Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

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'86 (Kreator: Pleasure To Kill)

Post by Stu » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:55 am

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While the early days of Thrash were more or less dominated by the big American acts, it didn't take long before the Teutonic scene soon arose as a strong rival in Germany (the good Germany, that is, not the bad, commie one), and Kreator's sophomore effort Pleasure To Kill quickly established the band as THE undisputed kings of German Thrash (sorry Sodom!). I mean, just think about it; after all, this record came out in '86, but you wouldn't know it judging from its incredibly rough, brutal production, the bloodthirsty, Faces Of Death-inspired lyrics that all graphically detail a different way to die on each and every song, Mille & Ventor's throat-shreddingly harsh grunting, and the relentless, chaotic, merciless riffs that are as face-smashingly blunt as they are blisteringly fast, which means that Pleasure might just be the first classic Death/Thrash record ever released, combining the latter style just as it was peaking with undeniable elements of the former, back when Death Metal barely even existed! If that isn't trailblazing, I don't what is, and as mind-blowingly extreme a Thrash record fellow '86 classic Reign In Blood still is to this day, Pleasure To Kill still manages to outdo that classic in that regard, as far as I'm concerned (but, more on that later). So, if the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Kreator are their later, more restrained (though equally awesome) records, then you're in for a pleasant shock with Pleasure, as, from the eerily placid synths and hellish whirlwhinds of "Choir Of The Damned" to the final eardrum pulverizer that is "Under The Guillotine", listening to this record is like being sucked for 30+ minutes into the blinding, nightmarish vortex of blood & gore that constitutes its coverart, with absolutely no relent or mercy at all. Pleasure to meet you, Kreator!

Recommended Cut:
[youtube]A3htH1LoP5M[/youtube
Other Notable Metal Records from '86: While Turbo is obviously the foremost example from '86 of a classic Metal act flirting with the mainstream, it's certainly not the only one, whether it be Ozzy Osbourne's radio-friendly, borderline poppy The Ultimate Sin, or Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time , which was also that band's first attempt at integrating synthesizers into their sound (although many, myself included, would agree that they pulled it off with much greater success than Priest). Besides that, we continued to see more mehtastic Glam Metal in the form of Poison's Look What The Cat Dragged In, Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, or Europe's The Final Countdown (doodoodoodoo!), some notable releases from early Progressive Metal pioneers like Fates Warning's Awaken The Guardian & Queensrÿche's Rage For Order, and other significant releases such as Motörhead's Orgasmatron, Manilla Road's The Deluge, and King Diamond's classic debut Fatal Portrait. But, of course, Thrash was the genre that completely dominated the metal year, as, if we only see saw the releases of Pleasure, Reign, & Puppets in '86 alone, it would already be in the running for the greatest year in the history of the genre, but when you add in Metal Church's The Dark, the debut records from both Nuclear Assault and Flotsam And Jetsam in the forms of Game Over & Doomsday For The Deciever, more classic German thrash with Destruction's Eternal Devastation, Dark Angel's Darkness Descends , AND Megadeth's commercial breakthrough Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (and all that's with me leaving a couple of records out, even!), and the year's status as the undisputed peak of that particular sub-genre is cemented for all eternity, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:17 am

