Fans say that when you do not know who the Big Four of Metal is, then you are not a metal fan at all. Almost everyone can name the Big Four like the back of their hand. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer made a significant impact on the world of heavy metal. These four earned their spot in heavy metal music history thanks to their distinct styles compared to the glam rock that was dominating the radio waves in the '80s and '90s.

Metallica

This metal band is probably the most prominent among the four. They are formed by frontman-guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo, and drummer Lars Ulrich. Their first studio album was Kill 'Em All in 1983. Their most commercially successful album was self-titled fifth album Metallica, also known as Black Album.

The long-enduring heavy metal band is currently working on their live virtual concert for fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their first bassist Cliff Burton died on a bus accident during one of their world tours. He was replaced by Jason Newstead, who later left the band in 2001. Filling in the position is Trujillo.

Their first lead guitarist of Metallica was Dave Mustaine but was later fired and replaced by Hammett. Mustaine formed his heavy metal band called Megadeth.

The Big Four of Metal: Horsemen of the Apocalypse
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Megadeth

Mustaine wrote some of Metallica's early songs until he was kicked out of the band. So, he formed another heavy metal band along with bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Kerry King, and drummer Djon Carruthers. Their current lead guitarist and drummer are Kiko Loureiro and Dirk Verbeuren, respectively.

One of their most successful albums was Rust in Peace, released in 1990 and Countdown to Extinction in 1992, reaching platinum. The band is currently working on their sixteenth studio album, but pandemic circumstances make it more difficult than it already is.

The Big Four of Metal: Horsemen of the Apocalypse
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Anthrax

Guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello, vocalist Joey Belladonna, and lead guitarist Jonathan Donais currently form the New York-based heavy metal band Anthrax. They have changed continuously vocalists and guitarists.

Most of their fans know that the band wrote songs that have references to famous horror author Stephen King. Aside from that, some songs were also inspired by movies and comic books.

The band's mascot is a cartoon drawing of a bald man grinning maniacally. He was later dubbed by fans as "Not Man."

Anthrax is rumored to be working on their twelfth studio album.

The Big Four of Metal: Horsemen of the Apocalypse
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Slayer

The California-based thrash metal band was formed by vocal-bassist Tom Araya, drummer Dave Lombardo, as well as guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Current members include drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Slayer is known for its aggressiveness for covering politically incorrect topics such as Nazism, Satanism, hate crimes, racism, necrophilia, and many more.

The other three tackle these topics too, but Slayer is probably the more prominent among them. Because of this, Slayer has become the musical influence for most death metal and black metal bands that were formed after. In 2018, they announced and went on their Final World Tour to conclude of a three-decade heavy metal music career.

The Big Four of Metal: Horsemen of the Apocalypse
(Photo : Getty Images)