Most of us became interested in music at a very young age. Some of us (the most talented ones, I guess) go even farther and learn to play an instrument, form a band or become a solo artist and dream of fame and fortune. It's a shame that only a small minority have the chance to be a part of a popular band and tour all over the world while putting bread and butter on the table. This road may be tough and rocky, that's for sure.
Tons of music was probably lying around when we were all kids, being your parents' vinyl albums or your beloved aunt's cassettes or some random music that you liked on the radio, and we fell instantly in love with it.
We here at the shiny ivory tower of The Metal Crypt are always willing to dig a little deeper and we contacted a bunch of musicians and asked what were their favorite and influential bands and albums from their childhoods (a so-called "soundtrack of youth") that eventually took them on a long journey in their career.
This is the first part... enjoy!
Thanks to John Gallagher of Raven, Michael Borders of Massacre, Aku Kytölä of Coronary, Uncle Death of Creepshow, Lips of Anvil, Brian Tatler of Diamond Head, Teemu Vähäkangas of Bloodride, Pekka Montin of Ensiferum, Ricard of Proscrito, King Fowley of Deceased, Lasse Pyykkö of Hooded Menace and Phil Rind of Sacred Reich, for their sweet contribution to this first part of the series.
Five albums that influenced me greatly in my formative years...
SLADE – Slade Alive! (1972)
The first band I ever saw was Slade and this was the first album I ever bought. It was hugely influential on my brother and I. The sound, the power, Noddy's voice, the songs, and the whole atmosphere was overwhelming. And it had Jim Lea on bass who is an astounding player! I've heard it a zillion times and will listen a zillion more!
THE BEATLES – Revolver (1966)
Our dad was very much a Sinatra guy and not much for rock and roll but somehow, he had a cassette of Revolver which I was fascinated with. This would be maybe 1970-71 and the songs and, though the term meant zero to me at the time, the production, were amazing. I loved songs like "Taxman", "Eleanor Rigby", and the scary at the time "Tomorrow Never Knows", which was unlike anything I'd ever heard. Genius.
YES – Yessongs (1973)
I'd read about them in Sounds magazine and had heard some of Fragile and loved their unique approach, so I saved up my pennies and bought their brand-new release, the TRIPLE live album Yessongs. Everything on here destroys the studio versions (as every live album should) and expands upon them so brilliantly. Yes did everything differently. The main instrumental voice seemed to be Chris Squire's bass which was loud, trebly, often distorted, wah wah'd, and just amazing. The arrangements were crucial with almost no unison playing but an interlocked jigsaw of sounds overflowing with emotion. Brilliant!
LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti (1975)
I borrowed this from the guy who was our first drummer. The 5-year-old kid from next door was in the house, saw the record playing and grabbed the stylus - SCREEEEECH!
Stylus gone (25 quid, ouch) and side three of the album was kind of trashed, so I gave Paul money for the album, saved up for a new stylus and finally heard Zep's magnum opus two weeks later.
It's all been said but it's an excellent album with so many changes in style and feel. The song that stood out was "In My Time of Dying". Just four guys going off. It is edge of your seat pure adrenaline!!
JUDAS PRIEST - Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
I'd read a review of this in a magazine called Disc which was very in-depth as the writer was championing this young band on their second album and he'd been present during the recording. Everything in the review screamed, "BUY ME!!!!" So... I did!
Pure gothic heavy metal with riffs for days and songs with crazy left turns and breaks. The voice of Rob Halford is just incredible! I told everyone about this new band and slowly my schoolmates came on board.
BLACK SABBATH - Mob Rules (1981)
Heard it and it cemented in my mind exactly how a bass player should sound. I bought my first bass that weekend. Cheap Hondo Flying V that I still have all these years later.
AC/DC - Let There Be Rock (1977)
Massive energy, and how could you look at that album cover and NOT want to be a rock star as a kid.
PINK FLOYD - The Wall (1979)
David Gilmore, my favorite rock guitarist.
