From the Start … First five copied, bought or stolen metal albums.

29 min read

It’s another very special Sunday at BAZ’s HQ. We dived deep back in the past to our start. Today’s publication is dedicated to our first five metal records – copied, bought or stolen…Whatever it brought us to the favourite music and changed our lives forever. Check our beginning some decades ago. Do you remember what were your first five metal records to own? Yeah…sweet memories, right?! 🙂

Enjoy the music and your Sunday!

MARK’S First Five Metal Albums

Here are my first 5 metal albums that I owned from back in the day. As incredible as it may seem, I started off at the deep end when I was 16 in 1993; with mainly death metal, then black metal, and eventually worked my way backwards to different genres of rock and metal over a period of time. However, the biggest change was summer 1994 when I first discovered Mike Oldfield’s ‘Ommadawn’ – because until that point only power chords and strepsil sponsored vocals would do. But that’s another more

NAPALM DEATH – Utopia Banished, 1992 Earache
Source: pre recorded cassette
By this point in their career, Napalm Death had changed their line up substantially with key ex-band members forming what became household metal legends in the own right with the likes of Godlflesh, Carcass, and Cathedral respectively. By album number four and when I encountered them, ‘Utopia Banished’ was a sharp jarring shock to the system that sounded invigorating and fresh – having come from a background of getting bored of listening to techno and acid house. The bellowing roar of Barney Greenway sounded like a call to arms calling bullshit on the world, while Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado assaulted you ears with buzz saw guitars underpinned by drums that sounded like they could destroy disused warehouses. Enjoyed it that much that I bought it from a friend for a couple of quid while he slowly updated his collection to CD’s.

CARCASS – Heartwork, 1993 Earache
Source: Pre recorded cassette
Autumn 1993. I had begun sixth form college and was welcomed with a college grant to the tune of around 300 quid for the first term. My mind started whirring and I thought to myself “What the hell, man? THIS much money to spend on stationery and reading materials?”. Naturally, the siren calls of  Scene of the Crime, Penny Lane Records (R.I.P.) and HMV beckoned me with open arms to purchase more musical delights. After reading album liner notes for inspiration (when Windows 3.x was new, and only educational establishments had internet connected computers), I discovered some friends of Napalm Death in a band called Carcass, and brilliantly they had a new album out. Quite simply, melodic death metal par excellence that practically needs to introduction that inspired slews of imitators. An album so jam packed with superb tunes that the goodness was practically falling off the tape, and has stood the test of time admirably.


PARADISE LOST – Icon, 1993 Music For Nations
Source: Pre recorded cassette
Album number two from my first college grand spending spree was Paradise Lost’s ‘Icon’, which by that point (again, undiscovered by me at that point until then) had refined their doom metal sound to an almost radio friendly Gothic inspired doom. Coming across like Yorkshire’s answer to James Hetfield, Nick Holmes’ powerful vocals were like an epiphany with huge sing along anthems such as ‘Embers Fire’, and ‘Remembrance’, while tracks such as ‘Colossal Rains’ featured soaring yet gloomy solo guitars that was absolute brilliance. At the end of the year in December, Paradise Lost and Sepultura became my first concert  I attended at Liverpool’s Royal Court. I left with ringing ears, my first mosh pit bruises, and a hoarse voice due to singing my bollocks off to the likes of ‘As I Die’. Awesome. Which leads me neatly onto…


SEPULTURA – Chaos A.D., 1993 Roadrunner
Source: Pre recorded cassette
Metal historians and the ‘The Old Guard’ would argue that ‘Chaos A.D.’ is the point where Sepultura had “sold out” and released their version of Metallica’s self titled black album. However, 16 year old me didn’t really care about this and found this album to be a hugely compelling and exciting. The raging clipped tones of Max Cavalera, along with groove metal orientated riffs was a stylistic departure combined with a new Afro-Brazilian drumming style exploded onto the scene drawing in droves of new metal fans, including myself. The albums lyrical content featured social political tones of war, famine, pollution, and the decay of modern civilisation that added to the suitably grimy tone of the album that the metal world had never seen before. Despite the cynics complaining of their stylistic shift, it’s a timeless classic.

