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Soundtracks of My Youth - Part V

Soundtracks of My Youth - Part V

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 fifth part... enjoy!

Thanks to Marios Petropoulos, Chris Zoukas and Dimitris Kartaloglou of Sacral Rage, Andres Perez and Sebas Silvera of Violblast, Dan Thundersteel of Megaton Sword, Salva Esteban of Holycide, Gene Palubicki of Perdition Temple, Gerre of Tankard, Chris Reifert of Autopsy, Matt Barnes of Monstrosity, Robert Wilkerson of Evil Army, Mario Vogel of Vendetta, Chris, Nick and Daif of Stälker, Tommy ReinXeed of Majestica, Ronni Le Tekro of TNT and Lizzy, Mio, Isabelle, Mac and Milla of Frantic Amber for their cool and profound contribution for this fifth part of the series.

Marios Petropoulos, Chris Zoukas and Dimitris Kartaloglou (SACRAL RAGE)
Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time Exodus - Bonded by Blood Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I Crimson Glory - Transcendence Grim Reaper - Rock You to Hell

IRON MAIDEN – Somewhere in Time (1986)

Pure magic, that's how I'd describe this album. The songwriting and performance are flawless, and the songs are total masterpieces. After listening to this album, it stigmatizes you for life.

EXODUS - Bonded by Blood (1985)

It took me by surprise when I first listened to this album. The energy is overwhelming, and the riffing is pure fire. This is one of thrash's finest moments.

HELLOWEEN - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I (1987)

The reason is simple; Kiske plus the melodies plus the speedy vibes. Ticks every possible aspect with pure soul.

CRIMSON GLORY - Transcendence (1988)

An amazing album with exquisite melodies and unreal vocal lines. A journey you cannot refuse to do again.

GRIM REAPER - Rock You to Hell (1987)

Well-played heavy metal with catchy choruses that you will never forget. Grimmett's voice in an endless game of breaking his limits does not let you calm down.

Andres Perez (VIOLBLAST)
Queen - Innuendo Eminem - The Eminem Show Metallica - Kill 'em All Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction Slayer - Reign in Blood

QUEEN - Innuendo (1991)

That was the first rock album that I remember listening to as a kid. My grandma used to play the cassette in the car while driving me to school and every time it was on, I was mesmerized by all that was happening.

EMINEM - The Eminem Show (2002)

One of the first CDs I used to spin on my Discman player. My aunt gave it to me one day, and I remember being intrigued by his fast, machine gun words. That's the album that woke my interest in lyrics.

Even though I've never been a rap music fan, that one made me start to appreciate rhymes, metrics, words, rhythms, etc.

METALLICA – Kill 'Em All (1983)

The first metal record I remember buying at a record store by myself. The sound, the attitude, the speed, the whole "band" concept. I fell in love with it, and it made me want to have a band like that someday.

GUNS N' ROSES - Appetite for Destruction (1987)

It's one of the best records ever made, period. From the opening track to the last. There are no bad songs in it.

It wasn't as aggressive and fast as Metallica, but it was raw, and the songs were catchy, and you could remember all of them. The first song I remember trying to learn when I got my first guitar was "Sweet Child O' Mine". I didn't even know what a guitar pick was, so I tried to play it with a coin. Yes, it sounded awful.

SLAYER - Reign in Blood (1986)

By the time I discovered Metallica, I also discovered the albums Show No Mercy and South of Heaven. I liked them. But one day, my computer broke down, and we took it to a PC shop to repair it.

When we went back to pick it, the woman who worked there told me that she saw metal music inside, and she shared a few albums in mp3. When I got home, I checked the mp3s folders, and one playlist started with a song called "Angel of Death." I had my headphones on, and I clicked play. When the song started, I was scared and shocked, but I loved it.

That's when I started to look for more extreme bands.

Sebas Silvera (VIOLBLAST)
The Adicts - Songs of Praise Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks... Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Metallica - Kill 'em All

THE ADICTS - Songs of Praise (1981)

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

When I was 11 years old, I discovered punk music, I mean REAL punk and not Green Day and all that shit, and I fell in love with Sex Pistols, The Adicts and The Ramones. What really attracted me was the dirty sound and the speed of the guitars. Slowly I began to pay attention to the guitar riffs of songs like "Joker in the Pack", "Viva la Revolution", "England" (all songs by The Adicts) and Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save the Queen" and "Holidays in the Sun". Those were the first songs that started me thinking about learning to play guitar."

GUNS N' ROSES - Appetite for Destruction (1987)

Also when I was 11, my big brother and I discovered Guns n 'Roses, and my life changed. With Slash I saw that legendary rock and roll figure, a lead guitar player with amazing guitar solos. I remember when I first learned "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O'Mine" on guitar.

IRON MAIDEN - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

With Iron Maiden I saw for the very first time how the guitars were almost the main character of a song, everything was about the riff, the melody and the guitar solos. When I watched Maiden England is when I picked the broom to do air guitar and I began dreaming about having a guitar and playing in a band.

METALLICA - Kill 'Em All (1983)

Same year, I was 11 or 12 and, on the tv, I don't know if it was MTV, but the Some Kind of Monster documentary was on all day and in the intro it plays "Seek and Destroy". That riff in the intro blew my mind, and a year after I began playing guitar, I was into Kill 'Em All trying to play those amazing Hetfield riffs that were even much better and aggressive than Iron Maiden riffs.

Dan Thundersteel (MEGATON SWORD)
Supertramp - Breakfast in America Nazareth - No Mean City Judas Priest - Point of Entry AC/DC - If You Want Blood, You've Got It Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion II

I got infected with the ever-lasting rock 'n' roll virus quite early because of my parents and my uncle's record collection, which he gave to me when I was about 10 years old because he didn't have enough space at his apartment. This unlocked a door to another galaxy for me, into which I stepped and never left. He had pretty much all of the classics from the '70s and early '80s, which I devoured from those days on.

SUPERTRAMP – Breakfast in America (1979)

The first album I have fond memories of when thinking about my childhood is Supertramp's Breakfast in America. My mom played this record over and over at our place when I was little and I completely fell in love with these opulent, airy, yet always quite complex and at times even dark tunes. A record that sparked my love for grand progressive rock with big hooks, guiding me to bands such as Rush, Kansas, or Yes.

NAZARETH - No Mean City (1979)

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my best friend got a Nazareth compilation CD as a gift from his dad because he was really into them. We listened to it all the time while playing LEGO at his place, blasting "Razamanaz" or "Broken Down Angel" at max volume 'till his mom shut us down. I was completely captivated by this heavy sound with a dude singing like he just chugged three bottles of whiskey and smoked two packs of Marlboro red. I convinced my mom shortly after to go to the record store, where I bought my first album ever, Nazareth's Razamanaz (1973). The following months I spent all of my pocket money buying their '70s albums and I stumbled upon the holy grail when I first heard and saw Nazareth's No Mean City (1979). This album kind of changed my life and really paved the way for my future musical tastes. This album is everything. It's aggressive, sinister, gritty, ugly, beautiful, and in combination with the epic, magnificently horrendous cover artwork by Rodney Matthews, which I couldn't look at enough back in the day, it's a straight-up masterpiece. Personally, I think this is one of the greatest "proto-metal" albums ever recorded and remains my all-time favorite album, which I still spin monthly. Nazareth was also the band that really made me want to become a drummer. Darrell Sweet just looked super cool behind his big Ludwig kit back in the day.

JUDAS PRIEST – Point of Entry (1981)

This album was in my uncle's collection and somehow the first one of the Priest album pile I listened to. I probably chose it because of the fantastic cover artwork, which fascinated the 10-year-old me. The thunderous intro to "Hot Rockin'" sealed the deal. I knew this was it. Heavy Metal and I will be in a lifelong relationship. The album is filled with superb tunes such as the opener "Heading Out to the Highway", the epic "Desert Plains", the mid-tempo hymn "Solar Angels", or the unorthodox "Thunder Road". Sandwiched in between two of their biggest classics, this album is vastly overlooked and remains one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Priest album.

AC/DC – If You Want Blood, You've Got It (1978)

AC/DC is another band my mom listened to a lot, mainly the Brian Johnson era though. So, when my uncle gave us this vast collection of records, including all the AC/DC classics, ten-year-old me was immediately fascinated by If You Want Blood You've Got It because of its bloody artwork. It turned out the sound matched the depicted aggression on the cover perfectly. When I first put on the vinyl and "Riff Raff" started blasting out of the speakers, I felt like being rolled over by a steamroller. I spent days listening to this monumental document of a band at its absolute peak while running across my room dressed like Angus playing air guitar and headbanging like a lunatic. One of the greatest live albums ever recorded.

GUNS N' ROSES – Use Your Illusion II (1991)

I think I'm part of the last generation that grew up with MTV still mainly playing music videos and I usually spent every Saturday and Sunday morning watching it. That's where I discovered Guns n' Roses. The "November Rain" and "Paradise City" videos were in constant rotation, and I really liked those songs, but what really blew me away was that one time they played the "Estranged" video, or should I say movie. Dolphins, nightclubs, ships, a big ass concert, epic guitar solos, a gigantic chorus... It had it all. Slash ascending from the waters ripping one of the greatest solos ever has to be among the coolest moments in any music video. I was captivated and immediately went out and bought Use Your Illusion II. I must've spent weeks listening to this piece of sonic perfection.

The songwriting and musicianship on these grand, epic compositions like "Estranged", "Civil War", or "Locomotive" are absolutely insane. This album really opened my eyes and broadened my musical tastes. Matt Sorum's drumming on these songs has been a huge influence on my playing as well. Dare I say, I even copied some parts pretty much one for one on some Megaton Sword parts. Estranged will probably stay my favorite song forever.

