If you were to ask anyone what they think the best thrash metal album of all time is, what do you think they would say? Reign In Blood? Master of Puppets? Among the Living? Peace Sells…But Who's Buying? Well, if you ask Anthrax and current Pantera drummer Charlie Benante, he'll tell you the best thrash album was not made by any of the Big Four, as he explained in a recent interview with BraveWords.
The topic came about as a footnote to what was originally of a bit of a bummer, when Hatebreed couldn't make a series of dates alongside Anthrax and Black Label Society, like they had done last summer.
"There was talk early on in that tour about doing another run," said Benante. However, "[Hatebreed] couldn't make it… they had conflicting dates."
It wasn't long before Bay Area thrashers Exodus jumped on the bill, and they will be ready to rock starting next week when the tour kicks off—just in time for Benante to recharge and reboot from his recent Pantera duties. Talking about Exodus, Benante had nothing but love for the thrash OGs, who, like Testament, have sort of hovered outside that Big 4 window.
"We've been on tour with Exodus, we've taken that band out a lot through the years," said Charlie. "They're good friends of ours; especially Gary [Holt, guitarist]. We've known Gary since the early days. Then when we did a bunch of those Slayer dates, Gary was there [replacing Jeff Hanneman]. Gary's been very, very close with us.
"The first time I heard Exodus was their demo tape," Benante continued. "Actually, a friend of mine gave it to me. Then, another friend of mine was doing a record label, Torrid Records, and they were going to put out the first Exodus record. That's when I heard what the record was sounding like. To this day, I say the same thing – that first Exodus record, to me, is the best thrash record that's ever come out. I always put that #1."
Of course, Benante is talking about the debut Exodus LP, Bonded by Blood (1985), featuring original vocalist Paul Baloff and was released within an year of Anthrax's first LP, Fistful of Metal (1984). It's a tough call, because as we mentioned, there's a few bands on that bubble, with LPs by Overkill, Kreator, and Metal Church also deserving consideration.
The good news, though, is you can check out Anthrax along with Black Label Society and Exodus through most of this coming winter, with the following dates having been confirmed so far.
1/17 – Boise, ID @ Revolution Concert House
1/18 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
1/20 – Vancouver, BC @ PNE Forum
1/21 – Penticton, BC @ So. Okanagan Events Ctr.
1/22 – Calgary, AB @ Grey Eagle Events Centre
1/24 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings
1/25 – Grand Forks, ND @ Alerus Center
1/27 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
1/28 – Mt. Pleasant, MI @ Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
1/29 – Chicago, IL @ Radius
1/31 – Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theater
2/2 – Portland, ME @ Cross Insurance Arena
2/3 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
2/4 – Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center
2/5 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
2/7 – Corbin, KY @ Corbin Arena
2/8 – St. Louis, MO @ The Factory at The District
2/10 – San Antonio, TX @, Tech Port Center + Arena
2/11 – Houston, TX @ Bayou
2/13 – Omaha, NE @ The Admiral Theater
2/14 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Criterion
2/15 – Albuquerque, NM @ Revel
2/17 – Riverside, CA @ Municipal Auditorium
2/18 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater