1983 - The Year That Forged Metal - Final!

As is our custom, we close the annual Tribute Project with submissions and thoughts from around the metal sphere, as promised. A couple dozen people were nice enough to take time out of their lives and consider our question: "Out of all the artists who debuted or formed in 1983, which one has had the greatest impact on you personally or professionally?" the answers are varied, some heartfelt, some hilarious and many in between. Nonetheless, each one provides insight into the artist who gave it, and gives a glimpse into their dedication and fanhood. But enough. Let me get out of the way and let them tell their stories. Mr. Gene Hoglan, kick us off!

Oh, flat out Slayer. I think Slayer is infinitely more influential to the heavy, heavy, heavy stuff that I like, than Metallica. People will argue that Metallica started it, some people will argue that the band from LA called Powertrip started it. Metallica gets the credit for creating the genre, that’s awesome, that’s great, but for Slayer, Jesus, there was no…Metallica was like a rock and roll band that played polka music. Slayer was evil. Metallica sounded like Venom. Venom was a rock and roll band with a lot of pentatonic scales and stuff like that. And Slayer was evil. I think Slayer is the most influential of those. Slayer had some magic for me. I saw them on Valentine’s Day, 1983. They closed the Troubadour that night; the closing band at the Troubadour in Hollywood was not the headlining band. The headlining band played, then Slayer came on and played for seven people and it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen.

--Gene Hoglan – Drums – Testament/Meldrum/Every Band Ever

’83…that’s a tough question. “Kill ‘em All.” That was THE Metallica album that got me going. It may be a boring [pick] but yeah. The aggression was so pure and raw. It was just so intense. I had never heard anything that intense before, it was how I got introduced to thrash. I love that sound, when I heard that, I was losing it.
--Bjorn “Speed” Strid – Vocals – Soilwork

“Kill ‘em All,” obviously. Love “Kill ‘em All.” I mean, that’s a heavy album. What Motorhead album came out that year? That is a machine that started and keeps going. Mercyful Fate’s a great band, they had some heavy stuff, too. I’m not the kind of guy who’s had one album completely kick me in the teeth and change my life. There was a whole array of shrapnel that paved a path in my head.
--Kyle Juett – Guitar – Mothership

Being knees high to Ronnie James Dio's mic stand in 1983 and therefore very impressionable, I remember my cousin, on a return from the US where he regularly ventured with the Royal Air Force, telling me I had to listen to this…it was Queensryche's debut EP. It knocked the wind clean out of my sails with the ease of a card shark pocketing a fool's wages. It was obviously something special, with above all the studied and dark elegance of "The Lady Wore Black," the song that stuck in my mind. The following year the aforesaid cousin took me to see Dio and Queensryche at Hammersmith Odeon as it was then, the combination of Tate's haunting, insinuating vocals and the magnetic storm of messrs De Garmo, Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield remains a treasured memory.
--Andy Paul – Vocals – Scream Arena

While I didn't know about them ‘til a few years later, Metallica was the most influential band that came out in 1983 for me. A friend at school had me check out the "Jump in the Fire" EP and I was pretty blown away....soon after that I remember seeing the video for "One" on “Headbanger’s Ball” on MTV and soon thereafter having my dad take me to the stripmall in the area so I could take my allowance money and go buy "..And Justice for All" on cassette, which soon became nearly inseparable from my Walkman at the time for a while. From there I discovered their older albums such as “Master of Puppets,” “Ride the Lightning,” “Kill 'Em All” and my introduction to the Misfits on the “Garage Days” EP. As awesome as “…And Justice for All” and “Master of Puppets” were, there was something about the rawness of the “Garage Days” EP and “Kill 'Em All” that just really resonated with me and those are my favorite Metallica releases to this day. Those two releases (which included my introduction to the Misfits via the covers of “Last Caress” and ”Green Hell”) and my discovery of Guns N' Roses around the same time period were hugely influential on my later guitar playing, tastes in music, and my journey down this path as a musician.
--Adam Savage – Guitar – Mongrel

It had to be Slayer. Metal had been stagnant for years and they, along with bands like Metallica, Testament and Exodus, just blew the balls off of everything. I will never forget listening to "Reign in Blood" for the first time. I carried the cassette with me everywhere I went just so I could subject people to "Alter of Sacrifice". SATAN SATAN SATAN SATAN!

