What is thrash metal ?Thrash metal is not for those of a gentle disposition. Thrash metal is a mixture of animalistic raw aggression and high speed rapid guitar work, played extremely heavily and extremely loudly. Doom laden distorted riffs support apocalyptic raging vocals, backed up by drumming so fast and hard, that it barely seems humanly possible to achieve.
Thrash metal is not something you put on when your granny comes round for tea that's for sure.
Neither is it suitable for the beginner guitarist, thrash, like speed metal, is exceptionally advanced and challenging to play. To play thrash metal means you are an accomplished and dedicated musician, highly articulate in your field. Don't let all that madness and insanely behaviour put you off, these guys are professionals.
The origins of thrash can, like most metal, be traced back to Black Sabbath, in particular the track "Paranoid". Although this is an early embryonic form of thrash and doesn't come close to the sheer power and aggression of thrash played by the likes of Anthrax and early Metallica, the galloping nature of this classic track embodies the genres foundation.
But for me no band incorporates thrash like that of Slayer. Listen to "Raining Blood" or "War Ensamble" and you will be under no illusions as to the power and force of thrash music. Every time I play "Raining Blood" I swear that my heart tries to burst from my chest as I try to keep up with the rapid guitar and the pounding bass. This sounds corny, but it is true. The track only lasts for little over two minutes, but at the end of it you are exhausted by the unbelievable tempo of the riffs and sheer energy of the song. Go listen.
Though surely the most well known band in this arena are Metallica. Their debut album Kill Em All, is pure thrash through and through, although later albums are its superior, this album is a good place to start if your thinking of travelling on the road of thrash metal. Metallica's late bass guitarist Cliff Burton is widely regarded as one of the finest bass players in this genre or any genre for that matter, and it is worth checking out to hear his inspiration bass alone.
Though the likes of Metallica and Slayer didn't appear on the scene over night. Bands like Motorhead, Judas Priest and Venom were early precursors to the genre and need to be investigated strongly for any budding thrash pupil. Indeed there are hundreds of insane thrash metal bands out there, blowing away listeners with their cyclone of thrash, the fun is in discovering them.
Like any fan of Heavy metal there is a strong element of rebellion attached to it, but with thrash this seems intensified by its concentrated energy and all out mayhem. Vocally there are very few love songs in their ranks, or sweet smiling melodies (ok there are none). It is out and out death and slaughter.
Of course thrash music is something that you instantly take to, or you instantly reject. You are either a thrash person or not. It is true that thrash metal was at its most prominent in the 1980's, but many of today's metal acts incorporate thrash into their music, such is its importance. Of course many thrash bands from the 80's are still going strong and touring frequently.
So if Megadeath or Motorhead should pop into your town, why not pay them a visit? After all, for the true metal experience, seeing such bands live is the only way to fully appreciate them, it certainly won't be an experience you will ever likely to forget.
Written by John Gray