During latest episode of MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn‘s “No F*ckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” Ian discussed EXODUS‘s standing as it relates to the “Big Four,” saying: “The powers that be, like the mayor of heavy metal — maybe Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] needs to get a phone call — and he can decree that the ‘Big Four’ needs to officially be changed to the ‘Big Five’ because it always bugged me that EXODUS doesn’t get the representation and the credit where credit is due.
“And I understand the ‘Big Four’ — I get it. Because maybe the four bands had more success certainly coming out of the ’80s whereas EXODUS certainly had their peaks and valleys and maybe didn’t have the same success going forward as some of the other bands. But the way I look at it is if you wanna look at the bands that really were there at the inception, Bonded By Blood was out way before [MEGADETH‘s] Killing Is My Business… Dave [Mustaine] was in METALLICA [before forming MEGADETH], but Kirk [Hammett] was in EXODUS [before joining METALLICA]. It’s, like, come on.
He continued: “I’m actually not kidding. I know this is a silly thing, but I truly believe that it needs to be [changed to ‘Big Five’] because ‘Bonded By Blood’ was such… I mean, come on. I’ve gone on record — I think it’s the best debut record of the five of us. It’s my favorite of the five — hands down — and such an influential record. And I just think it officially needs to be changed. I just think it’s something that’s been overlooked. And they just deserve the credit, man — they absolutely deserve it. And every time it comes up, I say, ‘You know, it should be the ‘Big Five’.’ And whatever — that probably opens a hundred other doors.”
EXODUS frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza discussed his band’s exclusion from the “Big Four” during a 2014 interview with the Argentinian radio station Rock & Pop 95.9 FM. At the time, Zetro said: “Personally, I don’t pay attention to that necessarily. I was in the Bay Area in the beginning, before I was even a member of EXODUS, so I remember who was the forefathers of thrash. I mean, Tom [Hunting, EXODUS drummer] invented that drum beat. That [guitar] picking style was from Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist] — that’s where the genesis of that came from.
He continued: “I think what [the media] did [when they came up with the ‘Big Four’] was they took the four bands who were probably the most successful in the initial period of thrash metal — from, say, ’85 or ’84 to ’90. If you were to go off popularity, if you were gonna go off record sales, you would have to say ANTHRAX, MEGADETH, METALLICA and SLAYER.
“Now, when you ask me that question, this is what I say: it’s ‘The Big One And The Other Three.’ Sorry. Neither one of those bands — and I love every single one of them… But METALLICA sits on their own. So, to say the ‘Big Four’? I don’t know if you can say that. You have to say ‘The Big One And The Other Three.'”
“And again, I was the singer for LEGACY, which turned into TESTAMENT, so I hired everybody in that band — even Chuck Billy,” Zetro added. “So my influence, as a writer and musician starting a band, was tapered after EXODUS and METALLICA. I didn’t even know, really, that SLAYER or MEGADETH or OVERKILL or ANTHRAX existed. I lived in the Bay Area, so then that band which you all known now as TESTAMENT, the genesis of that band was because of EXODUS, so…”