Bands to Make the Big Four of Thrash Metal the Big Five


The Top Ten

1 Testament Testament Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1983 under the name Legacy, the band consists of vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, bassist Steve DiGiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan.

Bands to Make the Big Four of Thrash Metal the Big Five
Best Thrash Metal Bands You Need to Check Out Besides the Big 4
Top Ten Best Thrash Bands That Are Not In the Big Four

No need for these three lists to exist at the same time. They are practically the same. - Alkadikce

The most successful thrash band outside of the big four. Excellent thrash metal throughout their entire career. The Legacy, The New Order, and Practice What You Preach are all thrash metal albums of perfection.

How about a new Big 4 of Thrash? Instead of most commercially successful bands, just make it the bands who are most consistently true to the genre.
Kreator - surgeonsanic

Great band. If the Big Four had a fifth member, this would be it.

2 Exodus Exodus Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California. Spanning a career of 37 years, Exodus has gone through numerous lineup changes, two extended hiatuses, and the deaths of two former band members.

Honestly, there are only three logical options: Exodus, Testament, and Overkill. The reason I don't include Kreator is that they were more influential to death metal than to thrash. Exodus was one of the creators of thrash, so they deserve a shot. Testament has a huge following now, and is still making great music. Despite not being one of the first, they kept thrash alive through the early 90's. Overkill was, in my opinion, more influential in shaping the East Coast thrash scene more than Anthrax. Their consistency is greater than almost any other band. In addition, they continue to make good albums, such as Ironbound and Electric Age.

I voted for Overkill. I am more of a fan of Overkill than the others. Looking at it objectively, I would vote for Testament, though. What defined the "Big 4" was their popularity, and how they brought the thrash genre to metal fans as a whole. Testament is easily more popular than Exodus and Overkill, and they've popularized it much ...more

Exodus are definitely "Big 5"-worthy, not only because they are older than all the "Big 4" bands (having formed in 1979) and had Kirk Hammett as their guitarist in their early days, but they were the first Bay Area thrash metal band to exist. That predates Metallica, who hadn't even moved to the Bay Area until shortly after they hired Cliff Burton as their bassist. Not to mention, one of Exodus' early demos inspired Slayer to make "Show No Mercy", and they would inspire many bands of their generation such as Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Sepultura, Death Angel, Kreator and many others. Without Exodus, there would be no such thing as thrash metal or the bands of that genre.

Hell, why Big 5? I say; let's make it "The Thrashing Thirty"(or more than that). More Thrash Metal bands, the better.

As far as I'm concerned, they are part of the big five. They compete easily with the big four - Shake_n_Bake13

3 Overkill Overkill Overkill is an American thrash metal band, formed in 1980 in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, with singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and bassist D.D.

The reason Overkill deserves a place in the Big 4 or Big 5 is not because they've existed longer than all the Big 4 bands, but because they're the best thrash metal band ever.

Overkill is a highly underrated band, and my 4th favorite thrash band


4 Annihilator Annihilator Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer Jeff Waters and former vocalist John Bates.

Annihilator! Never mind being in the big 5, these guys should already be in the big four!

Okay, Anthrax fills the big 4 mostly because the "Among The Living" masterpiece... so Annihilator with its "Alice in Hell" is almost that good as Anthrax...

Without a doubt, in the Big-5. Awesome band with the best riffs.
Annihilator for the win, the most underrated band on this list. - Metal_Treasure

Annihilator is already in the canadian big four. why you guys want to put annihilator in the american big five? it doesn't make any sense they are fine that they are the leaders of canadian thrash.

5 Kreator Kreator Kreator is a German thrash metal band from Essen. Their style of music is similar to that of their compatriots Destruction, Sodom and Tankard; along with those three bands, Kreator has been referred to as one of the "big four" of Teutonic thrash metal, and they are often credited with helping pioneer more.

