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A Beginner's Guide to Heavy Metal #3 - Thrash

Updated on December 29, 2013

Metal Thrashing Mad

As the new wave of British heavy metal began to dissipate at a sadly young age, just like what had happened with them, a whole new crop of young angry metal head sprung up to raise the bar this time on the other side of the Atlantic. A young Danish boy by the name of Lars Ulrich who had moved to California with his family, had already cultivated a taste for the new heavy metal scene rising out of England and had decided to form a band. At around the same time, California born Dave Mustaine was getting exposed to the bands of the NWOBHM and beginning to form his own high speed madness. Add to this all of the people getting exposed to England's metal through various flea markets and import record stores, and soon enough bands adding their own spin on it were popping up all over the place, taking it to faster, louder and even more aggressive heights. This brand of metal is what we now know as thrash.



Acrassicauda - Only The Dead See The End of the War

When most of us think of thrash, our minds go to the bay area thrash scene. But it has lived far longer than that and stretched far beyond our borders. In enters Acrassicauda, the first ever heavy metal band to come out of Iraq. This EP is the only recording of theirs available at this time but it packs some of the heaviest most pure thrash you will ever hear into those four songs. I also highly recommend checking out the documentary that was made about them "Heavy Metal in Baghdad".



Evile - Infected Nations

Another newer thrash band from overseas, here we have English thrash metallers Evile, who luckily for all you old school thrash fans sound more like the original thrash guys than a lot of the original ones even do now. There is also a single they recorded of a cover of Pantera's "Cemetery Gates" which is unbelievable.

Want To Check It Out?



Nasty Savage - Indulgence

A Florida thrash metal band that became infamous for their outrageously chaotic live shows as well the crushing speed with which they delivered their sound, Nasty Savage perfectly showed that thrash was indeed spreading everywhere. Many point to their self titled debut as the best example of their work, but I think this one does a much better job of showing just how good they were (Nasty Savage would also prove to be instrumental in the development of the Florida death metal scene but we will discuss that later).



Overkill - The Years of Decay

Representing the side of New Jersey we all actually like seeing and featuring one of the most unique and most distinctive voices in thrash, "Years of Decay" is one of the finest slices of east coast metal you will find. A lot of people feel that if the big four of thrash were to be updated to the big five, these are the guys who should be in. I don't agree with that, but this album definitely makes a good case for it.

Want To Check It Out?



Testament - Practice What You Preach

If any of you were wondering what band I would pick to be the fifth member of the big five, this is it. And surprisingly, to myself as well, this was the band I had the most trouble selecting which album to recommend. I love Testament, they have so many great albums, but in the end I had to go with this one. It is a roaring masterpiece with some of the most incredible guitar work to come out of the thrash movement and put guitarist Alex Skolnick on the map as one of the fastest guitarists in the world.

Want To Check It Out?



Exodus - Bonded by Blood

I came very close to putting Exodus as my pick for the fifth member of the big five based on the strength of this album alone. In the end though, Exodus has had quite a few albums that frankly were not up to par, some of them even downright angering me (*cough* "Let There Be Blood" *cough*). But this album is truly a masterpiece. The ultimate soundtrack for the angriest mosh pit you will ever experience.

Want To Check It Out?



Slayer - Reign in Blood

As I am writing this, I had just heard that Jeff Hanneman, one of the mind blowing guitarists and song writers who has been with Slayer since the beginning, passed away the morning of the day I sat down to write this. I would like to say that I was deeply saddened to hear this, as it will come as no surprise to anyone reading my articles thus far that I am a huge Slayer fan, and I send all of my best wishes to his family and band mates. But more than that, I must thank him for being a part of this absolute epic. If anyone wants to hear what made Jeff Hanneman so great, look no further. An inspiration to both the black and death metal movements to come, this album will forever stand as the ultimate testament to the unrelenting brutality that is Slayer.

Want To Check It Out?



Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

Megadeth is my favorite thrash band. I'll just say it right now. Dave Mustaine seems to be going out of his way to make himself look like a Ted Nugent level jerk (no disrespect to Nugent's music, I'm a big fan of his work too), but he has, in my opinion, managed to crank out an astounding level of unbelievably high quality metal, and if you wish to hear Megadeth and their angriest, fastest, and most technically proficient all in one, this is the one for you. Plus the cover is just awesome.



Anthrax - Fistful of Metal

The east coast's ultimate offering to the thrash melting pot, New York's Anthrax have been one of the most innovative bands on the face of the Earth since their inception, even eventually creating rap metal. This album however, is my favorite. If someone were to ask me to pick one song that perfectly defines everything that is thrash, my answer without a doubt would be this album's opening track "Deathrider". Just make sure your not too squeamish for the album cover.



Metallica - Ride The Lightning

It's not their most successful, but it has been my favorite since the day I bought on a whim, and I think it is the most ground breaking. It catches Metallica at the perfect point in between the pure thrashed out bludgeoning that was their debut album and the progressive nature their music would eventually take (for better or for worse you'll have to decide for yourself). Anthrax's "Deathrider" may be the ultimate thrash song, but this is the ultimate thrash album. Fast enough and loud enough for the most die hard metal head, but diverse and technically intricate enough for most general music fans to appreciate as well, if you like this one, chances are you'll like the rest.

And Justice For All

As always I hope you enjoyed and even more I hope you found something out of this to check out.


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