Written by guest writer Jack Ruley
Wouldn’t it be cool to see who your favorite bands were listening to as kids? Wouldn’t it be sweet to know who they waited outside of clubs for and marked the days on their calendars awaiting a record? Then today is your lucky fucky day. My 3 picks are some of the most influential bands in metal that most people aren’t listening to anymore. I can assure you that your favorite band WORSHIPS at the altar of at least one of these bands, and if not, time to get a new favorite band and trade in your white belt and Vans slip-ons for some new CDs.
1. “I.N.R.I.” – Sarcófago
What bands do you think of when you think early extreme metal? You’d say bands like Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. But you’d be missing one of the single greatest bands of the time period, the Brazilian band Sarcófago. I know what you’re thinking “Sarco…fago?” It’s Portuguese (yeah that language that sounds like a redneck trying to speak Spanish after a weekend bender of crystal and Darius Rucker) for “sarcophagus” so say it like that. Now let’s get down to the leather and the spikes of this song. You’ve got blast beats, anti-catholic lyrics, demonic growls and heavily echoed vocals. 1987 saw the release of two seminal black/extreme metal albums: Sarcófago’s I.N.R.I. and Mayhem’s Deathcrush. Listen to both those albums and you tell me who should be reigning as black metal gods right now. If Sarcofago had been born in a country with snow, they would likely be the most talked about extreme/black metal band that came hurdling out of the tail of the ’80s.
2. “C. Thomas Howell as the ‘Soul Man’” – Botch
Botch is another one of the bands that influenced a generation of musicians to pick up guitars and play. Sadly, like many of those bands, the musicians that they influenced claimed Blink 182 was the heaviest band their 11-year old ears had ever heard when Botch was playing shows. Bands as diverse as Dillinger Escape Plan to Norma Jean can all trace their routes to the true Lords of Chaos. Think of them as Meshuggah with mohawks. Time changes, monstrous vocals and face-melting walls of sound should be enough for any discerning lover of heavy music to fall instantly in love with this monumental band.
3. “Unquestionable Presence” – Atheist
Yeah a lot of people still listen to Atheist, but their influence on the metal world compared to the praise they receive in comparison to their contemporaries is almost insulting. If Unquestionable Presence came out today it would be lauded as an incredibly experimental album in a stagnant death metal scene…a statement as true today as it was when it came out in 1991. Death Metal barely had legs to stand on and Atheist was already reinventing the genre. No other album title has been more appropriate, save for Anal Cunt’s 40 More Reasons to Hate Us, than Unquestionable Presence. Death Metal in 1991 was as stereotypical as it ever was; it was all long hair over the face, the windmill headbang and gory lyrics. Yes, Death Metal had been pushing the limits of the genre they pioneered but the overwhelming majority of it was still the E-string chug and growls. Atheist’s complete disregard for the “norm” of the time meant that they created an album that ushered in bands from Technical Death Metal like Gorod and Melesch, to Avant Garde Metal like Unexpect and Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum, everyone-solos-at-once metal bands like Braindrill and guitar wank bands like Psyopus and Tony Danza and the Tap Dance Extravaganza. None of these bands would have ever dreamed up their music if it wasn’t for Atheist and the bands that were influenced by them.