Tuesday, May 21, 2013

1983-1988...Heavy Metal's Golden Age

I do not hide the fact that I am a fan of the 1980's heavy metal music. The music that came out during that time frame inspired me in my own music, and I judge all other metal against that era. Sadly, pretty much all of it comes up lacking.

Friends always joke with me, and tell me that I am stuck in the 80's. I tell them they are damn right, and I am proud of it. Sometimes, I will ask friends to name one album that is better than what came out during the Golden Age of metal. They will try, but are unsuccessful.

Let's take a moment and look at the masterpieces that came out during that time frame. Here are some of them off the top of my head...I'm sure I've left some off the list, but you get the point with this list:

Between 1983 and 1988, 

Iron Maiden released 3 of their greatest albums: Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. While they put out great albums before and after the Golden Age, not one album lives up to these three.

Judas Priest  released Defenders of the Faith, Turbo, and Ram It Down. Screaming For Vengeance was released in 1982. Priest is probably not the best example for this considering the latter two albums were not very well received, but you can't have a list like this without Priest. Plus, they more than redeemed themselves in 1990 with the masterpiece, Painkiller.

Stryper released Soldiers Under Command and To Hell With The Devil. Both are masterpieces. Their next release, In God We Trust was a major letdown, and the band never recovered. Although, their followup to In God We Trust which was Against The Law in 1990 was not well received, the music and songs were very good. Had this been the follow up to To Hell With The Devil, I think Stryper would have been Bon Jovi huge.

Queensryche released Rage for Order, and the iconic masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime. The followup release in 1990, Empire was very good, but a letdown after Mindcrime, and Promised Land was a gem. The band went downhill fast after that.

Metallica released Ride the Lightning and the iconic Master of Puppets. In 1988, they released ...And Justice For All which was a good album, but nowhere near as good as the prior two. And Metallica has not come close to matching those two albums since.

Anthrax released Among The Living and State of Euphoria. By far, their two best albums.

Dokken released 3 great albums in that time frame: Tooth and Nail, Under Lock and Key, and Back for the Attack. Since then, the band has had a revolving door of musicians whose efforts will never live up to their best 3 albums.

Megadeth released Peace Sells, But Who's Buying and So Far, So Good, So What. These 2 albums were groundbreaking, however Megadeth released their crowning jewel, Rust in Peace in 1990.

RATT released their 4 best efforts, Out of the Cellar, Invasion of Your Privacy, Dancing Undercover, and Reach For the Sky during that time frame. Nothing special since then.

Slayer released their juggernaut, Reign in Blood.

Ozzy, released Bark at the Moon, Ultimate Sin, and No Rest For The Wicked. I know his first 2 albums were also masterpieces, but with these three, he was trying to adjust to losing Randy Rhoads. Not an easy feat to accomplish, but he did it, and the albums were great. No Rest for the Wicked was Ozzy's last great album.

Honorable mention to Crimson Glory, who's Transcendence album, released in 1988 is an iconic album for progressive metal. With better management, they would have been HUGE.

So, tell me why I should modernize? I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. These BANDS can't even top their own albums written in the Golden Age, so how could some crap corporate rock band like Nickelback even hope to come close? Not to mention, these new metal bands, and even some of the bands I listed just simply write forgettable music these days, and in the days following the Golden Age.

There are several newer bands that are very good, and I do get into such as Disturbed. But, if Iron Maiden and Disturbed are playing concerts the same night, and I can only go to one, guess which one I'm going to see. If you said Iron Maiden, then you would be right.

So, if you still insist on telling me that I am stuck in the 80's, and should modernize, here is your mission if you choose to accept it: Find me a band that compares musically, lyrically, and with overall talent to the pioneers of Heavy Metal's Golden Age. If you can, I will listen, and if I think it compares, I will be honest.

However, don't hold your breath. It hasn't happened yet, and I doubt it ever will.

Could heavy metal have a second Golden Age? I hope so, and all we can do is wait and see. But in the meantime, grab Master of Puppets, throw it in the CD player, turn it up to 11, Rock the horns, and Bang Your Head because the Golden Age of heavy metal will never die!

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