Thrash Metal

James Hetfield, Metallica
Thrash Metal is aggressive, guitar-driven heavy metal music that developed in the early 80s under the direct influence of earlier British metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Motorhead. The genre melded the punk ethos with metal brutality.

Thrash metal vocals are always aggressive and often angry, but without the growls and shrieks of most black metal and death metal, both of which are direct descendants of thrash. The lyrics tend toward themes of alienation, anger, and the evils of society and government, peppered with violence and bravado.

The 1983 release of Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" and Slayer's "Show No Mercy" is generally regarded as the beginning of thrash metal, and Metallica's 1986 album "Master of Puppets" was the first thrash metal album to garner acclaim from mainstream critics and find widespread commercial success.

In addition to Metallica and Slayer, fellow Californians Megadeth were instrumental in creating thrash metal's signature sound. Across the country, in New York City, the band Anthrax was also helping define the genre, complete with furiously fast guitar solos and double-bass drumming.

Slayer is the most extreme of the "big four" thrash bands, both lyrically and musically. They take violent imagery and Satanic overtones to a higher level than most others.

Metallica in Sweden
Metallica is noted for the technical proficiency of its members and the lyrics of lead singer James Hetfield, whose songs tend to delve a bit deeper into the human psyche than those of his thrash metal peers. The band has been accused of selling out since their eponymous 1991 album - better known as "The Black Album" - sold millions of copies following the wild popularity of singles like "Enter Sandman" and "Nothing Else Matters".

Other notable thrash metal bands include Exodus, Testament, Stormtroopers of Death and Brazilian band Sepultura.