Starting in the early 1980s, American bands began to come up with a stateside answer to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Unlike their British counterparts, however, they owed a debt equally to older heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and to the hardcore punk scene which had erupted and was flourishing in the early 1980s. A handful of bands, mostly from the West Coast and especially from the Bay Area, became the biggest, best, and most influential thrash bands of all time. While few of them may have broken through to the mainstream, they have left an underground legacy that has proven highly influential. And those that did broke down media doors for play of extreme music on the airwaves. The genre lives on, at least in name, to this day, as many bands influenced by the early thrash bands have also dubbed themselves thrash, but none have yet to have the same impact as the originals.
Here, then, are the top 5 all time thrash metal bands.