The 1980s saw heavy metal go mainstream and reach a large audience worldwide. The genre was split into sub-genres like Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, NWOBHM, Traditional Metal, and more. Regardless of which sub-genre you preferred, there was no doubt that heavy metal music absolutely ruled the 80s music scene. The metal scene during this time period was crowded with bands all vying for attention and radio/video airplay. We’ve put together a huge list of over 200 (241 to be exact) of the best hard rock and metal bands from the 80s that you need to check out and hopefully give a listen to.
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Mama’s Boys was an Irish metal band featuring the three McManus brothers Pat, a.k.a. “The Professor”, John (bass; vocal), and, Tommy (drums). The band’s Power and Passion album broke into the Billboard top 100 in the US. Mama’s Boys released the following albums during the ’80s: Official bootleg (1980), Plug It In (1982), Turn It Up (1983), Mama’s Boys (1984), Power and Passion (1985), and Growing Up the Hard Way (1987). Sadly, Tommy McManus died in 1991 from complications from bone marrow replacement surgery. While the band was never considered commercially successful in the U.S., they remain a favorite among metal music collectors.
Formed in 1980, Manowar featured metal songs concentrating almost entirely on fantasy and mythology. The band was clad in everything from leather to animal skins giving the band a sort of medieval warrior look. During the 80s the band released the following studio albums: Battle Hymns (1982), Into Glory Ride (1983), Hail to England (1984), Sign of the Hammer (1984), Fighting the World (1987), and Kings of Metal (1988). The band made it into the Guinness Book Of World Records for the loudest concert and also set a record with the longest concert performance at five hours and 1 minute in Bulgaria. The band’s slogan “Death To False Metal” has been used to differentiate the band from other metal bands that they consider to be pretenders or posers. Manowar has sold over 20 million records worldwide and still continues to this day.
Masi was the band created by guitarist Alex Masi to showcase his abilities. They signed to Metal Blade Records in 1986 and released two albums Fire in the Rain (1987) and Downtown Dreamers (1988). Downtown Dreamers featured the hit single “God Promised a Paradise” and the video brought them a great deal of attention courtesy of MTV. Alex Masi moved on to release his first solo album Attack of the Neon Shark (1989) which was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Instrumental Rock” album category. All in all, Alex Masi has released 17 total solo albums since disbanding the original “Masi” band.
Christian metal band Mass released the following albums during the 80s: Mass (1985), New Birth (1985), Take You Home (1988) and, Voices In The night (1989). The band was comprised of Gene D’Itria guitars, Joey Vadala drums, Louie St. August vocals, and, Kevin Varrio bass. The band hailed from Massachusetts and signed with Medusa Records which distributed their album “Take You Home” and found the band going down a similar path to Stryper who signed with Enigma records. However, Mass never able to achieve mainstream success as Stryper did.
McAuley Schenker Group
Formed by members Robin McAuley (vocals) and Michael Schenker (guitar), Robin McCauley was originally going to be the replacement at vocalist in the Michael Schenker Group, but Michael Schenker decided to change the name of the band to The McCauley Schenker Group to celebrate their partnership, still keeping the initials MSG. The band released two albums during the 80s: Perfect Timing (1987) and Save Yourself (1989) with a final studio album in 1990 simply called M.S.G. The band had their biggest hit with the song “Anytime” on the Save Yourself album, which also received heavy rotation on MTV.
Formed after Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine was let go from the band, Megadeth represented everything Mustaine had wanted to do, but now as a leader and vocalist as well. With lyrics focusing on death, war, politics, relationships, and religion, Megadeth often reflects our society in its songs. Megadeth released the following albums during the 80s: Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good! (1985), Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? (1986) and So Far, So Good… So What! (1988). Especially the first two Megadeth albums were instrumental, along with bands like Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Overkill, and Testament to creating the Thrash metal movement. Original members Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson still champion Megadeth to this day. The band received their first Grammy award in 2017 for Best Metal Performance for “Dystopia”.
