Lists of Domination
GD's Most Dominating Albums Of The 1980's (10-1)
03/10/08 || Global Domination
10. Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion
Celtic Frost was a good band with a fairly fresh take on metal. In my mind though, they represent much more. I was 3 years old when this album dropped—clearly, I missed the impact it had on the metal scene the first time around. I can see the ripples though, concentric rings of influence that, should I squint a little, lead me back to a different time. Looking back in this manner, “To Mega Therion” is one of the first serious metal albums, one of earliest of examples of metal laying out a goal and then following through on it. Well, of metal having goals beyond being loud, playing hard and getting some pussy when it was over.
“To Mega Therion” is all about atmosphere – it’s a record of epic bleakness. Celtic Frost was one of the few 80’s band to use metal in a serious way to create serious music—or something like that. The founding tenet of heavy metal was Tony Iommi’s idea to scare people with music. Tom G. Warrior and crew didn’t lose sight of that. While their peers were doing flashy things like singing in falsetto and playing their guitars really, really fast, Celtic Frost ignored the trends and made something scary. The album art is abstract and disorienting. The intro piece is foreboding – a waring to stay away. The music is driven by pounding tribal beats and Tom G’s deep growls. Everything about “To Mega Therion” is consistent in its goal, which is to take you to a dark place and leave you there – that it succeeds so thoroughly in doing is why it belongs in our top 10.
9. Candlemass: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Few albums have struck me like this one did the first time I heard it. I don’t think anyone had a clue something could be this fucken heavy and depressive. Candlemass was something else… They created doom metal without even knowing it. Johan’s vocals are among the best ever recorded when it comes to heavy music and the production (especially the drums) is epic and crystal clear (fuck do you expect when it was recorded in a studio owned by some members from a band called Heavy Load?) There’s nothing even remotely weak about “Epicus”. It’s a work of art, a genuine painting of sadness, gloom and doom. I used to play drums to “Epicus”, that’s how important this piece was to me when I started out doing music myself. A true classic and a milestone in metal it shall forever be. Thank you, Candlemass. Thank you so much.
-Lord K Philipson
8. Death: Scream Bloody Gore
Imagine how scary this must have sounded back in 1987. Fuck almighty, this surely was a fucken shock to all those into glam, power metal and even thrash. Evil Chuck and his first iteration of evil cohorts, roaring their way through straight from the depths of Hell, bringing death metal into the world kicking and screaming. I’d loved to be there, just to see their chicken faces turning yellow with fear! I know this guy, a metalhead near his fifties now, who saw one of Death’s first shows, being a thrash veteran already those days. He says metalheads were truly stunned from the extremity of it all. A simple story like that goes a long way to show “Scream Bloody Gore” had a huge impact on the heavy metal scene, and not only musically speaking.
What can be said of an album as important as this one? It’s not hard to admit that it shows its age, for better or worse, yet there’s no doubt that any self-respecting fan of death metal should at least listen this album once or twice, in order to know how it all began. Filled with simple riffs? Straight-forward drumming? Basic song structures? Silly lyrics? Not as brutal or technical as later works of the band themselves or its many followers? All check. Yet did you notice something I said? Many followers, anyone? All of the above arguments pale when compared to the fact that Death on their debut believed fully in what they were doing and flat out created an album full of death anthems such as “Evil Dead”, “Zombie Ritual” and “Mutilation”. And the future death legions would from then on follow their lead. It spawned death metal as we know it today, and its importance is seminal. Is it an album worth checking out for someone who wasn’t there when it all started? You fucken bet your pimpled ass cheeks it is! It might be old and sound dated, but it surely has some fucken nerve, belief and a truckload of mean riffs. This was an impressive debut from a band that would keep going from strength to strength and define death metal as a genre. Death, was, is and will always be TEH beginning!
7. King Diamond: Abigail
I’m not a fan of men setting their balls on fire in order to sing even higher.
I’m not a fan of fancy pirate-vampire-spandex costumes.
I’m a huge fan of this album.