But their already apart of a just as good big four with Sodom, Destruction oand the anthrax of the big four Tankard - germshep24

Borderline comedy artists, Tankard is probably my second favorite of the European big four - germshep24

They are more like death metal though

I think there should be a "big one" which is kreator... Better than Metallica slayer and anthrax

Big 4 is only in US...Kreator much better than Slayer...

1 Comment
6 Sepultura Sepultura Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte. Their first album, Morbid Visions presented a proto-black metal sound with Wagner Lamounier of Sarcófago. Sepultura's sound varies by the album, from thrash metal, groove metal, and even death metal.

That guy who says Overkill sucks because of their vocals is a dork.

Imagine the irony of someone commenting that Overkill's vocals suck whilst endorsing Sepultura. what?!?

Morbid Visions and BEstial Devastation invented (along with Celtic Frost, Venom and Bathory) 2nd wave black metal

Horrible candidate for a "big five". Think about it. They stopped playing thrash in the 90's.

7 Death Angel Death Angel Death Angel is an American thrash metal band from Daly City, California, initially active from 1982 to 1991 and again since 2001. Death Angel has released seven studio albums, two demo tapes, one box set and two live albums.

Why don't they get much attention?!

Wrong logo. This is Death Angel not Dark Angel.

8 Sodom Sodom Sodom is a German thrash metal band from Gelsenkirchen, formed in 1981. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist vocalist Tom Angelripper as the only constant member.

Already apart of a just as important big four - germshep24

This is a really tough one but I'm gonna have to go with sodom, only need to listen to the songs napalm in the morning, marines, agent orange and among the weirdcong to see why - wolphert

9 Metal Church Metal Church Metal Church is an American heavy metal band. They originally formed in San Francisco, California in 1980 before relocating to Aberdeen, Washington the following year and briefly using the name Shrapnel.

I was a much bigger fan of Metal Church than Metallica (not saying I wasn't a huge Metallica fan) growing up. They never seemed to go 'mainstream' which I loved. Totally in the Big 5.

It's a mystery to me why Metal Church never gets the recognition they should have gotten long ago. They're way more eligible for the Big 4 or Big 5 rather than Megadeth or Anthrax.

Metal Church is one of the bands that deserves a place in "Big 5" because not only were they good friends with Metallica, but they were around a little earlier (having formed in 1980 and released their self-titled debut album in 1984) and were somewhat of a strong inspiration for the 80's and 90's power metal scene.

10 Pantera Pantera Pantera was an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The band started out as a Glam Metal act in the 1980s with little success. After discarding their original lead vocalist and enlisting Phil Anselmo, the band signed a major record deal with more.

Pantera is not thrash metal. Why are they even on this list, and why are they ahead of bands like Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel or Forbidden? I can't understand that. - MetalRiot

Pantera definitely doesn't belong in the Big 4 or Big 5 because they're not thrash metal.

Groove metal is a derivative form of thrash but it's not thrash anymore so I wouldn't consider Pantera here. - Metal_Treasure

Since Groove Metal is a slower kind of Thrash, Pantera's last 5 albums make them worthy to be on this list. I wouldn't vote for them though - NjakDjak


The Contenders

11 Venom Venom Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell and Black Metal—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.

Venom has never been a thrash metal band even though they influenced all the Big Four bands.

Venom should be on top. they pioneered black metal and thrash metal.

Pioneers but they suck so...


12 Motorhead Motorhead Motörhead were an English heavy metal band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band's harsh vocals and fast paced tempos helped inspire speed metal and more.

Motörhead isn't thrash metal, they're speed metal. - Therevengewedge

They created thrash

13 Dark Angel Dark Angel Dark Angel is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California formed in 1981. Their over-the-top style (extremely fast, heavy and lengthy songs with lots of tempo changes, lyrics and extended instrumental parts) earned them the nickname "the L.A. Caffeine Machine". Although Dark Angel had more.

Gene Hoglan is one of the greatest thrash metal drummers ever!

Underrated band!