Sorry if I got carried away a little bit. I'm a bit of a music nerd. ;)

Salva Esteban (HOLYCIDE)
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells Led Zeppelin - IV Metallica - Ride the Lightning Slayer - Reign in Blood Ozzy Osbourne - Randy Rhoads Tribute

MIKE OLDFIELD – Tubular Bells (1973)

Wait dude – that's not exactly metal, isn't it? This is the first complete album that I remember listening to when I was a 6- or 7-year-old, as my dad was a huge fan of Mike Oldfield. Nevertheless, the melodies and harmonized guitars crawling through the album have been kept in my subconsciousness, and sometimes appear in my guitar playing, even if I don't notice that in a complete conscious way.


This is, in fact, the first purely rock and roll record I've ever heard. I was 11 years old when my dad got in the car and said, "now it's time for something a little heavier for you, don't you think?", and immediately after, "Black Dog" blasted through the speakers and blew out my mind. Damn, I want to sound like that! Is that a guitar, you say...?

METALLICA – Ride the Lightning (1984)

So yeah, I picked up the guitar and I began to discover all the classic bands and I learned some of their songs, but as soon as I started to improve my playing, Metallica really stood apart when I was like 13 or 14 years old. I could pick any of the five first albums, but I'll go with Ride the Lightning because it brings back the memories of my guitar lessons with Miguel Bárez as a teacher (yes, you guessed it, the other guitar player from Holycide). He taught me the solos of "Fade to Black" among many others when I was a teenager, but I kept playing only that song time after time for a while. Happy stuff for me, quite annoying for anybody else listening, haha!

SLAYER – Reign in Blood (1986)

This is some of the other stuff I learned with Miguel. He photocopied the tabs of the entire album and gave them to me as a present. When I first listened to the Raining Blood intro, I almost shit my pants, and right after that I was diving into these photocopies to learn the song. No wonder why I ended teaming up with Miguel in Holycide some years after that. Slayer have been heavily influential in my playing.

OZZY OSBOURNE – Randy Rhoads Tribute (1987)

Guitar playing is also about guitar heroes, and the one I worshipped the most was Randy Rhoads. After finishing that "Only-Playing-Fade-to-Black" phase, I jumped into playing over many guitar records, sometimes following the songs, sometimes improvising over them. The sense of melody and phrasing that Randy Rhoads became the benchmarks for my soloing when I was a teenager, and still are some of my biggest influences today.

Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion Infernal Majesty - None Shall Defy PESTILENCE - Mallevs Maleficarvm Slayer - Hell Awaits Possessed - Seven Churches

In no real order/rank, albums that were specifically most definitive influences on the entire future of my musical pursuits in the genre of death metal music.

CELTIC FROST - To Mega Therion (1985)

An ultimate merging of epic and apocalyptic. All the churning hell of Hellhammer and obscure lyric content added up to a morbid whirlwind atmosphere of cryptic death and future nuclear doom. The sort of sludgy guitar phrases and complete atonal riff structure led to influencing a very liberal approach for writing riffs for me. Of course, you need to learn how to do this so not to make just random patterns that say nothing musically. One of the real genius things about the Celtic Frost band was the extreme simplicity yet being able to deliver endless depth of imagination and atmosphere. It was a lesson learned and employed many times over the years in my writing of songs and riffs when I got stuck thinking I needed to make something more complex and then considering if the more convoluted approach was actually going to make it any better. Many times I would defer to the stylings of old Celtic Frost songs to get back on the page and keeping things in check to make "great" riffs, not just over the top for the sake of over the top. And of course, the completely berserk guitar solos on this or of course the previous Morbid Tales album were of huge influences on me as well, being that noise and chaos was the perfect blend for this sort of music.

INFERNÄL MÄJESTY - None Shall Defy (1987)

During 1986 when you were getting blown away by new albums like Slayer's Reign in Blood, Dark Angel's Darkness Descends, and Kreator's Pleasure to Kill you were left often wondering, "what is next?" from bands in this genre. Then it is 1987 and along comes Infernäl Mäjesty's debut album. All the fury of Possessed, all the devilry of Slayer, but maybe even more precision and speed! But what really made this special was the almost Mercyful Fate level of very involved song writing. Odd counts and really varied harmonies, but never so far out that the sense of being memorable songs was lost. This band seeded in my mind the idea of working elements of all my influences (traditional metal/speed/death) into my sound. And also, that faster tempos meant NOT to make primitive riffs, but maniacal riffs that were worthy of faster tempos! One song even has a sort of "proto" blast beat part!

PESTILENCE - Mallevs Maleficarvm (1988)

To me an infamous year in which so many of the "old guard" of speed and death metal were releasing head scratching "soft" new albums. A lot had to do with the sudden super stardom of Metallica, I think. Suddenly when you thought things would get more maniacal and out of control, you got some of the softest and bizarre albums from these bands. Check out many of the classic bands' catalogs and in so many cases their weakest outputs all land around in 1988. I'll spare slamming any particulars. But on the flip side, out of nowhere comes this Dutch band Pestilence with a debut album that not only competes with any of the classic bands' greatest moments, but in many ways completely leaves them in the dust. Extreme tempos for drums and guitars, and vocals spewed so fast you could hardly keep up. Crazed solos. Dark harmonies woven with the two guitars, done in ways that most older speed/death bands had never really done. This album was for sure a goldmine of new ideas for me, especially in ways to write harmony parts that sometimes were not just the same pattern in a different scale/etc... for sure one of my all-time most important albums that never gets old to me, like the others I've mentioned as well.

SLAYER - Hell Awaits (1985)

It is always easy to just say Reign in Blood as the "go-to" album from this band. But aside from the great contribution that album had concerning essentially wall to wall speed to the point of ripping apart, that is really the majority on offer there. Back in time a year to 1985 and you have what for me has been the most lasting favorite from the band's catalog, Hell Awaits. Whatever dark rabbit hole these guys went down between the first album and this (the precursor being Haunting the Chapel) where they departed very much from basically fast Iron Maiden with barked vocals, into this completely apocalyptic aural hell. Bleak harmonies, long (5 minutes plus) songs that were not just the traditional metal NWOBHM formula anymore. More like a nightmare twisted and more evil sounding (if imaginable) version of Melissa from Mercyful Fate. And the way lyrics are woven into the music was always a huge influence to me to have not only the lyrics mean something in the music, but the way they are delivered to have an almost "instrumental" presence as well. A sure "how-to" album on making/writing the best possible songs within this genre to this date.

POSSESSED - Seven Churches (1985)

As if it is possible in the realms of thrash/death/speed/black metal to NOT list this as a foundational favorite. Wicked song writing and riffs that are in a world of their own. Bizarre patterns and construction of riffs yet still managing to be completely memorable. And something about the almost slipping out of control of the playing adds a more maniacal element to the already pummeling chaos. It has taught me that things do NOT need to be sooooo surgically precise to be "right". An immediate next "go-to" album as a most black bible of what this genre is built upon!

AC/DC - If You Want Blood, You've got it Exodus - Bonded by Blood Exciter - Heavy Metal Maniac Omen - Battle Cry Riot - Fire Down Under

AC/DC - If You Want Blood, You've Got It (1978)

Our bass player Frank recorded a live song from AC/DC off the radio and played it for the band. The first time ever listened to hard rock, and I was infected for the rest of my life! Great cover, great songs and my start into the heavy metal life!

EXODUS - Bonded by Blood (1985)

Thrash in its purest form if you ask us. Once Hammett left in '83, fellow guitarist Gary Holt efficiently took over Exodus' songwriting duties alongside vocalist Paul Baloff and, to a lesser degree, monster drummer Tom Hunting, bassist Rob McKillop and new guitar foil, Rick Hunolt. Together, they honed thrash's saw-toothed staccato guitar attack to a blistering, precision pace throughout Bonded by Blood (see "Metal Command," "Piranha," "Strike of the Beast," etc.), while virtually cataloguing the finer points of mosh-pit etiquette (or lack thereof) as experienced by the loyal "Bay Area Bangers" in songs like "A Lesson in Violence" and "Bonded by Blood.

EXCITER - Heavy Metal Maniac (1983)

Exciter's debut arrived in 1983, right alongside Metallica's Kill 'Em All and Slayer's Show No Mercy. To my mind, had things broken differently, it might have been them claiming the position of flag bearer for the fledgling style. Their debut certainly had attitude, balls and grit and while it couldn't match the overall heaviness Metallica and Slayer brought to bear, it's nearly as catchy and memorable, and its anthemic, fist-pumping energy is hard to resist. Exciter was never mentioned in the same breath as these acts, and that's a real shame.

OMEN - Battle Cry (1984)

I grew up with this kind of American metal band and will never forget the debut album of Omen, one of my five all-time faves. The album's steel-bound heart was unquestionably pumping with New Wave of British Heavy Metal blood: from the gritty staccato riffs and pounding war-drums, to the predominant fantasy themes and anthemic choruses gracing such enduring standouts as "Dragon's Breath," the title track, and the heartfelt love song "Be My Wench." The very last song at my funeral should be "Into the Arena" which implies I am going to meet a lot of my friends on the other side!

RIOT - Fire Down Under (1981)

Fire Down Under marked the third record fronted by back-alley brawler Guy Speranza, a small little Hispanic dude with a mighty big voice. His David Lee Roth meets Rob Halford pipes shone with attitude, determination, and a will of its own to walk the walk and talk the talk, shaking and baking while pummeling metal crowds. He really broke down the so-called walls around metal, adding in a "much sought after" rock appeal while pleasing the headbangers. This record proved that hard rocking can be heavy as hell, killing with power while soaking up the party sun.

OZ – Fire in the Brain (1983)

The coolest artwork in the eighties, a burning skull held by a metal arm wearing rivets. The music on this album is fucking great too, straight heavy metal from the eighties!

Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY)
Ace Frehley - Solo Album KISS - Rock and Roll Over Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic Cheap Trick - Dream Police AC/DC - Powerage

ACE FREHLEY - Solo album (1978)
KISS - Rock and Roll Over (1976)
AEROSMITH - Toys in the Attic (1975)
CHEAP TRICK - Dream Police (1979)
AC/DC – Powerage (1978)

1978-79 is when I went beyond my parents records and found stuff on my own, whether it was via a TV commercial for KISS records or from school friends telling me about bands or even getting surprised by someone giving me Powerage on my birthday. When I hear those albums, I still feel that sense of discovery that I experienced as a kid. Rock magic!

Iron Maiden - Live After Death Motörhead - No Remorse Metallica - Master of Puppets Black Flag - The First Four Years Bathory - The Return...

Five albums from adolescence that changed the course of time for Matt Barnes (Monstrosity, Diabolic, Chaos Inception, Quinta Essentia):

IRON MAIDEN – Live After Death (1985)

I got this cassette for my birthday at about 10 years of age. It was my first heavy metal tape, unless you count Purple Rain or the Miami Vice soundtrack. I did have Billy Idol's Rebel Yell on "voinul" and an Alice Cooper 8-track.

Back to Maiden. Later on, I began to prefer the studio recordings (except for "Die with Your Boots on" and a few others), but this is a great document from a time when heavy metal ruled the world, and in my small world Iron Maiden was everything. Also, it was a long tape, so more bang for the buck. When you only manage to scrape up enough to buy a tape every six months from cutting down trees and raking leaves, or once a year with birthday money, running time was important. You can't forget great artwork and a big booklet.

MOTÖRHEAD – No Remorse (compilation, 1984)

Running time, continued. I'd only buy a tape if I could see that there was a lot of tape on the spindle, so here we get another double cassette. Unfortunately, there was nothing to the booklet. This probably just edges out We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll by Sabbath, since that had more duds like "Changes" and "Am I Going Insane" on it. Only "Please Don't Touch" mars this Motörhead comp. It was a close call though, because the first songs I ever played on guitar were Black Sabbath songs. I never knew what Motörhead looked like until I saw the "Iron Fist" video, and that really shocked me. I thought they'd have been more handsome, you know, because they were singing songs.

METALLICA – Master of Puppets (1986)

I have listened to all these so many times that they have lost some impact, but I would definitely not have pursued music if there wasn't a Metallica. I had all the tab books and I will defend them to the death. I listened to Metallica so much that my entire wardrobe was Metallica shirts, and some of my teachers called me "Metallica". They were the superior heavy metal band of the time (when Justice came out, they toppled Maiden), and everyone knew it. There was no debate at the time, if you were there. They were like brothers and heroes to me growing up in my self-inflicted loneliness and isolation. And they had long cassettes, much longer than those wimps in Megadeth with their anemic guitar sound and garbled up riffs, and a singer who doesn't open his mouth when he shouts so you can't understand a word he says. Plus, Metallica were just cooler dudes. Beers. Samhain shirts. Comic book collections. No crappy cover songs ("Am I Evil?", "Blitzkrieg", "Garage Days" or "These Boots", "I Ain't Superstitious", and "Anarchy in the UK"). The Cliff 'Em All video. Are you serious?! I rest my case.

BLACK FLAG – The First Four Years (1983)

This seems like an odd one, but I don't think I'd have gotten into death metal if not for this. At a time when thrash metal was mostly boring garbage (e.g., Forbidden, Testament, Flotsam and Jetsam, etc.) this was my gateway drug that prepared me for Morbid Angel. Okay, in hindsight, maybe second tier thrash wasn't total, complete, absolute garbage, I guess, but at the time I really hated those generic bands, even more so than something popular like Poison or MC Hammer. Black Flag sent me off on a hardcore/punk tangent for about a year. Black Flag was way more intense, and from a kid's perspective, their sound and image were flat-out scary. Greg Ginn is a shitty guitarist, but he's also a genius, which takes years to wrap your head around. He manages to play every last wrong note possible, similar to another hero of mine, Trey Azagthoth. In fact, when they hit a good note, it feels like they either botched the lead or sold out! I was also into C.O.C.'s Eye for an Eye and could almost play like Woody Weatherman on that album. It took years to unlearn those bad habits (but it was great stuff).

BATHORY – The Return...... (1985)

So off to the mall due to a good report card or something, and I find this. First off, it's on Combat Records so that's a sign of good quality there (I was burned on Sweet Pain and Heavy Pettin', who I think were also on Combat – traded those to my brother). The only problem was, I had never heard of "Bathory" – that's what I made out of the logo. So, I hand my mom the Bathory tape without realizing I had just picked up the unholy grail of supreme darkness and evil. Sorry, mom. This scared the shit out of everyone who heard it at a sleepover, and probably launched my descent into seeking out the most evil and deranged music I could find, bands like Deicide, Beherit, Striborg, Bestial Raids, and so on. This album could only be played on headphones, at night, at low volume so no one would ever know find out how evil it was. So evil, in fact, its malevolence influenced kids like me to be a good boy and study hard to earn the gift of the follow up, Under the Sign of the Black Mark, which was inferior to The Return......, as the guitars are thin, clear, and thus not as scary.

