Metal Mofos = Metal Hacks
Updated: Jul 31
I came across an INCREDIBLY REVISIONIST version of the history of Thrash Metal. The hacks at Metal Mofos rolled out with this terribly bad take:
"The whole "Big Four" thing has always been a sham. It should really be "The Big One" the two others, and the band that doesn't even belong on the list at all. Let's talk some truth here for a minute. None of these three bands could ever touch Metallica when it comes to influence and success. Not only have they sold more records than all other three bands combined, there could also never be a justifiable scenario where any of the three other bands could headline a show with Metallica on the same bill. Plus the four classic records that basically became the blueprint for what we know now as Thrash. That being said Slayer and Megadeth are also no joke. Even though is hard to truly think of Megadeth as a band, since it's really the Dave Mustaine show. Still it's impressive that they have sold of 50 million records worldwide, and had back to back classic records also. Both Rust In Peace , and Slayer's Reign In Blood are just as good as any Metallica album. Slayer also has had an amazing run, back to back classic records all through the 1980s. You can never disrespect the original lineup of this band. And then there's Anthrax. What in the hell are they doing on this list ? One of the most coddled and overrated bands of any genre. The other three bands had a huge impact on Metal. Even if Anthrax never existed Metal and Thrash still would've taken the same course. They have never proven they could make back to back classic records. Even after "Among The Living" they couldn't keep the momentum going. They have NEVER taken the lead in Metal like the other three bands, and even Pantera to help carry the torch. They have rode on the backs of the other three bands, and Pantera too. Bands like Exodus, Testament, and if they were still together, Pantera are much more worthy of the fourth spot. Metallica's worst selling album has sold more copies than the whole Anthrax Discography combined. Seriously enough with "The Big Four" bullshit already.
In the late 1980's, my favorite radio station was Z-Rock. They were a nationally syndicated network that played all types of metal and some edgier classic rock. Z-Rocks' formation was spurred almost exclusively by the successes of the Big Four. In my book, the 2 best thrash bands were Anthrax and Metallica.
The Big Four is clearly, and unequivocally, defined as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. Period.
But let me ramble on. Between 1985 and 1990, those 4 bands redefined metal. Every YOUNG metal fan's favorite band, at the time, was one of those 4. If there was a Big 5, absolutely, Exodus would be clearly, and unequivocally, number 5. I saw Exodus in concert in 1989 and they were great. Some fans gravitated toward Metallica, they set the template of the genre. Some fans gravitated to Slayer, they were the heaviest and most evil of the four. Some fans gravitated to Megadeth, drawn to their deeper lyrics and guitar work. Some fans were drawn to the energy and fun (by metal standards) of Anthrax.
Back in 1990, there was zero debate over the bands in the Big Four. ZERO.
What happened is between 1990 and today is a bunch of younger metal fans started to chirp that Anthrax wasn't Metal enough, they didn't like I'm the Man or Bring the Noise. State of Euphoria is too uneven, they whined. You know what else is uneven? Almost every Megadeth album. The Big Four is not a living breathing thing, it was a beast of its own making for a very specific 5 year time period:
In 1991, Metallica stopped being a Great Thrash Band and became an Average Rock Band.
1996's Bleeding Me is one of the greatest songs ever recorded. What it isn't, is thrash.
In 1993, Anthrax stopped being a Great Thrash Band and became a Very Good Metal Band. Few appreciate John Bush's fine contributions to the Metal cause. In 2013, Anthrax forgot they were Anthrax and began to suck.
In 1994, according to Metal Hammer Magazine, Youthanasia happened.
In 1998, according to almost every Slayer fan that has ever existed, Diabolas in Musica happened. Google Worst Slayer album and Diabolas in Musica comes up every single time.
Kerry King - Wait, what?
The point is, by the turn of the millennium, every single one of those bands had lost their way and were competing against the youthful versions of themselves. You can't come in 30 years after the fact and say Testament was one of the Big Four. They weren't. You can't substitute in Pantera, they were great too late. You can't say Kreator...
No, no, no, you can't say Kreator...
A few years back, I wrote an article titled Anthrax v Metallica and my arguments are as dated today as they were then, but I didn't decide to re-ignite a an already settled part of musically history by debating Metallica v Overkill to generate clicks. Again, debating the Big Four today is like debating who was in the British Invasion in the 60's. If you lived it, you knew who the Big Four were. If you were a teen in a Z Rock t-shirt, you knew. You can't say Anthrax weren't one of the Big Four because they were the definition of the Big Four.
I can say I like Municipal Waste better than I like Megadeth, but that doesn't make them one of the Big Four either.
Metal Mofos reeks of a fanpage that bought thousands of followers.
Addendum 1 Day Later: I don't know why I keep coming back to this article, it should have been a throwaway. I want to isolate on one small part of that quote.
If Anthrax never existed Metal and Thrash still would've taken the same course.
Every genre has an origin. If Anthrax never existed, Thrash would have still existed, but I'm the Man was the catalyst for Nu Metal.
No Anthrax = No Nu Metal