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Soundtracks of My Youth - Part VI

Soundtracks of My Youth - Part VI

by Luxi Lahtinen

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 sixth part... enjoy!

Thanks to Max Otero of Mercyless, Anders Engberg of Sorcerer, Andre Hartoonian of HeXeN, Maria Diese of Rampart, Rami Jämsä of Convulse, Jim Mutilator of Yoth Iria, J.P. Brown of Hellwitch, Lee Payne of Cloven Hoof, Emil Norberg of Persuader, Mark Briody of Jag Panzer, Andy Dawson of Savage, Kragen Lum of Heathen, Ville Wiren of Evil Drive, Niilo Sevänen of Insomnium, Andy Boulton of Tokyo Blade, Paul Arnold of At War and Vorskaath of Zemial for their cool and profound contributions to the sixth part of the series.

The Exploited - Troops of Tomorrow Black Sabbath - Paranoid Iron Maiden - Killers Motörhead - Ace of Spades Venom - Welcome to Hell

THE EXPLOITED - Troops of Tomorrow (1982)

At this time, I was into punk music and The Exploited reminds me of being a rebellious kid! I was young and this kind of music built my musical foundation. Raw, speedy and antisocial!

BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid (1970)

I didn't know much about hard rock and heavy metal, but I had heard about Black Sabbath, so one day I bought this album and it was a trigger for me. It was heavy with a big sound of guitars and an incredible voice and above all very dark and evil. It's the beginning of a lot of things for me.

IRON MAIDEN - Killers (1981)

This album made me love heavy metal. Everything I was in love with was there. The songs were melodic, the lyrics, the cover, technique, and the epic side of that record. I think it was this album that made me want to play guitar.

MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades (1980)

Motörhead helped me understand that we could make a lot of noise sound-wise. Double bass drum, the distortion on the bass and Lemmy's voice! Holy shit! And on top of all that, the cool attitude. I think Lemmy made me understand what rock 'n' roll was all about!

VENOM - Welcome to Hell (1981)

I remember when I saw this album for the first time in a store... Wow! This occult album cover and more evil than Motörhead! I plunged directly into it! This album was the beginning of my guitar influences. Even today I am very influenced by Venom... CRONOS RULES!

Anders Engberg (SORCERER)
ABBA - The Album Van Halen - Van Halen Black Sabbath - Mob Rules Tom Jones - Green... Accept - Restless and Wild

ABBA - The Album (1977)

When I grew up Abba was the top group to listen to and when I heard the song "Eagle" I was sold. Musically they span a lot on this album, it's pop but with a rock element that shines through. Just an epic album.

VAN HALEN - Van Halen (1978)

What can I say? Just an incredible album through and through. When I heard their version of "You Really Got Me", I was sold. The output and the look of the band just blew me away. Still on my top 10 albums ever.

BLACK SABBATH - Mob Rules (1981)

The album I think I've listened to the most during my life so far. Absolutely crushing in every way. When I first heard "The Sign of the Southern Cross", it just felt so eerie, evil, and powerful, something other bands lacked. One of the best songs ever written is on the album too, "Falling Off the Edge of the World". Nice long title too, ha ha!!

TOM JONES - Different albums

Tom Jones was and still is kind of the soundtrack of my life, especially my early years. My mom and dad had these albums they played at late night parties with friends and there was always a lot of Tom Jones, so I guess I was brainwashed. In later years I started to look into his stuff and man what a performer and that voice, just love it!

ACCEPT - Restless and Wild (1982)

This album was the one that really got me into metal and wanting to play guitar (yes, I tried to play in my teens but was never any good) in a metal band. "Fast as a Shark" just ran me over, the song was so intense and brutal. I think this album still holds its ground today both sound- and song-wise. Their best and damn what great songs that bands made in the '80s. Killer album.