Well, I'm going to keep posting this project here no matter what, since it's obviously a good way to fulfill my self-imposed daily quota of at least one post a day here, as well as using it as a guinea pig to test before I transport all the entries over to Global Domination Is Dead, but I'd really appreciate it if I could get at least one reply from someone else for every year's worth of write-ups (and at least one reply from everyone I know who's still lurk-browsing this thing would be ideal, but I'll take what I can get), so hopefully, someone will say something before I try to start the next round of entries on April 1st, especially for a year in Metal as iconic as '86. If you want me to batch all the entries into one big long post at the end of each year's write-ups, I can do that too, like so:
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While the early days of Thrash were more or less dominated by the big American acts, it didn't take long before the Teutonic scene soon arose as a strong rival in Germany (the good Germany, that is, not the bad, commie one), and Kreator's sophomore effort Pleasure To Kill quickly established the band as THE undisputed kings of German Thrash (sorry Sodom!). I mean, just think about it; after all, this record came out in '86, but you wouldn't know it judging from its incredibly rough, brutal production, the bloodthirsty, Faces Of Death-inspired lyrics that all graphically detail a different way to die on each and every song, Mille & Ventor's throat-shreddingly harsh grunting, and the relentless, chaotic, merciless riffs that are as face-smashingly blunt as they are blisteringly fast, which means that Pleasure might just be the first classic Death/Thrash record ever released, combining the latter style just as it was peaking with undeniable elements of the former, back when Death Metal barely even existed! If that isn't trailblazing, I don't what is, and as mind-blowingly extreme a Thrash record fellow '86 classic Reign In Blood still is to this day, Pleasure To Kill still manages to outdo that classic in that regard, as far as I'm concerned (but, more on that later). So, if the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Kreator are their later, more restrained (though equally awesome) records, then you're in for a pleasant shock with Pleasure, as, from the eerily placid synths and hellish whirlwhinds of "Choir Of The Damned" to the final eardrum pulverizer that is "Under The Guillotine", listening to this record is like being sucked for 30+ minutes into the blinding, nightmarish vortex of blood & gore that constitutes its coverart, with absolutely no relent or mercy at all. Pleasure to meet you, Kreator!

Recommended Cut:



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I know, I know, you're all probably taken a bit aback at the sight of Judas Priest's Turbo recieving a main entry in this project; after all, even though Priest is one of THE most influential and beloved Metal bands of all time, Turbo is still generally considered to be one of their very worst albums, is definitely my personal least favorite out of their classic run of records from '76-'90, and the only album you'll likely to see both in the Golden Age Of Metal and on this list as well. But, despite the genre peaking this year, I wanted to write about more than just Thrash records for '86, and despite its fundamentally non-essential nature, I chose Turbo because I felt it was the best representation of the larger trend towards the mainstream going on within the "old guard" of Metal artists in '86, contrasting the new heights/extremes the young guns were reaching that year, and coinciding with the rise of the "Hair" bands as well (but more on that later). Anyway, as for Turbo itself, it came about as a result of Priest taking what was initially going to be a double album and splitting it up, with the more aggressive material being released a couple of years later on '88's Ram It Down, with the more commercial songs becoming Turbo, which definitely got the short end of the stick on that deal. Not that this is some sort of St. Anger-level disaster or anything, and the band had gone in relatively radio-friendly directions with their sound before, like on the stone-cold classic British Steel, but Turbo took that aspect of their sound way, WAY too far, with its instantly-dated, reverb-heavy drum production, cheesy, trend-hopping abuse of synthesizers, and light, poppy songwriting that came uncomfortably close to becoming the dreaded Glam Metal. Sure, Tipton & Downing's guitars still sound awesome here, and Halford's vocals are still as great as ever (of course), but they can only do so much to salvage the record, so, to paraphrase Tropic Thunder; Priest, you went full 80's here... never go full 80's.

(Non-)Recommended Cut:



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Another entry for '86, another one of the most iconic Metal records ever released (sensing a trend with this year?), with Slayer's Reign In Blood, which saw the band go from being a burgeoning underground phenom to officially becoming LEGENDS, as they took the inherently intense essence of Thrash and distilled it down to its cleanest, purest form, doing so by (ironically) taking particularly heavy influence from Hardcore with the album's songwriting, often disregarding repetitive riffing and formulaic verse-chorus-verse structures in favor of sudden, chaotic tempo changes and sheer, violent velocity performed at an average tempo of over 150 beats per minute, as Hanneman & King's riffs and solos relentlessly shred and wail away at your eardrums, Dave Lombardo abuses his legendary double bass without mercy, and Tom Araya's evil tales of genocide, serial killers, and warring against Heaven itself are vocalized with his combination of maniacally frantic, shouted rantings and iconic, Halford-inspired falsettos (one of which brilliantly curdles into an absolutely spine-chilling, gut-churning scream in the very first seconds of the record, even). It's basically one long, non-stop, sub-half hour Thrashjaculation, with just enough variation in tempo thrown in to keep from being too tiresome, which lets the fundamental intensity leave all that more of an impact. Granted, besides the somewhat longer, more intricate/orderly tracks like "Epidemic", "Postmortem", and the iconic bookends "Angel Of Death" and "Raining Blood", most of the songwriting here isn't particularly "ambitious" in the traditional sense of the term, but what Reign lacks in scope, it makes up for with sheer, naked aggression, and songs that might've sounded sloppy or half-baked from other bands just sounds amazing in Slayer's bloody hands. Combine that with living musical legend Rick Rubin removing most of the 80's-style reverb that had characterized the band's sound up to this point, and replacing it with an incredibly sharp, killer, punchy production all-around, and you have an album that's still one of the most extreme Thrash records ever all these years later, and one of the unholy best as well; may the blood forever rain, eh?

Recommended Cut:



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As I've always established earlier in this project, Doom Metal was already a "thing" well before '86 (and arguably existed before the 1970's, even), but none of the records by the early Doom acts made as big an impact on the genre as Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, the debut of Sweden's legendary Candlemass, which set them up to be THE premier band in the genre by a long shot. I mean, the name of the album itself literally is Dog Latin for "Epic Doom Metal", and epic Doom it is indeed, from the mournful acoustic guitar & eerie synthwork of the intro on album opener "Solitude", which is soon joined by Johan Längquist's wonderfully sorrowful, melodramatic vocals (making this his only recording with the band until just this year, unfortunately), just before that almightily HEAVY, dread-laden riffing crawls it way in, and lets the whole Metal world know that Doom is here to stay for good, baby. And from there, EDM stays just as awesome, whether it be in the form of band mastermind Leif Edling's incredibly dark, occult-obsessed lyrics, the songwriting's overwhelming sense of all-around epic scope, or of course, those absolutely grueling, punishingly slow and THICK effin' riffs, which helped to set the sound of Doom in stone for forever. And, while Doomicus was only the band's first record, it was still so good that it made its way onto our old Best Debuts list, and very for good reason, so all I really have left to say here is, feeling an impending sense of DOOM for the better part of an hour never sounded this good, huh?

Original Coverage

Recommended Cut:




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With Metallica's Master Of Puppets, we come to what is arguably the most iconic Thrash record from '86, which, seeing as how it's arguably the most important year in the history of the genre (more on that later), is really saying something. But, Puppets more than earns that lofty status, representing the band at their peak as they built on the already incredible foundation of Ride The Lightning to create a somehow even greater album, perfecting their astonishingly ambitious spin on Thrash with the combination of Hetfield's rapidly maturing vocal performance (no more strangled cat yowling!) and his amazing riffage that always maintains a seemingly impossibly perfect balance between irresistible catchiness and sheer aggression, the essentially flawless Flemming Rasmussen production, Cliff Burton's seminal, virtuosic basswork, the album's sophisticated lyrical motifs on the various forms of societal manipulation, whether it be under the guise of drug addiction, organized religion, or the barbaric, dehumanizing horrors of war, or the epic, impeccably formulated songwriting that maintains a immaculate, absolutely peerless overall flow, with basically not a single individual riff, solo, or transition here sounding remotely awkward or like anything less than complete and utter perfection (granted, Lolars's drumming here is still just merely adequate for the most part, but that was kind of a given). From the elegant intertwining of the Morricone-inspired Spanish guitars on "Battery" to the slow, twisted Lovecraftian pummeling of "The Thing That Should Not Be" to the soaring, spacey atmospherics of "Orion", this is, as far as I'm concerned, THE #1 Thrash album of all time, as well as just one of my favorite Metal records, period. Sadly, as well all know, tragedy would strike The Four Horsemen later that same year in the form of Burton's tragically premature death, but Master Of Puppets still stands untained apart from that tragedy as a monumental record that hasn't aged a day in the 20+ years since I had the pleasure of listening to it for the first time, one that will always be an untainted representation of Metallica at the absolute height of their skills and sophistication for all of eternity; obey your master indeed...