--Oderus Urungus – Vocals – GWAR

For me the first time I heard Dio “Holy Diver”..”Stand Up and Shout” was an all out assault on my senses. I remember hearing that the first time when I was a kid skating on my Vision board with my Walkman tape player; the sound of the guitars and Dio's powerful voice on the track "Shame On The Night" was dark and powerful to me and it has always brought out the mad man in me through out my childhood…but at the same time the band Testament came out with The Legacy.. holy shit…the song "The First Strike Is Deadly" blew me away with the fast intense drumming and guitar work and that influenced me and has been a huge factor on my style as a player.
--Scotty CH - Guitar - The Secret VI

I would like to say that Slayer has always had the raw and fast intensity that was feeding my soul to the point it influenced me as a drummer to have the raw power and blast beats I have.
--Erik Olsson - Drums - The Secret VI

Pantera. I will never forget the first time I put on “The Great Southern Trendkill” when it was brand new on the shelves I put it in my cassette player, only to hear Phil Anselmo's blood-curdling scream on the opening title track; it sent chills down my spine. The entire album every single song resonated with me on some level. “Suicide Note part 2,” “10 Steps Lead To Nowhere”…I feel amped and excited just thinking of it. Most importantly hearing the authenticity, anger, frustration, depression and complete utter wrath in Phil's voice made me think: “That's what I want to do! I must find a way to do that!” No question about it. Along with the amazing soul of Dimebag (RIP brother,) Vinnie's power and unique creative ability, Rex his underrated talent always precise, full sounding and frankly the backbone of the sound. That was it; I knew from that moment, that day this was something more than just simply special this was brand “New Level" of Heavy Metal music.
--Dane K - Vocals - The Secret VI

The first time I listened to “Anesthesia” from Metallica off the “Kill 'Em All” album, I was blown away. I asked myself how could such sounds be created with a bass? From that point forward I was all about pushing the boundaries with bass. To this day I still love that song. --Rick Lozano - Bass - The Secret VI

The band that has inspired and help us develop the most was Metallica. When we started out, we would cover "Enter Sandman" in our set, and I looked up to Kirk for developing leads on songs we had written in our early years. Matthew has had comparisons to James Hetfield throughout our existence as a band, both having a signature rasp to their voices! We all still jam to Metallica and keep them in mind when writing to help us keep things true to who we are, much like they have!
--Andrew Whiteman – Guitar - Red Tide Rising

Megadeth hands down. Where I come from you we're either a Metallica fan or a Megadeth fan. I just gravitated to Megadeth because, as a guitarist, the music was more intricate and exciting to me. One of my first shows with my first band was at my high school battle of the bands and all we did was play Megadeth tunes.
--BC Kochmit – Guitar – Eye Empire

Out of all the bands that started in the early 80's, Soundgarden impacted me the most. I was 11 or 12 when I heard my older cousin playing “Superunknown” in his car after he was forced to haul us kids around. It was nothing like what my older sisters were listening to at the time. I was totally blown away by the vocals and all the crazy rhythms in the music. I was amazed that despite that insanity it all made sense and told stories. I asked to borrow that “Superunknown” record and the rest is history. I don't think I ever returned it.
--Sameer Bhattacharya – Guitar – Flyleaf

I wasn’t aware of the formation of Metallica in 1983; I was too busy with other far more important things, like playing with my Star Wars figures. However, fast forward a few years – the Star Wars figures are in the loft and my hair is all the way down my back. Full of studs and leather antagonising all The Smiths fans with my Poison fanfare. Then, one day, as I walked past the Sixth Form Common Room at the College I was at, I peered in and noticed a lunatic leaping around the room in an air-guitar-spastic-frenzy. It looked like fun, so I pushed open the door and my ears were greeted with an almighty noise. I hadn’t heard a cacophony like it before. “Who is that?” I yelled above the din. “Metallica!” came the reply.

That evening I rode home and straight into town to the nearest record shop. I found the Metallica section. My choices were “Kill ‘Em All”, “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”. I picked the latter as it was the most recent. It was on a label I recognised (Music For Nations) from the only Poison album that was out at the time.

I rode home excited and stuck the record on the turntable. “Battery” was the first song to make its way out of the speakers. Right there and then, I knew that my musical horizons were going to expand exponentially. I played that record to death and immediately purchased the back catalogue, picture discs, video and then related bands like Megadeth and Slayer. I tried to get my friends involved but they were horrified by the sounds. I was alone in my love for this music, but I knew I was on to something. I never guessed they’d end up being the biggest band on the planet one day!

--Lord Zion – Vocals - SPiT LiKE THiS

Although I didn't really discover them until the early 90's, I would say Soundgarden had the most influence on me for a few reasons. Musically, they found a way to combine elements of classic heavy rock like Black Sabbath with modern sounds and fresh new songwriting ideas. It proved to a young guitarist like me that there were many avenues in rock that hadn't been explored, and they continue to inspire me to this day. On a personal level, their guitar player Kim Thayil was the first 'rock star' of East Indian descent that I had ever seen, and that gave me more confidence that my dream could become a reality. I love the music from the 1980's, but for a while it seemed that you had to have blonde hair and wear lipstick to be a successful rock guitar player, so obviously I was thrilled to see someone who looked a bit more like me in a huge, cool rock band. I'm so excited that they're recording and touring again!
--Gaurav Bali – Guitar – Eve To Adam

Wow! You learn something new every day. Wasn’t aware that so many of the most influential bands in rock history were formed that year. Metallica is a band that we were all influenced by and was one of the first rock bands to make me self-aware of my musical preference. Then again if you’re in a rock band that wasn’t influenced by Metallica, take your ungrateful ass to your local music store and buy any if not all of their albums (even “St. Anger,” ugh). Chenzo is a big fan of Suicidal Tendencies. Their former bass player Rob Trujillo now plays in Metallica, but the Chenz swears by Cliff Burton. Admittedly, the moment I heard Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace”, my balls dropped and I spontaneously grew chest hair. After my first Megadeth SHOW, I walked out a full two inches taller and literally flew five stories high to save a baby from a burning building that night. Exaggeration … maybe. But you got to be a bad mofo if you get booted out of a band by a bunch of raging drunks for being a raging drunk! I didn’t get into Slayer until my early 20’s. Finally saw them live a few years ago and was floored by their performance!

However, the one band that was probably more influential to me than any of the one’s I’ve mentioned would have to be Soundgarden. Mainly because they peaked during the musically burgeoning Gen-X era which made up the entirety of my adolescence. “Rusty Cage” caught my ear on the “BadMotorFinger” album. But then they released “Superunkown” and I about pissed my pants. The “Black Hole Sun” video was disturbing and genius in the same right. It took me a few years to figure out what “Spoonman” was about, but peer pressure fixed all that eventually. They followed with 1996’s “Down on the Upside” which has my favorite Soundgarden track “Pretty Noose.” I was a broke ass lil shit but I saved up and bought the tape… don’t hate it was the 90’s, ok? One day, my devout Christian father started reading the lyrics for some of the bands I was listening to and had a shit fit when he saw Soundgarden had a song called “Like Suicide”. He put all my music in a pile and smashed it with a hammer. That’s when I knew I loved rock music! With every swing he took, I felt something I had never felt in my short life; Rage! It was a turning point for me that set the stage for my growing desire to be a musician. My musical preference would eventually embrace the Nu Metal craze which produced my all-time favorite band Deftones. But that day I realized how important their music was to me and was intent on recovering all of it; even if I had to listen to it behind my parents’ back. Which I did; I’d sneak into the family minivan in the mornings before they woke up and blast my music! The true beginnings of a rock rebel!
--Johan Maldonado – Vocals – Psychothermia

When thinking of an artist or debut from 1983 that was most influential in my music, one band stands out quickly. I have branched out far beyond this band now but the artist that started it all for me was the mighty Metallica! I was 12 years old when I discovered the band and was blown away. It was at a school talent show that 2 kids covered Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" with just guitar and drums that introduced me to the giants of metal. Metallica lead me to pick up the guitar as I soon became obsessed with learning all of their songs from the early albums. I remember getting "Kill 'Em All" and "Ride The Lightning" at the same time. In my early teens all I did was live and breathe Metallica. My first attempt of a live performance was covering "Fade to Black" and "Master of Puppets" in a more simplified version at a school talent show at 14 years old. From that point on I knew I was going to be a guitarist the rest of my life. The feeling I got from attempting Kirk's melodies in front of a crowd gave me a rush I had never felt before. I'm sure I would have been inspired to pick up a guitar if I heard any other rock or metal band first but Metallica was the very first "heavy" band I ever heard thus making a very large impact on my life. NO REMORSE!
--Clark Webb – Guitar – Hatchet

The group that formed in 1983 that most resonated with me is definitely Megadeth. I spent the better part of high school learning as many riffs from “Peace Sells,” “So Far…,” and “Rust in Peace” as I could. I am also a huge Marty Friedman fan; he has a truly unique style and goes untouched among all of Megadeth's lead players. I'm pretty sure most of their '80s and '90s work is fried into my brain at this point! I thought it was great how they started out really raw (think “Killing is my Business…”) but eventually morphed into having more of a songwriting focus a la “Countdown” and “Youthanasia.”
--Evan Hensley – Guitar – Nightfall

And so ends our Annual Bloodygoodhorror.com Heavy Metal Tribute Project. As ever, our primary goal in this endeavor is to get you thinking, listening, talking, sharing music with any and all around you. Speaking for Chris, Jeff and myself, it is our vain hope that this week celebrating the greatest and most formative year in the history of heavy metal has convinced you to either break out those CD's, or try something new if you haven't heard them yet. Music is a journey made better by the company of others, so we hope you've been out discussing the things we discussed, or anything related to them, with good friends.

Before we depart, a very special thanks to Mr. Paul Ablaze for taking time away from Blackguard's tour preparation to pen a fine introduction for us. We are humbled. Additionally, a special thanks to Vince at Metal Blade Records, Ben at Total Assault, Jon at Freeman Promotions, Dave at Head First Entertainment, Steve at SKH, Charles and Loana at Nuclear Blast USA, Rikki at Adrenaline PR, Scott at Clawhammer and Marco at Salem Rose Music for helping us pool together all the great artists' thoughts you've just read. As ever, the project wouldn't have worked without them.


Music Editor

D.M is the Music Editor for Bloodygoodhorror.com. He tries to avoid bands with bodily functions in the name and generally has a keen grasp of what he thinks sounds good and what doesn't. He also really enjoys reading, at least in part, and perhaps not surprisingly, because it's quiet. He's on a mission to convince his wife they need a badger as a household pet. It's not going well.