Andre Hartoonian (HeXeN)
Metallica - ...and Justice for All Megadeth - Rust in Peace Slayer - Show No Mercy Death - Symbolic Coroner - Punishment for Decadence

Of course, like anyone would typically say, it is very difficult to choose only five when 20 probably wouldn't be enough. Of course, there is also the distinction between chronologically heard and influenced most by. So, applying both parameters I would have to say (in chronological order of when I first got into it, and it was my "spin" for at least a handful of months/to half a year which are an eternity when you're 14):

METALLICA - ...and Justice for All (1988)
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace (1990)
SLAYER - Show No Mercy (1983)
DEATH - Symbolic (1995)
CORONER - Punishment for Decadence (1988)

Of course, I barely even listen to these bands anymore (currently, I'm listening to Merciless Death - Taken Beyond [2015], a thrash band we started off with in Los Angeles, as well as trying out Tribulation's latest album Where the Gloom Becomes Sound). But WHY did I find these albums so special as a kid? I mean, it's everyone's typical story, right? You tend to get into a music genre usually by coming across the genre's most famous bands until you find something a little lesser-known you can call "yours." Going down the line, you can see that is what Coroner became for me, since the whole world and their fathers were obviously already well into Metallica and Megadeth and Slayer. The band Death, for a while, was also kind of unheard and you would barely ever see ANY Death shirts around in the early 2000s, and then the band had a resurgence decades after the front man's passing and end of the band. Now you can see Death fans anywhere who continue to listen to and support them even though the band hasn't existed since 1999 technically (the new project Control Denied for last few years of the front man's life), that's how powerful and timeless the music of Chuck Schuldiner is, so it was definitely the biggest single influence for me personally. You know how it is for metalheads; "imagined" exclusivity is everything, so when I was first being shown Metallica of course it started everything for me, but it was hard to find it something special of my own since it was already EVERYONE's main band of choice so beside the genius, timeless material, you kind of felt boring or played out to wear a Metallica shirt. It was all about "wearing shirts of bands that the poseur newbies won't know" and all that endless elitist shit, which metalheads are masters of hahahaha!! So of course, it was all about rocking the Cynic, Coroner, Atheist shirts more than Metallica or Pantera. By the early 2000s, we'd heard quite enough Metallica or Pantera already, and it was when we in America finally started catching on, almost a decade late, to the '90s European scenes, especially Scandinavian melodic death metal (yes Luxi, especially your country's own KALMAH! Lovedddddd Kalmah throughout the active HeXeN years, and even THATTTT, no surprise, was just another elitist move because everyone and their mothers were already into Children of Bodom, so we needed something more underground!! Hahaha!!!) Ah... I miss it. Though heavy metal continues to be the fountain of youth for all of us. :)

Maria Diese (RAMPART)
Metallica - Ride the Lightning Gamma Ray - Land of the Free Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss Iron Maiden - The X Factor

METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1984)
GAMMA RAY - Land of the Free (1995)
MEGADETH - Countdown to Extinction (1992)
SLAYER - Seasons in the Abyss (1990)
IRON MAIDEN - The X Factor (1995)

As a very young fan, I didn't think about why these albums touched me so deeply and shockingly. Today, the conscious analytical search for perfect metal proportions and the amount of metal music that has passed through my mind show me some common features.

No doubt, these five albums are revolutionary in terms of combining heavy guitar sound with unique melodic lines. This is music that has been so detached from its roots that it is amazing that it was possible to compose it at all. At the same time, once you listen to this music, it seems to come out of you personally and express you as a personality in a unique and close to your way.

Apart from the fact that my taste is on the border of heavy metal/thrash metal, the other reason is that I don't like high falsetto vocals and high melodic female vocals. I was repulsed by the competition of singers to take higher and higher tones. I strictly like male vocals, articulated with moderate harshness, which does not mask the tones and does not push them into hysteria. These are five albums in which the singing does not lose its aggression, and at the same time the tones are refined to perfection and follow a unique canto, leaving a lasting memory. This music is something like the perfect balance in metal.

Listening to such a combination of riffs and vocals has given me the inspiration to try to achieve the music that every metal soul carries within itself. The fact that so many people like these albums is a sign that it is possible my music will also be liked when I achieve the ability to extract it from myself and present it to the fans.

Stay metal!

Rami Jämsä (CONVULSE)
Iron Maiden - Powerslave Peer Gunt - Backseat Metallica - Master of Puppets Sepultura - Beneath the Remains Death - Spiritual Healing

IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave (1984)

This was my first taste of metal music, and it started my love of metal music that has lasted almost 40 years.

PEER GÜNT - Backseat (1986)

Peer Günt and especially Nikki's guitar playing at a live show were the final step for me to start playing guitar. I saw Peer Günt about 1985 in my hometown and after the show I asked my parents to buy a guitar for me. Great trio with great power and pure rock songs.

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

On the road to more brutal music Master of Puppets is the cornerstone for me. This album had a great influence on my early guitar playing. And I still love this album.

SEPULTURA - Beneath the Remains (1989)

I think this is the most relevant album when speed and thrash metal were evolving towards to death metal. There are some riffs on the World without God album that have been nearly ripped from Beneath the Remains. Check the last riff from Convulse's "Incantation of Restoration" track.

DEATH - Spiritual Healing (1990)

This was the last step on my musician career from thrash metal to death metal. Just perfectly raw and technical for my taste. Surely the most important album for the early Convulse.

Jim Mutilator (YOTH IRIA)
ZZ Top - Fandango! UFO - Phenomenon BoC - Agents of Fortune Richie Blackmore - Rainbow Motörhead - Overkill

Although there are hundreds and hundreds of albums that have had a strong influence on me, I would lift up the following releases...

ZZ TOP – Fandango! (1975)

I was no more than 8 years old when my uncle bought this vinyl. Through this album I discovered something different, and the musical flame of hard rock entered my life.

UFO - Phenomenon (1974)

The next album I would name one of my most influential ever is UFO's Phenomenon. Although I heard of it simultaneously with Lights Out, I would still vote for Phenomenon due to my all-time favorite anthems, "Doctor Doctor" and "Space Child."

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT - Agents of Fortune (1976)

This album was my first trade ever, somewhere around 1979. I traded it for a music cassette of Bob Dylan (stolen by my uncle, lol). Blue Öyster Cult was another shock for my childish ears and "Don't Fear the Reaper" was on multiple repeats.

RICHIE BLACKMORE's - R-a-i-n-b-o-w (1975)

Maybe my most influential album back then. No words are enough to describe this album. The song list is amazing; "Man on the Silver Mountain", "Catch the Rainbow", "The Temple of the King", and, in my opinion, the best Rainbow track ever, "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves". Richie Blackmore's at his best and my first meeting with the little God known as, RJD.

MOTÖRHEAD - Overkill (1979)

Although at the beginning they were a little noisy in my ears, it didn't take me long to become a Motörhead maniac. The Overkill album was like a revolution for me and something that also threw me into the world of punk.

Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Metallica - Master of Puppets Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? Megadeth - Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good! Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness

These five albums shaped and fostered my guitar playing. I included a sixth because although I heard it when I was 19, once again, it changed my life, and fostered a friendship and musical collaboration with Hellwitch many years later.

IRON MAIDEN - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

This was my first heavy metal album. I bought this, locked myself in my room for an entire weekend listening to it until I finally understood what all the instruments were doing. It's still my favorite back to front album of theirs. I love the synth work and all the guitar melodies throughout.

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

I bought this album after hearing ...and Justice for All (which I love to this day). I started playing guitar and learning songs from this album almost immediately. The pure heaviness and the melodies they played were just inconceivable at the time. I loved James' voice, too.

MEGADETH - Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? (1986)

I traded a Bon Jovi cassette that someone gave me for this album at youth group on a Sunday. This absolute masterpiece of metal forever changed my life! I have been an avid Dave Mustaine fan since. This album remains one of my favorites to this say. Dave created thrash and it shows. These songs were so complex, catchy, original, and perfectly captured. The band was at their peak. He had all the right pieces in place for his style of playing. There is a darkness about side two that I've never heard captured again and would love to. Dave has influenced Hellwitch (both Pat and I) and you can hear some of it in classic and newer riffs.

MEGADETH - Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985)

To this day, this is my favorite Megadeth album. It is the most original thrash metal writing I've heard. Dave's riffs, solos, sheer technical brilliance, and execution create a musical backdrop that the rest of the world had not yet seen and has never been replicated. The songwriting in this album is by far, my favorite of all time. Patrick and I bow to this album.

MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness (1989)

I was introduced to Morbid Angel by a friend in high school. He had heard me playing guitar and said that I was on to something and asked if I had listened to any death metal. I asked what it was, answering his question, and he popped in Altars of Madness! and so far as Dave Mustaine had changed my life, in walked Trey AZAGTOTH, and consumed me in a cyclonic black hole of screaming, tortured souls! Altars... is one of the best death metal albums of all time. The riffs were fresh, memorable, and precise. The whole band was on it and Dave Vincent still had the old school vocals going. I especially loved the drumming and leads on this album. The lineup was my favorite as well. This, like Megadeth's first two albums, had the dream team on it. I knew I had to play even faster and incorporate more into my songwriting after listening to this.

DEMILICH - Nespithe (1993)

Once again, this album changed not only my life, but Patrick's (Hellwitch), too. Antti Boman remains to this day, one of my favorite evil genius songwriters! Like Dave or Trey's early material, nothing since has sounded like this. The technicality and brutality of this album, the layers, aggression, and soul that went into this are earth-shattering! I remember being in Pat's office listening to this with my jaw on the floor. When Hellwitch started recording Omnipotent Convocation, I suggested we ask Antti to sing a song with us. Pat and Antti had been pen-pals years ago! Pat agreed and I emailed Antti, who quickly replied, and recorded several different tracks for us to use on "Vicious Avidity". Antti is featured on the chorus, and we have remained friends ever since! Pat and I took a vacation and followed Demilich on tour from Florida to Texas several years back and got to spend a good bit of time with him.

Deep Purple - Machine Head Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak Rush - 2112 Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny

DEEP PURPLE - "Highway Star" song (1972)

A friend at school asked me what music I liked, and I said bands like Slade and Sweet because they were loud and exciting. He said there were groups far heavier than that. So, he lent me a cassette tape of a band he recommended for me to listen to on holiday. I put it in my suitcase and decided to give it a go when I got bored. Eventually I put my headphones on and heard the greatest band in my life. The first track blew me away! It was like a bolt of lightning, fast, loud, and majestic all at the same time. Unfortunately, my mate didn't put a label the tape, so I didn't know who this incredible team of virtuoso musicians were. The guitar work was awe-inspiring with heavy chords and intricate arpeggios. The drums were thunderous, and the bass throbbed along weaving imaginative counter melodies. The vocalist screamed like a soul in torment. I had never experienced anything like it. A life-changing moment. When I went back to school the first thing I did was find my friend Chris Clowsley and ask him about the name of the group? He said DEEP PURPLE and the album was called Made in Japan.

BLACK SABBATH - "Black Sabbath" song (1970)

Because his taste in music was so fantastic, I asked him if there were any more bands he could recommend. Without hesitation he said, "I will lend you an album of mine you will love". Next day, true to his word he brought in a record with a creepy-looking woman on the front standing near trees with some kind of barn in the background. On the gatefold sleeve there was a poem with a line about rabbits suffering gesticulating deaths. Weird huh? And it was framed inside a cross. I was very keen to hear if this band came up to Deep Purple standards. When I got home, I put the vinyl on loud and holy hell they were mind-blowing too! A tolling bell and thunder set the scene then the band came in with the doomiest sound ever. The singer moaned and cried out the lyrics with such emotion that I was immediately transported to another realm of witchcraft, death, and destruction. It was like spending time in hell, but I loved every second of it! The band, of course, was called Black Sabbath.