Recommended Cut:



Other Notable Metal Records from '86: While Turbo is obviously the foremost example from '86 of a classic Metal act flirting with the mainstream, it's certainly not the only one, whether it be Ozzy Osbourne's radio-friendly, borderline poppy The Ultimate Sin, or Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time , which was also that band's first attempt at integrating synthesizers into their sound (although many, myself included, would agree that they pulled it off with much greater success than Priest). Besides that, we continued to see more mehtastic Glam Metal in the form of Poison's Look What The Cat Dragged In, Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, or Europe's The Final Countdown (doodoodoodoo!), some notable releases from early Progressive Metal pioneers like Fates Warning's Awaken The Guardian & Queensrÿche's Rage For Order, and other significant releases such as Motörhead's Orgasmatron, Manilla Road's The Deluge, and King Diamond's classic debut Fatal Portrait. But, of course, Thrash was the genre that completely dominated the metal year, as, if we only see saw the releases of Pleasure, Reign, & Puppets in '86 alone, it would already be in the running for the greatest year in the history of the genre, but when you add in Metal Church's The Dark, the debut records from both Nuclear Assault and Flotsam And Jetsam in the forms of Game Over & Doomsday For The Deciever, more classic German thrash with Destruction's Eternal Devastation, Dark Angel's Darkness Descends , AND Megadeth's commercial breakthrough Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (and all that's with me leaving a couple of records out, even!), and the year's status as the undisputed peak of that particular sub-genre is cemented for all eternity, as far as I'm concerned.
See? Now, someone please say something :D
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:33 am

I'm still reading! Just haven't had anything to add.
But on the subject of 1986, are there any Voivod fans out there? I don't think you've mentioned them yet.

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:11 am

I demanded more blood, and you posted about Reign in Blood, so I have nothing more to add.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:30 pm

I don't really have a huge amount to add, since this genre is a slight blind spot in music for me. I know the obvious, and a few cult acts, but nothing too deep in the weeds. I'm here mostly to look for suggestions to bulk up on my metal representation.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:11 pm

Captain Terror wrote:I'm still reading! Just haven't had anything to add.
But on the subject of 1986, are there any Voivod fans out there? I don't think you've mentioned them yet.

Okay; and I don't think I'll end up covering anything from Voivod in-depth during this project, and I haven't mentioned them in any of the "Other Notables" sections yet because I haven't had room and I don't want to list each and every single remotely notable record from each year, and have that section run on for forever, but that song you posted sounded pretty good, so maybe I should listen to them some more.

And as for everyone else, just so long as I know that you're all still reading this, I'm happy :D
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:28 am

Rock wrote:I demanded more blood, and you posted about Reign in Blood, so I have nothing more to add.
More...uh, gore!
;)
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'87 (Testament: The Legacy)

Post by Stu » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:54 am

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With The Legacy, we come to the debut record of what is arguably THE most significant old-school Thrash band that wasn't a part of "The Big 4", the Bay Area's own Testament! But, judging from the overall scores a lot of their records recieve over on their page on Metallum, they seem to get less love from the Metal community than you might expect from a band of their status; "But Stu!", those reviewers might say, "Testament just wasn't as epically ambitious as Metallica! They weren't as technical as Megadeth, and they weren't as throat-rippingly extreme as Slayer! So what made their brand of Thrash so special, anyway?". And, it's not like I think The Legacy is some sort of Master Of Puppets-level perfect record anyway (the sound of the rhythm guitar is absolutely paper-thin, for one thing).

