Thrash Metal and origins (Old school Thrash)
The definition of Thrash Metal by Wikipedia
“Thrash metal (or simply Thrash) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment and concern over the destruction of the environment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.
The genre emerged in the early 1980s as musicians began fusing the double bass drumming and complex guitar stylings of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) with the speed and aggression of hardcore punk. Philosophically, thrash metal developed as a backlash against both the conservatism of the Reagan era and the much more moderate, pop-influenced and widely accessible heavy metal subgenre of glam metal which also developed concurrently in the 1980s.”
The Thrash musical movement that occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, USA, known for the explosion of new metal bands that influenced mainly by hardcore punk and NWOBHM created a new strand of metal, called thrash metal and that has several followers until today. The most remembered names from this region are bands like Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Testament, Forbidden, Vio-lence, Death Angel, Lääz Rockit, and after a few years, Machine Head, Hirax and Skinlab.
The main influence for Thrash among the British bands was Venom and Motorhead.
The definition of Thrash Metal by Jim, Metal guru from Ruthlessmetal:
“Palm-muting, down picking, double bass drumming, aggressive singing, no shouting, fast tempos, a basic not modern production.”
It is a brilliant definition in my opinion because Thrash Metal relies exclusively on the talent and skill of its musicians to play their instruments (guitar, bass and drums only) and does not require any other effects, support instruments or excessive shouting. Thrash is composed of complex musical arrangements yet there is simplicity in the style since there is nothing else apart from three instruments and vocals.
What I appreciate the most in Thrash metal is the paradox between simplicity and complexity, the attitude and engagement with reality, humanity, society matters and issues.
My favourite Thrash band is Megadeth even if they called their work “Speed Metal” to start, they are among the most important Thrash Metal bands called the “Four big of Thrash, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer”. Metallica produced the first entire Thrash album with “Kill’em all” with the participation of Dave Mustaine , he was still a Metallica member. When Mustaine left Metallica, he continued his work with Megadeth.The band Slayer perfected Thrash and are considered among Thrashers the ultimate, irrefutable “Thrash in the veins” band.
One of my favourite Thrash riffs that represent well the genre is Metallica “No Remorse” from the album “Kill them all” which is also the first album that is entirely Thrash Metal.
I am not a “real” Thrasher even if my heart belongs to Thrash Metal, I break regularly many of the “Rules of Thrash” like wearing makeup and tights (yes it applies to women), loving NU Metal, liking some Hair/Glam bands or “hating Grunge” which I can’t, even if I find most of the Grunge bands somewhat annoying.
I will leave you the link to Ruthlessmetal with the brilliant “100 rules of Thrash” by Jim.
If you are into Thrash you will either have a good laugh or find it irritating. I did date a “real Thrasher” and the article is hilarious as Thrashers do have a tendency of being “maniacs” and despite the joking tone, these rules are pretty real and accurate indeed.
I did have a great moment watching it and I hope you enjoy it too.
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“100 Rules of Thrash”
The Origins of Thrash
Like any other musical style, Thrash evolved gradually from the union of Heavy Metal, Hardcore Punk and from bands that played Speed Metal.
Thrash gets its attitude from Hardcore Punk and the music tempo from speed Metal and Heavy Metal bands like Venom, Exodus, Anvil.
If you are discovering Thrash Metal, here is a list of representative, fun songs that you might enjoy. Listen each one two or three times.
Tornado of souls, Megadeth.
Sepultura – Inner Self
Hit the lights, Metallica
Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh
Slayer, Reign in Blood, the entire album.