Robert Wilkerson (EVIL ARMY)
Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction Metallica - Kill 'em All Slayer - Hell Awaits Metallica - Master of Puppets Misfits - Collection II

GUNS N' ROSES – Appetite for Destruction (1987)

This is the album that got me into music, period. I think I was 7 years old when my dad gave me the tape. My dad told me I'd grow out of it, but here I am decades later still listening to it. Every song on it is just so fuckin' good.

METALLICA – Kill 'Em All (1983)

A friend from elementary school had an older brother that literally had a pile of metal tapes and I discovered Kill 'Em All in that pile. It's an album that kinda covers all genres of heavy music. I don't see how someone could not like that record.

SLAYER – Hell Awaits (1985)

I first discovered Slayer when I heard the song "Seasons in the Abyss", but then I discovered Hell Awaits a few weeks later and I was fuckin' hooked! It was the fastest shit I'd ever heard.

METALLICA – Master of Puppets (1986)

I discovered the first three Metallica albums at the same time. The Black album had just come out, but when I heard Puppets, I was opened to a whole new world of music. From start to finish that album is put together perfectly.

MISFITS - Collection II (1995)

I heard this tape when I was 13 and became obsessed with The Misfits! I went out and bought all their shit! Hearing them made me realize that songs could be so simple and great at the same time. A lot people think Evil Army is punk/hardcore influenced, but I was never really a fan of that style. I guess The Misfits are considered punk, but they had a huge influence on me.

Mario Vogel (VENDETTA)
Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance Metallica - Master of Puppets Dio - Holy Diver Accept - Balls to the Wall

For growing up, partying and girls I would take other albums, but as a musician I would say the following albums were important to help me to become what I am today, such as:

IRON MAIDEN - The Number of the Beast (1982)
JUDAS PRIEST - Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)
DIO - Holy Diver (1983)
ACCEPT - Balls to the Wall (1983)

All of these albums are from 1982 to 1986, I think. Iron Maiden was the first concert I attended when I was 13 years old. Number of the Beast was one of my first metal albums, also Screaming for Vengeance and of course Dio's debut, Holy Diver. All of these bands have (or had; RJD R.I.P.) great singers.

I also liked Accept with Udo (Dirkschneider), who had a quite different sound compared to many other bands at that time. And then Metallica showed up, playing faster and harder than the others back then. I was thinking about choosing Ride the Lightning over their third album, but I think Master of Puppets is a masterpiece.

I think it was in 1986 when Accept toured (the "Metal Battle European tour"). Ratt were originally supposed to be the support act for Accept but they were replaced by UFO and Dokken opened. This is the concert that I will never forget.

Those were good times for rock 'n' roll... we were eating tapes.

Exciter - Violence and Force Slayer - Hell Awaits Nirvana - Nevermind Bad Religion - Tested Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

EXCITER - Violence & Force (1984)

We were in the local heavy metal shop back in the day (pre-YouTube, 2002) and my friend picks up the album and goes, "FUCK, look at THIS!". It had such a ridiculous cover we were both laughing. He said, "You have to get it...!". Well, I got it, we went home and put it on, and I couldn't believe my ears, pure metal! The style and sound have stayed with me since as a musician.

SLAYER - Hell Awaits (1985)

This tape was left in my car by a friend. When all you had a was tape player and a few tapes, you listened to them over and over and over and over again. This was one of them. Relentless riffing!

NIRVANA - Nevermind (1991)

Man, I was very young when I got this and it was just when I was learning the guitar so I learned every riff there was. I had the tab book, probably don't need the book now, but back then was very cool.

BAD RELIGION - Tested (1997)

Live album from Bad Religion from when I was very young. I was skating every day and listening to this. I actually remember buying this on CD and going to the local indoor park and asking them to put it on while everyone skated over the PA which was fucken' rad.

and last but not least...

IRON MAIDEN - The Number of the Beast (1982)

Another one I got into from skateboarding, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" was used on one of the biggest skate sections of the '90s on a ZERO skate video. Man, that must have gotten so many kids into Iron Maiden that were skating then that hadn't heard them before. Got the album, never looked back!

At the Gates - The Red in the Sky is Ours Propagandhi - Less Talk, More Rock Napalm Death - Harmony Corruption Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind

AT THE GATES - The Red in the Sky Is Ours (1993)

This one really encompasses Swedish death metal as a whole (Dismember, Merciless, Cemetery, Necrophobic, Entombed, Grave, Unleashed, etc) but ATG is the band which started the Swedish obsession for me, this album specifically.

PROPAGANDHI - Less Talk, More Rock (1996)

I grew up on punk/hardcore and Propagandhi left the most lasting impression on me, and this record remains in high rotation.

NAPALM DEATH - Harmony Corruption (1990)

Godfathers of the grind genre I hold so dear, Harmony Corruption best encompass the aspects I love about grind: Unrelenting, political, DIY/punk ethos.

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

This album is an absolute journey from start to finish. The boss is best.

IRON MAIDEN - Piece of Mind (1983)

No explanation needed.