But still, while I was one of those Testament-naysaying fools once upon a time, I have warmed up to the band's body of work in general over the years, and The Legacy is no exception, as it distinguishes itself from other bands in the genre through its relentless sense of energy, Chuck Billy's incredibly passionate, absolutely commanding vocals (I can't imagine what this would've sounded like if their original vocalist, Exodus's Steve Souza, had stuck around), the melodic, virtuosic soloing courtesy of veritable guitar God Alex Skolnick himself (not surprising to hear, since he studied at the fret-altar of Joe Satriani, after all), and its dynamic, rock-solid songwriting that deftly balances all-out shredding with spine-chilling, ominiously atmospheric quiet sections and intros. Of course, while they missed the peak of the genre the previous year, Testament still managed to make an impact on the Thrash scene when individual golden era of the style was still well underway, as The Legacy is an absolute must-listen for fans of the genre, and more than proves that Testament's first strike on the Metal world was deadly (and then some), mofos!

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'87: (Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)

Post by Stu » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:32 am

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When it comes to the obnoxiously happy spin-off we know as Power Metal, while certain American bands such as Virgin Steele, Savatage, and Jag Panzer have often been described as being early prototypes for the genre, with the overall epic tone of their songwriting and soaring, powerful (no pun intended) vocal stylings, it wasn't until '87 that Germany's Helloween took the legacy of those bands and ran with it to the next level, defining the European strand of the genre with their sophomore effort, Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I, taking influence from both the musical base that those early American acts built for them, as well as from some of the biggest icons of Traditional Metal, whether it be Rob Halford's legendary falsetto vocals, Iron Maiden's epic, irresistibly sing-alongable melodies, or Dio's swords 'n fantasy-based lyrics, and further fusing that with the relentlessly energetic tempos found in old-school Speed Metal, creating the sound that comes to mind first when most people think of modern-day Power Metal.

Of course, the band's debut Walls of Jericho (featuring a pre-Gamma Ray Kai Hansen on vocals!) already contained hints of their future style, but it wasn't until Keeper that the band, and Power Metal in general, found its true sound, with its combination of Michael Kiske's enthusiastic, high-pitched vocals, the epic, anthemic choruses, the incredible energy of Hansen & Michael Weikath's dual lead guitar attack, the fantastical lyrics that sometimes read like a game of Dungeons & Dragons turned to song, and the almost nauseatingly-happy, incredibly upbeat overall sound of the album, which was quite the contrast from the intense dissonance and general extreme-ing of Metal that was going on with other bands at the time (but more on that later). And, while I admit that I've never been a particular fan of this kind of metal, for what it is, Keeper isn't a half-bad record (I've certainly heard worse from this genre, at least), so if you're into this, then more Power (Metal) to you, baby.

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Re: '87: (Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:02 am

Stu wrote:(Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)
oh boy. I've said earlier that I'm not up on all the subgenres but if this is power metal, then I share your disdain. (If disdain is the correct word; not trying to speak for you here). But yeah, is Savatage the band that begat Transiberian Orchestra? Nuff said. Yikes. Not for me.
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Re: '87: (Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)

Post by Rock » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:11 am

Captain Terror wrote:Savatage
Sounds like someone hasn't been...beyond the doors of the dark!

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'87: (Napalm Death: Scum)

Post by Stu » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:09 am

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The British city of Birmingham and its surrounding area certainly contributed more than its fair share of huge, iconic early Hard Rock/Metal bands back in the day, whether it be in the form of half the members of Led Zeppelin, Heavy Metal "patient zero" Black Sabbath themselves, AND Judas Priest to boot, but, not content to rest on its already extremely impressive laurels, the city then unleashed Napalm Death upon an unsuspecting world in the 80's, the band who in turn, with their debut record Scum, helped give birth to the sub-genre we now know as Grindcore, the unholy fusion-child of extreme Metal and Hardcore Punk, which is still one of (if not THE most) extreme forms of music to ever exist. Of course, I would be remiss without first mentioning the odd production background behind this record, with the first half of it consisting of a set of demo tracks, which was then combined with an additional session that was recorded months later with an almost completely different line-up, giving us two albums for the price of one (sort of), and allowing us to hear such Metal icons as a pre-Godflesh Justin Broaderick, Lee Dorrian pre-Cathedral, and an on-loan-from-Carcass Bill Steer all technically performing together on the same album. Weird sort of supergroup, huh?

