Thrash combined the short, fast songs of hardcore punk bands with the more structured, architected and melodic aspects of metal riffing. Deriving its name from the skaters who listened to it, called “thrashers,” thrash was a true crossover genre in that it was not purely metal and not purely punk, which both caused it trouble finding an initial audience and made it almost universally accessible. Its songs, often under thirty seconds, blasted away at society not so much from ideological principles but to mock and criticize the end result of ideology, which was a numb utilitarian society oblivious to the passage of time or the possibility of meaning to human existence.
After hardcore made music harder and faster, speed metal upgraded heavy metal by mixing hardcore speed and aggression with the architectural riffs of NWOBHM, and downgraded the reliance on pentatonic scales in favor of minor-key complex riffing. The technique that defines speed metal is the muted strum, where the palm of the strumming hands rests on the strings, making a short percussive blast of distortion instead of a ringing chord. As a result, speed metal sounded like the machines of the 1980s: blasting like factories, rattling like tank treads and chattering like computers and their printers.
A further evolution of the sound hardcore punk created and thrash developed, grindcore slams together abrasive riffs in order to achieve a release from intensity at the end of each song. Its name comes from that grinding, caused by fast alternation between chromatic notes and the contrast with rigid whole note patterns that lift the listener up from the directionless thrashing. Where purest, grindcore celebrates individual life and rejects social mores by reminding us that we are mortal, frail and the clock is ticking, so we need to cast aside the pointless and frustrating (grinding) in life and replace it with open spaces of our own imaginations.
Death metal uses tremolo strummed power chords in phrasal riffs, creating an internal dialogue of melody to project a narrative which takes us from a starting point through internal conflict to an ending radically removed from the start. This often complex music relies heavily on chromatic scales and solos that resemble sonic sculpture more than a reliance on scales or harmony, and use “modal stripes” or repeated interval patterns (such as a half interval followed by a whole) to maintain a mood. Inherently structuralist, death metal can be recognized by its “post-human” perspective, seeing the world through biology, history, warfare and mythology instead of the “I/me/mine” viewpoint of a modern society.
2. Deicide – Legion
3. Morbid Angel – Blessed Are the Sick
4. Therion – Beyond Sanctorum
5. Sepultura – Morbid Visions
6. Incantation – Onward to Golgotha
7. Morpheus Descends – Ritual of Infinity
8. Necrophobic – The Nocturnal Silence
9. Obituary – Cause of Death
10. Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten
11. Atheist – Unquestionable Presence
12. Dismember – Like an Ever-Flowing Stream
13. Amorphis – The Karelian Isthmus
14. At the Gates – The Red in the Sky is Ours
15. Demilich – Nespithe
16. Asphyx – The Rack
Projections of a Stained Mind (C.B.R. Records)
Harmony Dies Vol. 1 (Slayer Magazine)
Pantalgia (MBR Records)
Live Death: Vol 1 (Restless)
Sampler Volume I (JL America)
Deterioration of the Senses (Morbid Metal)
Book I: Induction (Hits Underground)
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Black metal took the lawless extremity of death metal and added a greater use of melody, creating swelling surges of sound that sweep the listener away with raw emotion and then arrive in a wasteland devoid of inherent value. Songs fashioned from primitive elements end up telling complex tales, embarking on a journey where the greatest human fears — meaninglessness, predation and violence — end up being salvation from the frustrating world of entropy-bound stagnation. Thematically black metal represents an assault on the pillars of modernity, namely egalitarianism, consumerism and tolerance.
1. Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
2. Immortal – Pure Holocaust
3. Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse
4. Darkthrone – Transylvanian Hunger
5. Graveland – The Celtic Winter
6. Bathory – Blood, Fire, Death
7. Ildjarn – Det Frysende Nordariket
8. Summoning – Dol Guldur
9. Gorgoroth – Antichrist
10. Beherit – Electric Doom Synthesis
11. Enslaved – Vikinglgr Veldi
12. Havohej – Dethrone the Son of God
13. Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
14. Sacramentum – Far Away From the Sun
15. Mutiilation – Remains of a Dead, Ruined, Cursed Soul
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Heavy metal started when Black Sabbath merged heavy guitar rock with the soundtracks from horror films. They did they by exclusively using power chords, which because they do not contain the notes that mark them as major or minor chords, lend themselves to moving in streams, like a melody played in chords. The result is that Black Sabbath structured their songs around the interplay of these melodies, instead of focusing on a transition between points of fixed harmony like rock music, and invented a new style of music that took nearly thirty years to grow into the musical ideal first suggested back in 1970. Lyrically, Black Sabbath rejected the flower love delusion of the hippies and replaced it with hard knowledge: the obliviousness of individuals creates a mythological form of evil that manipulates and destroys us.