Crossover Thrash

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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, sludge, grindcore 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.

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POWER TRIP Manifest Decimation

Album · 2013 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Manifest Decimation" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Texas based thrash metal act Power Trip. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in June 2013. Power Trip was formed in 2008 and released a demo and two EPs before releasing "Manifest Decimation". The album features the following lineup: Chris Whetzel (bass), Riley Gale (vocals), Nick Stewart (rhythm guitar), Blake Ibanez (lead guitar), and Chris Ulsh (drums).

Power Trip play a powerful, aggressive, and occasionally rather brutal thrash metal style on "Manifest Decimation". The band are well playing and lead vocalist Riley Gale has a suiting raw and aggressive delivery. Unfortunately the band (or the producer) has chosen to put effects on the vocals, which make them sound like they were recorded in the room next door. They are slightly too low in the mix, distorted, and sound distant. The instrumental part of the music thankfully makes up for some of that by being sharp, aggressive, and hard edged. Power Trip are both able to deliver fast-paced riffs and rhythms and heavy mid-paced grooves with equal conviction.

Other than the odd vocal effect choice, the sound production is powerful and well sounding. It suits the rawness of the music perfectly. The material on the 8 track, 34:38 minutes long album is well written, catchy, and effective too, so upon conclusion "Manifest Decimation" is a promising debut album by Power Trip. They don´t have much in way of an original sound though and that is a minor issue, but if you enjoy all the classic virtues of the more aggressive and brutal end of the US thrash metal spectrum, "Manifest Decimation" is recommended. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

THE ACCÜSED The Return of... Martha Splatterhead

Album · 1986 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"The Return of... Martha Splatterhead" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Seattle based crossover thrash metal act The Accüsed. The album was released through Subcore Records in January 1986. The title of the album refers to the band´s 1985 EP "Martha Splatterhead". The Accüsed was formed in 1980 and released a couple of demos before releasing the "Martha Splatterhead" EP in 1985. "The Return of... Martha Splatterhead" features all the material from the EP plus some freshly recorded tracks exclusive to this release. So the material featured on the album was recorded during two different recording sessions a couple of years apart.

Stylistically the material on the 13 track, 32:38 minutes long album is raw horror/gore themed hardcore punk with the occasional nod towards crossover thrash metal (some tracks are full on hardcore punk while others are much more thrash metal oriented). Lead vocalist Blaine has a distinct sounding snarling and aggressive vocal style, which is quite a treat, and one of the great assets of The Accüsed´s sound, but the raw, authentic and organic instrumental delivery of the material is also greatly charming. It´s loud, distorted, ugly and filthy. So it basically sounds like it was recorded live in an amateur garage studio. There´s nothing wrong with the execution of the material though, and The Accüsed are a fairly well playing band. Everything is delivered with decent skill and great passion and conviction.

The material is well written too and relatively varied for the style. It doesn´t take more than a couple of spins to tell the tracks apart and scream along to tracks like "Wrong Side of the Grave" and "Fuckin' 4 Bucks" and it´s another great strength of The Accüsed. They are pretty skilled composers who know how to write an effectful hardcore punk/crossover thrash metal track. So upon conclusion "The Return of... Martha Splatterhead" is a good quality debut album by The Accüsed. While I´m told it was on the stage they really slayed back then, they can certainly hold their own on album too. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

BODY COUNT Carnivore

Album · 2020 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Carnivore" is the 7th full-length studio album by US metal act Body Count. The album was released through Century Media Records in March 2020. It´s the successor to "Bloodlust" from 2017 and is now the third Body Count album in a row to feature the same lineup. "Carnivore" features guest vocal performances by Amy Lee (Evanescence), Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), and late Power Trip vocalist Riley Gale. Dave Lombardo also guests playing drums on the cover of Ice-T´s "Colors".

In addition to "Colors", "Carnivore" features two more covers. Another Ice-T cover in the form of "6 In Tha Morning" (which is a bonus track, and quite a brilliant song) and a cover of "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead. The 8 remaining tracks are originals, and it´s of some notice that not a single track is credited to lead guitarist Ernie-C, who used to write most of the band´s music (the instrumental part of the music that is). Stylistically the material on "Carnivore" still sound unmistakably like Body Count though. Crossover hardcore/thrash and heavy rock/metal with lead vocalist Ice-T singing/rapping about the injustices of this world. Civil rights, corrupt and violent police and politicians, and some lyrics about being true to what you believe in, violence, and the melancholic "When I'm Gone", which features lyrics about remembering to tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them while they are still here. As always he is well articulated, angry, and passionate about the topics he sings about.

