Thrash Metal

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Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is characterized by its fast tempo and aggression. Thrash metal songs typically use fast, percussive and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. Thrash metal lyrics often deal with social issues using direct and denunciatory language, an approach which partially overlaps with the hardcore genre. The "Big Four" bands of thrash metal are Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer, who simultaneously created and popularized the genre in the early 1980s.

The origins of thrash metal are generally traced to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a number of bands began incorporating the sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, creating a new genre and developing into a separate movement from punk rock and hardcore. This genre is more aggressive compared to its relative, speed metal, and can be seen in part to be a reaction to the lighter, more widely acceptable sounds and themes of glam metal.

Thrash metal generally features fast tempos, low-register, complex guitar riffs, high-register guitar solos, double bass drumming, and aggressive vocals. Most thrash guitar solos are played at high speed, as they are usually characterized by shredding, and use techniques such as sweep picking, legato phrasing, alternate picking, string skipping, and two-hand tapping. Thrash lead guitarists are often influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Thrash guitar riffs often use chromatic scales and emphasize the tritone and diminished intervals, instead of using conventional single scale based riffing. For example, the main riff of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" is a chromatic descent, followed by a chromatic ascent based on the tritone. Rhythm guitar playing is characterized by extensive palm muting and down picking to give the riffs a chugging sound, along with extensive use of the pedal point technique (creating what can be considered a distinctive, 'thrashy' sound). Speed, pacing, and time-changes also define thrash metal. Thrash tends to have an accelerating feel which may be due in large part to its aggressive drumming style. For example, thrash drummers often use two bass drums, or a double-bass pedal, in order to create a relentless, driving beat. Cymbal stops/chokes are often used to transition from one riff to another or to precede an acceleration in tempo. To keep up with the other instruments, many thrash bassists use a pick. However, some prominent thrash metal bassists have used their fingers, such as Frank Bello, Greg Christian, Jack Gibson, Steve DiGiorgio, Robert Trujillo and the late Cliff Burton. Several bassists use a distorted bass tone, an approach popularized by Burton and Motörhead's Lemmy.

Lyrical themes in thrash metal include isolation, alienation, corruption, injustice, addiction, suicide, murder, warfare, and other maladies that afflict the individual and society. Humor and irony can occasionally be found, but they are limited, and are the exception rather than the rule.

Inclusive thrash metal music subgenres:
  • Crossover thrash, often abbreviated to crossover, is a form of thrash metal that contains more hardcore punk elements than standard thrash. It is sometimes referred to as punk metal, though this is generally incorrect due to the existence of other music genres that combine forms of punk rock and heavy metal, such as grunge, crust punk, and more recently metalcore and its subgenres. While thrash metal is heavily influenced by hardcore punk, the overall sound of crossover thrash is more punk-influenced yet more metal-sounding and aggressive than traditional hardcore punk and thrashcore. The term was coined by the band D.R.I. with their album Crossover, released in 1987. The term 'crossover' is based on the metaphor of crossing over from one genre into the other, thus capturing artists the operate within the transition zone between thrash metal and hardcore punk. With the metaphor comes the conception of directionality, such that the genre is applied to hardcore and crust punk artists who have crossed over into thrash metal territory, such as D.R.I., Discharge, The Exploited, The Accüsed, Agnostic Front and Suicidal Tendencies (who eventually ventured into alternative metal), and thrash metal artists who crossed over into hardcore punk territory, such as Nuclear Assault and S.O.D. A number of death metal bands (especially those of the first wave of Swedish death metal) draw on hardcore punk, mainly because their members listen to crossover thrash - these bands are included under the death metal subgenre here at the MMA.
  • Death-thrash combines elements from thrash metal and death metal. The most common type of death-thrash is based on thrash metal music (often played a bit faster than standard thrash metal) with growled vocals. Sepultura's "Schizophrenia", "Beneath the Remains", and "Arise" are considered examples of death-thrash. Given that death metal is derived from thrash metal, many early death metal bands played a style that was anchored thrash metal and could be considered death-thrash. Many of those artists are included under the death metal genre here on MMA.
  • Technical/progressive (or tech/prog) thrash metal is considered a legitimate genre by some (or even two legitimate genres), while others argue that it is a pseudo-genre. Bands included in this genre take emphasize technicality in their music, in the form of complex riffs and/or complex song structures, while others apply the ethos of progressive music more broadly without straying from their basic thrash metal sound. Examples of artists that are sometimes considered tech/prog thrash metal acts are Dark Angel, Death Angel (especially on "Act III"), Annihilator, Artillery (especially on "By Inheritance", "When Death Comes", and "My Blood"), and Invocator. Releases like "Master of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All" by Metallica are quite progressively oriented with complex song structures and numerous sections per song. Some bands like Voivod, Antithesis and Watchtower took the progressive approach so far that they are primarily considered progressive metal artists rather than thrash metal artists.
  • Blackened thrash metal is thrash metal with black metal elements. Its thrash metal basis is more primitive and akin to early German thrash metal. Examples of blackened thrash metal bands are Assaulter, Aura Noir, and The Metaphor. It should be mentioned that much early black metal, such as Venom and Hellhammer/Celtic Frost actually had its roots in thrash metal.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrash_metal

