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
4.53 | 277 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
MEGADETH
4.48 | 232 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
METALLICA
4.44 | 227 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.40 | 77 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
SEPULTURA
4.38 | 94 ratings
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
FORBIDDEN
4.51 | 23 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
ANNIHILATOR
4.38 | 65 ratings
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ANTHRAX Among The Living Album Cover Among The Living
ANTHRAX
4.35 | 84 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
METALLICA
4.31 | 214 ratings
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
SEPULTURA
4.33 | 98 ratings
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DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends Album Cover Darkness Descends
DARK ANGEL
4.44 | 24 ratings
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EXODUS Fabulous Disaster Album Cover Fabulous Disaster
EXODUS
4.33 | 54 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

WITCHERY In His Infernal Majesty's Service

Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"In His Infernal Majesty's Service" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish heavy metal act Witchery. The album was released through Century Media Records in November 2016. It´s the successor to "Witchkrieg" from 2010 and features two lineup changes since the predecessor as drummer Martin Axenrot has been replaced by Chris Barkensjö, and lead vocalist Erik "Legion" Hagstedt has been replaced by Angus Norder (Nekrokraft). It´s the third time in the band´s history that there´s been a change on the lead vocalist spot, as Hagstedt replaced Toxine (Tony Kampner) in 2010 and performed on "Witchkrieg (2010)" before being replaced by Emperor Magus Caligula (aka Masse Broberg) in 2011. The latter didn´t get to record with the band. Witchery was always a bit of a side-project for most of the members when they had some time off from their day jobs in acts like The Haunted and Arch Enemy, which explains the sometimes long wait between albums.

The quality of Witchery´s output has never suffered as a consequence of the project-like status of the band though, as they have been quite consistent in both style and quality throughout the years. That trend continues on "In His Infernal Majesty's Service", which is unmistakably the sound of Witchery. A hard edged and blackened take on traditional heavy metal with speed and thrash metal leanings. New vocalist Angus Norder has a blackened raspy voice and a commanding vocal delivery, which suits the instrumental part of the music perfectly. It´s not an album which will surprise fans of the band, as there´s very little new here but why change a formula that works?

The album features 11 tracks and a full playing time of 37:46 minutes. The limited edition features two bonus tracks, "Eye for an Eye" and "Cloak and Dagger", which are outtakes from the recording sessions for "Witchkrieg (2010)". All material are well written and effective blackened heavy metal, and Witchery are an incredibly well playing band, which means everything is performed to perfection but still with the right amount of grit and authenticity. "In His Infernal Majesty's Service" also features a sharp, powerful, and raw sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion it´s yet another strong album release by Witchery. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

CROMAGNUM Born Free

EP · 2021 · Thrash Metal
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Time Signature
Born free...

Genre: power-thrash / heavy metal

CroMagnum are back with another release in the form of the EP "Born Free" which contains five tracks. While a bit difficult to pinpoint in terms of genre, it is fair to say that the EP probably falls somewhere in the neighborhood of power-thrash.

The EP opens with a short sweet doom-laden instrumental in the form of 'End Your Slavery', which is followed up by the power-thrashing title track. 'Born Free' treats the listener to uptempo thrashy parts combined with guitar melodies and a couple of tempo changes as well. 'Waterval Boven' is more or a heavy affair. The following track 'Tunguska' is more of a thrasher as is the closing track 'Congregation' although the latter is way more melodic and complex than the former.

The songs are well-written. They are straightforward without being simplistic or boring. The musicianship and the production are impeccable as well. The only thing that might be grating to some ears are Maximus Rex's rough vocals which, interestingly, do manage to integrate angry and harsh yelling with melody. Personally, I don't mind his singing style, and I think it actually works really well in 'Tunguska' and 'Congregation', but some listeners might find it an acquired taste.

Overall, this is a short and sweet release which should definitely appeal to fans of thrash metal, US power metal and perhaps even traditional heavy metal.

INTRUDER Psycho Savant

Album · 1991 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Psycho Savant" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Tennesee based thrash metal act Intruder. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in June 1991. It´s the successor to "A Higher Form of Killing" from 1989, although the two studio albums were bridged by the release of the "Escape from Pain" EP from 1990. "Psycho Savant" was the band´s last release before they disbanded in 1992. The lineup who recorded "A Higher Form of Killing (1989)" and the "Escape from Pain (1990)" EP are intact on "Psycho Savant".

Stylistically the material on the 8 track, 54:13 minutes long album continue in the same powerful US thrash metal direction as the material on the preceding releases. The music is firmly rooted in the 80s US thrash metal scene (artists like Lääz Rockit, Anthrax, and Forbidden are valid references), and although "Psycho Savant" was released in 1991, there is not even the slightest 90s influence on the album (no alternative type vocals, no groovy riffs/rhythms, no rap vocals or funk influences). This is about as pure as they come when describing what an 80s US thrash metal album sounds like. The main reason for mentioning the particular reference artists above, are because those artists feature lead vocalists who can sing both raw and more melodic type vocals, which is also true for lead vocalist Jimmy Hamilton. The vocals are generally strong and give the music the extra dimension vocals are supposed to add (the use of riot gang backing vocals is a great treat too), to an already strong instrumental foundation...

...and the instrumental part of the music also deserves a mention, because Intruder are a very well playing band. The riffs are thrashy and powerful, the guitar solos blistering and creative, and the rhythm section are well playing too, driving the music forward in a great energetic fashion.

The material is well written and quite catchy too, and although most tracks on the album exceed the 6 minutes mark, the songs don´t feel long or outstay their welcome. I won´t mention any particular track as a highlight as all tracks are consistent in quality and style and "Psycho Savant" is therefore an entertaining release throughout. The only minor issue with the album is the sound production which lacks a bit of bottom end, which could have ultimately made the album more heavy sounding, but it´s not a major issue, and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

ENFORCED Kill Grid

Album · 2021 · Crossover Thrash
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UMUR
"Kill Grid" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Virginia based thrash metal act Enforced. The album was released through Century Media Records in March 2021. It´s the successor to "At The Walls" from 2019. "At The Walls" was more of a compilation album than a regular studio album as it featured remixed versions of the tracks from their two 2017 demos and only two new original compositions, so therefore "Kill Grid" is the first Enforced album to solely feature new original material.

Opening track "The Doctrine" immediately sets the tone and reveals the music style of the album. Heavy, brutal, and aggressive thrash metal (with the occasional crossover leanings), not completely unlike a contemporary act like Power Trip, but also drawing influences from legendary artists like Slayer and (late 80s/early 90s) Sepultura. This is music for those who enjoy artists like that and also other late 80s/early 90s brutal thrash metal artists like Devastation, Exhorder, and Demolition Hammer. Thrash metal in the brutal end of the scale with an emphasis on caustic aggression, razor sharp heavy riffs, and energetic and powerful drumming. The vocals are raw, shouting, and angry. A little more variation would have made the impact of the vocals a little more intense, but as they are the vocals are well performed and suit the music perfectly.

"Kill Grid" features a well sounding, powerful and detailed production job, and it´s overall a very well produced release. Enforced were arguably off to a good start with "At The Walls (2019)", but it´s audible that the band have honed their skills and their songwriting on "Kill Grid", and it´s definitely a step up in quality from the debut album. It´s not a revelation in terms of introducing anything new, but Enforced are the type of band capable of using tried and true elements in a well constructed and convincing manner. This is music designed to put an angry snarl on your face and to make you bang your head like a maniac. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SABBAT History of a Time to Come

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"History of a Time to Come" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Nottingham based thrash/heavy metal act Sabbat. The album was released through Noise Records in April 1988. Sabbat were formed in 1984 by lead vocalist Martin Walkyier and bassist Frazer Craske under the Hydra monicker. When the original guitarist and drummer left and guitarist Andy Sneap and drummer Simon Negus joined, the band changed their name to Sabbat. After rehearsing and writing material for about a year, Sabbat recorded the "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" demo in 1986. The demo eventually led to the band being signed to Noise Records.

Stylistically the material on the 9 track, 46:27 minutes long album feature a raw, organic heavy metal sound with occasional thrash metal leanings. The music is actually a bit hard to label although Sabbat are typically labelled a thrash metal act. To my ears there are just as many traditional heavy metal elements on the album, and I definitely don´t think of "History of a Time to Come" as a 100% pure thrash metal release. In many ways the album is very "old school" in sound and execution, from the songwriting, to the performances, to the sound production. It definitely doesn´t sound like a 1988 release.

Raw heavy metal/thrash metal riffs, pounding drums and bass, and the raw vocals by Martin Walkyier in front. One of the interesting things about "History of a Time to Come" are the lyrics, which are quite cleverly written. It´s an album where the quality is decent throughout, but it seldom reaches excellent territory. But fans of traditional heavy metal/thrash metal hybrids are advised to give it a listen. 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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