Sunday Sesh: We Need a New Big Four. Here’s How We’ll Do It

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Before you fly straight to the comments and flense me for such an idea, let’s talk.

I’m not one to turn down a good flensing, though, so we’ll get to that later. In the meantime, let’s recognize that this isn’t new talk by any means. At various times the talk was all about the “Big Five,” with Exodus completing the lineup. Others say that yes, it is the Big Five, but Testament is the fifth band. Not to mention every Big Four band is, by now, pretty evenly split on duds and hits in their discography. Slayer and Anthrax have at least kinda held on to some sort of unfocused and geriatric aggression, likely due to that pesky gout and how Ensure has really gone downhill in flavor lately. Metallica hasn’t been a metal band, or even an interesting band, in thirty years, and Megadeth will never, ever escape the shame of Supercollider. Or Risk. Or The World Needs A Hero. Or Thirteen. I could go on.

So we’re in a state of crisis here, and if there’s anything I’ve learned in frequenting metal blogs, it’s that you should make a lot of rash claims and propose the perfect solution so no one can agree with it. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from living in the land of the got dang free and the brave, it’s that democracy is the only answer, especially when haphazardly forced on something. And is with that American spirit I propose an international election system, complete with primaries and caucuses, to select new Big Four bands every four years. Guys, this is brilliant. I’m getting goosebumps typing this right now from how brilliant this is. Thrash metal is about to get so liberated. Here are a few rules:

  • Bands must be Certified Thrash™ in order to run, as determined by the Thrash Advisory Board. Our own Simon Phoenix and Boss the Ross will likely have important chairs on the TAB. All matters of crossover/genre blending will defer to the TAB.
  • The election cycle will last one year. All bands wishing to run must release an album within that year, the album may have no more than one cover song on it, and the album must totally rule.
  • If elected to the Big Four, each band must release an album within their four-year term. The album may not have any cover songs on it, and the album must totally rule harder than their album from the election cycle.
  • If the term album is deemed to not totally rule as hard as the election album, impeachment procedures may begin at the discretion of the Thrash Advisory Board.
  • No Big Four band may release more than two albums during a single term. If a band plans to run again, they must do a second album during the last year of their term, which is the election cycle year. The album must totally rule, but is acceptable if it does not totally rule as hard as their term album, as it is technically the next term’s election album. If a band releases a second album in their term but does not plan on running again, the album must totally rule as hard or harder than their previous term album.
  • If a band is impeached due to an album not sufficiently ruling, or breaks up for a reason unsanctioned by the TAB, the band and its members will be forever deemed gigantic posers.
  • Bands will be term-limited to two (2) terms, consecutive or non-consecutive.
  • The current Big Four must retire, effective immediately. Subsequently elected Big Four bands may remain active after their elected term(s) for as long as they can put out albums that totally rule.
  • During their term, each band must complete two absolutely gnarly world tours on their own, plus an additional Big Four world tour.
  • Women are highly encouraged to be involved in any way. Please. It’s been nothing but washed up dads for way too long.
  • Pending the unbelievable success of this idea, the election format will spread to other genres to elect their own Big Four.

It’s time we took back the power. It’s time we stopped living under this oligarchy. Rise and vote, and also fight me in the comments.

(Image VIA)

  • Lacertilian

    I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE RULES BUT IF RIPPER ISN’T VOTED IN I’M MOVING TO NEW ZEALAND.

  • Butts4Gutts

    Voting for Vektor is like voting for Trump.

    • Eliza

      How?

      • Butts4Gutts

        Because I fucking said so.

        • Eliza

          Ok then. I guess you don’t like Vektor.

          • Butts4Gutts

            Thank you making thrash great again.

    • Dubby Fresh

      *casts protest vote for Vektor

  • Eliza

    Power Trip, I guess. I like this album very very much.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPwPwSQE9bs

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Aside from Vektor (I couldn’t possibly be more pedestrian, I know) there aren’t too many modern post-2000’s thrash bands that are doing it for me.
    One American thrash band that has been around for a long time, but that in my opinion started releasing their strongest stuff in the 2000’s would be Deceased.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqkxyz7AgT8

    • Eliza

      I feel the same way about modern thrash. Bands that play in an old school style are great and all, but I find simply listening to the old school stuff easier.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Especially considering there’s a lot of 80’s and 90’s thrash classics that got overlooked and aside from the (substantial but still) cult following they have, they are rarely discussed anymore. Outside of the Big 4, bands like Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Overkill, Sepultura, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction all got their due and Voivod experienced a revival of interest. Yet there’s also bands that – despite of course being not completely obscure at all – released classic thrash albums yet remain unnoticed by the “bigger” audience; for instance Coroner, Anacrusis, Aspid, Morbid Saint, Demolition Hammer, Vio-lence, Sadus, Heathen, Forbidden, Razor, Sabbat, Onslaught, Slaughter, Infernal Majesty, Deathrow, Merciless and Holy Terror.
        I’ve been jamming this album a lot recently and it’s still a reasonably original sounding ripper.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVQ-Yz-5zTE

        • Eliza

          I heard of and listened to Morbid Saint, Vio-lence and Razor, too, I think, but I still have a lot to check out. Oh, and Voivod is awesome. Just wanted to throw that out there.

        • GoatForest

          Merciless is really good and way underrated.

    • GoatForest

      I think Possessed is rumored to be doing something lately…

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Yeah they’re working on a new one. I don’t think it’s gonna be a classic like Seven Churches was, but you never know…
        Jeff Becerra has been through rough times so it’s cool he got to work on new music again.

        • more beer

          It is good seeing him making new music. Saying he has been through some shit is an understatement. I am lucky enough to be able to consider him a friend. He is one of the nicest most gracious guys ever. I don’t think anything will top Seven Churches but I do think they are going to release a damn good album.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I don’t think anyone could hold the fact that it won’t be Seven Churches against the band. Recordings like that can only be captured once.

          • Max

            Wow, you know him? That’s pretty cool!

            I’d be peppering him with questions all day.

    • basstard

      All the nu thrash bands are pretty bland.

  • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ

    WWWAAAAAARRRRRBBRRRRIIINNNNGGGEEERRRR!!!!!!!!!!!! (ALSO GORAK SAD CUZ LIEK TH1RT3EN)
    https://youtu.be/3qHjmQSRrKk
    https://youtu.be/zxdntQ1m-Lg
    https://youtu.be/YKRge82V7V4

    • Eliza

      Warbringer is a good one.

    • GoatForest

      Hell yeah. They can be running mates with Sodom.

  • Hans

    Doesn’t even need to be four, really. The Thrash Triumvirate has served us well round these parts. We could probably do with some fresh blood too though.

  • Howard Dean

    I actually like the Big 4 as it is, because their classic output is still head and shoulders above most offerings in metal to this day. I’ll take Ride the Lightning, Hell Awaits, Peace Sells, and Spreading the Disease over most combinations of 4 albums anyone could generate.

    For fun, though, here is an alternative Big 4: Kreator, Sadus, Morbid Saint, and Demolition Hammer. It’s the Big 4 of aggressive thrash.

  • Al Bvndy

    I think that Evile are worthy contenders, and like Metallica and Exodus before them, they have a song about Thrashing.
    https://youtu.be/Hr9wObkGTYM

  • Metalheads don’t liek it when bands get big and change style.

    • I like it when bands change style and get smaller.

      • The Smol Four

        • Stockhausen

          You get kicked out of the Smol Four when someone has heard of you.

          • BLVCK MVTVL SMVL FVVR

          • GoatForest

            Gotta stay trve.

    • The Arm(KJM)

      I like the first, don’t mind the second if it’s a good change(unlike The Black Album).

      • Maybe it’s the world we live in, in which complaining is just more fun, but I can rarely think of a time when a band has changed for the better!

        • The Arm(KJM)

          Rush changed up their style a few times, usually with great results.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          For better or worse, I like change. As long as the music is pleasing to me I have no problem with a band changing it up a bit. The change doesn’t have to be better than previous output. It just needs to be good. As a fan I like to be able to listen to whatever I want, so why can’t a band play whatever they want? Why should they be confined to a style because that’s what they were playing when they formed the band in their late teens?

          • Perhaps I am just suspicious of bands “softening up” to sell more records. I need to grow up!

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            People get old and change tastes. Whether their motives are to sell more records or is actually an honest representation of who they are at that particular moment in time is a debate for another time. The softening up to shift more units may have worked 25 years ago but in this day an age you more run the risk of alienating that small army of fans that you’ve been lucky to scrape together. It takes more balls to mix it up, even more to “go soft” then to it does for your band to stick to the status quo.

          • Dumpster Lung

            I think a lot of the time you see bands get a little softer right AFTER they break through and reach a significant measure of success. I think it falls into the “representation of who they are at that moment” thing a lot more often than people assume.

            I forget who, but someone in Mastodon came right out and said once that part of going less heavy was just that they didn’t have as much frustration and anger to channel into the music. I imagine that happens a lot for people, and I think it’s kinda cool, even if it does mean that newer output won’t scratch the same itch that the previous stuff did in a lot of cases.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Mastodon are the perfect example. I’d rather a band present an honest representation of themselves than become a parody of themselves.

          • GoatForest

            Naw, I think you have the right idea.

        • GoatForest

          Oh, I got two: First, when Deathspell Omega stopped cloning Darkthrone. Second, when Glorior Belli started infusing blues and sludge elements into their sound.

        • Óðinn

          There was the time that John Bush left Anthrax. They instantly got better after that.

        • Dumpster Lung

          Best example of all time is Job For a Cowboy. From deathcore to straight-up death metal (supposedly) that I don’t remember being particularly memorable or anything, to suddenly a 2nd shift into noodley prog death out of nowhere.

  • Brock Samson
  • HessianHunter

    Even though their output is hit-or-miss, Revocation’s good songs are REALLY GOOD so as far as I’m concerned they’ve earned a seat at the table. https://youtu.be/mmg3jr7Bhfo

    • When Rev hits, they hit hard. I’m not sure other bands can top Bound By Desire or Dethroned.

    • Lord of Bork

      Considering that for a while they were cranking out a release every year, they have a remarkably high hit:miss ratio.

  • This is the only good political idea I’ve heard in a dog’s age.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    I am honored to be on the TAB.

    I would like to motion that Ripper and Power Trip be on this first election cycle, as has been stated by my constituents. Thank you and have a great day.

    *this statement provided and approved by Boss the Ross

    • GoatForest

      Sodom! SODOM ALWAYS GOOD! Sorry about that. I may gave inadvertently channeled our cave dwelling friend…

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Sodom are grand masters

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Power Trip I would consider more crossover than pure thrash.

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Noted!

        *and now that note has been tossed into the trashcan*

    • Óðinn

      I would like to make a motion that Evile, Revocation, and Noisem be stricken from the contest on the grounds that I cannot get into those bands. Also, Noisem is a lame-ass name for a Metal band, but possibly an appropriate name for a boy band. Thank-you.

      • Óðinn
      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Out of those 3, Evile is really the only band I’d consider Thrash.

      • Dumpster Lung

        Was just talking to someone about Evile on the FB group last week or so, and was worried they were pretty much dead, but looks like they’re working on a new album. I love those guys.

        Noisem might be too death/grindy for this anyway, but I have no idea what they’re like now. I just heard from a guy that knows them all pretty well that it might only be like one original member left, and they’re performing as a 3 piece now.

        Revocation is a band that I always agree is great, but for some reason I just never spend time with their material and I never got sentimentally attached at all. I don’t know why, but they do have some killer riffs and shit.

  • GrungierNine0

    Ripper, Vektor, Warbringer, Power Trip.

    The Bigger Four, ‘cuz why not.

  • themaleshoegaze

    Absolutely agree on the oft-mentioned Power Trip and Vektor, will have to check out Ripper it seems and would like to add the (surprisingly to me) rarely mentioned Noisem.

    https://a389recordings.bandcamp.com/album/noisem-blossoming-decay

    Two great albums imo.

