CRASH COURSE IN METAL: MY HEAVY METAL JOURNEY

     For most of you that know me…Metal Music is a passion for me.  As a 37 Year Old, I have pretty much lived through every Heavy Metal genre besides the very beginning.  Its funny because in my current career…I see many young kids that have once again chose Metal as their passion.  For awhile, it may have seemed that Metal was on its decline…but any sort of thought has been blown up like a bomb in Baghdad.  Heavy Metal is once again on a DRAMATIC rise and there is no sign of this phenomenon going away.  In Fact, although Metal may never reach the peak that it did during the mid eighties to early nineties when different forms of the music grew offspring.

     During the mid seventies to the early eighties, Heavy Metal began to form a pillar of Iron.  Beginning with Black Sabbath, the “God Father’s of Metal” in just about anyone’s opinion…Heavy Metal began to branch out with light speed.  During the late seventies and early eighties…the British wave of Heavy Metal was taking the world by storm.  I was only four years old in 1980…but I can still remember when AC/DC released “Back in Black.”  My father made such a big deal about buying that album.  It marked the return of the band, after parting ways with Bon Scott and the emergence of Brian Johnson as it’s frontman.  At that time, I didn’t know what Heavy Metal was or even had a clue what the different styles of music were.  Bands such as Iron Maiden, KISS, Judas Priest, DIO Motorhead,Van Halen, Def Leppard and many more began to make waves in America as well as Europe.  

     For the sake of not making this a boring drawn out history lesson, I am not going to get anymore into the definition or roots of metal.  All that I know is, my first Metal album was “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N Roses in 1987.  I was merely an eleven year old kid trying to find my way through this ever changing world.  Guns N Roses quickly became my first “favorite” band.  I quickly began to build a collection of audio cassette tapes, as CD’s were not out yet.  My catalog spread like a disease and I soon had over Forty Tapes.  At that time, I was still in Christian School, so this type of music was frowned upon.  Pretty soon, my mom stumbled upon my collection, and soon my set morphed into a measly five tapes, as my mom threw the other thirty-five out.  I couldn’t believe it…it was like I lost my new best friend.  I would liken it to someone today being an avid face book junkie and then having it stripped away from them like a tornado.

     Anyways, as the years went by, CD’s were invented and became the popular choice for music fans.  Not only did my CD Catalog increase, my tastes in Metal Music filtered out and I was finding all of the traditional sub-genres of metal…British Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Metal, Stoner Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, ETC.  The Sub-Genres continue to evolve to this day and I would not be able to tell you every one nor do I care.  I just know what I like.

     My first love was Glam Rock…beginning with Motley Crue, Poison, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Warrant, RATT, Cinderella, Queensryche, WASP, Winger, Autograph, White Snake, Bon Jovi…the list is too long.  These were the bands that I could not get enough of.  I was mostly a Motley Crue and Poison fan but I developed a natural love for all of these bands as well as their CD’s.  During the same time, I was heavy into Van Halen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC, Skid Row.  

     Then it happened…my neighborhood buddy introduced me to a band that I had never heard of and from there it was all over.  The band was Anthrax.  The CD was an EP “I’m the Man.”  And the song was “Im the Man”.  I can remember it like it was yesterday in his back yard.  We blared that CD over and over again.  After this, I became a THRASH METAL MANIAC.  I went out and bought every CD I could get my hands on.  I started with Megadeth “Countdown to Extinction.” and Metallica “Black Album.”  After this it was every Thrash Band…Testament, Slayer, Metal Church, OverKill, and like wise this list began to grow.  Then as the music continued to evolve…so did I.  Now I was listening to Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Slipknot, Seven Dust.  I loved “everything” metal.  YES… I am and always will be a METAL HEAD as my friend Cheryl always reminds me.  However, this does not mean that I do not like other music.  I enjoy all types, including RAP, Classic, Blues, Country, basically anything that I can jam to.  But it always goes back to Metal.

     Then it was Nirvana, Pantera, God Smack, Hate Breed, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Typonegative, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Disturbed, Death Angel, and Linkin Park.  Every year, I have developed new likes and dislikes as far as Metal Music.  However, I still traditionally am pulled to the Eighties/Nineties Glam/Speed/Thrash/Alternative categories.  Like today, I really enjoy the band VOLBEAT.  I also like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Hell Yeah, Lacuna Coil, Black Label Society and many others.  However, its not a secret that “Early” metal is back on the rise.  I mean, Black Sabbath just released a brand new studio album “Thirteen” with three of the original members Ozzy, Geezer, and Iommi.  WOW!!! In case you have not heard this album…go get it now!  AWESOME!  KICK ASS!  BAD ASS!  These would be the adjectives I use to describe this new album.

     As of today, my CD collection stands at 545 CD’s and Counting.  I have another 3,000 songs on my IPOD/IPHONE.  Yes, I am a music junkie.  Although music is available at the touch of a button, I still enjoy purchasing CD’s because I like the artwork and reading the lyrics and credits…call me old fashioned.  I have started sets consisting of my favorite bands.  Right now, today I own every CD for the following bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Slipknot, Testament, Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Lamb of God.  I am always continuing to build on my sets.  The next set that I will have complete is Black Sabbath including all Ozzy and Dio releases.  I always forget bands when mentioning my favorites.  My all time favorite band is Megadeth for my own personal reasons.  However, I am a huge fan of all The Big Four Bands, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Guns N Roses.  I hold these bands at my highest standard.  The next would be on a step down.  I am loving all of these comeback tours and new studio albums.  Metal is alive and well Folks!  I see it out in the neighborhood.  I see it in the workplace.  Its showing in the schools.  Its everywhere!!!!!!  I also attribute the re emergence to Guitar Hero…the popular video game…MTV, VH1, Facebook, Pandora and all of the other music social media outlets.  Well, this was a quick path through my Heavy Metal journey.  I am sure we all have our own tales and war stories.  All of the albums, concerts, tours, festivals, etc.  Heavy Metal will always be one of my passions and music is one of my defining attributes.  Besides listening to music, I have this blog which I write about metal, I read all kinds of books, and I am even currently taking Guitar lessons.  I also write Lyrics.  Maybe I did miss my passion……..ImageImageImage

80’s HAIR METAL TOP BANDS

Ok. Well anyone between the ages of 30-40 could debate this topic endlessly. Everyone of us is familiar with the 80’s Hair Metal Era…which had it’s high point from 1985-1992. For the sake of staying true to this music genre…Guns N Roses did not fit into this category as they created their own category. I point this out because if they were in the category…they would be the unanimous pick. Van Halen is also not in this group because they were in a league of their own. Wether the bands were around long term or only had a few albums….here is my Top 10. I obviously hope that we can have some fun with this topic and I look forward to other people’s picks. Without further adue…here is my Top 10:
10) Ugly Kid Joe- Although they only produced a few albums…they make my list as they also mad my top 10 underrated metal bands list. UKJ were a phenomenal talent and they came around at the end of the scene when Hair Metal was at it’s decline. However, UKJ did very well with it’s album sales and also garnered a large fan base. If UKJ had been around longer…they may have very well been the Number1 Pick here. I’m sure everyone remember’s their Number One Single…”Hate Everything About You.”
9) Dokken- Dokken may have been higher on my list but they did not receive the mainstream popularity that other bands on this list did and that is one of the criteria to make this list. Dokken did however have a huge fan base…especially women and did manage to produce some major hit singles. Their guitar Work was brilliant and they did do well on tour.
8) RATT- This band was one of the First 80’s Hair Bands to make it big and they were also underrated in the mainstream community. Warren DeMartini and Robin Crosby provided excellent guitar hooks and Riggs and Steven Pearcy was the prototype frontman for bands in this era. As stated earlier…they deserve a lot of credit for bringing this type of music to the top.
7) Cinderella- Cinderella was formed in the mid 80’s in Pennsylvania. The original band featured Front man Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham on Bass, Guitarist Michael Smerick, and Tony Destra on Drums. In 1985…Smerick and Destra left to form Britny Fox another Philadelphia based band, that next moved to Hollywood. Jef Debar and Jim Drnec joined the band and they began touring clubs in Philly. They actually received a big break when Jon Bon Jovi discovered the band playing at the Empire Rock Club in Philly and quickly took the band under his wing. Cinderella became very popular and went on to have a huge career on MTV with lots of airplay. Cinderella has sold over 20 million albums…they are still touring…and actually there is talk orbs new album. “Don’t Know What You Got till it’s Gone” was their major hit but they produced many other hit singles. They brought a bluesy sound to Hair Metal that set them apart from some of the other bands.
6) Bon Jovi- Bon Jovi became an instant star studded band, and they started in Sayerville New Jersey…and their 3rd Album Slippery When Wet put them on the map forever! Their 4th Album New Jersey didn’t miss a beat and produced more number 1 hit singles. Between 1986-1994…Bon Jovi went on to record 13 Top 40 Hits with 4 Number 1 Hits! In total…Bon Jovi has produced 9 Studio Albums and have sold over 130 million records world wide! Quite an accomplishment for a band that’s been around that long. Richie Sambora brings a lot of talent to the band with his guitar style and the only change in the band occurred when bassist Alec John Such left in 1994. Their most known hits include “Livin on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, I’ll be There For You, and Bad Medicine. Also instant classics…”Wanted Dead or Alive (My personal favorite) and It’s my Life which introduced Bon Jovi to a younger audience.
5) Warrant- Warrant originated in Hollywood, California later in the Hair Metal genre when the music style was at it’s peak. Between 1989-1996 Warrant released Five albums that sold over 10 Million Records World Wide. Their two major hit albums were Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich which was followed up by Cherry Pie. Cherry Pie reached double platinum and the video for the title track put Warrant at the Top of the charts for their time. I mean..you could easily put Bon Jovi ahead of Warrant on this list due to the longevity and the success that they have achieved over the years but Warrant reminds me of one of those running backs….The “Earl Campbell” of Hair Metal. If Warrant had lasted longer, they may have made the Top 3 of this list. Their 3rd album hit gold in sales…Dog Eat Dog….which is a very underrated album which Warrant tried to play a little heavier than their previous albums. Jani Lane had one of the best voices in the Hair Metal era…and should be up there in all time vocalists. He died 2 years ago from alcohol abuse. Warrant was a great band that should not be taken lightly when reviewing this list.
4) Poison- During the mid eighties till the mid nineties…Poison sold over 30 million records world wide and 15million of those in the United States alone. Brett Michaels is one of the greatest hair metal frontmen of all time and CC Deville provides a fast paced style but also was able to incorporate a country/bluesy style into his artwork. Poison was also formed in Philadelphia by Brett Michaels, Bobby Dahl, and Rilki Rockett. During their Hey Day…Poison produced 10 Top 40 Billboard Hits including 6 that made the Top 10. Their only number 1 singles is probably one of the most recognized songs of this time period, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn'” They got on the map after releasing their first album “Look What the Cat Dragged In” which featured the hit “Talk Dirty To Me.” They hit their peak with their 2nd album release with “Open up and say ahh”. These two albums were followed up with yet their third multiplatinum album…”Flesh and Blood.”. They receive tons of exposure on MTV an their Frontman…popular with the ladies even had his own MTV show…Rock of Love and he was also the winner of Celebrity Apprentice one season. He is probably the most popular frontman of this era. Poison still tours worldwide and are also working on a new album.
3) Skid Row- Skid Row could be considered in a category of their own because they always pushed the envelope and tried to play a little heavier and louder than all of the other Hair Bands. Skid Row was formed in 1986 out of Toms River New Jersey. Sebastian Bach and Dave “Snake” Sabo were the original members as well as Rachel Bolan. Their first three albums went double platinum with their first album “Skid Row” hitting number 6 on the Top 200 Billboard List, second album Slave to the Grind hitting number 1 on this list and the third album SubHuman Race hitting 35. Their biggest hits are still major hits today and are played all over on juke boxes throughout the world. At the en of 1996…the band had sold 20 million records world wide. Sebastian Bach has went on to form a very successful solo career and is considered by many to be one of the greatest vocalists ever. His range is off the charts. Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo are also very underrated musicians. During that 3 album span…Skid Row was probably the most popular hair metal band of the time.
2) Motley Crüe- Motley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles, California by Bassist Nikki Sixx and Drummer Tommy Lee. They were later joined by Guitarist Mick Mars and Vocalist Vince Neil. Throughout the years…Motley Crüe has been labeled one of the most “Notorious” Rock Bands in History. They even released a Biography that chronicles their path through the bottom to stardom. All members of this band have suffered through some type of addiction, which really shows their toughness considering they are still going strong today. Motley Crüe has sold over 80 million records to date and 25 million in the United States. They have released nine studio albums and are currently working on their tenth one, which will be released in 2013. They hit their peak in 1987 when they released the album Girls, Girls, Girls and then struck gold with their 1989 release of Dr. Feelgood. Dr. Feelgood hit Number 1 on the Billboard Charts and stayed their for 109 days…a long time to be on top. It’s not a coincidence that this album was produced at a time when the Band Members all tried collectively to stay sober. Two hit singles “Kick Start my Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood” were both nominated for Grammy Awards. They also achieved success in 1990 NY beating out Aerosmith for the Best Hard Rock Album of the Year. Motley Crüe is even bigger today and they even have their own festival. They are still going strong and remain one of the last hair metal bands that have it’s original members and are at the top of their game.
1) Def Leppard- Def Leppard is the only band on this list that was not formed in the United States…as they began their career in Sheffield England. They started the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and developed into the Hair Metal Kings. Their 3rd album Pyromania made Def Leppard a household name and put them on the map as major players. In 1987 they released Hysteria which topped The United States charts as well as the UK charts…one of the few albums to ever do this. As of 2009…Hysteria has went 12x Platinum in sales worldwide and has sold over 20 million copies of the album in the US alone. We are not talking 20 million records total…we are talking 20 million sales of one album. That statistic is insane. Hysteria spawned six Top 200 Billboard Hits with “Love Bites” hitting Number 1. Their next album Adrenalize also hit Number 1 in the US and UK. As of today….Def Leppard has been one of the most successful metal bands selling over 100 Million total albums world wide. They are also one of only five bands to sell over 10 million copies of 2 Studio Albums. I think these numbers have to make Def Leppard the Number 1 Choice. Also…they have stood the test of time and are still touring to this day. So they really transpired the Early Heavy Metal movement…Hit their peak during the Hair Metal era…still maintained popularity during the thrash and grunge era and are still going strong. Def Leppard are Legends and are a NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hall
Of Fame Band!

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Alice Cooper: 1989-1991

When you hear the name Alice Cooper…right away you think of the term “Shock Rock” a form of Heavy Metal that uses a combination of violence and dark props such as Live Boa Constrictors, Fake Blood, Guillotines, Electric Chairs, ETC. Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier, in Detroit Michigan in 1948. His Musical Career has spanned more than four decades. His band was formed in 1971 as The Alice Cooper Band and their first album was “Love It To Death,”which featured the hit singles “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out”. In 1972, their second album was formed called “Million Dollar Babies.”. In 1975, Alice went solo and released the concept album “Welcome to My Nightmare”. In total, Alice has released 26 Studio Albums, 19 coming as a solo artist. Cooper is credited for bringing stagecraft to the Metal Scene using horror imagery to change and shape the sound and image of Heavy Metal forever. He was the Marilyn Manson, 30 years before Marilyn was formed.
This Article will focus on a short time period in Alice Cooper’s career between 1989-1991. During these years Alice Cooper released the albums “Trash” in 1989 and “Hey Stoopid” in 1991. Alice Cooper used many guest musicians (vocalists, guitarists, and Drummers) on these two albums. The album Trash featured his first top ten single “Poison” since 1977 an put Alice back on the map. Alice Cooper sought the assistance of Desmond Child, a famous song writer and producer to make this album a hit. “Only My Heart Talkin” used Steven Tyler from Aerosmith on Background Vocals. Jon Bon Jovi sang back up vocals on the Title Track ” Trash”, while Joey Kramer played Drums and Tom Hamilton played Bass. Then there was “Kip Winger” singing backup on “I’m Your Gun.”. Joe Perry of Aerosmith played additional guitar on “House of Fire”, Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) additional guitar on “Hell is Living Without You”, Kane Roberts guitar on “Bed of Nails,” Guy-Mann Dude additional guitar on “Why Trust You” “Spark in the Dark” and “This Maniac’s in Love With You”. Mark Frasier and Jack Johnson also provided additional guitar solos on “Trash”. Finally, many other vocalists including Desmond Child, Louie Merlino, Alan St. John and a host of others were used on many of the songs on the album. The record was a huge hit and brought Alice Cooper back to the threshold of Mainstream Metal. Desmond Child was brilliant with his work that he had done with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi and he brought the same energy and creativity to the album “Trash”. I mean, the album would have probably been a success without all of the guests, but these specific guests all brought something special to the table. Alice Cooper was not the first musician to use multiple guests, but this was the first album to incorporate this much talent into an entire set list. Poison is one of Alice Cooper’s top songs and give Kudos to Desmond Child for putting the album together.
The sequel to the super album “Trash” was “Hey Stoopid,” which was released in 1991 after a long world wide tour. “Hey Stoopid” used the same album makeup as it included a wide variety of guest appearances. First the Title Track…with an awesome theme about drug use, suicide and violence. “Hey Stoopid” included guest guitarists Slash, Joe Satriani, and Stef Burns. The song also included dramatic background vocals by Ozzy Osbourne. The song made the Top 20 on the Billboard 100. The song “Burning our Bed” was co-wrote by Al Pitrelli, and included Joe Satriani on Guitar. “Feed My Frankenstein”, another hit off of the album featured Steve Vai and Joe Satriani on Guitar, Nikki Sixx on Bass and the West Coast Gang on Backup Vocals. “Die For You” was co-wrote by Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx…and featured Mick Mars on lead Guitar. Other guests on this album included Vic Pepe, Al Pitrelli, Desmond Child, Vinnie Moore and Chris Cornell. These two albums were the high point for Alice Cooper
In the modern Metal era and brought excitement back to his act. Even during the tour…some of the guests would appear unannounced…much to the delight of the fans. I would strongly recommend both of these albums for
any true Metal Fan. They both bring the perfect balance of sound and quality…as well as different styles of music as each player brings something different to the table. Blast “Hey Stoopid” and you will hear some sick guitar riffs with Slash and Joe Satriani going back and forth and just when u think nothing else can happen…you hear Ozzy’s distinct voice in the background, which is a true match to Alice Cooper. If you are an eighties/nineties metal fan…these albums are classics. ROCK ON!

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TOP 10 BANDS THAT CHANGED METAL

So many bands have come and gone in the Metal Music Scene. In fact, Heavy Metal has evolved and grown many subsets throughout the years. VH1 Classic had an awesome documentary on Heavy Metal this past summer that gave a chronological history of Metal Music and it’s roots. Of Course…the Forefathers of Heavy Metal was Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. There was also Rainbow, AC/DC, Aerosmith, And many other bands alike that pushed Heavy Metal to the forefront of the music industry. Whether it be “one hit wonders,” like Autograph or bands that have stood the test of time like AC/DC or KISS….there have been so many good metal bands to surface from the early nineteen eighty’s until modern day metal. Many bands have made their mark and changed the style of music and how it is played. However, some Bands have risen above the rest to make significant impacts on the music genre known as metal and these bands have influenced these styles in ways that are unfathomable. The following article shares my Top 10 Bands that have changed and influenced Heavy Metal today.
1) Iron Maiden- Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 in England by Steve Harris. Since their inception, Iron Maiden has produced 15 Studio Albums, 10 Live Albums, and 7 Video Compilations. They were pioneers of the new wave of British Heavy Metal. In most music congregations…Maiden is considered an underground Metal Band because of their lack of Television and radio support and exposure. Iron Maiden has sold 85 million records, which is a huge accomplishment for a band that does not hit the radio circuit. For most of their career, Bruce Dickinson has piloted Maiden as the lead vocalist…except for it’s very beginning when Paul Diano was the lead singer and also 1994-1999, when Blaze Bayley took over the Helm. They have played over 2000 live shows all over the World and have produced many hit singles. A lot of their style and sound is progressive and uses melodic and harmonic style of guitars. They have produced a few concept albums using this creative style. I would venture to put Bruce Dickinson right up there with the all time great vocalists in Metal History. Iron Maiden has definitely influenced Metal in enormous proportions. Their best album is probably Number of the Beast which includes the title track and Run to The Hills…another Maiden Classic.
2) Judas Priest- Judas Priest was also formed in England, Birmingham to be exact in 1969. Judas Priest was one of the first Metal Bands to feature the “Twin Guitar” style. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have been able to modernize this sound and perfect it’s effect on the metal style of music. When you combine these two phenomenal Guitarists with the vocals of Rob Halford, you have the making of a Super Power Band. Rob Halford may even be a better vocalist than Bruce Dickinson. Judas Priest was the first band to truly use the double guitar strategy and thus produced a very heavy fast dark sound of music. They were also responsible for introducing the black leather and S/M look to the Metal Scene. They have produced 16 Studio Albums…their last one being a Concept Album “Nostradamus” about the life of Nostradamus who was an ancient philosopher and prophet. Judas Priest is in the Metal Hall of Fame an they continue to tour and make kick ass tunes. In fact…they will release their 17th studio album in 2013. Judas Priest was a catalyst for the New wave of British Heavy Metal, which has totally influenced all major styles of modern metal today. They have sold 50 million records and stood the test of time.
3) Def Leppard- Another English Heavy Metal Band, formed in 1977 in Sheffield England. Def Leppard truly brought a new sound and style to the table and they really took off in the early eighties. They were the first Metal Band to enjoy major commercial success and their high point was between the early eighties and nineties. Def Leppard has produced twelve studio albums and as mentioned achieved huge success in the commercial record area and mainstream metal population. High and Dry, which was their second album (released in 1981) and the single “Bringing on the Heartbrake” became the first metal song played on MTV Videos. Their next album, Pyromania turned Def Leppard into huge stars and the song Photograph was released in 1983 and also received major airplay on MTV. As of 2004…Pyromania was ranked 384 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of all time. In 1987, Def Leppard released Hysteria which topped the charts in both the United States and United Kingdom! This album alone has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide and Hysteria reached 12x Platinum in 2010, one of the most successful albums ever. The album spawned 6 Hit Singles in the Billboard Top 100. Def Leppard is one of five bands to have two albums certified as Diamond Platinum (Pyromania/Hysteria) 2 Original Studio Albums to sell over 10 million copies each. They are the number 1 album seller of all time in the US ha ing sold over 100 million records. Def Leppard was recently ranked 31 in the top 100 Hard Rock Bands of all time. Def Leppard brought Metal to new grounds and was the first metal band to achieve huge commercial success. They will always be recognized as a band who changed the face of Metal.
4) METALLICA- METALLICA was formed in 1983 in Los Angeles California and they are known as the founding member of the BIG 4, which is a term for the 4 greatest thrash metal bands of all time. They were the pioneer of Thrash Metal, which became the most popular form of metal music in the mid 1980’s! METALLICA in it’s roots was a Heavy Metal Underground Icon and achieved commercial success with their third album, Master of Puppets. This album is still considered one of the most heavy influential heavy metal albums of all time. Many Thrash Bands were formed during Metallica’s rise including Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer who join METALLICA in the Big 4. Other Thrash stars included Tetament, Overkill, Quiet Riot, Metal Church, and many others. METALLICA hit their high point when they released their Fifth Album “Black” which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100. Thus far…METALLICA has produced 9 Studio Albums and since 1991 is the highest selling band in the Music Industry. Like Def Leppard, METALLICA too has sold over 100 million records worldwide. The Black Album is actually the 25th most sold album in United States History. METALLICA will always be known for it’s tremendous influence on the emergence of “Thrash” metal which incorporated speed heavy fierce guitars with powerful double bass drums and screeching vocals. Thrash Metal is still one of the most popular forms of Heavy Metal today.
5) Motley Crüe- Motley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles California in 1981 by Bass Guitarist Nikki Six and Drummer Tommy Lee, and were later joined by Mik Mars and Vince Neil on Vocals. Through the years, Motley Crüe is has been considered the most notorious Rock Band of all time. Motley Crüe was the catalyst for the Hair Metal revolution, which was basically heavy metal bands that played themes such as sex, drugs, and rock n roll and they sported long hair and wore makeup. Motley Crüe has produced nine studio albums and are currently working on their tenth. They have been ranked 10th on the MTV Top 10 Heavy Metal List and 9th on the VH1 Top 10 Heavy Metal list respectively. Motley Crüe was a raucous bunch that provided fast heavy guitar with cutting vocals from Vince Neil. Between all of the band members…they probably have all been in trouble with the law than any other heavy metal bands. Motley Crüe achieved great commercial success and thrived with their popularity with MTV exposure…especially among ladies.
6). Poison- Poison was another Hair Metal band that was formed in Pennsylvania by Vocalist Brett Michaels and they combined Motley Crues look with a more mellow sounding rock sound. Poison was also more popular with the ladies. They actually became the catalyst for Glam Metal Bands in the mid eighties which took on a huge part of the metal population. Other bands that followed Poison’s success included Warrant, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Ratt, Winger, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Wasp, and many more bands. Poison is most known for their album Open up and say Ahh…their best hit number 1 single “Every Rose Has it’s Thorn.”. Poison popularized Ballads which used heavy guitar but incorporated a mellow sad sound. So many bands followed this trend.
7). Guns N Roses- Guns N Roses was formed in 1985 in Los Angeles California by Slash, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler. The band only released six studio albums but managed to still sell 100 million records worldwide. This gives you a little clarity on the enormous impact that this band had on Heavy Metal. Appetite For Destruction debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 and their single “Sweet Child O Mine” reached number 1 on the Top 100 Billboard singles. The album had sold over 18 million copies in the United States alone making it the Number 1 Debut album of Metal history of all time. Guns N Roses has to receive credit for popularizing heavy metal in an era where pop music had taken over the industry. Guns N Roses had a Rolling Stones type of demeanor and they brought Metal to another level. They were not the classic thrash metal or British style…nor were they the hair glam style either. They brought their own style to the table…a combination of hard rock, punk and metal that thrived and gained quick popularity. The Band was around only a short time but they still remain one if the Greatest American Heavy Metal Bands of all time! The Band’s classic lineup was just recently inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012…the Band’s first year of eligibility. This was a tremendous accomplishment considering they were only around a very short time.
8) Nirvana- Nirvana was formed by Kirk Cobain and Dave Grohl in 1987 near Seattle. They quickly became the catalyst for a new style of Metal known as Grunge. Many Grunge Bands were formed in Seattle in the late eighties. The Grunge style of metal relied on dynamic contrasts in sound, between quiet verses and loud heavy choruses. Nirvana’s second Album, NeverMind achieved dramatic success in the grunge community as well as the Alternative Style of Metal. The band was short-lived as Curt Cobain died in 1994. Even with their short lived career…Nirvana has managed to sell over 25 Million Records in the United States alone and over 75 million world wide. Nirvana set the stage for many other bands including Alice In Chains, SoundGarden, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Collective Soul, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nirvana is kind of like the Beatles of the 1990’s even tho the Beatles lasted much longer. Curt Cobain is John Lennon. The star vocalist whose life was cut way too short.
9). Pantera- Pantera was formed in Arlington Texas in 1981. However…it wasn’t till many years later that the band made it’s mark. They began as a glam metal band producing four albums in the eighties. In 1990, Pantera released “Cowboys From Hell” which was much more of a thrash metal sound. Then Vulgar Display if Power was released which was even heavier. Finally, Far Beyond Driven which was heavier yet. They are responsible for the New Wave of American Heavy Metal which spawned many bands that are still popular today…KORN, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, Tool, HateBreed, Mastadon, and the list goes on and on. Pantera saw it’s high point during the early 90’s and were famous for their mosh pits. The Band disbanded after the brutal murder of it’s star guitar player…Dimebag Darrell on stage by a crazed fan. Pantera is still considered one of the Best Heavy Metal Bands o all time today.
10). Lamb of God- Lamb of God is like Pantera on Steroids. They carry the torch today for Heavy Metal Music and have a Dark Side but they are not quite raucous enough to be considered Death Metal. The band was formed in 1990 in Richmond Virginia and they have produced 6 Studio Albums. They have a cult fan base and thrive on live shows. Ashes of the Wake is their best selling album and they have sold over 10 million albums in the United States alone and over 15 million world wide. Lamb of God uses Pantera like riffs and the demonic vocal sound of Randy Blythe to get the crowds into a rucus. Lamb of God is carrying the torch now for the New Wave of Heavy Metal. Thy have spawned such bands as Avenged Sevenfold, Buck Cherry, Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, and As I Lay Dying. They have stood the test of time also.

Honorable Mention- Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot. Well…that is my top 10 list and it’s not in any particular order. If I had to pick the number 1 band for influence it would be Guns N Roses. Stay tuned for the next Heavy Metal installment.

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