Archives For overkill

I first started working on this series about four years ago. It has been through many revisions, rewrites, and re-visitations since then.

But here’s the thing: metal history doesn’t stop!

So let us consider this coverage of more “recent” events (since 2010 or so) as a bonus.

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The finest heavy metal record of 1979 opens with the song that many of us Motorheadbangers know as the ultimate live show closer: “Overkill.” A metal classic for the ages, the song “ends” three times, with that screaming, high-bending lead guitar, which is such a key part of its concert appeal. We fans are delightfully attuned to it, some of us having had the pleasure of hearing it for decades.

But imagine what it must have been like to first hear it in 1979: the most popular airplay was all about New Wave, punk rock, and The Wall. Then seemingly out of the black comes this Northern English trio with a wild Snaggletooth for a mascot, with a frontman who’s not quite singing but not quite growling either. Who could have imagined that, like the Snaggletooth charging out of the album cover, that this band would continue on for over 36 years, bulling over everything in its path, and serving as a respected inspiration by every genre from punk rock to death metal to thrash metal to alternative rock?

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Presenting thrash metal to the world like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the Big Four were among the progenitors of the genre. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax collected the lion’s share of the album sales, fans, and awards–and still do. Their decades of fine service to the genre have ensured over time that they are considered the definitive thrash metal bands.

But there were plenty of other notable bands who played a part in making thrash metal what it is today. Some fans even purposefully resent Metallica and others for taking attention from other worthy thrash metal groups. Regardless, it just so happens that fanbases evolve over time and it has never been easier to rediscover these other, more neglected thrashers.

This section is about those much-loved, just-as-good, but not as popular thrash metal bands: Beyond the Big Four.

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