Top 10 Best Thrash Metal Bands

The Top Ten
1 Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave Mustaine being the sole constant member... read more

Megadeth... The name itself is great!

Anyway, Megadeth succeeded by making a different way of playing thrash metal. Come see the "Countdown to Extinction" album, "Cryptic Writings"... also, you can find other great albums like "Rust in Peace," "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" Another great album came after Peace Sells, "So Far... So Good... So What!" Another unique album is "Killing is My Business... And Business is Good!" "Risk" is Megadeth's rock album, but it ran well! "Youthanasia" is perfect, some called it "Alternative Metal." See also the latest albums like "Super Collider," which is closer to a blues style, "TH1RT3EN" is amazing, combining heaviness and speed. "The System Has Failed" is heavy too! "Endgame" was amazing and mixed. "United Abominations" was fast and the solo was unique and "The World Needs A Hero" is... indescribable!

Personally, I think Megadeth are rightfully first on this list, and I wouldn't be complaining if Slayer were first either. But I don't think Metallica should be 2nd because I think Metallica only has one thrash album, which is Kill 'Em All. On their next three albums, they have a few thrash songs, but they are not a thrash metal band. They are a heavy metal band. Whereas Megadeth, Slayer, and even Anthrax have stayed more true to the formula of writing thrash music! I'm not bagging on Metallica because I love their music, but Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax are better thrash metal bands!

2 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/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

Wow, Metallica are only famous for their first four albums? What about The Black Album, which has sold as many copies as every Megadeth album combined? And Dave stayed true to his music? You're joking, right? What about Youthanasia, Cryptic Writings, and Risk, huh? Metallica are sellouts, and Megadeth aren't? That's weird because Dave Mustaine himself has stated that Risk was supposed to be Megadeth's breakthrough in the commercial rock scene, and that it was intended to be a #1 album. And in any case, Megadeth aren't even truly thrash metal. They are closer to speed metal because they aren't very heavy. And whoever says Metallica isn't heavy, listen to the opening riff of Fight Fire with Fire then try and tell me they aren't.

Metallica and Mustaine invented thrash. Metallica's first 5 releases are the gold standard, but you must acknowledge 'Peace Sells...' greatness, plus most of Megadeth's early releases' greatness. 'So Far...', 'Rust in Peace', 'Countdown to Extinction', etc. Yes, Hetfield was the superior lyricist and vocalist, but that was 15 years ago. He used to sing with venom and fury, but he just talks his songs out now. Megadeth is essentially a solo project, and Mustaine must be given due credit for his output. Megadeth are now superior to Metallica both live and in the studio, whereas that wasn't the case way back when. Metallica at 1, Megadeth at 2, case closed.

3 Slayer Slayer was an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax... read more

Slayer hasn't changed their sound as much as Metallica or Anthrax. They're still doing fast paces and angry lyrics. Megadeth's music is still fast-paced and angry, but their lyrics aren't as violent as Slayer. But Megadeth and Slayer are the two best Thrash Metal bands overall. And I'm not saying Anthrax and Metallica suck, it's just they're more Alternative Metal than Thrash Metal in this day and age.

Slayer NEVER made a ballad, so they're the most Thrash Metal.

Megadeth has such a pathetic fan base. Megadeth is corny, and Dave talks in his songs. Megadeth is overrated, and they are more speed rock and roll. All their fans talk about is how much Metallica sucks when they have nothing to show themselves. Metallica rules, but I choose Slayer for my number one thrash band. Megadeth isn't thrash. Leave them out of this.

Metallica, please stay out of this for once, and fans, actually vote for music that's actually GOOD, not just because it's Metallica. The first 4 albums were spectacular. Now, they're total garbage. Slayer never disappoints. Their music is amazing from start to finish. They're the best there will ever be.

4 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.