METALLICA  – Ride The Lightning, 1984 Megaforce
Source: Pre recorded cassette
After a bunch of albums that were more or less brand new releases by the time yours truly got into metal, the final installation in this ‘first five’ was at that point in 1993 a year away from being a decade old. By this point, Metallica were already multi millionaire sell outs that had performed various large stadium tours around most places in the world; driving around in exotic sports cars while snorting vast quantities of Columbian marching power from the bodies of naked supermodels (probably, anyway I digress). Unknown to me, this was a snapshot in time when Metallica were a young band and had much to prove to the world, with a fire in their belly and a swagger in their step. A thrash metal classic that has been mostly unmatched, spiralling and mind bogglingly complex in song structure with break neck riffs that gained huge inspiration from Cliff Burton’s vast knowledge of musical theory – that moved a ham fisted thrash metal band into God-tier musicians.

Goth Mark

EMIL: From the Start

Growing up I had access, from a young age, to my parents large collection of vinyl LPs, tapes and reels of music. From the rock and roll of the 50s to the British invasion of the 60s, to the hard rock, folk and even disco of the 70s. No respected collection would skip on: The King, Johnny Cash, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Who, Yes, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat, Kiss, Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, etc, etc. Building large music collections was no easy feat behind the Iron Curtain. Prior to 1980 procuring western released music was difficult, but not impossible, in the Eastern Block. Original LP pressings and cassette tapes made their way into the country, where they were copied to analog tapes or reels, over and over again. People would feed on music, perhaps dreaming and longing about a better future …read more

Starting around 1980, the communist dictatorial regime imposed new, stricter rules in regards to the western music finding it’s way into Romania, my country of origin. Tapes and LPs would be confiscated at border crossings, or by the postal customs. Into the 80s very few tapes and LPs made it into the country, leaving the music enthusiasts stuck with even fewer options: limited access to vinyl reissues from other communist state run labels such as the Bulgarian Balkanton (Балкантон) or the Russian Melodiya (Μелодия). The state run Romanian music label, Electrecord, was only allowed to release domestic music, and that under a drastic censorship. The most “viable” outlet to learn about newer western music were a couple of radio stations with platforms aimed against the communist regime, which also had dedicated music programs. The stations, Voice of America, and Radio Free Europe (in Germany) were both transmitting on SW (short wave band), nowhere near ideal for music listening, and further obstructed by the communist’s deliberate RF interferences. And if that wasn’t enough, listeners were living with the fear of being caught and severely punished: jailed or worst.

It was on a Monday night, in 1987, when I first heard Bon Jovi during a music program aired by Voice of America. The program’s curator always offered to mail tapes to the listeners upon written requests. A friend of mine and I, sent a letter and, lo and behold, thru some sort of a miracle, a few months latter we received in the mail a 90 minutes analog audio tape, with BON JOVI’s 1986 “Slippery When Wet” on side A, and EUROPE’s “The Final Countdown” on the B side. It is needless to say that the tape was immediately copied and played to death. This 90 minutes tape was the game changer that firmly cemented my love for rock music. In all fairness, I did purchased a lot of domestic rock music on LP, during this period of time, but we shall leave that for another time and discussion, and focus on some international releases that I’ve bought or copied back then, with stealing not being an option. Having heard Metallica and Iron Maiden on these radio shows, left me with a desire for faster, heavier music. Another classmate, with relatives in Germany, offered to make me a copy of his recently smuggled “Keeper of the Seven Keys – part I & II” cassettes by, then up and coming, HELLOWEEN. That resulted in another 90 minutes tape, with the last 3 or 4 minutes of “Keeper of the Seven Keys” missing on side B, due to the album being longer than 45 minutes! Arghhh! With my newly discovered love for speed metal, in the beginning of 1989 I had the opportunity to buy a bootleg tape of BLIND GUARDIAN’s debut album “Battalions of Fear” (released in 1988). A couple of months later, I’ve made my first metal LP purchase: a Bulgarian copy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s RISING FORCE “Odyssey”, also released in 1988. This one was bought from a girl neighbor, who received the LP as a gift, but wasn’t really interested in it. Another great opportunity came by in the summer of 1989, when I was offered to buy a secondhand cassette copy of MOTORHEAD’s 1981 “No Sleep `’til Hammersmith”

