Friday, August 20, 2010

Year in Metal: 1984

It's getting harder and harder to limit these things to just three albums.

Okay, this was released only in Germany in 1984 and it is only an EP, but it was the first official release by the major German thrash metal band. They classified their sound as "black speed metal", which actually is a fairly good description. It's extremely fast and raw. These are not the most talented musicians at this point, but they are good enough. This was a very important recording in the development of the German thrash metal scene.

I did Mercyful Fate for my 1983 post, but when an album is this good, why pass it up? I still think Melissa is the better album, but this one is incredible in its own right. It's faster in general and more intense. King Diamond's haunting wail sounds great, although it's definitely a grower. My favorite part is the taunting by King towards the end of "Nightmare". Overall, there are some damn catchy riffs at work here, blazing guitar solos, and of course King's voice. This was one hell of an album. Mercyful Fate never rose quite as high again, but they do continue to put out quality albums, as does King Diamond.

This one is also only an EP, but it was massively important in the developing black metal and death metal scenes. The chaotic sound and raw feel of the album was very influential on upcoming bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone. The EP is often considered one of the main albums in the proto-black metal movement. Sodom would back off from this sound and become a basic thrash metal band on later albums, but this was a huge step toward many of the metal subgenres we currently have.

Honorable Mentions: Anthrax: Fistful of Metal, Armored Saint: March of the Saint, Bathory: Bathory, Celtic Frost: Morbid Tales, Dio: The Last in Line, Dokken: Tooth and Nail, Iron Maiden: Powerslave, Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith, Manowar: Hail to England, Metal Church: Metal Church, Metallica: Ride the Lightning, Overkill: Overkill, Queensryche: The Warning, Razor: Armed and Dangerous, Trouble: Psalm 9, Voivod: War and Pain, W.A.S.P.: W.A.S.P.

Bands that formed in 1984: Annihilator, Atheist, Blind Guardian, Candlemass, Celtic Frost, Iced Earth, Razor, Sadus, Sepultura, Soundgarden, Stratovarius.


  1. Any time you use Mercyful Fate you're going to get my approval. Nice!

  2. Well, that's probably it for Mercyful Fate, although King Diamond will likely get a mention.

  3. I love all their albums, but I definitely agree that they've never lived up to their pre-breakup material.

  4. I was a tiny bit surprised that Bathory didn't get the nod, but I see it at least made the honorable mentions list. I'll just tell myself that if this list had 5 albums Bathory would have made the cut.

  5. I strongly considered Bathory and it probably would have made it if I did more albums. It is important to note that these are not necessarily my favorite albums of each year. Just interesting albums that I feel like discussing. So if an album is missing, it does not mean that I don't like it or consider it highly.

  6. Well when I saw it in the "honorable mentions" I knew it hadn't been ignored or overlooked, and that's all I really needed. Besides, you covered Blood Fire Death when its year came up, and that was a better Bathory album anyway.

  7. I also covered Sign of the Black Mark in 1987.

  8. Oh, you sure did. I forgot you named that one too. Yes, you gave Bathory plenty of attention (though they deserve it, so I'm glad).