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 | 262 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
MEGADETH
4.51 | 218 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
METALLICA
4.45 | 214 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.43 | 74 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
SEPULTURA
4.40 | 89 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
ANNIHILATOR
4.36 | 61 ratings
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EXODUS Fabulous Disaster Album Cover Fabulous Disaster
EXODUS
4.37 | 49 ratings
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
SEPULTURA
4.32 | 94 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
METALLICA
4.30 | 204 ratings
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DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends Album Cover Darkness Descends
DARK ANGEL
4.42 | 23 ratings
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
FORBIDDEN
4.43 | 21 ratings
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SLAYER Reign in Blood Album Cover Reign in Blood
SLAYER
4.27 | 178 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

DESTRUCTION Born To Thrash

Live album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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Kev Rowland
Recorded on August 10th at the Party San Festival 2019, Flugplatz Obermehler, Schlotheim, Germany, this finds the band in front of some rabid fans. Bassict/vocalist Schmier and guitarist Mike have been there since the band’s formation back in 1983, and although Randy Black (drums) and Damir Eskić (guitars) are somewhat more recent additions they are fully aware of a proud Teutonic Thrash heritage. Alongside Kreator, Tankard and Sodom, Destruction have always seen to be part of the Teutonic Big 4, although it must be said that Kreator and Sodom are a long way ahead of the other two in my mind. In front of a home crowd it is hard for Destruction to put a foot wrong, with the crowd joining in to singalong on “Nailed To The Cross” and the band work through material as far back as 1987’s “Mad Butcher”.

The issue for me is that one cannot help but think here is a band massively influenced by Raven who have not moved on very from the NWOBHM days. This feels in many ways as if it is Thrash Lite, even when put up to high volumes. The bass is missing in action, the drums are quite basic, the guitars do not really do a great deal and the vocals are okay. I am sure this would be a great band to see in concert, and if I heard they were coming down here I would definitely make the effort, but to compare this performance against live albums from true giants of the scene is really not a good idea at all. Solis, enjoyable, but certainly not indispensable.

TESTAMENT Titans Of Creation

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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Kev Rowland
The boys are back, four years after ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’, with their thirteenth studio album. I was a latecomer to the band, with ‘Dark Roots of Earth’ being the first time I really paid a great deal of attention to them. That got me hooked, and the resulting live album ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’ is something I still play a great deal. Chuck Billy is a big man with a big voice, and alongside guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson was there in time for their debut album, ‘The Legacy’ back in 1987. Both drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve DiGiorgio had previously served time with the band, returning in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Since their return to recording in 2008 with ‘The Formation of Damnation’ they have released a new album every four years, but amazingly this is the first time there have been two with the same line-up.

To my ears there is something very special indeed about this band in full flight. Hoglan is one of the finest metal drummers there is (and he makes it look so easy), making it terrifying for most bassists to stick with him yet DiGiorgio manages to do just that. Although Skolnick took quite a few years away from the band to work on other projects, his relationship with Peterson goes all the way back to the formation of the band, and they both appeared on their very first four-track demo when they were still known as Legacy. The understanding they have of each other only comes with countless hours playing music, on stage and in the studio, knowing what each one brings to the party. Then you have Chuck Billy. He may not have been the very original singer, but he joined Legacy in time for their last show under that name and has been on every Testament album. Here is a band who have been producing the goods for more than 30 years and they show no sign whatsoever of slowing down.

This is bottom-driven thrash with a real groove to it, strong commercial hooks with wonderful vocals. They have changed and grown over the years, and Testament in 2020 is simply superb. They continue to deliver the goods – now please can you tour down here?

ONSLAUGHT Generation Antichrist

Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal
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Nightfly
Despite being at the forefront of all things metal in the early 80’s with the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” the UK was lagging behind, the USA in particular, when thrash metal broke through with bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth and Anthrax to name the obvious contenders taking metal into faster and heavier extremes. One of the few acts around at the time that showed the UK could compete was Onslaught. I first came across them on their second album The Force, when I bought it on vinyl, as far as I remember, based on a review in Kerrang! magazine. I was immediately blown away by opener Let There Be Death from its slow burn opening before exploding full pelt into ferocious riffing and drumming. The album was raw and heavy with a great guitar tone. By the follow up the band had recruited former Grim Reaper vocalist Steve Grimett for 1989’s In Search Of Sanity. It was a slicker affair but lacked the ferocious impact of The Force but still contained some strong material. The band split up in the early 90’s, reforming in the mid 00’s. I must admit to not paying a lot of attention to the bands output from 2007’s Killing Peace, their first since reforming but early indications suggested Generation Antichrist, their fourth since reforming was going to be worth checking out.