Not a big fan, but I can acknowledge the talent and skill. They've got plenty of good songs. I do not think they're the 4th best thrash band. I think the top 4 go like this:

1. Megadeth
2. Anthrax
3. Exodus
4. Slayer

Here's my favorite thrash albums:

1. Countdown To Extinction - Megadeth
2. Fistful Of Metal - Anthrax
3. Tempo Of The Damned - Exodus
4. Alice In Hell - Annihilator

My Favorite Thrash Songs:

1. Symphony Of Destruction - Megadeth
2. Madhouse - Anthrax
3. Blacklist - Exodus
4. Seasons In The Abyss - Slayer

I, however, hate Metallica. Not because of the music. The music's fine! But because the band members are all scumbags. James Hetfield missed his son's birthday to hunt, Lars sued Napster, and Kirk and Rob are a-holes.

The first couple of albums are amazing, and while other bands were going more mainstream, Testament still released killer albums (besides Demonic sorta) like Low and The Gathering. As much as I love bands such as Metallica, they really haven't released anything super memorable since Justice and some of the Black Album. The same goes for bands like Anthrax and Megadeth, in my opinion. I'm not saying these bands have released garbage since the '90s, but nothing sticks out for me while Testament's latest three albums have been great. I would say Kreator, Sodom, and Overkill also deserve more recognition.

5 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 death metal and black metal by containing several elements of what was to become those genres.

Why is Metallica first place? Metallica was a really great band with awesome songs, yeah, but they aren't thrash anymore. Kreator also had its ups and downs, but they were thrash, they are thrash, and they will be thrash for all times.

I think this list should look like this:
1. Kreator
2. Sodom
3. Megadeth (also no more real thrash, but more than Metallica)
4. Slayer
5. Metallica
6. Sacred Reich (one of the most underrated bands)

And for the end, only one question:
Who put Venom, Machine Head, Suicidal Tendencies, and Soulfly on this list? Also great bands, but not thrash.

I've chosen them because they are, for me, the best thrash metal band right now: Enemy of God, Chordes of Chaos, and Phantom Antichrist are awesome, and Enemy of God is the best thrash album I've ever heard. It's just great. They have their own style, and they are keeping it. Drums are extraordinarily good, and Petrozza has a really good voice. Was at their concert, and they blew my mind at the very first song. And I think they're much better now than ANY of the big 4 bands.

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

Personally, my favorite band of the Big Four because they have the sound that comes to mind when the words "thrash metal" are brought up. They helped shape my tastes in modern party and crossover-thrash, such as Municipal Waste and Violator. I much prefer their first four albums to the first four albums of the other bands in the Big Four. Without them, I would not have gotten into the harder and heavier thrash bands with similar styles like Overkill, Exodus, and Destruction. I love the chanty brotherhood-style backup vocals that Anthrax has with their more street hardcore sound. They spoke to me as they reminded me of the streets I grew up on. True thrash with street and adolescent themes.

Thrash Metal is my favourite music genre, and I think that pretty much every band included in it has an incredible ability to compose music. But to my ears, Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Testament have something that differentiates them from every other band. Something that elevates them. Anthrax has one of the best vocalists ever and also managed to combine Thrash Metal with Rap. Slayer has incredible speed and heaviness, Metallica has wonderful melodies, solos, and some of the best lyrics in the history of music. I also liked his "experimentations" (Load, ReLoad, and St. Anger). Megadeth is technically invincible and has lots of divine solos. Testament is basically a band that takes every peculiarity of a typical Thrash Metal band and brings them to a whole new level. These are the bands that I think should be in the top 5 (I don't mind the order), so I vote for Anthrax because they don't deserve to be any number below 5 in the list.

7 Overkill

I grew up with the thrash movement and experienced the birth of speed. I still buy every new release by the Big Four and their (supposed) little brothers. Testament, Exodus, and Overkill. However, Overkill wins on pure consistency. While the others were breaking up, taking a long hiatus, or releasing steaming piles of 'St. Anger', Overkill weathered the storm and continually produced quality thrash albums. While the next generations were paying ridiculous prices to go watch Linkin Park lip sync, I was paying twenty bucks a ticket to watch Bobby Blitz scream his heart out. They never disappoint. Overkill is the true thrash band in every sense of the genre.

When comparing Overkill's catalog of albums to the bands in the big 4 or other classic thrash acts such as Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, Dark Angel, etc., what's the one thing you notice? Well, if you don't, then I'll tell you, it's their ability to constantly put out good albums. Their first 5 albums are classics, masterpieces. The same goes for the other bands to an extent with their albums. Exodus and Testament do have a couple of duds, Metallica isn't what they used to be, Megadeth and Slayer are somewhat of a bore. Anthrax is decent with their recent albums, but the '90s albums are still bad. But Overkill? Is there really a bad album? There are some that aren't as great as the rest of their catalog, but bad? Underwhelming? Nah, Overkill kills it, and they bring on the pain better with each release and live show than anybody else.

8 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.

Alongside Anthrax, and to an extent Metallica, Exodus is one of the most influential heavy metal bands out there. They, along with Metallica, are the earlier documented band of the thrash metal movement, being formed in 1980. Not only did they help get the thrash movement out of the Bay Area, but some of Exodus's members would go on to do bands such as Possessed, which is the first death metal band, meaning that Exodus started thrash, death, and to an extent, black metal.

Thrash metal is known for speed and aggression, and Exodus shows it perfectly with any of their singers (Zetro being my favorite). Metallica used to be good, but after the Black Album, they dropped and still haven't come back with anything good. Megadeth did the same thing, but at least they came back to the thrash genre. Slayer pretty much made the same song over and over again, but at least they stayed with thrash the whole time. Exodus, having been through three lead singers, each with their own style, has maintained a variety while still keeping true to thrash.

9 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 love the Big 4. They got me into metal in the first place. But it's Sepultura that has had a longer staying power for me, and it's Sepultura that has had a deeper "Prime Time," so to speak. For example, Metallica's prime time went from 'Kill 'Em All' to 'AJFA', or even 'The Black Album' if you think it's absolutely amazing. Slayer had 'SNM-SITA'. Megadeth: 'Killing is My Business' to 'Rust in Peace', maybe 'Countdown'. Anthrax: 'Fistful of Metal' to 'Persistence'. But Sepultura had 'Morbid Visions' through 'Chaos A.D.', potentially even 'Roots', with longer albums overall, which has given me plenty more material to drown in.

Sepultura has always been the best band. While Slayer still brings the same old to us, and Anthrax is not that good already, Sepultura still kicks our asses with new innovative elements like they always did. Hell, music must be developing over time. It should never stay in the same old thrash metal traditions! We want something innovative!

10 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.

Persecution Mania, Agent Orange, and M16 are all bona fide thrash classics. Tapping the Vein, Code Red, In War and Pieces, and their Self-Titled Album aren't too far behind. Their worst albums are infinitely better than the Big 4's worst albums. While many major thrash bands were busy playing radio rock in the 90s, Sodom continued to experiment with different blends of thrash, speed, and extreme metal. They also had a huge influence on the emerging Black and Death metal scene. For my money, they are the embodiment of what thrash metal is all about.

Top 3 thrash bands ever, their demos are 10 times heavier and rawer than Venom but were made during the same time. In the Sign of Evil is a pure masterpiece, their early stuff kicks ass, and their new melodic-thrash stuff is incredible as well.

Sodom is so much more powerful than any other Thrash Band. Thrash is about aggression, and Sodom is the most aggressive band there is. I'm a little angry they are this low.

The Contenders
11 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 Warner Music Group via Atco Records. Around this time, Pantera underwent a major change in their musical... read more

Pantera is the best out of all ten of these bands due to their unique and original style of music. Phil Anselmo kicks ass, Vinnie Paul kicks too much ass on drums, Rex Brown is one of my favorite bass players. And last but not least, Dimebag Darrell is my favorite guitar player. His style is perfect for Pantera's fusion of groove metal, thrash metal, and heavy metal. R.I.P. Dimebag

They did something nobody except Metallica could do... Get a number 1 CD. And they even did something that nobody at all could do, stop grunge dead in its tracks. 'Walk' is one of the greatest songs of all time, if not the best. I would even dare to say that they eclipsed every other thrash band in history, including the ones who influenced them. R.I.P. Dimebag.

