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 can be tough and rocky, that's for sure.
Tons of music was likely lying around when all of us were kids, maybe 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 shining ivory tower of The Metal Crypt are always willing to dig a little deeper and we contacted a several musicians and asked about their favorite and influential bands and albums from their childhoods (a so-called "soundtrack of youth") that started them on a long journey in their career.
This is the ninth part... crack a cold beer and enjoy!
Thanks to Dan Lorenzo of Hades, Serg MP of Bestial Invasion, Brandon Barker of Crazy Mad Ride, Brett Johnson of Bleed the Victim, Chef Highman, Chef Wolfgang Cuck and The Putri'd of A la Carte, Piotr "Anioł" Wącisz of Corruption, Alhuzzred of The Ironfist, Jørgen Kirby of Nattskog, Erik Barthold of Left Hand Solution, Claudio Carrasco of Poema Arcanvs, Borys Catelani of Barbarian, Teren of Exist in Ruin, Brett Minnie of The Medea Project, Josh "the Boss" Cole of Hellevate and Carlos "Charlie" Díaz of Höwler for all of their cool and sweet contributions for this ninth part of the series.
Well, I loved The Partridge Family when I was really young. I thought the idea of long hair and being in a band seemed cool, but everything changed for me when I heard:
KISS – Rock and Roll Over (1976)
I was at my friend's house, and I thought this was a greatest hits album. I loved every note the first time I heard it. I still consider it one of my favorite albums of all time. You can even find my cover of "Calling Dr. Love" on Itunes/Spotify as Dan Lorenzo. Jason McMaster sang "Mr. Speed" with me and Cassius King.
KISS – Alive! (1975)
Another PERFECT album I still play along with. I've recorded a bunch of covers from this album. 'Deuce," "Watchin' You," "Hotter Than Hell." Again, I love every note!
AEROSMITH – Rocks (1976)
So bad ass. I can't believe this is the same band that did "Love in an Elevator"! "Nobody's Fault" is SO heavy. Cassius King covered "Back in the Saddle."
AEROSMITH – Toys in the Attic (1975)
EXODUS – Bonded by Blood (1985)
A gamechanger. When I wrote the music for Hades' first album, I was listening to this album daily. Paul Baloff and Gary Holt were an amazing combo! I just played with DMC (from RUN/DMC) on Tom Hunting's solo album.
IRON MAIDEN – Killers (1981)
That record changed me once and for all. It made me want to be a bass player. The first thing I fell in love with on this album was the killer cover. When I turned 19, I got a tattoo of Killers! Also, thanks to "Murders in the Rue Morgue" I discovered the work of Edgar Alan Poe, who has influenced my personality and the music of Bestial Invasion. Steve Harris to me is a real musician's example and I always look up to him. It's my favorite Iron Maiden album and always in my heart!
RAVEN – Wiped Out (1982)
Raven for me is on a par with Iron Maiden. It's a very important band for me. I was blown away by the energy of "Live at the Inferno" from this album the first time I heard it. There is just unbelievable bass guitar work, which for me is the benchmark of insanity! Even after almost 20 years, I still get goosebumps from this album. It's a very personal album for me. The Gallagher brothers rule!
MP – Bursting Out (The Beast Became Human) (1986)
One of the first speed metal albums I heard in high school. I was a die-hard Motörhead and Accept fan and liked it immediately. It's also a very personal album for me, because it was the one that got me into thrash (I also got my nickname Metal Priest thanks to this band because I listened to this album 24/7 and raved about it.). I know every note and rustle of this record. It's probably the album I've listened to the most times in my life!
EXCITER – Unveiling the Wicked (1986)
Even after 20 years I still want to scream, "(I Hate) School Rules." This album won me over with its emotion and hits. Dan's vocals sound killer. Many people hate this album because of guitarist John Ricci's absence and the fact that the band became more commercial, but for me this album was the best in Exciter's discography. I really like the variety of music on this album because in the past works of the band the music was more straightforward and there weren't such cool guitar solos. The cool and provocative cover art also won me over.
CARNIVORE – Retaliation (1987)
I also heard this universal evil at school. I was amazed at the aggression and despair. The lyrics made my hair stand on end. It was so provocative that it was even more addictive. Sex, religion, end of the world, mental illness, social inequality... A killer mix of thrash, crossover and hardcore. I really like the sound of Peter's bass. I have the album cover on my right shoulder. It's an album for all ages!
