“Metal Massacre” – Discography (1982-1989)

Let’s take a look back at the first ten compilation albums from Metal Blade’s famous Metal Massacre series.  These albums contained low-budget recordings from young, hungry, (mostly) unsigned metal bands.  Because of this, each Metal Massacre album is an important snapshot of what was going on in the metal underground at the time.  With the benefit of hindsight, it is very interesting to revisit these albums with the knowledge of which bands “made it” and which bands remained forever obscure.

How did it all begin?

In the early eighties, heavy metal fanatic and L.A. native Brain Slagel was a record store employee and editor of a fanzine called The New Heavy Metal Revue.  Slagel had his finger on the pulse of the burgeoning L.A. metal scene at the time.  He put together a collection of demos from local heavy metal talent and pressed about 4500 copies of an album called The New Heavy Metal Revue Presents Metal Massacre.  According to Slagel, the first pressing sold out in a single day.  Soon after, Slagel was approached by a company called Greenworld, and the two parties worked out a deal where Slagel would find talent and Greenworld would manufacture and distribute the records.  Though it was not his initial intention when he put out the first Metal Massacre compilation, Slagel soon found himself permanently attached to the record making business.  His Metal Blade Records remains a fixture in the metal world to this day.

Read on for my reviews of the first ten Metal Massacre albums…

The New Heavy Metal Revue Presents Metal Massacre (1982)

Metal Massacre version 1 (cover)

The first Metal Massacre is most famous for including the first appearance of Metallica and launching the Metal Blades Records label.  It is a seminal album in heavy metal history and should be celebrated as such.  Metal Massacre also marked the debut of Ratt, Malice, Steeler, and Black ‘N Blue.

There are slightly different versions of Metal Massacre.  (For reference, the track listing for each is presented below.)  The first version was the original pressing of about 4500 copies made by Brian Slagel.  Metallica was misspelled “Mettallica” on this rare pressing.  The second version, also released in 1982, was a licensed pressing made by Metalworks records.  The cover was different than the original.  On the Metalworks version, Steeler’s Cold Day In Hell was replaced by Black ‘N Blue’s Chains Around Heaven.  Also, a different recording of Metallica’s Hit The Lights was used. The third and final Metal Massacre version came out in 1984.  Once again on Metal Blade Records, the album retained the same track list as the Metalworks version except Ratt’s Tell The World was omitted.

Track List:

Version 1 (Metal Blade Records, 1982) LP back cover

  1. Steeler – Cold Day In Hell
  2. Bitch – Live For The Whip
  3. Malice – Captive Of Light
  4. Ratt – Tell The World
  5. Avatar – Octave (instrumental)
  6. Cirith Ungol – Death Of The Sun
  7. Demon Flight – Dead Of The Night
  8. Pandemonium – Fighting Backwards
  9. Malice – Kick You Down
  10. Metallica – Hit the Lights (first version)

Version 2 (Metalworks Records, 1982) LP back cover

  1. Black ‘N Blue – Chains Around Heaven
  2. Bitch – Live For The Whip
  3. Malice – Captive Of Light
  4. Ratt – Tell the World
  5. Avatar – Octave (instrumental)
  6. Cirith Ungol – Death Of The Sun
  7. Demon Flight – Dead Of The Night
  8. Pandemonium – Fighting Backwards
  9. Malice – Kick You Down
  10. Metallica – Hit the Lights (second version)

Version 3 (Metal Blade Records, 1984) LP back cover

  1. Black ‘N Blue – Chains Around Heaven
  2. Bitch – Live For The Whip
  3. Malice – Captive Of Light
  4. Avatar – Octave (instrumental)
  5. Cirith Ungol – Death Of The Sun
  6. Demon Flight – Dead Of The Night
  7. Pandemonium – Fighting Backwards
  8. Malice – Kick You Down
  9. Metallica – Hit the Lights (second version)

Info Nuggets:

