is possibly the most popular subgenre of metal among metalheads. Basically, it's a fusion of Hardcore Punk
and the music of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal
(NWOBHM; you know, Iron Maiden
). In slightly more detail, thrash metal, also known as "thrash", features very fast guitar playing, often with a signature "chugging" sound, and very fast drumming. Seriously, the drumming is impossibly fast... unless you're an actual thrash metal drummer, in which case, it's not.
Thrash metal began in the early eighties and was popularized mainly by the "Big Four" (Metallica
) as well as the three main bands of the Teutonic thrash metal scene in Germany (Sodom, Kreator, Destruction). By the 90s, it's popularity began to wane as the genres it inspired (see below) began to overtake it in popularity, but it still had enough of a dedicated following to begin a "revival" of sorts in the 2000s (see the "New Blood" section). In June of 2010, the Big Four of thrash metal played together on one stage for the first time ever in a historic concert tour in Europe.
Fellow metal genres Death Metal
, Groove Metal
and arguably Black Metal
evolved directly from thrash. Thrash metal evolved from Speed Metal
, and was instrumental in the creation of Power Metal
Bands typically described as thrash metal include:
American West Coast
American East Coast
- Aspid (Russian)
- Coroner (Swiss) (also Progressive Metal)
- Criminal (Chile)
- Hexenhaus (Swedish)
- Hobbs Angel Of Death (Australian)
- Mandator (Dutch)
- Mortal Sin (Australian)
- Onslaught (British)
- Sabbat (British)
- Venom (British)
- Austrian Death Machine
- Avenger of Blood
- Body Count
- Bonded By Blood
- Dekapitator (sort of, they got their start in the late nineties)
- Diamond Plate
- Fueled By Fire
- Gama Bomb
- Lich King
- Mantic Ritual
- Merciless Death
- Municipal Waste
- Suicidal Angels
- Toxic Holocaust
- Trivium (mixed with Metalcore)
Tropes common in this genre are:
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to its direct progenitor Speed Metal.
- Within thrash metal, the Teutonic scene is the Darker and Edgier counterpart to the US scene.
- Epic Riff: Being one of the most riff driven genres of music, these are pretty common.
- Fandom Rivalry: While most thrash fans are perfectly content to listen to, both, Metallica and Megadeth, certain fans still argue about which band is better, which song is originally written by which bands, etc. Notable in that the bands themselves were far from friendly with each other for a long time.
- There is also a small rivalry between fans of Thrash Metal and Black Metal.
- Follow the Leader: While there were several thrash metal bands willing to take their own spin on thrash metal in the its heydey, the genre had more than its fair share of copycat bands that record labels were more than willing to sign because of its popularity, no matter how unoriginal or uninspired (much like what happened with it's hated enemy, Hair Metal). This happened again with the 2000s revival, with many bands happy to just imitate bands like Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, etc., without adding anything new to it.
- Gateway Series: Metallica is one for thrash, and often to classic metal as a whole.
- Genre-Killer: Thrash never "died" as such, but the rise of newer subgenres (some of which were directly influenced by thrash), and the fact that some of the bigger bands in the genre underwent stylistic changes, lead to the genre's waning popularity in the 90s.
- Genre Relaunch: While there were still bands playing thrash metal throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the genre suddenly saw a surge in popularity in the mid-2000s, mainly thanks to Municipal Waste. Labels such as Earache and Nuclear Blast capitalized on this, and by the end of the decade there were several well known acts playing "retro-thrash".
- Gorn: Not used as much as death metal, but still occasionally used, most famously by Slayer.
- Harsh Vocals: occasionally employed, doing it to much leads to confusion with Death Metal.
- Lighter and Softer: Lyrically, crossover thrash bands tend to be this compared to regular thrash bands, and many songs tend to be more humorous in nature, but they may be just as fast and intense musically, and sometimes more so.
- Metal Scream: Often more of the operatic or snarling variety.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally ranges from 8-10 (ten being more rare). Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax are mostly an 8, Slayer and Testament are mostly a 9, and bands such as Demolition Hammer and Warbringer go to level 10.
- Power Ballad: "Semi-ballads" are pretty common, especially on earlier albums.
- Rated M for Manly: Just try to deny it, whether you're a fan of the genre or not.
- This is evidenced by the joke "What has 2,000 legs and 2 breasts? The audience at a thrash metal concert."
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: A common there among the more extreme bands, most prominently Slayer.
- The Scrappy: The "thrash revival" or "retro-thrash" scene that began in the mid-to-late 2000s was seen as this by certain sections of the fandom (with a few exceptions), particularly the bands that focused their lyrics on partying and being "retro", without having much, if any, originality in their sound. Some bands that were initially disliked were seen as Growing the Beard over time, such as Lich King.
- Trope Codifier: Metallica for more melodic or traditional thrash and Slayer for the more extreme side of thrash. Suicidal Tendencies and Dirty Rotten Imbeciles are this for crossover thrash.
- Trope Maker: It's not exactly clear who should get credit for playing the first thrash song, but it's generally agreed that Metallica's Kill 'Em All is the first thrash album.