During the 80’s hard rock ruled the airwaves. Quiet Riot’s Metal Health became the first #1 metal album of all time. Soon after the scene exploded with bands like Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Dokken, Ratt, Warrant, Poison, and many more. Unfortunately, for every success story, there were great bands that got overlooked, suffered from poor promotion, or simply imploded on their own. If you’re a true 80’s, early 90’s hard rock and metal fan, you’ve probably heard at least some of these bands, and if you’re like me, you bought all of these albums. But for those of you who didn’t…, .here’s a list of more of the greatest bands that you might have missed… Complete with links to listen to their music for yourself!
Here’s The Entire List In Alphabetical Order:
Notable for being the major-label debut of Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, Alcatrazz featured former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet and was an impressive debut release. Unfortunately, Yngwie left the band after the release of this album. How did the band follow up after losing Malmsteen? Simple. They brought in Steve Vai and helped launch his career even further. Alcatrazz Released The following albums in the 80s: No Parole from Rock ‘n’ Roll (1983), Disturbing the Peace (1985), Dangerous Games (1986)
Formed from members of Heart and Sherriff, this Canadian band released their self-titled album in 1990. Sounding a little like a harder-rocking version of Survivor, they mixed hard rock anthems with radio ballads and scored a decent hit with the song “More Than Words Can Say”. Alias only released two albums before disbanding.
Alien released their self-titled debut album in 1988. They had their song “Brave New World” featured in the 1988 remake of the classic horror film “The Blob”. This Swedish rock band mixed AOR with a light metal sound that occasionally had a progressive edge as well. The band reunited in 2010 and released their latest album “Into The Future” in 2020.
Angel Witch is probably most notable for being a part of the New Wave Of the British Heavy Metal movement. With the release of albums Angel Witch (1980), Screamin’ ‘n’ Bleedin’ (1985), and Frontal Assault (1986), the names told you what kind of music it was. Their self-titled album is considered a classic album from the NWOBHM and still stands as one of the most notable metal albums of that scene. The band has returned with different lineups over the years, with a slightly more modern sound but recognizable nonetheless.
Attempting to hit on the sound of guitar slingers like Van Halen and George Lynch, Angelica went for a more glam-sounding singer, similar to Mark Slaughter. The original vocalist was replaced by Rob Rock and Dennis Cameron had this to say about the band: “Angelica started as a vision that I had for an ideal band full of believer musicians”. The band hit the power ballad fans and those who like a skillful guitarist but never went much farther than that outside of the Christian Metal market.
After Loudness broke through as the first mainstream Japanese heavy metal band, many bands tried to follow their lead. One of the best Japanese bands to hit the scene was Anthem. The band still continues to release new albums, periodically. Bound To Break was the band’s biggest success in the United States, but failed to capture the album buyer’s attention at the same level as Loudness. Highly regarded in Japan, the band has a lengthy discography and deserved far more credit overseas than they received.
This Canadian metal band released Hard ‘n’ Heavy (1981), Metal on Metal (1982), Forged in Fire (1983), Strength of Steel (1987), and Pound for Pound (1988) in the 80s. Known for outrageous antics, including playing the guitar with a dildo and performing nude, Anvil had gotten great opening slots for other metal bands but failed to reach the same level themselves. Eventually, the band faded into almost obscurity, but the band made a huge comeback after a documentary about the band was released called Anvil!: The Story Of Anvil. Almost like the fictional band Spinal Tap, Anvil had suffered for their art and finally achieved the honor that they had deserved for so many years.
Armored Saint hit the scene as a gritty L.A. version of Judas Priest. The band was busy in the 80s releasing their self-titled EP (1983), March Of The Saint (1984), Delirious Nomad (1985), Raising Fear (1987), and finally with Saint Will Conquer in 1987. The band featured vocalist John Bush, who would later replace Joey Belladonna in Anthrax for many years. Armored Saint had some modest hits with songs like Can U Deliver and their cover version of Lynryd Skynrd’s Saturday Night Special. The band still has a large following of fans and continues to record and tour to this day.
Their debut self-titled album hit the shelves in 1991 and featured an interesting mix of hard rock, blues, southern rock, grunge and metal that actually seemed to work quite well. After an impressive outing, the band had internal conflicts which lead to their second and last album entitled “Pigs”.