Angus Young of AC/DC is the reason I picked up a guitar when I was younger. The first time I heard the AC/DC Live at Donnington CD I knew I wanted to play guitar. I really started getting serious about it and building a band after I heard Megadeth's Rust in Peace record in its entirety. I was around 20 years old when all that happened. With that being said, here are the top 5 albums that influenced me the most (and still do) when it comes to guitar and songwriting.
MEGADETH - Rust in Peace (1990)
MEGADETH - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (1986)
AC/DC - Live at Donington (1992)
METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1984)
OVERKILL - Horrorscope (1991)
VAN HALEN - 5150 (1986)
JOURNEY - Frontiers (1983)
AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976)
THIN LIZZY - Jailbreak (1976)
METALLICA - ... And Justice for All (1988)
These albums have been a part of us for as long as we can remember. From being super young and just jamming them in the car rides with our parents, to becoming older and remembering these same albums and going back through them for a whole brand-new listen. They have absolutely shaped us in our music taste as well as love for playing music.
PANTERA - The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)
MACABRE - Sinister Slaughter/Behind the Walls of Sleep (1999)
DYING FETUS - Destroy the Opposition (2000)
MORBID ANGEL - Covenant (1993)
OPETH - Morningrise (1996)
I knew early on I loved drums and wanted to play them. These guys were my dream team.
DEICIDE - Once Upon the Cross (1995)
IMMOLATION - Close to a World Below (2000)
DEEDS OF FLESH - Path of the Weakening (1999)
DISGORGE - Cranial Impalement (1999)
OBITUARY - Cause of Death (1990)
All those albums challenged me as a musician and pushed to become better.
INSANE CLOWN POSSE - The Great Milenko (1997)
DYING FETUS - Killing on Adrenaline (1998)
CRADLE OF FILTH - Midian (2000)
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN - Ire Works (2007)
MARIAH CAREY - Daydream (1995)
Cause life is just a sweet, sweet fantasy baby!!
TSA – Heavy Metal World (1984)
I was thirteen when my grandmother gave me a radio with a gramophone. The very next day I went to the bookstore and bought my first vinyl record. It was an album by the band TSA and their third album, Heavy Metal World. There was rapacity, sharp guitars and great vocals. The image of the band caught my attention. Long hair and faded jeans. It was what I was looking for!
KAT – 666 (1986)
The next vinyl record I bought was an album by the band KAT simply titled 666. On the cover, a masked figure with an ax and the numbers 666 written on the chest, and a goat in the background. I knew I had to like it! This is the legend of Polish metal and the beginning of black metal in Poland. The best songs are "Oracle," "Devil's House," and "Black Hosts." Great music and excellent lyrics by the singer and my friend Roman Kostrzewski, who passed away this year...
METALLICA – Master of Puppets (1986)
I started listening to Metallica with this album, because my older friends from the estate listened to it. For me, this is their best album and opus magnum of world thrash metal. Great dark compositions. Great riffs and solos. "Orion" is a good song for a bass player to practice.
SEPULTURA – Schizophrenia (1987)
The disturbing intro that starts this album wonderfully introduces the listener to the first track "From the Past Comes the Storms." This is still my favorite Sepultura album. I have a great fondness for it because of its raw sound and youthful compositional madness. Thrash till death!
NECROSCHIZMA – Erupted Evil (1989)
The album that influenced the fact that Corruption, which I founded in April 1991, began its musical activity with doom metal. In 1989 everyone wanted to play as fast as possible, and here comes a band that plays completely differently. Mega slow, mega hard, it was a complete surprise. A new musical opening and a completely new musical inspiration.
IRON MAIDEN – No Prayer for the Dying (1990)
My first ever Maiden album. My mom got it for me at the record store (she was working in an EMI branch). I was crying because they ran out of posters! It is the most memorable album for me with its good balance of heavy melodic stuff and great ballads. Totally fucking underrated I must say.
BLACK SABBATH – Blackest Sabbath / Black Sabbath 1970-1987 (1989)
I was a wimp because I freaked out, but my great friend forced me into a room and told me Black Sabbath isn't as satanic as I thought! And it was true. This compilation blew me away! Great mix and balance of the classic and modern Sabbath stuff!
MERCYFUL FATE – Don't Break the Oath (1984)
This is the shit! The epitome and birth of all evil music. Truly a sick satanic masterpiece!
