Thrash of the Titans was a benefit concert held on August 11, 2001 at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco, California. The concert was a co-benefit for Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, who was diagnosed with germ cell seminoma (a rare form of cancer); and Chuck Schuldiner, leader of the death metal band Death, who was also battling cancer. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was S.O.D. vocalist Billy Milano. The concert was organized by Walter Morgan. The show was announced in May 2001, and all 2300 tickets quickly sold out.
The concert focused primarily on Bay Area thrash metal, a popular and influential metal scene in the 1980s and early 1990s (of which Testament played a big part), and featured the reunions of then-defunct Bay Area bands Heathen, Death Angel, Vio-lence (minus Robb Flynn, who declined to participate), Forbidden Evil, Sadus, Legacy (an early version of Testament), and then partially defunct Exodus (with Paul Baloff). As a result of the show, Exodus, Heathen and Death Angel all officially reunited and released new albums. Forbidden would reunite again in 2007 and released a new album three years later.
Also appearing at the concert were Anthrax and S.O.D., who are all friends of Chuck Billy's. Lȧȧz Rockit were scheduled to appear, but had to pull out at the last minute, due to singer Michael Coons being admitted to a rehabilitation center,and were replaced by Flotsam and Jetsam. M.O.D. were also scheduled to appear, but with the show running long, Billy Milano announced that M.O.D. would play a show in Oakland the next week, and that tickets to the Thrash of the Titans would be honored.
Beginning with Heathen at 3 pm, the show featured ten bands, with Legacy taking the stage just after 2am. Legacy, a precursor to Testament, featured Steve "Zetro" Souza on vocals, John Tempesta on drums, and Alex Skolnick on lead guitar. Skolnick's appearance marked his first playing thrash metal since quitting Testament in 1993, and eventually led to his rejoining the band. Also appearing with Legacy were Paul Bostaph, the original drummer of Forbidden Evil (who was then with Slayer) and Steve DiGiorgio, bassist for Sadus and formerly of Death, Autopsy and Iced Earth. Chuck Billy himself joined Legacy for the last song of the night, "Into the Pit". The show featured many other guest appearances, including Steve Souza joining Exodus and Paul Baloff for a duet on "Brain Dead". Thrash of the Titans marked one of the last live appearances of Exodus frontman Paul Baloff, who died of a stroke just six months later, on February 2, 2002. Death's Chuck Schuldiner also died of brain cancer four months after the benefit, on December 13, 2001.
In order of appearance:
Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1983 under the name Legacy, the band's current lineup comprises guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, lead vocalist Chuck Billy, drummer Gene Hoglan, and bassist Steve Di Giorgio. Testament has experienced many lineup changes over the years, with Peterson being the only remaining original member, though they have since been rejoined by one of its co-founders Skolnick, who was out of the band from 1992 to 2005. Billy replaced original singer Steve "Zetro" Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since. He and Peterson are the only members to appear on all of Testament's studio albums.
Forbidden was a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil, the group was founded by Jim Pittman and guitarist Robb Flynn. Since their formation, Forbidden have broken up and reformed twice with numerous line-up changes. The most recent line-up of the band comprised Anderson (vocals), Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass), Steve Smyth (guitar) and Sasha Horn (drums). After breaking up for the first time in 1997 and briefly returning in 2001, Forbidden reunited once again in 2007 but has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2012.
Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California. They have gone through numerous lineup changes, two extended hiatuses, and the deaths of two former band members. Their current lineup consists of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus, bassist Jack Gibson, drummer Tom Hunting, and lead vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza. Hunting is one of the original members, and departed from Exodus twice, in 1989 and 2004, but rejoined in 2007. Holt joined the band about two years after its formation, and is the only member of Exodus to appear on all their releases.
Vio-lence is an American thrash metal band formed in 1985 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout its existence, they released demo tapes, one EP and three studio albums. Vio-lence is best-known for their association with the 1980s Bay Area thrash metal scene, and often credited as one of the leading lights of the second wave of the genre, along with Pantera, Sepultura, Sacred Reich, Dark Angel, Annihilator and Flotsam and Jetsam as well as their Bay Area counterparts Testament, Death Angel and Forbidden. Their most stable line-up was Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn on guitars, Deen Dell on bass, Perry Strickland on drums and Sean Killian on vocals; this lineup recorded all their studio albums. After breaking up in 1994 and reforming for occasional live performances from 2001 to 2003, the members of Vio-Lence reunited in January 2018 for a benefit of Killian, who was battling with liver cirrhosis. The band announced their third reunion in January 2019.