Anybody who asks how is that possible is obviously misguided by the name of the band. “King diamond” is not all about King Diamond. On his own, he would have been nothing more than a part of metal folklore, maybe interesting at first but ultimately boring as hell. And for each person who likes his singing style, there must be at least ten who hate it. The thing that makes this effort so unique is the guitar work. Intricate, riddled with blistering solos on top of killer riffs, this is what keeps this record fresh and awesome no matter how many times you listen to it. The presence of Mikkey Dee behind the drums doesn’t exactly hurt either, although I don’t think Lemmy would ever let this guy into Motorhead if he saw his picture in the “Abigail” booklet first.
-Max Von Laibach (ex-staffer/cocksucker)
Bathory: Blood, Fire, Death
Not content with almost single-handedly laying the framework of black metal for ages to come, the genius we once knew as Quorthon, may Satan have him in a place of honor down there in Hell, decided in the glorious year of 1987 to invade and conquer new musical shores to bring a vision of his Viking heritage into the already fearsome metallic machinery of mayhem that was Bathory. “Blood Fire Death” was Bathory’s fourth album and stands today as their ultimate statement of intent, the most complete and consistent effort of all their vast discography.
Besides sporting a midsection full of blitzkrieg black metal Bathory at its best, this brilliant record is book-ended by two spectacular songs that pretty much defined how the Norse mythology influences should be incorporated into metal. The chilling “A Fine Day to Die” has the coldest, most epic and dominating riff in the history of Viking metal and is still unsurpassed after all these years. The ending title track brought us the epic tempo, the uniquely distorted guitar style, and the innovative use of choirs and keyboards to create the right atmosphere that would mark later works within the genre.
“Blood Fire Death” marks a new beginning, the birth of Viking metal as we know it amidst the ashes of black metal devastation, and on such strength is justly considered a classic and firm favorite for fans of the band. Each northern horde that nowadays attempts to molest our ears with tales of rape and pillage from the golden days of yore, owes a hell of a lot to Bathory and to the Viking inspired era that they started with this awesome album. If previous works were already legendary, this album finally turned Bathory into the category of metal gods. “Blood Fire Death” redefined the word “epic” the Viking way, and 20 years later, it has not lost any of its relevance, it is still a must listen which gives us the best of both metal worlds Bathory created.
5. Metallica: Master of Puppets
What can be said about “Master of puppets” that’s not been said already? Probably nothing. All the superlatives known to man have rightfully been used to describe the finest moment in Metallica’s career and one of the absolute finest, prolly the finest, moments in the history of heavier metal. But I’ll have to come up with something here, you know. This fucken album was unleashed upon an unsuspecting mankind over 20 years ago and still to this day it beats pretty much anything released before or after, and it’s still to this day one fucken influential piece of music. “Master if puppets” is not only a monumental record by a band that once reigned the scene, and rightfully so, “Master of puppets” is the epitome of how perfect metal should sound. There’s not a weak second included on this recording and it’s evident that it will always be regarded as one of the finest recordings of all time. Not even shit records like “St. Anger” or “Death magnetic” can erase that fact. Metallica died a long time ago, long live Metallica!
-Lord K Philipson
4. Pestilence: Consuming Impulse
When I put this list together one, “Consuming Impluse” was of the biggest surprises. It isn’t typically thought of as landmark death metal album, at least not in my house. If Death and Possessed were the originators and Morbid Angel was the standard bearer for the future, what of Pestilence? Why so high? Well, it might sound like a cop out, but fuck it. This album is just that damn good. It’s a little rough around the edges, sure, and it features one of the cheesiest covers of all time and the production was weak even in ’89. What it does have going for it is charm. Charm is everywhere. It’s in Patrick Mameli’s guitar riffs. It’s in Martin Van Drunen’s frantic, one of a kind vocal performance. Heck, it’s even in that goofball artwork. Some albums just have an “it” factor, a certain unidentifiable awesomeness that’s laid bare for all the world to see. Whatever it is, “Consuming Impulse” has more of it than any other death meal album and if there’s one thing we here at GD appreciate it’s it… whatever it is.
