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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crossover thrash Music Reviews

DECEASED Rotten To The Core

Album · 2004 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Rotten To The Core" is the 5th full-length studio album by US metal act Deceased. The album was released through Malt Soda Records in January 2004. It´s the successor to "Supernatural Addiction" from 2000 although the "Behind the Mourner's Veil" EP from 2001 bridges the gap between the two full-length studio albums. On "Rotten To The Core" Deceased have added drummer Dave Castillo to the lineup, and lead vocalist/drummer King Fowley therefore only plays drums on some of the tracks. He would from this point step down from the drummer position for a couple of years (until 2010) and solely concentrate on performing vocals.

"Rotten To The Core" is a covers album, featuring Deceased performing hardcore/punk covers by artists like Ramones, Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, and Sex Pistols. The album features 16 classic hardcore/punk tracks and is obviously a project Deceased have done for their own satisfaction first and secondly for the fans (which is often the case with cover albums). It´s not the most original idea to make a hardcore/punk covers album, and many other metal artists have done it before (and after) Deceased (including Slayer with their "Undisputed Attitude (1996)" covers album).

Deceased deliver some convincing performances and they manage to put a little of their own spin on the source material, while still staying fairly true to the original tracks. "Rotten To The Core" features a decent quality sound production, which is raw and suits the material well. Overall "Rotten To The Core" is not the most interesting release by Deceased though, and considering the high quality of the last couple of Deceased releases before this one, the drop in quality is pretty big. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

S.O.D. Speak English or Die

Album · 1985 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Speak English or Die" is the debut full-length studio album by US, New York based crossover thrash metal act S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death). The album was released through Megaforce Records in August 1985. After Anthrax finished the recording of their second album "Spreading the Disease (1985)", they still had a bit of studio time left, and guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Charlie Benante decided to contact former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker and Psychos bassist Billy Milano. The latter to perform vocals. S.O.D. formed in July 1985 and recorded a 63-song demo titled "Crab Society North" on the day of their formation. "Speak English or Die" was written and recorded in a week in August 1985. So S.O.D. was a fast put together musical project which was formed to have fun and play som fast and aggressive hardcore with offensive/silly lyrics. No one could have forseen how well the project was received and how many copies "Speak English or Die" ended up selling (today it has reached a worldwide sale of over 1 million copies).

So what is the winning formula, which made this album so popular? Other artists had fused aggressive hardcore and thrash metal before S.O.D. did, but none of them probably hit the balance as well as S.O.D. do here. Some of the heavy riffs on the album are absolutely crushing and paired with the ultra fast hardcore sections, and the often over-the-top offensive lyrics, that made for a winner. The album also feautures a raw, powerful, and organic sounding production, which suits the material perfectly and S.O.D. had a unique sound, which was instantly recognisable and in spite of the often quite extreme attack of the music, the tracks are also catchy and memorable. It´s almost impossible not to scream along to tracks like "Sargent 'D' & the S.O.D.", "United Forces", or "Kill Yourself" or at the very least crack a smile at the over-the-top offensive and silly lyrics to tracks like "Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues", "Pussy Whipped", or "Fuck the Middle East". The material on "Speak English or Die" are generally just infectiously catchy and highly entertaining. This was never meant to be taken seriously, but that doesn´t mean the music is a joke. Far from it.

"Speak English or Die" is a prime example of the magic that can happen if you put the right people together in a rehearsal room and give them a few hours of studio time to record the almost written-on-the-spot material they have produced. It doesn´t always have to be month long rehearsals and hours upon hours in recording studios for the final outcome to be worth a listen. Sometimes a more spontaneous process is more fruitful and the raw energy and intensity of the performances are better preserved. "Speak English or Die" is as authentic and immediate as they come. Warts and all, take it or leave it. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

CRO-MAGS Best Wishes

Album · 1989 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Best Wishes" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New York based hardcore/crossover thrash metal act Cro-Mags. The album was released through Profile Records in April 1989. It´s the successor to "The Age of Quarrel" from 1986 and features two lineup changes since the predecessor as lead vocalist John Joseph Bloodclot has left and bassist Harley Flanagan has taken up the vocal duties in addition to playing bass. Drummer Mackie has been replaced by Pete Hines.