Paul Baloff was an American singer, most notable for his time in thrash metal band Exodus.
Charles "Chuck" Billy is an American singer and songwriter who is best known as the lead vocalist for thrash metal band Testament.
Bay Area thrash metal referred to a steady following of heavy metal bands in the 1980s who formed and gained international status in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Along with South Florida, the scene was widely regarded as a starting point of American thrash metal and death metal.
The New Order is the second studio album by American thrash metal band Testament, released on May 5, 1988.
The Legacy is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Testament. It was released on April 21, 1987.
Steve "Zetro" Souza is an American vocalist, best known for his work with thrash metal band Exodus from 1986 to 1994, and again from 2002 to 2004. He rejoined Exodus for a third time in 2014. Souza is one of two singers, along with Chuck Billy, for the band Dublin Death Patrol. He also sings for the thrash metal band Tenet and was the lead singer for the thrash metal band Legacy. Souza recently announced his new project, Hatriot.
First Strike Still Deadly is the ninth studio album by Testament, released in 2001. It consists of re-recorded songs released on The Legacy and The New Order, as well as a re-recording of "Reign of Terror", which was originally on Legacy's Demo 1 and appeared as a b-side from the "Trial by Fire" single; the latter version also appeared on the 1993 EP Return to the Apocalyptic City. On some Japanese versions of this release, a different cover is present, and the disc is an Enhanced CD and includes a bonus QuickTime documentary with live clips of various incarnations of the band.
Tempo of the Damned is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Exodus. Released on February 2, 2004 via Nuclear Blast, Tempo of the Damned was Exodus' first studio release since 1992's Force of Habit. It was the last appearance of longtime vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza until his return for 2014's Blood In, Blood Out as well as the last appearance of founding drummer Tom Hunting until 2007's The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A. The album was also the last studio appearance of guitarist Rick Hunolt.
Heathen is an American thrash metal band originating from the San Francisco Bay Area, active from 1984 to 1993 and again from 2001 onwards. Despite never achieving commercial success, the band is often credited – alongside Exodus, Testament, Forbidden, Death Angel and Vio-lence – as one of the leaders of the Bay Area thrash metal scene of the mid-to-late 1980s, and they have gone through several line-up changes, leaving guitarist Lee Altus as the only constant member. To date, Heathen has released four studio albums: Breaking the Silence (1987), Victims of Deception (1991), The Evolution of Chaos (2009) and Empire of the Blind (2020).
Impact Is Imminent is the fourth studio album by thrash metal band Exodus, released in 1990. Impact Is Imminent was Exodus' first album on Capitol Records as well as their first album to feature John Tempesta on drums, and their last to feature Rob McKillop on bass, though he appeared on their first live album, Good Friendly Violent Fun, which was recorded live in 1989 but not released until 1991. It was re-released in 2008 in a limited edition mini-album packaging to resemble the original vinyl release, including the inner sleeve.
The Best Of Exodus: Lessons in Violence is a compilation album by thrash metal band Exodus. Even though this compilation album was released after Impact Is Imminent, it contains no tracks from that album as Exodus had switched record labels by that time. The AC/DC cover "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was recorded live on July 14th, 1989 at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA. It was recorded during Exodus' "Fabulous Disaster" tour and can be found on their 1991 live album Good Friendly Violent Fun. "And Then There Were None" was recorded live at the Astoria in London, England on March 8th, 1989 during the "Headbanger's Ball Tour".
Another Lesson in Violence is a live album by the thrash metal band Exodus.
Thomas "Tom" Hunting is an American drummer, famous for his work with the band Exodus. He played on their first three albums, Bonded by Blood, Pleasures of the Flesh, and Fabulous Disaster. Hunting later left the band due to illness in 1989 and was replaced by John Tempesta.
Atrophy is an American thrash metal band formed in Tucson, Arizona, United States. As the result of their fast-playing style and lyrics, the band has been compared to that of their thrash metal contemporaries such as Testament, Vio-lence, Forbidden, Sacred Reich and Nuclear Assault.