  • The only band that didn’t go on and make at least one record after Metal Massacre II was Avatar.  This is not the same Avatar that changed their name to Savatage.
  • Black N’ Blue was misspelled as Black And Blue on the Metalworks version.
  • Three of the four members of Pandemonium were brothers from Alaska.
  • Steeler was fronted by Ron Keel.  Ron later formed Keel, a band that released a bunch of albums in the eighties.  Yngwie Malmsteen was once a member of Steeler, but that wasn’t until after Metal Massacre.
  • Though Slagel was able to get songs from some of the hottest young L.A. metal bands, he wasn’t able to secure an entry from the most popular new L.A. band at the time — Motley Crue.  The Crue were almost on Metal Massacre (according to Slagel) but they opted instead to independently release their own full-length LP in 1982.
  • Brain Slagel was friends with fellow metal head and NWOBHM record collector Lars Ulrich at the time.  In fact, Lars formed Metallica with James Hetfield just so he could have a track on Metal Massacre!
  • Guess who played the guitar solo on the original Hit The Lights from the first pressing of Metal Massacre?  Hetfield?  Mustaine?  Hammett?  Nope.  It was a guy by the name of Lloyd Grant.  (Dave Mustaine played solos on the second version.)

My Worthless Opinion:  Black ‘N Blue and Ratt had the most radio friendly sound of all the contributors.  Black N’ Blue’s Chains Around Heaven is one of their better songs, and they re-recorded it for their first LP on Geffen Records.  Tell The World may not be top-notch Ratt, but it still has that trademark Ratt n’ roll swagger.

The band that really stands out on Metal Massacre is Malice!  They deliver a pair of strong cuts.  Kick You Down being the better of the two.  Vocalist James Neal gives a great, slightly maniacal performance.  The dark horse of the collection would have to be Demon Flight with Dead Of Night.  This is a fairly simple composition with odd falsetto vocals and subterranean sound quality, but somehow it works!  Dead Of Night is creepy and atmospheric… though probably by accident.

Elsewhere, Pandemonium’s Fighting Backwards plays like an adolescent Black Sabbath (think Witchfinder General) and Cirith Ungol deliver the album’s worst song with the butt-ugly Death Of The Sun.

Overall, Metal Massacre may not have aged particularly well, but keep in mind that these songs were really just demos.  This inaugural Metal Blade release was an important chapter in metal history.  It shined a light on the rising L.A. metal scene.  The influence of British heavy metal was plainly apparent, but the Americans were forging ahead in a faster, louder, and more exaggerated direction.  My score: B

Metal Massacre II (1982)

Metal Massacre II

The second Metal Massacre kicks off with Armored Saint’s Lesson Well Learned.  Armored Saint would go on to have arguably the best career of any of the young bands featured on this second Metal Massacre compilation.  However, the band that makes the biggest impression (at least in my opinion) would have to be Warlord.  Their contribution, Lucifer’s Hammer, is the best track on Metal Massacre II.

Track List:

  1. Armored Saint – Lesson Well Learned 
  2. 3rd Stage Alert – Mind Invader
  3. Surgical Steel – Rivit Head 
  4. Obsession – Shadows Of Steel
  5. Savage Grace – Scepters Of Deceit 
  6. Overkill – No Holds Barred
  7. Warlord – Lucifer’s Hammer
  8. Trauma – Such A Shame
  9. Dietrich – It’s Alright
  10. Molten Leather – Inversion
  11. Hyksos – Kings
  12. Aloha – Heavy Metal Virgin

Info Nuggets:

  • Future Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was a member of Trauma at the time.  Burton plays bass on Trauma’s Such A Shame.
  • Marty Friedman appears as a member of Aloha on Heavy Metal Virgin.  He would eventually become a member of Megadeth during that band’s prime years.
  • Armored Saint, Warlord, Obsession, Savage Grace and 3rd Stage Alert all went on to release records for Metal Blade.
  • The Overkill that appears on Metal Massacre II is not the same Overkill that would become famous for such albums as Feel The Fire and The Years Of Decay.

My Worthless Opinion:  Highlights other than Warlord’s Lucifer’s Hammer include Jeff Martin’s spot-on Rob Halford impression on the speed metal track Rivit Head, and the obscure 3rd Stage Alert delivering the compilation’s most melodic tune with Mind Invader.  Additionally, Trauma, Hyksos, and Aloha all make decent (though not spectacular) showings.

