Primary Stylistic Influences:
Secondary Stylistic Influences:
is one of the two most popular metal subgenres among metalheads.note
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, riff-heavy guitar playing, and equally fast drumming. Seriously, the overall musicianship is painfully fast... unless you're an actual thrash metal musician, 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, its 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
- Anthem - has taken some detours into thrash, though it primarily falls under Power Metal or traditional Heavy Metal.
- Flatbacker/EZO - probably the first well-known Japanese thrash band. Its singer would join Loudness, below, during its thrashiest period.
- Gargoyle - A thrash metal band with experimental tendencies.
- Loudness depending on the era, though 1991-93 is the thrash era, with 2010-12 coming up soon after. Also known for the Protest Song component of thrash, being well-known for left-leaning and social libertarian political messages.
- Sabbat - One the best known dedicated thrash metal bands from Japan. Incorporates black metal influences.
- X Japan, during its days as "X" until around the mid-1990s, combined thrash with Hair Metal, Speed Metal and Progressive Metal
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 its heyday, 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 and some German thrash bands.
- Harsh Vocals: Used mainly by Teutonic thrash bands, but occasionally heard in bands from other scenes as well.
- 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.
- Protest Song: Being influenced by Hardcore Punk, political songs show up frequently in thrash.
- 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, Amadeus!: The genre has a huge emphasis on fast yet highly melodic shredding, though not as much as its sister genre, Power Metal.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: A common theme among the more extreme bands, most prominently Slayer.
- 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. Venom's Welcome to Hell is a possible Ur Example.
- Ur Example: Black Sabbath's song "Symptom of the Universe" and Judas Priest's song "Dissident Aggressor" (which was later covered by Slayer) are often brought up when discussing what the earliest traces of thrash might be.