But at any rate, if you thought Kreator, Bathory, or Slayer took Metal to a new level of extremity, then you ain't heard nothin' yet, as Scum takes the metallic foundation laid by such early "extreme" acts like Possessed & Celtic Frost, and fuses their influence with the sheer chaos of Hardcore taken to its ultimate conclusion, with its genre-defining use of Mick Harris's mercilessly pummeling blastbeats, the comically-short "microsongs" ("You Suffer", anyone?) the relentlessly blistering tempos, the incredibly chaotic, ADD-prone songwriting, the vocalists' combination of almost completely incomprehensible barking with unholily high-pitched shrieking, the absurdly nasty, fuzzy-sounding bass guitar, one of the most distorted, rawest-sounding production jobs this side of Norwegian Black Metal, and the unapologetically confrontational, flagrantly anti-conformist/authoritarian lyrics (the coverart, which its now-iconic image of a hideous skeleton-demon and some oily, Thatcher-era businessmen hovering over some emaciated African villagers like the besuited vultures they are, all over a landfill full of actual corporate logos mixed in with piles of human skulls, says everything you need to know). Regardless of which side you're listening to, this entire record is basically the world's biggest migraine headache given musical form, which, while not really my cup of tea musically-speaking, is what I have to imagine the boys in ND were aiming for with Scum, so I guess all I have left to say now is, job well done guys, job well done indeed.

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:25 am

So I just went to Youtube and my homepage is full of Savatage recommendations. THANKS GUYS
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Re: '87: (Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)

Post by Stu » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:58 am

Captain Terror wrote: oh boy. I've said earlier that I'm not up on all the subgenres but if this is power metal, then I share your disdain. (If disdain is the correct word; not trying to speak for you here). But yeah, is Savatage the band that begat Transiberian Orchestra? Nuff said. Yikes. Not for me.
It's cool, I'd never listened to Keeper myself before this thread, due to my historical disinterest in Power Metal, something that this record did nothing to change. This sounds weird, but a lot of PM is like Grindcore for me, in that they both go too far in their respective extremes for me to usually enjoy. Not to imply that Power Metal is a harsh genre at all, but while Grind is generally too chaotic/noisy for me to enjoy (with the big exception of Terrorizer's World Downfall), PM is just too fucking... HAPPY and sugary-sounding all the time, and just goes too far in that particular musical direction. That being said, while I never listened to Transiberian, and my issues with their vocalist aside, Savatage is a rather good "proto"-Power Metal act, at least on the record Rock just posted, so give 'em a chance, man!
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'87: (Sodom: Persecution Mania)

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:51 am

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Like their fellow Teutonic thrash icons Kreator, Germany's Sodom started their career off by flirting with certain influences from the more extreme side of metal, but unlike Kreator, instead of creating what was essentially an early prototype for death/thrash, Sodom instead went in a more 1st wave black metal direction with their 1986 debut Obsessed By Cruelty, which had a lot more in common with Venom than it did Metallica, with its Satanic/occult-focused lyrics, raw, shrill production sound, and Tom Angelripper's hoarse, laryngitis-infected croaking, and the record apparently ended up having a significant impact on the then-infant black metal scene in Norway (if you don't believe me, just look up which song Euronymous, Mr. 2nd wave himself, named his record label after).

However, while some of those elements reappeared on their sophomore effort Persecution Mania, the band still shed a lot of its more "blackened" influences and began to truly live up to the full potential of their sound here, with Angelripper adopting a coarse snarl so thickly accented you can practically smell the sauerkraut on his breath, the addition of new guitarist Frank Blackfire and his crazy, dive-bombing solos, Chris Witchhunter's relentlessly energetic drumming which is all the more appealing & "down-to-earth" for its slight imprecision, the gritty but still much improved-sounding production, and the songwriting that places much more of an emphasis on high-energy, eminently headbangable thrashing, with lots of catchy, high-impact choruses and some particularly memorable standout moments, such as the eerily quiet, Chernobyl-fueled breakdown on "Nuclear Winter", the incredibly infectious drum intro on “Conjuration”, or Blackfire soloing a version of the German national anthem on “Bombenhagel”; Hendrix would be proud! Anyway, while not quite their best record (hello, Agent Orange!), Persecution Mania is still incredibly close, so stop wasting time and go get your blitzkrieg on with these filthy Sodom-ites, baby!