"Carnivore" is well produced and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. To my ears the quality of the songwriting is a bit up and down, but most tracks are instantly catchy and memorable. The materal is also relatively diverse and the guest vocal performances bring a little extra spice to the album. Upon Conclusion "Carnivore" is another strong album by Body Count and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

NO MERCY Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red

Album · 1987 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based crossover thrash metal act No Mercy. The album was released through Suicidal Records in 1987. No Mercy was founded by guitarist Mike Clark in 1982 and he was joined by Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir in 1985. Mike Clark would subsequently join Suicidal Tendencies and No Mercy was dissolved in 1988. The remaining part of the lineup who recorded "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red" are Ric Clayton (Bass) and Sal Troy (Drums).

Not surprisingly this sounds a lot like the missing link between Suicidal Tendencies second and third full-length studio albums "Join the Army (1987)" and "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today (1988)". Several of the tracks from "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red" would also be re-recorded for the Suicidal Tendencies compilation album "Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu (1989)" and later for the "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family (2010)" compilation. So the link to Suicidal Tendencies is strong, although the material was recorded and released under a different monicker.

Stylistically the material is crossover thrash metal with Mike Muir´s distinct sounding vocals in front. It´s fast, it can be heavy too, and there is always a raw hardcore punk edge to the compositions. The sound production isn´t of a very high quality, and especially the guitars sound a bit powerless (it´s especially weak sounding on "Controlled by Hatred"). Considering that "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red" is a 1987 release, it´s not a major issue, but it´s not exactly a feature which enhances the listening experience either. The material on the 9 track, 41:44 minutes long album are consistent in quality and style, and there really aren´t that many ups or lows to mention. The closing track "Waking the Dead" is an exception, because of its easily recognisable heavy main riff, but other than that the tracks don´t stick out much ("Controlled by Hatred" could be mentioned too as a standout track, but in that case it´s not necessarily a positive thing).

So upon conclusion I´d put "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red" in the same catagory as "Join the Army (1987)", which means that it is a relatively badly produced effort, with a few shining moments and quite a bit of standard quality material. For Suicidal Tendencies fans this is of course a mandatory listen, but for fans of crossover thrash metal in general, I´d recommend quite a few releases before this one. A solid effort...no more, no less. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family

Boxset / Compilation · 2010 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" is a compilation release by US, California based crossover thrash metal act Suicidal Tendencies. The compilation was released through Suicidal Records in September 2010. The 14 tracks on the 47:46 minutes long album are predominantly re-recordings of tracks from Suicidal Tendencies second full-length studio album "Join the Army (1987)" and the debut and sole full-length studio album "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red (1987)" by Mike Muir´s and Mike Clark´s side project No Mercy. In addition to that "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" features three No Mercy tracks which weren´t originally featured on "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red (1987)". Also in re-recorded versions. A couple of the tracks were also featured on the split album "Year of the Cycos (2008)".

It´s the second time Suicidal Tendencies have re-recorded No Mercy material for a Suicidal Tendencies release, as the "Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu (1989)" compilation album also features re-recorded No Mercy tracks. "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" also marks the second time the band have re-recorded material from "Join the Army (1987)", as "War Inside My Head" and "A Little Each Day" from that album, were already re-recorded and included on "Still Cyco After All These Years (1993)".

Re-recording material from classic releases isn´t always the greatest idea, and in many cases the end result upsets the fans and critics. In the case of "Join the Army (1987)" and "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red (1987)", both releases featured relatively poor sounding productions in their original versions, and in that regard re-recording material from those releases at least makes sense from a sound quality point on view. If the band are able to capture the raw primal energy of the original versions is another matter, but sound quality wise "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" features a sound production where you are able to hear every instrument and what is being played. It´s not necessarily a great sounding production though, and to my ears the bass is too metallic "clicky" and lacks bottom. The addition of funky slap bass playing on "Suicidal Maniac" isn´t that great either, but on the other hand I understand the 2010 version of Suicidal Tendencies wish to put their own spin on the material. The slap bass playing is thankfully a bit more restrained on the remaining tracks.

The overall tracklist flow and the consistency and quality of the material are high enough and if nothing else listening to the re-recorded versions of the "classic" tracks made me want to go back and listen to the original albums again. Compared to "Still Cyco After All These Years (1993)" which was also a re-recordings compilation album, "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" aren´t nearly as accomplished, but to those who had a hard time enjoying "Join the Army (1987)" and "Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red (1987)" because of the poor sounding production jobs, this may be a good way of getting aquainted with the material from those releases. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

crossover thrash movie reviews

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.

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