14 Destruction Destruction Destruction is a German thrash metal band. They are considered one of the "The Big Four" of the German thrash metal scene, the others being Kreator, Sodom and Tankard.
15 Flotsam and Jetsam Flotsam and Jetsam Flotsam and Jetsam is a thrash metal band that formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1981. The band currently consists of vocalist Eric A.
16 Nuclear Assault Nuclear Assault Nuclear Assault is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed after bassist Dan Lilker left Anthrax in 1984. After releasing five full-length albums and touring relentlessly throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Nuclear Assault split up in 1995. They briefly reunited in 1997 and again more.

The fact that this band features Danny Lilker (from S.O.D. and the original bassist for Anthrax) isn't their only claim to fame. Along with bands like D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies, Nuclear Assault was part of the emerging crossover thrash scene of the 80's.

17 Savatage Savatage Savatage is an American heavy metal band founded by the brothers Jon and Criss Oliva in 1978 at Astro Skate in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

To my best knowledge, the only connections Savatage has to thrash metal are the facts that Alex Skolnick from Testament played on their 1994 album "Handful Of Rain" and Al Pitrelli (who played on Savatage's last three albums) played on Megadeth's 2001 album "The World Needs A Hero".

Why is Savatage on this list? They're not thrash metal, they're power metal. - MetalRiot

Correct me if I am wrong but they are not thrash metal

Power metal is not thrash metal, so I wouldn't put Savatage in a so called "Big 5" or "Big 6" or whatever.

18 Voivod Voivod Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Québec. Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger, Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain, Dominique "Rocky" Laroche and Michel "Away" Langevin.

One of Canada's finest, along with Annihilator, Sacrifice and Razor.

Underrated band!

Killer band!

They should be above bands who are not completely thrash metal like Motörhead, Pantera and Venom.

19 Municipal Waste Municipal Waste Municipal Waste is a crossover thrash band from Richmond, Virginia. They performed at the UK's Download Festival on June 15, 2008. They also joined At the Gates on their "Suicidal Final Tour" along with Darkest Hour, Toxic Holocaust and Repulsion.
20 Heathen Heathen Heathen is an American thrash metal band originating from the San Francisco Bay Area , founded in 1984 by guitarist Lee Altus and drummer Carl Sacco.
21 Havok Havok Havok is an American thrash metal band from Denver, Colorado. Formed in 2004, their members currently consist of David Sanchez, Nick Schendzielos, Pete Webber, and Reece Scruggs.

Yeah we all know that the real big 4 is
vektor (my personal choice)

22 Machine Head Machine Head Machine Head is an American heavy metal band from Oakland, California. Formed on October 12, 1991, the group was founded by vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. They have received great critical success especially for their album "The Blackening" which is considered a modern metal more.

Sooo underrated. The Blackening is my favourite album ever, however I feel like they wouldn't fit in with the big four. They're much newer than them and their music was groove metal (and the tragic nu metal phase) until the 21st century and by then it's kind of too late.

Better even than all the members in the big four (of course in my opinion), it has not as recognition as them but it doesn't mean anything, their songs are just masterpieces and joining with the big four would be what they need to be as famous as they deserve to.
Vote up, come on! - AlexxMetal

23 Suicidal Tendencies Suicidal Tendencies Suicidal Tendencies is an American crossover thrash band founded in 1980 in Venice, California by vocalist Mike Muir, who is the only remaining original member of the band. The band is often credited as one of "the fathers of crossover thrash".

Suicidal is somewhat Big 5-worthy because they not only helped pioneer the genre crossover thrash (which influenced and inspired bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Sepultura, Nuclear Assault, Municipal Waste and many others), but they've sold over half a million records, with "Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like S*** ...Deja Vu" and "Lights...Camera...Revolution! " going gold in the U.S.

24 Onslaught Onslaught Onslaught are an English thrash metal band from Bristol, England. Initially active from 1983 to 1991, they reformed in 2004. The band initially drew influence from second wave hardcore punk bands such as Discharge and The Exploited, and then adopted a straight forward thrash metal sound.

Criminally underrated UK thrash metal band!

