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Soundtracks of My Youth - Part VII

Soundtracks of My Youth - Part VII

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 seventh part... enjoy!

Thanks to Chris Black of Professor Black, Jarmo Puolakanaho of Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Christer Göransson of Mindless Sinner, Jukka Pelkonen of Omnium Gatherum, Mike Campagnolo of Razor, Tomas Halama of Heaving Earth, Jim Kotsis of Black Soul Horde, George "IronBeast" and Nick Psarogiannis of Violent Definition, Vandal of Infest, Jochen Fopp of Mirror of Deception, Mika Kansikas of Stud, Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance of Beherit, Robert Vigna of Immolation, Jon Corston of Beyond Deth, Danny Lilker of Nuclear Assault and Juan Garcia of Evildead for all of their awesome contribution for this seventh part of the series.

Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time Slayer - Show No Mercy Motörhead - 1916 Bathory - Hammerheart New Wave of British Heavy Metal '79 Revisited

IRON MAIDEN – Somewhere in Time (1986)

Summer of 1987. By the age of 9, I knew that I needed to search for heavy metal. I had spent some precious allowance money on Girls Girls Girls which I soon realized was a heap of shit, which was too bad, because I was not looking for heaps of shit. I was looking for heavy metal. During a visit with my grandparents in Marietta, Ohio, my cousin and I borrowed Somewhere in Time from the local library. We played side B first, "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner", but as soon as Bruce started singing, our grandfather said, nope, uh-uh, and then transferred it to a cassette so that it could be listened to out of his presence. I loved the album, if only in theory at first, because even by Iron Maiden standards, it's quite complex. But I did it. I found the heavy metal.

SLAYER – Show No Mercy (1983)

1988 – I found Slayer's album covers genuinely scary, in fact I still do, and as an apprentice, I was also cautious about the music. But then at the age of 10, I fell madly in love with Show No Mercy, and it became the first album that I could really listen to over and over again without it losing any of its power. I don't remember if I had a dub of it or just long-term-borrowed a friend's tape at that point. Doesn't matter. I played it for the babysitter and told her it was my band. Well, it was my band, right? Just last week someone asked me what my favorite Slayer album is, and I was actually offended.

MOTÖRHEAD – 1916 (1991)

1991 – By this time Motörhead was my absolute favorite band, and I was dutifully tracking down their already-extensive catalog. 1916 was the first new studio album to come out since I had been on board. I remember not being sure of the release date and therefore being super fucking thrilled to see it at the shop that day. I unwrapped the cassette and began studying the lyrics and liner notes immediately, and although my mom would have allowed me to play it in the car (in this story I am 13, so she is driving), I waited until we got home for the proper full-length, full volume listen. Great, great album, holds up extremely well. And even with songs like "Going to Brazil" and "Angel City", it was probably another five years before I realized that Motörhead isn't exactly a heavy metal band.

BATHORY – Hammerheart (1990)

1991 – We were on a school trip to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., which was a 2+ hour bus ride from where I lived. This was the perfect situation for my friends and I to load up our backpacks with tapes and turn each other on to new stuff. Well, this is how I first heard Bathory, during a trip to the museum, where that same day we gazed upon some original Candlemass album covers as well. Very sophisticated, very Swedish. Although I didn't realize Bathory was Swedish at the time, and I didn't care either. To me they were an imaginary band from an imaginary place, but it was inviting, welcoming, it could be whatever I wanted. Twilight of the Gods (1991) was a few months later and that one hit me even harder. Laid me out flat on the floor, honestly. But we only picked it up because of Hammerheart, and the growth that was evident on Twilight was amazing. Exhilarating, even.

VARIOUS ARTISTS – New Wave of British Heavy Metal '79 Revisited (1990)

1992 - This album was a couple years old already when I heard it. The reviews were mixed and its loose connection with Metallica was definitely not a selling point for me. But when I borrowed a classmate's cassette copy, holy hell, this was a sound I didn't even know I had been looking for: Hard rock transforming into heavy metal. I spent the next 20 years or so chasing as many new wave bands and songs as I could find (please don't say "nuwahbum"), on a limited budget, sharing the music and curiosity with similarly minded friends and collectors. Naturally, it had a huge impact on my own songwriting. I never actually owned a copy of this compilation, although the closing track "Helpless" might actually be the most important song in my entire life and career. I think I was 14 when I made a promise to myself that I would live according to the lyrics of "Helpless", without even really knowing what they were. Then when I read them a few years later, they were even better than I imagined.