Florida hard rock band AXE mixed heavy guitar with keyboards to create their sound. During the 80s they released Living on the Edge (1980), Offering (1982), and Nemesis in 1983. The band cracked the top 100 charts with the singles “Now Or Never” and “I Think You’ll Remember Tonight”. The band’s sound was much less heavy than the image on their album covers, which made them appear to be more of a heavy metal band.
Axel Rudi Pell
German guitar virtuoso started his career with the band Steeler, not to be confused with the American version featuring Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen. Much like Malmsteen, Pell was regarded as one of the new guitar masters during the 80s. Pell released only one solo album during the 80s called Wild Obsession (1989), but his reputation from Steeler was enough to push his name onto many favorite metal guitarist lists. The band still performs today with an ever-changing lineup with Axel Rudi Pell as the main constant
Baby Tuckoo appeared as part of the second generation of the NWOBHM in 1982. While their recorded output is minimal with just two studio albums, First Born (1984) and Force Majeure (1986) they are still being recognized as a hidden gem by many metal fans around the world who missed them during their initial run in the 80s. Unfortunately, the name Baby Tuckoo doesn’t exactly have a heavy metal sound to it, which may have contributed to their downfall.
Babylon A.D. released their self-titled album in 1989, barely arriving in the 80s. Original members, Derek Davis vocalist/songwriter, guitarists, and music writers Dan De La Rosa and Ron Freschi, drummer Jamey Pacheco and bassist Robb Reid were all in childhood rival bands. They signed to Arista Records and made quite a splash with their debut. Primarily considered a glam or hair metal band, Babylon A.D. was talented and crafted great songs. The band continued to release several great albums with their latest release being “Revelation Highway in 2017.
After Jake E. Lee left or was fired from Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, he built a bluesy rock band that stands up today as a true classic. The band featured vocalist Ray Gillen who along with Lee’s immaculate guitar skills propelled Badlands to be one of the most criminally underrated hard rock bands of the 80s. The band fused blues with classic rock and metal to create a unique sound. Badlands debuted in 1989 to rave reviews. They followed it up with the impressive Voodoo Highway and ultimately their final release after Gillen’s death Dusk. Eric Singer would later go on to be the longtime drummer in KISS following the death of Eric Carr.
Bad Moon Rising
Comprised of the lead vocalist and guitarist from Lion and the bass player and drummer from Hericane Alice this band got off to a promising start. Wildly popular in Japan, they were never able to duplicate the same success in the U.S. mostly due to changing trends in music. All of the albums and E.P.’s were quality releases and are sought after by collectors to this day.
Lead singer David Reece (Ex-Accept) hit the ground running with a spectacular debut album that suffered from the changing trend in mainstream music. The grunge / alternative movement put this album in the cut-out bin in most records stores. What a shame! The band features members of Hericane Alice and later Bad Moon Rising members. Reece is phenomenal form and this is a great album for people who love melodic metal.
Bang Tango was formed in L.A. in 1988. The original Bang Tango lineup consisted of Joe Leste, Mark Knight, Kyle Kyle, Kyle Stevens, and Tigg Ketler. The band released their critically acclaimed debut album Psycho Cafe in 1989 after signing with MCA records, which included the smash hit “Someone Like You”.
Banshee came from the Midwest part of the USA, in the Kansas City area. And while their image was right in line with the glam/hair metal scene at the time, musically the band had more of a power metal sound. Race Against Time was Banshee’s debut full-length album, which was released on Atlantic Records in 1989 and was a great showcase for their sound which incorporated melody with power metal. The debut album was the only release the band released through Atlantic. The band is still around and has released several albums in recent years, albeit, with a more modern metal sound.
Barren Cross is a metal band that was formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by Two high school friends; Lead Guitarist Ray Parris and Drummer Steve Whitaker. Lead Singer Michael Drive (Lee) had an ad in a local paper looking for a guitarist! Steve then drove to Michael’s house, where he called Ray and had Michael sing on the phone! As soon as they met and played together, the chemistry instantly formed; and two weeks later Michael met Bassist Jim LaVerde; and the rest is history! After recording 6 songs for two demos during 1983 and 1984, “the fires had begun” to burn – to record their first album. The band came close to sounding like Iron Maiden at times and originally was a bit heavier than their contemporaries “Stryper”. . They had their biggest success with Atomic Arena which also saw the band get airplay on MTV.
