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5 Often Under-Appreciated Classics Of 80’s American Heavy Metal (Part 3)

This feature is here to highlight those 80’s American heavy metal classics which, we feel, deserve far more love….and this is just PART 3, there’s plenty more quality 80’s American heavy metal to come!

Presented in order of release as opposed to any kind of ranking….

Omen – Battle Cry (1984)

Battle Cry, the debut album from American heavy metallers Omen, announced the arrival of a band who had all the facets in their arsenal to be a powerhouse of 80s metal (American or otherwise).  

Alas, all-conquering Omen did not turn out to be, with the band solidifying their place as cult heroes without ever quite making their mark on the wider international scene. Which was a crying shame when you consider Battle Cry was built upon NWOBHM’s penchant for huge choruses and fantasy themes, alongside the blood and thunder of early doors thrash (“Death Rider” was the equal of anything released by Metallica, Slayer etc at the time).

An album that has no doubt remained in steady rotation for any fan of 80s metal, Omen‘s Battle Cry remains a pivotal moment in the early 80s metal scene.

Fates Warning – The Spectre Within (1985)

Fates Warning – The Spectre Within (1985, Vinyl) - Discogs

Fates Warning’s second album was terminally unfashionable and yet its duelling guitars – with more than a few echoes of Iron Maiden – and layered vocals somehow took a disparate sound and made it work…..and no more so than on the outstanding “The Apparition”. 

John Arch’s banshee wail may be an acquired taste but there’s no denying the quality of the riffs, leads and the epic nature of this semi-progressive, heavy metal prize.

The band would improve immeasurably on their next album, Awaken The Guardian, but The Spectre Within is a collection strong enough not to be dismissed as a mere curio.

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.

Tyrant – Too Late To Pray (1987)

Tyrant – Too Late To Pray (2017, 30th Anniversary Edition, CD) - Discogs

With a lot (and we mean a LOT!) of bands adopting the moniker of Tyrant, you can be forgiven for passing these guys by. However, this is one tyrant you shouldn’t mind bowing down to as these Californian heavy metallers released a monster of an album in 1987….and Too Late To Pray was its name!

Too Late To Pray remains a colossus of underground 80’s American heavy metal. So, so much heavier than the majority of bands found on this list, Tyrant were the antithesis of glam and instead took their inspiration from VenomWitchfinder General (there’s a sprinkling of doom scattered throughout) and the bombast of classic Judas Priest.

Firmly rooted in the sounds of the most aggressive NWOBHM and the filthiest speed metal the 80’s had to offer, Tyrant delivered the purist heavy metal madness imaginable and they should have been huge!

Riot – Thundersteel (1988) 

Riot – ThunderSteel • The Privilege Of Power (2013, Vinyl) - Discogs

Trust Riot (aka Riot V) to deliver a balls-to-the wall metal album in an era dominated by thrash. And, trust Riot to outshine practically all those thrash albums with an album that bled molten-hot metal like no other!

If Riot were attempting to outshine Judas Priest on Thundersteel then they succeeded. There are times – particularly on the title track and the ridiculously brilliant “Fight Or Fall” – when you’d be forgiven for thinking that Thundersteel was on repeat play when Priest were recording Painkiller, such is the hyper-speed machismo of this relentless  explosion of an album.

Home to a barrage of blistering riffs, Tony Moore’s air raid siren (and very Halford-esque) vocals and skilled songwriting, this seemingly forgotten classic was one of the finest metal albums of the decade and deserves to be regarded as such!

Also in this Series:

5 Often Under-Appreciated Classics Of 80’s American Heavy Metal (Part 1)

5 Often Under-Appreciated Classics Of 80’s American Heavy Metal (Part 2)

About Chris Jennings (1986 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/

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