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

M.O.D. Gross Misconduct

Album · 1989 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Gross Misconduct" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US crossover thrash metal act M.O.D.. The album was released through Megaforce Records in February 1989. It´s the successor to "U.S.A. for M.O.D." from 1987, although the two studio albums were bridged by the 1988 "Surfin' M.O.D." EP. Except for frontman/band leader Billy Milano the entire lineup has been changed since the predecessor as guitarist Tim McMurtrie has been replaced by Louie Svitek, bassist Ken Ballone has been replaced by John Monte, and drummer Keith Davis has been replaced by Tim Mallare.

Lineup changes or not M.O.D. was always Milano´s baby and therefore "Gross Misconduct" sounds like a natural successor to "U.S.A. for M.O.D. (1987)". It´s slightly more mature in the writing style and the production values have also increased a bit, but it´s overall more of the same. Crossover thrash metal which is typically energetic and fast-paced, but also features heavier groove laden sections, and Milano´s aggressive shouting vocals on top. Some lyrics are serious enough social/political criticism, while others are a bit more silly and obviously written for fun. It´s Milano´s vocals and voice which define the band´s music, because the instrumental part of the music could have been written and delivered by many other contemporary US crossover thrash metal acts and you wouldn´t have noticed. In other words it´s fairly generic and not instantly recognisable as M.O.D..

"Gross Misconduct" is a decent quality crossover thrash metal release, but it´s not exactly an album which makes my blood boil. On this release M.O.D. come off just the way many of their critics describe them. A pale version of Milano´s former act S.O.D. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

THE ACCÜSED Martha Splatterhead

EP · 1985 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Martha Splatterhead" is an EP release by US, Seattle based crossover thrash metal act The Accüsed. The EP was released through Condar Records in 1985 (recorded in August 1984). The original vinyl pressing was limited to 500 copies. All 5 tracks from the EP would be included on the band´s January 1986 debut full-length studio album "The Return of... Martha Splatterhead". The Accüsed formed in 1980 and released a couple of demos before releasing "Martha Splatterhead".

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 suits the equally mean sounding instrumental part of the music well. It´s filthy, raw, gloomy, and angry sounding music, which is relatively simple in structure. While The Accüsed deliver their music with a fair level of skills, the sound production is pretty low-fi and sounds like it was recorded live in a garage.

Considering that this is The Accüsed´s first label release, it´s a decent quality release. Their campy horror/gore lyrics and the rawness and aggression of their music are some of the assets of the release, but it´s still early days and there are still things to improve on. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

MUNICIPAL WASTE Electrified Brain

Album · 2022 · Crossover Thrash
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Kev Rowland
It is hard to believe that Municipal Waste have been around for more than 20 years now, and they keep producing crossover thrash metal as if it is a lot earlier than that. Just seeing the name of the band makes me smile as I know what is likely to be on offer, and that is exactly what we have here again. Four of the guys have been playing together since 2004, while Ryan Waste and Tony Foresta have been there since the very beginning and even “new boy” Nick Poulos has been there six years and played on the last album, 2017’s ‘Slime and Punishment’. They had started work on this when the pandemic broke, which impacted a band who live on the road, but it meant they could concentrate fully on this as there was no tour to get back to, and the result is something which in many ways is their most complete offering to date.

It may only be 34 minutes long, but the 14 tracks pack a great deal in, in that time. It comes in, kicks hard, and then is gone again. As Tony says, ““We’re not writing any love ballads to sell records, we’re just doing what we’ve always done since the band started—and that’s try to write fun, fast, and ripping hardcorepunkmetal.” With this band what you see is what you get, a party band who are out to have a blast and take their listeners along for the ride. True, it can be somewhat one-dimensional, but overall, this is a fun album, with songs like “The Bite” showing there really are some diamonds here to be uncovered. If you miss the days when old school thrash when music like this was everywhere, then be confident that unlike many bands, Municipal Waste have stuck to their core and are still delivering like they always have.

PILLAGING VILLAGERS Pillaging Villagers

Album · 2022 · Crossover Thrash
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siLLy puPPy
And the metal machine keeps churning as the musical monstrosity continues to siphon up every musical genre on the face of the Earth and turn it into an aggressive behemoth of bantering din for all to behold! The joy of it all! I’ve long failed to be impressed by much as every conceivable avenue of musical exploration has reached the quickening state in the last few decades but it’s also refreshing to realize that there are always new ways of delivering old tricks even if they may not totally reinvent the wheel so to speak.

Coming out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the newbie headbangers on the block PILLAGING VILLAGERS which is actually the brainchild and in reality solo project of vocalist David Frazer who has had his hand in the modern day alchemy of several styles of metal, punk and folk and thrown them into his magic cauldron and stirred them with a furious glee until all came out as a sonic stew of modernity that takes several cues from the past and makes them sparkle with new life. Ah, the beauty of music is that there are seemingly limitless avenues of exploration and although many lead to dead ends, this one certainly finds an instant likability with a feeling of rejuvenating longevity!

While technically a solo project, Frazer employs some serious metal musicians to craft his debut self-titled album of classic vinyl record playing time’s length of just over 39 minutes. Imagine if you will a session where the crossover thrash masters S.O.D. jammed with the folk metal champions Ensiferum and classic Celtic punk rock rebels like The Pogues, Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys. Add a bit of melodic death metal a la Amon Amarth and just a smidge of melodic hardcore courtesy of Bad Religion, Leatherface or Propagandhi and you kinda get the picture! With so many ingredients in the recipe it’s so easy to fuck em up big time but Frazer does an exemplary task of forging these musical specimens into a cohesive whole.

The name of the game here is passion and one which extends beyond the main director’s call. Rather this is truly a band project despite the logistics of royalty distribution. It is more than apparent that these guys had a helluva bitchin’ great time crafting this little surprise that comes to us in the year 2022. In addition to Frazer’s vocals, this PILLAGING VILLAGERS debut features bassist Adam Tucker from A Scanner Darkly, guitarist Brian Koenig from Lords of the Trident and drummer Jason Hirt of Ghost Bath. This well seasoned quartet has mastered the technically instrumental wizardry of death metal at its most demanding levels and channeled it into a folk metal extravaganza that brings instant pub hall sensibilities into the mix which makes you wanna drink your Guinness and then smash something.

Straddling so many genres it’s almost imperceptible to distinguish at any given moment, two attributes unite the 12 tracks on this release. Firstly, there is a constant folk metal energetic rampage in the vein of the Finnish classic Ensiferum’s debut release only instead of Scandinavian folk music as the source of musical scales, PILLAGING VILLAGERS mines the world of Celtic folk and then keeps things in that strange gray area bardo region between the world of punk rock and thrash metal. The tracks are all on the the shorter side with none over four minutes but each delivering a ferocity of the most extreme rampaging examples of metal music.

Melodic with sacrificing the metal bombast. Folky without the cheese. The irreverence of punk with the accomplished musicianship of metal. What’s not to like here? Not all modern music has to be taking us into the next chapter of humanity. Some music is designed to just be fucking fun and this musical experience achieves just that. This is like a soundtrack for metal musicians who just want a night out on the town where the music is not their “usual” listening experience but appeals to their aggressive sensibilities. That is how i see this but with enough exposure this very well could become something that DOES become a “usual” listening experience and for that i really hope that this project gels into a cohesive band experience that takes Celtic folk metal to a new level. Bravo!

ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT Out of Hand

Album · 1991 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Out of Hand" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, California based hardcore/crossover thrash metal act Attitude Adjustment. The album was released through In Your Face Records in 1991. It´s the successor to "American Paranoia" from 1986. There have been quite a few lineup changes since the predecessor, as lead vocalist Andy Andersen has been replaced by Kevin Reed, guitarist Chris Scaparro has been replaced by Sean Sutton, bassist Rick Strahl has been replaced by Eric McIntire (who played guitar on the debut album). Drummer Chris Kontos is the only remaining member from the debut album who still plays the same instrument (and he too would soon leave to join Machine Head) .

Stylistically the material on "Out of Hand" is aggressive hardcore/crossover thrash metal. It´s well performed, raw, and powerful. Sometimes more hardcore oriented than thrash metal ditto and sometimes the other way around. Song lengths are predominantly around the 2 minutes mark and are short and aggressive burst of energy with lyrics about politics, drugs, and social/mental issues. So basically this is US styled hardcore/crossover thrash metal as most people expect it to sound. The occasional humour of some of the contemporary artists in the style (artists like Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I.), is not present here and Attitude Adjustment generally have a pretty serious approach to their music.

"Out of Hand" features a raw and powerful sounding production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion it´s a good quality hardcore/crossover thrash metal album. It´s not one of the albums in the genre, which sticks out much, but there´s nothing wrong with the quality and 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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