Phil Anselmo is a better singer than James Hetfield. Dimebag is a better guitar player than Hetfield and Kirk Hammett combined. Vinnie Paul is a better drummer than Lars Ulrich. Pantera is better than Metallica in every aspect.

12 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.

Love this band! First off, they have insane talent. Their first album was recorded when they were very young. Their former drummer, Andy Galeon, was only 14 at that time!

I also love the topics that they explore aside from the standard thrash metal topics. They delve into relationships in some of their later work, and they also have a good sense of humor. I like that they leave a slight ambiguity in their lyrics so you can apply your own meaning to the song to some extent. Probably my favorite thrash band, next to Metallica.

Absolutely great thrash band. The Ultra Violence is one of the only proper all-the-way-through thrash albums! And it is way better than anything Metallica has put out as a whole piece. Plus, there are too many bands on the wrong list and too many missing. LoG, Machine Head, Voivod, etc. Where's Dark Angel!

Death Angel is awesome! They're unique and very jazzy! It's like a jazz band playing on distorted amps. Really happy that they got back together and eagerly awaiting their next album!

13 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.

These guys should be in the top 5. The fact that they're even this low is enough to let me know that these people aren't listening to their music. Listen to their songs Alison Hell, Phantasmagoria, Annihilator, Human Insecticide, Imperiled Eyes, Schizos Are Never Alone, Set the World on Fire, King of the Kill, Warbird, etc., and tell me they aren't deserving of a much higher spot.

This band is just so awesome. I've never seen a band that plays their songs so tight live. Sure, it isn't that cool that it's only Jeff's band, but he's just pro. Listen to 'Alison Hell,' 'King of the Kill,' 'The Fun Palace,' 'Set the World on Fire,' and 'The Trend.' If you're a real thrasher, you will have to like one of these tracks.

Jeff Waters has got to be the greatest thrash metal guitarist of all time. Listen to the albums Alice in Hell and Never Neverland if you're not convinced.

14 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 .

Amazing how their aggressive, impetuous music is so sophisticated at the same time. Despite the fact that their career was just about 7 years long, they evolved from being just a thrash metal band to a very high level of musicality. Just check their albums 'Mental Vortex' and 'Grin,' compare them to Metallica's 90's sloppy stuff, and you'll see who's the boss here!

I can't even express how happy I am just to see this band even featured within the top 100, let alone 13th!

Criminally underrated! Arguably one of the most underrated bands, that term is overused but Coroner is honestly the epitome of the word. Not to mention they are a trio on top of all. If you like Rush and thrash metal, this is the band for you.

Very overlooked band, even though everyone who knows them loves what they accomplished over their five-album run. They are essentially the Rush of thrash metal. Very progressive and well-structured music. Their older material is very neoclassical speed/thrash metal, but each album became more progressive than the last.

15 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.

It's unfortunate that these guys (along with the other bands in the German Big Four) don't get much attention. Their albums are full of some of the most delicious, evil riffs you'll ever hear.

Destruction is the perfect band for Thrash. Metallica can't be compared with Destruction. Destruction is the best of Thrash.

Good back then. Still good. They are the gods of thrash (maybe next to Exodus... maybe).

16 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".

Easily the best thrash metal band to come out of Canada. Give their album Violent Restitution (their best work) a listen, and you'll see why.

17 Unleashing Vengeance

So low here? I guess no one listens to UV... It's not just thrash, it's Progressive/Blackened/Folk Metal/Metalcore inspired thrash with experimental touches on later CDs... Can any of the so-called big 4 say they have this kind of technical quality in songs such as RFID, Spawn of Madness, Gullible Spawn of Deception, etc.? I didn't think so... UV may be mostly a solo project, but the music UV wrote was sick... It was extreme, loud, technical, experimental, and it had lots of touches of different kinds of music thrown in, not all of that music being metal... It makes this band/project sound a lot more unique... I don't listen to thrash much, but this does it for me. Absolutely no other thrash band sounds exactly like this one...

18 Hexx
19 Nevermore Nevermore is an American progressive metal band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in 1991, they are known to incorporate elements from various styles such as power metal, modern hard rock, classic heavy metal and technical thrash metal. The band has been on hiatus since 2011, due to personal issues between the band members.

