Cain Cressall of Malignant Monster: "I see thrash as a natural progression in extreme music"

Cain Cressall: He knows thrash...

It’s thirty years since thrash metal really established itself on the metal landscape, so we want to know your thoughts on this still-relevant genre – thanks for taking part! First question - the Big Four. Your thoughts? "I get the whole “Big Four” click, but as the genre has played such an important role forming my style and approach to writing, you’ll never catch me using the term. I find it kind of disrespectful to glorify these bands based on their commercial successes. Some other bands I would rank as highly (if not higher), in regards to creating innovative, unique, extreme, aggressive and influential thrash metal would have to include Overkill, Testament, Kreator, Sadus, Coroner, Sodom, Destruction, Dark Angel, Forbidden, Death Angel, etc, etc. The list goes on".

Indeed it does, and that is a nice mix you've got there. Which may well impact on your answer to this next question - what to you, is the quintessential sound of thrash? Does it come from the Bay Area, from Germany, or from somewhere else? "As a bi-product of influential 70s and 80s punk, rock, prog, metal and NWoBHM, I see thrash as a natural progression in extreme music, which was bound to come about one way or another. Each take on the style, by any of the aforementioned bands, have their own stand-out quirks and strengths that offered new dimensions to the genre. Thrash was a movement which took place all over the world, so It’s hard for me to say that one place gave birth to the quintessential sound".

Interesting thoughts. I guess the concept of a confluence of influence over a period of time makes sense. It didn't just happen overnight! Moving on - Five essential thrash albums – name them!  "SHIT! Ugh… OK, well the first to come into my head are: Kreator: Pleasure To Kill, The Years of Decay by Overkill, Annihilator's Alice In Hell, No More Colour - Coroner, Sadus: Chemical Exposure and Testament's Souls Of Black. Aagh, shit that’s six already... Fuck I hate questions like this! Damn you!"

Sorry! We'll do a non-list question next then -  Who are the best live thrash outfit of all time in your opinion? "Probably Kreator. Actually, Overkill. That’s a really hard call".

It is. Every time I ask myself the question I remember a different gig! And the worst for you? "It’d be a hard call between Slayer and Megadeth. I’ve only seen Slayer once and it was a show in Perth where they had a few technical hiccups and didn’t seem to be too interested to be playing at all. They played a lot of newer stuff which I don’t get much out of, and the older songs were only their tired “classics”. I still enjoy those songs, but can just as happily listen to them at home. I’ve heard so many live recordings and bad covers of those songs that they’re just not that exciting for me anymore. If they were to do a live set of lost gems, that would be something I’d kill to see. Megadeth, I’ve seen a few times, and have been blown away before, but the last time I saw them was like watching a bunch of bored dudes having a rehearsal".

What would you say are the key elements for writing a classic thrash tune? "Extreme aggression, adrenaline, dynamics and vicious, expressive, unique, memorable riffs. Individuality! If it sounds like something else, it’ll never be a classic".

Another list question I'm afraid.  Which musicians would make up your dream thrash outfit from the last 30 years?

Darren Travis – Vocals

Jeff Waters – Guitar

Alex Skolnick – Guitar

Steve Digiorgio – Bass

Gene Hoglan - Drums

Acouple of new names for our list there!  Finally, what do you think is the biggest gift given to heavy metal by thrash? "EXTREME AGGRESSION!"