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Soundtracks of My Youth - Part III

Soundtracks of My Youth - Part III

by Luxi Lahtinen



Most of us became interested in music at a very young age. Some of us (the most talented ones, I guess) go even farther and learn to play an instrument, form a band or become a solo artist and dream of fame and fortune. It's a shame that only a small minority have the chance to be a part of a popular band and tour all over the world while putting bread and butter on the table. This road may be tough and rocky, that's for sure.

Tons of music was probably lying around when we were all kids, being your parents' vinyl albums or your beloved aunt's cassettes or some random music that you liked on the radio, and we fell instantly in love with it.

We here at the shiny ivory tower of The Metal Crypt are always willing to dig a little deeper and we contacted a bunch of musicians and asked what were their favorite and influential bands and albums from their childhoods (a so-called "soundtrack of youth") that eventually took them on a long journey in their career.

This is the third part... enjoy!

Thanks to Markus Toivonen of Ensiferum, Anssi Korkiakoski of Wishing Well, Stephan Gebédi of Thanatos, Mike Sabatini of Attacker, Raúl Morán of Aeolian, Ol Drake of Evile, Randy Meinhard of Sacrosanct, Chris Logue of Savage Grace, Tomi Ihanamäki of Amoth, Jeff Janiak of Discharge/Broken Bones, Anders Iwers of Dark Tranquillity, Deathlörd of Children of Technology, Christian Larsson of Last Legion, Kyle Thomas of Exhorder, Stuart Laurence of Ignitor, Avenger of Nocturnal, Kevin Wynn of Tysondog, Steve Hochheiser of Deténte, Peavy Wagner of Rage, Annick Giroux of Cauchemar, Mats Karlsson of 220 Volt and Melechesh Ashmedi of Melechesh for their profound contribution for this third part of the series.


Markus Toivonen (ENSIFERUM)
Iron Maiden - Powerslave AC/DC - Who Made Who Guns 'n' Roses - Appetite for Destruction Metallica - ...and Justice for All Judas Priest - Painkiller

I chose the very first hard rock and heavy metal albums from my childhood, which I liked most and which led me to play guitar. I was between 9 and 12 years old when these albums were on powerplay in my cassette player. I'd like to add many other artists, albums and songs to the list, but these albums were pure gold and included only good songs. After this my musical tastes turned to more aggressive metal and then the top five list would be impossible to make :)

It's another story when it comes to some certain bands/artists/albums, which influenced me to find Ensiferum when I was 15 years old, but here we go...

IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave (1984)
AC/DC - Who Made Who (1986)
GUNS N' ROSES - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
METALLICA - ...and Justice for All (1988)
JUDAS PRIEST – Painkiller (1990)

I can't recall the exact reasons why I enjoyed these albums so much. The music just sounded super good. Maybe the melodies, guitar solos and riffs made me enjoy them so much. However, I do remember oneyhing...

G n' R was probably the first very big thing for me and Appetite... is still the best hard rock album ever made. I bought that on cassette from Greece when I was eight or nine years old. I saw G n' R (with Skid Row) live at Helsinki Ice Hall, Finland, in 1991. That was my first real rock show and it was unforgettable!

Then I remember how I found AC/DC. My friend from school told me that I should check AC/DC out. I saved my weekly pocket money and went to a record store and randomly bought the Who Made Who cassette. I didn't know it was a soundtrack/collection album but when I put it on my Walkman while sitting on the train, I enjoyed it a lot from the beginning to the end! During that time the same friend actually "forced me" to start playing guitar and he taught me a couple riffs from AC/DC, G n' R etc.

When I was around 11 years old, I heard Judas Priest's Painkiller. It was definitely something that I never heard before. Fast drumming, guitar solos and riffs, high falsetto singing and everything were so impressive! It was just, "wow!" Powerslave was the first Iron Maiden album that I bought on cassette, though I don't remember exactly in which year that happened and I'm not sure if it was actually the very first Maiden album I heard, but "Aces High" became one of my favorite songs soon, though. And Iron Maiden is still my all-time favorite band today.


Anssi Korkiakoski (WISHING WELL)
Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith Queensrÿche - Rage for Order Metallica - Master of Puppets

BLACK SABBATH - Heaven and Hell (1980)

I was in my early teens and the atmosphere of this album is out of this world. The compositions and performances are outstanding. Geezer is the man. Maybe the best metal album of all time. Great album cover, too.

RAINBOW - Ritchie Blackmore's R-a-i-n-b-o-w (1975)

There's magic in vocals and guitars, what else do you need? Magnificent album cover.

JUDAS PRIEST - Defenders of the Faith (1984)

Great songs. Absolutely stunning vocals. Fantastic guitar solos. Side 1 especially is flawless.

QUEENSRŸCHE - Rage for Order (1986)

Very cool, cold and technical sound and approach. The vocals are one of a kind. My first CD album. I listened this to six months in a row, every day, and got totally carried away.

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

The amount of sheer energy on this album is unbelievable. James Hetfield is awesome, and his right hand is still hard to understand. I used to wake up to "Battery" and the title track.


Stephan Gebédi (THANATOS)
KISS - Double Platinum Venom - Welcome to Hell Slayer - Hell Awaits Rainbow - Rising

The first album that got me really hooked on heavy rock was KISS' Double Platinum from 1978. At the age of 11 it was my first real encounter with hard rock and to this day I still consider myself a KISS fan.

In 1981, I heard two songs from Venom's Welcome to Hell (1981) on a weekly metal show on Dutch radio called Stampij. I was stupefied and intrigued by the intensity of these songs. I went out and bought the album and a few weeks later I decided that I wanted to be in a band. I bought a cheap electric guitar and started playing along to the Venom songs and other stuff. About two years later the first ideas and riffs emerged for Thanatos songs. I have remained a big Venom fan and still idolize the first three albums, but when I heard Slayer's Hell Awaits in 1985, I knew they had lost their throne to the mighty Slayer and my musical world would never be the same. The opening riffs of "Hell Awaits" gave me goosebumps and sent shivers down my spine.

Of course, releasing our own first album was a huge thing for me. When in 1990 I could finally hold a copy of Emerging from the Netherworlds in my hands after six years of hard work, it was definitely a milestone for me. Emerging... is definitely not Thanatos' best album for me, but you never forget your first! ;-)

There are so many great albums I could mention that were important for the rise of certain metal genres, but there's one album I rediscovered after a number of years and which might be the greatest hard rock album of all time. I'm talking about Rainbow's Rising (1976), one of the best and most majestic pieces of art out there. "Stargazer" is the absolute classic here, but the other songs are (almost) just as awesome. Such a fucking masterpiece!


Mike Sabatini (ATTACKER)
Scorpions - Tokyo Tapes Accept - Breaker Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East Riot - Fire Down Under Metal Mania - Compilation

Let me preface the list below by saying that there are so many bands I loved before deciding to want to play drums. I believe all these bands influenced me in one way or another. The ones below are from the time I was getting the idea and itch to try drums, which I did in early 1982.

SCORPIONS - Tokyo Tapes (1978)

I heard that album even before really finding Metal itself, but it really hooked me, and I played that album to death!

ACCEPT - Breaker (1981)

The first album from Accept that I bought. I just loved the sound and Stefan Kaufmann's drumming. Obviously, the next album had "Fast as a Shark" which had the fastest double bass I had heard to that point and inspired me to hit those double kicks harder!

JUDAS PRIEST - Unleashed in the East (1979)

What can I say about this one? This was a solid dose of what metal was all about and what was to come, and it just blew people's doors off.

RIOT - Fire Down Under (1981)

I have always loved Riot, a very underrated band but this album is an amazing piece of work that stands the test of time. I remember hearing a live broadcast of Riot in 1980 from NY sitting in my shitty little car and loving every minute of it and forming my love for heavy metal.

METAL MANIA - Compilation (1980)

It featured Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Riot, April Wine, Sammy Hagar, Whitesnake, Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple. This album turned me on to the power of metal and who I should be listening to. It definitely got the fire burning hotter for all things metal in my life.


Raúl Morán (AEOLIAN)
Carcass - Heartwork AMORPHIS - The Karelian Isthmus Opeth - Morningrise Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane Dark Tranquillity - Skydancer

It was such a difficult task to choose only five albums. I began listening to metal music with Accept, Metallica, Sepultura, Kreator, Iron Maiden, etc., when I was 15 but it was in the '90s when I discovered the bands that influenced me the most. This is my list...

CARCASS – Heartwork (1993)
AMORPHIS - The Karelian Isthmus (1992)
OPETH – Morningrise (1996)
DISSECTION - Storm of the Light's Bane (1995)
DARK TRANQUILLITY – Skydancer (1993)

These, and many more albums were so special because of the new musical language they introduced in metal music. I remember listening to Carcass on my old Walkman on my way to the swimming pool. The Karelian Isthmus from Amorphis was one of the first melodic death metal albums I listened to, and it was revealing. When I heard about Opeth for the first time, I thought they were a black metal band but the Morningrise album was more than that. An excellent piece of art that opened my eyes. Talking about black metal bands, one of the first albums of this genre I listened to was Storm of the Light's Bane from Dissection. It's really a blackened metal band but the atmosphere, darkness and melodies of this album trapped me from the first listen. It was something new to me even though I already knew the first albums of Cradle of Filth (another big influence on me). Finally, the first album by Dark Tranquility, Skydancer, was incredible. However, I always preferred the next album, The Gallery. I think on that one they innovated the way of making metal.


