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 | 262 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
MEGADETH
4.51 | 218 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
METALLICA
4.45 | 214 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.43 | 74 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
SEPULTURA
4.40 | 89 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
ANNIHILATOR
4.36 | 61 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
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4.32 | 203 ratings
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EXODUS Fabulous Disaster Album Cover Fabulous Disaster
EXODUS
4.37 | 49 ratings
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
SEPULTURA
4.32 | 94 ratings
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DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends Album Cover Darkness Descends
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4.42 | 23 ratings
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
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4.43 | 21 ratings
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SLAYER Reign in Blood Album Cover Reign in Blood
SLAYER
4.27 | 178 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

TESTAMENT The Legacy

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
Take run of the mill 80’s Thrash and then take away pretty much any weaknesses you could find in the genre. That’s really Testament’s debut, which added absolutely nothing new to the realm of Thrash, but did everything just about as well as anyone could have. Crunchy riffs, wild solos, and a precise, speedy rhythm section played some of the tightest standard Thrash put to record. Every single song is top quality.

The most interesting factor about this album is actually Chuck’s vocals, which have surprising versatility especially for a Thrash vocalist. He can yell with the best, but he can also shift his pitch quite a bit, and carry melodies when he has to, and even throws in a couple death growls for good measure. The production is also as good as 80’s metal got, which is especially surprising for a debut. They didn’t invent anything new here, but at step one they had already mastered the craft.

POSSESSED Beyond the Gates

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
This album gets a lot of flack for being generally weaker than its predecessor, but I heard no drop in quality whatsoever. It’s exactly the same messy, thrashy, raw old school death metal as on the debut. Perhaps it could be critiqued for not innovating at all, but who needs innovation when the music is this good?

The similarity between this and their debut makes it rather difficult to review. If I have to nitpick, I could say some of the riffs sound a little less inspired, and generally repeat for a bit longer. However, the musicians also sound tighter, more focused and clearly in better practice. All in all, it’s just another really fantastic Death Metal album from the creators themselves.

SLAYER Reign in Blood

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
Slayer were never holding punches, but Angel of Death is the most face ripping opener maybe ever. It just shreds you for five minutes straight, everyone hitting you at full overdrive. The guitars are either striking with lightning quick rhythmic tremolos or screaming solos, the drums are at a constant full-speed pummel, and Tom's shouting, no longer muddled by reverb or any other effects, tears your skin off word after venomous word. And those lyrics are absolutely insane - Slayer were always dark, but god damn, they took a level in real evil here, especially as Tom started writing more.

And then Angel of Death ends, and every single song following is more of the same eviscerating insanity, consistently delivering riff after riff without letting up an inch. All concluding with one of the most evil, intense, and infamous closers of all time. Surely I don't need to say its name.

MEGADETH Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
As a huge fan of Thrash Metal, Megadeth strangely never hit the marks I love in this kind of music. To their – mostly Dave’s – credit, the songwriting and solos are great, and the riffs are not far behind. However, where the band always lost me is in their delivery and atmosphere. Dave’s not a good vocalist, but that’s not what bothers me, as raspy shouting is something I enjoy. The problem is that not only does he struggle to create any sort of memorable hooks or verses, but he also writes some bad lyrics. The delivery on most songs is sarcastic, sometimes angry but all too often it just sounds like he’s yelling for the sake of yelling without any conviction or thought behind the words.

The music actually matches this – while as I said, the musicianship is really good, there’s really no atmosphere or emotion being conveyed. There are great moments like the openings to Good Mourning and Bad Omen, both having a more ominous and serious atmosphere. However, most of the time it just sounds like the band is jamming out to earn their dollar, which is not something I want in Thrash. It’s not dark, and the anger present is only very surface-level “I hate paying my taxes” kind of anger.

To be clear - It is a great album. The music is well-written and expertly played, the production is about as good as 80’s metal gets, and there aren’t any actually bad songs, but I find it massively overrated, and rather empty compared to most contemporary releases in the genre.

METALLICA Master of Puppets

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
One of those albums you know upon first listen as a masterpiece. Now, I’m going to start off by saying it’s only my second favorite Metallica album, and I wouldn’t put it anywhere near my favorite metal albums of all time or anything. There are hundreds of bands out there that cater to my taste more than Metallica – probably a hundred Thrash bands alone.