BLACK FLAG – Damaged (1981)
At the time, it was the angriest thing I had ever listened to.
STEELY DAN - Greatest Hits (1978)
Such great songs and still in rotation in my truck as listening material.
Listing my five ultimate albums is a really hard task, but I'll give it a try. Three are easy to name. They were the first three of my own, which I got as an 11th birthday present in 1982. Little did my parents know when they let me pick what I wanted, what I would choose instead of their lame-ass favorites like The Beatles, hehe! Later I learned to like them too... a lot! Anyway, they were AC/DC's Highway to Hell (1979), Stray Cats' S/T (1981) and Motörhead's Iron Fist (1982). I listened to them so many times nonstop I lost count. There are two more worth mentioning which I bought quite soon after those three. They had the same effect on my 11-year-old ears and they were The Exploited's Troops of Tomorrow (1982) and Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast (1982), and once again, I was sold. Every band had a front man I could easily relate to, especially Lemmy, and they all were so cool with scary logos, mascots etc., so of course I wanted to be like them one day. Then I bought Black Metal by Venom, and there was no turning back. That winter I walked home holding ice hockey stick pretending to be a front man banging bass and shouting something vulgar at the top of my lungs. And so I did a few years later!
Hey there Metal Crypt readers, Uncle Death here of the horrendously heinous Creepshow, here to tell you what gets my bones rattling and why!
I'm pretty young, so bear with me, we were all 666 years old at one point, am I right? It's really difficult to pinpoint what influenced me exactly but I remember being so vividly impressed by so many old school albums like:
KING DIAMOND - Abigail (1987)
DEATH - Scream Bloody Gore (1987)
MORTUARY DRAPE - All the Witches Dance (1994)
BATHORY - Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987)
SLAYER - South of Heaven (1988)
WHY WAS 1987 SUCH A GREAT YEAR? In hindsight, black metal, thrash metal and NWOBHM really set the standard for everything I'd enjoy moving forward. Sure, there are bands I missed but hey, you asked for five. I could give you FIVE THOUSAND. Whether it was those glorious King Diamond harmonies and solos or those super evil Slayer and Death riffs/octave sections, there was always something to keep me excited. Besides, I needed SOMETHING to play while I haunt the catacombs and stalk unsuspecting teens in the woods.
Here are my five choices...
THE BEATLES - Rubber Soul (1965)
This album came out around the time I got my first guitar. My mother sent me to guitar lessons and bought the song book at the guitar school. I began by learning all the chords on The Beatles' Rubber Soul album, so this is my number one influence...!!
JIMI HENDRIX - Are You Experienced (1967)
This Hendrix album had a huge influence on me as well as anyone who played guitar. This was a breakthrough moment in the evolution of rock music. Basically, the invention of distorted guitar; heavy metal, so to speak.
BLACK SABBATH - Master of Reality (1971)
This is my favorite of their entire catalog, however I cherish and love every note they ever played. One of the encyclopedias of hard and heavy rock and or metal.
DEEP PURPLE - In Rock (1970)
Purple's an absolute treasure of inspiration. The predecessor of all speed metal. Amazing singing that set a level for all to attempt to attain.
LED ZEPPELIN – I (1969)
This was extraordinary musically as well as sound production. Blues-based heavy rock that predates all that is known as metal.
LED ZEPPELIN – II (1969)
This was the first album I bought, and it obviously had a big effect on me and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was probably about 12 or 13 years old when I bought it and still at school. It was still a dream to be a musician or a "rock star" as I secretly hoped. I had read about "rock stars" and seen pictures of them in my brother's music papers like Sounds & Melody Maker. I thought it sounded and looked like a great job. Some incredible riffs on this album like "Heartbreaker", "Whole Lotta Love", "Ramble On" and "The Lemon Song". It's a brilliant combination or blues/rock/dynamics and sex.