Ol Drake (EVILE)
Metallica - Master of Puppets Annihilator - Never, Neverland Sepultura - Arise Queen - Greatest Hits Yes - Close to the Edge

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

This album really made me sit up and listen. I wanted to understand and learn everything about it. I was already a fan of classical music and the incorporation of classical influences on this album fascinated me. You can definitely hear that Cliff was in charge on a lot of this material.

ANNIHILATOR - Never, Neverland (1990)

My dad had Alice in Hell on vinyl, which I loved, but when I bought Never, Neverland on CD I was blown away by Jeff's playing, both rhythm and lead. I didn't understand how Jeff was doing what he was doing on lead. I spent a good 6-8 years learning their back catalogue, attempting his solos along the way. I'm heavily influenced by Jeff in most aspects of my playing.

SEPULTURA - Arise (1991)

I remember being in history class in high school and talking to a friend of mine saying, "I just bought Arise and it's amazing!" and he said, "It's the worst Sepultura album" and I didn't understand how he could say that, as it was the best thing I'd heard at the time. I loved the infusion of thrash and death metal; it was like listening to Obituary on steroids. Max's voice on Arise is still one of my favorite vocal performances on any album.

QUEEN - Greatest Hits (1981)

My dad was a huge fan of Queen and this CD was playing in our house a lot. I think this is where my understanding of chords and melody come from. Freddie is probably my favorite vocalist of all time, and Brian May's guitar work is legendary. I will forever listen to Queen and worship at the temple of Freddie.

YES - Close to the Edge (1972)

My dad also turned me onto prog rock. The 18-minute track "Close to the Edge" took me on a journey the first time I heard it and Steve Howe's guitar work stood out for me. I loved learning Steve's more melodic guitar lines; they're incredibly memorable and iconic for me. And I had no idea until recently that Steve Howe played the flamenco guitar on the Queen track "Innuendo"!


Randy Meinhard (SACROSANCT)
Status Quo - Quo + Live Motörhead - Ace of Spades KISS - Alive! Venom - Black Metal Possessed - Seven Churches

This is almost an impossible task because there are more than just five albums that had a big influence. But let's go for a few that really had an impact on me so that I started playing guitar...

STATUS QUO - Quo + Live! (1977)

This one has an incredible energy. We played air guitar on this so many times. It was an awesome stage exercise and inspiration.

MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades (1980)

This one was insanely heavy, rough and raw. I loved their sound and the attitude. I guess I did one of the first playback cover bands on this tune.

KISS - Alive! (1975)

What an album! The atmosphere is incredible. Four musicians and four superheroes. KISS are legends and this album is the reason why I am doing what I do today even though we do not have real KISS influences in our music.

VENOM - Black Metal (1982)

Legendary and groundbreaking. They created such a rough and evil sound and even though it was clear at some point that their evilness was just their image they played this card perfectly. So many bands out there who are telling you that they are real evil. Come on, give me a break!

POSSESSED - Seven Churches (1985)

I loved the style they created, and the death metal category is their brainchild. The image was cool and because of these guys I bought my first Marshall...


Chris Logue (SAVAGE GRACE)
Ted Nugent - Double Live Gonzo! Heart - Dreamboat Annie Boston - Boston Cheap Trick - In Color Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' with Disaster

TED NUGENT - Double Live Gonzo! (1978)

I must have listened to it hundreds of times. Powerful mid-seventies American arena rock from the master showman Ted Nugent.

HEART – Dreamboat Annie (1975)

Beguiling vocals and songs. Unique arrangements from an extremely talented group. One of the best rock albums of all time.

BOSTON - Boston (1976)

Incredible production. Powerful songs. Unbelievable vocals.

CHEAP TRICK - In Color (1977)

Unique band with powerful pop songs.

MOLLY HATCHET - Flirtin' With Disaster (1979)

Classic southern rock album with great songs and guitars.


Tomi Ihanamäki (AMOTH)
W.A.S.P. - W.A.S.P. Van Halen - 1984 Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time Testament - Practice What You Preach Metallica - Master of Puppets

W.A.S.P. - S/T (1984)

The first and most important must be the first W.A.S.P. album. For me this goes back to a very young age. I must've been four years old or something like that when I got my hands on the first W.A.S.P. vinyl LP. The album cover was insanely cool with all the bones, blood, saw blades and whatnot.

When I heard the album the first song, "I Wanna Be Somebody," it hit like a ton of bricks! There was no going back! This started it all and the whole album was extremely good. From that point on, I wanted to hear the album every day. A little later I bought those fake "sticker" tattoos from a local shop and put them in my arms because I wanted to look like Chris Holmes!

VAN HALEN - 1984 (1984)

This goes back as far as the W.A.S.P. album. The album intro "1984" was captivating and, of course, it had the hit song "Jump". Other memories from that album from that time are "Panama" with the "lion roars" in the middle section and "Hot for Teacher" with insane drumming. The album cover was strange to say at least.

IRON MAIDEN - Somewhere in Time (1986)

Impossible to choose only one Maiden album but I chose this one. One of the biggest influences in every possible way. I borrowed the LP from the library and was stunned by everything in it! Still the best and my favorite guitar duo is Murray/Smith. Probably the best solos and melodies I've ever heard are on this album. Album highlights are the title track, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" and "Alexander the Great."

TESTAMENT - Practice What You Preach (1989)

Wow! This was something else! My friend bought this on cassette and then played it for me. This was THE heaviest/most brutal album I had heard in my life. Of course, that seems funny now if you think about metal today but back then I had never heard anything like this. My introduction to thrash metal along with Metallica.

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

Another thrash classic. What can you say about this one? Massive influence along with Maiden. Those were the two bands whose songs I practiced night and day on guitar. I have probably played every song from both of these bands. The first thing I learned on guitar was the intro to "One," albeit the song is not on this album.

This concludes my list. Of course, there are many, many bands and albums that weren't of this list, like Judas Priest, Slayer, Megadeth, Dio, King Diamond, Accept.


Jeff Janiak (DISCHARGE / BROKEN BONES)
The Doors - Strange Days The Surfaris - Wipe Out Black Sabbath - Paranoid Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

THE DOORS - Strange Days (1967)

The Doors were one of the very first bands I can remember listening to in my childhood. My parents would always play their records from when they were teenagers and this album's imprint is burned into my brain. Jim Morrison's vocals really struck a chord with me and still does till this day. He's without a doubt my biggest vocal influence.

THE SURFARIS - Wipe Out (1963)

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, chances are you'd go to the beach. I was introduced to surfing at a young age and it was through surfing that I got into skateboarding. It was through skateboarding I was introduced to punk rock. The Surfaris' Wipe Out was one of my parents' albums that I would constantly listen to. I loved the low budget vibe to it and that guitar sounds great. When I was learning to play the drums, I was constantly trying to master that drum roll in "Wipe Out". I still love '60s garage/surf to this day.

BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid (1970)

Heavy, dark... What's not to like? When I was a young kid, I loved horror movies, I loved monsters and all things scary. My mother would often buy me Halloween masks and fake chopped off rubber limbs for Christmas. My cousin William Campbell was a famous actor who starred in quite a few old B-horror movies, so I guess it runs in the blood. This album seemed to fit the vibe of my creepy interests nicely.

DEAD KENNEDYS - Plastic Surgery Disasters (1982)

This was the first "full" punk rock album I ever heard. At the age of 10, I thought it was bizarre, weird, and scary sounding and I loved it from start to finish. As I said earlier, I loved surf guitars and the guitar work on this album sounded like surf guitars on acid. The lyrics had a real sense of sarcasm and dark humor. This is the album that officially turned me into a punk rocker.

SEX PISTOLS - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

After I heard that Dead Kennedy's album, I decided that I needed more punk rock in my life. Never Mind the Bollocks is probably the perfect entry level punk album. It captured all of the angst that I was feeling at the time, and when I was learning how to play the drums I would often play along to this album. Not to mention the band had a great look and a great story. My bedroom was plastered with Sid Vicious posters after I heard this album and it interested me in a lot of the British punk bands.


Anders Iwers (DARK TRANQUILLITY)
The Beatles - Abbey Road AC/DC - Powerage Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Darkness on the Edge of Town The Clash - London Calling

THE BEATLES - Abbey Road (1969)

My first musical love was The Beatles. This, of course, had to do with my mother listening to them a lot. But they stuck, and I still listen to them a lot. Master classes in how to arrange and use the right instruments, and to let the song dictate what it needs in terms of who plays what and what does not play at all. Also, one of my favorite bass players of all time is Paul McCartney, one of the first bass players you really could hear on albums from that time.

AC/DC - Powerage (1978)

Nobel Prize in simplicity, if such a prize was awarded. I learned a lot from Cliff Williams regarding note choices and the importance of being tight. The rhythm section of AC/DC (and I include Malcolm Young) doesn't sound like three instruments, it sounds like one. Heaviness isn't about tuning down, heaviness IS "Down Payment Blues", to quote Rich Robinson.