By The Time Beau Nasty released “Dirty But Well Dressed” in 1989, the glam/hair metal scene was starting to fade. That’s a shame for Beau Nasty because the band showed real potential. With a sound similar to Britny Fox, the band produced some great songs including the album opener “Shake It”, “Piece Of The Action” and “Love Potion #9”.
Beggars & Thieves
This band released a great debut album with several singles that would have made them superstars just a few years earlier. However, they arrived on the scene too late to really make it big. The debut album is still sought after by collectors and is considered a hidden gem.
This Canadian band released their self-titled debut album in 1991. Unfortunately, they were late to the hair metal party by the time it was released. The band had a catchy yet commercial hard rock sound that most likely would have been a lot more well-received if it had been released in the mid-to-late 80s.
Bitch went for shock value with songs about bondage and Sado-Masochism. Led by singer Betsy, they offered a different approach than female lead bands like The Runaways, Heart, and Lita Ford. The band signed to Metal Blade Records and released the following albums in the 80s: Be My Slave (1983), The Bitch Is Back (1987), and Betsy( 1989). They were almost known more for their outlandish stage shows than their actual music, but they had a decent run with a different schtick than most.
Blackeyed Susan was formed by former Britny Fox vocalist “Dizzy” Dean Davidson after his split from the band. While still hard rocking in its tone, it had a bit more of a classic rock n ‘roll style similar to the Rolling Stones. The band released the single ‘Ride With Me” to critical acclaim, but never found true success in the mainstream market.
Blacklace released their debut album “Unlaced” in 1984 and their second album which “Get It While It’s Hot” in 1985. Blacklace had a sound reminiscent of early Motley Crue with female vocals. Their sound was a bit heavier than that of most of the female lead bands at that time. Unfortunately, the band disbanded after the second album.
Black N’ Blue
Black N’ Blue is one of those bands that you just simply have to scratch your head as to why they never hit the top. The band had top-notch talent and delivered four great albums for Geffen records. Guitarist Tommy Thayer would later go on to replace Ace Frehley in KISS. The demos that lead to their debut album were produced by none other than Don Dokken. Every song on this album was great and should have cemented the band as the next big thing. The band reached the pinnacle of their success with MTV airplay for the song “I’ll Be There For You”. The band still performs live and still releases new albums, albeit without Tommy Thayer.
Black Sheep fronted by Willie Basse released their debut album “Trouble In The Streets” in 1985 on Enigma Records. The band is famous for having more than a few members that would go onto greater fame in other bands including Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big), Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Randy Castillo (Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, Motley Crue) and James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions). While the production seems a bit hollow on this album, it’s a rarity to even find it anywhere these days.
These guys helped get the Christian metal movement going and still work together today. They have a decent discography that’s definitely rooted in Bible scripture and always seemed more interested in witnessing to their audience than many other bands of the genre. The band was never about trying to get a record deal and hit the “big time.” The main focus of Bloodgood was always to reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Veterans of both the heavy metal and Christian rock scenes, Bloodgood’s unique blend of music and message has amassed both a fan base that appreciates their music and loves God.
Blue Murder was formed when guitarist John Sykes left Whitesnake and teamed up with Carmine Appice and Tony Franklin. The results were an incredible debut album. Still maintaining a similar sound to the material that he had recorded with Davide Coverdale for the best-seeling album “Whitesnake”, Blue Murder had a decent hit with their first single “Valley Of The Kings”. Sykes followed it up several years later with a second Blue Murder album called Nothin’ but Trouble in 1993. The musicianship is excellent and Sykes does an admirable job handling the vocals as well as guitar work.
Glamsters Blonz released their debut album in 1990 simply called “Blonz. Led by vocalist Nathan Utz, the band only recorded one album for Epic Records before disbanding. Utz has performed with guitarist George Lynch on several occasions as the live vocalist for Lynch Mob. Good news for collectors as it has been re-issued in 2018 as is available through DDR Music Group.
