When it comes to metal, there are certain metal bands that will always come up – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer. But, then there are bands that could have easily been in their places, bands that may have deserved more attention than they received throughout their career. This list will contain few bands that are both highly recommended and unjustly overlooked. I’ve tried my best to contain music from many sub-genres. Again this is a compilation of my own choices….
10. Bonded By Blood
Starting with a new band, we come to Bonded by Blood. Named after the Exodus album of the same name, Bonded by Blood has currently released two albums, Feed the Beast and Exiled to Earth, as well as an EP, Extinguish the Weak. Bonded by Blood is part of the new wave of thrash, but compared with contemporaries such as Municipal Waste and Evile, they are very unheard of. Bonded By Blood is possibly the band who portrays Thrash metal revival best. They have a much more classic sound, similar to bands such as Vio-lence and Exodus, and are the best at capturing the attitude of the new wave and the attitude of 80′s thrash metal. Recommended songs: “Necropsy”, “Mind Pollution”, “Genetic Encryption” and “Exiled to Earth”.
Sadus was a Thrash Metal band from the 80′s that was like no other. They were one of the fastest and most technical bands around, and lasted well into the 90′s, unlike other Thrash Metal bands. Each band member is incredible, Darren Travis for his hard hitting riffs and blistering solos, John Allen for setting the intense tempo to which Travis has to play, and Steve Digiorgio, the renowned bassist, known for his work in many well known metal bands, but who was dedicated to Sadus throughout their run, able to play as fast as the guitarists with his fingers, and having more of a lead role than most metal bassists. Compared to other fast metal bands like Slayer and Anthrax, Sadus was overlooked, although they have made a huge mark influentially on the new wave of Thrash. Recommended songs: “Through the Eyes of Greed”, “Certain Death”, and “Black”.
Gorguts was a Death Metal band from Canada during the 90′s. Over the span of four albums, the band moved from Brutal Death Metal to a much more Technical Death Metal. Most recognized for their album “Obscura”, after which an unrelated band was named, Gorguts set the bar for technicality, breaking the boundaries musically, as bands like Cynic and Atheist had done before. The album Obscura utilized dissonance, complex rhythms, and atmospheric sounds to create the ultimate dark experience. They released one album after Obscura, which was similar in style. The uniqueness of Gorguts is their dual nature. Their first two albums are straight-forward Death Metal similar to bands like Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation, but their last two albums were outside the realms of normal music. They never received the attention of bands like Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse, but continue to have lasting impact even on today’s Death Metal scene. Recommended songs: “Earthly Love”, “From Wisdom to Hate”, “Dormant Misery”, and “Stiff and Cold”.
7. Watch Tower
Another influential Technical Thrash Metal band from the 80′s, Watchtower was around the same time as Sadus, but more progressive in nature. Their style was, again, very unique, utilizing odd time signatures at almost any point in their songs. Their vocalist was more traditional in sound, using melodic vocals as opposed to yells or growls. They were another highly influential band, influencing acts such as Death, Atheist and even Dream Theater. Recommended songs: “Control and Resistance”, “The Fall of Reason”, and “Meltdown”.
There has always been a debate about “who started death metal?” While we may never actually know, the common bands that are mentioned are Death and Possessed. Although both of these bands are great, one major contender that is never mentioned is Necrophagia. Necrophagia has been around since 1983, and released their first album, Season of the Dead, in 1987. They wouldn’t release another album until 1998, at which time they came back full force. Their sound was much more refined, much more brutal, but still they were overlooked. An interesting fact is that during their comeback, they hired “Anton Crowley” for guitar. Anton Crowley is really a pseudonym for Phil Anselmo, famous for being the singer of Pantera. Recommended songs: “They Dwell Beneath”, “Terminal Vision”, “Cannibal Holocaust”.
Although Judas Priest will always remain one of the best bands ever, a lesser known band is Fight, Rob Halford’s project after leaving Judas Priest, in 1992. Fight never got NEARLY the attention of Judas Priest, but to be fair, they could have! They made far more solid albums than those that Judas Priest released after Halford was gone. Fight also had Scott Travis, who was with Judas Priest at the time on drums. They only released two albums, but those two albums are solid releases and well worth the time of any fan of Judas Priest. Recommended songs: “Into the Pit”, “War of Words”, and “Legacy of Hate”.
4. King Diamond/ Mercyful Fate
Ok, so it’s kind of weird having two bands take up the same slot, but they both contain King Diamond on vocals, both have similar styles, King Diamond switches between the two so often they basically have become the same band. Although recognized by almost every popular metal band since 1983, King Diamond’s work hasn’t received the attention of contemporaries like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The most recognition King Diamond has got is a couple of references in “Clerks 2″, and a song/character avatar in Guitar Hero: Metallica. King Diamond was one of the biggest influences on Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Power Metal, Black Metal and Progressive Metal, and yet nobody cares to mention his name in the likes of “greatest metal bands” or “greatest metal albums”, although most albums he’s released to date are classics. Recommended songs: “A Dangerous Meeting”, “Come to the Sabbath”, “Welcome Home”, and “Black Horsemen”.
Exhorder were a Thrash/Groove metal band from the 80′s to 90′s who, after releasing two albums, split up, only to reunite fairly recently. Exhorder’s fade into obscurity was mainly due to a major band that almost killed their entire career: Pantera. Pantera was a great band, and although they had some similarities to Exhorder (there is an ongoing debate about who ripped off whom, but neither of them ripped the other one off), they were far more accessible in sound and got much more attention. Exhorder was like a super-sped up version of Pantera, and somewhat similar in vein to Sepultura, although there are many differences. Exhorder’s first album, Slaughter in the Vatican, is very recognized among cult fans, but The Law, their second album is easily as good. Recommended songs: “Unforgiven”, “Desecrator”, and “Incontinence”.
2. Strapping Young Lad
If there’s any single writer who was unfairly overlooked, it would be Devin Townsend. After singing on one album for Steve Vai, Townsend got fed up with the music industry, and just about everything else, and started Strapping Young Lad so he could do whatever he wanted. After releasing 5 albums, Strapping Young Lad split up, Devin Townsend quitting drugs and alcohol and finding meaning in his life. Strapping Young Lad may never come back together, but the 5 albums released are all great albums, and a testament to powerful writing, creativity and just pure insanity. The album most people recognize is City, their second release, but I personally prefer Alien, their fourth. The bi-polar nature of his music reflects his actual bi-polar disorder, which creates an atmosphere of insanity, being both heavy and angry, as well as calming and relieving. Recommended songs: “All Hail the New Flesh”, “Detox”, “Far Beyond Metal”, “Skeksis”, and “Love?”
Of course, when it comes to BANDS, Exodus is the one who was most unfairly treated. Exodus is only really known for “that band that Kirk Hammett used to be in”. Ironically, Exodus wrote material that far outweighs the material that Hammett wrote for them. Exodus is also very recognized for their album “Bonded by Blood”, whichm although a great album, was just a sign of better things to come. Exodus has always had a semi-light hearted sound, and was a big influence on most bands to come after, including Metallica, Vio-lence and Anthrax. Exodus was once part of the “Big 5 of Thrash Metal”, which was eventually toned down to “Big 4″ when they decided to drop Exodus out. How does that sound for unfair? Recommended songs: “Like Father, Like Son”, “Piranha”, “AWOL”, and “Now thy Death Day Come”.