The essence of Impact music: 80s / 90s metal

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Jake longhurst

As part of our “Impact’s Music Essentials” series, Jake tells us about his top ten picks from the 80s / 90s metal genre.

Metal as a genre is just over 50 years old, judging by the widely accepted starting point of the release of Black Sabbath’s debut album in 1970. Over five decades, there are incredibly diverse styles and bands in genre, and each decade has its own unique personality, all of which are key to the history of the genre. However, in my eyes the decades that burned the most were the ’80s and’ 90s, and in the spirit of Halloween, here’s a tribute to the scariest genre.

Hallowed be thy name – Iron Maiden

When Iron Maiden released their flagship album “The Number Of The Beast” in 1982, the genre felt a paradigm shift. A new music juggernaut was born, and on an almost perfect album, one track shone even brighter than the others. The closing track, Hallowed be thy name, is often regarded as the finest example of metal in history, with the story of a man in his final hours contemplating life and death intertwined in the brilliant double guitar work that makes the seven minutes of execution look like mere seconds. Bruce Dickinson is on beautiful vocal form, with some of the most sustained notes of his entire career taking the song to a new level of brilliance, and with the added benefit of being on the best album from one of the most large metal groups, he is in very good company.

Puppeteer – Metallica

“Master Of Puppets” is a brilliant album, the title song of which is the song that elevated Metallica from simple conqueror of continent to drummer of the world. The eight-and-a-half-minute song begins with one of the best guitar riffs of all time, with a very thrash sounding, before transforming into a dismal acoustic track halfway through, then into a thrash song for the finale. . . The song is a commentary on drug addiction, with lyrics such as “Carve your breakfast on a mirror” expressing the habits of drug addicts, and the actual title Puppeteer being a reference to drugs becoming the master of the user, who becomes a puppet for whatever substance he uses. Metallica has since evolved their sound into a more popular sound, but the early years as one of the greatest thrash bands of all time will always be their best work.

Welcome to the jungle – Guns N ‘Roses

As one of the most hair-raising and dizzying intros of all albums, Welcome to the jungle deserves a lot of love. It was also the first thing we heard about Guns N ‘Roses, which at the time had the well-deserved nickname of “the most dangerous band in the world”. Speaking of time spent on the streets of LA, the lyrics detail the rapid downward spiral you could fall into if you made the wrong choices on the street, all with their trademark piss and vinegar stamped all over the place. From the smirk and nasal vocals of Axl Rose to the scorching guitar lead of Slash, to the searing basslines of Duff McKagan, the song combines with an attitude that has never been delivered before. Granted, you could say it’s a hard rock track, but when your very first album cover is banned because it’s too graphic, I think you have enough credentials to be labeled as metal.

Tornado of Souls – Megadeth

Tornado of Souls is the pinnacle of guitar solos. There are faster solos (Through the fire and the flames is a majestic piece of music, well worth a listen) and there is more technically impressive (Any Yngwie Malmsteen) but it combines technique with speed, musicality with aggressiveness, and brings it all together to create something that is even greater than the sum of its massive parts. The rest of the song is electric as well, with a lightning riff and classic Dave Mustaine growl vocals. The late Nick Menza’s first appearance behind the kit for the band was fluke which meant that this album, ‘Rust In Peace’, is still the absolute top pick for speed metal, and I have no doubts he does. will remain for many years to come.

Hell Cowboys – Pantera

For a band that started life as a glam metal band, their most famous work contradicts their roots. Originally sounding closer to Kiss than Slayer, the band was a half-successful glam metal band, but when Philip H. Anselmo joined them and steered them in a new, heavier direction to create the first true band of southern metal groove, the stars have aligned. Dimebag Darrell is still revered as a god among guitarists, even after being sadly shot in 2004, and the entry riff to the title track from the debut album to show off their new sound is just one example of his genius. Hell Cowboys is the epitome of southern groove, with a crackling riff, Phil Anselmo’s sledge resting on it, and an incredibly tight rhythm section of Rex Brown’s bassline and powerful Vinnie Paul drums.