Part of the first wave of Black Metal in the early 80s, Mercyful Fate concentrated their efforts on the occult with lyrics about Satan, Witchcraft and the paranormal. Singer King Diamond would go on to have a successful solo career after ending Mercyful Fate. Mercyful Fate only released two albums in the 80s: Melissa (1983), and Don’t Break the Oath (1984). However, their influence and legacy in dark metal music remain today and Mercyful Fate has been reformed with a changing lineup centered around the high-octave vocals of King Diamond.
Originally formed in San Francisco, Metal Church relocated to Seattle and signed to Elektra Records. Soon they were touring with artists like Slayer, Testament, Overkill, and Metallica which helped them reach a larger audience with their brand of Thrash Metal. The band hit their commercial peak with the album entitled “The Dark”. However, afterward, the band had a changing lineup of musicians that lead to the band not being able to achieve a consistent sound or message. Metal Church released the following albums during the 1980s: Metal Church (1984), The Dark (1986), and Blessing in Disguise (1989). The band still records and tours with vocalist Mike Howe who replaced the late David Wayne who died in 2005.
In 1981, Metallica came from the underground metal scene of the San Francisco bay area to become one of the most popular metal bands of all time. Originally featuring Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine on guitar, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Cliff Burton formed the early version of Metallica with Kirk Hammett replacing Mustaine before the bands’ debut album Kill ‘Em All was released. The band released the albums Kill ‘Em All (1983), Ride the Lightning (1984), Master of Puppets (1986), The $5.98 E.P. Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987), and …And Justice for All (1988) during the 1980s. Bassist Cliff Burton was tragically killed in a bus accident while the band was touring for the album Master Of Puppets. Metallica would replace their longtime friend on bass with former Flotsam & Jetsam member, Jason Newsted who made his first appearance on The $5.98 E.P. Garage Days Re-Revisited in 1987. Metallica received rave reviews for all the first three albums they released with Master Of Puppets being the album to break the band through to the mainstream. Metallica continues to record and tour with all original members and Robert Trujillo on bass.
Michael Schenker Group
Former Scorpions and UFO guitarist Michael Schenker started MSG in 1979. The band released the following albums during the 80s: The Michael Schenker Group (1980), MSG (1981), Assault Attack (1982), and Built to Destroy (1983). The band received great reviews and the debut album went all the way to #8 on the U.K. rock charts. Original MSG vocalist Gary Barden sang on the first two albums and again on Built To Destroy with Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz) handling the vocals on Assault Attack. The albums were a great vehicle for Schenker to showcase his guitar abilities and helped solidify him as one of the guitar greats of the 1980s.
Motley Crue was formed in 1981 with the band featuring Vince Neil on vocals, Nikki Sixx on bass, Mick Mars on guitar, and Tommy Lee on drums. The band ruled the 80s metal scene by appealing to both male and female fans and crossing the lines between traditional metal, glam rock, and radio-friendly ballads. Motley Crue released the following albums during the 80s: Too Fast for Love (1981), Shout at the Devil (1983), Theatre of Pain (1985), Girls, Girls, Girls (1987), and Dr. Feelgood (1989). Shout At The Devil has been considered one of the top metal albums of all time and the band score numerous hit singles throughout the 80s. Along with bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Great White, and Dokken, Motley Crue helped to shape the Sunset Strip, Hollywood glam metal era that dominated the 1980s.
Motorhead are considered one of the legendary bands in metal music. Motorhead released 22 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums, and five EPs over a career spanning 40 years. Lead by lead singer and vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, a character larger than life, Motorhead took no prisoners in their approach. Never a band to bow to the pressure of trends or for radio airplay, they did exactly what they wanted, how they wanted. Motorhead’s best know lineup featured “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor on drums. While the lineup changed over the years Lemmy was always the constant and maintained the Motorhead sound and image. In 2015, Lemmy died from cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Motorhead was nominated for Grammys multiple times and won only one for their cover of the Metallica song “Whiplash”.