3. Morbid Angel: Altars of Madness
Is there a better death metal record than this one? Maybe Morbid Angel’s second album, but even then, it’s pretty close. Though nowadays he’s more of a fishman than anything else, Dave Vincent is unbeatable here. No one before or since has sounded more evil, and his style is so far removed from the pig-grunting crap that is popular nowadays that it’s almost hard to believe that both styles are considered part of the same genre. Trey Azagthoth and Richard Brunelle encase the listener’s mind in a Stygian cage of burning metal spike riffs and macrocosmic guitar solos so bizarre, so out there that sound like something written by alien hands. And of course Pete Sandoval throws down the gauntlet with one of the most intense and genre-defining drum assaults ever captured on tape. Every metalhead worth his salt knows “Chapel of Ghouls” and “Maze of Torment”, but it’s hidden gems like the earth-shattering outro of “Evil Spells” and the locust-buzzing riff of “Visions from the Darkside” that really make this album special: you can listen to it for ten years straight and discover something new each time you spin it. Death metal is my religion, and “Altars of Madness” is my ten commandments.
2. Iron Maiden: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Huh? Where’s “The Number of the Beast”? Forget what Rolling Stone or Metal Edge has to say about the best metal albums, this is Iron Maiden’s best record right here. The synths and progressive nuances that they toyed with on “Somewhere in Time” came into fruition on “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. It is arguably Maiden’s most progressive album to date and the only one to carry some sort of concept, or at least a common theme in several songs.
Maiden’s first few albums weren’t groundbreaking as much as they were chock full of metal goodness. Twin guitar, epic songs, and galloping basslines had been done before, but perhaps not as well or as prominent as with Iron Maiden. “Seventh Son” solidified them as more than just a great band, but as true metal innovators. The album has a very distinct sound that was lost by their next disc, “No Prayer for the Dying”. Proving technology could be a friend, synths soar throughout each song, adding atmosphere and subtle beauty on tracks like “The Prophecy”. While some may miss the raw power of “Killers”, worry you not; the band’s aforementioned trademarks are strewn all about this album, with possibly their best songwriting and twin guitar harmonies to boot (if you don’t get chills during the last guitar harmony in the title track, you are not a Maiden fan).
“Seventh Son” also marked the end of the golden era for Maiden. By the time the next album was released, Adrian had left, Bruce started snarling, and Nicko started sleeping behind the kit. With the decline in quality came a decline in popularity, but no one can deny the power and uniqueness of the band in top form on “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. Up the Irons baby!
-Hanging Limbs (ex-staffer/cocksucker)
1. Slayer: Reign in Blood
Lord K Philipson: I like “South of heaven” more and I think “Master of puppets” deserves this spot. I have also seen Slayer in concert about 45 times, and at one of those I actually sat on stage watching the whole show. That was kinda cool. And weird. None of this really matters though. “Reign in blood” is the winner according to the fair jury of Global Domination. I might not agree – but I fucken respect and understand why it’s the gold medalist. There is a possibility that the tune “Angel of death” is one of the finest songs ever created when it comes to thrash metal. “Reign in blood” is not only a fantastic title for an album, it’s some close-to 30 minutes of thrash metal that no one’s been able to recreate yet to this day.
Angry Mutant Penguin: Metalheads are an argumentative bunch, never agreeing on anything for very long, so to objectively pick a “greatest metal album of the eighties” would be an impossible task, but I think it’s fair to say that “Reign in Blood” is the closest we’ll ever get to consensus on the matter. It’s not my favourite album ever, and it probably isn’t yours, but (for reasons I don’t see the point in explaining, we all know why it rules) it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t at least appreciate this masterpiece, and difficult to find a metal band these days that don’t owe their dues to Slayer for composing it.
Banesupper: No one can be told what “Reign in Blood” is; you have to hear it for yourself. Nah, just kidding, “Reign in Blood” is distilled aggression. It was faster and angrier than anything else at its time, and probably the greatest thrash album ever made. A worthy number one.
Stephen: “Reign in Blood” wins! Is anyone surprised by this? Slayer represents everything that was great about metal in the 1980’s—they pushed musical aggression to new heights, played faster than anyone else and drank until their pee could fuel jets. This album is respected by every metal head the world over and, in selling more copies than anything this ugly should have, spread the word far and wide that FUCK YOU METAL IS AWESOME. For a deeper look into what makes this album what it is, you can check Tash’s excellent Class6, but honestly I think Hanging Limbs says it best when he says…
Hanging Limbs: SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!