21. Bad Brains – I Against I
Bad Brains epitomised diversity and I Against I is a masterpiece, regardless of which decade it surfaced in. One of those albums where the stars just seem to align, Bad Brains arguably peaked with a scathing and exhausting collection of violent, visceral compositions led by the instantly recognisable “House of Suffering“.
Radical and ridiculously focused, the funky innovative rhythms of Dr Know and the vocal gymnastics of H.R. somehow resulted in a warm, yet blisteringly raw, anomaly when it came to 1986 releases.
Bad Brains were operating in their own world and while the influences punk, funk, soul, reggae and metal loomed large they forged their own sound entirely, a feat precious few band ever achieve!
20. Metal Church – The Dark
Combining traditional metal with thrash, Metal Church had a powerhouse frontman in the shape of David Wayne and riffs most bands would skin their own mothers for. Their self titled debut is an undisputed classic and follow-up, The Dark, almost hit those heady heights.
Featuring all-time ‘Church’ classics “Ton Of Bricks”, “Start The Fire”, the intimidating power ballad – and minor hit – that was “Watch The Children Pray” and the creepy title track, The Dark may have been one of the more melodic thrash releases of ’86 but it was also one of the finest and the most accomplished.
Side 2 may have failed to maintain the velocity of the ‘5 for 5’ hit rate of side 1 but there’s no escaping the fact that Metal Church and The Dark were a monumental influence on the burgeoning thrash scene.
19. Heir Apparent – Graceful Inheritence
Heir Apparent’s debut album may have been virtually ignored by their native Americans but Europe lapped it up, drawn in by a majestic sound – not attributable to the mix which is uniformly terrible it has to be said – which recalled the early sounds of Fates Warning, Queensrÿche and the NWOBHM.
Historically, this underground treasure of U.S. power metal has much to offer. Ahead of its time and revered amongst aficionados, its humble beginnings (self funded and without label help) are writ large but the songwriting nous and accomplished musicianship on tracks such as the instrumental “R.I.P (Live)” and the delicately immersive “Keeper Of The Reign” is obvious.