DEEP PURPLE – Machine Head (1972)
This was the second album I ever bought and after hearing Ritch Blackmore's solos on songs like "Highway Star", "Lazy", "Pictures of Home", etc. I knew I wanted to be a lead guitarist. This album gave me the impetus and desire to practice every day and get good. My brother Dave played guitar in a local pub rock band, so I had access to his equipment. I began using his old second hand £14 guitar once he bought a new Gibson cherry red SG. I tried and tried to work out the solo to "Highway Star" but it was beyond me as a teenager and it's still a struggle now!
BLACK SABBATH - Master of Reality (1971)
The power of the riff came through to me. This is another classic '70s album full of killer riffs. "Children of the Grave", "Into the Void", "After Forever", "Sweet Leaf", "Lord of this World". I stole lots of things from Sabbath and this album in particular. I loved the way the riffs churned on while Ozzy would sing a brilliant line over the top. This was very influential to Diamond Head. I had no idea the album was in C# tuning it, just sounded really heavy.
LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti (1975)
This is IMO the greatest album of all time. It contains "Kashmir", which is my favorite song of all time. I have been worshipping this mighty track for over forty years. I never get tired of it. It's a wonderful album with many styles of music on it. No one records albums like this anymore. People are too afraid of stepping outside of their recognized style in case they lose fans, or critics think they have lost direction. Few bands have the balls to experiment like Led Zep did.
Consider the variety of different styles across their catalogue, for example "In My Time of Dying", "The Rain Song", "Good Times Bad Times", "Going to California", "D'yer Maker", "South Bound Suarez", "Black Dog", "Down by the Seaside". No two songs alike, which was influential to the young Diamond Head and we thought it would be ok to experiment "Like Zep do". Alas you need to have a huge following to be so bold and we soon came unstuck. Nowadays a lot of bands slavishly follow one style their whole career."
JUDAS PRIEST - Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
Released in 1975 on the short-lived Gull label. I had seen Priest at Birmingham Town Hall supporting Budgie for 70 pence and I liked them. Next, I bought the single "The Ripper" b/w "Island of Domination". The riff for "Island of Domination" is incredible and both these songs really impressed me, and I had to have more. I then bought Sad Wings... and it was sensational, worth the money just for "Victim of Changes". This song influenced early Diamond Head with its great arrangement and Rob Halford's vocal masterclass. But what made this album even more amazing was that the band is from the Midlands and they all lived within a ten-mile radius of me, which I found very inspiring.
IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave (1984)
KISS was first of this kind of stuff I listened to as a kid, but it was somehow pretty lame. I wanted more kicks. This was it. When I heard "Aces High" for the first time I was totally sold. I was also stunned by their musicianship. Iron Maiden was my first real step into the world of heavy metal.
MOTÖRHEAD - No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith (1981)
Early Motörhead's studio albums were not too good but this one nailed it with enough speed and rawness. Still one of greatest live albums ever.
METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)
I haven't listened to this one in many years but when it came out, I listened nearly nonstop. Their ability to do fast but catchy songs with enough aggression was really impressive.
SLAYER - Reign in Blood (1986)
Hell Awaits was already mind-blowing but when I heard this I was mesmerized and had to listen to it over and over again. The riffs and the songs were supreme, and the guys played like they were all possessed. After this, there was no turning back; I became a total thrashhead.
DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends (1986)
Mean, intense, just pure thrashing mayhem. Still one of my favorites.
GUNS N' ROSES - Use Your Illusion II (1991)
My life changed completely when I first heard young Axl Rose and his band Guns N' Roses. Axl's range just blew my mind and from that point I knew what I wanted to do with my life, simple as that. He was (and still is) my first childhood hero. What a great singer he was and still is.
SHOCK TILT – All their 80's stuff
Back in the '80s my uncle used to play drums in a Swedish cult rock band called Shock Tilt, which still exists. They shared the stage with mighty Motörhead and many others. Even though the early story of Shock Tilt is very tragic and sad, I still think my uncle's drumming has a left positive vibe with me and that started when I was only a child.
