The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria

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The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria
The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria cover.jpg
Video by
ReleasedOctober 29, 2010 (2010-10-29)
Recorded22 June 2010 at Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria
Genre Heavy metal, thrash metal
Label Warner Bros. (U.S.)
Vertigo/Mercury (Europe)
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The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria

The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria is a live video with performances by Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, the "big four" of thrash metal. [1] The concert took place on June 22, 2010 at the Sonisphere Festival at Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria. It was shown at 450 movie theaters in the United States and over 350 movie theaters across Europe, Canada, and Latin America on June 22, 2010.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Megadeth American heavy metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.


Reviews of the DVD were mostly favorable. Websites such as AllMusic and were positive, though Blogcritics gave the DVD a mixed review. The DVD peaked at number one on the United States, United Kingdom, Austrian, and Canadian charts, and also charted on three other charts. It was certified gold in Germany, and provided Slayer with its first platinum certification.

AllMusic Online music database

AllMusic is an online music database. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on musical artists and bands. It launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web.

Blogcritics is a blog network and online magazine of news and opinion. The site was founded in 2002 by Eric Olsen and Phillip Winn. Blogcritics features more than 100 original articles every week, and maintains an archive of all its published content.

Background and release

On June 16, 2010 at the Sonisphere Festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland, the "big four" of American thrash metal—Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax—performed together for the first time. The bandmembers (except for Slayer's Jeff Hanneman) were first photographed together on the previous day. [2] Their live concert, on June 22, was for one night only. Directed by Nick Wickham, [3] the event was filmed and transmitted via satellite to over 450 movie theaters in the United States and over 350 movie theaters across Europe, Canada, and Latin America, including London's famed Leicester Square. [4] Tickets were made available for around $20 at, which also listed the theaters where the concert was being screened. [5] Delayed screenings took place in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. [2]

Sonisphere Festival Annual English touring music festival

The Sonisphere Festival is a touring rock music festival which takes place across Europe between June and August. The festival is owned by John Jackson and Kilimanjaro Live. It is jointly promoted by K2 and Kilimanjaro Live. It has hosted heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Judas Priest and Megadeth.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Jeff Hanneman American guitarist

Jeffrey John Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Hanneman contributed both lyrical and musical material to every Slayer album up until his death in 2013 and wrote the songs "Raining Blood", "War Ensemble," "South of Heaven," "Seasons in the Abyss," and "Angel of Death," all of which have been played at almost every live Slayer performance after their respective compositions. He had his own signature guitar, the ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature model.

The film's contents and artwork were revealed on August 25, 2010. [6] A limited-edition guitar pick was unveiled a day after the artwork was revealed. [7] The European release was initially scheduled for October 11, [8] but Metallica later announced on their official site that the European release would be pushed back to October 15, with an International release on October 18, and a North American release on October 19, 2010. [9] On September 15, it was announced that a "super deluxe" limited edition box set would be released on the same date as the regular edition, [10] and a 36-second video preview of the box set was released on September 17. [11] In mid September, publication was postponed further to a European release on October 29, an International release on November 1, and a North American release on November 2, 2010. [12] Four teaser clips from the video were released on October 12, [13] and nine days later, Metallica's performance of "Sad but True", taken from the film, was released. [14] A three-and-a-half-minute trailer was released on September 21, 2010. [15]

Guitar pick

A guitar pick is a plectrum used for guitars. Picks are generally made of one uniform material—such as some kind of plastic, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, tagua, or stone. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner less rounded. They are used to strum chords or to sound individual notes on a guitar.

Sad but True Song by American heavy metal band Metallica

"Sad but True" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released in February 1993 as the fifth and final single from their eponymous fifth album, Metallica. The music video from the single was released in October, 1992.

The Slayer title card before the band's performance is the only one of the four bands that did not feature their official logo. In addition, all Slayer members (except drummer Dave Lombardo) did not participate in the "Am I Evil?" performance due to lack of interest. [16] [17]

Dave Lombardo Cuban drummer

David Lombardo is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of American thrash metal band Slayer. Lombardo played drums on nine Slayer albums, including the 1986 album Reign in Blood and the 2006 album Christ Illusion, for which he received critical praise. Lombardo's music career has spanned forty years, during which he has been involved in the production of thirty-five commercial recordings covering a number of genres. He has performed with numerous bands, including Grip Inc., Fantômas, Testament, and Suicidal Tendencies, in addition to Slayer. Lombardo is currently playing drums with Fantômas, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross, and the Misfits.