25 Razor Razor Razor is a Canadian thrash metal band formed in 1984 at Guelph, Ontario. The group shot music videos for songs such as "Evil Invaders", "Shotgun Justice", "American Luck", and "Sucker for Punishment".
26 Forbidden Forbidden Forbidden was a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. Formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil, the group was founded by Russ Anderson and Craig Locicero, who were both ever-present members.
27 D.R.I. D.R.I. D.R.I. is an American crossover thrash band that formed in Houston, Texas in 1982. As of 2015, the band comprises two of its founding members, vocalist Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy, as well as drummer Walter "Monsta" Ryan and bassist Harald Oimoen.

They pioneered crossover thrash.

28 Sacred Reich

Ignorance is in my opinion an all time classic, like S.O.D. Speak English or Die. There were some recordings in the 80's that will stand the test of all time.

29 Watchtower Watchtower Watchtower is an American progressive metal band based in Austin, Texas. The band was influenced by late 1970s progressive rock acts, such as Rush and U.K., as well as the burgeoning new wave of British heavy metal scene.

People don't talk about this band much. In terms of who was around earlier, Watchtower were pioneers of the genres prog metal and technical thrash metal. What also makes them a notable band is the fact that Jason McMaster was their singer before he launched into superstar status with the glam metal band Dangerous Toys.

Underrated band!

30 Vio-Lence Vio-Lence Vio-lence was an American thrash metal band formed in 1985 in the San Francisco Bay Area. They released demo tapes, one EP and 3 LPs between 1985 and 1993. Their most stable line-up was Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn on guitars, Deen Dell on bass, Perry Strickland on drums and Sean Killian on vocals.
31 Lääz Rockit Lääz Rockit Lääz Rockit is a thrash metal band formed in San Francisco, California in 1982. Although one of the lesser-known groups of the Bay Area thrash metal scene, each album in their career has received high critical marks. One of their signature elements were Ibanez guitars adorned with elaborate airbrushed more.
32 Forced Entry

Kickass band from Seattle!

33 Agent Steel
34 Disturbed Disturbed Disturbed is an American nu metal/ alternative rock/ alternative metal band from Chicago, Illinois. The band comprises vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren. They are known for songs like "Down With the Sickness" and "Stricken" .

This band isn't even thrash metal and barely metal anyway. - Userguy44

There is another band called Disturbed that plays thrash metal, but pretty sure the one who added this here didn't think of that one - Alkadikce

Whoever added this doesn't deserve to listen to metal - wolphert

I know, Disturbed is not thrash, just like many other bands on this list - Shake_n_Bake13

This band is awesome, but this band isn't thrash metal. It shouldn't be here.

@wolphert - Agreed. And doesn't deserve to call himself a metalhead. - Metal_Treasure

35 Tankard Tankard Tankard is a thrash metal band from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, founded in 1982. Along with the bands Kreator, Destruction and Sodom, Tankard is often considered one of the "The Big Teutonic Four" of Teutonic thrash metal.
36 Defiance

These guys need more attention!

37 Atrophy
38 Wrathchild America
39 Evildead
40 Meliah Rage
41 Exciter Exciter Exciter is a Canadian speed metal band from Ottawa, Ontario, formed in 1978 as Hell Razor. In 1980 they changed the name Exciter. They are widely considered to be one of the first speed metal bands and a seminal influence of the thrash metal genre.
42 Hexx Hexx
43 Coroner Coroner Coroner is a Swiss thrash metal band from Zürich, formed in the early 80s. They have been called "the Rush of thrash metal" for their increasingly complex style of progressive rock-infused thrash. They garnered relatively little attention outside Europe .
44 Vektor Vektor Vektor is an American progressive thrash metal band from Tempe, Arizona. The band was formed under the name Locrian around June 2003, but changed their name to Vektor in 2004.
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List Stats

500 votes
44 listings
5 years, 304 days old

Top Remixes (12)

1. Kreator
2. Testament
3. Exodus
1. Kreator
2. Exodus
3. Testament
1. Pantera
2. Motorhead
3. Disturbed

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