MANOWAR - Hail to England (1984)
Sometime in the middle '90s I was searching for new, interesting bands and I came across a band named Manowar. I was hooked immediately. I loved the songs, the tight playing, the spirit and, of course, the voice of Eric Adams. I still think Manowar is the all-time greatest metal band that has ever existed. Eric Adams is still my biggest influence as a metal vocalist. He is one of the all-time bests.
DIMMU BORGIR – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (1997)
In the '90s, a decade when metal seemed to lose its popularity, the genre stayed alive underground. New genres and new record labels were born. Between 1994 and 2000 great, melodic and symphonic black metal music was created by bands such as Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Emperor. These bands made me love the heavier side of metal and understand how important it is to create atmosphere in this kind of music. I think most of today's extreme metal bands are boring compared to these pioneers. For example, keyboards have been used in a very simplistic yet creative way. I wish to see this with modern metal bands as extreme metal can surely be something more than an undynamic rant.
The synth stuff ('80s pop, game music, soundtracks, progressive rock etc.)
As a teenager I to many artists and bands outside the metal genre, such as Marillion, Mike Oldfield, Uriah Heep, A-ha, Pekka Pohjola, David Sylvian, Jan Hammer, soundtrack music and '80s game music, of course. All these artists and bands had their own unique styles that have left huge marks on me.
Ave Luxi, here we are again. Now, that's a topic worth considering, yet at the same time with a pretty set ranking in my mind, for there are five albums that shaped me in my formative years. No cult points for me, I guess, since they are quite obvious choices, but that's life and I'm being 100% honest. Many escaped selection, some because they came in to my life much later and some others because they had not quite the same impact although they remain among my favorites to this day, for example The Crimson Idol, Seven Churches, Stained Class/Screaming for Vengeance, Season of the Dead, any old Autopsy, old Kreator/Destruction/Sodom, Rrröööaaarrr, Streetcleaner, Larga vida al Rock and Roll / Metalmorphosis, Venom, Savatage, Morbid Angel, Master and Death Strike, Into the Grave, Dawn of Possession, Incantation's first (I spent the whole year listening to that one on repeat when I was 14), Deep Purple and, believe me, I'm a man of fine taste who worships the whole Motör-catalog. Iron Maiden is still my favorite band, but I'll cheat a bit and not pick any album by them because it's hard for me to do so, but it's obvious that Somewhere in Time and Brave New World back when it got released (yes, I'm a grumpy-old young lad) were absolute game-changers for my education and still really cherished in my own personal pantheon. Fine, enough for now, let's start...
METALLICA – Master of Puppets (1986)
My own assassination of Kennedy. I remember the exact place and moment when I listened to the acoustic opening of "Battery" for the first time. That epic build-up pumped me up as much as the first time I listened to "Aces High" from Powerslave, it is the stuff pre-teen dreams are made of. If you didn't wait for the endless school hours to finish just to listen to those albums front to back, time after time, you just weren't born for this. There's no need to review such a milestone of heavy metal. Many others have and maybe with more technical precision (although maybe not the same passion). "Sanitarium" is one of the perfect power ballads, "Leper Messiah" one of my favorite, if not my favorite, 'tallica numbers because of that final part that screams of the USA and freedom. "Disposable Heroes" is a shredding, right-hand atomiser, "Orion" is the perfect depiction of ethereal, soulful, moving musicianship and "Damage Inc." the ultimate ripper. Fuck it all and fuckin' no regrets!!! Hands down to some of the best guitar leads of all time. Hammett might be a limited guitarist if we compare him to other legends, but he was surely on point with his solo contributions. Those moments still make me shiver and I'm almost in my 30s. And for all the revisionist kunts and fucktards, "The Thing That Should Not Be" is one of the best skullcrushing nihilistic mid-paced tracks of all time, the ultimate cosmic horror anthem. Remember you're an annoying cumstain, a piece of debris in contrast with the Ancient Ones (and any old Metallica, now that we're at it). Yes, I know, Ride... has the perfect production and Hetfield's lyrics on "Fight Fire..." sound more feral and darker than Beherit. Kill 'Em All is still the perfect pseudo-NWOBHM album on 'roids, laced with cocaine, but Master of Puppets is the one that came into my life much earlier and I'm still obsessed by its maturity and degree of perfection on all fronts.