These are just a handful of albums that I either purchased or copied, during my early teens, and under the difficult circumstances faced with. Other albums were copied or received as gifts during the late 80s. Once in high school, at the end of 1989, I befriended a pack of metalheads, including some which were older, and the whole tape trading and copying reached much higher levels, leading to … well … obsession. After the political events at the very end of 1989, and the fall of the Iron Curtain, by 1990 the local markets exploded with rock and metal albums, some original, but mostly pirate, bootleg tapes, which included both mainstream and deep underground releases. Access to LPs, but mainly cassette tapes and CDs facilitated the ability to copy music to tapes and Xeroxing the album covers in black & white. Shortly into the 90s I had the privilege to start working for a local FM radio station. There we had a working relationship with BBC radio in the UK, where on regular basis crates of promotional CDs were received. Access to quality pro-audio equipment allowing for great quality copies on (type II) Maxwell or TDK tapes. My personal music collection flourishing – the vast majority of these tapes and vinyl records are still with me. Upon moving to the United States, in the mid 90s, my main collecting focus went towards vinyl, available for dirt cheap at that point, and audio CDs, which were on a booming upright trajectory at the time. The rest is history…


Used by permission. © 2018 by Emil Chiru / UHF


COUNT VLAD: The Beginning

The beginning of a lifetime journey. A music which changed my life forever and it could never be the same again. So many memories, so much sweet pain. And yes, those first records and everything after. I decided to present here an extract of a publication I did on my personal blog about The Start. A part of the story about my first year in the so beloved music.

We had a lot of tapes at home compiled with songs from various artists, mainly 80s hits tunes (Modern Talking, Alpha Ville etc), Beatles, etc. I had already heard tunes by Scorpions “Holiday”, Foreigner “Urgent”, Queen “I want to breakthrough”, Status Quo “In the Army Now”. Loved them so much. In June 1987 I heard Final Countdown for the first time and it struck me. Listened to the whole album in 1988 but couldn’t copy it (because I didn’t have where). In 87 I got Billy Idol poster (heard a song too), and in 1988 Iron Maiden poster (Live after Death; but no tunes yet…). In general I loved a lot to play all tunes on my walkman from all those 80s disco tapes at home or going on vacation with my parents. Dig into artistsread more

I remember it was very early October 1989. I was 11 and I was in 5th grade at school when I asked a schoolmate for a favour. My schoolmate was wearing some boots and patches on his jacket, had black and white photos of some long-hair guys with him, and all the time was drawing fantastic band logos! His bigger brother was among the most metal guys in the whole school and I asked whether he could draw me some band’s logos. I was so attracted to this stuff, that I really wanted it so badly. I had seen some of the logos drawn on walls on the street, some drawn with pen on jackets, some on back patches. Around this time the metal music was banned officially, the metal guys were considered the biggest scumbags, and it was very underground – extremely difficult to find. No music business, no decent records market, only pirate stuff. After a weekend, my friend brought me two sheets of a notebook with my gems. After this day everything changed. I began to draw logos myself, asked my parents to buy me boots. Just before New Years eve I had my first Metal Hammer. Bought it in Greece where we spent the holidays. Also I was bought a nice pair of white high training shoes, very popular in the metal society by that time. Ten days after we had at home simple two tapes cassette recorder, but that was enough!

It was maybe 20-21 of March 1990 when I re-recorded Judas Priest’s Live 87 and some cut version of Kings of metal by Manowar. These were my first full metal records to own myself. Manowar suddenly became the greatest band on the world for me. In two weeks I was bought also some re-recorded tape of Fighting the world with good quality.

In the last ten days of March I managed to re-record WASP debut album, SDI debut album, Iron Maiden – Somewhere in time. WASP and SDI were something extraordinary for me. Loved them so much. I felt the music entering into my blood, I felt the excitement. Still these two albums are essential for me. Love them a lot. Also I was bought tapes of Dio – Last in Line and Yngwie Malmsteen – Odyssey (Балкантон releases). Plus tapes of the most popular Bulgarian bands from the BG Rock series – Ahat, Control, Era. I remember that at school, in Music subject classes we were allowed to bring our music and to listen to it. We played these BG Rock bands vinyls back then. (all Balkanton/Балкантон releases)

We had an food and electricity norms – the country was so poor that we had electricity for few hours and then one or two hours it was shut down. I listened on batteries on my cassette recorder. There were coupons for the bread and main foods, and if somebody wanted to buy it, he had to stand on a long queue at 5 o’clock in the morning. The old regime has just been gone. It was 1990, a fantastic year, and I was 12.