Written by Time Signature.

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres & shared with Speed Metal and Groove Metal):
  • Vim Fuego (leader)
  • Nightfly

thrash metal top albums

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METALLICA Master of Puppets Album Cover Master of Puppets
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4.53 | 296 ratings
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MEGADETH Rust in Peace Album Cover Rust in Peace
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METALLICA Ride the Lightning Album Cover Ride the Lightning
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SEPULTURA Beneath the Remains Album Cover Beneath the Remains
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ANNIHILATOR Alice in Hell Album Cover Alice in Hell
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VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss Album Cover Dimension Hatröss
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FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Doomsday for the Deceiver Album Cover Doomsday for the Deceiver
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thrash metal Music Reviews

ANACRUSIS Annihilation Complete

Demo · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Annihilation Complete" is the first demo recording by US thrash metal act Anacrusis. The demo was independently released in 1986. Anacrusis was founded in 1984 in St. Louis, Missouri and they released a couple of demos before being signed for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Suffering Hour" (1988). Four of the seven tracks featured on the 36:01 minutes long demo would be re-recorded and included on "Suffering Hour".

Stylistically Anacrusis play a raw and aggressive type of thrash/speed metal. But while it´s certainly both savage and gnarly, Anacrusis still have an occasional melodic edge (the use of guitar harmonies included) and lead vocalist/guitarist Kenn Nardi performs some clean singing in addition to his raw shouting thrash metal vocals. Considering that this is a demo recording and that it´s the band´s first demo recording, Anacrusis are a very well playing unit. The lead guitar work is especially impressive but it´s audible that all members of the band know how to handle their instruments. The vocals are pretty time-typical and standard for the genre. They get the job done but not much more than that.

"Annihilation Complete" features a well sounding demo production, which is rough around the edges, but still clear enough for all instruments and vocals to be audible in the mix. Upon conclusion it´s hard not to be a little impressed by the professionalism that Anacrusis show here and "Annihilation Complete" is arguably a promising debut demo. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican

Demo · 1987 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Slaughter in the Vatican" is the second demo recording by US, Louisiana based thrash/groove metal act Exhorder. The demo was recorded in 1987 at Ultrasonic Studios, and released independently on cassette tape in mid-1987. Since the first demo guitarist David Main and bassist Andy Villaferra have left. New guitarist is Jay Ceravolo and along with original guitarist Vinnie LaBella, Ceravolo also performs the bass parts on "Slaughter in the Vatican".

The eight tracks on this 1987 demo are almost one-to-one the same tracks as you find on their 1990 debut album. The only track featured on the debut album which isn´t featured on this demo is "The Tragic Period". So we get early versions of classic Exhorder tracks like "Desecrator", "Homicide", and of course "Anal Lust", and they sound really great in these demo versions. Raw, unpolished, and caustic in their aggression. Stylistically this is aggressive and fast-paced thrash metal which is however also often quite heavy featuring brutal groove laden riffs and rhythms, with lead vocalist Kyle Thomas snarling and screaming his way through the songs. The sound production is raw, savage, and effective. It´s not a problem at all that the sound production values are as raw and gritty as they are. It just adds more rawness an authenticity to the material.

Having listened to the debut album for many years, it´s interesting to note how these 1987 demo versions are very close to the fully developed versions featured on said album. Exhorder could easily have released their debut album a few years before they did...judged on the quality of this demo they were arguably ready. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

EXHORDER Get Rude

Demo · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Get Rude" is the first demo recording by US, Louisiana based thrash/groove metal act Exhorder. The demo was recorded in September 1986 at Stonee's, New Orleans, Louisiana, and released shortly after that. Originally on cassette tape.