IRON MAIDEN - Piece of Mind (1983)

As I started out as a guitar player, Maiden were hugely influential for me. At one point I could play most of the solos on this album, and meeting Adrian Smith and Dave Murray was one of the very few times I've been starstruck and not been able to speak coherently. Also, the starting point for my love of tight pants. ;-)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)

Bruce is my other lifelong companion (musically speaking) who I started listening to at a very young age. I am still pissed my mother wouldn't let me go see him in '85. An artist who painted such pictures and images in my mind that I got all mushy from memories of lyrics when visiting New Jersey for the first time. Still the only artist I've seen that can make a packed stadium feel like a small club. This is an album that I listen to on a weekly basis and still find imagery that sets off a new thought or picture in my head. I suspect that Clarence "Big Man" Clemon's saxophone is the reason I dislike all other sax players. ;-)

THE CLASH - London Calling (1979)

A very important album that taught me artists and bands HAVE to change (unless you are AC/DC) and that is what makes the music live, breathe and grow. A band doesn't have to sound the same from album to album, or even from song to song, which is evident here. Also how I started to appreciate reggae. Plus, The Clash looked so immensely cool, an important aspect. ;-)

SLAYER - Reign in Blood (1986)

I couldn't narrow it down to five because it's Reign in Blood by Slayer! That's why. Fucking SLAYER! Again, tuning down and playing fast doesn't equate heavy or evil. Slayer's songs are evil because they are.


Deathlörd (CHILDREN OF TECHNOLOGY)
Iron Maiden - Killers Burzum - Det Som Engang Var Black Sabbath - Paranoid Discharge - Hear Nothing Onslaught - Power from Hell

I'll start with Killers (1981), the well-known second album of the almighty Irons, which blew me away at the age of 16 both for the visuals and the music, a classic for a beginner even if the real passion for collecting music arrived with extreme metal. Burzum's Det Som Engang Var (1993) is my fave one even though all Varg's early career is outstanding. It was and still it is the album that fascinates me both for its aggression and harsh atmosphere and it is able to charm. Voïvod's Dimension Hatröss (1988) could be another great mark that music left in my teenage mind, the kind of not-so-conforming thrash that only the craziest would love. Discharge's Hear Nothing... (1982) and Onslaught's Power from Hell (1985) are punk hits to complete the top 5 list because they were the source from where Children of Technology came from, an altered beast that has crazy, punk-thrash tunes full of harsh atmosphere.


Christian Larsson (LAST LEGION)
Metallica - Ride the Lightning Metallica - ...and Justice for All Deicide - Once Upon the Cross Deicide - Deicide Morbid Angel - Blessed are the Sick

METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1986)

I don't think I need to explain this one. One of the best albums ever made, in my opinion. My first ever metal CD I received when I was about 11 years old.

METALLICA - ...and Justice for All (1988)

Just like RtL this is brilliant songwriting and Hetfield is in his prime vocal-wise. I got this in the mid-nineties on CD and it still holds up today.

DEICIDE - Once Upon the Cross (1995)

This is, to me, evil death metal done right. Back in the day it scared me a little. The production and the lyrics are just pure evil, but still great catchy songwriting. One of the best death metal albums ever made!

DEICIDE – Deicide (1990)

Not as evil as OUTC, but this is my favorite Deicide album. The songwriting and riffing are quite simply superb!

MORBID ANGEL - Blessed Are the Sick (1991)

Got this on CD in 1998 and I remember that I felt that it was quite a weird and unique take on death metal. Great songs and my favorite death metal vocalist David Vincent is great here!


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER)
The Beatles - Abbey Road THREE DOG NIGHT - The Best of three Dog Night KISS - Rock and Roll Over Queen - A Night at the Opera Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman

THE BEATLES - Abbey Road (1969)

My first musical memory is when I was still in diapers. A cloth diaper with the big pin that holds it together! We had an eight-track player and "Come Together" was on. I was running and playing, but when the pre chorus hits with the bass drum pumping alone with the vocals, I stopped dead in my tracks and started shaking my ass. It spoke to me hard that day. The Beatles are the beginning of everything in my musical life.

THREE DOG NIGHT - The Best of three Dog Night (1982)

It's incredible how many hits these guys had. The very first recording of me singing is from an old cassette recorder with a hand-held microphone. I would sing "Joy to the World" at the top of my lungs, and the decibel meter would be pegged in the red. I was maybe two years old! My family thought it was hilarious, but nobody realized that it was just the beginning.

KISS - Rock and Roll Over (1976)

This album was a gift from my sister to my brother on his eighth birthday, I think. I was six. I remember hearing "Calling Dr. Love" on the radio prior to this and it just floored me. If this isn't my favorite KISS album of all time, it's in my top two.

