Friday, January 20, 2006

Metal in 1986

My wife got the movie Pretty in pink at Wal-mart for $4.88 the other day and we watched it yesterday. Now the thing that stood out for me was that everyone who was part of the in crowd dressed like Don Johnson and everyone who was a misfit dressed like they were in Culture Club. Now we know how Hollywood can really make a mess out of portraying teens, but I seem to remember 1986 being at least a little cooler than it was portrayed in this movie. In looking back, I think 1986 was a year where a lot of sub genres of metal came into the foreground. More traditional acts like Ozzy, Maiden and Priest had success in 1986, but hair bands like Poison and Cinderella emerged and bands on the other end of the spectrum like Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer came out of the underground and started to get large followings. Overall it was a good year for metal as a lot of bands really saw some success. However this kind of success began to open the gates for what would eventually become a real flooding of the market where everyone with long hair and an amp was getting a record deal. Still I would say 83-87 was probably the real peak for metal and a lot of great albums came out. I think a lot of bands like Slayer and Poison surprised their record labels with the success they had that year because the expectations were not that high. By the late 80's I think there was more pressure to really succeed because the companies were determined to milk metal for all it was worth and some bands got pressured into making sound changes and some good bands were dumped rather quickly. Still I am just a fan and maybe I don't completely understand the music industry and it's probably a good thing that I don't because it would probably just make me madder. I would definitely say that metal was far different by the end of 86 than it was at the beginning of the year.

10 Comments:

Blogger David Amulet said...

I think you are right, but we shouldn't discount the foundation that was laid by a few US bands that made the "explosion" of 1986 possible. There's Van Halen, of course, but you have to acknowledge the mainstreaming effect that bands like Ratt, Dokken, and Quiet Riot had. And yes, I suppose one has to say that Def Leppard's Pyromania also helped open the doors in the mid-80s ...

-- dvaid

4:11 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

You are right because when labels saw bands like Van Halen, the Scorpions and Def Leppard having such commercial success then they wanted a band like this on their label too. My problem is that eventually too many bands were signed without thoughts as to how to promote them or if they were any good. I think this practice was as much a part of the downfall of metal in 91-92 as the rise of grunge. There were a lot of talented bands out there, but some labels didn't take the time to ensure they had as good of a chance at success as they could. Then again I should probably just be glad that metal's prime lasted as long as it did.

5:06 AM  
Blogger T-_Bone said...

1986 was a pivotal year for sure, I mean Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood were both immensly influential. Also, that year, Priest and Maiden both became more "accessible" to the mainstream. Add in the explosion of pop-metal hair-metal or whatever you want to call it and you have an eventful year. Plus it was the year of the mighty Orgasmatron.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

t-bone, I plan to talk later on about just how "accessable" Judas Priest became with Turbo. Orgasmatron was I think a very important album for Motorhead. It's my favorite of theirs, but I also think they were really in danger of going the way of Raven and Venom if Orgasmatron tanked. They were a huge influence at that point on the rising speed metal scene, but Orgasmatron was their first lp in three years. Metal had changed a lot between 1983 and 1986 plus they had the new line-up with two guitarists and a new drummer. Fortunately the album caught on and the legacy of Motorhead just grew and grew.

7:52 AM  
Blogger whtfucover said...

You can't forget Speed Metal with VoiVod and the emergence of Death Metal with Celtic Frost and growing popularity of Venom. 1986 was one of the greatest years for Metal by far, its sad that it doesn't get the recognition that the rape of Seattle does during the 90's. Don't call me Daughter

9:10 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

I tend to agree with you Mark. Mid 80's Metal was a victim of its own success and I was thinking about all the Rock/HM bands I hadn't heard of in a long time.

Bands like Def Leppard were both the success and the curse of 80's Metal.

12:41 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Towards the end there, you had a flourish of wussy "metal ballads." Oh man, those were such pieces of crap.

Any kind of music gets milked once the music moguls get a taste of that money. It's a double edged sword, really.

10:43 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

You watched 'Pretty in Pink'. Did your wife have a gun to your package or what?

Checked out Seether and Shinedown last nite at the Sno-Cor Tour. Pretty good.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Shinedown is pretty good, I agree. The singer's voice is very powerful.

BTW..speaking of mid-80s metal, Ronnie James Dio has been tapped to play the role of Dr. X on Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime II cd, set to be released in early April.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

fuzzbox- No, I watched it willingy largely due to the fact that she puts up with a lot the horror and sci-fi films that I make her watch.

11:23 AM  

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