Nevermore is way more creative and talented than Slayer and Anthrax put together.

Nevermore has plenty of thrash elements in their music to be on this list.

Nevermore is thrash.

20 Dew-Scented Dew-Scented is a German thrash and death metal band. They have released eight studio albums and are currently signed to Metal Blade Records and Prosthetic Records.

Surprised to see them this high.

21 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.

Best new wave of thrash band. Should absolutely be top 10 at least, they're in my top 3. Vektor IS the future. The way they transcend the line between thrash and death, death and black, black and thrash, all with progression, is beautiful. Not to mention it's all very sci-fi feeling. Terminal Redux was the best album of 2016 by far. This band is amazing, and you should absolutely check them out. This band lets me be both a prog snob and a 4/4 pleb (no, that's not a bad thing) at the same time, and I love it for that.

For modern thrash, these guys are surprising. Usually, modern thrash riffs sound watered down, boring, and recycled. These guys' riffs are literally extraterrestrial. I hate prog and pizza thrash, but their final album is a 10/10 masterpiece. Give it a listen.

Best thrash band formed outside the 80s. If you've never heard them before, check out "Fast Paced Society" and "Hunger for Violence." Once you're assimilated from these, go buy "Black Future" and "Outer Isolation" because they're two of the best thrash albums ever made.

22 Trivium Trivium is an American Heavy Metal band from Orlando, Florida, formed in 1999. Their frontman, Matt Heafy, lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu and Bassist Paulo Gregoletto are the band's most consistent members and have appeared in every album since.

Trivium released their debut album, Ember to Inferno, in 2003 under Lifeforce Records. A moderate success, Trivium would later sign to Roadrunner Records... read more

Trivium ignores all pigeonholes, and with 'Vengeance Falls', they have become a classy modern metal band. They're not the best of the best, but they have countless influences to draw upon. The longer metal evolves, the less you will be able to label anyone. They're a thrash band, and a damn good one.

When all thrash metal bands are dead, Trivium will be the last one alive. Trivium is all thrash metal bands in one. Speed riffs, fast drumming, distorted bass-wah solo, killer, fast, technical guitar solo! Trivium is a good symbol of modern Thrash Metal.

Trivium has the best, hardest, and most melodic guitar riffs. And their singing and screaming voices are great.

23 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.

Masters of thrash, man. These Satanic slayers are truly awesome and should totally be in the top 5. The guitar work, bass, and drumming paired with the lyrical themes are stunning, fun, and exhilarating.

Easily one of the most influential bands in all of metal. Their first three albums were a big influence on thrash, black, and death metal.

They practically created thrash for God's sake. Get them to the top ten!

24 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.

I absolutely love Metallica, but they are getting old, and you've got to keep up with the times, man. Havok is the future of thrash metal. They are wicked fast, insanely heavy, and they have AMAZING guitar solos. My vote goes to Havok, simply because of the fact that, as much as I hate to say it, Metallica is no longer thrash metal. Just heavy metal.

Best thrash these days. You can hear a lot of old thrash in their riffs. Very Slayer / Exodus influenced. If you haven't checked them out, do yourself a favor and do it. You won't be sorry!

Havok is a great band, and all those other thrash metal bands are lame. This band is so angry, it makes me want to break stuff. Havok makes havoc.

25 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 masterpiece.

There's no limit to Machine Head's talent, according to me. The wide use of vocal ranges is rare within metal, and the speed and heaviness of the guitars create a mind-altering experience. In other words: Machine Head rocks! Just listen to 'Burn My Eyes,' 'The More Things Change...' Yeah, basically every album except 'Supercharger' and 'The Burning Red,' except if you're into Nu metal.

Around for years and keep getting stronger. Last three albums stack against anything out there. Heavy, technical, and great. Add to that Burn My Eyes, and what more do you want?

Machine Head has never let me down, even with Burning Red and Supercharger. They set an example for the bands that played post-thrash music such as Evile and Soulfly.

8Load More
PSearch List