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
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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thrash metal Music Reviews

SODOM Persecution Mania

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Persecution Mania" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German thrash metal act Sodom. The album was released through Steamhammer Records in December 1987. It´s the successor to "Obsessed by Cruelty" from 1986 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Destructor has been replaced by Frank Blackfire. The original vinyl release featured 8 original tracks and a cover of "Iron Fist" by Motörhead, while the European CD version featured a re-recording of "Outbreak of Evil" (the opening track from the 1985 "In the Sign of Evil" EP) and the material from the March 1987 "Expurse of Sodomy" EP as bonus tracks. The cassette version only featured the 9 vinyl tracks and the re-recording of "Outbreak of Evil".

"Persecution Mania" is quite the leap forward for Sodom in terms of memorable songwriting and better musicianship. It´s still a very raw and aggressive sounding thrash metal release (sometimes bordering early death metal), but the songwriting is audibly tighter, more sophisticated, and generally more interesting than the band´s early releases. The addition of Blackfire to the lineup meant a lot. His playing skills were on a high level and his writing contributions also meant the band had more options and weren´t as limited as before.

The band play fast and aggressive thrash metal riffs and rhythms, but they are also capable of slowing down and playing heavy sections too. Lead vocalist Tom Angelripper plays some powerful and heavy bass lines and his vocals are sandpaper raw and snarling, spitting out apocalyptic lyrics about politics, war, and religion. "Nuclear Winter" opens the album in great style and with that song the dark and aggressive tone is set for the remaining part of the album. Not all tracks are equally sophisticated or interesting, but they are all quite effective and designed to pummel the listener.

"Persecution Mania" features a raw and dark yet detailed sound production, which suits the material well. Sodom were still in the early stages of their career at this point, but "Persecution Mania" is actually surprisingly mature sounding, especially compared to their early raw and unpolished releases. It´s not that they didn´t develop their sound further in the subsequent years, but "Persecution Mania" is pretty much the blueprint for the releases to come. A 3.5 (70%) rating is deserved.

SODOM Expurse of Sodomy

EP · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Expurse of Sodomy" is an EP release by German thrash metal act Sodom. The EP was released through Steamhammer Records in March 1987 and bridges the gap between the band´s debut and sophomore studio albums "Obsessed by Cruelty (1986)" and "Persecution Mania (1987)". The material from the EP are included as bonus tracks on the original European CD version of "Persecution Mania (1987)", and on later re-releases of said album. At the time of original release, the 3 track, 14:50 minutes long EP worked as a teaser release for the album release of "Persecution Mania (1987)" later the same year.

Stylistically "Expurse of Sodomy" is also closer in style to the raw an aggressive thrash metal style on "Persecution Mania (1987)", than to the proto-black/speed/thrash metal sound of "Obsessed by Cruelty (1986)". The sound production is raw and powerful, yet detailed and well sounding and the addition of guitarist Frank Blackfire to the lineup (he replaces Destructor) has meant a lift in quality of the musicianship and songwriting. These guys can play and they can also write an effectful thrash metal tune.

As a consequence of the material from the EP being included on most versions of "Persecution Mania (1987)", the relevance of "Expurse of Sodomy" as an individual release has decreased over the years, but upon original release it was an EP showing great musical progress compared to the early releases by the band. It´s definitely a successful bridge builder between the early releases and the band´s future sound, and more importantly it´s a good quality release deserving a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

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.

CONDITION CRITICAL Extermination Plan

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Extermination Plan" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New Jersey based thrash metal act Condition Critical. The album was independently released in March 2016. It´s the successor to "Operational Hazard" from 2013 and features two lineup changes since the debut album as guitarists/vocalists Alonso Maguiño and Sam Agnew have left and have been replaced by guitarist Tony Barhoum and lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Taylor. So it´s only the rhythm section from "Operational Hazard (2013)" (drummer Ryan Donato and bassist Mike Dreher), who are still on board.

Stylistically however the material on "Extermination Plan" is a continuation of the raw and brutal thrash metal style of "Operational Hazard (2013)". Demolition Hammmer is still the first act I think about when listening to "Extermination Plan", which was also the case on the debut album, but the influence is just slightly less obvious here. Condition Critical are not the most original sounding act though, and it´s a bit of a shame that the band haven´t worked on creating a more unique sound in the years since the debut. The material is brutal and raw thrash metal with a snarling vocalist in front. Sharp thrash metal riffs and rhythms, screaming guitar solos, and a loud bass.

The latter is to my ears actually a bit of a sound production issue, as it´s placed so high in the mix, that it often overshadows the guitars, and I can´t help focus on the loud bass, when I should primarity focus on the overall soundscape. A loud and dominant bass is not always an issue, which artists like Sadus, Atheist and Defiled are for example exponents of, but here it sounds more like a production issue than a conscious choice, and it doesn´t take more than a few minutes before it becomes a little annoying.

So "Extermination Plan" is a bit up and down in quality. It´s overall a solid thrash metal release in the more raw and brutal end of the scale with some relatively skilled musicians playing/singing, but the songwriting is pretty standard for the genre with few tracks standing out, and as mentioned the sound production is not without issues. There´s also the minor issue that Condition Critical don´t seem to have developed their sound one bit since the debut album, and therefore 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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