SABBAT – Dreamweaver (1989)
Dreamweaver to me still stands undisputed and inhuman. The way Walkyier weaves his AMAZING lyrics with Sneap's guitar riffs and blazing solos. This is some crazy sh*t that, in my opinion, resonates in every Cradle of Filth album till this day.
MANOWAR – Kings of Metal (1988)
Probably THE Manowar album of all time. The biggest ballad, DOMINANT F**K OFF AND DIE cover art with songs that send you straight to the battlefield and to hell and back! Kings of Metal is a well-rounded album that has a perfect balance of heavy and uplifting tracks and who could forget the storytelling sh*t... Totally epic!
The list above is in no order of importance. I listened to Kings of Metal when I was like 6-7 years old, which to me getting No Prayer for the Dying when I was eight. I heard the Blackest Sabbath compilation and Don't Break the Oath from my good buddy at 13 which led to discovering Dreamweaver at around 15 or 16.
I want to throw in Stained Class by Judas Priest but then again I f*ckin' love all Priest albums!! 🤘🏻
IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave (1984)
Iron Maiden are one of the most important heavy metal bands ever, we can all agree on that. I discovered them by renting Somewhere Back in Time - The Best of: 1980-1989 (2008) from my local library then finding Powerslave which became my first "proper" Iron Maiden album. The title track was one of the first songs I learned on guitar!
JUDAS PRIEST – Painkiller (1990)
I am not quite sure how I got into this one, I just stumbled across it I guess. It remains my favorite album of all time and probably the single most Metal recording to exist.
AUTOPSY – Severed Survival (1990)
I remember being a kid watching the Metal: A Headbanger's Journey DVD and the bit where Sam talks about the lyrics to "Charred Remains" and instantly going and checking out Severed Survival. Along with Morbid Angel, this was my entry to death metal and both bands remain absolute favorites of mine forever. Though I will note, my favorite Autopsy LP is actually Mental Funeral which has been the bigger influence to my own music, Severed Survival was where it started.
WATAIN – Lawless Darkness (2010)
Along with a couple of others like 1349 and Mayhem, Watain was my introduction to black metal after I read about them in Metal Hammer when I was 12. Their Lawless Darkness album was brand new, and it is an album that has really stayed with me because of its profound darkness and whole execution. It remains a favorite from them, and I think is a true masterpiece of modern black metal.
KREATOR – Terrible Certainty (1987)
While my favorite albums by Kreator are Endless Pain and Pleasure to Kill, I will never forget one day skipping school with my best mate to go to the local record shop and buying a couple of Kreator albums, this and Extreme Aggression. To me, the first four Kreator albums are all masterpieces of thrash metal and must be owned by all maniacs (especially the first two).
Coincidentally I recently went to Keep It True Rising in Würzburg where the bridge adorning the album cover painting is based upon is located!
These are five of the albums that inspired me at a young age to write the music of Left Hand Solution. I found the music on these albums very atmospheric, and lyrically they helped me deal with the darker emotions in life. I was also inspired by how the guitarists used the combination of both clean and distorted guitars, and as the drummer of Left Hand Solution I was indeed fond of how the drummers played on these albums.
The sheer heaviness on Winter's Into Darkness and on My Dying Bride's Swans, helped me learn to enjoy the slower tempos that often find their way into Left Hand Solution's songs. Fields of the Nephilim turned me on to goth rock and the lyrics of Ian Curtis and Joy Division made me fall in love with darkness even further. When Type O's Bloody Kisses was released I was way into heaviness and goth, and that album was just perfect for all the members in Left Hand in our early days.
MY DYING BRIDE - Turn Loose the Swans (1993)
WINTER - Into Darkness (1990)
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM - The Nephilim (1988)
JOY DIVISION - Closer (1980)
TYPE O NEGATIVE - Bloody Kisses (1993)
CARCASS – Symphonies of Sickness (1989)
This album gave a new meaning to goriness for me and broke the boundaries of heaviness. Its artwork was insane and repulsive, just like the band's debut, Reek of Putrefaction (1990).
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM – Dawnrazor (1987)
Dark and cold music with extremely low vocals, which inspired me as a vocalist.
CANDLEMASS – Nightfall (1987)
Epic and mystical music, the album was the true definition of doom with lyrical vocals and unique lyrics.
