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Well, it's been awhile, but all four of The Big Four have put out new albums since the conclusion of The Big Four Song Challenge Series, so it's time for an update!  (Link to the original series here.)

For those that aren't familiar, I decided as a writing exercise/New Year's Resolution in 2013 that I would take the first song off of the first four albums by the Big Four thrash metal bands (being Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax & Slayer) and have a little competition.  The best song gets four points, second place gets three and so on.  I then did that 170 times.  I never thought I would finish the project; hell, I didn't think it would make it two weeks.  But next thing you knew, I had a book-length series of blogs about thrash metal.

And now, here we are again.  Every band in this cadre has released another album, and we are going to explore them four songs at a time to see who emerges the winner!  I will be keeping an update total in addition to the running total for contrast's sake. 

(Another bit of housekeeping: I had to add three live Slayer songs to even out the total to 15 songs per band, as there were bonus tracks for all three other albums.  Also, "Remember Tomorrow", which is a bonus track for "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct", was covered previously in Matchup 155.)

Okay, let's see what we've got!

Anthrax "Soror Irrumator" (2015) VS Megadeth "The Threat Is Real" (2016) VS Metallica "Hardwired" (2016) VS Slayer "World Painted Blood" (Live from Sofia, Bulgaria) (2010)

"Soror Irrumator" is from "Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Volume II", which was to promote Game Of Thrones season 5.  It sounds like it would be right at home on "For All Kings", and might be better than a decent number of songs on that album.  (In fact, I kind of wish this was the opener for that album.)  Energetic, hard-charging and anthemic.

"The Threat Is Real" is harder and more technical fare.  Drop or full D tuning, high speed, lots of twists and turns.  It really pays to have Chris Adler behind your kit.  This is a precision operation that wants you to know this band means business. 

"Hardwired" is the pure distillation of "Metallica shit".  It's everything people like about this band cut down to three minutes.  No frills.  No massive compositional shifts.  No bullshit.  It's crazy it's taken them this far into their career to make a three minute, no bullshit thrash song like this.  The only other one of this brevity is "Motorbreath".  It's a cool song, but it almost feels too simple in a way, but I also feel like I might be overthinking it.

Being that Slayer has only put 12 studio tracks out since the last Big 4 blogs, I had to include a few extras.  This is a solid performance of "World Painted Blood" from the first Big 4 Shows in Sofia, Bulgaria.  I actually quite enjoyed it even if the crowd didn't really seem to care except during the fast parts.  It's one of Slayer's longer songs at over six minutes, so there's parts built in to make sure they don't die or get bored.  It's one of the best songs on the album of it's namesake, so it ranks high here.

I was surprised, because all four of these songs are on-point.  It really, really depends on what your criteria is for best song.  This is the best I can figure it, but ask me on a different day, and I'd give you a different answer.  But because we're keeping score, here's what counts:

"Soror Irrumator": 4
"Hardwired": 3
"The Threat Is Real": 2
"World Painted Blood" (Live from Sofia, Bulgaria): 1


Anthrax: 442
Slayer: 432
Metallica: 429
Megadeth: 389

Find out how things shake out tomorrow!


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