Count Vlad

HARALD’S First Five Metal Albums

Digging into my record collection for this feature has not been an easy task, some albums stands out in my youth, but making a timeline isn`t always easy. Borrowing, copying, and so forth makes the memory kind of blur. But I offer you the first 5 albums, bought with my own money, that journey started in October 1979. Calling it Metal is a stretch but back then Hard Rock and Metal went hand in hand. read more

1. AC/DC – Highway to Hell July 27. 1979
Clearly remember buying this with my own money in 1979 right after my sixth birthday. The cover sold me I guess, being on the highway to hell, an omen of what to come, even though only musically. Still love this album, I believe it is because it is my first, never went back to AC/DC, they just don’t rock my boat, like they do to millions of others.


2. KISS – Dynasty May 23. 1979
Buying this is a few weeks later, well like most kids of that time, it`s all about the cover! The masks looked so cool. This Cassette survived a lot and is still in my collection, a crack in the cover, but hey it is 39 years old. This was my first encounter with Kiss, I was a major fan for a few years. Collecting the Kiss cards, like baseball cards of sorts, but way cooler, covering the walls with posters and so forth.

3. DEEP PURPLE – Burn February 1974
Knowing Deep Purple as a kid through my brother’s albums, I didn`t think too much of them, until this album caught my attention. My love for David Coverdale started with this album, and later I became familiar with Deep Purple and their massive discography. Finally got to see them live in 2006, but that is another story, but Deep Purple is a band I still revisit on a regular basis.



4. JUDAS PRIEST – Stained Glass February 1978
Stained glass was my first Judas Priest record, nowadays it is not the one I think it is their best, but records you listened to in your earliest years stay with you in a very special way, in your backbone so to speak. Adding allegedly subliminal messages, influence on later Speed and Thrash metal, it is an important album. Judas Priest has surely had their ups and downs, but giants of metal without a doubt.

5. BLACK SABBATH – Mob Rules Utgitt November 81
My Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands, a forefather of all that is metal, yet to my surprise digging through my collection: Mob Rules is the first Sabbath record I personally got. My first introduction to the late Ronnie James Dio as well. I still think this record stands out I their discography in a very positive way. Arguably Black Sabbath`s different incarnations could qualify as different bands all together, in my opinion every chapter in the history of these titans has its own charm and unquestionable quality.



GRIM PRINCESS First Five Metal Records

I’m sorry for what I’m about to inflict on our blessed readers, but you see, I grew up in a small Scottish village for much of my teens.  The nearest decent record shops were thirty miles away, and so I was stuck with Woolworths in nearby Montrose most of the time (UK readers will understand. This is a shop that mainly specialized in pick n mix and CD singles).  Transplanted from Kent, England, when I was 11, I was immediately a misfit on account of my accent and, admittedly, my complete and utter weirdness.  I was geographically and socially isolated, and my only contact with the world outside my village – because these were pre-internet times – was my subscription to Kerrang! magazine.  Without access to the music described therein, I had to go on appearances alone, and plastered my bedroom walls with bands I’d never more

But one day, my magazine arrived with a free CD attached, a resume of latest releases.  One of the songs was Metallica’s ‘Ain’t My Bitch.’  It was 1996 and Load had just come out.  I was blown away with the heaviness.  I was twelve years old, and after growing out of my Britpop reverie I’d been into Green Day, The Offspring, Nirvana, Hole – Hole, above all things.  Courtney Love was the most beautiful thing my childlike eyes had ever seen.  But this Metallica song was different.  Perhaps it was one of the first guitar-oriented things I’d heard.  Little did I know, at this point, what a point of departure (or perhaps, a further departure) Load was for Metallica.  I just enjoyed it.  It was a gateway record for me.  Buying Garage, Inc. a few years later when that was released gave me a massive education in metal, as I’m sure it did for many who weren’t directly involved in the scene and needed to be thrown a bone.

This was the mid-90s, so times were bad for all the good bands.  Being completely oblivious to this fact, I then set about getting into Iron Maiden, and bought The X Factor in Montrose.  Again, having no point of reference, I thought it was simply mind-blowing, particularly ‘The Sign of the Cross’ (I stand by this today).  Within about a year, I had The Best of the Beast, and began copying tapes owned by the guitarist in a local band, the only other metalheads I knew of.  My reaction upon hearing songs such as ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ for the first time after comparative dross such as ‘Man on the Edge’ was just… oh.  But I wasn’t crestfallen for too long: yes, I was appalled by Virtual XI, but by the time I was 16 Brave New World was out, and those were brighter times.  I still believe The X Factor to have many good tracks, but Bruce and Adrian are non-negotiables for me.

Megadeth were my next album, but again, no classics were to be found.  I got hold of Cryptic Writings when it was released, and I still maintain it was a decent record.  It doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of Peace Sells… of course (which has got to be in my top three albums of all time), but it is solid.  Risk was a bit more problematic, but since then they’ve been on great form.  2017’s Dystopia was epic, and I have every expectation they’ll maintain their upwards trajectory after that 90s blip that was sadly all too common with many of our favourite bands.


It all changed for me soon after.  Marilyn Manson had become a Kerrang! poster boy by this point, and eventually I got Antichrist Superstar to see if the music really was as shocking as the media made out.  At a time when I was being heavily bullied at school for not being as conventionally appealing as the Spice Girls lookalikes among my peer group, Manson’s studied ugliness spoke to me and eventually became my manifesto.  Reader, I’m not ashamed that Marilyn Manson is part of my journey towards blacker things.  I’m not even ashamed that my favourite album of his is Eat Me Drink Me.  He’s at his best when he’s stripped back and working one-on-one with accomplished outsiders who can bring out something different in him.  On EMDM this was Swedish godlike creature Tim Skold (whose solo work you need to check out); on the most recent two records it’s been TV and film composer Tyler Bates.  Now that Bates is back to focusing on his own career I’m slightly concerned, especially as his absence in the touring band has left a big hole (but props here to drummer Gil Sharone, who is quite simply one of the best in the industry); but Manson’s got good business sense and I’m sure whatever he does next will pique my interest.

In 1998 I started looking for darker things to listen to, as if to show myself that something beautiful could come out of the darkness I was experiencing in my own life.  Enter Cradle of Filth.  In 1998 Cruelty and the Beast came out, and I’m still convinced it’s one of the best concept albums of all time.  Cradle of Filth were my route into exploring other symphonic black metal bands, and at length I dropped the symphonic (Septicflesh and Carach Angren aside).  The Filth lost their way a little bit after 2000’s great Midian, but last year’s Cryptoriana was their best since then (check out ‘Wester Vespertine’).  I’m not sure when the 20th anniversary edition of Cruelty will be out, since they’re now cutting it a bit fine time-wise, but I’ll welcome the opportunity to revisit it.


Grim Princess [Jordan]

THE KEY KEEPER: When the space in my house disappeared…

The first 5 albums… Well, well…
I decided to do the 5 first albums bought… The reason is not that i’m ashamed of my past, nop. I’m proud of what I lived and what I learned with it. The reason is just because I do not remember the first stuff that I started to record on tape, lol. I remember that time, the stores, at least the specialized in the world of metal, only 30km (+/-) from my home in the big city. I had a small instruments store near me that also sold some records. Sometimes several months to arrive something new, LOL. I remember when we had money to buy plenty of tapes to record everything we could, cause the word was METAl, we didn’t care if it was, Thrash, Heavy, Death, Speed, Black, Grind, etc… We just want to dub it and listen like maniacs. EhEh read more

Luckily I met a few persons (in school and some, out of school) who had zines, radio shows, and some bands. That helped me a lot to know more bands and started to do tape trading. Good old times and we didn’t had much money, just a few in the pocket from some part-time work or small jobs we did, just to had money to buy tapes or sometimes (when was possible) a record.
That was OUR internet and OUR own way to download music and our life. Ahahahahahahahahah. It’s so easy today… But that is another talk. So… As I said in the beginning, I will just talk about the first 5 albums bought… Not demos… Albums… 

SEPULTURA –  “Beneath The Remains” LP
Got this album from a friend who was selling everything because he was moving to another country. I gave him the money and after that I helped him to drink and eat the “money” in the nearest “Tasca” (Tasca is a Portuguese word for cheap and sometimes filthy places that sell wine and beer,amongs some traditional food and snacks) I almost forgot the LP there after many beers and snacks- Ahahahah



Mötley Crüe – Decade of Decadence ’81-’91 2LP
I saw this in some traditional Portuguese music store in Lisbon for sell and I still think they didn’t know what they had there because they were anti hardrock/metal music and to all persons listening modern music. They were very unhappy with the music distributor. Got it for a very good price and I remember with the rest of the money I had in the pocket, I bought more two demos from two Portuguese bands in another store. Happy day, with just a few and simple things.