QUEEN - A Night at the Opera (1975)

Another gift for Christmas to my brother from Santa Claus, who gave me Walt Disney's Greatest Hits. I was so pissed that Santa thought I was a baby! He brought me KISS' Love Gun the next year, so I got over it. This Queen album is my favorite. The craftsmanship of the songwriting is incredible and so varied. First grade year and I was hooked!

OZZY OSBOURNE - Diary of a Madman (1981)

Another one from my brother's collection that impacted me. He brought it home from school when I was 11 or 12, and I hated it because he liked it. That didn't last long because it's a perfect album to me. Discovering this led me to Black Sabbath, my all-time favorite band.


Stuart Laurence (IGNITOR)
KISS - Destroyer Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick Blondie - Parallel Lines Metallica - Kill 'em All Mercyful Fate - Melissa

KISS - Destroyer (1976)

I was in Junior High and had no interest in music at all. Back then there were record player booths in the library at school. One day some 8th grade kids I didn't know brought in a copy of Destroyer to listen to during lunch. The first thing I saw was the KISS logo on the inside sleeve. I don't know why, but I was instantly intrigued. That night I went to the mall to buy a copy. I had to make all kinds of dumb promises to my mom about chores I'd do if she'd give me the money for it. When I got home, put it on and heard the opening for "Detroit Rock City". I was blown away. I looked at the cover of them dancing on the ruins of a destroyed city and I felt like I was being invited to join a witches' coven. It was scary, it was exhilarating, it was dangerous. By the time "God of Thunder" was over I had been transformed. For the first time in my life, I had a real identity, one that was mine, not just something forced upon me. I was no longer a red-headed, four-eyed dork. I was a rocker, and I would never look back.

CHEAP TRICK - Cheap Trick (1977)

I had read in a rock magazine that Cheap Trick threw out KISS records into the audience during their set. I had no idea who they were, but shortly after that I saw them on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. It was amazing. Right after I got the albums Cheap Trick and In Color. There is some rock and roll on the album Cheap Trick that is brutal.

BLONDIE - Parallel Lines (1978)

I bought this record while visiting my sister at college in Austin. I think Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat are perfect rock records. They sound amazing and the song writing is excellent. But specific to Parallel Lines, I sat in the back of my parents' car on the way back to home to Ft. Worth. I couldn't listen to the record, so I just looked at the cover. I thought Debbie Harry was the most beautiful woman in the world. I also thought that the guys in her band were average looking at best. My teenager mind puzzled at why such a goddess would spend time with the physically mediocre. Then it dawned on me; they were good musicians, that's all that mattered. Perhaps if I became a good musician, I too could unlock the mysteries of talking to hot chicks.

METALLICA - Kill 'Em All (1983)

I was living in Austin and playing in punk rock bands. I liked punk and listened to punk records, Dead Kennedy's, L.A. Wasted Youth, Minor Threat, F.U.'s, Day Glow Abortions, and compilations like This is Boston Not LA, or Hell Comes to Your House, but something was missing. The energy was there, but as a guitar player I felt there should be something more. One day a guy I had been jamming with brought a record over and said, "You have to listen to this". It's funny because years before, the last time I heard those exact same words accompanied by the same serious look, what I heard was "Eruption" (by Van Halen). This time what followed those words was "Hit the Lights". It was another transformative moment. I let my mohawk grow out and it was time to really start working on how to play guitar.

MERCYFUL FATE - Melissa (1983)

The heavy metal dam had broken. I could go to a local record shop, Record Exchange, and browse the "metal" section. Everything was there. Accept, Anthrax, Slayer, Venom, Motörhead but that's just top tier stuff. There were so many records it became a tyranny of choice. I was fucking poor. So, when I saw the Megaforce Records logo on the back of Melissa I thought it's got to be good, right? Holy shit. What a fucking record with so many riffs. I found that record so inspiring and moving, it brought me to tears.

Many years later my first wife told me she wanted a divorce. Shit had not been good for a while, but I was not expecting this at all. It hit me hard. My stomach felt like I was in constant free fall. Days passed. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. Just for fun my body decided to host a staph infection in my nose, and I ended up with pus-filled abscesses on my torso and face. I was working at Kinko's at the time and the cognitive dissonance of "the life I know is over" and "Welcome to Kinko's, how can I help you" was getting too much. I thought I was losing my mind. I'm a white, middle-class American male with all the benefits and damage. I didn't know how to grieve. I didn't know how to cry. One night, looking for any relief from the stress, I put on Melissa. Listening to it, I wept (ugly cry) for the first time since she told me she was leaving. Afterward, I slept for the first time in almost two weeks. Life was easier after that.