Formed in 1988 Mr. Big featured Eric Martin (lead vocals), Paul Gilbert (guitar, backing vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Pat Torpey (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Gilbert had received notoriety as a guitarist playing in the band Racer X but was unable to be a commercial success with it as far as radio hits are concerned. Mr. Big’s self-titled debut album in 1989 was their only release during the 80s. Mr. Big took a more radio-friendly approach and included ballads that helped the band achieve hit singles. The band scored big hits with the songs “To Be with You” and “Just Take My Heart” during the 90s. Sadly, drummer Pat Torpey died from complications of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 64 in 2018.
Night Ranger formed in San Francisco in 1982. The original lineup featured vocalist and bassist Jack Blades, drummer Kelly Keagy, Keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald, and guitarists Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson. The band scored their first hit on their debut album “Dawn Patrol” with the song “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”. The band released the following albums in the 1980s: Dawn Patrol (1982), Midnight Madness (1983), 7 Wishes (1985), Big Life (1987), and Man in Motion (1988). The first three albums all went Platinum. The band’s biggest hit came on the Midnight Madness album with the ballad “Sister Christian”. The band has continued to record and tour over the years and still features the three original members of Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, and Kelly Keagy.
Odin is now recognized as one of the bands featured in the Penelope Spheeris documentary, The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. The band was featured prominently in the film and performed two songs in it “Little Gypsy” and “12 O’Clock High”. Odin is Jeff Duncan – Guitars, Shawn Duncan – Drums, Randy O. – Vocals, Aaron Samson – Bass. Odin was well known all over the Sunset Strip area in L.A. during the 80s metal boom. Odin is the only unsigned band as a headliner to have shattered attendance records on multiple nights at both Gazarri’s on the Sunset Strip and The Palace. Odin”s entire catalog was re-issued on EMP/Universal/SPV worldwide in 2018.
Omen was formed in L.A. in 1983 by guitarist Kenny Powell and the band signed to Metal Blade Records in 1984. Their style is considered power metal and they built a loyal following with each album that they released. During the 80s they released: (1984) Battle Cry, (1985) Warning of Danger, (1986) The Curse, and (1988) Escape to Nowhere. Omen has released three studio albums since then. Sadly, In October 2003, their original singer, J.D. Kimball, died, having succumbed to cancer after three years of treatment.
Overkill was formed in 1980 in New Jersey as a sort of thrash metal crossover band. The band took the name Overkill from Motorhead’s album of the same name. The band released for high acclaimed albums during the 80s: Feel the Fire (1985), Taking Over (1987), Under the Influence (1988), and The Years of Decay (1989). The band’s success continued throughout the ’90s and 2000s and the band still has a huge following today. Overkill and Anthrax are considered two of the biggest Thrash metal bands on the East Coast in the United States. The current lineup has changed a lot since the early days but still features vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni.
Starting his career as the original singer for the legendary Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne became a household name as a solo artist in the 1980s. He formed his solo band with the guitar virtuoso, Randy Rhoads who was featured on Ozzy’s first two solo albums before his untimely death from an airplane crash. Osbourne was devastated by the loss of his friend but continued on featuring Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis on a live album called Speak Of The Devil featuring all Black Sabbath songs. Gillis quit after the album and Osbourne hired former Ratt guitarist Jake E. Lee to handle the guitars. Jake E. Lee was then let go after two successful albums and replaced by guitarist Zakk Wylde who was only 17 years old at the time. While Ozzy scored quite a few radio hits in the 90s, the albums released in the 80s are now considered to be classics. Ozzy’s solo albums released in the 80s were: Blizzard of Ozz (1980), Diary of a Madman (1981), Bark at the Moon (1983), The Ultimate Sin (1986), and No Rest for the Wicked (1988). Ozzy Osbourne is considered one of the founding fathers of heavy metal music for his work with Black Sabbath and his solo career. He continues to record solo albums to this day.
Paul Dianno’s Battlezone
Paul Di’Anno was the original Iron Maiden vocalist who was replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He then formed a solo band called Di’Anno that released only one album. After the breakup of his solo band, he created Paul Di’ Anno’s Battlezone. The band’s initial line-up featured Di’Anno, guitarists John Wiggins & John Hurley, bassist Laurence Kessler and Sid Falck on drums. The band released only two albums in the 80s: Fighting Back (1986) and Children of Madness (1987). The band imploding with members fighting with each other. A completely different lineup appeared on a later release called Feel My Pain (1998).