SLAYER – Reign in Blood (1986)
The one that took things to an extreme. Nuclear Death is one of my obsessions, I love Conqueror's LP, Strappado is my favorite album of 1987 and I worship Pleasure to Kill and general savagery, but nothing comes close to Reign in Blood. Not even by 2021 standards. That one blew me away instantly, and still does. I adore Show No Mercy like any guy next door and sing along with passion. I know Hell Awaits is the foundational stone of many of my main influences and relish its ghoulish, dungeon-keeping darkness. Haunting the Chapel is my most played piece of slayeresque wax, no contest. I even love some later and still canonical stuff up to and including Divine Intervention. Anyway, Reign in Blood is where they peaked in my opinion and yes, I might be young and didn't know the album back when it got released, but I'm sure many Hell Awaits revisionists turned to RiB then as well. As a friend of mine replied when I was asked about both, "are you more into street fistfights than worshipping Satan?" Of fucking course. When I was a child, my brains were raped by "Necrophobic" and "Piece by Piece". I still have a soft spot for the clinically violent drum pattern opening "Criminally Insane", and it's one of my top three Slayer songs ever. "Epidemic" and "Reborn" are exactly my kind of DEATH METAL. And the noisy bridge between "Altar of Sacrifice" and "Jesus Saves" makes me want to crush several beers over stupid wankheads. At times I even get blurred vision if I get too involved with the album. I won't even get into details of the magnificent technical skills, the insane down picking, the opening scream and many other details that shaped the best extreme metal release of all time. Typical? Yes. So fucking what, get over it and respect your forefathers. They're typical for a right and valid reason.
CARNIVORE – Retaliation (1987)
Now things get a bit less "academic". Of course, I'm really fond of the Mad Max thermonuclear imagery and berserk grunts by Petrus on the first, self-titled debut. I know its lyrics front to back and I've yelled "Male Supremacy", "Thermonuclear Warrior" and "I LIVE FOR SODOMY!!!!!" with passion one too many times. But I'm being entirely honest when I say my life-changer was the sophomore release. The first time I heard "Technophobia" it ripped me a new anus with its thrashing rage. Scaccia with Ministry and Rigor Mortis comes to mind, and it's a different beast altogether. Mature, tongue-in-cheek lyrics were the icing on the cake of a superb crossover album and I'm not the kind of guy that collects punkish stuff, but albums like The Age of Quarrel are amongst my most played and influential as well, so it's logical that a more metallic approach drove me nuts. As a teenager, that was one of the albums that changed my dissolute life (or rather made it more tolerable). Many angsty moments, although less corny than, let's say, Suicidal Tendencies. Peter has always been an over-the-top, skilled lyricist. The disgusting way in which he described personal inner turmoil still resonate with me; "large two-inch maggots decorate my vomit, infecting eyes oozing pus, acknowledge the stench of human excrement, swamps of mucus prevalent... every hole in my body drips blood". Go fuck yourself, depressive black metal cocks. Some blatant irony and sarcasm are to be found, sure, but many of the lyrics serve me well in their literal form, for example "Sex and Violence" (meaning of life? Pain and sperm indeed). Of course, I'm more into Venom than Agnostic Front, but still Retaliation ranks above Carnivore's first for sentimental reasons. Well, objectively, it's also vicious in a different, more controlled and sharper manner. Such an aggressive record to obliterate everything with, including yourself. Nowadays my way of approaching life is more pragmatic, yet sometimes I recognize some pieces of me and find solace in this LP. Cathartic. "My only wrong-doing was being born human and following my instincts, I never was happy, never was sane, so I shall be extinct..."
