When there were all those rumors about AC/DC retiring/breaking up a few weeks ago, a lot of people were panicking. Everyone from industry pros to famous musicians wondered if AC/DC was actually going to continue on without guitarist/founder Malcolm Young, or if they should just hang up their hats after almost 40 years of rocking out.
And even though the story is that the legendary rock group is not retiring, but that Young's serious health issues are causing him to take a break from the band, it still made me pull out my AC/DC records and take them all for a spin. As I listened to '74 Jailbreak, I realized that the five-track EP is turning 30-years-old this year.
Turning 30 is a pretty big deal, no matter if you're a human or a kick-ass record. In fact, it made me think about my own 30th birthday, since I'm in the midst of planning a vacation to Peru and Macchu Picchu for the occasion. It's great knowing that there was a ton of great heavy metal music put out around the time I was born. There are actually a lot of records hitting their 30-year milestone this year, and I intend to celebrate them.
IN 1984, glam metal was drawing attention to the genre, acts such as Iron Maiden and Dio were extremely popular, Deep Purple reunited, and a ton of new bands were formed, including Celtic Frost, Death, Sepultura, Primus, and -- who could forget -- the metal virtuoso with a taste for Beethoven, Yngwie Malmsteen.
So here's a celebration of some landmark and favorite heavy metal albums that turn 30 this year.
Iron Maiden - Powerslave
One of my favorite albums ever, this is Iron Maiden's fifth album and also contains the band's longest song to date, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," which is about 13 minutes long.
Slayer - Haunting the Chapel EP
This EP was a great follow up to Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy. It displays a clear evolution in the legendary thrash act's sound and established their signature style. Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales
This record by extreme Swiss metallers had a huge impact on the death and black metal genres developing at the time.
Judas Priest, Defenders of the Faith
This album brought the band great commercial success, although it doesn't have a legendary track like "You've Got Another Thing Coming." Plus, you gotta love the fact that the track "Eat Me Alive" was listed on the Parents Music Resource Center's "Filthy Fifteen" list.
Metal Church - Metal Church
This has always been one of my favorite album covers. The band's self-titled debut album gave them quite the introduction onto the metal scene, especially because they went on to become a strong, unique influence in thrash metal, mixing elements of hard rock and British metal with tight, articulate form. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
Ride the Lightning doesn't need much introduction -- six million copies have been sold in the U.S. alone, and the record is certified six times platinum. Practically every single song on this album has become legendary, but my personal favorites are "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "The Call of Ktulu" and "Fade to Black."
Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus
This metal band put together their love for Black Flag and Black Sabbath, and they've been making people headbang for decades. This debut album is considered pretty difficult to find nowadays, and a lot of people consider it one of the first doom metal records on the market.
Van Halen - 1984
First off, I don't think that my life would be complete without the song "Hot For Teacher." After selling about 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, 1984 is easily considered Van Halen's most commercially successful album. It's also is legendary in its own right, since it was the last full-length Van Halen record to feature David Lee Roth until 2012's A Different Kind of Truth. Voivod - War and Pain
This band is proof that Canada knows how to put out some good metal. Voivod in particular has explored quite a few styles, from speed metal to thrash to progressive. This album was the band's debut, and 11 later, the headbangers are still going strong.
Anthrax - Fistful of Metal
You can't beat the awesome album cover -- or the collection of tracks that introduced one of the Big 4 bands (the rest are Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer) to the world and helped establish the thrash genre.
Bathory - Bathory
This Swedish metal band is extreme in every sense of the word: they are even named after Elizabeth Bathory, seen as one of the most prolific women serial killers of all time. This debut album was seen as one of the original formats of Scandanavian black metal. Manowar - Hail to England
This record is seen as one of the best representations of Manowar's signature style, and it was reportedly recorded in just six days. This is also a band that sets the bar for getting metal to as many ears within earshot as possible: In 1984 Manowar was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for delivering the loudest performance, and they also hold the world record for the longest heavy metal concert after playing in Bulgaria in 2008 for more than five hours.
Pantera - Projects in the Jungle
While Pantera didn't really gain a strong footing in the metal scene until Phil Anselmo was brought on board and they switched up their look and vision, this second album was a strong foreshadowing of what was to come. This is where the extreme melodic influences decreased, groove metal breakdowns were thrown in, and the guitar riffs were much more thrash-oriented.
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