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Thrash Metal

In 1981, Southern California, James Hetfield met Lars Ulrich and formed, alongside guitarist Dave Mustaine who upon later leaving the band would form Megadeth, Metallica. Also in Southern California that same year, with a similar musical vision but a much greater emphasis on the occult and sataism, Slayer was founded by Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Over on the East Coast, Scott Ian and Dan Lilker formed Anthrax and these four bands would go on to be known as the ‘Big Four’. These bands were instrumental in cementing thrash as metal’s most popular ‘extreme’ subgenre with Metallica being one of the best-selling artists to date and they were also the first band to play on all seven continents. 

Taking influence from the energy and speed of NWOBHM, these bands upped the aggression in every way to form thrash metal, one of the earliest extreme metal subgenres. Songs are typically at a very fast tempo with complex, aggressively picked and palm-muted guitar riffs, and chaotic shred guitar solos. The vocals cover dark subject matter such as death, torture and war and are delivered in a harsher, shouting tone. The drum parts are also more aggressive and utilise double bass.

Notable artists:

Metallica

Megadeth

Slayer

Anthrax

Testament

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