Best Thrash Metal Bands of the '80s, '90s, '00s

michaelhughes
All of the bands below have careers that span these decades.

The Top Ten

1 Megadeth Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. The group was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums, and their biggest hits are Symphony of Destruction, Holy ...read more.

Megadeth and Metallica... Definitelly two best thrash metal bands in history.
But my vote goes to megadeth. I think they are more fitting to thrash metal
Genre. Metallica has its great song : "One" is my favourite in all metal genre, "Unforgiven", "Fade To Black", "Ride The Lightning", "Seek And Destroy", "Phantom Lord", "Sad But True", "Enter Sandman" and finally "Master Of Puppets" are also great...
But Megadeth has much more of great songs. They're first 6 albums are awesome... "Th1rt3en" also is great in my opinion.
My decision is an effect of listen to "Rattlehead", "Killing Is My Business... And My Business Is Good", "Mechanix", "Wake Up Dead", "Conjouring", "Peace Sells", "My Last Words", "In My Darkest Hour",
"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", "Hangar 18", "Five Magics", "Poison Was The Cure", "Lucretia", "Tornado Of Souls", "Rust In Peace... Polaris"
, "Symphony Of Destruction", "Skin Of My Teeth", "Train Of Consequences", "A Tout Le Monde", "Elisian ...more

Both bands lost their way in the mid 90's (Load, re-load from Metallica and Megadeths Youthanasia is simply cringe worthy! ) but are epic 80s metal bands. Metallica has 3 albums that would make my top ten list (Ride, Puppets, Justice) but I just love Megadeths attitude and anger that come out in their songs. Rust in Peace (1990) is better than anything Metallica have done, and Peace Sells definitely rivals them too. While they haven't put out any albums of this magnitude again all albums since have masterpiece tracks and they just shade Metallica as the best. And for all those people who say that they wish Dave hadn't left Metallica and all that garbage, there's no way that would have worked. Lars and Mustaine have massive ego's that was always destined to create fireworks.

Stoked to see Exodus as 4th, Bonded by Blood is the best thrash metal debut album released

everytime I hear their music.. , it rocks the hell out of me.. and of course, because of dave mustaine's ability to rock their listeners. keep rocking megadeth

True Metal fans know that Dave Never Sold Out!

V 7 Comments
2 Metallica Metallica Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman". ...read more.

Metallica= GODS OF METAL! Megadeth is good to, but this should definitely be number 1! I love Megadeth and Metallica, but come on, Metallica is defintely better! They've got a lot of really good songs!

Metallica was the greatest thrash metal band In the 80s hands down. Every metal band knew that - Sabbath

WTH? 'tallica should't be in 9th. At least 3rd. Slayer in 2nd. Megadeth 1st! But Metallica is one of the BIG 4! - joaocarvalho

There is no reason why they aren't better than megadeth

V 9 Comments
3 Slayer Slayer ...read more.

Slayer are the defonition of thrash. They're dark, fast, brutal & just make every band explode. Tom, Kerry, Jeff & Dave are the Kings of thrash. My opinion

Best band of ALL TIME! Slayer has been my favorite band sing I can remember and I own every album from them. Love their music more than any other band out there.

Definitely. The best metal band on here where is pantera? Seen slayer live best mosh pit out of all the bands there

Kerry King its awesome man. Slayer is double awesome! Raining blood is very cool songs

V 3 Comments
4 Pantera Pantera Pantera was a Heavy Metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The group got into mainstream after changing from Glam Metal to Groove Metal. The band's most successful album is "Vulgar Display of Power". As the pioneers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, They ...read more.

Does Pantera count because their "real debut" was in 1990? And their last album was '00?

They should be number one for sure they blow Metallica away in the 90's best metal.

Groove metal, not thrash metal. Idiots.

They should be way higher

5 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.

The H-Team line-up of Holt & Hunolt, they are the "riff masters" of thrash. Holt & Altus / Hunolt & Altus, all the combos equal a full-on blitzkrieg of thrash brutality in it's finest form. No matter what Exodus album it is... It's 100% pure, aggressive, violent, hostile, ass-kicking thrash! For those of you who don't know, that's what thrash is supposed to be.

Bonded by Blood is easily one of my favourite thrash metal albums. - IronSabbathPriest

You do know than Pantera are not thrash, right?

Exodus: Guaranteed Overnight Destruction!

6 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.

Overkill at #7 is way too low on this list. They are simply amazing - they didn't sell out to mainstream so that's why they don't get enough recognition. Blitz and D.D. have kept this band going strong with all the guitarist and drummer changes thru the years. Pick any Overkill album from any decade and you'll be banging your head!

Overkill is definitely the greatest thrash band of all.

Thrash Metal = Overkill.
They define the genre. - IronSabbathPriest

7 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.

Yeah, sure they're older then Megadeth. Megadeth was formed by Mustaine after he wrote Metallica's first album. And Sodom started as a venom copy-cat.

Sodom is very hard. Sodom is older than megadeth and really harder and better. I hope the best for the band sodom

SDOM are kings of trash metal

8 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.

Who can argue that these guys were some of the hardest thrashers of all time?!

V 2 Comments
9 Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker.

I love anthrax, they're so underrated. Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time are thrash classics. Worship Music is one of the best metal albums released in the past decade. Fistful of Metal, The Attack of the Killer B's (excluding Bring the Noise), Sound of the White Noise and We've come for You all are awesome albums as well and often overlooked. Except for 2 albums (Stomp 442 and Volume 8), everything they've done so far in their career has been epic. Incredibly underrated band. - fidelcanojr

Ridiculously underrated. Anthrax can rival some of the best thrash metal bands and their discography is pretty consistently amazing. If only their new album wasn't trash, but hey, every old thrash band is putting out trash nowadays anyway.

Most underrated of the big 4. But I think it is because of their more raw sound. It makes it a bit less easy-listening for the normal metal fan than Slayer, Metallica or Megadeth.

Why r they so low :(

V 1 Comment
10 Gwar Gwar Gwar, often styled as GWAR, is an American heavy metal band formed in Richmond, Virginia, United States, in 1984, composed of and operated by a frequently rotating line-up of musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively known as Slave Pit Inc.

Although people don't take Gwar seriously because they have a sense of humor, their sense of humor makes them very influencial in style.

The Contenders

11 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.

I think they deserve to be on a list for a change. - michaelhughes

They are underrated and amazing. - gemcloben

Annilihator the band to get me in to thrash metal they should be on every list along with Judas Priest

12 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 ...read more.

They were playing death-thrash before Sepultura and Slayer, much love, but you aren't brutal. Kreator proves it.

Kreator is so underrated. In my opinion, they are better than slayer

Heaviest thrash metal. They make Slayer look like Metallica.

They are like slayer. But heavier. - gemcloben

V 1 Comment
13 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.

I've always thought of them as more of a groove metal band. Either way they are amazing. - IronSabbathPriest

Sepultura as a thrash metal band ended in 1996.

14 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.

The Ultra Violence is a classic. It's even more impressive when you consider the ages of the band members when it was recorded

Act 3 is better than the Ultra Violence, if not next to it.

Act 3 was simply one of the best thrash albums of all time.

I'm not sure if they count.

V 2 Comments
15 Sacred Reich

The American way was a great album, except for the last song 31 flavors. Ignorance and surf Nicaragua were awesome too

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 ...read more.

Yes! This one better get a few votes. - michaelhughes

17 Austrian Death Machine

I know this band does not succeed to the calibur of Megadeth or Metallica, I still love this band due to the ability to perform a satire along with some great music. It is also a side project from one of the greatest metal bands, 'As I Lay Dying'. This band takes away the seriousness of the typical thrash genre and offers something new and bold. Definitely has my respect, and vote - mickeyG94

18 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.
19 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.

Some of the most technical and interesting thrash metal ever heard. Best thrash band for solos if that's your thing.

20 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".
BAdd New Item
7129

Recommended Lists

P