggressive and brutal delivery of the music. They are a well playing unit, handling both fast and heavy parts with equal conviction, delivering sharp riffs and screaming solos. The vocals are raw and shouting, and suits the instrumental part of the music well. I hear influences from artists like Slayer, late 80s/early 90s Sepultura, and various crossover/hardcore acts. A contemporary artists like Power Trip is a valid reference too.

While there is a difference in style between the most recent tracks and the earliest demo tracks, "At The Walls" is still a relatively consistent release, and the quality of the material is overall high. "At The Walls" is also well produced and upon conclusion it´s a promising debut album by Enforced. A few more hooks/memorable moments and a little more variation in the way the vocals are performed would have made "At The Walls" an even more interesting release, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

MEZZROW Summon Thy Demons

Album · 2023 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Summon Thy Demons" is the second full-length studio album by Swedish thrash metal act Mezzrow. The album was released through Fireflash Records in April 2023. Mezzrow formed in 1985 under the Necromancy monicker but changed their name to the current one in 1988. They recorded two demos under the Mezzrow monicker before being signed for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Then Came the Killing", which was released by Active Records in 1990. "Then Came the Killing" ended up being Mezzrow´s sole album release in their original run, as they disbanded after recording a 1991 demo. They shortly reunited in 2005 which resulted in the release of the "...Then Came the Video" compilation video release, but it wasn´t until 2021 that Mezzrow opted for a more serious reformation. Only two members remain from the lineup who recorded "Then Came the Killing" but 33 years down the line that´s perfectly understandable. The members who remain from the debut album are lead vocalist Uffe Pettersson and bassist/backing vocalist Conny Welén. New in the lineup are Jon Skäre (drums), Magnus Söderman (lead guitars), and Ronnie Björnström (guitars).

To my ears "Then Came the Killing" was close to being a Testament worship release, and while "Summon Thy Demons" is arguably a more mature, meaty, and heavy release, featuring influences from other more melodic thrash metal artists like Forbidden and Heathen too, Testament is still a big influence on Mezzrow´s sound. So it is in the field of the more melodic (yet still aggressive and edgy) Bay Area thrash metal sound that Mezzrow deliver their sharp thrashy riffs and rhythms.

"Summon Thy Demons" features a heavy, powerful, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well and fans of latter day Forbidden and Heathen releases shouldn´t be disappointed at neither the songwriting style, the high level musicianship, or the sound production values of the album. There are many similarities to what artists like those produce these days. So upon conclusion "Summon Thy Demons" is a welcome comeback release from Mezzrow and fans of the genre should find lots to appreciate here, although it´s doutbful they´ll find anything here they haven´t heard before...but that´s not really the point with this type of release now is it? A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

STRAPPADO Fatal Judgement

EP · 1992 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Fatal Judgement" is an EP release by Canadian thrash metal act Strappado. The EP was independently released in 1992. It´s the successor to Strappado´s 1991 debut full-length studio album "Not Dead Yet".

"Fatal Judgement" is a bit of an odd EP release as it features a couple of new original compositions but also quite a few re-recorded slaughter and Strappado tracks. Stylistically Strappado have become heavier, darker, and even more well playing since "Not Dead Yet", but despite these changes to their music, they still sound like themselves, and unfortunately for them this style of music was completely out of fashion in 1992, which probably meant they received little or no attention when releasing this material. Back then slaughter wasn´t considered the cult band it is today, and few people had an interest in following what the former frontman of Slaughter was doing (unless he did something death metal related, which he didn´t).

The new compositions are quite long and structurally more complex than anything Slaughter/Strappado had released before but that doesn´t mean that the material on this EP is any more interesting than the simple and primitive sound of Slaughter. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

STRAPPADO Not Dead Yet

Album · 1991 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Not Dead Yet" is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian thrash metal act Strappado. The album was independently released in 1991. Strappado formed in 1990 after the demise of Slaughter. After releasing their 1987 debut full-length studio album "Strappado", Slaughter recorded a second album (titled "Paranormal"), now as a quartet after second guitarist Bobby Sadzak joined , but it ended up being released as a demo instead, because bassist/vocalist Terry Sadler jumped ship, and soon drummer Ron Sumners also left, so vocalist/guitaritst Dave Hewson and new guitarist Sadzak opted for a name change and a fresh start with Strappado.

Stylistically the material on "Not Dead Yet" features a more Bay Area influenced thrash metal style than the more primitive, raw, and aggressive hardcore tinged thrash metal of Slaughter´s releases, although the material on 1988 "Paranormal" demo did show progress towards a more technically well played and complex take on thrash metal...so in that respect the music style on "Not Dead Yet" isn´t a surprise at all.

Hewson have recruited some skilled musicians, so there´s nothing wrong with the musical performances on "Not Dead Yet". These guys can play. The songwriting is maybe a bit more pedestrian, although it´s certainly not bad. It´s just pretty ordinary for the genre. The sound production is of a good quality and while "Not Dead Yet" doesn´t exactly make my blood boil, it´s still a good quality thrash metal release. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

BLIND ILLUSION The Sane Asylum

Album · 1988 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"The Sane Asylum" is the debut full-length studio album by US, San Francisco based thrash metal act Blind Illusion. The album was released through Combat Records in 1988. Blind Illusion was formed in 1979 and although it took until 1988 before the band were able to release their debut full-length studio album, they are widely recognised as an important and influential San Francisco thrash metal act. Blind Illusion released no less than six demo tapes in the years 1981-1986, the last one being "Slow Death" from 1986 (actually their second 1986 demo). "Slow Death" finally got them signed to Combat Records for the release of "The Sane Asylum".

Blind Illusion went through several lineup changes in their career, but the lineup who recorded "The Sane Asylum" are Marc Biederman (guitars/vocals), Les Claypool (bass), Larry Lalonde (guitars), and Mike Miner (drums). It´s a well known "secret" that Kirk Hammett of Metallica produced "The Sane Asylum", although he isn´t credited on the album (who knows...maybe he was afraid of how James and Lars would react to him working outside Metallica). Hammett is of course not the only interesting name mentioned above as Lalonde came from a stint with Possessed where he played on the legendary 1985 album "Seven Churches" and on the other Possessed releases until that band split-up on 1987. Both he and bassist Les Claypool would find considerable commercial and artistic success in the 90s with alternative rock/metal act Primus.

Stylistically the material on "The Sane Asylum" is thrash metal but with strong ties to traditional heavy metal. So this has more in common with the heavy/speed metal tinged and often melodic inclined material of Megadeth than it has to the brutality and aggression of the contemoporary material by artists like Dark Angel and Slayer. It´s obvious that Blind Illusion are a gifted bunch of guys. The vocals aren´t that exciting (being pretty standard shouting/snarling thrash metal vocals), but these guys can play and there are some pretty tight and adventurous sections on the album (for the latter take a listen to "Kamakazi") and some well played lead guitar work. Sometimes it even borders technical thrash metal because of the many rhythm changes and the complexity of some of the riffs (just take a listen to "Death Noise" for proof of that), but then again Blind Illusion aren´t exactly Watchtower.

Less will do though and as "The Sane Asylum" also features a (for the time) well sounding production, which suits the material well, it´s a good quality debut album from Blind Illusion. I wouldn´t call it something way out of the ordinary for the genre, but it´s certainly entertaining while it plays. 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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