As for low-lights, Savage Grace’s Dwight Cliff ruins a perfectly serviceable speed metal tune with his lousy falsetto in the final third of Scepters Of Deceit and Obsession screws the pooch with Shadows Of Steel.  (There’s too much echo on Mike Vescera’s vocal track and the song itself goes nowhere.)  In their defense, Obsession would go on to put out some pretty decent stuff after Metal Massacre II.  It’s just unfortunate they didn’t represent themselves better here.  Lastly, while Armored Saint sounded crisp and refined on Lesson Well Learned, the song is kind of a dud — it has no hook and fades out unceremoniously.  My score: B

Metal Massacre III (1983)

Metal Massacre III

Metal Massacre III is best known for the very first appearance of Slayer.  The album marks the return of Bitch and Warlord to the Metal Massacre series.  They are the only bands to appear on two different Metal Massacre albums.

Track List:

  1. Slayer – Aggressive Perfector
  2. Bitch – Riding In Thunder
  3. Tyrant – The Battle Of Armageddon
  4. Medusa – Piranhas 
  5. Test Pattern – Bite The Knife
  6. Black Widow – Blitzkrieg (instrumental)
  7. Warlord – Mrs. Victoria
  8. Virgin Steele – Let’s Go All the Way
  9. Sexist – Fire And Wind
  10. Snowhite – Hell Bent
  11. Marauder – The Kid
  12. La Mort – Fist And Chain

Info Nuggets:

  • Brian Slagel approached Slayer and asked them to be part of Metal Massacre III after seeing them open for Bitch in Anaheim, California.
  • Three of the four members of Chicago’s Snowhite were African Americans — two brothers and a cousin.  The fourth member was female vocalist Nicole Lee.  Snowhite later changed their name to Znöwhite.
  • Don Dokken is credited as producer for Sexist’s Fire And Wind.  In their early days, both Gilby Clarke and Jake E. Lee were members of Sexist.  Neither appear on Metal Massacre III.  Eventually, Sexist would morph into a band called Letchen Grey that released an EP called Party Politics in 1986.
  • Medusa’s song is called Piranahs.  This is a spelling mistake — probably unintentional.  It should be Piranhas.

My Worthless Opinion: Although I would never call myself a Slayer fan, I must admit that their debut here is pretty impressive.  I always wish Slayer had a better singer though.  Same for Snowhite, their vocalist Nicole Lee was pretty terrible — a real weak point for an otherwise competent speed/thrash attack.

For the second straight Metal Massacre album, Warlord has one of the best songs.  Mrs. Victoria is not quite as good as Lucifer’s Hammer from Metal Massacre II, but it further fortified Warlord’s reputation as epic metal masters.

Of the lesser-known artists on Metal Massacre III, the band that really got my attention is Sexist.  They had a sound akin to early Ratt or Motley Crue.  More of a heavy “hair” band if you will.  I wouldn’t mind hearing more from these guys.

As for disappointments, Test Pattern’s Bite The Knife starts off well but unravels about half-way through.  Medusa’s Piranhas is kind of a mess, with a weirdly “processed” vocal track.  Another odd one is Marauder’s The Kid.  This has to be the first time I’ve ever heard a metal song where the drum track is panned entirely to the right channel.  One of my favorite eighties bands, Virgin Steele, checks in with Let’s Go All The Way.  A good impression this does NOT make, as Dave DeFeis vocals are idiotic on this woeful splooge.  Trust me, Virgin Steele were better than this!  My score: B-

Metal Massacre IV (1983)

Metal Masscre IV

Before Metal Massacre IV, the Metal Massacre compilations were comprised predominantly of California bands.  However, executive producer Brian Slagel cast a wider net for Metal Massacre IV.  The album included two Canadian bands, five Illinois bands and one Michigan band.  By expanding his reach, Slagel put together what I consider to be the best Metal Massacre record in the entire series!