DIO – “Diamonds” LP
I know that is a compilation, but that time I didn’t. lol
I remember looking to the cover and seeing the name DIO there, My eyes starting to shine and want to jump and stopped because I only had money for one LP and I saw other things… the psychological struggle that went inside my head. lol. 
Dio – 1 / The other band – 0



SADUS – “Chemical Exposure” LP
In one of the tours in Lisbon and looking for records in the stores. I found a second-hand record store. It was from an old guy and almost bald. LOL. His nickname was “Old Strauss”. It was inside in one small mall in one sub, sub, sub-basement. Very small one. That was the true underground. LOL. I bought it because I heard some guys talking about it. I didn’t know anything concerning the band. When I arrived home… Wonderful. Lucky guy I was. lol




FLOTSAM AND JETSAM – “No Place For Disgrace” LP
I saw this LP in the “Old Strauss” store, that old crazy bastard had many many good things. I asked him to listen to this album since I had the first album recorded on tape and I would like to hear a bit. So he did. Listen some good Thrash Metal and talking a few (Sometimes about porn, Old Strauss was addicted to porn movies). Taking some notes on my notebook (Not the porn movies, well a few notes ok?!?!), A REAL notebook on paper. ahahaha. A list of future and/or possible buying. Ahahahahahah


The Key Keeper

Note: Now that I end my words about the above albums, and I’m looking to all my LP, CD, tapes… I’m not so sure if those were my first 5 albums bought and many memories are coming to my head. Anyway, my list will stay like this… In the past, when I started to work, The “Old Strauss” store was one of the obligatory stops, among a few others, that I did during several years every first weekend of every month.

TOM: First 5 metal albums…

Throughout my life music has been a backdrop where I can look back and say “ok when I was that age, I was there and listening to that, and when I was that age I was there and listening to that”. When it comes to appreciating metal, it was a gradually escalation for me through the gateway drugs of Sonic Youth and Manic Street Preachers, through Jane’s Addiction and grunge bands, before I was ready to view metal as more than guys in long hair and leather jackets being silly. My memory has more holes than the roads of Rome, but as best as I can piece together the following are the first 5 metal albums that I took possession of one way or another, bought, copied or stolen. read more

SOUNDGARDEN – “Badmotorfinger” (1991)
Badmotorfinger wasn’t the first Soundgarden album I bought but it’s the only one of their albums I’m adding to my list, because it is, to me, their only truly “metal” album. Produced by Terry Date, who at the time had already produced Pantera’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’ and would go on to produce their next three, the album is a muscular procession of stomping drums, with Matt Cameron’s peerless flourishes and fills, overdriven bass and guitars, and Chris Cornell in full shrieking banshee mode fitting it all together. Many a stoned evening did I spend under the spell of Clive Barker and the Ouroboros, with this album as a chaser. Now ‘The Great And Secret Show’ and this album are utterly fused together in my mind. The dark, crushing, but melodic barrage from the opening call and response guitars of ‘Rusty Cage’ to the doomy, wailing finale of ‘New Damage’ hooked me from start to finish. From the morose, stomping ‘Outshined’, to the ominous, droning ‘Mind Riot’, to the galloping, jerking ‘Drawing Flies’, I still find myself singing along with every song. This is the album that turned me around to metal.

KILLING JOKE – “Pandemonium” (1994)
Possibly my favourite band of all time, the influence of Killing Joke over dark and heavy music across the past 30 years is oft repeated, but it wasn’t till ’94 that the band really went into full metal attack mode, with this full-blooded, chugging, bellowing, industrial tinged séance. From a career of repeated brilliance ‘Pandemonium’ doesn’t even make my top 5 KJ albums, but still it tramples over the competition of the time. Geordie Walker will never grace you with a solo, but you will bow down at the altar of his fluid, angular guitar lines. Usually Geordie’s guitars twist and insinuate their way across a marching, pummelling rhythm section; on this album he often sits more firmly on the beat, which takes away a little of what makes the band so unique on other albums, but it does add more artillery force, propulsion and heaviness to tracks like ‘Millennium’ and ‘Whiteout’. My favourite track ‘Pleasures of the Flesh’ is tucked away near to the end. To my ears it’s the best fusion on this album of Geordie’s more subtle and sinister style, with the thundering power of drums and bass and Jazz summoning whatever the fuck he’s dragging out of the underworld. Killing Joke never rest on their laurels and by ‘96’s ‘Democracy’ the sound had shifted again, but for 60minutes in 1994, they laid the marker down to Metallica, Ministry, Soundgarden, Nirvana and the rest. You think you know heavy? You don’t know the heavy that summons the spirits of the dead.

