If you were to ask any given metalhead who they thought the greatest metal band of all time is, the answer would often be Black Sabbath or Metallica. However, in the very valid opinion of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, that distinction goes to Iron Maiden, who were recently presented with the Inspiration Award at the 2013 Kerrang! Music Awards. Ian was given the honor of passing on the award to Maiden and the bearded Anthrax strummer just shared a transcribed version of his passionate speech from the awards ceremony.

Scott Ian and his fellow members of Anthrax are soon to live a dream; performing with Iron Maiden in Europe next month. Preceding Ian's praise of Maiden at the 2013 Kerrang! Awards, the guitarist reminisced about being introduced to Motorhead's 'Ace of Spades' strictly through the album's artwork. "I got the record home, put on the first song, 'Ace of Spades' and holy crap, the first thing I thought was, “Who the hell are these three Mexicans and how do they play so fast?” They looked like banditos," Ian remembers. "Years later I told Lemmy that and they used that quote on their 'Everything Louder Than Everything Else' record."

Ian's album art fascination became a recurring theme as a teen, eventually leading him to pick up Iron Maiden's debut album:

I can remember being in the record store the week Judas Priest’s British Steel came out. I was already a Priest fan and was fucking stoked to have a new Priest record to tear my head off. I had British Steel safely tucked under my arm and I was flipping through the record bins, and I saw an album cover that I had never seen before. An album cover to my then 16 year old eyes, that was the coolest fucking thing I had ever seen.

The name of the band and the logo were so cool I would’ve bought the record just because of that. That logo, in just a few years would define heavy metal. The artwork, a zombie with Johnny Rotten’s hair maniacally staring at me from the cover, telling me that this record HAD to be great.

This was the only copy they had of this record so I grabbed it and when I got home I couldn’t wait to listen to it. The monster on the cover was compelling me, my hands violently ripping the plastic from the cover, sliding the vinyl out of it’s sleeve, I was sweating with anticipation as I dropped the needle on to track one and the first chords of Prowler assaulted my ears and in that instant, my whole life changed.

Iron Maiden ruled my world for the next decade. No other band was as big of an influence on Anthrax. Creatively we looked up to them as a band because they did everything their own way, not giving a shit about what was trendy or popular because they were Iron Maiden.

Professionally we looked up to them because their organization was from band to management to crew an incredible massive machine that would travel the planet on tour and night after night after night never give less than 100%.
We were lucky enough to be taken under their wing early on, touring with them for months at a time and getting the greatest education a band could ever get. We went to fucking Maiden school and we were better for it.

Ladies & Gentlemen I am honored to give the Kerrang! Inspiration award to the greatest metal band of all time, Iron Maiden.

Anthrax are set to invade Europe and Israel this summer. To check out the thrash act's full tour schedule, including their gigs opening for Iron Maiden, click here.