Face of a Franchise: Thrash Pioneers

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Influenced by the NWOBHM, American metalheads of the early 1980s began shredding faster and partying harder. With art and life aping one another, the result was a new breed of metal called thrash. Yes, it’s a terrifying thought but thrash metal has been around for three decades. And nearly just as old as the music itself is the debate about who is most responsible for its inception.

Everyone knows the story – Metallica pioneered thrash in San Francisco’s Bay Area, instructing fans to bang their heads against the stage like they never did before. But right before heading to the East Coast to record their full-length debut, the group booted original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. According to metal folklore, this ousting came without any warning – Mustaine was woken up by his bandmates, given a bus ticket, and told to get the fuck out.

Needless to say, Mustaine felt like he’d been stabbed in the back. The dagger was further twisted when Metallica released Kill `Em All, which included four tracks that Mustaine had co-written during his tenure with the band. Mustaine’s blood, which was swimming with heroin, was boiling. He was now determined to out-metal Metallica.

Less than two years later, Mustaine put together Megadeth and released Killing is My Business…and Business Is Good! This album was a frenetic rejoinder, a half-hour punch-to-the-face riff-fest that created a schism in the metal community. Megadeth was branded as the heavier, faster, and more brutal Metallica. The two bands then spent the 1980s slugging it out, each vying for thrash dominance.

Since their respective formations, both bands have gone on to have storied careers and even seemed to have made amends. But fugg that, I long for the days in which competition motivated the franchises to push themselves to their absolute limits. So let’s rip off the bandages and reopen the wound.

Whattaya think about this classic question? Metallica or Megadeth?