Slayer. Anthrax. Megadeth. Metallica.
This group of bands is commonly known as "The Big Four" of thrash metal; the ones credited with pioneering, promoting, and popularising the genre as it rose to prominence in North America in the early 1980s.
They haven't always stayed within the thrash boundaries, but the Big Four will always hold a special place in the fandom's hearts for helping bring their beloved style to the masses. That being said, a genre can't subside on four bands alone, meaning that there are other outfits out there who don't always get the credit they deserve.
Without these ten bands (and the countless others that didn't make it onto this list) to prop them up, there would be no Big Four, and there would certainly be no scene today. Though they were never as successful as the famous quartet, they have still earned the right to be called icons and should be celebrated far more than they already are.
Grow out your hair, tune those guitars down to drop D, and get ready to get real mad at "The Establishment", because this list is about to go thrashing.
Whilst the conventional "Big Four" has already been outlined in this article's intro, it turns out there are other "Big Fours" from other parts of the thrash metal world.
Just north of Slayer-land, Canada has its own Mount Rushmore of thrash bands, represented by a quartet of groups who helped bring the genre to the Great White North. One of them was formed in Ottawa in 1984 and their name is Annihilator.
Named after a tank in an Eddie Murphy movie, Annihilator released their debut album, Alice in Hell, in 1989. Considering that thrash was a very '80s genre, it would be easy to think that this lot were late to the party. However, their music was so popular, it sparked a second wave of thrash popularity.
The group have released 17 studio albums that have sold more than three million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling Canadian thrash band ever. Annihilator's success can be put down to Jeff Waters, who has remained the only constant member over decades of turbulence.
If you believe the old stereotype that all Canadians are quiet and polite, then stick some Annihilator on, that'll change your mind.