- Torfinn Sirnes
Heavy metal developped into different subgenres in the 1980's and in contrast to the highly succesful and controversial glam metal, several of these genres were more extreme forms of metal. The most popular of them was the fast and furious thrash metal!
At about the same time as the colorful and commercial glam metal genre ruled Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and was about to take over the world a more extreme metal genre had developped in another Californian city: San Franscisco.
And while glam metal made heavy metal more commercial and accepteble for a wider audience thrash metal fronted an alternative and more extreme muscial direction. With its fast tempos, head wrecking guitar riffs, aggressive vocals and socially critical lyrics great thrash metal bands like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth got increasingly popular.
Many other thrash metal bands, like Anthrax, Exodus, Testament and Sepultura, were also signed to major labels and was succesful at the turn of the decade. Thrash metal was giving voice to a new generation of rebelious youth that distanced themselves from the mainstream.
A major shift however came with Metallica's enormously succesfull but still controversial self titled "Black Album" in 1991. On this album the band changed it's sound dramatically from the previous albums into a more commercial and straight forward direction. The album signaled a change for the genre. At about the same time the music business was overthrown by angst-filled and introspective new grunge music from Seattle. Thrash metal was thus given the same faith as it's more popular and commercial glam cousin - it vanished. Metallica hold it's ground in the new music world but the original well of thrash metal had run dry.
The influence of thrash metal, however, was nothing but enormous. The success of the genre showed there was a strong commercial potential in the more extreme styles of metal and it strongly inspired many other genres and great bands.
"Show No Mercy! Kill 'Em All!"
Check out 66 thrash metal classics in the playlist below: