Thursday, February 02, 2006

Vinyl Countdown: the 1980's

Here is the list of 15 essential albums from the 1980's. I took into consideration the music and the cover. I only allowed myself one album per artist. It was fairly easy to pick this, but a little tough to rank because their were so many good albums.

15.Ratt-Out of the cellar
I might get some flack for this choice, but I stand by it. Not overly talented except for Warren DeMartini, but they were consistently good and they were fun to listen to.

14.Wasp-The last command
Like a cross between hair metal and classic metal. Blackie Lawless was always trying to grow as a songwriter and most of the time it worked.

13.Motley Crue-Too fast for love
A good raw sound with rough vocals. A big influence on the LA scene that begin to overflow shortly after this album came out.

The Scorps were able to do strong rockers and good ballads as well. Plus it has a crazy cover.

11.Anthrax-Spreading the disease
Anthrax always had a speed metal sound that was different from the pack and a singer who actually sang.

10.Ozzy-Diary of a madman
I remember sitting in my basement listening to this on album over and over. A bit darker than Blizzard of Ozz and easily better than anything Ozzy did during the rest of the decade.

9.Def Leppard-Pyromania
Maybe the perfect blend of hard rock and pop. Manages to be sharp and catchy at the same time.

8.Dio-The last in line
It didn't matter that Ronnie James Dio was singing gibberish about dragons, rainbows and wishing wells just because he had such a good voice. He could be singing about septic tanks and moldy cheese and it would probably still sound good. Great cover as well.

7.Motorhead-Iron Fist
Their last album with Fast Eddie Clark on guitar. Motorhead managed to inspire bands and then road the wave as metal peaked and then they kept on going as other bands fell by the wayside. They proved that attitude is just as important as talent. They are also probably one of the most consistent metal bands of all time along with the Scorpions and Iron Maiden.

6.Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction
Hard rock was in danger of becoming very stale by 1987, but this album gave the whole scene a well needed kick in the ass. The pace changes were fresh and they talked about the dark side of living and playing in LA.

5.Metallica-Master of puppets
After Kill 'em all these guys learned how to improve as writers. They figured out to put in seamless pace changes without losing their heaviness and energy. Ride the lightning might be a hair better, but the album cover and the impact of this one makes it the one to choose.

4.Slayer-Reign in blood
Not just Slayer's best album, but the best speed metal album of all time. It's like a storm coming out of your stereo. No notes were wasted in making this album because everything about it works. Not the most difficult guitar riffs, but Dave Lombardo is the master of the double bass drum and Tom Araya has the perfect voice for this kind of music.

3.Van Halen-1984
If you were into metal in 84 then you probably played this one to death. I mean Panama, Hot for teacher, Drop dead legs, what's not to like about this album? Also it has perhaps the best non-Iron Maiden cover of the decade.

2.Judas Priest-British Steel
I could have just as easily picked Screaming for vengeance or Defenders of the faith, but I think this was where Priest made a big transition. They took what they had begun in the late 70's but they became more focused and little more aggressive. Guess what? It worked as they became probably the second best metal band of the 80's next to the band that takes the number one spot here.

1.Iron Maiden- The number of the beast
I probably could have picked Killers or Powerslave for this spot too, but I think this is their best album. They still have some of that unbridled power from the early albums, but the structure that they would later rely so much begins to take shape here. These guys knew how to play with passion and skill yet still keep things sounding fresh. This is one of a handful of albums that I could listen to over and over. Actually I have and probably will continue to do so.

There you have it for my 80's list. I have my review for Ozzy's the Ultimate Sin coming up on Friday or Saturday. I just have to find time to listen to the album.


Blogger David Amulet said...

You know I'm with you on Ratt--even though I think I oddly prefer the Invasion of Your Privacy cover. It's hard to beat Tawny Kitaen on Out of the Cellar, but something about Marianne Gravatte's pose on the second album just does it for me.

Pyromania, 1984, and The Last in Line may be the best hard rock covers of the 80s. Except for ...

Powerslave! I have always loved that cover, and even though I agree that The Number of the Beast music is hard to beat, the cover just isn't as cool to me.

(I'm starting to reconsider my style of italicizing album names. What a pain in the ass to do all that.)

Nice line about RJD ... perhaps we should name our 80s metal cover band "Septic tanks and moldy cheese."

-- david

5:23 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Superb list Mark.

"Number Of the Beast" is still the most relevant 80's Hard Rock album, and I know many bands cite it as a major inspiration.

And Judas Priest as No 2. Now I know Rob Halford was barking mad, but when he and his band were good, they were DAMN good and Brit Steel is the place to start for that band.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Once again, an excellent list. Appetite for Destruction was one of those once in a generation albums that still holds up 19 years later. Pyromania was another excellent album; IIRC, seven songs were released as singles and almost all made it into the Top 10.
Also, wasn't The Number of the Beast a picture disc? I know I have one of their albums around here somewhere, and I think that's the one. And you're right about 1984... what's not to like?

7:19 AM  
Blogger T-_Bone said...

That is a good list, I think I may have varied it a tad, but all in all, a cool list. Any list that has NotB in the #1 spot has got to be good!!

10:45 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Master of Puppets has another feature that makes it better than Kill 'em All! And that would be the fact that Hatfields voice was starting to gain it's growl. On 'Seek and Destroy', he sounded a bit like Alvin from the Chipmunks. But that is understandable the band pic on the album shows some really baby faced guys.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

David- Ratt's album sales slacked off during the last three album. Coincidently there were no women on those album covers.
Ben-Judas Priest bounced around with styles a bit, but eventually found their way.
Bruce-A number of discs are later released in picture disc version. Usually they were done in the UK or Europe so there probably was a picture disc version of The Number of the beast.
T-bone-It was hard to just pick one Iron Maiden album.
Fuzzbox- Metallica look like an ad for Clearasil with all their pimples on the Kill 'em all album. Master was also the last album before Metallica started carefully planning what they wore for a photo shoot.

7:43 PM  

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