Track List:

  1. Sacred Blade – The Alien
  2. Death Dealer – Cross My Way
  3. Trouble – The Last Judgement
  4. Sceptre – Taken By Force
  5. Zoetrope – Speed Zone
  6. War Cry – Forbidden Evil
  7. Abattoir – Screams From The Grave
  8. Witchslayer – I Don’t Want To Die
  9. Lizzy Borden – Rod Of Iron
  10. August Redmoon – Fear No Evil
  11. Thrust – Destructer
  12. Medieval – Medieval

Info Nuggets:

  • Technically titled Metal Massacre 4 not Metal Massacre IV.  Metal Blade was inconsistent with their numerical notation in the series.
  • Death Dealer later changed their name to Deaf Dealer.  They released an LP called Keeper Of The Flame in 1986.
  • Future Agent Steel vocalist John Cyriis appears twice on Metal Massacre IV, as the vocalist for Abattoir (as “John Syriis”) and as the guitarist for Sceptre (as “John Camps”).
  • After Metal Massacre IV, August Redmoon morphed into Terracuda and then Eden.
  • All but three bands on Metal Massacre IV released official records in the eighties.  The three that did not are War Cry, Witchslayer and Sceptre.

My Worthless Opinion: Side one of Metal Massacre IV includes songs by Sacred Blade, Death Dealer, Trouble, Sceptre, Zoetrope, and War Cry.  Of the six, I think Death Dealer wins the day with the bruising Cross My Way, while Trouble disappoints with the dilapidated doom of The Last Judgement.

Side two is where Metal Massacre IV really shifts into high gear.  The first song, however, is not a good one — Abattoir’s speed metal feast gets shat upon by John Cyriis’ ridiculously high-pitched shriek in the chorus.  But then things get VERY interesting.  An Illinois band by the name of Witchslayer delivers a throwback to the NWOBHM with the mighty I Don’t Want To Die.  This song has a simple but strong main riff, and the composition flows nicely between its different sections.  Next, Lizzy Borden steps up to the plate with a KILLER song called Rod Of Iron.  Even though this early demo would later be polished into a shiny diamond on Lizzy’s 1985 LP Love You To Pieces, I really enjoy the raw evil of this version.  Rod Of Iron is a metal masterpiece!  Lizzy’s villainous vocals are tremendous and the lyrics are equally wicked.  Love it!

After Lizzy blows up the world with Rod Of Iron, the remaining three bands on Metal Massacre are faced with a tough task — to somehow follow Lizzy Borden’s act.  Fortunately, August Redmoon drop a tasty cut called Fear No Evil to keep the fires stoked and the adrenaline riding high.  Next, Thrust deals a sonic beat down with the punishing Destructer.  (I’ve reviewed Thrust’s 1984 LP Fist Held High in the past.  This is one of those bands that is better in small doses.  I think they were well-suited for a compilation such as this.)  Metal Massacre IV‘s finale is a touch of weirdness by a Michigan band called Medieval.  It’s entirely possible that this song (also called Medieval) is meant as a joke because the vocals are way over-the-top, but goddamn this song crushes!  Joke or no, Medieval close out Metal Massacre in neck-wrecking fashion!  My score: A- 

Metal Massacre V (1984)

Metal Masscre V

With the exception of maybe the first Metal Massacre, no album in this series ever had as many future “stars” on it as Metal Massacre V.  Overkill, Fates Warning, and Metal Church are three of the big names on Metal Massacre V.

Track List:

  1. Omen – Torture Me
  2. Voivod – Condemned To The Gallows
  3. Attacker – (Call On) The Attacker
  4. Future Tense – Nightmare
  5. Overkill – Death Rider
  6. Fates Warning – Soldier Boy
  7. Metal Church – The Brave
  8. Lethyl Synn – Destroyer
  9. Final Warning – The Warrior
  10. Hellhammer – Crucifixion
  11. Mace – Marching Saprophytes
  12. Jesters Of Destiny – End of Time

Info Nuggets:

  • Crazy liner notes: Future Tense’s vocals are credited to “Cock (Throat) Van Drunen”.  Hellhammer’s “Denial Fiend” is credited for playing “Hellish Crossfire On Wooden Coffins”.  Voivod’s “Snake” is credited for “Throat, Insults, Screaming, Mike Torture”.
  • Voivod is spelled as “Voi Vod” on the album jacket.
  • All but two artists on Metal Massacre V made albums.  Lethyl Synn and Final Warning never released anything officially.

