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!

Original Coverage

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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
:P
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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 had already started experimenting with progressive influences before this point, 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, diverse, 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?



Original Coverage

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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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'88 (Metallica: ...And Justice For All)

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:04 am

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We return to Metallica once again here, as they were following up on what is arguably their most iconic release in '88, but unlike what some of their peers did that year (like say, Slayer), rather than taking a step back from the most prominent element of their previous record, which, in Metallica's case, was their overall musical ambition, they instead went even further in that direction and took element to its logical conclusion with ...And Justice For All, resulting in even more complex, ambitious songwriting, with an overall average track length of over 7 minutes, the longest of any of their 80's records, just before they pared things down for their next effort (but, we'll get to that when we get to it). You could call call it progressive thrash, even, and while I respect people not enjoying this as much, as, when compared to the songwriting/production perfection of Puppets, it's certainly noticably less accessible and more unwieldy than its predecessor, with more of an emphasis on chunky, mostly mid-tempo riffage (which foreshadows the direction they would go in during the 90's).

And, admittedly, Justice does have a rather cold, sterile sound to it, with rather dry-sounding riffs and drumming, along with an almost complete lack of poor newcomer Jason Newstead's bass, but as far as I'm concerned, that suits the tone they were going for here rather perfectly, as this is a dark, apocalyptic record, done in reaction to the band's personal loss a few years prior, a loss you can hear in ever rage-filled, politically-tinged outburst coming from James's mouth, whether it be the searing title track, the musical perfection that is their big sell-out (hahahaha) video/single "One", or the grueling death march that is "To Live Is To Die", the final songwriting contribution from Cliff that the band would see. And, at any rate, regardless of how you consider Justice personally, I just call it a classic, powerful record, and the last such one we'd see from the band (although this isn't the last we'll see of them in this project, obviously).

Original Coverage

Recommended Cut: "...And Justice For All"
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'88 (Death: Leprosy)

Post by Stu » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:19 am

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I hate to cover the same band for two years in a row with this project, but, while '88 did see the first records from a couple of death metal acts that would become significant names in the near future, none of those debuts are particularly essential releases (but more on that below), so, as far as great DM goes from this year, Death's Leprosy is more or less it, as the band pretty much had the genre all to themselves for a couple of years as far as classic releases go. But, my complaints about having to cover this are solely to do with the slim pickings of the early days of the genre, rather than being any sort of slight against Leprosy itself, since this is absolutely a great record, as it showcases an obviously more refined, mature side of Death in comparison to Scream Blood Gore, and, while not as mind-blowingly technical as the band's 90's releases, Leprosy still displays a less crude, more dynamic and intelligentlly-assembled style of songwriting that would only to continue to grow throughout the rest of Schuldiner's (sadly all-too-short) life, while additionally benefiting from a meatier, less thin-sounding production (including a legendarily prominent snare drum), as well as stronger, harsher growling from Chuck to boot.

Besides all of that, Leprosy was also an important record for establishing the precedent of the constant revolving-door-around-Chuck line-up Death would utilize for the rest of their career, while also maintaining the consistent evolution of their sound they would also always persist with, with Schuldiner always remaining as the band's one true voice. And besides that, Leprosy was also notable for giving the world its first listen to an on-loan from an on-hiatus Massacre Bill Andrews & Rick Rozz (no, not the rapper), performing on drums & guitars here respectively (a pre-Obituary Terry Butler was listed as playing bass on this, but he actually only joined the band after these sessions were already over, with Chuck on bass, so no soup/credit for you!), as well as this being one of the first examples of the work of that death metal-producing god himself, Scott effin' Burns. Anyway, while this was Death's first truly great album, it was far from their last, as we'll soon see, but until then, be patient, as Leprosy will take control and bring you to Chuck's Death, baby!

Original Coverage

Recommended Cut: "Primitive Ways"
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:03 am

Rock wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:53 pm
Looks like I got what I wanted.