Without eyes – Noose

Slipknot is not only the biggest metal band since Metallica, it’s also one of the best in history. The waves they created with the release of their debut album in 1999 are still being felt to this day, and one of their most iconic tracks is Without eyes. Perhaps the most aggressive track on the album, it’s nihilistic, misanthropic, hateful and angry. Corey Taylor spits venom on the industrial, almost death metal instrumental parts, and the most iconic lyrics are also the ones no one really understands. Rumor has it the famous line “You can’t see California without Marlon Brando’s eyes!” Was yelled at Corey by a homeless man as they were in Hollywood to record. It’s a brutal display of sheer intensity and revulsion, and the rest of the album doesn’t let go either.

Blind – Korn

Slipknot are modern masters of metal, but Korn pioneered the nu-metal genre that Slipknot then adapted. The song that started it all, Blind, begins with a little drum groove, then some guitar hits and a bass line join, followed by a massive seven-string riff, then the overly pleasant “Are you ready?” mosh call by Johnathan Davis, before moving on to a weird song with all kinds of interesting musical flairs and good times to sing along. The rest of the album doesn’t let go of the weirdness or heaviness either, with a lot more seven-string riffs, a lot of growls and screams, but also scat, a track with bagpipes and Johnathan Davis crying on the disk.

Freezing moon – chaos

Mayhem is one of the most, if not the the most famous music group. The original lead singer committed suicide, the bassist left after the guitarist took pictures of the singer’s death, the replacement bassist killed the guitarist and planned to blow up the cathedral on the cover of their album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, as well as having burnt down at least eight churches. They were part of the infamous “True Norwegian Black Metal” scene, and they took their roles very seriously. The song Freezing moon is their best-known song, and is a chilling example of the Norwegian scene and the importance they place on the role of atmosphere in their music. The main riff is a chilling combination of single notes and powerful chords, and original vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin, known as Dead, has an almost unbelievably crooked yet towering voice, which can be heard over the Live At Leipzig recording. The vocals for the album were recorded after his suicide, and he was replaced by singer Attila Csihar, who was part of another group called Tormentor. The entire album is as cold and ruthless as a Norwegian winter, and is the best example of cult metal to date.

Soul Slaughter – To doors

At The Gates is recognized as the creators of metalcore, one of the greatest subgenres of metal today, directly inspiring bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Trivium and more. Again. However, two years after the release of the album that set the pattern for so many bands, ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’, they broke up, as they weren’t doing as well as they (I believe) deserved. . The album has since taken its rightful place in the metal pantheon, and the band is back with new music. The title song of this 1994 masterpiece is the most special, with one of the best mosh calls to come right after the first guitar line, and the all too famous “Go!” inspired countless people to lose their minds in the pit and go completely crazy. The buzzsaw sound of Swedish metal in the background, combined with that perfect mosh call, has immortalized the band in metal history forever.

Angel of Death – Killer

The last track on this list is perhaps the most infamous of all metal as well. Angel of Death is a song about Josef Mengele, the ‘Butcher of Auschwitz’. The spooky experiments he undertook were put on vinyl by Slayer as the first track on their period album “Reign In Blood”, and this song almost shut down the album’s release, as many record companies didn’t. have not accepted it. However, once released it became an instant classic and is arguably the best extreme metal album ever written. Angel of Death is a relentless thrash masterclass, featuring obscene lyrical content courtesy of Tom Araya, blazingly fast selection work by Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo’s nuclear approach to drums, and pervasive accusations that the band is Nazi (these were not, however, thought the Nazi officer featured a lot of lyrical content for a controversial song, and were right), who all came together to create one of the most influential metal songs of all time.

Listen to these songs, and more, in this playlist:

Jake longhurst


Image courtesy of Emilio Vaquer via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

Videos in the article courtesy of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N ‘Roses, MegaHermansen, Pantera, Slipknot, kornchannel, WhoreToAChainsawTAIM, WhereLifeENDS and Slayer via youtube.com. No changes made to these videos.

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