Category Archives: Heavy Metal timeline

Pedro Lopes’s 1990s heavy metal timeline

In response to my rather downbeat post on Metallica, Pedro Lopes responded that heavy metal had actually exploded in the 1990s (rather than ambled into irrelevance as I had rather carelessly implied). In a sequence of four massive comments [part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4], he laid out a listening programme of thirty more modern metal bands. And in a fifth comment, he made individual track suggestions for most of the bands.

Now, with his kind permission, I have integrated his mammoth comment sequence into a single mammoth post, with embedded YouTube links. Enjoy! [And note that I do not endorse any of these bands, albums or songs.]


Over to Pedro!

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Dream Theater, Under a Glass Moon (July 1992) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 22

And so, we come to the final part of this series. I hope some of you have enjoyed reading it — it’s been an education to write. This song, to me, is the ultimate destination that all the heavy metal on the timeline has been leading to.

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Metallica, Enter Sandman (July 1991) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 21

And so we come to the 21st and penultimate part of this series. Having written about five songs from 1980, I’m now skipping over the next eleven years because … meh. I’m sure people will point out all the wonderful and important stuff that I’ve missed in that period, but to me it mostly feels like a decade of the same bands doing the same stuff, and other bands coming along and doing the same as they were doing.

Ah, but then there was thrash metal.

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Motörhead, Ace of Spades (October 1980) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 20

Wasn’t 1980 a great year for metal? We have Iron Maiden‘s NWOBHM, Judas Priest‘s radical simplification, Whitesnake‘s last great album before their slide into glam-metal, Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo debut, and now Motörhead’s signature song. Enjoy 1980, because we won’t return to this series until another full decade has passed. But for now, here’s Lemmy:

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Ozzy Ozbourne, Crazy Train (September 1980) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 19

By 1980, Ozzy Osbourne had been fired from Black Sabbath — ostensibly because of his unreliability. Sabbath would go on to recruit ex-Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio as his replacement and went on to make couple of storming albums (Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules). But what of Ozzy?

When the Beatles split, the solo material that the four ex-members produced was (with the exception of a very few tracks) nowhere near as good as what the band had made together. When Roger Waters left Pink Floyd, he made interesting but sterile albums, and the remainder of the group made beautiful but insubstantial ones: again, the sum of the parts was less than the whole. But as when Peter Gabriel left Genesis, the Ozzy/Sabbath split yielded two parts that both went on to do good things. Here’s Crazy Train from Ozzy’s debut solo outing, Blizzard of Ozz:

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Whitesnake, Fool for Your Loving (May 1980) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 18

And just as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was taking off, so one of the second-wave bands was drifting in a rather different direction. Whitesnake were David Coverdale’s project after the break-up of Deep Purple. By 1980 they’d parlayed their Purple-stable pedigree into a nice position of prominence. Their third album, Ready an’ Willing, give them their first hit single:

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Judas Priest, Breaking the Law (April 1980) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 17

Meanwhile, also part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and coming out in the same month as Iron Maiden, we have Judas Priest’s album British Steel. Here’s Breaking the Law, the second (and most successful) single from that album:

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Iron Maiden, Phantom of the Opera (April 1980) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 16

By 1980, the classic metal bands were a spent force. Deep Purple had broken up four years earlier; Led Zeppelin were in their death throes, with John Bonham dying in October of 1980; and Black Sabbath were recording with Ronnie James Dio as their singer — a configuration that I like, but which purists didn’t accept as true Black Sabbath. Even second-wave bands like Rainbow were in decline, past both their artistic and commercial peaks, and increasingly moving towards a lightweight pop sound.

Into this vacuum came the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or the NWOBHM as it’s rather cumbersomely abbreviated.

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Scorpions, I Can’t Get Enough (February 1979) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 15

Up till now, nearly every band on this list has been either British (The Kinks, The Who, Cream, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow) or North American (Jimi Hendrix [though with a British backing band], Steppenwolf, MC5Blue Öyster Cult, Rush [Canadian]). The sole exception has been AC/DC, and they too are from an anglophone country — Australia. Now meet the Scorpions (and the bad-taste cover of their Lovedrive album):

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Rainbow, Stargazer (May 1976) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 14

As the keystone song of Rainbow’s Rising album, Stargazer is arguably the song that launched this entire series. Maybe more than any other song on this list, you should listen to it loud. Here you go:

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