More...leprosy!
Looks like I got what I wanted again.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:14 am

Rock wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:03 am
Looks like I got what I wanted again.
Just remember Rock, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes... you get what you need? Or something.
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'88: (Sadus: Illusions)

Post by Stu » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:13 am

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I know Sadus doesn't get that much attention as far as thrash bands go, and there are a plenty of more prominent groups from the genre whose records I could've covered this year instead, but I wanted to take a step away from the bigger names for once, and talk about a more underground (but still excellent) band of thrashers, and if you take one listen to their excellent debut record Illusions, I think you'll agree with me immediately that they deserve this coverage (and I know I posted the cover to Roadrunner's 1991 reissue of the record, which was also inexplicably retitled to Chemical Exposure, but the original cover just looked stupid, so deal).

Anyway, Sadus was one of those bands I'd been aware of for some time, but had never gotten around to checking out before I undertook my research for this project, but now I'm kicking myself right in the teeth for not listening to Illusions earlier, as it's an incredibly energetic, big, meaty slab of technically-minded thrash, with plenty of sudden tempo/riff changes, vocalist Darren Travis's harsh, breathlessly frantic shouting, that god of metal bassists himself, Steve DiGiorgio, holding down the low end as only he can, and an astonishingly relentless, merciless sense of overall speed and energy, one that I'm quite frankly amazed that the band could sustain for nearly a full half-hour here. This is honestly one of the most intense thrash records I've heard in my life, borderline death metal in its general sense of heaviness and extremity, really, and, while I'm loath to call this "hyperactive", lest you get visions of wheedle-wheedle-wheedle tech death BS in your ears, I mean it in the best of senses here, as, like me, this is one illusion that you'll want to make real for yourself, ASAP!

Recommended Cut:
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'88: (Bathory: Blood Fire Death)

Post by Stu » Thu May 30, 2019 6:17 am

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Finally, we return to Bathory after a couple of years/records, a period which saw the band generally stick to the 1st wave black metal style they established for themselves with their '84 self-titled debut, and which they would mostly continue with on Blood Fire Death in the expectedly furious, blistering manner, but stronger than ever before, with an actual decent production this time, so they sound much more "listenable" here while still being fundamentally extreme (excluding, of course, that imbecilic "nananananana" melody in the intro to "Pace 'Til Death", which will always be one of the most bafflingly idiotic choices ever made on an otherwise great record). But, the real metallic legacy of Death is the way it helped create what's come to be known as viking metal, a relatively small, sometimes vaguely defined sub-genre, but one that I feel is legitimate nonetheless, as it usually shares distinctive, common elements such as a mixture of clean vocals and harsh, black metal-style growling, a focus on traditional Viking mythology in its lyrical topics, an emphasis on epic, mid-tempo songwriting, the use of keyboarding for additional atmosphere, and the occasional folky touch like the appearance of acoustic sections, and, to one degree or another, every one of those elements show up on Death, in its iconic bookending songs and their respective intro/outro tracks.

It begins with "Oden's Ride Over Nordland", which sets the stage perfectly for the musical mayhem we're about to witness, with the sound of horses neighing/galloping, the eerie bluster of the cold winds of mayhem, and an ominous synthesized chorus in the background, creating an ideal musical picture for the iconic album cover, and setting the stage perfectly for the epic musical dominance that is soon to come, in the form of "A Fine Day To Die", and the haunting echo of Quorthon's surprisingly beautiful clean vocals, set to a serenely chilling acoustic intro, just before the track explodes into an all-out ORGY of harrowing screams, huge, pounding percussion, and some of the coldest, most killer riffs and solos put on any metal album ever. And if that wasn't enough, the title track that comes near the end of the album is almost as good, giving us a incredible one-two punch that officially intiated "the Viking Age" of metal, and ensuring that, in other words, BFD was indeed a "bfd", and one of the bigger such ones in the history of all of metaldom; DIE!!!