The thing is, this album just has that sort of magic anyone can identify. Dare I say, a sort of objective quality that one can appreciate, if there was such a thing. This is one of the closest albums I’d award the term flawless to. It’s not that every song is a 5-star masterpiece, however, there simply aren’t any glaring, or even hidden, flaws. The musicians, as always, are fantastic; the dual guitars deliver a combination of incredible riffs and solos, the bass gets time to shine, and Lars on drums sounds better here than he ever had before or would since. James sounds fantastic, using his melodic singing more here than before (and acing it) while still giving us a healthy dose of aggressive yelling. The lyrics here are all great too, referencing literature, war, mental illness, and more.

The music itself is very consistent for an album that mixes a lot together. There is pure heavy, thrashing aggression; there is slow, moody darkness; there are even emotionally compelling and beautifully melodic moments. Every song is a complete package with tons of great riffs, solos, and a couple have complete mood/tempo changes. Despite this, they are all very memorable and deliver something unique. No one can go wrong with this album when looking for a masterpiece.

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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.

METALLICA The Big 4: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria

Movie · 2010 · Thrash Metal
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progshine
I'm reviewing this as a Metallica release cause, well, it seems like one Metallica release with 3 good guests (not trying to bash the other bands, not at all, you'll see on the review).

Anthrax: Great show full of energy, you can see the joy on the band members faces, also, Joey Belladonna vocals are pretty in shape, specially for a 50 years old man. The fact all of them are using the same t-shirt is very nice, shows the unity of the band, no egos involved, one for all, all for one and a good metal show. Rate: 4

Megadeth: Dave gathered great musicians, they're not really new (but sounds as a one man band with guests). Guitars and bass (David Ellefson is one of the great metal bassists ever) are great. But what the f**k is his voice here? What Dave's trying to do with all that falsettos? Is a pain to watch him singing. And he seems worried and nervous the whole show. I never really watched Megadeth live, so I can't say if he's always been like that. Rate: 3

Slayer: The band hit the stage and their hardcore/thrash/metal fast sound comes right to your face. Kerry King accessories (braces and chains) are a little too much on my opinion, but so are the Jeff Hanneman boots xD But their guitars models are very cool. I do like Slayer and they were the one I wanted to see most, but on stage they look like a prog/hardcore/thrash act, cause it looks like the same song over and over. But still, they have great energy, still 'angry' after all this time and Tom Araya's voice still great. Rate: 4

Before Metallica hit the stage a couple of interviews about the Dio death, all of those guys are fans, for sure.

Metallica: Of course they are the 'big brother' here, playing doubled amount of time than the other bands. And you can say whatever you want to say, but few bands can put up a show like these guys do. They made every penny worth. And James Hetfield is singing better than ever, and in a crooner kinda of microphone xD Trujillo is always a fun scene, walking like a 10 pound Gorilla on stage. And I'm sure I'll never like Lars drumming. And every days that passes one idea comes to my mind stronger and stronger, I really would like to see a James solo album, he would do some serious good thing alone, for sure. But, they'll not have a bigger rate for me, cause of one thing, the show IT IS great, but it's the same show over and over the past 2 tours, same songs, same sequence and even James using the same words with the audience. Rate: 4

All in all, it's worth to watch, with a beer on your side will be even better, even if you do not drink (like myself) xD

KREATOR Live Kreation-Revisioned Glory

Movie · 2003 · Thrash Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
This DVD from the Violent Revolution era captures Kreator at their best as the energetic virtuosos deliver a career spanning set of classic metal, mixing old and new together in a monstrous performance.

The first thing you'll notice is the unusual green filter over the video, and the fact that the show is split between two different venues, with half the songs live from a concert in Spain and half live from a music festival, the change over between shows being filled with short documentary sections with cameos from other Metal bands (usually drunk) and footage of the band getting ready.

If you can get past these facts, you'll find an amazing DVD to enjoy but if you can't stand that sort of thing you'd be better off buying Kreator's 'Live At The Pulse of Kapitulation,' DVD which is one entire concert, without interruptions or strange green filters.

Anyway the performance the band put on is incredible, delivering the songs with feeling and making the music heavy yet very clear. They make the songs from the nineties sound heavier and thrashier and the 80's classics Clearer and more modern sounding creating a even playing field for the material.

The production is pretty decent too, a nice deep kick drum sound, audible bass guitar and sharp chunky guitar sound. Mille is awesome as ever, barking and growling away like its still 1988. The DVD also contains a history section that mixes a very short documentary with all the bands music videos; nothing life changing, but definitely worth the one viewing.

There are also two bonus songs, the classic concert closing duo of 'Flag of Hate,' and 'Tormentor,' Live from With Full Force Festival although the camera work is much better and the visuals are brighter the sound is muddy and unclear so you will probably not bother with them all that often.

The main feature is as good as any metal DVD from the first half of the decade, and pretty much a no-brainer for any Kreator fan; Highlights include the aggressive and technical 'Reconquering The Throne,' and the infectiously catchy 'Violent Revolution,' as well as a storming rendition of the furious 'People of The Lie.' If you're into concert DVDs and into all eras of Kreator this is very much the DVD for you.

KREATOR At the Pulse of Kapitulation: Live in East Berlin, 1990 (DVD/CD)

Movie · 2008 · Thrash Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Kreator are a very important band in the Thrash Metal story, one of Germany's biggest ever bands and a bone fide classic act for metal overall.

This DVD is a fantastic reissue of the historic Live In East Berlin Concert, (which comes in Cd and DVD form here)with a documentary and an amusing horror video called Hallucinative Comas.

The Tracklisting is amazing, containing all of their classics such as 'Toxic Trace,' 'Flag of Hate,' 'Tormentor,' and 'Pleasure to Kill.'

The Band's performance is energetic and exciting; singer Mille interacts with the crowd on a regular basis. Ventor gets a Drum solo and also performs lead vocals on an excellent rendition of 'Riot of Violence.'

Kreator blast through songs like 'Some Pain Will Last,' 'Awakening of the Gods,' and 'Under The Guillotine,' furiously, performing the technically challenging and incredibly fast material with ease and flair.

Most important is the sound; for such an old concert the sound is amazing, much better than other DVDs of similar era concerts. The material is brilliantly mixed and available in 5.1 or stereo; with clear drums, chunky 'full,' guitar sounds and totally audible vocals.

The documentary is pretty interesting, describing the difficulty East German fans had even getting access to metal music, magazines or t-shirts; how the concert came to be, and the impact it had.

For a Kreator fan this cannot be recommended highly enough, the wonderful sound and excellent tracklisting make this one of the best Thrash Metal DVDs money can buy. If you want to hear music from the 'Terrible Certainty,' or 'Extreme Aggression,' albums played live then this is the DVD for you.

MEGADETH That One Night - Live in Buenos Aires

Movie · 2007 · Thrash Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Megadeth’s That One Night: Live In Buenos Aires is arguably the band’s finest live effort and certainly one of their best DVDs. The band are absolutely on fire in terms of performance and energy, the crowd are going wild for the band and the setlist is superb, what more could anyone ask for in a concert ?

In terms of the actual DVD; the Audio/Visual quality is top notch and the whole performance is captured well, with a good job made of the mixing, camerawork and editing. Everything is utterly professional and well handled, nothing is cheesy or over the top which just allows the music to do the talking.

Surprisingly; apart from frontman Dave Mustaine, even though the band’s line up at the time didn’t feature any musician responsible for the albums from Rust In Peace – Cryptic Writings, or indeed David Ellefson who was on every single Megadeth album until The System has Failed, the band put down a storming performance and seem to be at the top of their game, reveling in their success and fired on by the manic crowd.

(Then) New members Glen Drover on guitar, James MacDonough on Bass and on Shawn Drover on Drums are all great additions to the band, and it isn’t difficult to see why Glen lasted another studio album and Shawn remains with the band to this day.

The concert includes all the classic Megadeth material you would expect like ‘Peace Sells…,’ ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,’ ‘Symphony Of Destruction,’ and ‘In My Darkest Hour,’ as well as some less played numbers such as ‘I’ll Be There,’ and the superb ‘Set The World Afire.’

Additionally, their then new The System Has Failed record is well represented and the songs fit well into the set along side all the fan favourites.

That One Night’ was filmed in 2005 and released in 2007 and is still a brilliant live document and perhaps unsurpassed by later releases. I remember being hugely impressed with it when it was new, and watching it back now my opinion has not changed at all, which is surely a good sign. All Megadeth fans should all consider picking up a copy, this is an utterly fantastic concert and would serve as a fine introduction to the band. I highly recommend it.

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