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Speed Metal is, according to some Metalheads, the forerunner of what is now known as Thrash Metal, Groove Metal, Death Metal and Black Metal. In short, this is what happens when you take the sounds of the NWOBHM (Iron Maiden, etc) and use some Hardcore Punk influences to speed it Up to Eleven, Speed Metal is fast, not as fast as his more brutal succesors, but certainly fast enough to inspire the other subgenres...
The first band known to play Speed Metal is the famous Motorhead with hits such as "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill". Another known Speed Metal band is the infamous Venom, whose blatantly satanic themes and Darker and Edgier atmosphere eventually started the first Wave of Black Metal (Essentially Speed Metal or Thrash Metal with some elements of what the genre would later become). Then, we have Helloween, whose more melodic approach eventually gave rise to european Power Metal. Arguably, Judas Priest would also be a part of this movement, if the album Painkiller is anything to go by.
Although many tend to equate Speed Metal to the more agressive Thrash Metal, there is a distinct difference between them. In his book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, Ian Christe states that "...thrash metal relies more on long, wrenching rhythmic breaks, while speed metal... is a cleaner and more musically intricate subcategory, still loyal to the dueling melodies of classic metal."
Some bands usually included in the genre:
- Anthrax (Turned into Thrash Metal by the third album)
- Early Armored Saint
- Axel Rudi Pell (Their heavier material falls under this)
- Anvil (Eventually derives into Power Metal)
- Blind Guardian (Early albums, later turned into Power Metal)
- Grave Digger (Also becomes Power Metal)
- Helloween (Eventually became Trope Maker of European Power Metal)
- Judas Priest
- Metalucifer (Before you get the wrong idea, they're Japanese.)
- Running Wild
- Venom (Later formed part of the first wave of Black Metal)