THIN LIZZY - "Emerald" song (1976)

Watching "Top of the Pops" one day on TV a band came on with a killer single called "The Boys Are Back in Town". They looked mega cool too so I thought I would check out one of their albums. I found out their latest was called Jailbreak. It was superb but the standout track for me was an epic. It had Celtic jig guitar runs and amazing twin guitar harmonies. It made me think bands with rhythm guitars always sound fuller live and with twin guitars you can add extra color and dimension. "Emerald" was a long piece with the lead guitars swapping solos and bouncing off each other. Phil Lynott's powerful lyrics were telling a story and I loved that. Music should be more than just thrown together riffs and hastily constructed words. For me songs should mean something like a mini film or play.

RUSH - "Temples of Syrinx" song (1976)

I was at a concert watching Black Sabbath on the "Technical Ecstasy" tour. There I met up with another old school friend who asked if I had heard of a Canadian band called Rush? I said no, so after the concert he played me the track called "By-Tor and The Snow Dog" in his car. I loved it, another epic sounding band with great musicians. The singer reminded me of Robert Plant on helium but what an incredible bass player! The drummer and guitarist were impeccable too. So, I then spent a fortune getting all their albums on import. When 2112 came out I pre-ordered it from "The Discery", a specialist record store in Birmingham. It was three times the price of any normal album, but worth every penny. The concept album was a true masterpiece and was the real inspiration behind Cloven Hoof's style. We just do the epic prog time changes but with more aggression and heavy metal progressions. I try to keep imaginative storylines and lyrics like Rush even now, so 2112 was a really important album for me.

JUDAS PRIEST - "Tyrant" song (1976)

I first saw Priest in a small local club called JB's and the singer was beyond words. He could sing higher than Ian Gillan and he used his voice like a lead instrument. The band's lyrics were amazing too and they had twin guitarists like Lizzy. My favorite track by them was a song called "Tyrant" that had lines in it that went, "My liege is faithful unto death I'll summon to my court", and "... as you perish each of you shall scream as you are sought." Brilliant! Here was a band that shared an interest in the same type of subject matter as me. Put all these bands together mix it up with legends and mythology, horror films and marvel comic books and you have the basis of Cloven Hoof's sound.

Stay safe metalheads, see you on tour when all this virus hell is over. Metal always comes back stronger... We love ya!

Emil Norberg (PERSUADER)
Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane Yngwie - Fire and Ince Dream Theater - Images and Words Rainbow - Rising Children of Bodom - Follow the Reaper

DISSECTION - Storm of the Light's Bane (1995)
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Fire & Ice (1992)
DREAM THEATER - Images and Words (1992)
RAINBOW - Rising (1976)
CHILDREN OF BODOM - Follow the Reaper (2000)

All these albums are filled with great guitar playing and musicianship in general although they are quite different from each other in style and I think they represent different times from my youth.

Mark Briody (JAG PANZER)
Deep Purple - Machine Head AC/DC - T.N.T. Ritchie Blackmore's - Rainbow Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion II

DEEP PURPLE - Machine Head (1976)

I was in elementary school and I'd hear other kids talk about how great an electric guitar sounded. I was familiar with the electric guitar from bands like The Beatles. I thought it sounded "OK", but I didn't understand why everyone said it sounded fantastic. Then my older sister's boyfriend played me Purple's Machine Head. I could not believe the sound of Ritchie Blackmore's guitar. It was the greatest sound I ever heard!

AC/DC - T.N.T. (1975)

At this point in my life, I was spending all my money on albums. I liked a lot of bands, but this album was different. They sounded dangerous, like trouble could happen any time with them. Bon Scott had such a unique voice and it really fit well with the music. My dad said they sounded "like hooligans". I liked them even more after that.

RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S - R-a-i-n-b-o-w (1975)

Dio, it was all about Dio. I never heard anyone with a voice like his. His voice was heavy and commanding. Every word, every phrase was perfect.

BLACK SABBATH - Heaven and Hell (1980)

As much as I love Rainbow, sometimes I wished they were more heavy metal and less rock. That wish was granted times 10 with Heaven and Hell. This was the greatest music I had ever heard. The delicate section (like the beginning of "Children of the Sea") made the heavier parts sound ever more thunderous. The riffs were thick, heavy, and monstrous. Ronnie James Dio was perfect. This was the music I dreamed about.