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Re: '87: (Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I)

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:37 pm

Stu wrote: That being said, while I never listened to Transiberian, and my issues with their vocalist aside, Savatage is a rather good "proto"-Power Metal act, at least on the record Rock just posted, so give 'em a chance, man!
I did listen to the song Rock posted. My initial impression was "ok, this isn't that bad", but then the OOOOH! and AAAAH! started and I had to bail. :)
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Torgo » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:15 pm

Just wanted to add that Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera is one of the great concept albums.
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'87: (Death: Scream Bloody Gore)

Post by Stu » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:20 pm

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And finally, we end '87 with the debut record from the passion project of the godfather of death metal himself, the man, the myth, the one-and-only Mr. Chuck Schuldiner, who took the metal world by storm by fronting the first big band to rise like a waterlogged zombie out of the evil, murky swamps of the infamous Florida death metal scene with Death, the band so death metal that they were, well... called Death (funny how that works, huh?). Anyway, while most of the band's career ended up being defined by their later, much more technically sophisticated records in the 90's, everyone had to start somewhere, and Scream Bloody Gore is definitely a far cry from albums like, say, Human, with noticeably less complex, more simplistic songwriting, a fairly primitive, murky overall sound, and generally less accomplished musicianship in general, although Death as "band" at this point was really just a two-man duo, with a pre-Autopsy Chris Reifert on the drums, and a teenage Evil Chuck having to perform every other instrument himself, so maybe cut them some slack, eh?

Anyway, even without comparing it to their later classics, Gore is still a relatively crude-sounding record by most modern standards, and a far cry from the extremity of later genre icons, but everyone has to start somewhere, and this is still a genuinely good, enjoyable debut, one where we can hear the seed of Chuck's later genius in an embryonic state, as the songs, while pretty basic stuff, are all well-written on a fundamental level, giving us a lot of unique, memorable song intros, a nice balance between catchiness and the sort of primitive pummeling we've come to expect from this style of metal (it's almost... "fun" to listen to, dare I say?), and the first time that the world ever heard Chuck's iconic, unholy growl/howl, which, again, being back in the days before the "Cookie Monster" was the default vocal styling for the genre, helps give SBG a lot of extra personality. And besides all of that, Gore shows its undeniable influence on the evolution of death metal by further shedding thrash's influence on the genre, with an increased willingness to go mid-tempo, or even borderline slow at times, possibly even helping to set the world up for the eventual emergence of death-doom a few years later. But, no matter how you dissect it, Scream Bloody Gore is absolutely an early milestone in the history of death metal, helping to set the stage for the "official" beginning of the golden age of death metal in a couple of years, and being the point where Death transitioned from being a burgeoning phenomenon in the underground demo-trading circles to eventually becoming one of the greatest, most influential bands in metal history; scream in peace, Chuck!

Original Coverage

Recommended Cut:
Other Notable Metal Records From '87:

'87 was a bit of an "in-between year" when it came to the most significant metal genres, since, seeing as death metal was still only in its infancy, Possessed only released the Joe Satriani-produced(!) Eyes Of Horror EP, which, while good, wasn't quite straight-up DM with its thrash influences, and the only truly notable full-length from that year besides SBG that I would remotely describe as death metal would be Necrophagia's debut Season Of The Dead, which, while not a bad album, certainly isn't on the same level that Death was, even at that early stage of their career. Anyway, when it comes to 1st wave black metal, although the movement was past its peak, we still saw a number of big releases from it this year, including Bathory's Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, Sarcofago's I.N.R.I., and Mayhem's Deathcrush EP, which was notable for for being the first studio release from a band that would eventually become synonymous with the Norwegian 2nd wave during the 90's (but more on that later), and which served as a contrast to the way that 1st wave black icons like Celtic Frost mostly abandoned the style that year with the experimental, avant-garde, not entirely successful (but still admirable for its sheer eclectic ambition) Into The Pandemonium, along with the disappointment of the poorly-regarded, more mainstream-friendly stylings of Venom's Calm Before The Storm.

