FUCKING HOSTILE!

by Jason Alan

Metal music is the blues, if the blues was injected with a dirty syringe filled with an equal mixture of raw adrenaline, pure anger and rocket fuel.

While bands such as Deep Purple, The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (among others), took rock and roll to the next level with screaming guitar licks, bombast and sheer loudness, the last days of the 1960s brought us Black Sabbath. With a background of well crafted drums, macabre bass guitar and the wicked howl of Iommi’s axe, Ozzy wailed about subjects ranging from witches and wizards to the horrors of war. When introduced to their sound I believed, if only for a moment, that faeries truly did wear boots.

As punk music exploded in the ’70s, artists such as Iggy Pop and The Sex Pistols focused much on anti-establishment and excess, while Motörhead and AC/DC concentrated on banging skulls into concrete and making ears bleed. Metaphorically speaking.

Then came the ’80s, the golden age of metal. Megadeth brought social commentary in Mustaine’s signature voice and Slayer kicked in a wall of sound and hailed a reign in blood. As Malmsteen and Rhoads brought technical ecstasy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Anthrax broke ground and broke the law. But let us not forget Metallica, whose early days with Ulrich’s pounding drumbeats, Hammett’s blistering solos, Hetfield’s crunchy lead guitar and Cliff Burton’s orgasmic bass lines produced nothing short of modern symphonies. As far as heavy rock goes, it simply does not get any better than the 1986 album Master of Puppets.

The dirge, screeching guitars and jagged vocals continued into the ’90s and beyond with bands such as Carcass, Sepultura and White Zombie, who all brought a different style to the scene. There were even some who merged the dense electric guitars with hip hop. Most, in my opinion, unsuccessfully.

And then, there was Pantera.

Although there were two others in the band, and they started in the ’80s with a different singer, it wasn’t until the ’90s that Darrell Abbott’s fingers truly displayed dominion over the six string and Phil Anselmo took screaming into the microphone and made it into a fucking art form. And while I did say that it doesn’t get any better than Master of Puppets, the 1994 album Far Beyond Driven surely holds up to it.

Now, since I obviously can’t name them all in this post (that would get a bit tedious, don’t you think?) and I’ve focused on the more popular ensembles, who are some of your favorite bands and/or albums? What are your thoughts on the genre? Do you think it’s awful? Is Master of Puppets overrated? Did I leave the stove on? This is the end of the post, so it’s your turn to write something. I’m done for the day.