Oh, the difference between first place and second. It's hard to question Metallica's status as the most influential band in modern heavy metal, but Anthrax gets our vote for runner-up. The Noo Yawk thrash greats single-handedly created rap-metal (hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time), ratcheted up the metal-hardcore crossover movement about nine notches (with the 1986 side project Stormtroopers of Death), and made the term "mosh" a household word.
Those distinctions are worth way more than a cup of coffee, but sales of Metallica's 5 worst-selling releases top those of Anthrax's 10 discs. The band's lack of commercial success only adds credibility to its catchy, relentlessly innovative headbanger fare, which incorporates humor, social consciousness, geek culture, and a healthy appetite for adrenaline. By the mid-'90s, half of the classic lineup was replaced by players including former Armored Saint singer John Bush, who helped the group's transition into a truly unique, progressive-leaning third-act catalog. They may be number two, but they try harder.