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15 Under-Appreciated Classics Of 80’s American Heavy Metal

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Savage Grace – Master Of Disguise (1985)

Savage Grace - Master Of Disguise | Releases | Discogs

Savage Grace are one of those bands that get a bum deal, acknowledged as highly influential by their peers, yet left to rot by the record-buying public. A situation that is grossly unfair and one listen to Master Of Disguise should explain why.

If lightning-fast speed/heavy/power metal tickles your fancy this will leave you practically giddy and fans of Helloween, Agent Steel and Exciter should consider Master Of Disguise a must-own album.

Master Of Disguise is accomplished NWOBHM-inspired-thrash that should have been massive, make amends for your ambivalence and grab a copy.…NOW!


Seduce – Seduce (1985)

Seduce – Seduce (2002, CD) - Discogs

Highly melodic, Seduce seductively seduced (too much?) with a heady mix of Sunset Strip glam and American power metal muscle….and hairspray, obviously!

Forming in Detroit in the early 80’s, these Motor City mavericks specialised in ballsy heavy metal while maintaining just enough of a commercial sheen to appeal to the masses. Sadly though, things didn’t quite go to plan! If you haven’t heard of them – and only true 80’s metal aficionados probably have – then the fact that Seduce didn’t climb metal’s heady heights will comes as no surprise… but one listen to their self titled debut will have you questioning why!

These guys had the chops to make it big and Seduce remains a consistently exciting and energetic 80’s American heavy metal album from a decade that churned out albums of this quality at a frightening rate.


Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory (1986)

Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory (CD) - Discogs

Few bands could rival the metal perfection engineered by Crimson Glory on this, their debut album, and its equally accomplished follow up Transcendence (1988). Bombastic, heavily charismatic and enlivened by the outstanding vocals of frontman Midnight….Crimson Glory had it all!

Masterful musicianship and a theatricality that left even Queensrÿche flailing, the likes of “Azrael” remain mind blowing; a true classic of 80’s American heavy metal overflowing with enough ideas and perfect riffs to fill an entire album.

A band that should have experienced the success of the Maiden’s and Priest’s of this world, Crimson Glory‘s footnote standing in the annals of 80’s American heavy metal history amounts to nothing short of a disgrace.


Heir Apparent – Graceful Inheritance (1986)

Heir Apparent - Graceful Inheritance | Releases | Discogs

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 80’s American heavy 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” remain obvious to hear.


Fifth Angel – Fifth Angel (1986)

Fifth Angel by Fifth Angel (Album, Heavy Metal): Reviews, Ratings, Credits,  Song list - Rate Your Music

Fifth Angel were the American power/heavy metal band who had it all yet sadly remained virtually unnoticed by the majority of metal fans. Neither hair metal nor thrash metal, Fifth Angel were simply an accessible heavy metal band in the purist terms; having more in common with the likes of Dio than the prevailing trends of the day.

With their self-titled album, their clean and catchy sound should have seen them break into the mainstream and while pop-metal would (sometimes) be a fair description, the hard-hitting anthemic likes of “In The Fallout” and “Call Out The Warning” distanced them far from the glam-metal shenanigans of Poison, Cinderella & Warrant etc.

Fans of the heavier moments of Ratt, Skid Row and Quiet Riot should invest in Fifth Angel (if you haven’t already) as these guys were a seriously pristine act with a quality debut album to back up the superlatives!

About Chris Jennings (1985 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

1 Comment on 15 Under-Appreciated Classics Of 80’s American Heavy Metal

  1. Oh, if we had a day! MANY great American 80’s metal bands… Among the top three however would have to be Legend “From The Fjords.” SOOOO ahead of it’s time (yes, I know it was released in 1979), it created a somewhat epic style of proto metal that incorporated Viking themes while Heavy Load was barely in existence and Amon Amarth was years away from getting started! Throw in there Agent Steel, Omen, Helstar, Hirax, Cities, Hammerwitch, New York, Abbattoir, Piledriver (Canadian to a degree, but with American members), Exorcist, I could go on and on!!!

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