During his recent conversation with Metal Hammer, Exodus guitarist Gary Holt reflected his views on Metallica’s success and the thrash metal genre’s popularity by comparing it to grunge.
Thrash metal, which is a heavy metal music subgenre, emerged during the early ’80s, and it attracted great attention with its aggressive sound and fast tempo. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer became the Big Four of thrash metal with their iconic records.
Metallica sold millions of albums worldwide and started gaining more and more popularity among metalheads. Therefore, Holt thought that Metallica’s worldwide popularity would open the doors for the other new-generation bands that wanted to create heavy metal works.
However, the guitarist realized that he was wrong about his prediction after grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden gained international fame, which surprisingly also increased Pantera’s popularity. Gary Holt defined those times as very strange for metal music since people ‘wanted it a certain way or no way at all.’
Holt stated in his interview that:
“Not at first. It was more like, ‘Hell, Metallica has just become the biggest metal band of all time, it’s gonna open the doors for everybody.’
That didn’t happen. Then grunge came out, and bands like Pantera exploded. It was a strange time for heavy music. People wanted it a certain way or no way at all, I guess.”
However, it can be said that most of the thrash metal bands preserved their commercial success for many years even though grunge became the most popular genre during the ’80s and ’90s.