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 | 264 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
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4.51 | 219 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
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4.45 | 216 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
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4.42 | 75 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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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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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
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SLAYER Reign in Blood Album Cover Reign in Blood
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thrash metal Music Reviews

MR. BUNGLE The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The year 2020 has been not only a year of strange events on a global scale but in the world of music it has produced some unexpected returns from artists who have been absent from the scene for decades. Bands like Cirith Ungol, Psychotic Walz and Asuk Maboul have been resurrected from a suspended cryogenic state but perhaps the band i least expected to be making a comeback has to be the inimitable one of a kind act MR BUNGLE.

When i discover an all time favorite band planning a release some 20 years after they officially called it quits i always have to slap my head with a sigh thinking DON’T DO IT! I want my favorite bands who have gone down as legends to remain pure and pristine as far as quality material goes and MR BUNGLE with its three eccentric screwball concoctions released in the 90s proved to be some of the most original musical expressions ever laid down in the recording studio.

But then again during that reign in the underground MR BUNGLE was always about throwing curve balls and 21 years after the release of their last album “California,” the boyz from Eureka, California have done it again! Unfortunately we don’t get an album that incorporates every musical genre ever created gleefully mixed together in the most defiant and unorthodox manners.

Instead we get a re-recording of the band’s very first demo released in 1986 titled THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY only this 2020 version adds a few tracks and for some reason jettisons the track “Evil Satan.” Oh, and this one also officially adds the word DEMO to the title.

MR BUNGLE has always pretty much been the magic triumvirate mojo of vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn with other members recruited for whatever sounds were required for the job.

Unlike BUNGLE’s avant-garde display of a musical encyclopedia, EASTER BUNNY goes back to the band’s earliest years as a crossover thrash band with a bit of death metal and hardcore punk mixed into the overall metal therefore you can forgot about Arabic musical scales, funk, ska, doowop, surf rock, Indonesia monkey chants or any of the gazillion musical ideas mined for the three album procession.

This is a metal album from beginning to end. Along for the ride this time are Scott Ian from Anthrax as the rhythm guitarist and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo making this DEMO release sound like a very professional sounding album but i wonder why original BUNGLE drummer Jed Watts who appeared on the original EASTER BUNNY DEMO wasn’t asked to rekindle the early years in this reunion moment.

After finally hearing this updated DEMO turned slickly produced album in the year 2020, what are we to think? Are we happy to have the BUNGLERs in a bonafide reunion of sorts or are we pissed that all that amazing talent is wasted on a somewhat average but excellently performed thrash metal album?

Well the answer to that is somewhere in between. Given the MR BUNGLE canon of the 90s the band never really had the chance to be, well, just a metal band as these guys were always trying to cram one more musical idea into the mix until it morphed into a gargantuan chimera that evolved into something completely different.

On this EASTER BUNNY update (ironically released in time for Halloween!), the boyz from Eureka just get to take off their magic backpacks filled with every musical flavor this side of the sun and simply crank out some seriously manic, raw, noisy, aggressive and HEAVY metal music albums.

This updated DEMO features all of the original eight tracks of the 1985 demo only for some mysterious reason “Evil Satan” was nixed. The new release has four new tracks including “Glutton For Punishment,” “Mathematics,” “Eracist” and “Loss For Words,” as well as the track “"Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere” which includes the original track and cleverly incorporates Ian Scott’s irreverent crossover thrash band’s material from Stormtroopers of Death.

Yeah, there are definitely some BUNGLE-isms tucked into the mix but for the most part THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY DEMO is a rampaging and galloping thrash metal album displaying Patton’s vocal antics and allows Spruance to actually throw out some lead guitar here and there.

To be honest this wasn’t i wanted in a new MR BUNGLE album. In fact i wasn’t even wanting a new album after all this time. While this little gimmick is an excellently performed aggressive assault on the sense made all the more palatable by the drumming prowess of Lombardo and the inclusion of Scott Ian, what we all really want is whatever was supposed to emerge after “California!”

Hopefully this is simply a little side note that is getting the band back into shape after a long absence from the scene but now that you have gotten this out of your system, guys, PLEASE do not feel the need to re-record the other three demos as well! We want 90s MR BUNGLE with all that genre bending insanity!

Despite it all though i have to admit that this is an excellent slice of hardcore thrash metal that delivers the required aggressiveness for that classic thrash attack but at an hour’s playing time it perhaps could’ve been trimmed down just a wee bit. Whatever! MR BUNGLE is back! Yeah 2020 truly is the weirdest year ever and this only adds to the surreality.

ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell

Album · 1989 · Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Very few albums catch the second wave of thrash metal better than the Canadian band ANNIHILATOR did with its debut album ALICE IN HELL which came out in 1989 and set the world on fire. The band was formed in 1984 in Ottawa, Canada by guitarist / bassist and creative director Jeff Waters and the dark cabaret vocalist / metal guitarist Big John Bates although Bates would take off the next year but continue to contribute lyrics and songwriting efforts on the first six albums. After landing Randy Rampage on lead vocals and Ray Hartmann on drums, ANNIHILATOR jumped onto the scene with this debut and quickly became one of Canada’s best selling metal bands. ANNIHILATOR is considered one of the Big 4 of Canadian thrash metal along with Razor, Sacrifice and Voivod.

While ALICE IN HELL certainly fits into the world of thrash metal with rambunctious lightning fast guitar riffs and rampaging bass and drums, the album was quite different than anything else that has ever been released even by the band itself. This idiosyncratic quirky album not only was inspired by the Bay Area thrash legends such as Metallica, Forbidden and Death Angel but also added bizarre unexpected segments at the most off kilter moments with elements from progressive rock and particularly classic 80s metal which added excellent melodic and even epic song structures fortified with extremely fast tempos and the flamboyant vocal style of the appropriately named Randy Rampage.

The album even starts off strangely. While 80s thrash metal was no stranger to acoustic intros, ALICE IN HELL kicked off with an entire acoustic instrumental in the form of the minute and a half “Crystal Ann” which offered incredibly precise arpeggiated guitar chords crafting a sublime melodic performance. The brief yet dynamic track sets the tone for the entire album and blends perfectly into the title track with features a bit of Bates dramatic cabaret moves in how the song plays out. It also takes a full minute of instrumental prowess before the first vocals appear some three minutes into the album. The mix of styles offered one of the most unique thrash metal tracks of all time that has never really been matched. While the rest of the album focuses on speed metal with thrash riffs, surprises pop out of nowhere in seemingly straight forward performances such as the trippy guitar riffing sequence that suddenly appears towards the middle of “W.T.Y.D. (Welcome to Your Death)”

The incessant riffing gives this an energy level beyond anything Metallica or Megadeth were doing with jackhammer riffing and lightning fast solos. Randy Rampage’s vocals are probably the most operatic of any thrash metal singer with sudden octave leaps at unorthodox moments. Add to that Waters’ interesting juxtaposition between guitar and bass lines which add to the creepiness of the dark subject matter generated in the lyrics and title tracks. The album touches on paranoia, insecurity and insanity, all themes which are perfectly executed in the musical performances. The unexpected moments when the music drifts into another dimension for a brief period of time really does make you question reality and the nature of the unexpected!

While the first few tracks draw you in instantly, the album’s strength is in that each and every track generates a totally different feel and although rooted in extreme thrash metal offers a bit of psychedelia in how it’s strewn together. Another quirk of this album is that five members were listed in the liner notes as playing on the album but in fact guitarist Anthony Brian Greenham and bassist Wayne Darley didn’t play on the album despite the credits. This is one of those touched by God albums for me as i loved it the very first time i heard it and never get tired of it. I can literally play this any time, anywhere and love the hell out of it. ALICE IN HELL has not only stood the test of time quite well but remains one of Roadrunner Records best sellers ever. While some may prefer the lest schizoid followup “Never, Neverland,” personally it’s the bizarre psychotic features of this album that give it that extra something that puts it in a world all its own. This truly is one of the best metal albums ever! Masterpiece.

NUCLEAR ASSAULT Survive

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Survive" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Nuclear Assault. The album was released through I.R.S. Records in June 1988. It´s been nearly two years since the release of "Game Over (1986)", but the gap between the two full-length studio albums was filled with "The Plague (1987)" EP. Subsequent reissues of "Survive" have often featured the material from "The Plague (1987)" as bonus tracks.

Stylistically "Survive" is slightly harder edged and more thrashy than "Game Over (1986)", but still unmistakably the sound of Nuclear Assault. Sharp thrashy riffing, a rumbling distorted bass (placed high in the mix), pounding drums, and John Connelly´s piercing screaming vocals on top. He has a really distinct sounding voice, and it´s probably a bit of an aquired taste, but personally I think his vocal style fits the instrumental part of the music perfectly.

