Rock music has always been considered one of the most popular genres out there. There are so many types of rock as well as bands out there. It can be overwhelming for a person to claim who their favorites really are, especially when someone is asked to name their single favorite band of all time. As rock music became extremely popular in the 1960s, other forms of this genre slowly popped up.
Rock music eventually laid the foundation for a new form of rock called Heavy Metal. Its roots began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, mainly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Heavy metal music featured highly amplified distortion, emphatic beats, fast riffs and a thick overall sound. Some of the bands that could be considered heavy metal bands were Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Motorhead. Bands during the late 1970s that were considered part of New Wave British heavy metal were Saxon and Iron Maiden.
By the early 1980s glam metal became increasingly popular. Bands that were considered to be part of the glam metal sub-genre were Poison and Motley Crue. These bands eventually led the way for another sub-genre of metal, thrash metal.
Thrash metal featured super fast tempo, double bass pedals, excessive downpicking, shredding and immense aggression when heard. Most of the time low-register guitar riffs were preferred and extended guitar solos were widely used. The percussion beats were typically fast and different drumming techniques such as a cymbal choke could be heard. Over time, thrash metal was an inspiration for subsequent extreme genres such as black metal and death metal.
In the early 1980s metal music in general was not very popular. People in general saw it as a boisterous form of music that nobody wanted to listen to. Many thrash metal bands kept on releasing demo tapes in order to create a growing loyal fan base. This was not necessarily a simple task , but many of these bands continued to do so, chiefly because of their love and passion for heavy metal music.
So, out of the dozens and dozens of heavy metal bands out there, which one is really the greatest?
One band in particular was a band from Downey, California. Their name reflected their passion of heavy metal music and their hopes and dreams of it staying alive well into the future. This band was Metallica.
The original members of the band consisted of James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Ron McGovney, and Lars Ulrich. Hetfield and Ulrich met after responding to a Los Angeles newspaper ad and became close friends. Eventually McGovney, Metallica's bassist, was replaced by Cliff Burton. Burton was first seen by Hetfield and Ulrich while playing at a local club. Due to his clean sounding playing, Hetfield and Ulrich thought he was playing guitar, instead Burton was playing bass.
Shortly after, Mustaine was forced out of the band and was replaced by Kirk Hammett (the original founder of the band Exodus). Unfortunately, in 1986 Burton was killed in a bus accident which forced the band to find a new bass player. Jason Newsted became the new bass player of the band until he was replaced by Robert Trujillo.
When Metallica was first formed the band offered the music industry a sound that was never heard before. The band used intense riffs, jaw dropping solos, and super fast percussion. Furthermore, Metallica didn't sound like a typical heavy metal band that just put random sounds together. Each and every song that was heard live or on a demo was quickly recognized (especially once the band moved to San Francisco).
The album entitled Kill ‘Em All (Metallica’s first studio album) gave Metallica immense positive exposure. The album was released on Megaforce Records, eventually being re-released on Elektra Records later on. By 1999, the album reached triple platinum status. Kill ‘Em All was the first album by the “Big Four” (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer) of thrash to be released, setting the benchmark for other upcoming thrash bands.
The band would then release Ride The Lightning on July 27, 1984. The next two albums were released over the next few years (These included Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All). By this time Metallica was known not just across the U.S., but internationally as well. The songs on these albums were played on radio stations across the world drawing new fans consistently.
In 1991, Metallica released Metallica (The Black Album). This album would become their 16 times platinum album, selling over 16 million copies worldwide. Metallica then embarked on a three year tour, followed by a break, then they decided to regroup in the studio in mid 1995. Over the next two years they would release Load and Reload. The band would continue to play live concerts and eventually would go on to release St. Anger in 2003 and Death Magnetic in 2008. Furthermore, the band released countless live albums (including the band being backed by the the San Francisco Symphony), cover albums, collaboration albums, and soundtrack albums.
Each album released by the band almost automatically had songs played on radio stations all across the globe. As time passed, Metallica consistently delivered high-quality heavy metal music to its audience. You will never meet a person that says they attended a Metallica concert and had a lousy experience.
According to many music experts, Metallica is theoretically directly responsible for the creation of another heavy metal band. When Mustaine left the band, he felt that he never received credit for his work on Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning. Mustaine has also made claims to have written parts of "Leper Messiah" from Master of Puppets.
Eventually Mustaine (who was considered to be one of the best heavy metal guitarists) decided to form his own band. Some believe that Mustaine wanted to get back at Metallica for forcing him out of the band. There is a rumor that Mustaine purposely chose a band name that had the same beginning letters as Metallica, so that his band can be easily be found in record stores (at the time record stores assorted records by bands alphabetically). Ultimately, Mustaine would go on to form Megadeth.
Megadeth would release an array of magnificent albums, including Peace Sells.... but Who's Buying?, So Far, So Good...So What!, Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction (which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was the first certified platinum record by Megadeth), and Youthanasia. Megadeth also had the ability to gain immense fans after going on world tours, which attracted millions of heavy metal enthusiasts. Moreover, Megadeth also released many live albums, compilation albums, and video albums. As of today, Megadeth's biggest hit single is “Symphony of Destruction” which peaked at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and reached the top 15 in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
There is no doubt that a massive debate still exists today when deciding which of these two thrash metal bands “Made Better Music”. Metallica and Megadeth both sold millions of albums and brought smiles to the faces of countless numbers of fans.
According to The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, it was stated that Metallica “gave heavy metal a much-needed charge". Billboard had called Megadeth's second album Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? a "landmark of the thrash movement". Both Metallica and Megadeth are bands that emerged from the 1980s American underground metal scene and achieved mass commercial success.
Along with contemporaries Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, Megadeth is regarded as one of the core founding bands of the thrash metal genre. Heavy metal music may never have taken off the way it did if it wasn't for these two bands that produced awe-inspiring music. Both bands have songs which use some of the most fascinating riffs and solos that the music industry has ever seen.
In the future, when music enthusiasts look back at both of these bands they will realize that Metallica and Megadeth had not just perfected thrash metal, but rather changed the entire rock genre for the better by adding their sensational skills, dedication and passion.