My Worthless Opinion: Despite containing three of my favorite mid-eighties metal bands (Overkill, Fates Warning, and Metal Church), Metal Massacre V is not all it should be.  Problem is, the songs by Overkill, Fates Warning, and Metal Church are fairly average by those band’s standards.  While I admit that Overkill’s Death Rider rocks pretty hard, the sound quality ain’t so great and the solo stinks.  Soldier Boy by Fates Warning is not one of their better tunes (in my opinion).  Metal Church’s The Brave is actually the best song on Metal Massacre V — but Metal Church were capable of better.

There are a couple of real duds on Metal Massacre V, too.  Hellhammer’s Crucufixion is pretty much one long stinky belch, while Voivod’s Condemned To The Gallows borderlines on noise pollution. Of the lesser known bands on Metal Massacre V, Attacker and Jesters Of Destiny make the best impression.  Attacker’s (Call On) The Attacker houses the album’s best riff, although Bob Mitchell’s vocals are shriek city.  Jesters Of Destiny closes the album on a quality note with End Of Time.  My Score: B-

Metal Massacre VI (1985)

Metal Massacre VI

Thrash metal was beginning to ooze like an open sore from metal’s underbelly around the time Metal Massacre VI hit the streets.  Metal Blade captured this growing trend by including thrash bands like Possessed, Hirax, and Dark Angel on Metal Massacre VI.

Track List:

  1. Possessed – Swing Of The Axe
  2. Nasty Savage – XXX
  3. Steel Assassin – Executioner
  4. Mayhem – Tear Down The Walls
  5. Hades – Easy Way Out
  6. Hallow’s Eve – Metal Merchants
  7. Hirax – Bombs Of Death
  8. Pathfinder – Fountain Keeper
  9. Dark Angel – Welcome To The Slaughterhouse
  10. The Obsessed – Concrete Cancer
  11. Martyr – En Masse (Stand Or Die)

Info Nuggets:

  • Metal Massacre VI marked the debut of Possessed with the song Swing Of The Axe.  They went on to sign with Combat Records and release the Seven Churches LP in 1985.  Possessed are considered one of the first “death metal” bands.
  • Rik Anthony of Pathfinder was previously the lead singer for the Canadian band Breaker.  (I consider Breaker’s 1982 EP In Days Of Heavy Metal to be an underrated gem!)
  • Hirax, Nasty Savage, and Hallows Eve (spelled “Hallow’s Eve” on Metal Massacre VI) all went on to release full albums on Metal Blade Records in the eighties.
  • The band Mayhem that appears on Metal Massacre VI is from Oregon.  This is not the notorious Norwegian black metal band named Mayhem.

My Worthless Opinion:  Possessed open the album with Swing Of The Axe — the intro to which sounds almost identical to the beginning of Slayer’s Angel Of Death.  Mind you, Angel Of Death came out a year AFTER Swing Of The Axe, so I think Slayer ripped Possessed off!  By the way, history tells us that Possessed’s vocalist Jeff Becerra was a pioneer of the infamous death metal (vocal) growl.  Let’s all thank Jeff for influencing thousands of bands I will never listen to!

There’s a lot of thrash to be found on Metal Massacre VI, but the two best songs are actually more in the “power metal” style.  The Dutch band Martyr really impresses with En Masse (Stand Or Die).  This great song really grabs me by the pubic mound and doesn’t let go!  The other killer track is Fountain Keeper by the Canadian band Pathfinder.  Unfortunately, I think this is the only song Pathfinder ever officially released.  I would have loved to hear more stuff from them!  Another song that deserves a mention is The Obsessed’s Concrete Cancer — it’s a tasty jam in the spirit of Black Sabbath.

Of the thrash numbers, Mayhem’s Tear Down The Walls and Hallows Eve’s Metal Merchants are my two favorites.  Not surprisingly, these are the only two thrash songs with decent vocals. Nasty Savage’s XXX is the worst song on this compilation, with Dark Angel’s Welcome To The Slaughterhouse coming in a close second.