PARADISE LOST – Gothic (1991)
At one point I used to romanticize a lot about stuff. Not necessarily about pussy, but still idealistically on a whole different level. As I have said before, I'm now a far more practical guy, and I choose anger over sadness and longing. Anyway, I tend to let myself sink into melancholy and nostalgia every now and then, when the time is due, and that's why this album is still relevant to me. I used to listen to the gods of anhedonia every single day, especially their first three or four. Gothic was always that special one that cried out some abstract ideas in a foreign, distant, ethereal and yet so close tongue. Those galactic guitar leads and overall weird, dreamlike production round out the whole package. Nick's lyrics and the passionate, abyssal way of articulating them are captivating and tell me stories of Atlantean, greater-than-life magnitude with fiendish growls. In some way, that's a great encapsulation of the pathos that makes metal my fever-pitcher of choice when I need to feel that dizzying, punching power and glory that makes me drift from the boring, prosaic world. An essential virgin landscape far away from our modern, soulless world.
CELTIC FROST – To Mega Therion (1985)
I couldn't escape the opportunity to mention the quintessential metal release that unites all the ingredients that'd made me and make me an obsessive, obsessed metalhead with less reasons to live by each day but still kept alive by the stimuli all those beaten-up records take me back to. It's no secret that Tom W.'s guitar playing has been the one and single most influential role in my musical education, nonetheless because of his general tendency to play soulful, disordered solos drenched in wah that made learning guitar easy even for an ignorant like me. The conjunction of baroque, avantgarde ideas with metallic boneheaded traditionalism makes TMT a special album in CF's discography and, whilst I'm an Emperor's Return man, the way they evolved their songwriting in this, their first magnum opus, is something that returns back to my own way of studying and crafting the secrets of steel-bearing hands. "Dawn of Megiddo" and "Jewel Throne" are where it's at. If Sabbath taught us anything it is that you can sound dark, heavy, brooding and still enhance the same feeling with more rhythmic and even catchy patterns. CF were never a monochromatic band (even Hellhammer contained more than black, white and red). Serpentine riffage that speaks in an ancient tongue, first poised by Maiden, Discharge and Aragorn and then perfected by the Swiss masters, surround a mystical and mythic aura of solemn buried and forgotten Cimmerian landscapes ("and often I look back with tears in my eyes...") and Nietzschean overcoming. While I'm speaking of general atmosphere, the strictly clinical, musical component is a general guide to riff-by-numbers, the Platonic world of ideal forms in terms of compositional skills for me. When I watched Triptykon (far from idealistic, though) perform "The Usurper" live a couple of years ago I felt some kind of rapture that pushed me outside the venue in some odd virulent astral form. I guess that's what they, people, call "happiness".
Luxi, please forgive me for taking so much space with my dissertation. It was a really entertaining and special one to answer, so you can easily tell I've had a blast writing this. Thanks for inviting me, once again, and I hope you stay safe and listen to Cianide's Unhumanized loud.
KISS - Alive II (1977)
This record was so loud and crazy, from the screaming pumped up volume of the crowd to the heavier stuff like "Detroit Rock City", "Love Gun" or the incredible "I Stole Your Love". You got a drum solo, Ace's wild guitar solo, Paul's between-song chatter, all of it. Add in the booklet, tattoos, and that intense gatefold live shot and it was perfect for a kid of nine who wanted to go wild.
BLACK SABBATH - Mob Rules (1981)
As a 10-year-old kid I had heard Sabbath on a tape from a pal's brother's cassette. It was lined up to "Planet Caravan" which was mellow hippy shit and never went any further in listening that day. Suddenly, in 1981 at age 13, I was hearing this song on the radio and I loved it. One day the announcer said that was Black Sabbath. I was shocked! This wasn't hippy shit, and the song was "Heaven and Hell". A pal's dad got us tickets to Black Sabbath's Mob Rules tour. I went out and bought the record and fell in love with it... so heavy! Ripping opener "Turn up the Night", spooky evil "Sign of the Southern Cross", wicked guitar solos and Dio's powerful voice. The album cover art was so fitting. To this day my all-time favorite album cover from anyone. Amazing heavy moment and life changer for me.
