• Emil

50 YEARS OF METAL

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Part II: Metal For The Masses ... the 1980s


Following such respectable size big-bang, an equally sizable expansion was unavoidable … and it arrived! Heavy metal experienced an intensely thriving period during the 1980s, managing to carve its' way into music’s mainstream by the later years of the decade, ushering an array of sub-genres and styles during the process. From the dawn of the decade, both sides of the North Atlantic were producing acts that were attracting larger followings and gaining more and more popularity. UK/Europe’s approach was a bit sharper in contrast with the more flamboyant American inclinations, which immediately began cross influencing each other. Perhaps the most influential trait to contemporary heavy metal, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), born in the late 1970s, took the very early nineteen eighties by storm! Newly formed American acts were “borrowing” heavily from 1970s British glam rock, resulting in mainstream dominant glam metal. Very significantly, taking massive cues from the NWOBHM and speed metal, Metallica unleashed the beast by concocting thrash metal! Developing on its' own, thrash metal spread like fire globally, delivering aggression to legions of new fans for years to come. By the mid 1980s, metal scene emerged into the darkest and most extreme realms via black metal, meanwhile doom metal and epic heavy metal attained cult status. Before the end of the decade, benefiting from high quality production, proper distribution and airplay, metal was in the mainstream’s bright spotlight.


The rules remain the same: only one album per act (!) regardless of longevity and generosity of catalog. Once again: nothing based on commercial merits (!) - I wasn't aiming for the best, the greatest, or the most successful of albums. It would be absolutely pointless to publish a carbon copy of thousands of lists on the same subject in the past 50 years. (To the reader:) I apologize in advance if your favorite album from a certain band wasn't included! I also plead with anyone discovering something new to make the effort to research further, in the event one title or another stirred interest. I'm absolutely positive that there is something for everyone to enjoy, included here. Besides some mighty huge titles, my attempt was to showcase the overlooked/underrated acts/titles showcasing the development and connections within the rock/metal genre. All these acts deserve positive, proper recognition.


Metal for the masses ...



1980

AC/DC

(Australia)

Back In Black

Released on July 25, 1980

Hard rock/heavy metal

Album's Spotify link


SAXON

(UK)

Wheels Of Steel


Released on April 3, 1980


Heavy metal/NWOBHM


Album's Spotify link






ANGEL WITCH

(UK)

Angel Witch


Released in December 1980


Heavy metal/speed metal


Album's Spotify link






TRUST

(France)

Répression


Released in 1980


Hard rock/heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






WHITE SPIRIT

(UK)

White Spirit


Released in 1980


Heavy metal/NWOBHM


Album's Spotify link







1981

RUSH

(Canada)

Moving Pictures

Released on February 12, 1981

Progressive rock

Album's Spotify link


MOTLEY CRUE

(USA)

Too Fast For Love


Released on November 10, 1981


Heavy metal/glam metal


Album's Spotify link






TYGERS OF PAN TANG

(UK)

Spellbound


Released in April 1981


Heavy metal/NWOBHM


Album's Spotify link






HOLOCAUST

(Scotland/UK)

The Nightcomers


Released in April 1981


Heavy metal/NWOBHM


Album's Spotify link






PICTURE

(Netherlands)

Heavy Metal Ears


Released in October 1981


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link







1982

SCORPIONS

(Germany)

Blackout

Released on April 10, 1982

Hard rock/heavy metal

Album's Spotify link


GARY MOORE

(Northern Ireland/UK)

Corridors Of Power


Released in September 1982


Hard rock/heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






HUGHES/THRALL

(UK/USA)

Hughes/Thrall


Released in August 1982


Hard rock


Album's Spotify link






TANK

(UK)

Filth Hounds Of Hades


Released in March 1982


Heavy metal/punk/speed metal


Album's YouTube link






VENOM

(UK)

Black Metal


Released on November 1, 1982


Thrash metal/black metal


Album's Spotify link







1983

METALLICA

(USA)

Kill 'Em All

Released on July 25, 1983

Thrash metal

Album's Spotify link


DIO

(USA)

Holy Diver


Released on May 25, 1983


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






Y&T

(USA)

Mean Streak


Released in 1983


Heavy metal/glam metal


Album's Spotify link






STEELER

(USA)

Steeler


Released in 1983


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






SAVAGE

(UK)

Loose 'N Lethal


Released in 1983


Heavy metal/NWOBHM


Album's Spotify link






1984

IRON MAIDEN

(UK)

Powerslave

Released on September 3, 1984

Heavy metal

Album's Spotify link


TROUBLE

(USA)

Psalm 9


Released on March 10, 1984


Doom metal/heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






OMEN

(USA)

Battle Cry


Released in October 1984


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






WARLORD

(USA)

and the Cannons of Destruction have begun ...


Released in 1984


Heavy metal/power metal


Album's Spotify link





JAG PANZER

(USA)

Ample Destruction


Released in August 1984


Heavy metal/power metal


Album's Spotify link







1985

CELTIC FROST

(Switzerland)

To Mega Therion

Released on October 27, 1985

Death metal/black metal

Album's Spotify link


MANILLA ROAD

(USA)

Open The Gates


Released in 1985


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






RAZOR

(Canada)

Executioner's Song


Released in April 1985


Speed metal/thrash metal


Album's Spotify link






SEDUCE

(USA)

Seduce


Released in 1985


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






HAWK

(USA)

Hawk


Released in 1985


Heavy metal


Album's Spotify link







1986

BON JOVI

(USA)

Slippery When Wet

Released on August 18, 1986

Hard rock/glam metal

Album's Spotify link


WAYSTED

(UK)

Save Your Prayers


Released in 1986


Hard rock


Album's Spotify link






CANDLEMASS

(Sweden)

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus


Released on June 10, 1986


Doom metal


Album's Spotify link






WHIPLASH

(USA)

Power And Pain


Released in February 1986


Thrash metal/speed metal


Album's Spotify link






MORTAL SIN

(Australia)

Mayhemic Destruction


Released in 1986


Thrash metal


Album's Spotify link







1987

WHITESNAKE

(UK)

Whitesnake

Released on April 7, 1987

Heavy metal/glam metal

Album's Spotify link


LION

(USA)

Dangerous Attraction


Released July 21, 1987


Heavy metal/glam metal/hard rock


Album's Spotify link






DOKKEN

(USA)

Back For The Attack


Released on November 2, 1987


Heavy metal/glam metal


Album's Spotify link






SAVATAGE

(USA)

Hall Of The Mountain King


Released on September 28, 1987


Progressive heavy metal/power metal


Album's Spotify link






CORONER

(Switzerland)

R.I.P.


Released on June 1, 1987


Thrash metal/progressive metal


Album's Spotify link







1988

BLIND GUARDIAN

(Germany)

Battalions Of Fear

Released on May 17, 1988

Speed metal/thrash metal

Album's Spotify link

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN'S

RISING FORCE

Odyssey


Released on April 8, 1988


Heavy metal/Neoclassical metal/hard rock


Album's Spotify link






QUEENSRYCHE

(USA)

Operation: Mindcrime


Released on May 3, 1988


Progressive heavy metal


Album's Spotify link






BROCAS HELM

(USA)

Black Death


Released in 1988


Epic heavy metal/proto-speed


Album's Spotify link






NAPALM DEATH

(UK)

From Enslavement

To Obliteration


Released on September 16, 1988


Grindcore


Album's Spotify link






1989

ALICE COOPER

(USA)

Trash

Released on July 25, 1989