Thrash Metal is fairly popular, and has seen a resurgence in the past few years, myself one of the victims of this new popularity, no doubt due to the internet. Often in the same breath, the term 'The Big Four of Thrash' is often mentioned. These bands are Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. The first three make perfect sense. Say what you will about Megadeth and Dave Mustaine, it's irrelevant. Some people seem to like him. Plus Tornado of Souls is a sweet song.
The real problem arises around Anthrax. This bunch of moronic New Yorkers rose to great heights within the metal scene in the eighties and even went on to further embarass themselves in the ninties by flirting with rap. It is often claimed that their best album was Among the Living, released in 1986. This is no doubt true, it certainly is there best record. However, based on their other recordings, specifically, I'm the Man, this is no great claim to fame. The best song off Among the Living is Caught in a Mosh, and that is pretty damn mediocre. I will also concede that the song Madhouse has a sweet video clip.
What gets me is the image. Portrayed as the fun guys, when compared to the sincerity of Metallica, the pseudo-satanism of Slayer, and the idiocy of Megadeth, Anthrax did outrageous things like wear board shorts and, later, track suits with mad bling:
To me it strikes me as incredibly put on. Metallica is often accused of playing with image and scene for the sake of record sales. I would argue that Anthrax did so in a far more cynical way. Not to mention they released terrible music. I am liable to forgive Metallica for everything when i hear Shortest Straw...though perhaps not the song Frantic.
In any case, when we compare Anthrax with a band who did not make any ground, and were relegated to the credibility laden, but money bare underground, such as Morbid Saint:
We see just how bad Anthrax are:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqClrI343Bg (please excuse lack of embed)
I would argue that the Public Enemy shirt is sweet.
I realise i am not saying anything fundamental here. Terrible bands 'make it', while excellent ones are relegated to the proverbial trash.
The only thing worse than Anthrax is James Hetfield's current voice, as well as anything written by Municipal Waste. Also, Armored Saint.