Six Key Ingredients For A Great Thrash Song, by Warfect’s Fredrik Wester

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On their new album Spectre of Devastation, Swedish three-piece Warfect deliver a spirited thrash attack that’ll give fans of all things fast and destructive reason to rejoice. With tight riffs, thunderous percussion, and harsh, Teutonic-style vocals, the band create the kind of thrash that sounds both in touch with the genre’s history and contemporary in its incorporation of extreme metal’s influence. Not only that, but there’s a solid level of speed-metal songwriting here, illustrating how much the dudes from Warfect respect their craft and the prowess of their predecessors.

Enthralled by Warfect’s dedication to their subgenre of choice, we asked frontman Fredrik Wester to give us his advice on which key ingredients make an awesome thrash metal track. Here’s the neck-damaging curriculum he came back to us with…

1) Come in hard

“One good way to start a song is by delivering a huge fist in the face by presenting a fast main riff together with some choked cymbals and breaks. Think Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’ — starting with a single guitar riff and exploding into a fast part with high pitched scream and fast double kicks on the drums. Another way to go is having a clean guitar intro. It’s a great way to introduce a more atmospheric feel. Metallica’s ‘Battery’ would be a good example of that — a clean melody that opens up into massive distorted guitars with thundering toms and beautifully layered harmonies.”

2) Build tension, then release

“Going into the main riff or the verse, a great riff deserves to be heard on its own. The song ‘Blacklist’ by Exodus is a good example, and ‘Executioner’s Tax’ by Power Trip. The build up is perfect in those two songs. Both songs introduce great main riffs. Simple but effective. Palm muted guitars playing a lot of downstroke-based riffs and drums that just keep the flow going without doing a lot of crazy stuff. It’s almost impossible to listen to this without headbanging.

“But on the other hand, if you get the vocals going early, you’ll get that heart rate boost effect. You know that feeling when the right foot drops to the floor by instinct when driving while listening. Listen to Kreator’s ‘Pleasure to Kill,’ for example. They use the main riff as a verse just presenting the song and after a few beats they start spitting out the vocals raw and fast.”

3) Fast and hard on the chorus

“Arriving at the chorus, I love a good old Sodom chorus, like ‘Code Red’ or ‘Persecution Mania.’ Straight on brutal.”

4) A solo that flows with the song

“Moving on, a fast melodic or screaming guitar solo is also a nice addition to a great song. Evile’s ‘Thrasher,’ for example — it bursts out two speedy yet melodic solos on this modern classic. This gives you as a listener a new element to focus on but it still keeps the engine going full throttle.”

5) A mid-song break only adds to the power

“Doing a mid-song break would spice things up. Preferably with a tempo change. Listen to Sepultura’s ‘Troops of Doom’ — a fast and flowing riff going into an atmospheric guitar break in a slower tempo. After a drumroll, it goes into a skull crushing mosh-pit riff.”

6) Hire Rob Halford

“One last safe way to ensure that the song you write will be perfect is to try to get Rob Halford to sing on it.”

Warfect’s Spectre of Devastation is out now on Napalm Records.


Words by Chris Krovatin