Thursday, August 4, 2011

Random Rant: The "Big Four"

Ever thought about the term "big four" which is supposed to encompass the American thrash bands Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer? No? Okay. Let me break it down for you and give you my thoughts on the label.

I don't know where or why the the term originated (Did it happen after the eighties?), but I think it's quite (for lack of a better word) stupid. It feels as if an unknown at an incompetent magazine coined the label and it caught on with both metalheads and the mainstream. If I could, I'd throw it out a proverbial window. When you think about it, all four bands have absolutely had influential music and at least a couple albums that have been incredible, but at some point they fell into a state of stagnancy and decline. If I were to coin the term, I would include consistently quality bands under the label, even thrashers that aren't American.

Don't get me wrong; all four of these bands have a string of albums I really love, but they all have a number of stains in their discography that I just can't ignore. Slayer after 1996's Undisputed Attitude can be put under a car and ran over multiple times. Mustaine has recently redeemed Megadeth with Endgame, so I suppose I can cut the band some slack, but stuff like the oddball Risk and god awful United Abominations (among others) I can't ignore. Metallica, well, I don't like anything after Master of Puppets. Anthrax? A total joke after 1990.

Personal thoughts are welcome and, please, don't be afraid to challenge me. This a completely open can of worms straight from the head of Mr. Cynical a.k.a. The Metal Advisor.



  1. For the most part, you're right on (though I love ALL Slayer with the sole exception of Undisputed Attitude). Megadeth has, for me, long been on the decline and Anthrax, while still fairly new to my heavy rotation, certainly seem to need Joey Belladonna to gel successfully. I feel about Metallica as I do about a parent. They played an important role in my early rock appreciation, laid such a foundation, and then became embarassing but, unlike the parents, I have yet to reach the stage where I really appreciate and respect them again. And the "Big 4" tag does feel manufactured. BUT - I have to admit that I would LOVE to see one of these shows and watch the Bulgaria DVD repeatedly. Funny, though, how as each band gets "bigger," they lose a little more impact (I could write a whole post on how Rob Trujillo's crab-walking has utterly ruined Metallica's stage presence).

    All in all, it's a corporate label for what is a packaged product. Yep, it has quality ingredients but, honestly, I am just as psyched to check out foursome Immolation/Jungle Rot/Gigan/Bless the Child at the Alrosa Villa with its $12 price tag.

  2. Great response! I always look forward to them.