The "Big Four" of the 1980s underground thrash metal scene — METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — have been confirmed for the Greek edition of the Sonisphere festival, set to take place June 24, 2010 at Terra Vibe Park in Athens. Also scheduled to appear are MASTODON and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE.

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METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX broke out of the underground thrash movement to dominate the metal world in the 1980s, selling millions of records and packing arenas across the globe. The metal giants have never before all shared the same stage, despite huge demand. But on June 16, 2010, METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX will take to the Sonisphere stage for the first time at Bemowo Airport, Poland to make the dreams of headbangers the world over become a reality.

Commented METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich: "Who would have thought that more than 25 years after its inception, thrash metal's 'Big Four' would not only still be around and more popular than ever, but will now play together for the first time...what a mindfuck! Bring it on!"

"It's about fucking time this happened," said SLAYER's Kerry King, "and about time the fans finally get what they want. This is fucking awesome."

ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian agreed, commenting on the enormity of the announcement. "People have been talking about these four bands playing together since 1984," he said. "That's twenty-six years of expectation!! And the thing is, I believe not only will we live up to the expectations, we will shatter them! No other four bands as influential as the four of us have ever done this. Imagine if THE BEATLES, STONES, THE WHO and ZEPPELIN had done shows? Or SABBATH, PRIEST, MAIDEN, MOTÖRHEAD? Well, I may be getting into some rarified air here but as a fan, that's how big I feel this is."

"This is a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for heavy metal fans to see the four greatest heavy metal bands in American history back together on one stage," concluded MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. "If there are any heads left at the end of this festival that haven't banged, they don't belong there."

Rumors of a massive tour featuring thrash metal's "Big Four" first began circulating last summer after SLAYER guitarist Kerry King told U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine that Ulrich was trying to make the package a reality. Those rumors were seemingly squashed when METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett said that the outing would never see the light of day. Kirk said in an early October radio interview, "That tour is not gonna happen. I've been hearing that, we've all been hearing that for awhile. I get asked about it regularly. And as far as a tour going on, it's not gonna happen." When asked why, Hammett said, "Conflicting schedules, conflicting personalities, a lot of conflicting things. It's a good idea though. And, personally, I can see the significance of playing a tour like that, but... it's not gonna happen."

METALLICA frontman James Hetfield recently gave The Pulse of Radio a little more insight into how the "Big Four" tour rumor started. "I think it was certainly spurred on by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and getting all these great, nostalgic feelings, you know. And, you know, the more we thought about — 'Hey, you know what? We should celebrate the Bay Area thrash scene. Why don't we make a reunion of that or something?' And it basically morphed into, you know, the Big Four doing a gig together, and how cool that would be. Pretty much it went as far as that."

Hetfield added that while the idea was looked into, it never really got that far. "We kind of talked a little bit about it, went back and forth," he said. "No one really looked into it. But then the rumor got out and it's one of those things like, 'Well, is it true?' It's one of those awkward positions that you're in — you have a good idea, and you haven't followed through with it quite yet. But I think it would be a great celebration of the past and where we are now in our lives. I think it would be great."

Much of the fan speculation about such a tour revolved around the participation of MEGADETH, which is led by former METALLICA guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine has expressed ambivalence about opening for the band that kicked him out 27 years ago and has gone as far as to say that he would not be interested in playing "in the round" (with the stage in the center of the arena and the crowd surrounding), which seems to be METALLICA's preferred stage setup nowadays.


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