The Big Four is a subject dear to our hearts here at Dose of Metal. Why? Because all of us respect all four bands a lot, and all of us love at least two of them to death. So whenever we get the chance to talk about them, we do.
Before this website (and therefore, before The Big Four concerts happened), Guido and I wanted to start a Big Four fansite. Our goal was to just get fans together and stop arguing about which band is better, and just treat all four bands with the respect they deserve.
That didn’t happen, and instead we got this shitty metal blog running. However, I still kinda feel defensive about this subject, so here goes:
One of the biggest debates that was going on before the concerts and the DVD , was which bands should really be part of ‘The Big Four.’ Some argued that Metallica shouldn’t be there, since they haven’t been thrash metal for decades. Others wanted Exodus, Testament or Overkill in there. I could never understand why.The term was not up for debate, it wasn’t a chart or a top, it was just a monicker.
The Big Four is just a nickname, it is not supposed to be a factually accurate thesis on thrash metal. It’s a nickname given to four specific bands, period. If you want other thrash metal bands to be part of a celebration of thrash metal, that’s understandable, but call it something else. Call it, I don’t know, “Thrash Metal Celebration.” Do not call it The Big Four, because that name is about four bands, and four bands only.
Even though diehard thrash metalheads still debate the term from time to time, most people just accept the fact that it is what it is, now that there is a DVD out and everything. However, this interview with Scott Ian just made me remember all those useless arguments all over again.
Interviewer: I was wondering whether he thought there were any other bands that should have been considered for that title. Like, should it maybe have been the Big Five instead?
Scott Ian: The only other band really that it would make sense [to include] as far as American thrash-metal would be Exodus, because they were there right at the beginning as well. Their first album came out right at the same time as the rest of us. So I mean, to me, yes — if you were gonna add a fifth band, certainly I would think Exodus would be able to fill that slot very easily.
Scott is not responsible for this, he just gave a hypothetical answer to a very hypothetical question. It’s clearly the interviewer who just happens to wonder what band would be good for “The Big Five.” But what is that? The term doesn’t exist. No one ever thought of that nickname. The nickname and the number four came because of the four bands we all know, not the other way around. It makes no sense to add anyone else to the nickname.
I know there are probably big Exodus fans out there who are gonna call me an asshole and teach me a lesson about what Exodus did for thrash metal. But that’s not the point, I’m not denying their legacy, I’m just saying the nickname “The Big Four” does not necessarily have to be the most accurate description of the origins of thrash metal. It’s simply a nickname that stuck, and it involves certain bands, and there should not be a debate over this. It’s like saying “Wacko Jacko” should not refer to Michael Jackson, but to Jack the Ripper, cause he was way ‘wacker’ than MJ.
The Big Four is Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. That’s it. There is no changing that. If you want to replace any of the bands with other thrash metal acts of the early 80s, you are entitled to do so, but it simply stops being ‘The Big Four.’ Just like operating on my testicles and removing both tumors would put an end to the ‘Big Four’ nickname I gave to my balls.
I heard Kerry King’s diet is also called The Big Four, because of the four supersized meals he gets at McDonald’s every day. It could just be a rumor I just made up though, so don’t take my word for it.
Source of the Scott Ian quote: Straight