Overall, I think Metal Massacre VI is one of the best albums in the series.  It’s worth the price of ownership just for the rare Pathfinder and Martyr tracks alone.  Everything after that is gravy.  My score: B+

Metal Massacre VII (1986)

Metal Massacre VII

Metal Massacre VII had more range of metal styles than any Metal Massacre before it.  Besides having two (yes, two) female fronted thrash bands, Metal Massacre VII also had the L.A. sleaze metal of Krank, the hardcore cross-over of Cryptic Slaughter, and the dungeons ‘n dragons metal of Commander.

Track List:

  1. Heretic – Impulse
  2. Sentinel Beast – Sentinel Beast
  3. Flotsam And Jetsam – I Live, You Die
  4. Krank – Rented Heat
  5. Mad Man – Backstabber
  6. Detente – Widow’s Walk
  7. Commander – High ‘N’ Mighty
  8. Juggernaut – In The Blood Of Virgins
  9. Cryptic Slaughter – Reich Of Torture
  10. Have Mercy – The Omen
  11. Titanic – The Awakening
  12. Lost Horizon – Troubled Ways

Info Nuggets:

  • Heretic’s lead singer Mike Torrez joined Abattoir for their 1986 album The Only Safe Place (as Mike Towers).
  • Flotsam and Jetsam re-recorded I Live, You Die for their 1988 LP No Place For Disgrace.
  • Titanic independently released the LP Then There Was Rock in 1985 on White Lightning Records.  It was their only official album.

My Worthless Opinion:  Seven albums into the series and Metal Blade continues to deliver quality metal to quivering ear holes everywhere.  Metal Massacre VII is another enjoyable smorgasbord of eighties steel.  The two main highlights for me are Flotsam And Jetsam’s minor thrashterpiece I Live, You Die and Lost Horizon’s melodic gem Troubled Ways.  Lost Horizon (to my knowledge) never released any other material after Troubled Ways.  ‘Tis a shame because they had a great sound.

Secondary highlights include Heretic’s frantic Impulse, Commander’s triumphant High ‘N’ Mighty, and Titanic’s formidable The Awakening.  These strong cuts help to counter-balance the album’s misfires, which include Juggernaut’s In The Blood Of Virgins and Cryptic Slaughter’s Reich Of Torture.  My score: B+

Metal Massacre VIII (1987)

Metal Massacre VIII

There aren’t many recognizable names on Metal Massacre VIII (Sacred Reich is probably the biggest name here), but don’t let that perceived lack of star power sway your judgment.  Metal Massacre VIII is another rock solid entry in Metal Blade’s legendary series.

Track List:

  1. Sacred Reich – Ignorance
  2. Viking – Hellbound
  3. Overlorde – Keeper of the Flame
  4. Fatal Violence – Violence Is Golden
  5. Tactics – Spare No Lives
  6. Sanctum – Nothing Left
  7. Gargoyle – Into the Darkness
  8. Ripper – Death Awaits You
  9. E.S.P. – Take ‘Em Alive
  10. Wargod – Intimate with Evil
  11. L.S.N. – Deadly Kiss
  12. Cobalt Blue – Bullets

Info Nuggets:

  • Overlorde, Sanctum, Wargod, Fatal Violence, Cobalt Blue, and L.S.N. never released official albums.
  • Tactics independently released their only album The Master Plan in 1991.
  • The lead singer on Cobalt Blue’s Bullets was Lennie Rizzo (better known for his work on Exxplorer’s Symphonies Of Steel).
  • L.S.N. is short for “Loud Senseless Noise”.