Event dates

Date [18] [19] CityCountryVenueBoxscoreAttendance
June 16, 2010 Warsaw Poland Sonisphere Festival - Lotnisko Bemowo
June 18, 2010 Jonschwil SwitzerlandSonisphere Festival - Jonschwil Degenaupark
June 19, 2010 Milovice Czech Republic Sonisphere Festival - Letiště Milovice
June 22, 2010 Sofia Bulgaria Sonisphere Festival - Natsionalen stadion Vasil Levski
June 24, 2010 Athens GreeceSonisphere Festival - Terra Vibe Park
June 26, 2010 Bucharest Romania Sonisphere Festival - Complexul expozițional Romexpo
June 27, 2010 Istanbul TurkeySonisphere Festival - BJK İnönü Stadyumu
April 23, 2011 Indio, California United StatesEmpire Polo Club$4,793,768 [20] 44,205
July 2, 2011 Gelsenkirchen Germany Veltins-Arena
July 3, 2011 Gothenburg Sweden Ullevi 56,000
July 6, 2011 Milan ItalyFiera Open Air Arena
July 8, 2011 Knebworth United KingdomSonisphere Festival - Knebworth House
July 9, 2011 Amnéville FranceSonisphere Festival - Snowhall Parc
September 14, 2011 New York City, New York United States Yankee Stadium $5,371,167 [21] 41,762


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [22] Positive [23]
Blogcritics Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [24]
Jukebox:Metal Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [25]

The album was received positively by music critics. Thom Jurek gave it four out of five stars in his review for AllMusic, and stated that "each [song] is incredibly energetic, clearly riding the crowd excitement of the event, and the performances are stellar without a lapse." He pointed to Anthrax's "Madhouse" and "Antisocial"; Megadeth's "Head Crusher" and the "Peace Sells/Holy Wars Reprise"; Slayer's "Angel of Death", "Seasons in the Abyss", and "Raining Blood"; and Metallica's "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death", "Master of Puppets", and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" as musical highlights, and described the encore performance of "Am I Evil?", in which members of all four bands perform, as "an historic high point." [22]

Madhouse (song) song

"Madhouse" is a song by the American thrash metal band Anthrax. It was released in 1985 on Megaforce/Island Records.

Antisocial (song) most famous song from the French hard-rock band Trust

"Antisocial" is a song by the French hard rock band Trust, from their album Répression. The song was written by Bernie Bonvoisin and Norbert Krief.

Head Crusher song by Megadeth

"Head Crusher" was the first single from American heavy metal band Megadeth's twelfth studio album, titled Endgame, which was released on September 15, 2009. The single was released on July 7, 2009. According to Roadrunner Records official website, a download of "Head Crusher" was available for 24 hours on July 7. The track was previously available for listening by calling Dave Mustaine's number, through the, a service he launched that enables musicians to connect to their audience over the phone. The song was played live for the first time at the "Canadian Carnage Tour" on June 24, 2009. On December 3, 2009, it was announced on the official Megadeth homepage that "Head Crusher" had been nominated for "Best Metal Performance" for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, the band's first nomination in 13 years, since "Trust".

In a mixed review for Blogcritics, Chris Beaumont summed up that "Watching these promo DVDs makes me want the Blu-ray that much more. The performances are great, the sets are great, and it is hard not to get excited about these guys taking the stage together. This is metal." [24]

Chad Bowar, writing for, said that the concert was "one of the defining moments and biggest events in recent metal history" and commented that the bands "can still put on a great show" despite their age. He distinguished the styles of each band, writing: "Anthrax has a more lighthearted, fun approach, while Megadeth is 100 percent business with very little banter and focus on the music. Slayer has a more ominous vibe, although their evil mystique has lessened over the years. Metallica were very inclusive, with James Hetfield acting as everybody's favorite uncle interacting with the crowd and taking time to soak it all in." [23]

Charts and certificates


Track listing


A complete list can be found at AllMusic. [43]

Production and assistance

Related Research Articles

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