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slackashi
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 124
Location: Norway
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:12 am 
 

This is something I've been wondering about for a while. I've noticed differences in the 2 genres, but never been able to put my finger on aything solid. I brought this up on the thrash metal tag page on last.fm, by mentioning that 80s Megadeth is closer to speed than thrash. People starting mouthing rather ridiculous stataments about speed metal not being a genre and other stuff I deemed silly.

So what are the main differences between speed metal and thrash metal, that help us tell them apart?

Discuss.

(I apologise if there's already a similar existing thread; I couldn't find anything using the search.)

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FasterDisaster
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Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:19 am 
 

Ah, the age old question.

Speed metal is a direct derivative of heavy metal and power metal. Riot, Agent Steel, Raven, early Running Wild, Scanner, Helloween, Paradox, Original Sin are all speed metal acts. It's usual elements are usually falsetto vocals, melodic and sometimes fast and/or technical riffing, and bombastic and anthematic choruses.

Thrash metal is a derivative of hardcore punk and speed metal (at least some is). Usually much faster, aggressive in nature and an emphasis on fast and simply choruses.

These terms can be confusing if you're relatively new to differentiating power, speed, thrash and heavy metal from each other. Speed metal doesn't really actually mean speed, per se, but what used when the music of heavy metal was getting a lot faster, though comparably to thrash, isn't all that fast.

This isn't a be all, end all, answer so anybody can feel free to correct me or add to what I've said already.
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ShoresOfLakeHuron
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:50 pm
Posts: 254
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:30 am 
 

The title of the thread is your answer.
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Karnstein_Records
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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 am
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:33 am 
 

Thrash compositions are based around thrash riffs, and there are usually quite a few tempo changes. Speed metal has a galloping feel, isn't as centered around riffs as thrash and doesn't mix the tempo up at much.
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ilovemycece8
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:00 pm
Posts: 33
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:37 am 
 

Speed metal has more Epic power and heavy metal feel to it.
Thrash metal feels a little bit more brutal, because its partially derived from hardcore punk.

Either way both are amazing.

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ENKC
Veteran

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:28 pm
Posts: 2687
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:04 am 
 

Albums like Painkiller and Thundersteel are considered the pinnacle of speed metal. No-one would accuse them of being thrash. In fact, the sound is remarkably different from thrash. Thrash typically has different vocal styles, different production, different guitar tuning and of course those distinctive 'chugging' riffs. That's a start.
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slackashi
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 124
Location: Norway
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 12:31 pm 
 

ShoresOfLakeHuron wrote:
The title of the thread is your answer.


What do you mean by that?

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Beli
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:33 am
Posts: 89
Location: Romania
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 12:33 pm 
 

I thought for a while that speed metal is simply faster heavy metal, like early Anthrax for example, while thrash bearing the thrashyness of hardcore punk but then I see bands like Exodus under the speed metal banner :0 ... so I have no idea and probably lots of people don't.

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Nyaricus
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:52 pm
Posts: 1240
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:16 pm 
 

FasterDisaster wrote:
Thrash metal is a derivative of hardcore punk and speed metal (at least some is). Usually much faster, aggressive in nature and an emphasis on fast and simply choruses.

Great response overall, but I would like to slightly nit-pick this point, as I am recalling something slightly different (and correct me if I'm wrong). Isn't the Bay Area thrash scene derived from a combination of them (being the members, or at that point, the future members of Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus and Slayer) seeing NWoBHM bands on tour + their local hardcore scene combined? Because at that point "speed metal" was not exactly a true genre by any stretch of the imagination.
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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:33 pm 
 

Nyaricus wrote:
FasterDisaster wrote:
Thrash metal is a derivative of hardcore punk and speed metal (at least some is). Usually much faster, aggressive in nature and an emphasis on fast and simply choruses.

Great response overall, but I would like to slightly nit-pick this point, as I am recalling something slightly different (and correct me if I'm wrong). Isn't the Bay Area thrash scene derived from a combination of them (being the members, or at that point, the future members of Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus and Slayer) seeing NWoBHM bands on tour + their local hardcore scene combined? Because at that point "speed metal" was not exactly a true genre by any stretch of the imagination.


Yes! You bring up a good point. I would say that maybe you're right, in the early days, around '82-'85, speed metal was not a huge influence to thrash overall. At that time, thrash was more influenced by the NWOBHM movement, so essentially a lot of heavy metal bands, and some acts, which would later go on to become speed metal-oriented. Raven and Accept come to mind as the ones who become a little more speed metal later on the late eighties. Hardcore punk was a big influence on some of these bands as well as Vio-Lence comes to mind as one of those. The New York/New Jersey acts such as Nuclear Assault, Whiplash and Anthrax took heavy borrowings from hardcore punk, Whiplash much less, their riffing reminds me a little more of heavy metal on crack.

EDIT: To continue this side conversation regarding the fruition of speed metal, I would say it was the late eighties when speed metal started to become its own genre. I know there's some huge names that released albums that I'm not really familiar with, but acts such as Riot, Attacker, Scanner and Running Wild were releasing pure speed metal albums by '88. Also, Original Sin, Exciter (debatable), Agent Steel, Paradox and Raven were releasing speed metal albums by the mid-to-late eighties - especially Agent Steel who released Skeptics Apocalypse in '85. And to bring further light, the almost invisible late eighties releases by Raven such as Life's A Bitch [1987] and Nothing Exceeds Like Excess! (1988) occurred in the late eighties, but have almost completely fallen off the radar in terms of popularity, (even though I think everything after Life's A Bitch destroys their earlier overly-dated early eighties material).
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slackashi
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 124
Location: Norway
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:55 pm 
 

Thanks for the detailed replies, guys; keep it up. :thumbsup:

Also, FasterDisaster, don't forget Walls of Jericho; that's definitely an album I would consider pure speed metal. Interestingly, it's not a late-80s release, but rather mid-80s ('85)

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Tantalus
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:18 pm
Posts: 1097
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 4:16 pm 
 

These points are somewhat extensions of earlier ones, but my $0.02: the way I always thought of it was that speed metal was musically very similar to ordinary pre-thrash metal (i.e. 'heavy metal'), but really, really fast (relatively speaking), whereas thrash took much of it's attitude (if not riffs) from UK and early US hardcore, and was distinguished from speed metal by a chunkier, more 'physical' sound.
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Karnstein_Records
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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 am
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Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:24 pm 
 

Tantalus wrote:
These points are somewhat extensions of earlier ones, but my $0.02: the way I always thought of it was that speed metal was musically very similar to ordinary pre-thrash metal (i.e. 'heavy metal'), but really, really fast (relatively speaking), whereas thrash took much of it's attitude (if not riffs) from UK and early US hardcore, and was distinguished from speed metal by a chunkier, more 'physical' sound.


In my earlier non-sensical ramblings I was basically trying to say this.
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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
Posts: 6341
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:28 pm 
 

The only problem with the both of your responses is they are overly generic and really confusing.

So, to reiterate:

FasterDisaster wrote:
Ah, the age old question.

Speed metal is a direct derivative of heavy metal and power metal. Riot, Agent Steel, Raven, early Running Wild, Scanner, Helloween, Paradox, Original Sin are all speed metal acts. It's usual elements are usually falsetto vocals, melodic and sometimes fast and/or technical riffing, and bombastic and anthematic choruses.

Thrash metal is a derivative of hardcore punk and speed metal (at least some is). Usually much faster, aggressive in nature and an emphasis on fast and simply choruses.

These terms can be confusing if you're relatively new to differentiating power, speed, thrash and heavy metal from each other. Speed metal doesn't really actually mean speed, per se, but what used when the music of heavy metal was getting a lot faster, though comparably to thrash, isn't all that fast.
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No way, that sounds great...especially the asparagus. Mmmm yes indeed.

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Nolan_B
In League With Nolan

Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 10:05 pm
Posts: 4365
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:40 pm 
 

Let me bring something to the table.

This is DLA's opinion, not mine.

Thrash music: DRI, Fearless Iranians from Hell, Cryptic Slaughter

Speed Metal: Slayer, Exodus, Dark Angel, Destruction

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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
Posts: 6341
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:42 pm 
 

Nolan_B wrote:
Let me bring something to the table.

This is DLA's opinion, not mine.

Thrash music: DRI, Fearless Iranians from Hell, Cryptic Slaughter

Speed Metal: Slayer, Exodus, Dark Angel, Destruction


Comic relief is always welcome in a thread. Thanks for that! :thumbsup:
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No way, that sounds great...especially the asparagus. Mmmm yes indeed.

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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1622
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:21 pm 
 

I would say the difference, besides the usual lower pitched vocals and bassier-sounding guitar tones (but not always, some thrash has higher pitched vocals) in thrash, the difference is in the riffs and especially how the riffs interact with the drumming.

I wouldn't say that speed metal is less punk influenced though, listen to the song "Running Wild" by Judas Priest, or "Hell Bent for Leather". In fact, that whole album sounds punk influenced, just that all the songs on it cannot be considered speed metal. I suppose the songs by Motörhead which are considered speed metal, for example "Overkill", "Ace of Spades" and so on could very well be influenced by punk.

Exciter sounds influenced by later punk bands though, as does Atomkraft.

I also think a lot of the punk stuff which sounds somewhat like metal (except it's usually very proto sounding: no double-bass drumming, short solos or no solos, very short songs) sounds more like speed metal, for example "No Return" by One Way System or "Mass Hysteria" by Social Distortion.

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Xeogred
Thunderbolt from Hell

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:28 pm
Posts: 6185
Location: Valhalla
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:26 pm 
 

Pretty much in agreement with a few others here, FasterDisaster, etc, and ...

Karnstein_Records wrote:
Thrash compositions are based around thrash riffs, and there are usually quite a few tempo changes. Speed metal has a galloping feel, isn't as centered around riffs as thrash and doesn't mix the tempo up at much.

This was nicely said. Just look a lot of mid-late 80's German releases for a great example of this, Helloween's WoJ, Blind Guardian's first two, early Running Wild, Iron Angel, etc, all usually fall under the speed metal flag and when you hear those releases, it's pretty easy to notice the riffs are quite fast but usually simplistic, catchy, without a whole lot of constant tempo changes, which is what most thrash is about.

Either way this is an argument I don't try to think much of thesedays. I've noticed a lot of classic thrash releases I enjoy tend to be ones that people have issues labeling, like Destructor's debut as an example. Is it traditional, speed, thrash? I just love the stuff that's all over the place.

I've always seen Satan's "Court in the Act" as a major prototype speed metal release, as most speed metal (maybe not so much with the old German stuff though?) definitely has many traces of NWOBHM influences (but then again, so does thrash I guess). Anyways, I'm sure this album influenced a lot of older bands that went in the power/speed direction.

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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1622
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:43 am 
 

Speed metal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI2WHB-g5E8

Thrash:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8dOl1yR ... re=related

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Vrede
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:07 pm
Posts: 752
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 6:09 am 
 

Speed Metal:
fast Heavy Metal, lots of parts played on higher guitar strings

Thrash Metal:
Heavy Metal (+Speed Metal) + Hardcore Punk, mostly focussed on lower guitar strings, features the "thrash beat"
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