AUTOPSY – Severed Survival (1989)
True death metal brutality with doom touches, insane vocals, and perfectly gory and terrific lyrics.
NAPALM DEATH – The Peel Sessions (1989)
Caveman metal with tons of energy and anti-establishment lyrics. This EP inspired me as a fan of grindcore and helped me to find my more brutal style to growl my guts out.
EUROPE – The Final Countdown (1986)
This album opened up the world of long hair to me. We all have to start somewhere (but I still like to listen to this one).
METALLICA – ...and Justice for All (1988)
And this album opened up the world of REAL metal to me. And somehow, I started to air guitar on it, even if I hadn't seen anybody doing it before, must be a genetic feature.
METALLICA – Kill 'Em All (1983)
Once again them. It was training on this album's tablatures (the Cherry Lanes ones) that I dropped the tennis racket I used as an air guitar and learned how to play the real one.
DEAD KENNEDYS – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
DK was my gateway to punk and DIY and a lot of other connected things that taught me how to manage my music.
VENOM – The Singles 80-86 (1986)
I needed an album to drive me to the evil side, and I found it right away trading a Casio watch for it.
I was born in '76 and the first songs and albums I heard as a kid that started me on the road to becoming a metal guitarist are:
SURVIVOR – "Eye of the Tiger" (song, 1982)
The power chords and palm muting got my attention.
FOREIGNER – "Juke Box Hero" (song, 1981)
The build-up and then the ringing power kicks in and the beat picks up! Super catchy chorus as well. Rocking solo!
EUROPE – "The Final Countdown" (song, 1986)
Guitars, vocals, melodies, shredding solo!
BLACK SABBATH – Paranoid (1970)
I loved the dark subject matter, and powerful, melodic songs.
GUNS N' ROSES – Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Attitude, guitars, memorable solos, every song was a hit! Loved it!
After GnR came out, I quickly progressed to thrash metal (The Big 4) and later death metal. The later melodic death/black metal bands from the early '90s mostly form the sound of Exist in Ruin today.
NEIL YOUNG – Harvest (1972)
My father was very into his folk and Americana (amongst other genres) and used to rave to me about Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, often making me sit and listen with him to "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" as he thought this was the pinnacle of composition. Whilst I appreciated the musicians performing together, it was when he finally acquired and played Harvest for me that the penny dropped. It was Neil Young's use of that wall of guitar sound, the looseness of the playing and the "in the room, feel it in your bones" mix (on vinyl anyway) that this album possessed that really spoke to me. I think I have taken a lot of inspiration from Mr. Young over the years, from the wall of sound guitars to the storytelling in the lyrics. This album even now is probably my "if I only had one record" disc.
JUDAS PRIEST – Painkiller (1990)
I'd started getting into heavier, guitar-orientated bands as I was getting older, but hadn't progressed much past what would be considered hard rock. I can remember this one clearly, though. I was about 12, sitting in my friend's living room after school and his older brother put this cassette on. That intro started on the drums, then that guitar dive-bomb... I was hooked, completely hooked. From that day on, I realized that heavy metal was a massive part of my musical DNA. It took a few years for me to get into the more extreme genres but for a boy of 12 this album completely blew my mind!
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM – The Nephilim (1988)
I've always loved gothic rock/metal and this album was my first real foray into the atmospheric side of music. They have simple construction, but through it they paint a massive picture. In a way they're almost the antithesis of the rawness of what Young does, but the ambience they create on this album was absolutely mind-blowing. I remember the first time I heard the bridge portion between "Love Under Will" and "Last Exit for the Lost" on my Walkman headphones and was transported somewhere else. From them I picked up the power of simplicity in chord construction, and also how things don't always have to be verse-chorus-verse.
GARY NUMAN – Telekon (1980)
Noises that go BRRR, oh how I love them, and bleep and bloop. This album was seminal in my love for synthesis and all the magic that you can create with a Minimoog. I'd not really been into the radio electronica of the '80s and '90s but I had heard "Cars" on the radio and that song fascinated me as a young child. I picked this up at an SPCA shop with my pocket money one day and instantly fell in love with the way he used synths to write what is ultimately rock. From this I have taken to dabbling with noises to get my sound. My instrument may be guitar, but you can still treat effects pedals in the same way you treat a synthesizer, and it's something I love doing.
BAUHAUS – Swing the Heartache: BBC Sessions (1989)
Where to start with Bauhaus. I adore this band, the strangeness of the compositions, the way they move through different, seemingly unrelated parts to make a song. We had a local DJ that used to play music he'd imported himself, and we'd sit glued to his show listening to all these different bands and the interesting things they'd be doing musically. He played "She's in Parties" on several occasions and I was drawn to it. The way the guitars wound around the bass groove, the almost surreal vocals and that delivery, nothing in this song was straight down the line, and that sway was so much of it. When I finally managed to track down some Bauhaus on physical format it was the amazing BBC sessions, and this was so worth the wait. They have influenced me in so many subtle ways when it comes to my music it would be really hard to pinpoint just one thing.
LINKIN PARK – Hybrid Theory (2000)
I was in middle school when I first heard this record, and I think this is the first record that I fully understood and LIKED as music. Every kid has that moment where music goes from a passive enjoyment presented to you to an active part of your life. I listened to this as well as their second, Meteora (2003), a ton. I kind of moved on from them as well as the whole nu-metal thing kind of quickly, though.
METALLICA – Metallica (1991)
Being in a family that listened to a lot of classic rock and '80s heavy metal, Metallica was in the rotation semi-frequently. I never really paid much attention to them until right around the time I started listening to Linkin Park. I was OBSESSED with Metallica for a few years because of it. There was a period of time where I listened to the first five records at least once every single day, but The Black Album was the one that started it all. I distinctly remember a moment where I was listening to this as well as some Guns N' Roses, deciding between which type of music I wanted to make. I settled on what Metallica was doing, and here I am.
NUCLEAR ASSAULT – Handle with Care (1989)
As middle school progressed, I explored more and more thrash metal, branching out into the others in the Big 4 as well as bands like Testament. I couldn't get enough of them. One Christmas I got The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal book which my friends and I would flip through constantly, and one band that caught my eye was Nuclear Assault. I checked them out and was immediately hooked. I remember one day downloading like three of their songs, throwing them on my MP3 player, and listening to them on repeat on a field trip. Given how short their songs can be, that was a lot of repeats! These guys actually ruined Metallica for me for a while, because I got so into their incredibly short, efficient songwriting that listening to the sprawling masses of early Metallica became difficult.
EXODUS – Tempo of the Damned (2004)
This could be the album with the biggest impact on me as a musician. About a year after I heard Nuclear Assault, I finally got into Exodus. This was the one I checked out, along with Fabulous Disaster (1989). This was the big one that stuck with me. I LOVED this record, and it made me obsessed with Exodus. I don't think any one other band has influenced me as a musician in the way these guys have. I still have it on heavy rotation all these years later.
BLIND GUARDIAN – At the Edge of Time (2010)
We're really stretching here, but I can't understate how big this album was to me either. I was in high school at this point, but I heard the song "A Voice in the Dark" and loved it. I started digging up their other material and was like, "Wait, these guys are power metal, aren't they?" I stuck my nose up and turned it off. Yet there I was the next day, firing up another Blind Guardian song. These guys got me into power metal, but also got me into a lot of songwriting concepts that I still hold very close to this day. They taught me the importance of melody and hooks. All of the previous stuff I was listening to had that as well (as I've grown up, I've come to accept that at heart, I'm a big dumb baby who only wants catchy hooks and choruses to jam along to. Everything else is secondary), but Blind Guardian was what made me sit down, listen critically, and figure out how to write a good chorus that a song builds to and from. Even when the music I'm writing leans way more into the aggressive thrash territory, there's always that part of my brain that's pulling from those lessons Blind Guardian taught me.
OZZY OSBOURNE - Ozzmosis (1995)
NIRVANA - Nevermind (1991)
METALLICA - Metallica (1991)
MEGADETH - Countdown to Extinction (1992)
RATA BLANCA - Magos, Espadas y Rosas (1990)
Although I was bombarded with classic rock during the '80s and '90s by my mother (something unusual in a Latin American country), I didn't really take a liking to the music until the age of 12, when I first heard Ozzy's "Perry Mason," various songs from Nirvana's Nevermind and The Black Album. Listening to Hetfield sing I said, "I want to be like him, I'm going to make my own band," even though I never learned to play the guitar. Then I got to know much more music (like Megadeth and Rata Blanca, two of my all-time favorites), practiced my singing and eventually became part of various musical projects.
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