Most Underrated Thrash Metal Bands


Thrash metal band Destruction posing for a photo.

Destruction – Author Anne Erickson, Courtesy photo

Thrash metal is such a fantastic subgenre of heavy metal music. While pretty much everyone, or at least anyone who knows heavy music, can named the “Big Four” of thrash metal – Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax – there are a bunch of other thrash metal bands that often get left out of the mix. So, what are the most underrated thrash metal bands ever?

What is Thrash Metal?

Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music and one of the more extreme. It’s not black metal or death metal, but it definitely has some extreme elements to its sound. Thrash is known for is aggressive nature, fast tempo and double bass drums. Thrash songs usually feature tons of guitar shredding and very quick percussive beats.

The thrash metal genre started blossoming in the early 1980s, bringing together the heavy metal of the era, which leaned on British heavy metal, with a hardcore punk edge. Small thrash metals started to pop up and became legendary in the genre, including Metal Blade, Megaforce, Combat, Roadrunner and Noise. The thrash sound went “mainstream,” so to speak, when Metallica hit it big and brought thrash to the world.

Most Underrated Thrash Metal Bands


Vektor is one of the the youngest bands on this list, and it feels goo to highlight a thrash band that formed this century. The guys got together in the early 2000s, and their music is very technical. In their songs, they often deal with subjects surrounding astronomy, philosophy and science. What’s not to love about a science-minded thrash band?


Warbringer is another younger band, having formed in the mid-2000s. These guys have already given metal music a plethora of glorious thrash releases, including six full-length studio albums. They’re part of the so-called thrash metal revival, alongside bands such as Hatchet, Havok and Evile. All of those bands should really get their due.


If you’re a metalhead, then you’re probably wondering how Overkill could be underrated. But, even though Overkill gets a ton of respect from the metal world, the casual metal fan might not know about their greatness. The band is still hot, too. Longtime member Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth recently chatted with Audio Ink Radio about the band’s new album, 2023’s “Scorched.” He also said that his favorite thing about thrash metal is that “when the pillars were being made to hold this up, was that there were no rules.” He added, “That has obviously changed. I mean, thrash is, to some degree, a formula this many decades later, but the exciting part at the beginning was anything goes, everything goes.”


Here’s another thrash band that might not seem underrated to the diehard metal fan. But, most people out there have never heard of Exodus. It’s a shame. These guys formed back in 1979 and have been a positive force for metal ever since. They also dropped a new album in 2021, “Persona Non Grata.” Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus spoke with Audio Ink Radio about the new album, saying, “This one hits on all cylinders, and we’re all much more mature musicians, let alone people. So, I think the best stuff is definitely yet to come, but this album, if I had to look back on everything, it holds up to every singe one of them- if not holds more than everyone one of them. This record doesn’t let down.”


Man. Who doesn’t love Destruction? These guys are among the most legendary of the real-deal heavy metal acts. Legendary vocalist Schmier spoke with us about the band being one of the first in the world to play a show following the pandemic. He’s famously not a fan of Metallica going “mainstream” with “The Black Album” and loves thrash being underground. “I don’t know if I really want that to happen that the masses are listening to my favorite band, because what usually happens is that the band gets more commercial and the band loses the edge, and then it’s not my favorite band anymore. I used to be a big fan of Metallica, and with ‘The Black Album,’ they became a new band, basically.”


Tankard was huge in the German metal scene, but they never got their due with the more casual metal fan, and certainly not in the States. The band is often called one of the “Big Four” of Teutonic thrash metal, along with Kreator, Destruction and Sodom. Really, all of those bands are underrated, but Tankard more than the rest.

We also named some of these bands among the best thrash metal bands of all time, not just underrated. Find the full list here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music