Metal Sucks posed a question this week: If The Big Four were The Big 8, which bands would be the next four in the group?
If you’re unaware, The Big 4 Tour is comprised of thrash metal giants Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. The tour is scheduled to arrive in just one city this April in the United States, much to the dismay of metalheads across the nation who wanted the tour to hit more cities.
I’ve seen some reactions from fans who aren’t in total agreement with this touring line-up, stating that not every band on the bill fits the “Big 4” mold. I happened to think it’s a great bill, but I’ve wondered what other bands would fit nicely on this tour.
So, if The Big 4 Tour was actually The Big 8 Tour, what four additional bands do you think deserve to be on it?
Check out my picks below and let me know what yours would be.
Here’s justification for why I picked each band, aside from the fact that I love them, and also note, I only choose bands who got their start on the thrash metal scene in the 1980s, as I feel that that’s what this tour is meant to represent.
Obvious: They’re the big draw, greatest moneymaker, widest appeal. Deserves top billing without a doubt.
Of their peers, there’s no other band Slayer could possibly open for except Metallica. Slayer fans are no joke: Slayer plays, they will come, and possibly rip the seats out while they’re at it. The band, which currently has their original line-up and except for a few drummer swaps over the years, is still as they were. They’ve had the staying power to earn them this billing.
Megadeth has had staying power all these years as well, even with the massive amount of line-up changes. But one aspect has always been the same: guitarist/singer Dave Mustaine is always at the forefront. His signature playing and growling are on every tune. While his former bandmates in Metallica might have surpassed him in every way, Mustaine can at least brag that his name and reputation alone can sell a Megadeth tour.
The last of the big four, New York-based Anthrax was always one step behind the Top 3. They started out as a straight thrash metal band and in the late 1980s had the balls to venture into the world of rap — with a cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise” as well as their original rap “I Am The Man” — and somehow make metalheads listen to it and actually enjoy it. But while their crossover might have brought them some extra fame and fortune at the time, it probably also alienated some of their original fan base. The departure of their amazing singer Joey Belladonna didn’t help much either, although they gained new fans with his replacement Armored Saints’ John Bush. The old school fans have always wanted Belladonna back, and now that he is, Anthrax fits in perfectly on this Big 4 tour.
Testament recently got off tour with Slayer and Megadeth, where they filt the billing perfectly. Since they broke onto the thrash metal scene in 1987 with their recording debut The Legacy, Testament has been fighting the good fight. Chuck Billy’s distinct vocals combined with Alex Skolnick’s [he fucking rules!] virtuoso guitar solos make Testament one of the greatest bands around, and in all honesty, I’d say they are neck-and-neck with Anthrax for that fourth slot.
Born to live forevermore, Manowar are the self-proclaimed Kings of Metal, and we’re inclined to believe them, because they live for metal. Oh, and while other bands play, Manowar kills — that’s pretty heavy! Has this band ever sold out? Fuck no. Are they indeed made of steel, not clay (as am I, by the way)? You bet your ass. And do they actually believe that they’re metal warriors riding mighty steeds wielding the finest steel? YES, mother f-ers, they do! They live for metal, they ARE metal, and the band can still blow your speakers with rock and roll. There’s no doubt they belong on a mega-metal tour with the likes of the aforementioned bands.
On their 1988 album Under The Influence, Overkill said, simply stated, that they came to shred, and shred they have for over 25 years. Singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and D.D. Verni have been keeping the metal fires lit since 1980s, even though they never achieved the level of success as the other bands. Overkill will not die.
8- Mercyful Fate
Talk about keeping the metal torch lit, is there anyone more dedicated than King Diamond, solo artist and frontman for Mercyful Fate? I say no. While the other bands live for metal, King is the embodiment of all things heavy, dark, and forbodding. What better way to open a Big 8 tour with the demonic sounds of King and Mercyful Fate. If you’re a Metallica fan, then you already know that Fate was a big influence on them. Oh, and you know how the Devil and heavy metal are so closely associated — well, King is in league with Lucifer. Seriously, while other bands just rode on the whole Devil image, King actually loves him some Satan — now that’s authenticity.
While there’s several other bands I think would be great as say bands 9-15, but if you’re looking for the top 8 thrash metal bands, I have to go with these.
Now let me hear you, my metal brethren, which bands would you want on a Big 8 thrash metal tour?