Death – Leprosy
Emerging at a time when death metal was still barely in nappies, Leprosy was the next logical step after the neanderthal bludgeoning of Scream Bloody Gore had laid waste to thrash back in 1987.
Notably progressive when compared to Death‘s solid debut, the late, great, Chuck Schuldiner upped the ante in every department on this sophomore effort. With a vast improvement in songwriting, Death were already leaving their peers in the dust, and Leprosy‘s 8 tracks of sublime brutality arguably defined the genre before it had even begun.
Quite simply an album whose importance to the genre cannot be underestimated.
*While we’re on the subject of important death metal records….*
Possessed – Seven Churches
Possessed took a cut and paste approach to their music by incorporating the viciousness of Venom, the speed of Motörhead and the thrashing, atonal guitars of early Exodus and Slayer, eventually stumbling upon an innovative and primitive sound which allied thrash with a sound so extreme it was yet to be officially named.
“The Exorcist”, “Burning In Hell” and “Seven Churches” are held together by Jeff Beccara’s unholy roar, simultaneously aping Lemmy from Motörhead, yet producing a guttural tone that would go on to be the bread and butter of death metal bands the world over.
Possessed take the honour of inventing death metal on their debut album. While this is constantly up for debate, we’re standing by it; no Seven Churches, no death metal.
Oh, and the last track on Seven Churches is called “Death Metal”, that’s probably quite prescient!
Sword – Metalized
Combat Records may have been home to some very big names but they also provided sanctuary to cult curio’s that deserved to reach a wider audience.
Sword’s Metalized took the sound of Saxon, Accept and Dio and ran with it. Not in a different direction per se but they certainly carved their own niche in an overcrowded genre; even if the world failed to take heed!
Neither thrash, power or speed metal, Metalized was simply a traditional metal album, built on effective riffs, convincing vocals and massive hooks. “Stoned Again” had that melodic Megadeth sound years before Dave Mustaine courted the mainstream while “Runaway” opens like the classic Maiden track Bruce and the boys failed to write! The remainder of the album is equally as flamboyant, fun and frantic, with riff after riff supplying the kind of thrill only quality 80’s metal albums provide.
100% heavy metal; there’s no better recommendation than that!