German band Bonfire started out under the name Cacumen, later changing to Bonfire for the 1986 album “Don’t Touch the Light” which was followed up by Fireworks (1987) and Point Blank (1989). The band found modest success with their first two albums but were never quite able to break out big in the U.S. They are most often associated with the glam metal scene. The band still exists and has varied lineups throughout the years with guitarist Hans Ziller being the only constant member.
Barely squeaking in at the end of the 80s is Bonham. The band was formed by Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The band earned a Gold record with their debut album “The Disregard Of Timekeeping”. The band was rounded out by John Smithson, Ian Hatton, and vocalist Daniel MacMaster. The band only released one more album together before Jason Bonham ended the group to pursue a solo career. Daniel MacMaster died in 2008 from a Group A streptococcal infection.
Formed in 1979, the band moved to Sydney in 1980 and released their only album “Step on It”, in October of 1984. The bands’ lineup consisted of Craig Csongrady (vocals), Kevin Pratt (guitar), Peter Sutcliffe (guitar), Scott Ginn (bass), and Joe Tatts (drums). Boss toured and did opening slots for Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, and Dio, unfortunately, the band only issued a few more singles after this and never recorded another full album together before disbanding.
Bow Wow / Vow Wow
Bow Wow is one of the early Japanese metal bands. Starting in the late 70s the band released several albums. In the 80s they released Glorious Road (1980), Telephone (1980), Hard Dog (1981) Asian Volcano (1982), and Warning from Stardust (1982). In 1984 the band changed their name to Vow Wow and released the albums Beat of Metal Motion (1984), Cyclone (1985), III (1986), V (1987) and Vibe (1988). Kyoji Yamamoto is considered a guitar virtuoso and is known for his skillful style.
Starting out with a little heavier sound than most of the others, they switched their sound to appeal more to the hair metal crowd. Kinetic Faith was the beginning of a new era for Bride. Bride was ready to record another album with a new sound and a more technically proficient lineup. Kinetic Faith was to be recorded in a studio in Nashville called the Salt Mine. Kinetic Faith was a complete departure from the music heard on Bride’s first three albums. It was more Rock ‘n’ Roll sounding – with a twist. In the end, it was good enough to put Bride in the mainstream of Christian Music and to win them a DOVE Award for the song, Everybody Knows My Name. While they had some great metal albums, they changed their sound a little too often and ultimately never seemed to have a consistent sound.
These Canadian rockers recorded Young, Wild and Free (1986) and Take a Deep Breath (1988) during the 80s. They followed it up with one more studio album, Love Machine (1991). The album Young Wild and Free brought the singles “We Came to Rock” and “Can’t-Wait for the Night” which charted highly in Canada and eventually went Gold. Take a Deep Breath also garnered the band a Gold record in Canada. However, their success did not expand outside of Canada on a larger scale. The band still has devoted fans and they have reunited several times for charity events.
Cats In Boots
Another band to unfortunately release their debut album at the end of the glam/hair metal era was Cats In Boots. Vocalist Joel Ellis provided a gritty vocal style and the guitarist and bassist were from the Japanese metal band Seiki Matsu, now known as Seikima. The band’s sound was sleazy and brought to mind a more raw sound of bands like early Motley Crue, Vain, Faster Pussycat, and other sleaze bands. The album was released on EMI in 1989 and critics and fans both seemed to like it.
Chastain started as a project for Shrapnel records with the guitar wizardry of David t. Chastain and the vocals of Leather Leone. Chastain was already in the band CJSS in 1984 when Chastain began. Originally it was intended to be a side project with musicians playing in the studio only. But Chastain proved to be more commercially successful than CJSS was and ultimately began David T. Chastain’s main band. A showcase of excellent guitar skills mixed with gritty vocals made Chastain a powerhouse band. Chastain released Mystery of Illusion (1985), Ruler of the Wasteland (1986), The 7th of Never (1987), The Voice of the Cult (1988), and their most successful album came in 1990 with Those Who Dare. The band is still recording albums today.
Cherry St. was formed in 1988 featuring Tom Mathers (who now owns and operates Perris Records), and Taz on guitars, Chris Van Dahl (L.A. Guns vocalist on American Hardcore) on bass, We Kimball on vocals, and Tom Dobrenty on drums. They were another glam metal band that missed the height of the scene by being a few years late to the party. Their debut album was released in 1992. Later releases by the band would feature a revolving door of vocalists.