Recommended Cut:



Original Coverage

Other Notable Metal Records From '88:

You'd think that with '88 being the only year from the golden age of thrash that we got albums from every single member of "The Big 4", it would be the greatest year in the history of the genre hands down, but unfortunately, that just wasn't the case, as all of those bands experienced, in one way or another, a sort of early mid-life crisis in their careers, as they were unable to produce follow-ups that were as iconic or beloved as their most recent records, whether it be Metallica's aforementioned Justice, the way Slayer disappointed some of their fanbase with the less aggressive, significantly slowed-down tempos of South of Heaven, Anthrax's somewhat underwhelming State of Euphoria, or the unfocused songwriting, lousy production, and cracked/crackhead vocals of Megadeth's So Far, So Good... So What!, which is easily the worst of deth's early records. But, sky-high expectations aside, there are still some good/great records in that bunch, and outside of those 4, the genre was still going strong this year anyway, with Voivod's Dimension Hatröss, Vio-lence's Eternal Nightmare, Forbidden's Forbidden Evil, Coroner's Punishment for Decadence, Overkill's Under The Influence, and Testament's excellent sophomore effort The New Order, among others, keeping the style going strong outside of the big guns.

And outside of thrash, we saw a couple of other signficant prog records like Fates Warning's No Exit & King's X's Out of the Silent Planet joining with Mindcrime to make '88 a strong year for that genre, while Iron Maiden's Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son brought the decade to a strong close for what is (as far as I'm concerned) THE most iconic metal band of the 80's, and Danzig gave the world its first taste of their uniquely blusey, hard rockin' style with their self-titled debut. Besides that, Pantera saw future iconic frontman Phil Anselmo join them for the inaccurately-titled Power Metal, while we saw releases from some actual power metal bands in the forms of Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys II & Blind Guardian's debut Battalions of Fear, while Celtic Frost fully abandoned 1st wave black metal entirely and went full sell-out with 1988's lame, generic glam metal wannabe Cold Lake, dealing their signficant legacy a huge blow, and becoming the shameful poster child for disasterous metal records in a pre-St. Anger era. And finally, death metal saw the debuts of a couple of future icons with Pestilence's Malleus Maleficarum, Bolt Thrower's In Battle There Is No Law, and Carcass's Reek of Putrefacation all being released, and, although some of those records were from before those bands had gone full death on us, back when their metal was more of the "grind-y" variety, ala Napalm Death's From Enslavement to Obliteration, they still helped set up the burgeoning beginning of the golden age of old-school death metal, which will be seeing here very, very soon...
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Fri May 31, 2019 4:47 am

Anyway, sorry about that big gap inbetween entries there, but with a month-long gap inbetween my entries being posted on Global Domination, I guess I just didn't feel that much pressure to finish '88, and felt like writing other things for a while. But, as you can see, I'm not giving up on this thread, and I should be starting work on '89 pretty soon-ish, so stay tuned!!!
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'89 (Morbid Angel: Altars Of Madness)

Post by Stu » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:50 pm

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Although we've already seen earlier in this project that death metal was a burgeoning underground movement during the mid-late part of the 80's, and even though it was released in a fairly crowded year for classic DM (more on that below), Morbid Angel's classic debut "Altars of Madness" is stil by far the most important record of that bunch, and also surely THE most iconic and influential death metal release of the entire decade, even. Of course, it's important to note that, while part of the legendary Florida death scene, and a member of what I personally define as "the big 4" of American death metal, it still took Morbidly (Obese) Angelo longer than it should've to break through, as, while "Altars" was obviously the first album they released, it wasn't the first one they actually made, as "Abominations of Desolation" was recorded all the way back in '86, but wouldn't see the light of day until '91, as, soon after it was finished, Azagthoth got into a fight with Mike Browning, the band's original vocalist, after he caught Trey making out with his girlfriend, leading to his removal from the band, and the scrapping of the original planned release of the record (talk about your petty high school drams, eh?).

Fortunately for us (and the genre as a whole), Angel kept on truckin', soon bringing in iconic frontman David Vincent on vocals & bass, who in turn brought along bandmate Pete "Teh Feet" Sandoval with him from fellow underground icons Terrorizer, and "Altars" was soon unleashed upon the metal world, with its swampy morass of brutal, chaotic, genre-defining riffage, Evil David's unholy, raspy growl, Sandoval's relentlessly intense abuse of his kit, and an incredibly evil, blasphemous overall vibe, with some of the most sacreligious lyrics anyone had ever written at the time, including a line that literally says "Dead, your God is dead, fools, your God is dead!", helping to further set the stage for the boundary-transgressing topics of the Norwegian black metal scene in the coming decade, so that makes TWO different styles that "Altars" arguably influenced. Granted, most of the songwriting here tends to run together in a bit of a same-ish manner rather than sticking out in particularly unique ways, but that's more than forgivable when the overall record makes such a strong impact on the whole, an impact which is obvious if you've pretty much listened to ANY post-80's death metal, so join in with your fellow metalheads in worshipping at this altar, would you?

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'89 (Ministry: The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste)

Post by Stu » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:36 am

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The early history of Chicago's own Ministry was one of a constantly shifting sound from album to album, whether it be (embarassingly dated) 80's-style "synthpop" on their 1983 debut "With Sympathy", dark electronica on '86's "Twitch", or intense industrial rock on "The Land of Rape and Honey" in '88, but by the end of the decade, the band had finally found somewhat of a solid, defining style with "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste", as they took the heaviness of metal and fused it with rigid, stop-start, repetitively "machine"-like riffs and instrumentation (including plenty of programmed drums, of course), copious use of various mechanical sound effects and a cornucopia of outside samples from film/TV, band mastermind Al Jourgenson's warped, distorted, drowned vocalwork, the occasional experimental, avant-gaarde touch, and an overall cold, menacing atmosphere, helping to create the transgressive fusion genre that we now know as industrial metal.

And, not only is Mind a genre-defining record, but it's also a rather diverse one as well, whether it be the speedy, thrash-style intensity of album opener "Thieves", the brilliant combination of the lone, eerie echo of a saxphone with Chris Connelly's demented, taunting, sadistic carnival barker-vocals on "Cannibal Song", or the veritable orgy of dialogue samples, background choruses, and groovy basswork of "Faith Collapsing" (the less said about the album's disastrous experiment with hip-hop stylings on "Test", courtesy of never-was guest rapper "K. Lite", the better). Of course, Ministry weren't the only early pioneers of the style (as we'll see below), but they were arguably the biggest and most important of the bunch, and "Mind" still stands strong as their magnum opus to this day, and one incredibly delicious-tasting album nonetheless.

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'89 (Coroner: No More Color)

Post by Stu » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:26 am

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The underground icons of technical thrash metal known as Coroner had already released "R.I.P." & "Punishment for Decandence" by '89, but, while their songwriting was strong even back then, the production jobs on those early records still lacked a certain amount of punch, leaving "No More Color" to truly showcase the band at their full potential, as the Swiss misses not only have a much fuller, meatier sound here than ever before, but also take their trademark technicality to brand-new highs, with Tommy Vetterli's fret-melting solos and blisteringly brutal riffs, the fierce snarl of Ron Broder's "red-headed stepchild of Tom Warrior"-style vocals (which makes sense, considering that the band originally started out as Celtic Frost's road crew, and even recorded an early demo with Tom on vocals!), and their songwriting's overall relentless sense of energy, intensity, and sheer unpredictability, as you can never tell which direction the songs are gonna widly veer off to in the next sudden signature switch-up, but that's what makes "Color" so great in the first place.

Admittedly, like a lot of people, I had been slow in getting around to checking these guys out, but this is still my current favorite Coroner record, whether we're talking about the unrelenting assault of album opener "Die by my Hand", the appropriately frantic and disorientating guitar gymnastics of "Tunnel of Pain", or the haunting spoken-word sections of the fittingly titled closer "Last Entertainment". And, while Coroner unfortunately never really hit it "big", leading to a premature break-up in the 90's, and I'm not sure if we'll ever see a new record from the reunited band that they continue to insist is coming out someday, until then, be sure to make up for their underrated status by checking out "No More Color" in the meantime; die by their hand, punk!

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:39 am

Coroner? I'm so sick of that guy!

J/K I have never listened to them but will give that album a shot. Re: Morbid Angel, I ought to give Altars of Madness more listens but I like Covenant an awful lot (particularly "Angel of Disease" and "God of Emptiness").
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:45 am

Rock wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:39 am
Coroner? I'm so sick of that guy!

J/K I have never listened to them but will give that album a shot. Re: Morbid Angel, I ought to give Altars of Madness more listens but I like Covenant an awful lot (particularly "Angel of Disease" and "God of Emptiness").
It is their best record, so enjoy! And I enjoy some early MA, but my personal favorite record from them is still Domination, which I feel has their best riffs, and most varied, distinctive, high-energy songwriting:



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'89 (Atheist: Piece Of Time)

Post by Stu » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:18 am

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While the early days of death metal were more focused on a straightforward brutality than anything else, and they certainly succeded in carving out a special little metal niche for the infant genre, there was still a sense in the air that something was missing, that something being a certain level of musical sophistication, which Florida's Atheist soon brought to the style with their subgenre-defining debut "Piece of Time", which helped to codify the traits of what we now know as technical death metal, with its incredibly intense, technically-demanding performances, including Kelly Shaefer/Rand Burkey's virtuosic riffs & solos and the frantic, hyperactive basswork of Roger Patterson (rest in peace), the much more complex, intricate song structures, or the abrupt, turn-on-a-dime signature changes that have defined the genre since.

Granted, there's some undeniable thrash influence here in terms of the generally uptempo songwriting, along with a production that, at times, is barely distinguishable from "Beneath the Remains", haha (which makes sense, seeing as both records were mixed by a then extremely in-demand Scott Burns, inbetween his work on other records from that year like "World Downfall", "Slowly we Rot", and "No More Color"; dang dude, save some work for other metal producers!). But, there are still plenty of slower sections thrown in here suddenly to keep things well varied, and no one would confuse Athiest with Metallica anyway, as, influences aside, they were definitely doing their own thing as a band here, proving that you don't need to completely sacrifice heaviness in favor of technicality, as, like that kid from the taco commercials once iconically said, you can do both!

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'89: (Terrorizer: World Downfall)

Post by Stu » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:43 pm

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As I've shown earlier in this project, death metal was a slowly rising, burgeoning movement in the American metal underground throughout the mid-to-late 80's, while grindcore was beginning to raise its incredibly noisy, chaotic head up in Britain around the same time, so it makes perfect sense that, in the year that saw the official birth of the golden age of the former, along with the peak year of the latter (more on that below), that one band with current/future members of iconic bands in both styles would fuse the sounds of the two together to create a subgenre-defining classic debut. That band in question? None only than the one and only Terrorizer, and that record was their iconic debut "World Downfall", a record so awesome that the band broke up before it even came out cuz they all knew they'd never be able to match it ever again (and of their subsequent efforts have pretty much failed, so they probably should've quit while they were ahead, eh?).

Not that "Downfall" was the first very death/grind record ever released, nor was it even the only significant album from that genre to come out that year (again, more on that later), but it certainly is the best example of its style as far as I'm concerned, as Terrorizer took the fuzzy, David Vincent-provided basslines, relentlessly blistering blastbeats (supplied by a pre-Morbid Angel Pete Sandoval, who probably puts in a more furious performance here than he ever did in his main band) and non-stop, frantic intensity of grindcore, and fuses it all with the less raw productions and somewhat more orderly songwriting of death metal, even including a couple of songs that, gasp, dare to last longer than 3 minutes (will wonders never cease?!), creating a superb example of what Trauma once so memorably called "controlled chaos". Unfortunately, Terrorizer soon ceased to be when most of its members soon left for other metal pastures, whether it be Nausea, Morbid Angel or Napalm Death (which makes sense, considering how obviously the politically-tinged, collage-of-modern-chaos artwork for this is inspired by "Scum"), but this record still stands tall as an indispensable, stand-alone example of its genre, and one of the finest metal records of its year, and the entire 1980's for that matter; downfalls never sounded so good, huh?

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Other Notable Metal Records From '89:


'89 was another extremely strong year for thrash metal, with the releases of Voivod's "Nothingface", Nuclear Assault's "Handle With Care", Overkill's "The Years of Decay", Annihilator's debut guitar wankfest "Alice in Hell" (which is still enjoyable on its own merits), Dark Angel's "Leave Scars", a pair of Teutonic thrash classics in the forms of Kreator's "Extreme Aggression" & Sodom's "Agent Orange", Testament's "Practice What You Preach", Watchtower's sophomore effort "Control & Resistance", the follow-up to their technical thrash-pioneering debut "Energetic Disassembly" (which I should've mentioned in my entry for '85, and am making it up for it by, er, mentioning it now), Exodus's "Fabulous Disaster", and Sepultura's breakthrough 3rd album "Beneath the Remains", which saw the Brazilians putting their own particular regional spin on the style, and unleashing their particular brand of furious, Southern (American)-fried thrash upon an unsuspecting world.

Anyway, '89 was also a good year for industrial metal/rock, as besides "Mind", we also got Godflesh's appropriately ungodly, oppressively heavy debut "Streetcleaner", and a debut record called "Pretty Hate Machine" from a band you may have heard of called Nine Inch Nails, a couple of notable progressive releases with Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" and "When Day and Dream Unite", the debut effort from some pretentious prog metal losers called Dream Theater, and some significant misleannous releases like Running Wild's "Death or Glory", Savatage's "Gutter Ballet", W.A.S.P.'s "The Headless Children", King Diamond's "Conspiracy", Candlemass's "Tale of Creation", and Faith No More's milestone of alternative metal "The Real Thing". And, besides all of that, '89 was also THE peak year for grindcore (or at least, grind-ISH metal), as, besides "World Downfall", we also saw Repulsion's long-delayed stand-alone classic "Horrified", as well as Carcass's "Symphonies of Sickness" and Bolt Thrower's "Realm of Chaos", two releases that also straddled the line between grind and death metal, and contributed to the true, official beginning of the golden age of the latter genre as, in addition to it, "Altars", & "Piece", we also got the releases of a couple of classic debuts in the forms of Obituary's "Slowly We Rot" & Autopsy's "Severed Survival", as well as Pestilence's timeless breakthrough "ConsVming Impulse", which is one of my personal favorite death metal albums, and helped to further establish death metal as a newly dominant style, one that would soon cross the Atlantic and begin blowing up in a certain Scandinavian country in the following decade, as we'll see very soon...
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:53 pm

Ok, looks like I didn't have to ask for more downfall.

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

Post by Stu » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:13 am

Rock wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:53 pm
Ok, looks like I didn't have to ask for more downfall.

More...remains!
Too late, but we will see some coverage of the boys from Brazil in here eventually, don't you worry!
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'90 (Megadeth: Rust In Peace)

Post by Stu » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:52 am

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We officially bring this project into the 90's by catching back up with Megadeth, having last seen them making a strong debut in '85 with "Killing is my Business...", and then making a bit of commercial breakthrough with '86's "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" but, like I said in my article for '88, they ran into a bit of a brick wall with "So Far, So Good... So What!" (whoa, ellipsis overload!), with its messy, lackluster songwriting and crappy production, brought on by Dave Mustang's increasing addiction to just about every controlled substance on planet Earth, proving that, contrary to popular belief, more drugs don't always automatically lead to better muzak, However, by the dawn of the next decade, Mustaine & company had finally sobered up for good, and, with the revitalizating energy of a couple of new members, they came back with a vengance with "Rust in Peace", creating one of the greatest thrash metal records of all time, and contributed to 1990 being one of the last great years for that genre (although not THE very last one, as we'll see soon).

Anyway, RiP sees 'deth taking the trademark technicality that distinguished their early records to its logical conclusion, with its sharp, shred-tastic riffage, insanely complex, rapidly shifting song structures, and some of the most frantic, intense, fret-meltingest guitar solos ever recorded courtesy of Dave & new guitarist Marty Friedman, which never come across as gratitious guitar wankery, but instead only add to the overwhelming energy of the overall record, bursting from each and every seam here. To this day, it still boggles my mind how amazingly technical this record is while still somehow holding together on the whole and remaing coherent the whole time, creating what will undoubtedly always be Megadeth's very finest moment, and leaving me grinning from cheek-to-cheek like Mr. Rattlehead's hideous, world leader-taunting visage on the cover; EHHEHHEHHEHHEHHH!

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Torgo » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:23 pm

There are actually metalheads out there who don't give Rust in Peace the credit it deserves. That's something I don't understand.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:48 am

Torgo wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:23 pm
There are actually metalheads out there who don't give Rust in Peace the credit it deserves. That's something I don't understand.
The Onion would like to have a word with them.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:04 am

Rust in Peace is insanely good. Just heard it for the first time recently and fuuuck.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Torgo » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:17 am

Ha, I remember that article. Why is Megadeth such a good source of comedy?

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'90: (Pantera: Cowboys From Hell)

Post by Stu » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:03 pm

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Naturally, as we enter the 90's with this series, it makes perfect sense to start covering the bands that helped define metal during that decade, and I (and probably no one else) can think of any other metal band that became more synonymous with the 90's than Pantera, of course. Not that the band didn't exist in the 80's, mind you, no matter how much they might like to ignore the shameful existence of something like this, but of course, almost no one cared (or even knew) about them at the time, as they mostly just made generic 80's glam metal with a corresponding spandex 'n hairspray-heavy aesthetic, with little to distinguish them from any other dime-a-dozen bands making similar music that decade, and indeed, none of their independently-released records from that period made much of a commercial splash. However, towards the end of that decade, the band's sound had begun to shift in a harder (and hot & heavier?) direction, as they ditched their shrill, shrieking old vocalist "Terry Glaze" in favor of a then-unknown New Orleans native named Phil Anselmo, and one fortunately-timed, executive-stranding hurricane later saw the band getting signed to Atco Records, soon unleashing their major label debut "Cowboys From Hell" upon the world and defining the small (but legit) sub-genre known as groove metal, and the rest, as they say, is heavy metal history.

You see, it's with this record that the band truly became the iconic idea of what we now think of as PANTERA, and defined the direction their sound would go in for the 2nd half of their career, taking the fundamental intensity of thrash metal, turning down the tempo, and turning UP the almighty, mid-paced groove, whether it be the incredibly biting, wrenching main riff of "Primal Concrete Sledge", the staccato bounce of "Psycho Holiday", or the controlled chaos and intensity of "Clash With Reality", driven by the chemistry of the Abbot brothers' combination of Vinne Paul's lively percussion and the irresistibly infectious riffs and screeching solos of modern guitar god Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P.!), along with the incredibly passionate, menacing tough-guy bellows of frontman Anselmo, venomously spitting out the confrontational, attitude-heavy lyrics, setting the path for the voice that would help define a generation of metal, and leaving the vapid, "sex & rock rulez!"-obsessed subject matters of their 80's records behind forever. Not that the stench of the 80's didn't somewhat linger on this record, mind you, whether it be the thin layer of cheese on the music, the inclusion of a certain famous ballad about cemeteries and their relationship to gates, or Anselmo's relative emphasis on more soaring, traditional-style metal singing, which, while generally nice, still comes off as occasionally dated, especially when compared to their later records (memo to Phil: singing the entirety of every verse on "Shattered" in a Halford-falsetto was NOT a good idea), but none of that is enough to ruin the fundamental strength of the music, or keep "Cowboys" from becoming the band's breakthrough, defining moment, earning them a Platinum certification, the adoration of a new generation of metalheads, and creating the cornerstone to build an entire new sub-genre on top of. Not bad for a couple of good ol' boys from Arlington, Texas, eh?

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:06 pm

Torgo wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:17 am
Ha, I remember that article. Why is Megadeth such a good source of comedy?

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On the bright side, if 'deth ever breaks up, Dave can still line up a sure position as body double for a certain belligerent head of state:

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Torgo » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:20 pm

Stu wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:06 pm
On the bright side, if 'deth ever breaks up, Dave can still line up a sure position as body double for a certain belligerent head of state:

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That would be an excellent premise for a King Ralph remake.
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'90 (Judas Priest: Painkiller)