TYPE O NEGATIVE – “October Rust” (1996)
Around ‘99/ 2000 things start to get pretty muddled as the metal floodgates opened for me. I remember being in halls in Glasgow, during my first year at university and after a night of some debauchery, being woken from a fitful sleep on my floor (my friend had taken over my bed) by some horrible, funereal, drone… some time later I discovered it was the opening notes of ‘White Slavery’ from Type O Negative’s ‘World Coming Down’. Given my state that morning, I now appreciate my neighbour may have had a better sense of humour than I gave him credit for at the time. Actually growing to appreciate Type O must have come by some other route. I think I heard ‘Love You To Death’ somewhere and thought it was amazing. That echoing piano line and Peter Steele’s whispering baritone luring you in, before the rest of the band crash in with that unmistakable bass heavy, synth textured metal drone. I can still remember the second hand music shop in Glasgow and the moment that I bought the album that song appears on: ‘October Rust’. I’m yet to find another band that so successfully combine such a dark and depressive gothic outlook and sound with this tongue-in-cheek self-awareness and in ‘October Rust’ especially Peter Steele lays a deeply sexual tone to go with it. In the musical history of my life this album is the soundtrack to my first serious relationship. In all of it’s mournful, gothic sensuality it’s a fitting companion.

TOOL – “Ænima” (1996)
In 2000/ 01 I was listening to a lot of music just outside the boundary of metal. I think I came to Tool via Rollins Band. I know I waiting for ‘Lateralus’ to come out, but between this album and ‘Undertow’ I can’t be sure now which I had first, but I figure it was the more recent. There was definitely a time when I thought Tool’s music had some kind of mystical insight; now I just enjoy some of their songs from time to time. Tool at this time are streamlined and smooth sound, but bludgeoning also. They felt like a natural continuation when I was listening to a lot of Rollins Band and Soundgarden. Ænima is a very satisfying album when I’m in the mood for it. I’ve often been drawn to bands that have really great drummers and sometimes the drumming on this album is the most interesting part of the music. Enough people have rhapsodised about this album. It is masterful, although it also all makes me feel like I’m twenty again. PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE!

PANTERA – “Vulgar Display of Power” (1992)
It seems suspicious to me that my first 5 albums should all be music that I still think is great. I do remember one of my best friends properly exposing me to Pantera. When I’d listened to bits and pieces as a teenager, along with bands like ‘Slayer’ and ‘Metallica’, it was always too heavy and lacking in melody for me to really appreciate. Eventually, though I was ready. This was probably the first I owned. This became my favourite music for running or walking to and from work. I suppose that although this music seemed so inaccessible before I got someway into metal, Pantera do still show a melodic sensibility. And there are no blast beats to baffle the uninitiated. If I were ever able to consider myself a bad ass I’d probably be listening to Pantera at the time. Nothing could be more fit for working out than ‘A New Level’, motivational music when you want to be slightly angry at the same time. From the off, Phil Anselmo really nails not singing like Rob Halford at any stage of the proceedings and perfects his metal frown. There isn’t a moment that fails to make me nod my head and frown with satisfaction… and think of big bearded men eating hot sauce for money.


KMaN – First 5


This is definitely my first ever vinyl album that I ever heard. Buried among my mother’s Elvis Presley records I was immediately drawn to the guitar oriented tracks that appeared here – Pilot’s ‘January’, John Paul Young’s ‘Yesterdays Hero’, Steve Harley’s ‘Come Up and See Me’ – and the absolute clincher that sold my soul to Rock n Roll – AC/DC’s ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’!read more

The fact that my father took me to see them about a month later only sealed the deal further. Love that saw Bon Scott at that time. It clearly had a massive formative impact on me, just like this album.

Track list
A1 John Young* – Yesterday’s Hero 3:41
A2 Bay City Rollers  – Bye Bye Baby 2:37
A3 Peter Shelley – Gee Baby 2:50
A4 The Glitter Band – Goodbye My Love 3:44
A5 Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good 3:25
A6 AC/DC   – Baby Please Don’t Go         4:50
A7 Al Martino -To The Door Of The Sun 3:18
A8 The Peppers – Pepper Box 2:18
B1 Pilot – January       3:28
B2 Ross Ryan – Blue Chevrolet Ballerina 3:56
B3 Guys & Dolls* – There’s A Whole Lot Of Loving                3:13
B4 Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel           Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me) 3:30
B5 Ralph McTell – Streets Of London 4:20
B6 Sherbet -Summer Love  3:30
B7 Frankie Valli – My Eyes Adored You 3:09
B8 Gilbert Bécaud     – A Little Love & Understanding 3:23

No.2 STATUS QUO – 12 Gold Bars (1980)

Things got serious for me in 1980. This is the first cassette my father bought for me. He loves Dire Straits and Status Quo! I already knew about Quo, having been mesmerised by watching ‘Down Down’ in 1975 on a local TV music program called ‘Countdown’. Quite why it took me five years to get hold of something else is a mystery! Probably because I wasn’t exactly seeking or asking for anything as a young lad, I just watched and listened to anything on ‘Countdown’ at the time.