I’m glad I did as Generation Antichrist shows the band still have what it takes to make a great thrash metal record. Not surprising, down to modern recording techniques, the album is sharper and tighter than their 80’s output. Thankfully the modern production doesn’t rob the album of its ferocity and they’ve released a thrash metal album stuffed with breakneck speed riffs and drumming. From opener (proper) Strike Fast Strike Hard after the short intro Rise To Power the pace rarely lets up. The quality of song writing is strong throughout as is the playing. These days only guitarist Nige Rockett remains from the original line up and bassist Jeff Williams is the only member who played on their last studio album, 2013’s VI. Rockett has recruited a strong band however including vocalist David Garnett who delivers a convincingly raw and aggressive performance and a special mention to new drummer James Perry who is relentlessly fast, tight, powerful and skilful in equal measures. Musically there’s nothing ground-breaking here, and you wouldn’t particularly expect it, but Onslaught have made a totally convincing album with no shortage of killer riffs equal to the new kids on the block and their 80’s contemporaries still in the game alike.

Generation Antichrist is a very welcome return from Onslaught and put me in the mood for checking out those other post-reformation albums more fully. They’ll have to go some to be better than this though. This might just be the best album of their career.

COPROFAGO Unorthodox Creative Criteria

Album · 2005 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Unorthodox Creative Criteria" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Chile, Santiago based technical/progressive metal act Coprofago. The album was released through Sekhmet Records in June 2005. It´s the successor to "Genesis" from 2001.

Stylistically the material on "Unorthodox Creative Criteria" is technical metal featuring alien futuristic atmospheres and the occasional nod towards jazz/fusion. When the band are most raw and technical they sound almost one to one like Meshuggah did on "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)". It´s actually almost to the point of being scary. It´s everything from the raw shouted vocals, to the angular odd-metered heavy riffs, to the way the lead guitars create atmosphere, to the Holdsworthian jazz/fusion influenced guitar solos, to the drumming. Coprofago occasionally break out of that sound and do something a little different and when that happens it´s a relief to hear them play something a bit more personal (there are several atmospheric jazz/fusion influenced parts on the album and also some nods towards death metal), and discover that they don´t just exist to emulate Meshuggah (which they othwerwise do very well).

Coprofago are an incredibly well playing band, and they master their instruments and the different vocal styles on the album to perfection. "Unorthodox Creative Criteria" also features a powerful and well sounding production, so imagine how great this album would have been, had it not been (for the most part) a tribute to another band. If you can´t get enough of "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)" and don´t care if it´s Meshuggah playing, then I can highly recommend "Unorthodox Creative Criteria", but if you crave something a bit more unique this may not be your pick. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still warranted for the high quality of the album as a product.

SLAYER South of Heaven

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
South of Heaven was my first favorite album. The first one I ever listened to while thinking “god damn, this is music for me.” I had never heard sincerely dark or heavy music before that, and I never looked back.

It all started with my first videogame, DOOM. I played that game when I was just 2 years old – I worked the gun while my father did everything else, but it was still an incredibly memorable experience that was burned into my memory. I didn’t play the game for a long span of time because we had to get rid of it after Columbine happened, and then it became kind of a pipe dream to be able to play it again.

It was actually right as I was entering public school in 8th grade (I was homeschooled prior) that we managed to get the game again. Man that was a triumphant moment, and the game was just as great as I remembered. However, one thing that struck me was the music – holy hell, that music kicked ass.

I wasn’t even into music yet at this age. I listened to The Beatles, I listened to whatever the parents had, and I didn’t really listen too intently. I didn’t even know what metal really was, other than hearsay. But I LOVED this game’s music. I went to shady websites to download mp3s of the game tracks, and naturally, I started reading up about it more. Well it turns out a ton of the tracks are based on real songs by real bands – all metal bands I had never heard of save Metallica. I had to get this stuff.

I actually downloaded all of the original songs without listening to any of them first, bought my first mp3 player, and then listened to them all at once. It was a rite of passage of sorts. I loved everything I heard, even the gruff stuff like Pantera, who’s vocals were too much for me but the riffs were good enough to get through it. This new form of dark, aggressive music was striking all my chords, even though I had no experience with it. But at the end of the list – as the bands were in alphabetical order and there were only 10 or so – was Slayer.

Slayer hit different.

The three songs from DOOM were “South of Heaven” “Silent Scream” and “Behind the Crooked Cross” and they instantly became my favorite songs (barring “The Long and Winding Road, which will never not be one of the most beautiful songs ever). Such condensed aggression and evil had never struck me in aural form like that before. I mean, even Pantera, who were just as heavy, didn’t sound nearly as dark and evil as this. And the lyrics! Holy hell, they were actually disturbing at that age. A song about abortion – what the hell was that. And I loved them.

Finding that the songs were all from the same album, I got it immediately – digitally, physically, everything. I didn’t even know what riffs were before this! This was insane to me. The whole album was just as good as the few songs I’d heard. I easily listened to it at least once everyday for probably the rest of that school semester. And it ended up being really important in me finding my identity in a crucial period of life – I now knew that metal was my passion. I knew what kind of music I liked, I could talk about it, I met people through it, and I searched for more.

The funny thing is, though Slayer remains my favorite band, their other material didn’t click with me at first. Turns out this album was Slayer at their slowest and most melodic; if I started with any other album, I may not have been infected so easily. But yes, it was South of Heaven that turned me into a full-time metalhead, and it was the first album I could confidently say was my favorite. Listening to it while writing this review, I’m not surprised in the slightest that it gives me the same feeling of intense bliss as it did nearly 10 years ago, still comfortably sitting among my favorite albums of all time.

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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