  • GoatForest

    So Sodom is gonna be more or less on the New Big Four forever?

  • Óðinn

    Slayer. Did anybody say Slayer yet?

    • yeah, some 40 y/o bikers 😉

      • Óðinn

        Hard to keep those guys quiet.

    • The Arm(KJM)

      I was somewhat surprised that Kerry was a Clinton supporter and that Tom voted Trump, thought it would be the other way around.

      • Óðinn

        Did Tom actually vote for Trump? Is so, that’s now the scariest thing about Slayer.

        It may have to do with the religious thing. Trump’ biggest supporters are evangelical Christians, and Kerry is the one who really dislikes religion.

        • The Arm(KJM)

          Honestly I’m not 100% sure how Tom voted, but his recent rhetoric fits the bill.

          • Óðinn

            Disappointing.

          • The Arm(KJM)

            They’re yesterday’s news as far as I’m concerned anyways.

          • Óðinn

            Oh yeah. Definitely. Most of these first wave thrash bands haven’t done anything good since 1990.

            Although, I’ve been revisting someone of the older albums in my collection over the past few months, listening to CDs in my car. I recently rediscovered Christ Illusion. I have to say that it’s a better album than I gave it credit for in 2006. I’ve always thought it was okay, but I think I enjoy it more now than I did when it was released. It’s a pretty solid Slayer album.

          • Óðinn

            I just read some comments from King about Trump. He said that Clinton was the sane, safe choice and Trump is the biggest liar on the planet. Sounds like he voted for Clinton for the many of the same reasons I did.

  • Óðinn
  • Megadead™

    Kreator, Annihilator, Testament, Death Angel.

  • Dark Spirit of Cold Ural Mount

    Havok, Sodom, Ripper and Toxic Holocaust, I guess

  • JWG

    Seeing as how the Big 4 are American, and you’ve gone international to find a replacement I’d like to point out that quite a few other Countries already have a long-established big 4 you can just up and substitute right in. No need for elections. Nobody likes elections anyway.

    The most obvious example is the Big Four of Teutonic Thrash (though I’d argue it’s technically more like the Big Four plus Three Worthy Substitutes). And considering that Germany might lead the ‘free world’ into the remainder of the 21st century – if China doesn’t buy it all first – it’s kind of fitting.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    The Big 4 were originally called that as a result of being the most commercially successful thrash bands of that era. So it’s simple really, find the 4 most commercially successful thrash bands of the modern era and there’s your new Big 4. Too bad that the most successful bands in the modern era are still Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer. All whose last albums were thrash or in the case of Metallica had a smattering of thrash songs throughout the album.

    • Howard Dean

      This hot take is hot. And 100% true.

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Not too hot, just plain reality. Ted slapping us in the face with cold hard facts.

  • Howard Dean

    Big Four ov Thrash? You mean Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, & And Justice For All?!

    EXIT LIGHT
    ENTER NIGHT

  • Demonic Doomsayer

    Why not just abolish the big four altogether? Thrash metal is dead and was killed by Pantera and death metal.

  • Óðinn

    I was listening to Vektor at the library yesterday. Some quality Thrash.

    I like Power Trip too.

    • The Arm(KJM)

      I guess I should give them another shot.

    • Max

      I’ve given the latest Vektor a few listens and honestly, nothing does it for me except the first and last songs. (Which are versions of the same tune.) They’re crackers, though.

      • Óðinn

        I don’t see what skin color has to do with it, Max. You might think they’re “crackers”, but I just see Metal musicians and human beings. 😉

        *The term crackers means something different in AUS than in the USA.

  • Óðinn
  • Óðinn
  • Óðinn
  • Joseph Schafer

    Everyone here is misspelling the correct band. Let me help:

    O-V-E-R-K-I-L-L

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9ORDncKKkI

    • Óðinn

      Surprised they haven’t been mentioned more. I know they’re liked by many. I’m not a fan of Bobby’s vocals personally.

  • Óðinn