Track list
1 Rockin’ All Over The World Written-By – Fogerty* 3:33
2 Down Down Written-By – Young*, Rossi*3:49
3 Caroline Written-By – Young*, Rossi* 3:43
4 Paper Plane Written-By – Young*, Rossi* 2:55
5 Break The Rules Written-By – Lancaster*, Young*, Rossi*, Coghlan*, Parfitt* 3:38
6 Again And Again Written-By – Bown*, Lynton*, Parfitt* 3:40
7 Mystery Song Written-By – Young*, Parfitt* 3:58
8 Roll Over Lay Down Written-By – Lancaster*, Young*, Rossi*, Coghlan*, Parfitt* 5:41
9 Rain Written-By – Parfitt* 4:33
10 Wild Side Of Life Written-By – Carter*, Warren* 3:15
11 Whatever You Want Written-By – Bown*, Parfitt* 4:01
12 Living On An Island Written-By – Young*, Parfitt* 3:47

No.3 SUZI QUATRO – Greatest Hits (1980)

Around the same time of Status Quo, my father also bought me this album on Cassette. Guitar oriented again, with a female vocalist who screamed her tits off to these killer songs – Can The Can, 48 Crash, Devil Gate Drive and Daytona Demon! I also knew who she was because of the Happy Days TV series where she played Leather Tuscedero. Suzi Q ended up being the 2nd gig I ever saw when an older mate who got his license decided we needed to start going to see bands. Prior to this, seeing bands was impossible! Was one of the greatest nights of my life at that point!

Track list

Can The Can           
She’s In Love With You         
48 Crash
The Wild One        
Too Big   
I May Be Too Young              
If You Can’t Give Me Love    
Devil Gate Drive    
Daytona Demon   
Mama’s Boy           
Tear Me Apart      
The Race Is On      
Your Mama Won’t Like Me
I’ve Never Been In Love

No.4 AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)

This is where my Musical Life changed forever. Whilst the others above were massive catalysts, Back in Black just tore my fkn head off! The opening to Hells Bells is one of the greatest things I’ve heard and at the time, I’m looking at my father saying holy shit (something to that effect), this is the loudest most over the top thing EVER!! I don’t need to say much more about the timelessness of BIB or ACDC. I know everything about this band, I know every lyric back to front and inside out of this album. Forever a Metal Head from this point onward.

Side one

  1. “Hells Bells” 5:10
  2. “Shoot to Thrill” 5:17
  3. “What Do You Do for Money Honey” 3:33
  4. “Given the Dog a Bone” 3:30
  5. “Let Me Put My Love into You” 4:16

Side two

No.           Title          Length

  1. “Back in Black” 4:14
  2. “You Shook Me All Night Long” 3:30
  3. “Have a Drink on Me” 3:57
  4. “Shake a Leg” 4:06
  5. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” 4:15

Total length:            42:11


No.5 DEEP PURPLE – Deepest Purple (1980)

After AC/DC I went searching for anything that resembled Heavy Rock/Metal. Entering a local record store, I was immediately drawn to the cover of this album. I mean, look at it – it just screamed ‘buy me now’ – I had no idea who Deep Purple was at this point but recall being floored by everything I heard here. ‘Child in Time’ was the most over top, ridiculously long song I’d ever heard to this point (I’m like ‘How can a song go for 10 minutes’?) and I was utterly captivated and enchanted with Ian Gillan’s voice – I’d never heard anyone sing like him – those screams were monumental for me! I still own this cassette. Deep Purple are gods to me.

Track list
Black Night 3:23
Speed King 5:01
Fireball    3:22
Strange Kind Of Woman      3:47
Child In Time 10:10
Woman From Tokyo 5:47
Highway Star 6:05
Space Truckin’ 4:31
Burn 6:00
Stormbringer 4:05
Demons Eye 5:20
Smoke On The Water 5:40


Truly Yours,
Blessed Altar Zine Team

**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre