Release Date: 22 Jan 2016
Label: Universal Music Enterprise
Length: 55 Minutes
Genre: Thrash Metal
Previous Albums: Killing is my Business…and Business is Good (1985); Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying (1988); Rust in Peace (1990); Countdown to Extinction (1992); Youthanasia (1994); Cryptic Writings (1997); Risk (1999); The World Needs a Hero (2001); The System Has Failed (2004); United Abominations (2007); Endgame (2009); Thirteen (2011); Super Collider (2013).
Location: United States Read the rest of this entry →
2011 was a great year for concerts, in my humble life anyway. I had the pleasurable experience seeing so many of my favorite bands and several new ones. I feel fortunate enough to live somewhere (for a while) where I can pick and choose which shows I want to see. I didn’t always have an opportunity like I do here living fairly close to London. After 9 concerts and 24 bands, I have narrowed my favorite shows to seven. Here is the pool of candidates: Black Label Society, Godhead, Overkill, Destruction, Heathen, After All, Children of Bodom, Ensiferum, Machinae Supremacy, Amon Amarth (twice), Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax (Big Four), Iron Maiden, Trivium, Septic Flesh, As I Lay Dying, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Cake, Machine Head, Bring Me The Horizon, and DevilDriver.
Last week, The Sword took the poll from Mastodon in the modern-retro battle. Congrats to the Austin, Texas-based band that has made quite a name for themselves in metal. This week I am setting up a poll based on many opinions I have read over the last couple years. It is the subject of the second Big Four. We all know the contributions of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. There is no need to go in-depth on that one. What about other thrash metal bands that formed around the same time? Some of the names I have seen thrown into the mix the most are Testament, Death Angel, Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam, Exodus, Machine Head, and Pantera. The only thing that separates Machine Head and Pantera from the rest is that they basically shot to fame in the 90s vs, the 80s. So, let’s stick to bands that formed around the same time as the original Big Four.
I am choosing Testament and Overkill for this poll. Personally, I think these two bands have contributed greatly to metal and are still at it with little to no breaks in their careers. Gaps happen, but consistency is important to me. Testament had a break during singer Chuck Billy’s battle with cancer, but other than that have been full force. What say you? Check out these two 80’s era videos before you cast your vote. Ah, the good old days.
The Big Four finally made it to the United Kingdom and I was one of the lucky one’s that got to be part of such a historic metal experience. The weather was perfect (except a bit windy) and the set lists were fantastic.
The Sonisphere crowd was ready to rock…obviously having skipped whatever they had to skip to be there early on a Friday afternoon. By the time Anthrax hit the stage it was packed. The people of England and all those that travelled here wanted to hear the Big Four! Fans let their presence be known. The Big Four unleashed unto England the true power of thrash. Let’s get this review going and talk about the bands.
The September slaughter continues. I think we are up to five solid metal releases so far for September 2011; now you can add one more. Anthrax is FINALLY going to release their new material with Belladonna on vocals. Worship Music is slated for a September 13, 2011 release which would coincide roughly with their September Big Four performance at Yankee Stadium in New York. That ought to be nice for the hometown crowd.
I like what Anthrax has offered to the metal world with both Bush and Belladonna. I am a bit skeptical to hear new music after 8 years of…well nothing much. I am not going to anticipate it too much, but I am looking forward to hearing it. Here is an excerpt from Anthrax’s website regarding Worship Music:
“I get goosebumps listening to the new music,” Benante admitted. “Scott and Rob’s guitars are absolutely on fire, Frankie kicks butt on bass, and hearing Joey sing, well, the band sounds like Anthrax – Joey’s back and it’s great.”
I guess the rest is up to the ear of the beholder. I know many metal fans think that Anthrax is overrated and should never have been part of the Big Four, but there is no denying their fame and what they have done for metal. I believe they spawned the entire genre of nu-metal (Limp Bizkit types), but whatever, I dig their music and look forward to seeing them this year at Sonisphere UK with the rest of the Big Four. Anthrax does put on a good show especially if you see them in a smaller venue.
Here is a video clip of Anthrax’s glory days complete with jams and high-tops.
Here is Belladonna singing Only which was recorded with John Bush.
The final artist list for Sonisphere is complete and they have finally offered day tickets. You would think that would bring joy to my life, but this is not so much the case. If you have been following this blog you know that the Big Four is making an appearance at Sonisphere U.K. which is only about 45 minutes from my house. I have been looking forward to this opportunity and have been patiently waiting for day tickets to go on sale. Well, today the announcement was made, but with a twist. They will be holding a ticket eligibility “lottery’ of sorts. I had to go in and register for which day or days I want to see and then on May 25th I will find out if I have been selected to be allowed to purchase a day ticket. And if I am lucky enough to get selected to spend 80 pounds for a day pass, they will tell me which day I can go to.
So I chose Friday July 8th because that is the day of the Big Four and I also chose the Sunday the 10th show which features Slipknot headlining and also Opeth, Arch Enemy, and Motorhead; all of which I have never seen live before. So I MIGHT get lucky and see the Big Four or the other day or I might get shit-nothing.
Whatever happened to first come, first serve?! I have been looking at that website every day for months now for word on single day passes. I almost want to boycott the festival and go to Download instead and scream at Linkin Park out of spite.
Well whatever, if I get selected to purchase a ticket I will just let the chips fall where they may because if I get to go I win with either one of those days. Either I see my favorite bands all in one day or I see other bands I like for the first time. If I get selected it’s a win win. If I do not get selected I will technically be a loser and I will be sore about it and you will be the first to hear about it on May 25th. Stay tuned I might need a shoulder to cry on. Here are some videos of all the bands metioned inthis article, except Linkin Park.
So what would you do? Here is the link to the Sonisphere site. http://uk.sonispherefestivals.com/
As I was flying across the pond back to the great nation of America I was delighted to read the latest edition of Revolver magazine. The entire issue was dedicated to the “Big Four.” So where does Alice in Chains factor into this?
First, about the magazine. The entire issue was focused on Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax-cover to cover. There were lot’s of articles and interviews past and present much of which centered around the current state of the “Big Four” and the relationships among the bands. One part of this issue discussed the Clash of the Titans American tour back in 1991 when Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax co-headlined. Personally, it was such a great experience to be part of that twice. Oh, to be young again…
If you don’t know, Alice in Chains opened those historic Clash of the Titans shows. Why, I don’t think anyone really knows. If you know your metal history, this is the time when the Seattle grunge movement was taking effect. I did catch on to that a little, but of all those bands Alice in Chains is the one that stuck out for me and I still enjoy a listen now and then. I gained a little more respect for them after I saw the open those two shows. If I remember correctly, they had some stuff thrown at them at the Portland, Maine show. but they played on. In Mansfield, Mass I think the crowd was a bit more respectful. Even the “Big Three” band members respected them as musicians and people.
After having read that magazine cover to cover on a long uneventful flight, I felt Alice in Chains was appropriate to carry the song of the week this week with Rooster. If you don’t know what it means, check out the video below. Enjoy!
Anthrax rounds out a solid week of metal in the morning. Today’s song of the day is:
Belly of the Beast by Anthrax off the Greater of Two Evils album
This is the one featuring John Bush on the revamped Anthrax w/Belladonna version of Belly of the Beast. The original was featured on Persistence of Time and there is also a video for the song. So take your pick, there are two versions of the same song…the John Bush version started off my morning. Have a great weekend!
P.S. If any of you readers out there are going to see DevilDriver in London tomorrow (Saturday the 13th) see you there.
I was fortunate enough to catch the Big Four live from Sofia at the movie theater when it was broadcast across 800 theaters around the world. Lucky for me (and Yungvirticus) the local theater was one of those theaters. When the four bands took the stage for Metallica’s rendition of Am I evil, it was a great moment to see Dave and James together (years of animosity aside). Did you happen to notice Tom, Jeff, and Kerry absent from the stage? I read on a metal site called blabbermouth.net that Kerry and Co were editing their set so that it could be played live in time for the worldwide broadcast. So that left Lombardo to be the only Slayer rep on stage pounding his one drum next to Lars. Despite the absence of legendary Slayer (75% of them) it was a great metal moment. A few days ago, the video for Am I evil was a free download on iTunes, so I snagged that. I would love to say I have the DVD now so I could watch Megadeth’s performance again, but it’s part of my Christmas list so I have to hope Santa or Mrs. Plantera7 gets it for me.
So what do you think of the Big Four? I posted a while back about a second Big Four or a revised current Big Four, but for now…are you glad they finally got together? I noticed Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax toured the states recently. I would have loved to have been a part of that especially since I got to see Clash of the Titans twice in the early 90s. So which Big Four band is your favorite? How would you stratify all four bands? My favorite is Megadeth and my stratification is like so: Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica (despite St Anger, Load, and Reload) and Anthrax. Have a great metal day.
So there has been a lot of talk about the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax) getting up on stage for the first time this summer in Poland. The show was followed up by several others on the popular European Sonisphere Festival tour. I had a chance to catch it (with Yungvirticus) in our local theater. It actually gave me chills (the good kind) to see Dave and James on stage together. All BS aside, I thought it was a great metal moment and was happy to be one of the few in a theater somewhere in the world who got to see it. Soon, I will own it on DVD (Come on Santa!) and see it all over again.
So why am I writing this blog? Well other people seem to think that other bands should have been included in the Big Four…but then it would be like the Big Six or Big Eight or something. Personally, the Big Four deserve the credit they received and earned the Big Four moniker. So who else to you think could have or should have been Big Four material? Who do you think might have been overlooked as a pioneer of thrash and metal as we know it today? Well I have my thoughts on this. So if Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax never existed, who would be the Big Four? Here are my picks.
1. Overkill – These guys have been thrashing about (mostly on the East Coast since the early 80s and have not let up. If anything, they deserve credit for staying power, but one thing that I like about Overkill is that they keep it real. They had a few weak albums (as all bands do), but overall Overkill is just the epitome of a thrash band. Some of their better work is The Years of Decay, Horrorscope, From the Underground and Below, and the new Ironbound. Ironbound is simply amazing and I recommend it for even the new Overkill fan.
2. Testament – The Bay Area thrashers paved the way for many to follow. They experimented with a few things, got slightly soft here and there, but for the most part, they thrashed and I was happy to be a part of a few Testament pits in my day. They are still thrashing their way around the world and Chuck is still belting out those deep growls. It’s also great to have Alex back in the band for the charged energetic melodies he is so good at.
3. Pantera – This band may have very well started in 1990 or possibly the very late 80s, but how can you deny their influence on metal. When Pantera came out is was like OMFG, these guys can shred. I loved them instantly and I have to say that some of the best pits I have partaken in were Pantera pits…among others. These guys punched grunge in the face and kept metal on the map. RIP Dimebag!
4. Machine Head – These guys got their start a little later than Overkill and Testament, but when I heard Burn My Eyes, I was hooked and knew they had some staying power. Machine Head also tried some different things (which I respect), but there is no denying that their last two efforts Through the Ashes of Empires and The Blackening were simply superb metal albums. The Blackening especially was truly a great metal abum…every song kicks ass!
So, there you have my Big Four if the current Big Four never existed. Did I leave anyone out? Perhaps Sepultura, Helloween, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fear Factory, Death Angel, or Annihilator would have made your list. I would love to hear what you think.