ACCEPT - Restless and Wild (1982)

I was familiar with bands playing fast. Speed was cool but it was always at the expense of melody. "Fast as a Shark" totally changed that. It was brutal, fast but extremely melodic. Wolf Hoffman played like Ritchie Blackmore on steroids, with every bit of melody. I was so blown away by that song and album, my band immediately wrote "Generally Hostile" as our attempt to do something fast and melodic.

Andy Dawson (SAVAGE)
Pat Travers - Makin' Magic UFO - Obsession Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak Van Halen - Van Halen Deep Purple - Burn

PAT TRAVERS - Makin' Magic (1977)

Amazing Canadian guitar player with blues, rock and funk influences. I still listen to this all the time. You can hear his Hendrix influence. Nico McBrain on drums from Iron Maiden and guest slots from Lizzy's Brian Robertson and Glenn Hughes.

UFO - Obsession (1978)

Masterpiece of lead guitar from Michael Schenker; he's the reason I play a Flying V. A track like "One More for the Rodeo" where he basically solos all the way... Brilliant!

THIN LIZZY - Jailbreak (1976)

Twin guitar attack and an equal influence to UFO for me. When Savage started out, we would play a set almost entirely of Lizzy and UFO alongside our own new songs. My favorite track is "Warrior". Check out the blistering wah-wah solo from Robbo.

VAN HALEN - Van Halen (1978)

I was at school and a mate had this on cassette and at first, I was "What is this!?" but after a few listens it became the most important guitar album. David Lee Roth also set fire to the rock scene, too.

DEEP PURPLE - Burn (1974)

I was very young, but my older brother and sister were fans. I loved this more than the MK2 lineup. "You Fool No One" is a highlight. Blackmore's awesome, Hughes and Coverdale sharing vocals and Ian Paice, what a drummer! The cover was cool too with the burning candle effigies of the band.

Kragen Lum (HEATHEN)
Star Wars - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack AC/DC - Back in Black Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman Metallica - Ride the Lightning Exodus - Bonded by Blood

STAR WARS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1977)

This album first drew me into music after seeing the movie at age 5. Still such a great movie score!

AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)

This is the album that made me want to play guitar. I heard it at age 8 and love it still to this day. Every song on it is great!

OZZY OSBOURNE - Diary of a Madman (1981)

The guitar playing on this album really made an impact on me. Randy Rhoads created such great music and memorable guitar solos.

METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1984)

This album was a game changer. I was drawn in by the combination of melody and heaviness. It set the standard for years to come.

EXODUS - Bonded by Blood (1985)

I had a copy of this album before it came out and then wore out two cassette copies. Along with Metallica this is what made me want to play thrash metal.

Branislav Panić (BANE)
Slayer - God Hates Us All Cryptopsy - None So Vile Suffocation - Effigy of the Forgotten Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane Necrophagist - Epitaph

SLAYER - God Hates Us All (2001)

I must have been around 12 years old when my grandfather got me a copy of this CD (and I still have it to this day). Although this album is not a fan favorite, it's one that got me into Slayer and into the heavier, more extreme side of metal.

CRYPTOPSY - None So Vile (1996)

I remember just entering high school and a dude who was a few years older than me said; "Hey kid, you like metal? Well, check this out then". Although typically not a fan of most live albums, this one blew me away as I had never heard a band who could actually play this fast, be so technical and brutal at the same time.

SUFFOCATION - Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)

Man, oh man. I remember going to a local CD shop in my hometown of Novi Sad, Serbia, with my saved-up lunch money and picking up this record. Literally was never the same again after hearing this record. A timeless classic, possibly one of the most influential brutal death metal albums ever recorded.

DISSECTION - Storm of the Light's Bane (1995)

I keep coming back to this album as it is really the one that changed my life forever. This was the ultimate mix of melody, songwriting and just everything I wanted to hear, all in one. I first time I heard this album was when I was 15 or so, and even to this day it remains my all-time favorite metal album!

