In an interview with Metal Command, Ellefson made a few points about the beloved genre. For starters, Ellefson believes there were many crucial moments in the evolution of the genre, but that the thrash-related Big Bang was the formation of Exodus in 1979 by Tom Hunting and Kirk Hammett.
Ellefson also believes that Lamb Of God gave thrash a much-needed reset during the 2000s. Or as he puts it, "we no more had a Pantera, and Lamb Of God kind of came in and took the throne." Which is interesting considering Lamb Of God is generally considered one of the torchbearers for the new wave of American heavy metal (NWOAHM) alongside bands like Unearth and Shadows Fall.
"Okay, so, like Exodus' Bonded By Blood, certainly that was their Kill 'Em All, it was their Killing Is My Business, it was them sort of grabbing the reins of that mountain. Because the truth of it is, look, Metallica moving up to San Francisco to get Cliff Burton in the band. Obviously, once they put roots down there, that's when that thing really grew. But there first, before anybody, was Exodus. They were really the kings of that. And as much as they were kind of in the background to the quick advancement of Metallica, Exodus is — I mean, that's the seed from which it all germinated in a lot of ways.
"I think Exodus, Testament… Testament's made some of their better records in the last decade, I think. And I love Souls Of Black. I love the early stuff; they're cool. I love listening to 'em. They're very ambient. Cool sounds. But, yeah, I think some of the more vicious and ferocious music from all those bands, I think they've all come recently… I saw, even in the 2000s… Look, Lamb Of God, for sure, was one of the big leaders. And look, part of it was because we no more had a Pantera, and Lamb Of God kind of came in and took the throne. But they always pointed toward Megadeth in particular, and, of course, Metallica and the Big Four.
"The '90s were not easy on thrash metal. Testament [and some of the other bands], they didn't fall off the grid, but they went very underground as a way to survive. Megadeth and Metallica, because of our size, we were able to maintain a little bit better. But by the 2000s, man, it was the younger bands, like Lamb Of God in particular, those guys really helped reset thrash metal."
I wonder how Ellefson feels about Queen?