Poison released their debut album “Look What The Cat Dragged In” in 1986 and opened a whole new door for glam metal bands. While glam metal was already developing in the Hollywood club scene, Poison cranked the glam factor up to 11. The band, with the help of MTV and radio airplay went all the way to #3 on the charts, fueled by the singles “Talk Dirty to Me”, “I Want Action”, “I Won’t Forget You” and “Cry Tough”. The band released only one other album during the 80s, Open Up and Say… Ahh! (1988) which featured their only #1 hit, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. The album made it to #2 on the charts and propelled Poison to the forefront of the 80s metal scene as the era was coming to an end.
Pretty Boy Floyd
Pretty Boy Floyd is a glam metal band that was formed in 1987. They released their debut album Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz in 1989. The album spawned two singles that were a hit with the glam metal fans “Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)” and “I Wanna Be with You”. The band broke up in 1991 but reunited again 1995. Pretty Boy Floyd have since released two albums called Size Really Does Matter (2004) and Public Enemies (2017) both to critical acclaim. The original lineup of the band was Steve “Sex” Summers, Aeriel Stiles — guitar, Kristy “Krash” Majors – Guitar, Vinnie Chas — bass, and, Kari Kane – drums. The current lineup is Steve “Sex” Summers – Vocals (1987–1991, 1995–Present), Kristy “Krash” Majors – Guitar (1988-1990, 1995–2003, 2006–Present), Criss 6 – Bass (2019–Present) and Vik Foxx – Drums (2019–Present).
By the time Pretty Maids had released Future World, they were well known throughout Europe. Thanks to MTV the band received video airplay with this album, which exposed them to a larger audience. While mainstream success eluded them in the U.S. market, the band still enjoys a great following worldwide and continues to release great albums to this day. Future World is the best place to start if you’ve never heard the band before, but afterward, check out the rest of their discography for some great power / melodic metal albums.
Featuring vocalist Jeni Foster, Princess Pang was an exciting glam metal band that played sleazy hard rock. Unfortunately, they only released one album, the self-titled release in 1989. The album is available through Metal Blade Records and is still sought after by glam metal collectors worldwide.
Prophet released two albums in the 80s: Prophet (1985) and Cycle of the Moon (1988). The self-titled album featured future Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley on drums. Prophet featured a more AOR style of melodic metal.
Queensryche was formed in 1980 with the original lineup consisting of guitarists Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo, drummer Scott Rockenfield, bassist Eddie Jackson, and lead vocalist Geoff Tate. Queensryche featured a unique style of power metal that was more technical and progressive. The band released a self-titled Ep in 1983 and then The Warning (1984), Rage for Order (1986), and Operation: Mindcrime (1988) during the 80s. Critics loved Queensryche’s output in the 80s and the band slowly built a following that continued on into the 90s. The band would go on to be Grammy-nominated several times only to see the band split apart over differences. Vocalist Geoff Tate left the band and went solo with Queensryche recruiting vocalist Todd Latorre to take over for Tate. Both Tate and Queensryche are still actively touring and recording.
Quiet Riot was the first heavy metal band to have a number-one single on the U.S. chart with “Cum On Feel The Noize”. Prior to their Metal Health album, the band had released two albums in Japan and had changed band members. The lineup of Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Carlos Cavazo, and Frankie Banali would become recognized as the classic lineup of Quiet Riot. The band released Metal Health (1983), Condition Critical (1984), QR III (1986), and QR in 1988, which featured former Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino. Original vocalist Kevin Dubrow would return to the band until his death in 2007. Drummer Frankie Banali died in 2020 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
Racer X’s debut album Street Lethal featured the guitar prodigy Paul Gilbert, who would go on to fame in Mr. Big. Racer X is a true metal band in the vein of Judas Priest. The band enjoyed a great following because of their great musicianship and went on to release many critically acclaimed albums. Racer X sort of became the side project of Gilbert which often ran simultaneously with Mr. Big. While Racer X never reached the same level of success as Mr. Big, the band is notable for being an influence on many musicians who saw the band as the cream of the crop in musical abilities.