Besides that, '87 also saw a number of other notable miscellaneous releases like King Diamond's classic Abigail, Savatage's Hall of the Mountain King, Candlemass's sophomore effort Nightfall, which maintained their status as THE reigning kings of doom metal, and Running Wild's Under Jolly Roger, which gave the world its first taste of "pirate metal" (if you actually think that's a thing). And, while not as iconic as the previous, peak year for the genre, '87 was still incredible for thrash, and quite possibly the runner-up for best year in the history of the genre, as, in addition to Persecution Mania & The Legacy, we also saw the releases of Voivod's Killing Technology, Exodus's Pleasures Of The Flesh, Overkill's Taking Over, a couple of notable debuts including Heathen's Breaking The Silence Death Angel's The Ultra-Violence, and the first appearance of Swiss technical thrash icons Coroner with R.I.P., some more classics coming out of the Teutonic scene in the form of Kreator's Terrible Certainty & Tankard's Chemical Invasion, some notable crossover releases including Suicidal Tendencies' Join the Army & D.R.I.'s genre-naming Crossover, and Anthrax's biggest hit, the gold-certified Among The Living. And finally, on the more mainstream side of metal from the year, we got Mötley Crüe's Girls, Girls, Girls, Whitesnake's breakthrough self-titled, as well as the diamond-certified, humongous one-two punches of Def Leppard's full-on glam metal monster Hysteria, which I still kind of enjoy, despite how undeniably "sugary" it sounds (no pun intended), along with Appetite For Destruction, the first record by some band no one's ever heard of called Guns 'N Roses.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:53 pm

Rock wrote: More...uh, gore!
;)
Looks like I got what I wanted.

More...leprosy!
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:02 pm

Rock wrote: Looks like I got what I wanted.

More...leprosy!
I can do that; just don't wish for more "Anger", eh?

:D
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'88 (Queensrÿche: Operation: Mindcrime)

Post by Stu » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:23 am

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We start '88 with Queensrÿche's classic Operation: Mindcrime, which served to be the band's big breakthrough in the metal world, which in turn, proved to be the breakthrough record for progressive metal in general. Not that prog metal didn't exist before this point in the underground, mind you, as Queensrÿche themselves were arguably prog-y before this point (at the very least, they were already undeniably experimenting with progressive influences), but it was here that the band really made their mark, and firmly established the genre as a major force in the metal world, with its fairly complex, multi-layered compositions, unpredictable songwriting flow, ecletic usage of non-standard instruments such as acoustic guitars, keyboards, and even honest-to-God cellos, and its status as a concept album, calling back to their prog rock predecessors with its socially conscious, revolutionary tale of "Nikki", a drug addict who ends up being turned into a brainwashed political assassin by the mysterious "Mr. X" (now does that sound metal or what?), a story that is told through atmospheric, scene-setting interludes in between the music. Granted, I wouldn't say this is a super prog-y record on the whole, at least not in a particularly stereotypical manner (only two of the songs last any longer than 6 minutes, after all), but that works in its favor, as there's a lot of appealing traditional metal elements mixed in here, with the strong melodies, catchy, extremely singable choruses, and Geoff Tate's clean, powerful vocals, and, while I know it's a divisive genre, I still find Queensrÿche's take on the style to be fairly accessible when compared to some of their more obtuse peers, so give Mindcrime a chance and join the revolution calling, would you?

Recommended Cut: "Suite Sister Mary"
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Torgo » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:59 pm

My favorite album, not to mention one of my favorite pieces of art in any medium.
It could be turned into a good movie - it's essentially a Fight Club for the '80s - but it's probably too late to do that now. Still, its themes are as relevant today as they were back then.
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