Thrash metal is often regarded as the first form of extreme metal. It is generally characterised by its fast tempos, complexity and aggression. Thrash metal guitar playing is most notable for the “chugging” sound it creates through low-pitched palm muted riffs, and high-pitched shred guitar solos. Drummers often use double-kick and double-bass drumming. Vocals are most often shouted or sung in an aggressive manner.

Thrash metal evolved from speed metal and NWOBHM at the beginning of the 1980s, although Black Sabbath‘s 1975 song “Symptom of the Universe” is often regarded as the earliest example of a thrash metal riff, and “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen is an even earlier example. Bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth spearheaded thrash metal and are referred to as the genre’s “big four”, while on the European side Sodom, Kreator and Destruction form the so-called “Teutonic Thrash Triangle”.