KISS - Kiss Helloween - Keeper I Zero Nine - Voodoo You Androids - Let It All Out Metallica - AJFA

KISS – Kiss (1974)

KISS was the very first band that me and the boys in the neighborhood got into. I suppose that's how it all started. We even wrote a letter to them, just to ask if they can send us some electric guitars, so we could start a band. Unfortunately, we were only 8 or 9, so we had no idea how the postal service worked, and we didn't put stamps on the envelope. I bet the Kiss guys never got our letter. We surely never got our guitars. Damn...

HELLOWEEN - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Parts I (1987) and II (1988)

When talking about melodic death metal, it is easy to forget this band who, on these albums, practically invented power metal. When listening to these albums nowadays (or their brand-new single "Skyfall"), it is easy for me to see the influence they have had on me, after all. The melodies, the harmonies and so on... I didn't notice that when we started writing metal songs nearly 30 years ago, but for some reason, I can see it now very clearly.

ZERO NINE - Voodoo You (1988)

Zero Nine was (and is) a hard rock band from Kuusamo in Northern Finland, which is a town quite close to where we hail from. They were quite successful in Finland back in the late '80s, which made me think "Wow, local bands can be successful, so perhaps we could have a band that could make some songs and records, too...

ANDROIDS - Let It All Out (1988)

Androids were a glam hard rock band from Finland who only put one album out in the late '80s. Their songs weren't that heavy but there was something about them that made me start writing rock and metal songs in my head. Their influence on me can be seen on the name of the first pre-EToS band I formed. It was called Andromeda.

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

When this album came out, I already had one teenager's foot (or at least one toe) deep in thrash metal because I had become a huge Anthrax fan during the previous year. But this album was different. With its in-your-face attitude, it was far too heavy and dark for me in the beginning. But soon, the pieces started to fit together, and I found out it was a perfect combination of heavy riffs, strong rhythms and melodies. I only bought my first guitar about a year after this album came out. But, I think, I can still play all the riffs and melodies as it was the first album I learned to play cover to cover, so to speak.

Christer Göransson (MINDLESS SINNER)
KISS - Rock and Roll Over Gasolin - Live Sadan Ramones - It's Alive Judas Priest - Stained Class Saxon - Strong Arm of the Law

If we are talking way back, it must be KISS' Rock and Roll Over (1976). Bought it 1976 when I was 11 years old and I still have it and play it often.

A Danish band called Gasolin' and their live album Live Sådan from 1976. I love that band and have all of their albums.

Then we have Ramones' It's Alive (1979). Great band and a great album.

And of course, Judas Priest's Stained Class (1978). The greatest of the great.

When I became a little bit older, it's a tie between Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz (1980), Iron Maiden's Killers (1981) and Saxon's Strong Arm of the Law (1980).

As a matter of fact, there are soooooo many bands/records that have influenced me and I can't name them all.

Jukka Pelkonen (OMNIUM GATHERUM)
WASP - The Last Command KISS - Creatures of the Night Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? Metallica - AJFA Sepultura - Chaos A.D.

W.A.S.P. - The Last Command (1985)

This was the first album I ever bought myself. The cover looked so cool to a kid, and the album was something I had never heard before or realized that kind of music even existed. The album's songs still stand up proudly today.

KISS - Creatures of the Night (1982)

This was the very first album I heard that even resembled metal. I was like four years old and could not stop listening to it.

As years went on, I kind of forgot about this album but still it played an important role in why I love metal so much.

MEGADETH - Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? (1986)

Megadeth rules! This was the first album I heard from them. Enough said. Megadeth rules!

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

Killer album. As a youngster I didn't mind the lack of volume on bass and listened to the shit out of this one.

SEPULTURA - Chaos A.D. (1993)

Definitely their best album. That was my opinion back in '93 and is still my opinion. We even did a cover with Omnium Gatherum of one of the songs off that album.

Mike Campagnolo (RAZOR)
Deep Purple - Machine Head AC/DC - If You Want Blood, You've Got it Rush - All the World's a Stage Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East Iron Maiden - Killers

My parents always had music playing on the radio or record player, so I was influenced by many styles of music, but the albums that molded me in my youth to be a musician were probably a precursor to me getting my first guitar. I would have to go with the following five albums:

DEEP PURPLE - Machine Head (1972)

Of course, everyone liked "Smoke on the Water" at the time, but I was drawn more to the songs like "Lazy" and "Highway Star". Killer record that still stands the test of time.

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

I learned a lot of guitar riffs from this album when learning to play guitar and the super high energy of the live feel used to give me a mild rush of what it would be like to play in front a live audience.

RUSH - All the World's a Stage (1976)

Again, with the live feel and I used to jam along with this album when learning guitar. Plus, they were my fellow Canadians and the first concert I ever went to when I was 13 years old...

JUDAS PRIEST - Unleashed in the East (1979)

I had probably switched to playing bass at this point but again with the live energy captured on this release for me was exhilarating as a kid. The guitar playing and vocal acrobatics of Rob Halford just blew me away.

IRON MAIDEN – Killers (1981)

At the time I was a Maiden freak and used to play bass along with Steve Harris and pretty much wore out the grooves on that vinyl, which for me is the best Maiden album.

*Some notable mentions would be anything by Black Sabbath as I would listen to all the early albums and thought then and still today that they are the true pioneers of the heavy metal sound.

Tomas Halama (HEAVING EARTH)
The Beatles - With the Beatles Vylety Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger Suffocation - Breeding the Spawn Igor Stravinski - The Rite of Spring

THE BEATLES - With the Beatles (1963)

First one has to be a Beatles record. I think The Beatles' With the Beatles was the one that my parents used to listen to back in the '80s. As a 6 or 7-year-old kid, I thought the sound of the electric guitar was cool and I asked for electric guitar lessons at music school and was told that such a thing is not possible (welcome to the 1980s in Czechoslovakia). It was suggested I try out cello first. What a bummer!

JIŘÍ STIVÍN & PIERRE FAVRE - Výlety/Excursions (1982)

The most eerie, magical sounding musical pilgrimage from my childhood, great avant-garde jazz (if it can be even labeled). Extremely colorful music that clearly showed me how music can be used as a language. Jiří Stivín is a rare genius, one of a kind.

SOUNDGARDEN - Badmotorfinger (1991)

My older brother used to listen to many grunge bands at the time of their peak and Soundgarden stands above all for me, especially this record. Great riffs from start to finish, great ambiance and the voice, none better. I'll pick "Jesus Christ Pose" over any grunge/stoner/hard rock song anytime.

SUFFOCATION - Breeding the Spawn (1993)

There should be at least one death metal record on my list, so here it is. I bought this on tape (when tapes were still a thing and CDs a luxury) and Cannibal Corpse's Butchered at Birth (1991). I was finished with CC few weeks later but kept spinning Suffocation's Breeding... cassette for at least a year. Looking back, you can tell they should have made different decisions production and sound-wise, but for some nostalgic reason it works for me.

IGOR STRAVINSKI - The Rite of Spring (1913)

Classical music has been an integral part of me, as a listener and musician, since I was a kid. The music of Igor Stravinski pretty much blends all kind of moods and emotions using different (tonal as well as atonal) approaches. The Rite of Spring, The Firebird (1910) and his other works clearly display his visionary approach and concept of artistic freedom of expression free from dogmatic rules, and that's what in my opinion matters the most.

Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem Megadeth - Rust in Peace Slayer - Reign in Blood Metallica - AFJA Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

ROTTING CHRIST - A Dead Poem (1997)

I know that A Dead Poem is not the conventional Rotting Christ album, probably not even one of their best releases, or even the ones that made them famous, but it still is one of my favorites. I got to know them by listening to this one and what a distorted perception I had back then about what black metal sounds like. Atmospheric, with great songwriting, A Dead Poem was, is and will be one of the albums I like listening to when I wake up in the morning.

MEGADETH - Rust in Peace (1990)

By this time, I had only listened to Pink Floyd, Scorpions and a few other bands from my parents' record collection. Somehow, I ended up at a local record store and purchased Rust in Peace influenced by a neighbor kid that was listening to Megadeth again and again. I put it on the stereo and... BOOM! It became apparent that Megadeth would be my favorite band for the rest of my life.

SLAYER – Reign in Blood (1986)

Slayer was one of my first live shows. My cousin was older than me so my parents would let him take me to a few gigs every now and then. When I watched them live, I only knew the songs from Reign in Blood. I remember seeing an entire stadium air-drumming to "Angel of Death" just like I remember not being quite sure if the intro scream was a voice or a guitar before that show. Well, apparently it was both!

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

The first albums I listened from Metallica were Load (1996) and Reload (1987) because they were released at this time. I remember being on vacation in the Greek island of Santorini, alone in a weird manner. I found a porn video tape and a cassette tape in the room I rented. I don't remember the porn movie (the room had a video tape player, so I watched this one too), but I remember clearly what happened when "Blackened" sounded through the earphones connected to my Walkman. I was blown the fuck away!

BLACK SABBATH – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

I traded a few CDs for a 3-CD compilation called Black SabbathThe Ozzy Osbourne Years (1994). Each CD included two Black Sabbath albums. As you can understand, CD number three opened with the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album. This compilation gave me the opportunity to listen to the first six Black Sabbath albums at once, so I was pretty sure (and still am) that this is the most special one. There is a very unique vibe going on in this one. Later on, I found out that it includes some pretty cocaine-fueled recording sessions. Well, this only makes sense!

Tankard - Chemical Invasion Sepultura - Arise Exodus - Bonded by Blood D.R.I. - Thrash Zone Cryptic Slaughter - Money Talks

The high pitch of the vocals plus the lyrical themes being closer to (my) reality, speaking about political and social issues of my everyday life as a teenager back in the late '90s, were the main reasons I was hooked on metal and thrash in particular. I preferred hearing about beer, the downfall of society and politics corruption over satanic entities and other fairy tales.

TANKARD - Chemical Invasion (1987)
SEPULTURA - Arise (1991)
EXODUS - Bonded by Blood (1985)
D.R.I. - Thrash Zone (1989)
CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER - Money Talks (1987)

Nick Psarogiannis (VIOLENT DEFINITION)
Sodom - Code Red Overkill - Bloodletting Paradox - Collision Course Slayer - Reign in Blood Destruction - Sentence of Death

There have been quite a few since I started listening to and learning stuff on the radio back in 1999, but the five most heavy albums that influenced me were:

SODOM - Code Red (1999)
OVERKILL - Bloodletting (2000)
PARADOX - Collision Course (2000)
SLAYER - Reign in Blood (1986)
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death (1984)

The speed and intensity were the main "keys" that inspired me to learn the guitar back in 2003. So, every album that I listened to that was fast and aggressive would immediately become my favorite!

Vandal (INFEST)
Black Sabbath - SBS Kreator - Pleasure to Kill Iron Maiden - Killers Dismember - Like an Everflowing Stream Immolation - Close to a World Below

BLACK SABBATH - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

The first rock 'n' roll music in my life. I was confused as it was very unusual to me, but I just couldn't stop listening to that music. Every time it was the same feeling, just more energetic and more powerful. Still one of my favorite albums and any song I hear brings me back to my childhood. One of the best heavy metal albums ever! Ozzy is God!

KREATOR - Pleasure to Kill (1986)

Wow, the best era of thrash metal! One of those albums you hear and you want to punch someone in the face right away :) Full power of metal madness, aggression, violence and blasphemy packed in one album. I remember listening to that and trying to write down the lyrics so I could sing as fast as Mille did. Because of their picture on that album, I started to wear skinny pants and chains. Pure like hell!

IRON MAIDEN - Killers (1981)

The best that heavy metal can offer! Iron Maiden is one of my favorite bands and I love every era of Iron Maiden, including Blaze. X Factor and Virtual XI are also fantastic, even if Dickinson is one of the best singers in the world. But the energy that Killers has is something indescribable. The bass guitar sounds like a mountain and Paul's voice is at the best of his career. Listening to that LP gives me goosebumps, and that's the most important thing in music. :)

DISMEMBER - Like an Everflowing Stream (1991)

Sweden and its best. Heavy metal pedal, everything at maximum, and there it is... THE BEST OF THE BEST! "Override the Overture" is one of the songs I could listen a million times, and it will never be enough! When I was a kid, I really thought I could never learn to play like them because it seems way too hard. I remember the joy when I played the first riff for the very first time. I wish I could meet David one day and tell him how much they influenced me and how much they brought the raw energy in my life. Dismember for life!

IMMOLATION - Close to a World Below (2000)

I remember when I heard Ross's voice for the first time. I remember being completely lost. Man, it was just like hell opened in front of me. Since that moment, I have been a fan! Many years later I met the guys, and still I had a feeling, the same I had when I heard them for the first time. Later we became friends, and Ross and Bob took part on the latest Infest album, on the song called "The Last Cremation", and it was one of my dreams come true. Steve is in a Wing Chun Kung Fu practice, just like me, so every time we met, we practiced together. I visited New York two years ago and had a chance to spend some time with the guys. Devoted to metal, real metal fans, brutal to the bone, and above all, great people... IMMOLATION!

I know I had only five, but I must mention Desaster and Asphyx, because Husky was one of my favorite musicians ever, and his music influenced me in many ways! I had a chance to meet him and become friends with him, and I must say that I have never met a person so dedicated to metal music the way he is. His passion for metal music is above everything! People often start to lose passion after so many years in metal, because it's not a commercial type of music and people just get tired. But meeting this guy in person shows you that there are still metal maniacs that will lead the hordes to the fields of chaos! HAIL DESASTER and HAIL ASPHYX!! HAIL HUSKY!

Boney M - Rivers of Babylon A-HA - Hunting High and Low Bryan Adams - Reckless Europe - The Final Countdown Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

BONEY M - "Rivers of Babylon" song (1978)

It was a track on a compilation album my parents owned, and I remember putting the needle to the right track multiple times a day. I was about 5 years old that time. I wonder how many 5-year-olds can still master this today? Only kids of serious vinyl collectors I suppose. And of course, I sang along in very wild fantasy "English" at the top of my lungs.

A-HA - Hunting High and Low (1984)

This (along with Falco's 3) was the very first album (on cassette) I bought myself. I loved it especially the more rocking tracks like "The Sun Always Shines on TV" or the epic "Hunting High and Low". I thought, "Great, this is their first album, so I'll follow them through their career and buy everything they'll release". I lost track at some point, though, but I still admire them and think they are a great band. Same goes for Falco. This wasn't shallow one hit wonder pop stuff. Both were/are artists with depth and substance.

BRYAN ADAMS - Reckless (1984)

Things were slowly getting a bit rockier. I really liked his early albums, but his later output became cheesier and cheesier and unbearable as time went on.

EUROPE - The Final Countdown (1986)

I had no older brothers or sisters who could have introduced me to heavier rock/metal and my parents were happy with what played on the radio. I only had a cousin about 10 years older and he scared me with his Gene Simmons oil paintings when I was a little kid. But at some point, it clicked with the heavier stuff. I remember taking this album to my English class in school and we translated "Cherokee". My teacher didn't like the music nor their hairdos but at least the lyrics were better than she'd expected.

CANDLEMASS - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

I remember hearing "Solitude" on a local metal radio show around 1987/88. It was a weekly show every Friday night from 11pm to 2am and I sat in the living room and taped it all. I was still too young to go to pubs, so I discovered loads of great bands that way. But when I heard "Solitude" for the first I felt like I'd been struck by lightning. I had no idea what this was, what the genre was called, where they came from or who their influences were. I just know it resonated with me instantly and felt like this was the kind of music I have always been searching for. That's where my personal musical journey really started, and it made me want to play in a band myself. And that band is still going, fortunately.

Mika Kansikas (STUD)
Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday Sweet - Sweet Fanny Adams Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies Deep Purple - 24 Carat Purple Richie Blackmore - Rainbow

It's quite easy to name the most influential albums from my early years. I was very interested in music at very young age and these albums are still some of my all-time favorites. However, I will limit the albums to the early '70s and leave out some absolute killers, such as Van Halen 1, Pink Floyd The Wall and Holy Diver by Dio (the list goes on and on).

Here's my list in no particular order:

URIAH HEEP - Magician's Birthday (1972)

This is the first C-cassette that I ever got. I was already a fan of "Easy Livin'" and "Lady in Black" before I got this one, but this album sort of sealed my relationship with Uriah Heep. "Echoes in the Dark" and "Sunrise" were obviously great, but the Moog sound on "Sweet Lorraine" was the one that made me play the song over and over. It's still one of my favorites. If I had to name one singer that I like the most, it would probably be David Byron.

SWEET - Sweet Fanny Adams (1974)

I love Sweet. I was a fan already when they had their hits in their bubble gum era, "Little Willy" etc. However, this album is so important to me and my music career. It contains a collection of amazing songs full of tasty musical ideas and great sounds. The title song, "Into the Night" and "No You Don't" are brilliant to name a few. The first concert I ever saw was Sweet. I was totally blown away. Special cheers to Andy Scott! It's great to see that he's still going strong. I've watched some of his interviews on YouTube and he's got such a great sense of humor.

ALICE COOPER - Billion Dollar Babies (1973)

>"Hello Hooray", "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "Elected" and the title song. Absolute classics!! This album is simply magical. The music is dramatic and theatrical. The sound is raw and there's always a sense of danger in what you're hearing and seeing. With this lineup Alice and the band, accompanied by the great producer Bob Ezrin, made the album a landmark in rock 'n' roll history. It's unbelievable how Alice still has a very strong voice and his concerts are very entertaining.

DEEP PURPLE - 24 Carat Purple (1975)

When I was young Deep Purple's music was really heavy. I was already a fan of their songs such as "Black Night", "Fireball", "Speed King" and of course, "Smoke on the Water". So, I was really happy when this compilation album was released. I don't remember if I bought the album, but I had it on cassette for sure. The band was full of amazing players, and they showed off their skills too with the long jams. What really made an impact on me was when Ian Gillan delivered his trademark high screams. A wild man on the loose.

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

Easily one of the best pair of front men in any band, Richie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio. Richie I knew from Deep Purple, but I was really impressed by Dio's voice on this album. Very dynamic and strong. I really liked that the album had such a variation of songs. "Man on the Silver Mountain", "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" and the beautiful "Catch the Rainbow", all classics. Even though I never saw Richie and Ronnie together live, Rainbow's concerts were always amazing in the '80s. And what can you say about Richie. His work is always a guarantee for quality, skillful playing and great sense of melody. Deep Purple, Rainbow and Blackmore's Night. Three successful careers.

Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance (BEHERIT)
Hanoi Rocks - Self Destruction Blues Metallica - RTL Sarcofago - I.N.R.I. Blasphemy - Blood Upon the Altar GGFH - Disease

HANOI ROCKS - Self Destruction Blues (1982)

The first vinyl record I bought with my own savings. During the school summer vacation, I listened to Self Destruction Blues at my grandmother's home in Kuusamo on her old record player, over and over again. The sound was so sinister (compared to music I was used to back then). They were from Finland and with a rebellious attitude. I wanted to be a rock star, too, after hearing the album.

METALLICA - Ride the Lightning (1984)

My grandmother's farmhouse two years later after my teenage rock star awakening, listening to Metallica. I got my first electric guitar and a small amplifier as a birthday gift from my parents.

I wanted to learn play guitar and heavy metal.

SARCÓFAGO - I.N.R.I. (1987)

I had learned to play the guitar a bit and started my first band called Pseudochrist. This album from Brazilian Cogumelo was the game changer for my band to move from death to black metal. Underground masterpiece!"

BLASPHEMY - Blood upon the Altar (1989)

Technically not the album, but THE BEST DEMO tape ever released! Ross Bay Cemetery. The most wicked metal, fast and brutal!

G.G.F.H. - Disease (1993)

How to become ugly and cold? I turned to be a faceless techno bollocks.