NECROPHAGIST - Epitaph (2004)

This album actually made me want to get good at playing guitar, at least for a while until I figured out that I'd never be as good, haha! Truly a masterpiece in its own lane, never to be reproduced no matter how technical any of these new bands may get. This album will remain untouchable.

Ville Wiren (EVIL DRIVE)
Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss WASP - WASP Iron Maiden - Killers Sepultura - Arise Metallica - Metallica

The first album, if I remember correctly, was back in 1984 when my friend's mom brought Gene Simmons' solo album (1978) to my friend on c-cassette. We started listening to it, and when the intro of "Radioactive" started coming out of the speakers, I was scared by it. This is a feeling I am going to remember forever.

SLAYER - "Mandatory Suicide" (1988) and "Seasons in the Abyss" (1990) songs

The first Slayer song that I ever heard was "Mandatory Suicide." The groove in this song drove me crazy and I started to seek more of their music. Soon after I got to hear another song from them, which was "Seasons in the Abyss" and it was the coolest thing I had ever heard, and contains my favorite Slayer riffs.

W.A.S.P. - W.A.S.P. (1984) and The Last Command (1985)

I remember when my dad came home after work one day back in 1984 and giving me W.A.S.P.'s debut album, which he had bought for me and saying, "Check this out! I am hearing that lots of young dudes like it..." I was excited and placed the album on my vinyl player and started spinning it and felt like it was one of the best moments of my life! Even if I was thinking KISS is the best band in the whole world, this album wiped the floor with KISS.


I remember ordering one of their early albums from a music shop in Finland because all of their albums had such cool cover art. I put the album on my vinyl player, and it was love at first sight so to speak. I loved (and still do) the Iron Maiden album covers time but the Maiden dudes looked too normal. That's why I listened to more crazy-looking bands back then... :)


Both Arise (1991) by Sepultura and Black Album (1991) by Metallica were something totally special for me. Both albums shot me straight through my heart. These two albums are also the main reason for throwing me deeper into harder metal in the early '90s. They were just so perfect, so killer and I will cherish the feeling these albums gave me forever.

Niilo Sevänen (INSOMNIUM)
JEAN-MICHEL JARRE - Musik aus Zeit und Raum Queen - Greatest Hits Metallica - Metallica Sentenced - Amok Sentenced - October Rust

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE - Musik aus Zeit und Raum (1983)

I was maybe six years old when I found this Jarre compilation cassette on my parents' bookshelf. The first album that I really fell in love with. I've always had a soft spot for synth music ever since.

QUEEN - Greatest Hits (1981)

Again, compilation album, but this was the first cassette of my own when I was maybe 10. I was a big Queen fan in the late '80s. Of course, the cool music videos helped a lot in becoming a fanboy.

METALLICA - Metallica (or, "Black Album") (1991)

Boring choice but true. :) Huge impact and turned me into a metalhead when I was 13. This album changed so many lives.

SENTENCED - Amok (1995)

I heard "Nepenthe" on the radio when I was 15. The first Finnish metal band that I really loved. They made me want to play this kind of music as well and have my own band.

TYPE O NEGATIVE - October Rust (1996)

Another album that made a huge impact when I was still a teen. A year later I founded Insomnium.

Andy Boulton (TOKYO BLADE)
T. Rex - The Slider Queen - II Led Zeppelin - II Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon Van Halen - Van Halen

T. REX - The Slider (1972)

This was the first album I ever bought. I was only 12 years old and it turned me onto music. It was an age when "pop music" was great. T.Rex, Sweet, Slade, Status Quo, David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Argent etc. We were truly blessed to have grown up in an age of the most fantastic music IMHO.

QUEEN - II (1974)

The first time I heard it I knew that I wanted to be a guitarist and make these incredible sounds on guitar. "Ogre Battle" opens up the "black side" with the jet noise and thundering drums and guitar until Freddie's unique voice joins in and completes the awesomeness of the track.


My first taste of the most incredible band in history. The stunning musicianship and songs blew me away totally. If I could write anything half as good, I'd die happy. :) Timeless and still highly revered to this day. Often imitated but never bettered.