Stylistically "Best Wishes" is quite different to the powerful hardcore style of "The Age of Quarrel (1986)". I´m often reminded of contemporary Suicidal Tendencies and at times contemporary Megadeth, although Cro-Mags are still obviously a New York hardcore act playing thrash metal. Flanagan has a personal delivery, but not the strongest or most interesting voice, but the instrumental part of the music is generally very strong, featuring powerful thrashy riffs (and quite a few which are more traditional heavy metal styled), blistering melodic guitar solos and motifs (at times it sounds like Rocky George makes a guest appearance), and a well playing rhythm section. The latter still often play hardcore tinged beats, so it´s one of the elements of the music which points backwards to the band´s hardcore past.

The songwriting is strong and relatively varied for the genre. "The Only One" is a sort of power ballad (...not really but I don´t know how else to describe it), and a track like "Crush the Demoniac" is pretty much tradtional heavy metal through and through, while other tracks are more hard edged and thrashy. The real winner here though is the sound production, which to my ears is quite brillant. Powerful, clear, and sharp, featuring a very well sounding guitar tone and great bass bottom. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

M.O.D. Rhythm of Fear

Album · 1992 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Rhythm of Fear" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US crossover thrash metal act M.O.D.. The album was released through Megaforce Records in November 1992. It´s the successor to "Gross Misconduct" from 1989 and there have been quite a few lineup changes since the predecessor. Actually the exact same thing which happened between the release of "U.S.A. for M.O.D. (1987)" and "Gross Misconduct (1989)" has happened again, which is that the entire lineup except for frontman/band leader Billy Milano have been changed. New in the lineup are guitarist Tim McMurtrie and drummer Dave Chavarri. Milano handles bass in addition to vocals, making M.O.D. a three-piece on "Rhythm of Fear".

The many lineup changes have not affected the quality of the musicianship in a negative direction. On the contrary "Rhythm of Fear" was by far M.O.D.´s most well performed album up until then. Milano is in top form performing assorted types of vocals from harsh hardcore shouting to rap vocals, to the occasional more melodic part. Riot gang shouts are also often used. The album features both fast-paced and heavy groove laden riffs and rhythms, and it´s generally a sharp and effective release.

I´m personally not too fond of rap vocals in my metal (with exceptions), and the rap vocal parts on "Rhythm of Fear" do not change that. Although I can´t help crack a smile when listening to "Rhymestein" (I love that songtitle), the rap vocals just don´t do anything good for that song or the album in general. Milano is best when he is angry and screams his lungs out bringing the venom to the people. As with the preceding releases there are both serious and humourous tracks on "Rhythm of Fear". The above mentioned "Rhymestein" are among the more silly ones, and "Get Up and Dance" and "Rally (NYC)" are also in that catagory. The former is actually a really great and energetic crossover track, while the latter is a New York City praise song.

Upon conclusion "Rhythm of Fear" is a step up in quality from the previous releases by the band. It features a much better sounding production job than any of the releases before it, overall better songwriting, and a very well playing band, so although it´s not a perfect release, a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still deserved.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Technocracy

EP · 1987 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Technocracy" is an EP release by US hardcore/heavy metal act Corrosion of Conformity. The EP was released through Metal Blade Records in April 1987. It bridges the gap between the band´s second and third full-length studio albums "Animosity" from 1985 and "Blind" from 1991. There´s been a significant lineup change since "Animosity (1985)", as the three founding members of Corrosion of Conformity have opted to add a lead vocalist and fourth member to the lineup in Simon Bob. The vocals on the previous releases where handled by bassist Mike Dean and on occasion by drummer Reed Mullin. The original version of the EP features five tracks, but the 1992 re-release features four bonus tracks. Three of them demos of the EP tracks featuring Mike Dean on vocals.

Stylistically the material on "Technocracy" pretty much continue the hardcore/crossover thrash metal style of "Animosity (1985)", with an emphasis on the hardcore part of the sound. It´s decent quality harcore but nothing revolutionizing, and new lead vocalist Simon Bob isn´t the most interesting singer. In comparison Mike Dean had a more raw and primal delivery, which suited the rawness of the music better.

"Technocracy" features a decent sounding production. The listener is able to hear all instruments and vocals pretty clearly, but the sound is still raw enough to not lose power. When that is said, it´s not the most well sounding or powerful production from those years, and it could certainly have sounded better and the music could have prospered from it. Upon conclusion "Technocracy" is a release for fans of the band´s early material and for fans of 80s US hardcore/crossover thrash metal in general. It´s a decent release, but there are better releases in a similar style out there. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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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