Worthless Aside:  Compilations provide an advantageous environment for certain bands — particularly those that are one-dimensional in nature.  Because you only get a small taste of a band’s sound, you’re not plagued by the “listener fatigue” that you may otherwise experience when listening to a full album of a band’s material.  Take for example two bands that appear on Metal Massacre VIII — Viking and Gargoyle.  I happen to own albums by both of these bands, and I am not really a fan of either.  When I listen to Viking’s Man Of Straw (1989) or Gargoyle’s Nothing Is Sacred (1988), I get bored after a few songs because they all sound the same.  But if you include only one of their songs on a compilation of different artists, both Viking and Gargoyle’s songs “pop”.  It’s all relative.  On Metal Massacre VIII, the melodic power metal of Gargoyle’s Into The Darkness comes to life between the onerous thrash of Sanctum and the horror metal of Ripper.  Contrast is the key, and the mash-up of styles on the Metal Massacre albums is a fun way to experience different metal sub-genres in smaller, more palatable doses.  Furthermore, a compilation shouldn’t just be a haphazard collection of songs thrown together in a random order.  The sequencing of the tracks is very important.  I think Metal Blade did a particularly good job at arranging the running order on their Metal Massacre albums.  This helped maximize the listener’s enjoyment.

My Worthless Opinion:  Much like the last few albums, Metal Massacre VIII contains a nice balance of traditional (melodic) metal tunes and harsher, thrashier numbers.  Highlights include Overlorde’s galloping Keeper Of The Flame which is rich in melody and well-produced to boot.  Gargoyle also represent America’s power metal contingent well with the fine Into The Darkness. The album’s closing cut Bullets by Cobalt Blue is a little rough around the edges, but it succeeds at delivering a memorable chorus.

Of the thrash numbers on Metal Massacre VIII, my favorite is Fatal Violence’s Violence Is Golden.  First of all, what a great name for a song!  Violence Is Golden does a nice job of being both catchy and borderline psychotic.

There really aren’t any awful tunes on Metal Massacre VIII.  I guess if I had to a lodge any complaints I would say I am mildly disappointed with Ripper’s Death Awaits You because it has this suspenseful intro that seems to be setting the stage for something spectacular, but when the vocals finally arrive they are a bit campy (to say the least).  It turns out Ripper were some sort of horror-based metal band — so this was actually their shtick.  I just didn’t know that going in.  Another track that may warrant the use of the ol’ skip button is L.S.N.’s Deadly Kiss.  Since L.S.N. stands for “Loud Senseless Noise” I guess it isn’t much of a surprise that I am not a huge fan!  My score: B

Metal Massacre IX (1988)

Metal Massacre IX

Are you still reading?  Well, we’ve climbed our way up to the ninth Metal Massacre.  Taking stock of the series thus far, one noticeable difference between the early volumes and the later ones is the audio quality of the songs.  The first Metal Massacre consisted of demos, and when listening to that album it was plainly obvious that they were indeed low-budget demos. In fact, Metallica’s Hit The Lights on the first Metal Massacre sounded like it was recorded in a pay toilet!  But with each subsequent volume the sound quality seemed to improve.  Here on the ninth Metal Massacre, most of the recordings sound pretty professional.

 Track List:

  1. Banshee – We Want You
  2. Oliver Magnum – Old World Nites
  3. Toxik – Wasteland
  4. Dissenter – Blood Under Heaven
  5. Redrum – Random Violence
  6. Pedifile – Definitive Apology
  7. Chaos Horde – Needle Damage
  8. Faith Or Fear – Dehumanize
  9. The Wrath – Midnight Madman
  10. Overdose – Children of War

Info Nuggets:

  • Technically titled Metal Massacre Nine and not Metal Massacre IX.  Metal Blade was inconsistent in their numerical notation in the series.
  • Metal Massacre IX was (partially) re-released on CD in 1994 as a two-in-one along with Metal Massacre VIII.  The songs by Redrum, Pedifile, The Wrath, and Overdose were omitted in order to fit both albums on one CD.
  • Banshee’s We Want You appeared on their 1986 EP Cry In The Night.
  • Oliver Magnum re-recorded Old World Nights for their 1989 debut LP Oliver Magnum.
  • Dissenter, Pedifile, Chaos Horde, and The Wrath never released official albums.
  • Redrum’s Random Violence appeared on their 1989 album Power Corrupts.
  • This is the first Metal Massacre since Metal Massacre II that did not have the Grim Reaper on the cover.

