Speed Metal

(See also) heavy metal, progressive rock, hardcore punk ,doom metal, thrash, grindcore

Speed metalSpeed metal is a small subset of the heavy metal movement and even rabid hardcore fans can't always agree on which bands fit in this category. It is very similar to thrash metal but combines more progressive rock elements with lyrical elements of apocalyptic fears and collective oppression. One thing that most agree on is that the genre is defined by blistering guitar speed, progressive rock arrangements, twisted song structures, extremely difficult guitar solos and anti social lyrics. Combining elements of extreme hardcore punk and traditional heavy metal, speed metal was a big influence on the doom metal thrash, progressive metal, and grindcore movements.

Speed metal used muted droning guitar riffs with rapidly alternating rhythms and dramatic subjects like pollution, war, nuclear weapons, and corporate greed. Vocals were sung in a deep growling voice or shouted in powerful burst similar to hardcore punk. While this music was highly complex and often inventive in structure, it remained roughly within the confines of rock-based mainstream music and passed its technique on to the underground thrash metal and grindcore to follow.

Three acts seem to come up often in the discussion of speed metal; Metallica, Megadeth, and Exodus. Metallica's album kill them all was a definite influence on the movement and is arguably the first speed metal album. Metallica's groundbreaking Master of Puppets mixed the progressive rock with antisocial and vicious hardcore punk to create a huge ripple in the rock genre spawning many other speed metal bands.

Megadeth was started by original Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine who's dark guitar riffs elaborate thrash structures, and droning open chord combined with dark but intelligently written lyrics on subjects like war, and nuclear assault, hit the scene like an atom bomb when they released their epic Peace sells in 86.

Exodus burst on to the scene in 85 with their debut release Bonded by Blood which was very definitive of the genre and got great critical acclaim before being overshadowed by Metallica. Eventually guitarist Kirt Hammet joined Metallica and the stage was set for speed metal to break through to the mainstream.

Other bands of interest are Prong, Voivod, Nuclear Assault and many others who defined the genre and were a tremendous influence on the future of genres like thrash metal and grindcore.

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