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Monday, July 22, 2013

How did I get into heavymetal?

My life began in 1984, so I wasn't there from the earliest years, but I caught up with metal on quite early age. My route into world of heavymetal was rather typical journey from more common bands into the obscure names. Both of the two "worlds" have great records existant. My first introduction to metal was when I was about seven, or eight. I liked to listen a radio secretly (my parents were not into anything heavier, were quite religious, and didn't like me listening anything that was not something of light and mainstream) and heard some old Sepultura. I cannot quite remember name of the song, but I soon figured that, while this music was something weird and different that I hadn't heard before, it sounded tempting, brutal, and I liked it.

Soon after, I went into a near mall with my father to search some C-cassettes of this band Sepultura, but they didn't have anything available. I guess they didn't sell heavy stuff a lot. There was another band that I had heard on a radio though, called Metallica, and the mall had Kill'em All in their selection, so I picked that one. My father probably didn't expect it to be anything so heavy kind of music, and luckily didn't check out that cover-artwork, but once he heard it when I listened the tape, he didn't like it - feeling it was inappropriate music for me -  and thus didn't like me listening this heavy stuff. However, I listened this mostly when my parents were away. Kill'em All was a blast back then.

(My first recordings ever, still have them)

I then remember acquiring also C-cassettes of Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" and "Ride The Lightning". Those were some great records also! Still are. Somehow I persuaded  my parents to give me money for the cassettes. Those were from the era when Metallica didn't suck (in my opinion, anyway). I was eight or nine of age at the time. My friend pirated me "Black Album", it was different, but I liked it, sort of... My next introductions to world of heavy metal were by my memory Iron Maiden and Megadeth. That's pretty logical, since internet hadn't still made it through, Finnish radio stations didn't play that much heavy metal, and stores sold only the most common stuff. Luckily some common bands were rather good, and I'm glad I discovered these bands.

The albums of discovering Maiden and Megadeth weren't the most perfect, however. I got Youthanasia right off when it was released. It's decently good still these days, I think. But, not perhaps the best Megadeth album to start with. I still remember recording "Making of Youthanasia" or something like that on VHS tape and watching it over and over again. It was cool. Of Maiden albums, my first one was X-Factor on cassette. It's okay of an album, but definitely not the best album to introduce oneself with the band either. My second Maiden album was Virtual XI by the way, and perhaps that's why my relation towards Maiden wasn't never really as warm it probably should be. And guess what? Metallica was coming out with Load and Re-Load albums. The moment I heard Load first time was also the last of Metallica I would listen in over a decade or so (until returning to old classics long time afterwards). I was so totally upset felt like seeking something new.

Then, it took me several years without discovering and expanding my musical taste and knowledge of heavy metal any deeper. The thing that took me by storm was when internet broke the limits of discovering new music after mid- to late nineties. I think it was probably around 1996-1997 when we got fast internet connection enough to our house (I was still living at parents) to download single mp3 songs from internet. There were couple of good websites, illegal of course, which allowed a few full tracks per album for users to get a clue about the band's music. I liked it this way. Needless to say those websites went down later on due legal issues. But I discovered tons of new bands, which led me to buy several actual albums. That's why I feel that music sharing online to a certain point is win-win situation for musicians as well as for the fans! Youtube and streaming-services alike were still unavailable at this point, naturally.

My newest discoveries included at least Rage (GER), Grave Digger, Sinner (GER), Testament, Armored Saint, Annihilator, Judas Priest, Saxon, W.A.S.P., Motörhead, Accept and several more! All of those bands I still enjoy up to this day, although my love for Grave Digger has faded quite a bit since then, heh. Judas Priest's Metalworks-compilation was cool introduction to the band, and I still remember getting Rage's "Trapped!" for Christmas present, cranking hell out of it and thinking it had to be one of the best albums I've heard! But, the biggest of them all and yet unmentioned one was German traditional heavymetal / powermetal band Running Wild. That is THE band that changed my life (musically), along the early Metallica, of course. While I heard Running Wild the first time, I instantly had feeling that this is some of the coolest stuff I've ever heard. It topped everything previous at the time. A band that was very stable ass-kicker, whether it was an album from 80s or 90s, with rather raw power and energy, simple but effective riffs, mixed with slight powermetal mellowness and rougher edge vocals. That was --great -- that was true German steel. Running Wild was the first band of which whole discography I bought (now up until Rogues En Vogue). Sadly the newest, Shadowmaker, is rather poor and lifeless. Anything from Gates To Purgatory to Masquerade simply kicks ass.



Those late nineties discoveries were actually the stuff that got me hooked to metal for good. Sure, I had the initial touch with Metallica, Sepultura, Megadeth, and Maiden before this era, but the aforementioned bands discovered after mid-nineties made me a metalhead. Those were also the bands which led me wanting more and got me seeking new heavymetal bands, eventually leading into also more obscure discoveries that I know today, such as Swedish Gotham City and Heavy Load, Polish KAT, British Battleaxe and Overdrive, or Canadian Sacred Blade and Finnish OZ for example. Overall I do enjoy several heavymetal sub-genres, from traditional to thrash, and slightly also doom, death and early blackmetal, where my knowledge is more limited. I am majorly 80s favoring metalhead. I also enjoy a bit of a hardrock, and even some non-metal in small amounts.

Now, if I had to pick the three most influential heavy metal records in my personal life for me ever, they would be:

1. Running Wild - Death or Glory
Running Wild was THE band that got me hooked on metal and made me expand my musical knowledge on the whole genre. This is one hell of a heavy / powermetal album. Pure perfection of German steel!

2. Metallica - Kill'em All
Nostalgic album for me, since it was the first heavymetal album (sub-genre was thrash of course) and an album in general that I ever owned. Besides of that, the album also has a great raw and rather unpolished "whipping" guitar tone that fits perfectly creating brutal atmosphere. That palm-mute! In my opinion this is the greatest Metallica album so far. Surely not the most mature.. but who cares? Those were the times when Metallica was still true to thrash. I picked this album, even while I got so upset in the nineties with Metallica and their new releases, that I entirely lost interest to listen the band for over a decade. Still, Kill'em All contains great memories.

3. TANK - Honour & Blood
There's tons of competition for the third spot. However, I found perfection for a sound I was looking for with TANK, and especially it all comes together with Honour And Blood album. This is heavy and raw, bit in Motörhead-like fashion, but definitely not a clone. There's no single thing I dislike in the album or in the sound of Honour And Blood. Guitar solos are awesome, not in Yngwie Malmsteen-like technical fashion, but due some of the most memorable melodies, and rhythm guitars, Algy's vocals, and heavy drums crush like.. well, a fully armed battle-tank.

(Just listen to this great TANK song from Honour & Blood album)


Now feel free to share your story by posting here, or feel free to join our newly formed forums and posting it there, to introduction-topic for example. :-)




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