Former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt looked back on the band’s early days during a recent interview with Heavy Culture. According to the musician, they didn’t receive the title of ‘The Big Four‘ because of their debut studio album, ‘Bonded by Blood.’

As many of you might know, the ‘Big Four’ thrash metal bands include Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. They are regarded as the founders of the genre in the 1980s, often characterized by its overall aggression and fast tempo.

Whether or not Exodus belongs in the ‘Big Five‘ of thrash metal along with these bands has been a long-standing debate. Since their involvement with the early 1980s thrash metal scene was also influential to the genre, many artists think they complete the quintet.

Just recently, Exodus frontman Gary Holt opened up about this ongoing discussion during an interview. According to the rocker, if there’s a spot, it only belongs to them, but he doesn’t think about the title that often, which makes it irrelevant.

Former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt revealed his opinion on the matter during a recent interview when asked if they should’ve been included in the ‘Big Five.’ The rocker stated that they were very young when they formed the band, and their debut album, ‘Bonded by Blood,’ ruined their opportunity to get the title.

According to him, it took so long to release the record because of the record company that they were left behind. In contrast, Slayer and Metallica had already released their debut records. Their follow-up album and losing their lead singer Paul Baloff affected the future of their career as well.

When asked about the ‘Big Five,’ Hunolt said:

“First of all, we were just kids. We couldn’t even buy alcohol. We were super young and just crazy, full of crazy energy. We recorded the album, ‘Bonded By Blood,’ and it took forever and ever and ever and ever for it to come out. So that really messed us up in the world.

Slayer, Metallica, and Exodus, we were all there at the same time, we all had albums ready to be released, and, of course, ours was the last one because of record company craziness. So, the follow-up, losing Paul was super tough.”

He continued:

“I think that when anybody… A good example is ‘Van Halen I.’ To this day, everybody compares everything that they’ve done after ‘Van Halen I’ to ‘Van Halen I.’ The same thing that we’ve been dealing with for 30 years. Everything that we do after ‘Bonded By Blood’ is going to be compared to ‘Bonded By Blood.’ 

So there’s always gonna be people that say, ‘No, no, no. Nothing will ever be as good as ‘Bonded By Blood.’ And then there’s gonna be people that say, ‘Yeah, their stuff after that is good too.’ It’s always gonna be that way. We have no control over it.”

You can watch the entire interview below.