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Aside from Sabbath, Maiden and Priest, is "heavy metal" worth a shit?

Manowar's first four.  Definitely worth it.  Hail to England gets my blood boiling every time.

Kill with power!

DIE, DIE!

I rarely listen to Sabbath, Maiden and Priest any more.

Whilst they have some excellent material scattered amongst their extensive back catalogues, most of it is either jaded by regression into rock technique, attitude and composition

Uh... There wasn't exactly something past rock technique that they could have regressed from at that time...
You misunderstand. What I am saying is that in some compositions they evolve beyond rock technique, then in others they go straight back to it (regression).

NHA

Did Thrash cause a huge demographic shift in metal listeners? Why should they care about about pre speed metal genres?

Sure you can cherry pick some bands that have a similar approach but 90% of the bands seem useless. Of course the majority of bands in any given genre are pretty terrible anyway so I guess that doesn't count.