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
4.54 | 278 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
MEGADETH
4.48 | 236 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
METALLICA
4.45 | 228 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.40 | 78 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
SEPULTURA
4.38 | 98 ratings
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
FORBIDDEN
4.50 | 25 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
SEPULTURA
4.35 | 102 ratings
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ANTHRAX Among The Living Album Cover Among The Living
ANTHRAX
4.35 | 85 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
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4.30 | 216 ratings
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DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends Album Cover Darkness Descends
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4.42 | 25 ratings
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SLAYER Reign in Blood Album Cover Reign in Blood
SLAYER
4.28 | 191 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

TESTAMENT Demonic

Album · 1997 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Demonic" is the 7th full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Testament. The album was released through Burnt Offerings in June 1997. It´s the successor to "Low" from 1994. The album was recorded as a four-piece. The usual suspects and the only remaining founding members are Chuck Billy on vocals and Eric Peterson on guitars while Gene Hoglan on drums and Derrick Ramirez on bass are new in the lineup (replacing Chris Kontos and Greg Christian respectively). Gene Hoglan had just finished his stint with Death and was about to start his time with Strapping Young Lad and was asked to help out, while bassist Derrick Ramirez played guitar in The Legacy which was the band that later changed their name to Testament (by then Derrick Ramirez was no longer a member), so there is some credibility to the lineup.

Compared to the groove oriented and melodic thrash metal style of "Low (1994)", the music on Demonic is generally quite different in style and sound. The departure of lead guitarist James Murphy had a big impact on how Testament approached the songwriting for "Demonic". This was arguably the most raw and heavy release by Testament up until that point (and probably still is), who on occassion even venture into death metal territory. Chuck Billy spice up his trademark vocal delivery with some semi-death grunts and the riffing could at times also be mistaken for death metal riffing albeit of the thrashier kind. When that is said "Demonic" is still a thrash metal album and Testament are still Testament. There is also a good portion of groove featured on the album, and at times I´m reminded of an artist like Lamb of God. If anything the inspiration flowed the other way, so it´s just a reference made to describe the style of music on "Demonic".

"Demonic" features a powerful, raw, and heavy sounding production, which suits the rawness and heavy nature of the material perfectly. Hoglan always deserves praise for his outstanding drumming skills and playing style and this time is no exception. Anything that man plays on is instantly made better by his contributions. Peterson is rock solid delivering loads and loads of heavy thrashy riffs and while Billy´s semi-growling vocal style isn´t always pretty and his more regular raw shouting vocal parts are a nice variation from the grunting, the vocals overall work pretty well too. As there aren´t many guitar solos to be found ("Jun-Jun" is one of the few tracks featuring prominent lead guitar work), "Demonic" is quite different from the albums preceding it, as guitar solos and lead guitar themes were always a major part of Testament´s sound. Just not on this album...

...so upon conclusion "Demonic" is one of the odd one out albums in the band´s discography, but that doesn´t mean it´s a bad quality release by any means. In fact it´s a strong groove oriented thrash metal release, featuring high level musicianship, a well sounding production job, and relatively memorable songwriting. I do miss the lead guitars, and sometimes it does feel like Testament sacrifice memorability and melody over brutality, but overall it´s a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

АСПИД Extravasation

Album · 1992 · Technical Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
From the Russian tundra comes a Tech Thrash draconic beast that was unfortunately a few years late to the game, but no less legendary in its own right. Since it came from such a remote place and after Thrash was dead and buried, Кровоизлияние had no chance of success. The band never broke through nor released any other material. However, to think that says anything about the quality of this album would be a massive mistake.

Aspid’s debut and sole album is a Progressive/Technical Thrash package of pure quality and talent. The musical ability and songwriting is fantastic, even the simple production is very good at ensuring every aspect of it is clear and audible. I am of course referencing the bass, which is amazing and very noticeable here. There’s nothing to this other than the barebones guitar drums bass vocals setup, but every instrument is working insanely hard.

I think the best thing about this is that it’s not overbearing like some Tech Prog can be; the songwriting is extremely efficient at mixing technical prowess and wow factor with a consistent musical progression that feels natural and enjoyable. In short, they sound like damn good songs as opposed to feats of ability. The technical, big brain aspect of the music just ensures you can come back again and again and never get bored.

METALLICA Ride the Lightning

Album · 1984 · Thrash Metal
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LightningRider
OK, I've been getting into A LOT of metal recently. In my younger days, like many other young peeps, my knowledge of Metallica was practically limited to The Black Album and a couple of singles from the earlier days like “Master of Puppets” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” I wasn't fully in tune with thrash. Well as I got more in-tune with thrash I had Master of Puppets ranked as the number 1 metal album of all time. But I didn't put in in my top 20 despite how much I love metal because I always considered it a little bit bloated. Well after a lot of personal growth and re-evaluation of my life, I also re-evaluated how I rate some music, especially metal.

At first I was NOT willing to give Ride the Lightning a spot above Master of Puppets (I even had And Justice for All ranked above it). Why? Simple. Puppets' production is much cleaner, the rhythms are more developed and progressive, and Metallica's style fully matured. After re-assessing myself, I realized that the big question was not “What's the best Metallica album,” but “what's the best METAL album?” If my metalcore phase taught me anything, it's that any type of production is acceptable depending on the situation. Let's be honest. Ride the Lightning's production but not be as clear as that of Puppet's, but it really is way more metallic. They obviously came a long way in that short one-year time when the were one of the best up-and-coming metal acts playing typical early thrash, and became the very band that defined thrash.

Believe it or not, my first encounter with Metallica's “Fight Fire with Fire” was not a pleasant one. Before I was used to the idea of thrash metal (or even heard of it for that matter), I would originally type the name in to look for a Kansas song. I wouldn't hear the actual album until four years later when I first started exploring music forums and charts. It would take a few years more for me to grow fully accustomed to the harshest side of metal, and that included death metal and black metal. I have Symbolic by Death to thank for that. It was the first death metal album I had ever heard and I gave it a 100/100 right then and there. The whole point of making this the opener is to give you an idea of how much power your exposing yourself to. By the time you're done with the album, you'll already be glowing blue. Da ba dee. I mean, after that soothing guitar solo at the beginning, you're dealing with BOOM BOOM BOOM! They don't call it “Ride the Lightning” for nothing! The way that atmosphere in the production works just makes it more metallic! Sure, the intro to the opener isn't as good as the one from Puppets, but it's overall a better song than “Battery.”

I have this crazy ability to instantly visualize any word I hear on a second nature level. I even visually freakin' “the.” It's pretty cool. So you can imagine the crazy imagery I got from “Ride the Lightning.” The varying visual interpretations of death range from hands made of lightning to the reaper with a sleek blue scythe (Sleek Blue Scythe should be my speed metal band name). And some of those solos are just mindblowing. The title track has the perfect balance between energy, melody and flat-out craziness.

I admit, I'm not so well emotionally connected to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” as many other Metallica fans are, but I'm not denying that it's one of the high points of an album loaded with high points. Taking a literally dramatic shift from the thrashing thunder of the gods, the early stages of the poetry that would be seen on Master of Puppets drives this song as much as the heavy metal melody. “Take a look to the sky just before you die, It is the last time you will. Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky, shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry.” Edgar Allen Poe's getting owned here. Screw the talking raven (OK, that's my screamo band name). Much of Metallica's best "guitartistry" is boasted on “For whom the Bell Tolls,” each player doing their part to add their unique vibe to the aura and all work as well as any harmonized group while still being very creative.

Now we get to the crown jewel of Metallica's songs: “Fade to Black.” This was Metallica's first ballad, and it was recorded at a time when James Hetfield not only had some obsession with death, but had to deal with much of the band's equipment being STOLEN, including his favorite Marshall amp! Damn. As you can imagine, that helps set the mood for one of Metallica's most iconic songs. The poetry of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” continues as one of the most beautiful and emotional moods in all of power ballad history ends side B of this album. There's no need for crazy solos when you can feel the sadness touching you. How human can a song get? It does get heavier towards the end, but that's a Metallica staple right there. That doesn't stop Hetfield from delivering some of his most heartfelt vocals in his career.

Alright, the first half of side B is considered the weak point of Ride the Lightning, but what album doesn't have a weakness? I admit, I'm not in love with the intro to “Trapped Under Ice.” It slowly gets better until WEEDLY-WEEDLY-WEEDLY comes along, returning to the raw thunder of the first two songs! Even though it's more like one of the basic thrash songs like on Kill 'Em All, the Ride the Lightning energy is still there, never damaging the album's flow or consistency. I mean, come on. Is speed metal not the perfect subgenre to feature on a thrash album? Besides, for a song about literally being trapped under ice, the lyrics are really freakin' good. The song almost feels crossover-thrash-esque the way it rides on energy and quick reactions.

“Escape” is considered the worst song on the album, but I like the intro more than I like the intro of “Trapped Under Ice.” It's more rhythmic and true to the Metallica style. I think the problem here is that it's written more like a song from your average hard rock / heavy metal album instead of one of the first thrash albums. Maybe that actually works, considering that the roots of thrash come from acts like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Hell, I wouldn't mind a good Scorps cover. Besides, the song still rules overall. The solos are still great and the lyrics are still human and relatable.

“Creeping Death” is one that I find particularly interesting because of its lyrical content. As opposed to the satanism often showing in albums at that time, Metallica decided to write a song about the Angel of Death from the book of Exodus! Well, you gotta keep the concept strong somehow. Although the song is more formulaic to the thrash stereotype, the badassery is at its peak. “Creeping Death” is balanced out between Metallica's energy, sense of rhythm, and lyrical drive. Unlike every other song on the album, it doesn't rely on solos to make its mark because of its balance.

“The Call of Ktulu” is the closer, and the only instrumental on the album. This nearly nine-minute epic pretty much covers everything that was going on throughout the album but with a deeper sense of mystery than every other song. Starting out with that slightly creepy solo was the perfect way to go. Like other prog-infused epics of its time, it slowly gets heavier and relies on a clever collection of combined solos to make its mark on the album. I don't know about you, but I think that's a perfectly epic way to end such an incredible album.

It's so utterly weird when you finally catch on to why an album is so great, because a whole new world opens afterwards. Ride the Lightning opened up a whole new level of understanding in the world of thrash (and maybe metal) for me, and I plan on making the most of it. In my opinion, it's the single greatest example of metal in the world. It's atmosphere is flawless, the energy of the album is rivaled only by a select few like Pleasure to Kill by Kreator, and the theme and concept never suffer. In fact, Ride the Lightning is much better at delivering its concept (of death and humanity) than most albums are at delivering their own concepts. It goes without saying that Ride the Lightning is an indisputable essential for any metal collection, and I'm glad I love the album as much as I do now.

DEMOLITION HAMMER Epidemic of Violence

Album · 1992 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
One of the best Thrash bands who continuously saw production issues finally gets a release that does them justice. Epidemic of Violence has all the unbridled aggression, insane riffage and manic rhythm that has been prominent since their Necrology demo, but at last we get crisp audio that allows their full potential to blast through.

Demolition Hammer are all the way on the “almost Death Metal” spectrum of Thrash, not only in terms of heaviness, but stylistically as well. Near Tech-Thrash levels of precision and abrupt changes are abound, and the rhythm is a constant pummel of hyper-energized force. Lyrically, the songs focus on violence and death, but are well-written with a very impressive vocabulary, and impeccable delivery.

The artist and album names tell you exactly what to expect here, and god damn do they deliver. Classic Death tinged Thrash, played with vigorous precision and executed flawlessly. You as the listener are their victim as they beat you senseless track after track, the only reprieve being a short instrumental “Orgy of Destruction” before they’re back to smashing your bones and skinning you alive. Also gonna shout out that album closer, “Aborticide”… phenomenal showcase of dark aggression.

DEAD HEAD Dream Deceiver

Album · 1993 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Dream Deceiver" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Dead Head. The album was released through Bad Taste Recordings in September 1993. It´s the successor to "The Feast Begins At Dawn" from 1991 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Hans Spijker has been replaced by Marco Kleinnibbelink.

Although "Dream Deceiver" is darker sounding and generally more heavy than "The Feast Begins At Dawn (1991)", the furious death/thrash attack of the debut is intact. Sharp and both heavy and fast-paced thrashy riffs and screaming solos, aggressive pounding drums, and an aggressive snarling vocalist in front. It´s music for fans of thrash from the most brutal and ferocious end of the spectrum and artists like early Invocator and Merciless are valid references, as well as artists like Kreator, Slayer, and Dark Angel.

The material is well written and Dead Head for example understand the importance of changing pace to make the music more varied, instead of just hammering away in fast-pace mode throughout the entire album. "Dream Deceiver" features strong musicianship and a decent sounding production too (it´s a bit on the dry side and the instruments and vocals sound a bit disjointed in the soundscape, but it´s not major issues), so upon conclusion it´s a good quality death/thrash metal release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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