Great Metal Albums from the 1980’s That Have Been Forgotten
Continuing our article from Part 1 of twelve metal albums from the 1980’s you should check out:
Metal Church put out great albums during the 1980’s and 1990’s and even opened for Metallica during their 1991 tour and this should have lead to more exposure for the band. But Metal Church never caught on with the music video generation and that may have had an big impact on sales. The Dark was Metal Church’s second album and it has some incredible tracks. Among them: Ton of Bricks, Start The Fire, Method To Your Madness, Watch The Children Pray and Line Of Death.
Flotsam and Jetsam is known for primarily one reason: Jason Newsted was plucked by Metallica after a worldwide search to become Metallica’s new bass player after the death of Cliff Burton. Newsted won the musicians dream lottery, staying with Metallica from 1986 -2001. The band Newsted left behind, Flotsam and Jetsam would continue to put out music that was powerful and meaningful. It is a shame more people are not familiar with Flotsam and Jetsam’s music. Their second LP is a force to be reckoned with. I’ve seen over 300 bands perform live. At a half filled club, L’Amour in Brooklyn was the setting where I saw the greatest live performance of any band in my life. Flotsam and Jetsam were clean, energetic and awesome live. New bass player Troy Gregory, singer Eric A.K. and the rest of the original band just ripped through their set with a passion that befitted an arena, not 500 metalheads in a sweaty Brooklyn club. The songs from this album that stand out are: Hard on You (Flotsam’s answer to the PMRC), N.E. Death, I Live You Die, P.A.A.B., Dreams of Death, Misguided Fortune and the title track.
If AC/DC ever needed a replacement singer they could have looked no further than Henrik Ostergaard the lead guitarist, singer and main songwriter of Dirty Looks. This album Cool From The Wire has the whole Bon Scott / AC/DC thing going for it. I asked Henrik at the time of the release if they were going for the AC/DC sound and he denied it. But after pressing him, I asked did the producer ask him to try and do a Bon Scott imitation and he admitted that during the spoken refrain of “Ruby’ s got class, when she shakes her ass” in the middle of Oh Ruby, he was asked to summon up Bon’s spirit. But let’s forget about the similarity to Bon Scott. On the whole, Dirty Looks was one kick ass band with great songwriting and they put out several albums that very few people seemed to buy. The album Cool From The Wire is one of the best hard rock albums to come out of the 80’s. Unfortunately this line-up of Paul Lidel (guitar), Jack Pyers (bass) Gene Barnett (drums) lasted for only one more album (1989’s Turn of The Screw) before going through a wholesale line-up change. They were dropped from Atlantic and put out a few more very good albums with with almost no recognition or sales. After leaving the music industry for a number of years from the mid 90’s – 2006 Henrik put together another version of Dirty Looks and started recording and touring again. Unfortunately Henrik Ostergaard died at the age of 47 on January 27, 2011 of liver disease. Beyond the AC/DC similarity there is much more to the music of Dirty Looks and this album is a good starting place for you to get familiar with their music. Best tracks: Cool From the Wire, It’s A Bitch, Oh Ruby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Put A Spell On You.
The best unknown band bar none. The album Why Play Around is great. Period. I have written about Wargasm here before. Rather than recount the sad story of Wargasm, we will let the music speak for itself. Best tracks: Revenge, Wasteland, Sudden Death, Bullets and Blades
Memphis, Tennessee is where Tora Tora emerged from and this talented hard rock band made a couple of great records that were mostly overlooked by the critics and most hard rock and metal fans. Almost every song on Surprise Attack is melodic and catchy without being overtly commercial. The production on the album by Joe Hardy and Paul Ebersold is among the best you will ever hear. Every song is crisp without being overproduced. Songwriting is strong and no two songs sound alike. Lead singer Anthony Corder has a strong voice and Keith Douglas is highly underrated as a guitarist. This is a band that I wish would have continued putting out music for the last 20 years. Instead they stopped recording in the early 90’s and now sometimes play a reunion show. Too bad. Best songs: Guilty, Walkin’ Shoes, 28 Days, Love’s A Bitch.
Not technically from the 1980’s although the album was recorded in 1989, Death Angel’s Act III was a polished major label debut after two albums released on the smaller Enigma records. Many old school metal maniacs would not be able to explain why Death Angel never became a big time band. With money behind them and a loyal fan base and some airplay on MTV’s Headbangers Ball, I certainly thought the band would catch on. Instead within two years of making this album Death Angel broke-up and took a ten year hiatus. They are again putting out new music, so that is a good thing. Act III was definitely a high point in their career. Stand out songs include: Seemingly Endless Time, Stagnant, Stop, The Organization, and Veil of Deception.