IRON MAIDEN – The Number of the Beast (1982)
My grandmother bought me both Killers and 666 when we were on vacation. I went to the mall and grabbed them both. I went home and our stereo at the time was in our basement. I sat down there with lights down low like a dungeon and watched the center label of record with Eddie's head spin round and round while falling in love with "22 Acacia Avenue", "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and my favorite track, "Children of the Damned". It was everything I wanted. Dark-themed lyrics, screaming vocals, thought out arrangements. Just an entire package of perfect heavy metal. I will never forget those memories of discovering the magic of Iron Maiden.
Metal Massacre Vol. 1 -compilation (1981)
I was in a store one day and wanted to get bang for my buck so found this up-and-coming heavy metal compilation with new bands. It was a chance to hear 9-10 bands at once. What I purchased was the second press of the record with the band Black 'N Blue leading off. "Chains Around Heaven" (by Black 'N Blue) blew me away. Moving on to bands like Bitch and their S&M metal, Demon Flight with the high vocals, and the insanely over the top "Death of the Sun" from Cirith Ungol blew my mind. Oddly, Metallica did very little for me, though it was fast for the time, it just played goofy. I guess this was a sign of things to come from them as I never got into that band. It was really cool to hear under-produced heavy bands given a chance to shine on a raw record. Definitely an "underground" moment for me.
VOÏVOD - War and Pain (1984)
By the time 1984 rolled around I was searching out and craving the fastest, weirdest, heaviest music. I mail ordered this record and it arrived one day out of the blue. Putting it on after looking over the raw album cover art I went into a savage world of chainsaw's fucking musical bits. Broken English lyrics, delay-ridden ugly guitar tones, a bass sound to make Lemmy run, and some insane drum playing that somehow kept it all together, just so barbaric! This became my most played record then and there. The ultimate musical high at the time. An incredible moment in my life at 16 years old and a big trip into the intense world of Voïvod.
(Top 5 list in chronological order)
STRAY CATS – S/T (1981)
Stray Cats' debut album started it all for me in the early '80s. It was the first band that I really got into. It was the first band that I had pictures of on my wall. They made me want to play music, start a band, write songs, and record them. We really had no clue, but nonetheless, inspired by Stray Cats in particular, me and my childhood friend recorded a number of cassettes of our improvised "music" using an acoustic guitar and and O'boy cocoa powder can drum set, or anything that made noise. Not sure about my childhood friend, but I got hooked for lifetime, it seems.
"Storm the Embassy" has always been my favorite track off the album. It's got that tight, palm-muted guitar riff that sounded so cool to my ears. Very different from "Fishnet Stockings" and stuff like that. That riff, and how it is played, is not too far removed from the heavier stuff that was soon going to hit me big time.
I'm still listening to this album every now and then and always enjoy it. A super solid record with memorable songs, great, tasty playing and charismatic vocals. Considering how many of the songs are actually cover tracks, it's a little funny/weird that I never got into rockabilly beyond Stray Cats. Even from their own catalog, this is the only album I need.
KISS – Destroyer (1976)
This is one of the very first LPs I got along with another KISS LP, Dressed to Kill. In the first half of the '80s, they were already old releases and available for a discount price, so I talked my parents into getting me the two albums for the price of one LP. I liked both records a lot, but Destroyer had the menacing "God of Thunder" and especially "Detroit Rock City" hit home hard with its cool bass guitar licks and juicy lead guitar harmonies and everything. My classmates and I, probably Teemu Hannonen of Hooded Menace was one, performed a playback to "Detroit Rock City" in primary school. We "played" map stick guitars and whatever there was around in the classroom, and the car crash at the end of the song "killed" us (laughs). Destroyer had a bigger and heavier sound, and a way cooler cover art, so I preferred it over Dressed to Kill at the time. These days though, I'd go for Dressed to Kill. It's such a raw rocker.