Post by Stu » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:25 am

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The last time we heard a confession from teh Priest in this project, it wasn't looking so good for the Metal Gods, as '86's "Turbo" was a just big ol' slab of wannabe poppy, synthesizer-drowned 80's cheese, and, while '88's "Ram It Down" was a moderate improvement on that, it was still far from a classic record, and thus, it seemed as though JP's initial golden age had finally come to a final, conclusive end... that is, until the dawn of the next decade, when the band came absolutely ROARING back with "Painkiller", a nitro-fueled resurgence of the band's relevance to the modern metal world, and, despite the incredible number of classics the band has put out over the years, is still their finest hour, as far as I'm concerned. You see, Priest revitalized their sound here by leaving the 80's pop-isms of their last couple of records back in that decade where they belong, dropping the dated, reverb-heavy drum productions and cheesy, MTV-friendly synths (except for on "A Touch of Evil", where they still sound much better than they ever did on any of the 80's records), and instead, took a cue from the new generation of metal bands by grabbing onto some thrashier influences here in the form of the faster, much more aggressive songwriting here.

But, instead of being just more soulless trend-hopping like "Turbo", Priest expertly blends those influences with their own signature style here, creating their heaviest record to date, with Tiptop & Downing's screeching solos melting our faces harder than ever before, Halford's ear-piercing shrieks soaring as high as they ever have (which, obviously, is saying quite something), and new drummer Scott Travis pounding our faces as hard as he does the double bass on his kit in the title track, with one of the most aggressive, prominent productions I've ever heard when it comes to heavy metal percussion. Just like the titular Painkiller himself, this is an album entirely, undeniably made out of of pure METAL, and, while it is unfortunate that this was the last we'd hear of Halford in the band for a decade-and-a-half, the sheer power of "Painkiller" still ensured that Priest's already impressive metal legacy would remain untouchable for the rest of time; PAIN!!!

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:02 pm

I'm a Megadeth fan and Rust in Peace is probably my favorite album of them, with probably my favorite two songs ("Hangar 18" and "Tornado of Souls")
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Re: '90 (Entombed: Left Hand Path)

Post by Stu » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:11 pm

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Contrary to popular metal belief, while Entombed weren't the first band to release a classic record in the style we know as "Swedeath" (as we'll soon see below), it's still impossible for me think of a more defining release in that particular sub-sub-genre than their debut effort "Left Hand Path", one that, appropriately enough, absolutely BLAZED a path for the scene at the dawn of the 90's, with its relentless overall aggression, its emphasis on more consistently up-tempo songwriting when compared to certain American acts in the genre, Nicke Andersson's intense, d-beat punk-influenced drumming (an influence you can also see reflected here in some of the relatively short song lengths), or, of course, its use of a maxed-out Boss HM-2 distortion pedal, which helped create the gritty, oh-so-infamous buzzsaw guitar tone, the element that, more than anything else, defined what we think of as the sound of Swedish death metal back in those early days.

Of course, besides helping to establish the fundamentals of that vital scene, "Path" further distinguishes itself through L.G. Petrov's coarse, desperate style of growling, or through little touches like the frighteningly distorted, demonic vocal effects on album closer "Premature Autopsy", Petrov's unexpected (but welcome) experimentation with a clean baritone on "Bitter Loss", or of course, the infamous "Phantasm" theme played on some of the eeriest keyboards you've ever heard during the extended outro section of the legendary opening title track. The shenanigans of "Entombed A.D." and the band's later experimentations with death 'n roll aside (although I am personally a fan of some of their later records), this is an undeniable classic, and one of the most influential albums in metal history; add in a classic piece of artwork on the cover by none other than Mr. Seagrave himself, and what more could you want from a record?!

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:17 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:02 pm
I'm a Megadeth fan and Rust in Peace is probably my favorite album of them, with probably my favorite two songs ("Hangar 18" and "Tornado of Souls")
I'm obviously a big fan of Rust, buit those two songs are actually some of my least favorite on the record, heh; not that I hate them, mind you, but I've always found the main riff of "Hangar" to be dull, and the second half of the song just feels like an excuse for some crazy solos (as opposed to being well-integrated into the core of the songwriting, like with "Five Magics"), and Dave's vocals get on my nerves more than usual on "Tornado". They're both still decent at least, just lesser than the other songs on the album, which I would probably rank in order of preference as:

1. Five Magics
2. Lucretia
3. Take No Prisoners
4. Rust In Peace
5. Holy Wars
6. Dawn Patrol
7. Poison Was The Cure
8. Hangar 18
9. Tornado Of Souls
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