PINK FLOYD - The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Stunning and iconic, a true masterpiece of music. Thought provoking, intelligent and tonally perfect especially considering the limitations of the technology of the period. I was lucky enough to work on an album at Abbey Road and see the original equipment and studio where it was recorded. Almost a religious experience.

VAN HALEN - Van Halen (1978)

The first man to re-invent electric guitar since Hendrix. A true game changer for myself and a million other guitarists, I don't think that many players could even figure out how Eddie was playing "Eruption." Truly a real virtuoso, an influence on so many and truly missed. God bless you, Eddie.

Paul Arnold (AT WAR)
Rush - A Farewell to Kings Ted Nugent - Weekend Warriors Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards Budgie - Bandolier Frank Zappa - Zoot Allures

My top five albums I grew up with (that stick out to me) in no particular order...

RUSH - A Farewell to Kings (1977)

I loved the album art and whole medieval feel.

TED NUGENT - Free-for-All (1976) and Weekend Warriors (1978)

I would jam the shit out of these albums when I got home from school when there was nobody else there and practice ping pong by myself.

URIAH HEEP - Demons and Wizards (1972)

I knew every word of every song back then.

BUDGIE - Bandolier (1975)

I really loved that these guys were a three piece. I played this all the time while driving my 1965 Ford Falcon.

FRANK ZAPPA - Zoot Allures (1976)

I was a huge FZ fan for quite a few years and am only listing this album, but I was into this and Joe's Garage (1979) equally as well as his entire catalogue. The satire and musicianship drew me towards this. I was lucky enough to see Frank on the Joe's Garage tour and it was and remains one of the most influential shows I've ever seen.

These albums were what I grew up with and became the basis to my ever-evolving hunger for heavier and commanding music. These albums were the precursors to my voracious desire to be fast and heavy that was triggered when I first heard Venom and Motörhead. This is the music that gave me the direction I was looking for and shaped who I am as a musician today.

Vorskaath (ZEMIAL)
Pink Floyd - The Wall Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast Slayer - Show No Mercy Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark Eloy - Dawn

There have been clear pivotal moments that shaped my musical life, though they didn't always come in the shape of an entire album.

Music has always been part of my life. I was fortunate to grow up in a household full of music and to have an extended family that loved music, so I was surrounded by song my whole life.

My mother listened to all kinds of music, and it is through her that I listened to sounds that shaped my musical understanding.

I also have two older cousins that were serious rock/metal fans early in the '80s and they were largely responsible for my fascination with heavy metal as a very young child.

The earliest sounds that I now understand to have played an essential role in my life as a musician and a being were those made by the magical Delia Derbyshire in her realization of the Ron Grainger theme that was used for the soundtrack of "Doctor Who", which my family watched regularly. Only later in life, having occupied myself with synthesizers and effects, did I realize the connection of those sounds with my infancy and musical development. Shortly after came the sounds of Kate Bush and "Wuthering Heights" which were entirely mesmerizing to me as a child.

Pink Floyd's The Wall (1982) and Live in Pompeii (1972) shaped my love for rock music and imagery early in childhood years.

Talking of imagery, KISS and "I Was Made for Loving You" impressed itself on me because of the look of Gene Simmons and the catchy chorus, which connected perfectly to my later interest in heavy metal.

Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast (1982) and Piece of Mind (1983) were the albums that turned me onto heavy metal and wanting to be a heavy metal musician. When Live After Death (1985) arrived and I saw those photos of Steve Harris, there was no other thought in my mind; I wanted to be a bass player.

That remained the case until I saw Kerry King on the back of Slayer's Show No Mercy (1983) and listened to Bathory's Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987). I finally started music as a guitarist. That was a couple of years before I formed Zemial in 1989.

Last, but not least, in my teenage years I discovered Eloy and after listening to Dawn (1976), I decided to study drumming and took a serious interest in progressive rock.

There have definitely been many other artists that have shaped me, influenced and inspired me since then, but the above are the foundations onto which I built my early musical life.

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