The material sounds like it was recorded live in the studio as it features a lo-fi and authentic sounding production. I´d be surprised to learn if there are any overdubs on this recording. Exhorder play some pretty fast-paced and aggressive thrash metal on this demo but sometimes they play mid-paced and heavy grooves too. Three of the tracks from the demo would also be included on Exhorder´s second demo "Slaughter in the Vatican" (1987) and all three of them would eventually also be re-recorded and incluced on Exhorder´s debut full-length studio album also titled "Slaughter in the Vatican" (1990). The remaining songs on the six tracks, 22:47 minutes long demo are exclusive to this release.

Considering that this is basically a live in the studio recording it´s great to hear how well playing Exhorder were already this early on. This is pretty sharp and precise playing. Kyle Thomas has a raw snarling delivery which is pretty aggressive. Upon conclusion this is an interesting release, which is slightly marred by the lo-fi sound production values. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

METALLICA No Life 'Til Leather

Demo · 1982 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"No Life 'til Leather" is the first demo recording by US, California based thrash metal act Metallica. The demo was independently released in July 1982. It´s not actually the first demo recording by Metallica, but it´s the first demo by the band which was recorded at a professional recording studio and which was widely distributed. At this point the band consisted of James Hetfield (lead vocals, guitars), Lars Ulrich (drums), Dave Mustaine (guitars), and Ron McGovney (bass). Some of the latter cassette tape copies credit Cliff Burton for recording the bass, but Burton didn´t replace McGovney until after the recording sessions for "No Life 'til Leather".

"No Life 'til Leather" features seven tracks and a total playing time of 29:41 minutes. All tracks would be re-recorded and included on Metallica´s July 1983 debut full-length studio album "Kill 'Em All", although the Dave Mustaine penned "The Mechanix" was re-arranged and re-titled "The Four Horsemen". Some of the tracks appear in early and quite rough versions and especially James Hetfield´s vocals changed significantly between this demo and "Kill 'Em All". On "No Life 'til Leather" he audibly lacks confidence in his voice and he´s also obviously very young and not a natural singer, which makes for a few odd strained vocal moments. It´s a minor issue though as the raw energy and fiercely aggressive playing make up for that.

The demo features a well sounding production job, considering that it´s a demo release, and it´s no wonder that labels began to show interest in signing Metallica when they heard "No Life 'til Leather". Metallica can rightly be proud of what they produced here and upon conclusion "No Life 'til Leather" is a good quality demo from Metallica and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

MEGADETH Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" is the second full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Megadeth. The album was released through Capitol Records in July 1986. It´s the successor to "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!" from June 1985. The lineup is the same as the lineup who recorded "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!", despite cracks in the foundation caused by alcohol/drug abuse and personal differences. While "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!" certainly gave Megadeth a name, it was "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?", which made them one of the greatest thrash metal acts on the contemporary scene. The colourful cartoonish looking Edward J. Repka cover artwork is legendary and was a real eye catcher when the album was released. One should not underestimate the importance of cover artwork on heavy metal albums.

The original version of the album contains 8 tracks and a full playing time of 36:16 minutes and while that may not seem like much I´d take quality over quantity any day. Most later reissues feature various types of bonus material. "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" has seen several reissues through the years but since the remixed and remastered version was released in 2004, the original version has been out of print. it´s of course a subjective opinion, but I´d get the orginal version over the remaster anyday. THe remastered version may feature a more fat and heavy tone, but I´m not a fan of changing the dynamics of a mix as much as they´ve done here.

The music on the album is thrash metal with a melodic edge. Dave Mustaine´s attitude filled snarling vocals are definitely an aquired taste, but I´ve never had any problems with his voice on the band´s studio recordings (as opposed to how terrible they usually sound live). The band are very well playing and especially the guitar solos really impress. Melodic shred fests of a high quality and entertainment level. There are a few less remarkable tracks on the album and especially the Willie Dixon cover track "I Ain't Superstitious" disrupts the flow of the album, and it´s simply a sub par track. On the other hand there are strong tracks on the album too like the opening trio of tracks, "Wake Up Dead", "The Conjuring" and "Peace Sells" and tracks like "Good Mourning/Black Friday" and "Bad Omen".

The production is professional and for the time pretty powerful. It´s still very obviously an eighties sound production and there are some minor issues here and there, but overall the sound production suits the material well. And this is of course the original mix I´m talking about. I´ve already spoken of the remaster above.

"Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" is arguably an essential listen for thrash metal fans and the album is by many deservedly called a "classic/seminal" thrash metal album. I still think the band needed to mature a bit more (and lay off the booze and the drugs) before they released their best albums, but "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" is definitely an album worth a listen. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) 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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