The Big Five :
We’ve all heard of the ridiculousness that is called “The Big Four”. That title being of the four bands responsible for founding Thrash. And while both Slayer, and Megadeth (The Dave Mustaine Show) deserve our respect, (Anthrax isn’t even worth mentioning) the truth is none of those bands hold a candle to Metallica as far as influence, recognition, or fanbase. Yes as Hardcore Metal fans you can say they sold out, haven’t made a relevant album in decades, etc (which I too personally believe) but none of those other bands can go all over the world, and sell out stadiums. In reality there has only been one Metal band that would be able to match the impact of what Metallica did in the 1980s, and that would be Pantera in the 1990s. If Darrell Abbott was still alive, Pantera would be able to mount a reunion tour just as impressive as far their draw, tickets sold, and stadiums. No other band since Metallica came onto the scene (Guns N’ Roses, and U2 aren’t Metal) would be able to accomplish that.
And that’s where the discussion of “The Big Five” comes in . There are Five bands that have been not only able to get the recognition from critics, landmark music, and albums, but also the superstar fan bases all over the world. The five bands listed above (with the exception of Pantera because Darrell is deceased) can still basically play anywhere in the world, with large scale shows, sell tons of tickets, and fill football fields. There are no other bands in the Metal genre that can really do that. Not that there haven’t been groups worthy of that recognition. Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, the original Slayer, are both perfect examples of bands who got pigeonholed because of the “Satan” thing. Bands like Thin Lizzy, or Helloween, that got huge in certain parts of the world, but never America. Motörhead also never got the commercial recognition they deserved. Lemmy told the story many times that he didn’t really start to make any money until he co-wrote “Mama I’m Coming Home” for Ozzy. As for Megadeth, since Mustaine changes band members like he changes socks has also hurt their appeal to headline massive tours. Even very popular bands like Slipknot, Tool, etc, can only rely on their headlining potential to go so far.
So my question to all of you is what happens now ? Who will be number 6 ? Who will be the next band to truly take Metal by the horns to start a whole new Metal Revolution like Sabbath and Priest did in the 70s, Iron Maiden, and Metallica did in the 80s, and Pantera in the 90s ? It’s obvious two of the most popular bands today can’t do it. Both Avenged Sevenfold, and Volbeat are opening for Metallica this summer. They have been around long enough to prove their fan bases can only go so far, and have now basically hit a wall. Obviously the music business is now different than what it was before. You have bands huge in one country, yet unknown in another, etc. That being said though, music is accessible now more than ever. In the 70s, 80s, 90s, we couldn’t click on an app on our phone to listen to an album. So it should be more than realistic that it could, and should happen again.
Somebody is gonna have to do it though. The five bands mentioned above aren’t getting any younger that’s for sure. I know some people will read this and say “I like what I like no matter how popular or influential it is to others.” That’s all fine and dandy too. One thing is for sure. From the way the musical landscape looks now I don’t see it happening anytime soon..