Faster, tighter and more abrasive than traditional heavy metal, speed metal was inspired by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Bands and pioneered by the likes of Metallica and Anthrax in the USA.
Speed metal maintained the volume and distortion of '70s heavy metal but took on the emphatic rhythms of hardcore and punk. Key to the speed metal sound is a high level of technical skill, allowing for some seriously punishing riffage. Fancy yourself as a speed-metaller? Make sure you can downpick at 230bpm!
Speed metal rapidly became virtually indistinguishable from thrash, which saw a (slight) softening of the rules on tempo and swing, but no such let-up when it came to volume and precision.
Key band: Motörhead
The band that put the speed into speed metal. Rapid-fire bass and blazing guitars made Motörhead an influence to thousands of speed metal musicians from the late '70s right through to the present day.
Key album: Anthrax - Among the Living (1987)
Socially aware, dark and ferociously fast, Among The Living is everything speed metal should be.
More like a lesson in shredding from guitarist Gary Holt.
- Thrash - Speed - Death - Metal -