Sky - Sky The Muppets - The Muppet Show Album The Ventures - Walk Don't Run Mainliner - Mellow Out

SKY - Sky (1979)

My Dad had precious few tapes, and even fewer worth listening to. As a tiny kid though, this one seemed so sexy (or whatever the 5-year-old's equivalent would have been). I loved it because it was unlike any other music he had. It seemed rocky and cool to my ears. But also it had the Erik Satie banger "Gymnopédie No. 1."

THE MUPPETS - The Muppet Show Album (1977)

Listening to the ferocious cacophony of Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem rip out "Tenderly" has had a huge effect on who I am today. Exposure to this song in particular can't be understated. I was talking to my folks a few years back about this song. Dad summarized it well when he said I'd actually grown to appreciate the music now and not just the energy and gimmick of it. Woah...!

I had a sound effects record I would play to death too. My favorites were the war ones obviously.

At the risk of sounding nostalgic, there was something mystical about sitting on the floor holding the record cover, which would have been huge at that age, (compared to the little kid holding it) and getting completely immersed in it while the music played on. If I didn't live inside a tiny room now, I'd love to have my record collection back. Who can afford the real-estate to store records anymore?

THE VENTURES - Walk Don't Run (1960)

One of the very first LPs I found in the local secondhand shop close to my house was this nugget. They were a big surf rock band from the '60s/'70s who were usually pretty dry balls, but this one was their psychedelic album. I was drawn to their staccato picking (which is metal as fuck) with '60s psych elements. I'm guessing these elements were already cementing themselves back then.

MAINLINER - Mellow Out (1996)

So yeah, pretty early on I was into noise music and psychedelic stuff. This is an album I still play today. They were a 3-piece kind of supergroup of Japanese Psychedelic Speed Freaks (the name of one of their projects). The wall of fucking sound they had was only akin to perhaps Masona or CCCC or any of the harsh Japanese noise crew, only they used the traditional rock idiom to murder your ears. I challenge anyone reading this to find a louder album. When I die, throw me and this album into a volcano, please.

Tommy ReinXeed (MAJESTICA)
Gary Moore - Run for Cover Tomterockers - Julmassaker TITANIC - Original Score Soundtrack The Rock - Original Score Soundtrack Stratovarius - Destiny

GARY MOORE - Run for Cover (1985)

On that album you find the song "Out in the Fields", which is the song that made me want to start playing guitar at the age of nine. The rest of that album has always been for me the five songs before "Out in the Fields" and the four songs AFTER "Out in the Fields."

TOMTEROCKERS - Julmassaker (1990)

A Swedish heavy metal Christmas album that rocked my childhood every Christmas.

TITANIC - Original Score Soundtrack (1997)

The first CD I ever bought at the age of 11 and is one of the main influences for me when it comes to arranging orchestral music.

THE ROCK - Original Score Soundtrack (1996)

I've loved that movie since I was 10 and the music is what makes the movie - for real!!

So many times, I've listened to that CD playing an FBI agent in my living room, holding a plastic gun pretending to storm Alcatraz and Ed Harris.

STRATOVARIUS - Destiny (1998)

For me the best Power Metal album ever written and when I discovered this album at the age of 14, I knew right away that THIS is the music I want to create.

Ronni Le Tekro (TNT)
The Beatles - White Album City Boy - The Day the Earth Caught Fire Black Sabbath - Sabotage Pilot - Morin Heights FRANK MARINO and MAHOGANY RUSH - Live

THE BEATLES - White Album (1968)

It opened up my ears to variation within an album concept.

CITY BOY - The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1979)

When I heard this album, I loved it from the opening line. What a production! The details in the arrangements are mind-blowing.

BLACK SABBATH – Sabotage (1975)

A hypnotic sound that defined my teenage years and that is the dark sound of my generation.

PILOT - Morin Heights (1976)

This album has really inspired my approach to guitar playing. I still consider Ian Bairnson's guitar playing as the most delicate journey.


When this album came out, I was a young teenager. The album was copied between friends and it was a "BIG hit" in my hometown. The band was on fire on this album. The guitar playing on it is out of this world.

Christina Aguilera - Stripped Korn - Issues ETHS - Autopsie - Samantha

CHRISTINA AGUILERA - Stripped (2002)

A strong statement from a young woman singing songs with many themes showing both vulnerability and strength. Her amazing voice and power behind it as well as the person she is was a huge inspiration for me as a pre-teen! I especially loved the songs "Beautiful" and "Fighter".

KORN - Issues (1999)

This was one of the first albums I bought with my own money to play on my Discman and I listened to it from front to back countless times! Korn truly meant a lot to me as a teenager and really helped me through some tough times. It taught me that music is a valuable voice for expression and that it can connect with people and unite us in an unspoken way, which gave me a lot of support. Korn was also the band that really got me into metal.

ETHS - Autopsie | Samantha (2013)

Mix CD I got from a friend with songs from Autopsie, Samantha and Soma.

Candice Clot was the first woman I heard growl as well as sing and she also used whispering to great effect. The music and theme were so dark, aggressive and delicious, an anthem to me as a young teenager. My two absolute favorite songs were "Crucifère" and "Samantha".

The Beatles - Greatest Hits JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS - I Love Rock 'n Roll Rainbow - Rising Rainbow - Long Live Rock and Roll Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell

THE BEATLES - Greatest Hits (1982)

I can't name a specific album. The first album I heard was a Greatest hits cassette which my mom got as a gift from a friend and gave to me. As a child I listened to it over and over because the cassette was mine and it was the first music I got.

In the beginning I liked their old albums like Twist and Shout (1964) and Help! (1965) but as I grew older, I started to like the later albums more, especially the White Album and the song, "Helter Skelter."

I first started to play the bass because Paul McCartney did and is left-handed like me, but I switched to playing the guitar and singing which was more convenient since I didn't play in a band.

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS - I Love Rock 'n Roll (1981)

She was the first female rock singer and guitar player I heard, and I thought she was really cool and inspired me to sing and play guitar in rock bands.


I was influenced by many singers from different genres, but as for hard rock, Dio was one of the greatest influences.

He had a great powerful voice.

RAINBOW – Rising (1976) and Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)

BLACK SABBATH - Heaven and Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981)

A friend of mine had an older brother who had those albums and I got copies of them on cassettes and I started to listen to them at around the same time.

Metallica - Kill 'em All Metallica - Ride the Lightning Metallica - Master of Puppets Metallica - ...and Justic for All

METALLICA - Kill 'Em All (1983)
METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1984)
METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)
METALLICA - ...and Justice for All (1988)

I saw a video of Cliff Burton performing "(Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth" when I was 13 years old, and it was then I knew that I wanted to play bass.

ABBA - Gold Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin Paramore - All We Know is Fallin System of a Down - Steal this Album! Metallica - Master of Puppets

ABBA - Gold (1992)

My favorite album when I was a child. I used to put it on every morning before kindergarten and sing along even though I did not understand the lyrics. I thought the songs were both catchy and beautiful and I couldn't get enough!

AVRIL LAVIGNE - Under My Skin (2004)

As a young teenager, I started to get into things like skater punk and darker pop/rock. I traveled to Stockholm to see Avril, my first big concert, and was impressed by her performance not only as a singer, but also as a guitar player and drummer. Some of the first songs I learned on the guitar were by her.

PARAMORE - All We Know Is Falling (2005)

Hayley Williams of Paramore is one of my favorite singers of all time and I was a big fan of the band as a whole in my early teenage years. The last song of this album, "My Heart" has some growling in the end, which I thought was super cool!

SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Steal This Album! (2002)

I love the craziness of this album and the rest of their catalogue to this day, especially the track "Chic 'n' Stu". Definitely one of the gateways into metal for me.

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

Just like any young guitar player, there was no escaping learning some of the famous riffs by Metallica and after getting exposed to Master of Puppets there was no turning back!

Europe - The Final Countdown Metallica - ...and Justice for All Cancer - To the Gory End Sepultura - Beneath the Remains Death - Human

EUROPE - The Final Countdown (1986)

The album that made me a metalhead. I was about seven when the title song was being played on radio everywhere and I went on and got it and the earlier cassettes shortly after.

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

I bought the cassette during a trip to London with my mom when I was maybe 12. I remember listening non-stop on my Walkman and it changed my view of metal forever. I then became a huge Metallica fan covering my room completely in Metallica posters and buying all their albums and merch. I was the only metalhead in school at the time and I was bullied for it. Until Metallica released the Black album, then it changed completely. Suddenly I was the cool guy and the guys that bullied me earlier wanted to borrow my albums. I hated it. So, I sold all my Metallica stuff and ventured into more extreme music.

CANCER - To the Gory End (1990)

This was the first pure death metal I heard, buying it purely because of the cover. I remember sitting in my friend's room and putting the CD in the player and for the first time hearing the strange, scary vocals and amazing raw and ominous feeling of this music. From then on, I rejected all music with clean vocals for a few years.

SEPULTURA - Beneath the Remains (1989)

I listened to this album wondering how the hell they made kickdrums that fast. Then I saw the video for "Inner Self" on Headbangers Ball and I realized I needed one more kick drum! I had just gotten my own drum kit when I started practicing to this album every day after school. My parents got so annoyed with me hammering nonstop so they made me promise to only play for one hour a day.

DEATH - Human (1991)

It's hard to describe the kind of impact this album had on me, especially as a drummer. It totally changed death metal and raised the bar on so many levels. It was so sad to lose both drummer Sean Reinert and bass player Sean Malone last year. Such legendary players who redefined the way to play death metal forever.

Metallica - Master of Puppets Nirvana - Nevermind Satyricon - Now, Diabolical Entombed - Morning Star Behemoth - Demigod

I'm not sure which five albums that made me start playing but here are the five that have made an impact on my guitar playing over the years:

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)
NIRVANA - Nevermind (1991)
SATYRICON – Now, Diabolical (2006)
ENTOMBED - Morning Star (2001)
BEHEMOTH - Demigod (2004)

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