"Survive" features 12 tracks and full playing time of 31:21 minutes. 11 of those tracks are original material and the last track is a cover of "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin. They could have left the Led Zeppelin cover off for all I care (it´s not a very interesting cover of an otherwise brilliant track), but there are several great tracks among the original material on the album. "Brainwashed", "Fight To Be Free", and "Equal Rights" are among the highlights, but the quality of the material is generally high. "Survive" also features a raw and powerful sound production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion "Survive" feels like the right and natural step up from "Game Over (1986)". A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SEPULTURA Quadra

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Quadra" is the 15th full-length studio album by Brazilian metal act Sepultura. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2020. It´s the successor to "Machine Messiah" from 2017. As the case was on the predecessor Sepultura went to Sweden and worked with producer Jens Bogren. "Quadra" is a concept album based on the Quadrivium, which is the four subjects/arts of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

The band were very conscious in the way they composed tracks for the album, as they wanted to include three tracks of each of the four main styles, they believe Sepultura have produced on recent releases. Fast and aggressive thrash metal tracks, groove laden/percussive heavy tracks, semi-progressive tracks, and some more melodic oriented tracks, with Derrick Green treating the listener to his pleasant and powerful deep register clean vocals. Green´s performance on "Quadra" is strong and varied, and he is capable of both raw barking vocals, raw screaming (hardcore tinged) type vocals and the clean vocal variant described above. The rest of the band are of course also very skilled performers, and while I´ve already said it a thousand times, I have to mention again how exceptionally great a drummer Eloy Casagrande is. He is just the energy boost and creative rhythmic mind that Sepultura needed to elavate their music to new heights.

The material on "Quadra" is as you can imagine from the desription above quite varied and adventurous in nature. There is a musical red thread throuhgout the album though and it´s always audible that you´re listening to Sepultura. It´s just the most eclectic version of the band rearing their head here. I´m actually amazed how well they make all the different musical elements work within their sound and how they avoid making those elements sound like they were forced upon the songs. Semi-symphonic parts, fast technical harmony guitar/keyboard runs, middle eastern scales and creative rhythmic ideas, are just some of the elements which make up "Quadra". The closing track on the album "Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering" even features female clean vocals (performed by Brazilian singer Emmily Barreto)

"Quadra" is well produced, featuring a powerful and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. I could maybe have wished for a slightly more organic drum tone, but that´s my subjective opinion, and it´s a minor issue. So upon conclusion "Quadra" is a high quality release by Sepultura. To those who found "Machine Messiah (2017)" to be a fresh sounding and eclectic release (which it definitely is), "Quadra" pushes the boundaries of Sepultura´s sound even further and this is a release for those who enjoy Sepultura when they are most adventurous and creative. So while there are fast thrashy parts and heavy grooves on the album, this is not a return to the the band´s sound of the late 80s/early 90s. Sepultura have moved on and they now utilize elements from all their previous releases and add new ones to the palet and as a result have created another strong release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DESTRUCTION Infernal Overkill

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Infernal Overkill" is the debut full-length studio album by German thrash metal act Destruction. The album was released through Steamhammer in May 1985. Destruction was formed as Knight of Demon in 1982, but soon changed their name to the current monicker. They released the "Bestial Invasion of Hell" demo in early 1984, and the "Sentence of Death" EP in November the same year. "Infernal Overkill" features the same trio lineup who recorded "Sentence of Death (1984)". Schmier (Vocals, Bass), Mike Sifringer (Guitars), Tommy Sandmann (Drums).

Stylistically there haven´t been many changes since the preceding EP release. We´re still treated to a relatively simple form of early thrash metal with speed/traditional metal leanings. The material aren´t the most memorable in the world, and the early releases by contemporaries like Sodom and Kreator were generally a bit more catchy, but Destruction take points when it comes to the savage and convincing delivery of their music, and compared to the quality of the compositions and the playing on "Sentence of Death (1984)", Destruction have taken giant steps.

"Infernal Overkill" also features a raw yet relatively well sounding and detailed production, so upon conclusion the band show positive development and for fans of early raw German thrash this is of course a mandatory listen. A 3 star (60%) 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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