Robert Vigna (IMMOLATION)
Van Halen - Fair Warning Iron Maiden - Powerslave Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith Metallica - Master of Puppets Dio - The Last in Line

Picking just five albums from my youth, much less only one from some of my favorite artists is certainly a challenge. However, here are five that came to mind and why they were an impact on me:

VAN HALEN - Fair Warning (1981)

Probably one of the earliest artists that excited me about music, along with the likes of AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc., was Van Halen, and their album Fair Warning. From the cover art, which for a child of 11 years was pretty dark/disturbing (if you have never seen the entire original piece, "The Maze" by William Kurelek, look it up!) to the music, of course! I remember getting this album for my birthday, on tape cassette along with my first Walkman personal cassette player with plug-in headphones (that was high-tech back then, haha!). I listened to this album relentlessly, the guitar work from Eddie Van Halen, ...the gritty feel of the music, that intro for the album opener "Mean Street", it all had me hooked from the beginning! All the musicianship on this album was amazing, but it was that dark tone that really drew me in. Great tracks like "Unchained" and the instrumental "Sunday Afternoon in the Park" were pretty damn dark for Van Halen now that I think about it. A true classic of a record!

IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave (1984)

I can't even begin to describe what an impact in general Iron Maiden had on influencing my passion to pursue music, but Powerslave is certainly one of my favorite albums from them. I remember when it first came out. We had a local flea market here in Yonkers every Sunday morning at the Horse Racing Track parking lot. Back then getting heavy metal records wasn't always so easy, you had to go to specialty shops or flea market vendors who carried such items. We heard Powerslave was out and found a couple of copies there. The artwork was amazing, as was to be expected from Maiden, but this one seemed to be of such a larger scale and was full of so much detail and the cardboard vinyl cover even had a raised texture to it which just made it that much cooler! Even more importantly was that they seemed to take the music to a new level, and it was even that much more epic. The dark overtones of "Powerslave" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" were awesome. The guitar work for me as always with Maiden, had so much emotion and feeling... the drums, the bass, Bruce's vocals, was all just epic. The opener "Aces High" and then "Two Minutes to Midnight" - just incredible!

I still have the "Powerslave" tour shirt, which is one of my favorites, with the mummified Eddie in chains. I learned so much of that album on guitar, would try to pick up the solos, etc. An absolute classic that I still listen to quite often and is always an "on-the-road" go to record when we travel on tour!!

JUDAS PRIEST - Defenders of the Faith (1984)

Priest was also a large influence on me when I was younger. Like Maiden, I loved their earlier records as well, but Defenders of the Faith was just one of those perfect albums. I believe it came out the same year as Powerslave actually, and although Priest had really started getting progressively heavier with Screaming for Vengeance, I felt Defenders of the Faith was even a sharper, heavier and more devastating! When I heard the opener "Freewheel Burning" I was hooked! And Halford's vocals were just sick! The speed in which he delivered some of the lyrics in parts of that song were really insane for that time! Just awesome guitar work... haunting, dark, intense... every song was a winner! I remember trying to learn all those songs on guitar as well! [*lol*] "The Sentinel", "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll", classics!! Like Iron Maiden, the guitar trade-offs and work was super inspiring and influential. Priest always had a much darker, ominous tone though for sure! Again, another metal classic!!

METALLICA - Master of Puppets (1986)

What else can be said about Metallica that hasn't been said already. As the previous artists I've mentioned, Metallica had a huge impact on me when I was younger. And while of course the two albums that preceded it were undoubtedly amazing, I am focusing on Master of Puppets. This record just solidified what they did with Ride the Lightning and to me was even heavier, more crafted and darker. From the haunting look of the cover art to a production that was just heavy as hell, this was a gem! Songs like "Leper Messiah", "Disposable Heroes" and the very dark instrumental "Orion" helped make this album the true classic it is. I was, of course, all about Metallica by the time this came out, but I remember getting this album and putting the vinyl on the record player and sitting with the lyrics, like I would always do with each new album, and just following along. For that time period it was just super heavy and so innovative, but musically diverse. The guitar work and smooth sound of the solos was something that I always loved and is always an inspiring when listening to this record.

DIO - The Last in Line (1984)

Another 1984 classic, Dio's The Last in Line was definitely a staple for me in inspiring my motivation to pursue music. My first live metal show was for the "Last in Line" tour. Family friends from Brooklyn, who were a little older than me, got me interested in bands like Manowar, Venom, Metallica, etc. They mentioned that Dio would be performing and invited me to go with them. It was an amazing experience and one of the early ones that really inspired me. The Last in Line cover art was dark, evil, haunting, like you were getting a glimpse of hell itself. Dio is of course a legend, and his voice and style are so unique. The guitar work was amazing. So many dark overtones and feels. The title track had that dark feel that fit the album art so well. Again, amazing musicianship all around!

So it looks like the mid-80s was personally a pretty inspirational time for me when it comes to metal. And I would say that these are the artists from where I drew most of my earliest guitar influences and inspiration. Of course, there are many, many more albums and artists, but you just asked for five, haha! I could go on forever, but I would say for the earliest these are some of the main ones for me for sure!!

Jon Corston (BEYOND DETH)
Iced Earth - Night of the Stormrider Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage DEVIN TOWNSEND - Ziltoid the Omniscient Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness Dark Tranquillity

The five albums that made me pick up a guitar and start writing music...

ICED EARTH - Night of the Stormrider (1991)

When I heard this for the first time, I knew instantly that it had the kind of precision and storytelling I would hope to achieve one day with my own songs.

FRANK ZAPPA - Joe's Garage (1979)

There are many albums I could have picked from him, but this one resonated with me the most. A great concept that was executed fantastically.

DEVIN TOWNSEND - Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007)

For being an album that he considers demo quality I absolutely loved it. Again, a good story and solid songwriting. My favorite of his.

IMMORTAL - Sons of Northern Darkness (2002)

This album further emphasized the kind of precision I wanted in my own playing. I feel it's their best and I go back to it often.

DARK TRANQUILLITY - Damage Done (2002)

This was my first taste of the "Gothenburg" sound and it started me on a journey to find more along with the Stockholm bands. Swedish death metal truly inspired me to escape the American thrash thing as a young musician.

Led Zeppelin - II Black Sabbath - Paranoid Judas Priest - Stained Class Iron Maiden - Killers Motörhead - Ace of Spades


When the bass came in at the top of "Whole Lotta Love" I knew at that moment that this was the instrument for me...

BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid (1970)

Extremely influential record that basically turned me toward the dark side!

JUDAS PRIEST - Stained Class (1978)

These guys took things a few steps further back then and really helped establish metal as a proper genre, so yes another incredibly important record for me and hopefully lots of others.

IRON MAIDEN - Killers (1981)

The prominent bass of Steve Harris was another extremely important influence on me back then, as well as this album's general heaviness.

MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades (1980)

Again, another killer record with lots of killer loud bass as well. Also, Lemmy had some distortion going on which was also quite eye-opening for a 17-year-old Danny.

Juan Garcia (EVILDEAD)
KISS - Alive! AC/DC - Highway to Hell Iron Maiden - Killers Judas Priest - Unleased the East Van Halen - Van Halen

There are so many studio albums that inspired me to learn to play guitar, including punk albums by Black Flag and Dead Kennedys. Studio releases by Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads are timeless. Also, groups like Scorpions with Uli Jon Roth and also Michael Schenker are incredible works of art. Here's a list off the top of my head the really inspired me to get serious about my journey into music:

KISS - Alive! (1975)

Iconic live album which made me want to pick up an electric guitar. Ace Frehley's guitar work is super catchy, original and electric! Very powerful songs and great vocals from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The song "Black Diamond" is an underrated classic.

AC/DC - Highway to Hell (1979)

The rawness of the songs' attitude. I got to see AC/DC live with Bon Scott and it was amazing! This studio release broke the barriers between traditional rock and metal for me.

IRON MAIDEN - Killers (1981)

Such amazing songwriting, and a very original NWOBHM album. I really love the combination of Steve Harris, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray on these timeless classics; also Clive Burr's drumming is very inspiring with attitude. Paul DiAnno's vocals are fuckin' great!

JUDAS PRIEST - Unleashed in the East (1979)

Glenn Tipton's and KK Downing's live guitar tone on this release is legendary, along with Rob Halford's vocals which are out of this world. Stand out tracks "Sinner" and "Diamonds and Rust," actually the whole album rules!

VAN HALEN - Van Halen (1978)

Eddie Van Halen's guitar work is so stellar. At the time I had never heard anything like it, and it inspired me to create my own style and be original.

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