Avenger (NOCTURNAL)
Guns 'n' Roses - Use Your Illusion I and II Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark EXTREME NOISE TERROR - A Holocaust in Your Head Destruction - Eternal Devastation Slayer - Reign in Blood

GUNS N' ROSES - Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 (1991)

I discovered this after Roxette, the band which sparked my interest in music at the age of 8/9 or something. It was not even the albums so much but the live VHS tape of that world tour, which kept me thinking there is no better band in this world for the next couple of years.

IRON MAIDEN - Fear of the Dark (1992)

While I later turned more into a Judas Priest guy, I borrowed this from the local library on tape when I was like 12 years old. And to this day "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" as well as the for sure overplayed title track are still among my Maiden faves.

EXTREME NOISE TERROR - A Holocaust in Your Head (1989)

I already knew some thrash and some death metal when this album hit me, which production-wise was a lot heavier and massive, but this album showed me that passion and aggression can be captured in music regardless of production and technical skills. Beherit and Napalm Death's Scum came into my life about the same time...

DESTRUCTION - Eternal Devastation (1986)

What can I say, a fantastic riff fest which just left me breathless the first times I heard it. I couldn't really catch it at first because it was so damn different from anything I had heard before.

SLAYER - Reign in Blood (1986)

The song books of this one and Kill 'Em All are basically my guitar teachers, together with the aforementioned Destruction album, and are the groundwork of my guitar playing. "Altar of Sacrifice" is my fave!


Kevin Wynn (TYSONDOG)
Queen - A Night at the Opera Deep Purple - 24 Carat Purple Rainbow - (Rainbow) Rising Whitesnake - Live... In the Heart of the City Gillan - Mr. Universe

The important albums from my youth could be A Night at the Opera by Queen (1975), 24 Carat Purple by Deep Purple (1975), (Rainbow) Rising by Rainbow (1976), Live... In the Heart of the City by Whitesnake (1980), Mr. Universe by Gillan (1979).

All had amazing bass players like John Deacon (Queen), Jimmy Bain (Rainbow), Neil Murray (Whitesnake) and John McCoy (Gillan). There were loads more when I was very young like T Rex, Sweet and David Bowie, then as I became a teenager, Uriah Heep, Sabbath, (not so much Led Zeppelin???), Nazareth, UFO and, of course, the number one: ☝️ Judas Priest (all their albums).


Steve Hochheiser (DÉTENTE)
KISS - Alive! Black Sabbath - Paranoid Rush - Hemispheres Judas Priest - Unleased in the East Iron Maiden - Killers

KISS – Alive! (1975)

As an 11-year-old, the combination of the energy of the music and imagery hooked me immediately and made me want to be a "fire-breathing demon bassist".

BLACK SABBATH – Paranoid (1970)

A childhood friend turned me on to Sabbath right as I started playing at age 12. The pure menace of the music and the lyrics appealed to my rebelliousness and as soon as I saved enough for another slab of vinyl, I continued to buy the catalog and learned every song and every Geezer riff I could.

RUSH – Hemispheres (1978)

My sister had 2112, which I liked but it was Hemispheres which made me want to push the boundaries of my playing and informed me that a bass could be integral to a song. I wore out the vinyl trying to learn side two and became a better player because of it.

JUDAS PRIEST - Unleashed in the East (1979)

Standing in line for tickets to a Black Sabbath concert the person behind me said, "If it sells out buy Priest tickets." As fate would have it I bought Priest tickets and I ran out and bought an import version of Unleashed... to see what I got myself into. Jaw-dropping songs with insane energy! Heavy like Sabbath but faster and it was shortly after acquiring Unleashed in the East where the idea popped into my head "What would 'Symptom of the Universe' sound like at 45 rpm?" when I was kicked out of Lizzy Boredom I was told "You just want to sound like Motörhead" when in fact I wanted to sound like Sabbath at 45 rpm. :)

IRON MAIDEN – Killers (1981)

A band led by a killer bassist out front writing killer heavy tunes at punk tempos! My direction was set.


Peavy Wagner (RAGE)
The Beatles - Abbey Road Deep Purple - In Rock Ramones - It's Alive The Police - Outlandos d'Amour Motörhead - Ace of Spades

THE BEATLES - Abbey Road (1969)

The most progressive album from them. I was only five when I first heard it. My first touch with rock music.

DEEP PURPLE - Deep Purple in Rock (1970)

This was the heaviest and fastest you could find back then and convinced me as a kid to become a musician.

RAMONES - It's Alive (1979)

Kickass rock 'n' roll and catchy melodies, my favorite recipe.

THE POLICE - Outlandos d'Amour (1978)

I loved the trio rock explosion. Clever arrangements with a lot of air, still kickin' as hell with great compositions and chords.

MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades (1980)

No turning back for me to become a bass player in a metal band...


Annick Giroux (CAUCHEMAR)
X (Japan) - VANISHING VISION Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul to Rock and Roll THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE - Are you Experienced The Police - Outlandos d'Amour Sepultura - Schizophrenia

From ages 11 to 16...

X (JAPAN) - Vanishing Vision (1988)

One of the first metal records I ever heard, at age 11. I had a copy of it on cassette from a pen pal friend of mine. That album made me want to be a musician. I completely destroyed that cassette!

BLACK SABBATH - We Sold Our Soul to Rock 'n' Roll (1975)

My first introduction to the mighty Sabbath! I bought that compilation at Music World on CD. It changed my life and made me want to become a bassist and to play with my fingers.

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE - Are you Experienced (1967)

One of the first albums I bought on vinyl. I was 13 years old and bought it from a store in downtown Ottawa. I had never listened to it before and couldn't stop spinning it.

RUSH - Moving Pictures (1981)

My first Rush album, which was copied for me on cassette from a junior high school friend.

SEPULTURA - Schizophrenia (1987)

One of my most listened to tapes as a young teenager growing up! It surely opened the gates to more violent records, arghh...!!!


Mats Karlsson (220 VOLT)
Led Zeppelin - I Led Zeppelin - II Deep Purple - Made in Japan Black Sabbath - Sabotage Rainbow - Rising

The first hard rock albums I heard were Led Zeppelin - II (1969) and Deep Purple - Made in Japan (1972).

An older cousin played those albums for me when I was around 8 years old. With the Purple album I was immediately hooked by the guitar, and the solo in "Highway Star".

About a year or so later I started playing drums, and guitar came around when I was around 12 years old.

Other albums that had an impact on me were Black Sabbath – Sabotage (1975), Deep Purple - several albums – and, of course, Rainbow - Rising (1976). They just seemed to stand out for me with great guitar playing that made me want to play guitar. I remember going to a record store and seeing that a new Rainbow album had arrived (Rising). I asked if could listen to it, picked up the headphones and the intro to "Tarot Woman" started which is just so majestic and then that riff that fades in, I was floored! I still rank that album among the top 5 of all time.

So Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were my introduction to hard rock, and I still hold them and a few other '70s bands as the best music ever made.


Melechesh Ashmedi (MELECHESH)
The Eagles - Hotel California Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil The Exploited - Troops of Tomorrow Slayer - South of Heaven Metallica - Ride the Lightning

I got into metal quite young. I played with G.I. Joes and heard metal and I felt at home with it.

Many years later I was introduced to extreme metal, but this is prior to that and the following influenced me a lot and till this day I enjoy these albums.

THE EAGLES - Hotel California (1977)

As far back as I can remember The Eagles Hotel California never stopped playing in my house. I think it ingrained rock music, good guitar and drum attitude and tempo in my brain. That's lucky because it is a great album and if a child of 3, 4, 5, 6 years old always hears great music, it instills a love for rock. I mean listen to "Life in the Fast Lane"!!!

MÖTLEY CRÜE - Shout at the Devil (1983)

I'm 10 years old in 1985 and my aunt had sent me an early Sony Walkman, the metallic blue body, orange headphones and even a strap to wear. Listening to Shout at the Devil in the dark in bed scared the shit out of me, but in a fun way. The guitar intro to the title song was so badass and evil. At first glance I was not sure if they were guys or girls, but that was irrelevant. To this day, it's got great songs, bass guitar, and drum sounds.

THE EXPLOITED - Troops of Tomorrow (1982)

My friend's older brother had it we loved the artwork, the mohawks, spiked hair, etc. We used to mosh on it but as kids, it was more as a game. The music was the fastest thing I ever heard, and it sounded really good. It was cool they had a photo collage on the sleeve, a sneak peek into band life.

SLAYER – South of Heaven (1988)

It was music for the bad guys. An older kid used to come to our neighborhood on a BMX wearing a Slayer shirt and we would be in awe of how cool he was. Tom Araya sounded like a very angry boy and sounded nasty. Like BMX or skateboards, Slayer was an adrenaline boost not for dorks and teacher's pets. Their album covers were the evilest thing I saw.

METALLICA – Ride the Lightning (1984)

Up this very day, Ride the Lightning is one of my fave albums. The logo and cover art, all the lyrics were on my schoolbooks. By the way, before I hit the stage, I have a long, diverse music playlist for backstage and the last song before I hit the stage is "Fight Fire with Fire" because it reminds me why I love those aggressive riffs. Every single song had its own style. The guitar solo on "Trapped under Ice" was haunting and I'm not a huge guitar solo guy.





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