I was immediately drawn to the makeup of KISS and especially excited about the demonic mask of Gene Simmons. They all looked cool, but Gene was the scary one. To me, as to so many kids of my age, the shock rock acts such as the makeup-era KISS and W.A.S.P. were exciting and dangerous bands. I have such warm and vivid memories of those KISS records. They take me to a certain time and space every time I play them or just look at the album covers. I love almost everything by KISS from the debut album to Asylum and I play them frequently still to this day. The '80s stuff gets jammed even more often than the classic makeup -era stuff.
W.A.S.P. - S/T (1984)
"One of my earliest vinyl purchases along with KISS. Well, not exactly purchased by me, but my parents, of course, as I didn't have much money. I was at the right age to appreciate W.A.S.P. in its full. Just like KISS, it was not only the music, but also the visual aspect of the band that blew me away. W.A.S.P. was way more brutal on every level though. All those skeletons, raw meat, skulls and blood, not to mention the circular saw blade. It was sure to make an impact and so I made gauntlets with blades out of cardboard and colored them accordingly (laughs).
After all these years the record still sounds brilliant. It's truly one of those all-killers-no-fillers heavy metal albums and has aged really well, actually.
AC/DC – Flick of the Switch (1983)
AC/DC, the best rock band of all times. In the '80s they were labeled as a heavy metal band, sometimes even a satanic band, can you imagine? Flick of the Switch is AC/DC at its heaviest, and it rocked my world – HARD!!! They were more like a band that you could actually relate to, and I got totally into them. Soon my poor cassette collection (copies) was 100% AC/DC, because they had many albums out by then, and I didn't have enough cassettes for anything else (laughs).
I guess I could just as well list any other AC/DC record released before Flick of the Switch like Powerage, Highway to Hell or Back in Black, because they are all pure gold, but Flick of the Switch was the first one that I heard and got a copy on tape, and therefore it holds a special significance to me. It's also a criminally underrated record in AC/DC catalog. It's a very raw and honest album with no big hit songs, but it's just damn solid. "Guns for Hire" has a riff to die for, whereas "Deep in a Hole" is the band at their heaviest. I could go on raving about how great Flick of the Switch is. There are no fillers, in my opinion at least. I'm sick of seeing the album getting shit it doesn't deserve. Save that for Airbourne, 'cos they suck (laughs)!
IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave (1984)
This album seemed unreal, almost like too perfect when I discovered it. The artwork alone made my jaw drop. I can hardly grasp the brilliance of this album to this day. Okay, sure some songs are better than others, but as far as I see, there are no fillers. Even the weakest songs have plenty of amazing guitar work to them or something else to be amazed by. Iron Maiden's discography is ridiculously solid up to Seventh Son of the Seventh Son, but Powerslave has always been my favorite, and if my memory serves me correctly, it's also the first Maiden LP that I heard. I was blown away how fast "Aces High" was (laughs), and the epic qualities of the title track and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" floored me for good. It was Iron Maiden, then Metallica, and a bit later Bathory, that "schooled" me for lengthy metal songs, and I've put the theory into practice with my own bands Phlegethon (1988-1992) and Hooded Menace. Powerslave has lost none of its power to this day and age.
BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath (1970)
Still a huge influence on me and everyone else. The blueprint.
IRON MAIDEN - Iron Maiden (1980)
My first band did mostly Iron Maiden covers. Two words; Steve Harris.
RUSH - Moving Pictures (1981)
Amazing that so much sound could come from three people. Obviously Geddy is a God.
METALLICA - Kill 'Em All (1983)
The band that changed everything for me. Along with Slayer, Sacred Reich's main influence.
SLAYER - Hell Awaits (1985)
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