My Worthless Opinion:  Metal Massacre IX explodes through the gates with a dominating performance from Banshee on the opening track We Want You.  What a KILLER metal song with razor-sharp rips, great vocals, and a massive hook!  Side one continues to run hot with a ripping cut from Oliver Magnum, some technical wizardry by Toxik, and Dissenter’s semi-catchy Blood Under Heaven.  The serviceable Random Violence by Redrum closes out the first side — a solid half indeed.

The second half of Metal Massacre IX is not as memorable as the first, though it is noteworthy for including a song by Pedifile — a band with the worst name of all time.  My score: B

Metal Massacre X (1989)

Metal Massacre X

Seriously, are you still f*cking reading this post?

Track List:

  1. Betrayal – Sick Or Sane?
  2. Solitude – Typhoid Mary
  3. Murdercar – Mirage Of Blood
  4. Confessor – The Secret
  5. Dan Collette – Egyptian Falcon
  6. Nihilist – Infected
  7. R.O.T. – Visions In Secret
  8. Wench – Mercy
  9. Slaughter – The Fourth Dimension
  10. I.D.K. – Stayed Up 4 Daze

Info Nuggets:

  • Officially titled Metal Massacre Ten and not Metal Massacre X.  Metal Blade was inconsistent in their numerical notation in the series.
  • The Grim Reaper returned to the cover after his absence on Metal Massacre IX.
  • This is the first Metal Massacre in which Metal Blade founder Brian Slagel was not credited as executive producer.
  • R.O.T. stands for “Risk Of Technology”.
  • Solitude’s Typhoid Mary appeared on their four-song demo Sickness in 1988.
  • Wench was an all-female band from New York.
  • The band Slaughter that appears on Metal Massacre X is a thrash band from Canada, not the American hair band named Slaughter.

My Worthless Opinion:  You don’t hear a lot about Metal Massacre X.  Maybe that’s because it doesn’t have any well-known bands on the track list.  But in the tried-and-true Metal Massacre tradition, this album takes chances and delivers a nice mix of metal sub-genres consistent with its time.  Curiosities include the instrumental Egyptian Falcon by Dan Collette (featuring Dan’s trumpet!) and the obtuse The Secret by Confessor (a technically complex mixture of doom and thrash).  The former doesn’t do much for me personally, but again, chances were taken.  Actually, Egyptian Falcon is the only song I regularly skip on Metal Massacre X.  The closest thing to traditional metal we get is R.O.T.’s Vision In Secret.  Not surprisingly, this is my personal fave of the bunch.  I’m also impressed with Betrayal’s Sick Or Sane? and Wench’s old-school thrasher Mercy.  The album closes with the short (and sweet) tune by I.D.K. called Stayed Up 4 Daze.  My score: B-

————————————————————————————————-

Let’s close out this (way too long) post with a list of my ten favorite songs from the first ten Metal Massacre albums.  As you can see, my personal taste leans toward the more traditional metal stuff.  Lizzy Borden’s Rod Of Iron is an easy choice for number one!  I actually like the early Metal Massacre IV version of Rod Of Iron better than the one Lizzy later recorded for their 1985 LP Love You To Pieces.

My Top 10 Songs from “Metal Massacre” (1982-1989)

  1. Rod Of Iron – Lizzy Borden (from Metal Massacre IV)
  2. Kick You Down – Malice (from Metal Massacre I)
  3. We Want You – Banshee (from Metal Massacre IX)
  4. Lucifer’s Hammer – Warlord (from Metal Massacre II)
  5. I Live, You Die – Flotsam And Jetsam (from Metal Massacre VII)
  6. Fountain Keeper – Pathfinder (from Metal Massacre VI)
  7. En Masse (Stand Or Die) – Martyr (from Metal Massacre VI)
  8. Trouble Ways – Lost Horizon (from Metal Massacre VII)
  9. Keeper Of The Flame – Overlorde (from Metal Massacre VIII)
  10. Medieval – Medieval (from Metal Massacre IV)
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6 thoughts on ““Metal Massacre” – Discography (1982-1989)

  1. Thanks for posting this. Just seeing Ratt on the list reminded me to check the lyrics to see if”Round and Round” says “a pizza sells”. I guess I won’t try to sell a pizza to Ratt now.

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