Rage Of Angels
Christian metal band Rage Of Angels released their only self-titled album in 1989. Featuring a sound that resembled secular metal which Christian metal fans were seeking, the band made a big splash on the Christian rock scene with just this one album. lead guitarist Chris Risola, rhythm guitarist Frank DiCostanzo, and the now-deceased drummer John Fowler would go on to form the original lineup of the glam metal band Steelheart featuring vocalist Miljenko Matijevic that was released in 1990.
Ratt hit the big time with gold, platinum, and multi-platinum album releases. Along with bands like Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, and Great White, Ratt helped form the Hollywood glam metal scene of the 80s. Ratt’s biggest hit came in the form of the song “Round and Round” from the album “Out Of The Cellar”. Lead by enigmatic frontman Stephen Pearcy the band toured with Bon Jovi and continued creating best-selling albums throughout the 80s. Ratt released the albums: Ratt (EP) (1983), Out of the Cellar (1984), Invasion of Your Privacy (1985), Dancing Undercover (1986), Reach for the Sky (1988) during their 80s reign. Inner turmoil within the band caused Ratt to disband several times with Stephen Pearcy developing a successful solo career simultaneously. The band has featured different line-ups since the 80s but have kept the Ratt sound alive with Pearcy at the helm. Sadly, guitarist Robbin Crosby died in 2006.
This English metal band found success in the 80s with the albums: Rock Until You Drop (1981), Wiped Out (1982), All for One (1983), Stay Hard (1985), The Pack Is Back (1986), Life’s a Bitch (1987) and, Nothing Exceeds Like Excess (1988). The band was founded by brothers John and Mark Gallagher, along with Paul Bowden. They would go on to form a unique look that combined traditional metal leather and spikes with hockey, football, and baseball gear. Raven had their biggest hit with the song “On and On” from the Stay Hard album. Raven has consistently released solid metal albums over the years with their latest being Metal City (2020).
Former Riot vocalist Rhett Forrester released three solid solo albums “Gone With The Wind”(1984), “Even The Core (1988) and “Hell Or Highwater (1996). The latter being released as a memorial album. Rhett Forrester replaced Riot vocalist Guy Speranza on the “Restless Breed”(1982) album. Forrester was also featured on the Live EP “Riot Live” (1982) and “Born In America (1983). Riot split up briefly and Forrester would eventually embark on a solo career following several well-known collaborations. Tragically, Forrester was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking in Atlanta Georgia in 1994.
Riot actually started in the late 70s, but reached a larger audience in the 80s with the albums Fire Down Under (1981), Restless Breed (1982), Born in America (1983), and Thundersteel (1988). The band’s only constant member was founder and guitarist Mark Reale. Out of the four albums released in the 80s, three different vocalists were featured. Original Vocalist Guy Speranza died from pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2003. Second vocalist Rhett Forrester was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia on January 22, 1994. And former guitarist Lou “L.A.” Kouvaris died of COVID-19 on March 28, 2020. The band is now called Riot V after the death of the only original member Mark Reale, who died from complications resulting from Crohn’s disease in 2012.
Rock Goddess was formed by sisters Jody Turner (vocals and guitar) and Julie Turner (drums). The band released three albums in the 80s: (1983) Rock Goddess, (1983) Hell Hath No Fury and
(1987) Young and Free. Rock Goddess made significant in-roads for women in metal and scored a decent hit with the song “I Didn’t Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)”. The band broke up in 1988 but in 2019 they reformed and released a new album called “This Time”.
Rose Tattoo was a major influence on Guns N’ Roses, so much so, that GNR recorded two of their songs for their “Live Like A Suicide” EP release. While the band started in 1976, they didn’t release their first album until 1978. By the time “Assault & Battery” was released in 1981 the band had developed a reputation as bar-room brawlers and a real rock band with street-level credibility. Their sound was somewhat similar to that of another Australian band, AC/DC, The band has reformed several times over the years with different lineups and most recently released the album “Outlaws”(2020). Original guitarist Mick Cocks died of liver cancer in 2009.
Rough Cutt was managed by Wendy Dio, wife of the late, great Ronnie James Dio. Their debut album got them decent notice and their association with Dio didn’t hurt. The band became an overnight success in Japan. Their second album “Wants You!” saw their exposure improve through MTV and press coverage in rock magazines. While the band looked poised for a full-fledged breakout, they disbanded when vocalist Paul Shortino joined Quiet Riot, replacing original singer Kevin DuBrow. Shortino only recorded one album with Quiet Riot. Guitarist, Amir Derakh went on to form the glam band Jailhouse and later re-invented himself in the industrial rock band Orgy who had a hit single with the cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday”.
Glam rockers Roxx Gang released the album “Things You’ve Never Done Before” in 1988. It received critical acclaim and glam metal fans thought they had found the newest sensation in the scene, but the band would implode and change lineups before releasing new albums in the 90s. It all came out a little too late though, as the music climate had changed and record companies were looking at alternative bands to e the next big thing. The band’s albums were generally quite good and entertaining with vocalist Kevin Steele keeping things somewhat consistent.
German Metal band Running Wild started out with lyrics that revolved around satanic imagery, but in 1987 they helped pioneer the “Pirate Metal” sound with the release of “Under Jolly Roger”. The band concentrated on historical themes, especially around sailing after 1987, and became the Iron Maiden of pirates. They released the following albums during the 80s: Gates to Purgatory (1984), Branded and Exiled (1985) Under Jolly Roger (1987), Port Royal (1988), and Death or Glory (1989).
Sanctuary released the album Refuge Denied in 1988. Lead by vocalist Warrel Dane and guitarist Lenny Rutledge, Sanctuary hit the scene as a thrashy power metal band. The album was produced by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and was well-received by metal fans. The band would release the album “Into The Mirror Black” before disbanding. Warrel Dane would go on to form the band Nevermore with Jeff Loomis. Sanctuary reunited for two more albums before Dane’s death in 2017.
Featuring vocalist Sandi Saraya, this female lead band was really quite good and deserved a shot at the big time. Releasing the album, Saraya (1989), the band found success with the single “Love Has Taken Its Toll” and eventually released a second album in When the Blackbird Sings (1991). Originally Polygram Records wanted to create a sex symbol out of vocalist Sandi Saraya similar to a female Bon Jovi. Musically the band was solid and has been one of the bands that flew under the radar but were known to 80s hard rock fans and collectors.
Savatage was started by brothers Jon and Criss Oliva from Tarpon Springs Florida. The band was prolific at releasing albums in the 80s which included: Sirens (1983), Power of the Night (1985)
Fight for the Rock (1986), Hall of the Mountain King (1987), and Gutter Ballet (1989). The band often blurred the lines between power metal, symphonic metal, and occasionally even thrash. Tragedy struck when Criss Oliva was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. Savatage released four albums after Criss Oliva’s death but has been on hiatus ever since.
British band Saxon was very busy during the 80s releasing the following albums: Wheels of Steel (1980), Strong Arm of the Law (1980), Denim and Leather (1981), Power & the Glory (1983), Crusader (1984), Innocence Is No Excuse (1985), Rock the Nations (1986), and Destiny (1988). Lead by vocalist Biff Byford. Saxon is often listed alongside Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as influential bands from the NWOBHM scene. The band could never quite capture the mainstream metal audience in the U.S. but was quite successful in Europe and Power & Glory is still their best-selling album to date. Saxon is still performing and recording today.
The Scorpions released four albums during the 80s, Animal Magnetism (1980), Blackout (1982), Love at First Sting (1984), and Savage Amusement (1988). While all of them would receive great critical reviews, the band picked up speed with the album “Blackout” in 1982, which was driven by the single “No One Like You”. It was “Love At First Sting” that would finally bring the band the huge international fame that they had been seeking. The smash single “Rock You Like A Hurricane” put the band up to #6 on the Billboard charts and went 3 X platinum in sales. The band is reportedly working on material for a 19th studio album.
Sea Hags were a San Franciso based band that showed up at the end of the era of glam metal with their self-titled album in 1989. The band had actually started in 1985, but the band struggled with both time and finances to record an album until 1989. The Sea Hags had a bluesy sleaze metal sound that resonated with listeners but just came along at the wrong time. Guitarist Frank Wilsey would later join Stephen Pearcy in the bands Arcade and Nitronic.
Detroit rockers Seduce were pushed into the spotlight in the movie “The Decline Of Western Civilization Part Two: The Metal Years”. The band released their self-titled debut album in 1985. The band was interviewed and performed their song “Crash Landing” in the documentary “The Decline Of Western Civilization Part Two: The Metal Years”. Seduce released a second album “Too Much Ain’t Enough” in 1988 and it was well-liked by fans and critics alike. Seduce broke up in 1991. The two full-length albums are still highly sought after by metal record collectors and the band has achieved a cult following their movie appearance in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary.
This Japanese band started in 1982 and has featured different lineups over the years with vocalist Demon Kakka as the only constant member. They have been compared to KISS for their elaborate costumes and use of black and white makeup. The band has sold over 10 Million records in Japan. Seikima-II released the following albums during the 1980s: Seikima II – Akuma ga Kitarite Heavy Metal (聖飢魔II〜悪魔が来たりてヘヴィメタる, 1985), The End of the Century (1986), From Hell with Love (地獄より愛をこめて, 1986), Big Time Changes (1987) and The Outer Mission (1988). The band have a long career and officially disbanded in 1999.
Shok Paris released the album “Go For The Throat” in 1984. It received critical acclaim. They released the follow-up, Steel, and Starlight in 1987 on I.R.S. Records and is considered by many fans to be the band’s best work. They would release “Concrete Killers in 1989. After a long hiatus, Shok Paris returned in 2019 to release a brand new album called “Full Metal Jacket”.
Shark Island debuted their major label album “Law Of The Order” in 1989 for Epic Records. Prior to this album release, the band was known around the L.A. music scene simply as “The Sharks”. The band was a regular on the Sunset Strip but failed to turn their success in the clubs into successful album sales. While “Law Of The Order” was well received by the bands’ fans it simply didn’t get much promotion because of the changing musical climate. Shark Island has since reformed with different lineups and released the albums “Gathering Of The Faithful” (2006) and the critically acclaimed “Bloodline” in 2019.
Swedish glam metallers “Shotgun Messiah” impressed a lot of people with their trashy, sleaze sound on their self-titled debut in 1989. The band was originally called Kingpin but changed their name to Shotgun Messiah with their sights set on the L.A. Music scene. Original vocalist Zinny J. Zan left the band one year after the debut album and Bassist Tim Tim (Tim Skold) took over vocal duties. The band released the albums Second Coming (1991), I Want More EP (1992), and Violent New Breed (1993). Tim Skold would later go on to join industrial rockers KMFDM and perform with Marilyn Manson as well as a solo artist with his own band SKOLD. Original vocalist Zinny J. Zan released a solo album and two albums with his band The Zan Clan. Rumors have swirled recently that Tim Skold may be planning to reform Shotgun Messiah.
This German band lead by Mat Sinner is often compared to another great metal band, The Pretty Maids. The band started in 1982 and released the following albums in the 1980s: Wild ‘n’ Evil (1982), Fast Decision (1983), Danger Zone (1984), Touch of Sin (1985), Comin’ Out Fighting (1986) and Dangerous Charm (1987). Mat Sinner would later go on to join the band Primal Fear as bassist and backing vocalist and Sinner still releases new material, their latest album was released in 2019. Originally the band was a much heavier, traditional style metal band, but moved to a more melodic metal sound over the years.
After hitting the charts with their debut album in 1989 the band scored a 5 Times platinum album with this debut for Atlantic Records. With singles like “Youth Gone Wild and !8 And Life, the band was almost instantly propelled to the top of the metal scene. The classic lineup would only record two more albums and an EP before splitting with singer Sebastian Bach. Skid Row is probably one of the 80s metal bands that fans would most like to see reunite. Skid Row continues as a band these days with a different vocalist and drummer, while Sebastian Bach has managed to carve out a very successful solo career over the years.
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