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 | 285 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
MEGADETH
4.47 | 242 ratings
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
METALLICA
4.43 | 234 ratings
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
SEPULTURA
4.38 | 102 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Never, Neverland Album Cover Never, Neverland
ANNIHILATOR
4.39 | 81 ratings
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FORBIDDEN Twisted Into Form Album Cover Twisted Into Form
FORBIDDEN
4.50 | 27 ratings
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
ANNIHILATOR
4.38 | 69 ratings
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SEPULTURA Arise Album Cover Arise
SEPULTURA
4.33 | 105 ratings
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ANTHRAX Among The Living Album Cover Among The Living
ANTHRAX
4.34 | 88 ratings
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FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Doomsday for the Deceiver Album Cover Doomsday for the Deceiver
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
4.39 | 42 ratings
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METALLICA ...And Justice for All Album Cover ...And Justice for All
METALLICA
4.30 | 222 ratings
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EXODUS Fabulous Disaster Album Cover Fabulous Disaster
EXODUS
4.34 | 55 ratings
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thrash metal Music Reviews

MUNICIPAL WASTE Electrified Brain

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

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

SEPULTURA Schizophrenia

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Schizophrenia" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Brazilian death/thrash metal act Sepultura. The album was released through Cogumelo Records in October 1987. It was recorded on a 16 track recorder at J.G. Estudios in Belo Horizonte in August 1987. The original album contained 9 tracks and featured a playing time of 38:13 minutes. Later reissues include a re-recorded version of "Troop of Doom" from the band´s debut album "Morbid Visions" (1986). Some versions also include some demos and rough mixes of songs from the album.

The music on the album is aggressive death/thrash metal with an emphasis on the thrash metal part. There´s been great development in the band´s sound since the more primitive/simple debut album, which was released just a year before "Schizophrenia". The music on "Schizophrenia" is not only aggressive and powerful, it´s also occasionally rather sophisticated for the style. While the band had certainly listened to the brutal euro thrash metal of artists like Kreator, Sodom, and Celtic Frost, it´s obvious that the more sophisticated thrash metal of Metallica (and other US thrash metal artists) also had great impact on the sound on "Schizophrenia". There´s even a long instrumental track on the album in the 7:16 minutes long "Inquisition Symphony" (again probably influenced by Metallica longer 80s instrumentals). The short acoustic "The Abyss" is also a nice variation from the more regular death/thrash metal assault of tracks like "From the Past Comes the Storms", "R.I.P. (Rest in Pain)", "To the Wall", and "Escape to the Void". Guitarist Jairo Guedes has been replaced by Andreas Kisser who adds a new dimension to Sepultura´s sound. His playing is much more diverse and sophisticated than the style of his predecessor, who had a more raw, fast-paced, and screaming chromatic guitar solo style.

"Schizophrenia" was the album that caught the attention of Roadrunner Records who signed Sepultura on the merits of the album. Roadrunner Records re-released Sepultura´s first two albums in addition to releasing the band´s international breakthrough album "Beneath the Remains" (1989). The latter which started the band´s rise to the stars. This particular album may have put Sepultura on the map, but "Schizophrenia" is like listening to a demo version of what would become "Beneath the Remains" (1989). The album features loads of powerful and aggressive death/thrash riffing, intriguing solo work and generally interesting compositional ideas, but the execution lacks slightly in places. First of all the production isn´t that well sounding. It´s distorted and muddy and while that´s not a problem all the time, it disturbs my listening experience in places. Secondly the musicianship isn´t as tight as it would be just a few years down the line, although the band are already a fairly well playing unit. "Schizophrenia" is overall a decent quality album though and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved. Better sound production values and more memorable songwriting could have elevated the album to the excellent zone, but that would happen already on the next album.

PILLAGING VILLAGERS Pillaging Villagers

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

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

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

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

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

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

KREATOR Hate über alles

Album · 2022 · Thrash Metal
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Kev Rowland
There has been a significant change in the ranks since Kreator’s last album, 2017’s ‘Gods of Violence’, with the departure of bassist Christian Giesler in 2019 who had been there since 1995. However, founder members Ventnor (drums) and Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitar) now have 38 years behind them and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö has been there for more than 20, so one would not expect there to be a dramatic change in approach. The new man is Frédéric Leclercq, who is probably best-known for Sinsaenum. Musically this is exactly what one would expect from one of the Teutonic Big Four, namely thrash which in this case does not appear to have changed at all in the last 20 or so years.

In some ways that is their charm but also their downfall as there are times on this album when they are very good indeed, crunching through and creating a mighty sound and others when it appears they are resting on their laurels somewhat. Their output has slowed considerably over time, with this being only their second album in the last 10 years, and only their fifth since 2001’s ‘Violent Revolution’. “Become Immortal” tells the story of the formation of the band and what has happened since then and is more than a little tongue in cheek and way too corny to be taken seriously. Some of the songs are more melodic, losing the intensity and thrashing power we have come to expect. A new album means they can get out on the road and tour again, which is where they really belong, and if you are hoping for a crunching masterpiece such as ‘Coma of Souls’ then while strong in places, this is just not in the same league.

KREATOR Violent Revolution

Album · 2001 · Thrash Metal
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Kev Rowland
Kreator have always been deemed to be one of the most important thrash bands to come out of Germany, and that they are still going in the current day (and this week have released a new album, to be reviewed soon), is a testament to their drive and fans. Indeed, three members of the band in 2001 which worked on this album are still there in 2022, with only bassist Christian Giesler no longer with the band, having left in 2019 after 25 years in the role. So why the interest in such an old album? Simply because it has been released by Nuclear Blast as a massively expanded anniversary edition. As well as the original album, it has been released long with a huge selection of assorted live bootleg recordings, grouped together under the name ‘Bootleg Revolution’. This captures the band at various festivals and concerts around the world, including countries like Brazil, Korea and Istanbul, and at German Festivals like Wacken and Waldrock.

A great deal of work has been undertaken on the 41 (yes, forty-one) tracks which have been made available on this additional set, and it is three hours in length as we get different recordings of the same song at different places. For such an old album it has really stood up to the test of time, being incredibly melodic for a thrash release without ever tipping into melodic rock, rather just tightening up and sweetening the genre somewhat. All Kreator fans will already have the original album so is it worth picking up one of the multiple available formats to grab the additional live cuts? Fortunately Nuclear Blast have thought of that already and ‘Bootleg Revolution’ is available as a standalone, and if you are a real fan then you may well want to have a live set which contains three different versions of the same song, but if you are that dedicated you are probably going to get one of the physical combined versions anyway. I had not played the original for some time, and it is fascinating to hear it sounding as vibrant and current as it does, which shows what an impact it had when it originally came out as the scene has now caught up with them. It will be interesting to see if Nuclear Blast continues this idea with other releases, as it is certainly a good way of revitalizing the older catalogue.  

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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