Comprised of John Allen drums, percussion, backing vocals, Brian Jack lead vocals, guitars, Idzi bass, backing vocals, and Nicky Kay guitars, backing vocals, Child’s Play released their first album “Rat Race” in 1990. While they would follow it up with the album “Long Way” in 1993, they never made a huge splash. Hard rock fans like the sleazy style of the first album and it’s still a favorite of many, albeit an underground favorite.
Chrissy Steele released the album “Magnet To Steele” in 1991. Along the lines of Lita Ford and Lee Aaron, Chrissy Steele rocks with the best of them. However, the album didn’t deliver in the commercial sales department, despite being released on a major label. The crowd of hard rock and metal bands had already glutted the music industry and it was hard for any new band to reach a large audience at this point in time.
Circus Of Power
Circus Of Power came onto the scene with their debut self-titled album in 1988. Visually and lyrically the band appealed to the biker scene with lead vocalist Alex Mitchell covered in tattoos. Coming from New York, the band had a street-tough attitude with music to match. Their debut album received high praise from critics with Mitchell’s voice drawing comparisons to that of the late Doors singer Jim Morrison. The band would record two more albums in the 90s with Vices (1990) and Magic & Madness (1993). The band reunited in 2017 for the album Four with a new album to be released in 2020.
CJSS is an acronym for the band members’ last names, which are Chastain, Jinkens, Skimmerhorn, and Sharp. The band was formed by guitarist David Chastain. They released two albums in the 80s with Praise The Loud (1986) and World Gone Mad (1986). Chastain’s side project simply called Chastain became more commercially successful and received most of the guitarist’s attention during the rest of the 80s. CJSS reformed in 200 for an album called Kings Of The World.
Notable for featuring former Keel guitarist Marc Ferrari. Cold Sweat was poised to achieve fame and fortune. Featuring a then-unknown vocalist, Rory Cathey, the band often brought comparisons to Dokken. With outstanding vocals and a guitar virtuoso, the comparison to Dokken was easy to see. Unfortunately, the band failed to reach the mainstream heavy metal and rock crowd in terms of taking the next step to the top. Break Out is currently out of print and is a sought-after collector’s item by metal fans. Marc Ferrari has recently written a children’s book and Cathey now fronts the band “The Fifth”
Company Of Wolves
Company Of Wolves is comprised of Kyf Brewer – Lead Vocals, Piano, Harmonica, Steve Conte – Guitars, Vocals, John Conte – Bass, Backing Vocals and Frankie LaRocka – Drums. They released three albums. Their self-titled album debut was released in 1990 followed by Shakers And Tamborines and Steryl Spycase. The band was more in the hard rock vein than metal and incorporated a traditional hard rock style like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones with crunchy guitar.
Crimson Glory, whose classic line-up consisted of vocalist Midnight, guitarists Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords, and drummer Dana Burnell. The band is considered to be one of the originals in the progressive metal movement, along with Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Fates Warning. Visually the band was quite different, with the members wearing chrome masks. Crimson Glory released Crimson Glory (1986) and Transcendence (1988) and then followed up in the 90s with Strange and Beautiful (1991) and Astronomica (1999) which featured Wade Black on vocals before calling it a day as a band. Vocalist Midnight died in 2009 from a stomach aneurysm. While he never recorded an album with the band, current Queensryche vocalist Todd La Torre was with the band for a brief period.
Glam metal band, Cry Wolf released their self-titled album in 1989. They received a decent buzz among rock journalists and fans. The band released the album Crunch (1990) which would be their most successful release. The band was originally named Heroes, and the band consisted of Tim Hall (vocals), Steve McKnight (guitar), Phil Deckard (bass), John Freixas (drums), and JC Crampton (Keyboards). Vocalist Tim Hall has drawn comparisons with the vocal style of Stryper’s Michael Sweet.
The D’Molls featured Desi Rexx on vocals, bassist Lizzy Valentine, guitarist S.S. Priest (Diamond Rexx), and Billy Dior on drums. They released their debut album in 1988 on Atlantic Records. The band got their video for “777” featured on MTV, but it did little to sell more copies of the album. The band would go on to release two more albums “Warped” (1990) and Beyond D’Valley Of D’Molls (1997).
Originally known as Disneyland After Dark, the band changed their name to the shortened version D-A-D to avoid legal issues with Disney. This danish band released several albums before signing with Warner Brothers to release their breakthrough album “No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims” which featured the song “Sleeping My Day Away”. The band got recognition with airplay on MTV but never quite hit it big. However, the band still has a devoted cult following and continues to release albums with their latest album being “A Prayer For The Loud” in 2019.
Danger Danger released their self-titled debut in 1989 and with the help of MTV had success with the single “Naughty Naughty”. The band mixed a lighter keyboard sound with glam metal to offer a radio-friendly sound. They didn’t release their second album until 1991 and by then the 80s metal genre was already in decline due to changing tastes in music. Currently, the band continues to record and perform and though they have had a few lineup changes over the years including different vocalists, they still have a devoted fanbase.
Texas made its contribution to sleaze metal with Dangerous Toys. They released their self-titled debut in 1989 to decent reviews. With critics comparing vocalist Jason McMaster’s voice to everyone from Bon Scott to Axel Rose. The band appealed to a little more of a rough and tumble kind of crowd than most of the glam bands. LEaming on the straight-ahead rock style of AC/DC to deliver the goods rather than a glamourous look. It seemed to work well and the band did quite well for several albums, but the changing music scene eventually took away any opportunities for major record labels to keep them aboard.
Releasing their debut studio album Crack Of Doom in 1986, D.C. LaCroix was formed by Dan “D.C” Christopherson and vocalist Sylvie LaCroix. They would release a second album “Livin’ By The Sword” in 1988 before disbanding.
Another Japanese band that tried to reach the shores of the U.S., Dead End achieved only modest sales with their Ghost Of Romance album. The band received airplay on MTV with the song “Danse Macabre”, but never really achieved the level of success Of Loudness and X Japan. The band had a unique style and image that was often confusing to American audiences, who were right in the middle of the glam metal movement at the time.
A product of the San Franciso Bay area thrash scene along with bands like Metallica and Megadeth, Death Angel was one of the original bands to start the scene. However, the band struggled to find the mainstream success that many of their peers found. The band has consistently created great quality metal albums over the years and received heavy rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball with the release of their album Frolic Through The Park in 1988. The band is still regarded as one of the classic metal bands of the bay area metal scene.
The original lineup of DED Engine featured Doug Horstman, G.H. Lorimer, Scott Litz, Marky DeSade. They released their debut album in 1985. They followed it up with a second album called “Hold A Grudge” in 1987. The band had an interesting sound that could easily bridge the gap between the sounds of Motorhead and hair metal. Mail order ads for their album were heavily featured in the major rock magazines of the 80s. They have remained a cult favorite for many metal fans.
Diamond Rexx is a unique band. The band seemingly combines glam metal, sleaze, and punk all into one unified sound. That uniqueness may also be their Achilles heel. Admittedly, the mixture of sounds might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was good enough to get them signed to Island Records in 1986. The band comes from Chicago which also contributes to the fact that they sound different than a lot of the other glam bands that were flooding the L.A. music scene at the time. The band released the following albums, Rated Rexx (1990), Golden Gates (1991), Rexx Erected (2001), The Evil (2002), and are set to release a new album in 2020 called Psycho Ward.
This short-lived solo outing by former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno saw him try a go at a lighter sound than he had previously done. The band was very keyboard-heavy and the songs leaned more in the direction of AOR radio-friendly material. While it made a decent splash in the UK charts, fans didn’t really take to his new lighter style of rock. Paul Di’Anno would continue to record albums throughout the 80s and 90s but not under the moniker of Di’Anno. Following the demise of Di’Anno as a solo project, Paul Di’Anno’s Battlefield was the most popular band that he would front following his dismissal from Iron Maiden.
Dirty Blonde is a diamond in the rough. Having released their only album, “Passion” in 1989. By this point in the 80s, glam metal bands were practically everywhere. This made it much more difficult to get noticed and Dirty Blonde was a victim of being one of many in a scene that was already jam-packed. The band was quite talented and remains an underground favorite for many fans of the genre. Their album is still highly sought after by collectors.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Dirty Looks moved to California to be a part of the 80s metal movement. The band released the following albums in the 80s: (1985) Dirty Looks, (1986) In Your Face, (1987) I Want More, (1988) Cool from the Wire, (1989) Turn of the Screw. But it was finally the Cool From The Wire album in 1988 that saw the band lead by Henrik Ostergaard, make waves. The band received heavy rotation of the title song from the album on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and brought them to a larger audience. Henrik Ostergaard died in 2011 from liver failure. But the band has released 17 studio albums before and after Ostergaard’s death. The band found a similar bluesy hard rock sound to that of AC/DC.
If you’re looking for something different, look no further than Dread Zeppelin. The band released their debut album Un Led Ed in 1990. One of the more unusual bands of the time, the band delivered Led Zeppelin songs in a Reggae format performed by an Elvis impersonator named Tortelvis. Yeah, you read that correctly. Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, the band got noticed for simply being unique. What’s really strange is that it was somewhat interesting, if for only a brief moment. MTV played the video for “Heartbreaker” in decent rotation, most likely just because of the novelty of it all.
Earthshaker is one of the early Japanese metal bands. They were unfortunately overlooked in the U.S. market with bands like Loudness, E-Z-O, and Anthem reaching an American metal audience. Early on Earthshaker actually featured Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara as their singer and bass player. Earthshaker is still well-known in Japan and has released a large discography over the years. In the 80s they released the following albums: Earthshaker (1983), Fugitive (1984), Midnight Flight (1984), Passion (1985), Overrun (1986), Aftershock (1987), Smash (1988), and Treachery (1989). The band released their latest album “The Story Goes On” in 2018.
Comprised of Shane vocals, Ryan Roxie guitars, Jonathan Daniel bass, and John Schubert drums, these guys had a sleazy glam sound with a heavy blues influence. Guitarist Ryan Roxie would later go on to play with Alice Cooper, Slash, and Doro among others. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1990 and the band most recently released an album in 2017 called Lost In The Atlantic on Demon Doll Records/Metal Legacy.
Swedish upstarts Electric Boys took a different approach to melodic metal by merging a bit of 70’s rock and interesting rhythms to create something unique. The single “All Lips and Hips” was a minor hit, but success eluded them. The band is still active and still releases new material. (The debut album was actually released in 1989 but is included in this list because it suffered the same fate as most of the bands of this genre released after 1990)
Every Mother’s Nightmare
This band released their self-titled album in 1990 to a decent amount of success. Combining Southern charm with bluesy pop metal the band found minor success but struggled to keep afloat in the mainstream rock world with their later album releases. The band is still together and has released consistently solid material over the last few years.
Hailing from Canada, Exciter is considered to be one of the first speed metal bands. The 80s saw them release the following albums: Heavy Metal Maniac (1983), Violence & Force (1984), Long Live the Loud (1985), Unveiling the Wicked (1986), and Exciter (O.T.T.) (1988). They started out with Shrapnel Records and then signed to Megaforce Records in 1984. Commercially, the band would never reach the level of other bands of the time including Metallica, Exodus, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Exciter has continued on as a band for many years with different lineups and is currently active.
Eyes only released one album back in 1990, but it received critical acclaim featuring vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (former vocalist for Yngwie Malmsteen). The band released the singles “Callin’ all Girls” and “Nobody Said It Was Easy” but the band failed to achieve larger success. A great band that is considered a hidden gem.
In terms of mainstream success in the United States, E-Z-O was probably one of the closest to breakthrough. The band’s video for the single Flashback Heart Attack” received airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. The band was helped along by Gene Simmons of Kiss and released their debut album on Geffen Records. The band wore leather and black and white makeup that represented the different elements of Japanese folklore. The band was originally called “Flatbacker” and recorded several albums in Japan before changing their name to E-Z-O at Simmons’s request. After the band disbanded, leader singer Masaki Yamada joined Loudness for a succession of albums replacing vocalist Mike Vescera, who had replaced original Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara.
Of the best debut albums of the early ’80s was the self-titled album by Fastway. The band’s name was a hybrid of “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Pete Way, who started the band together. Vocalist Dave King often drew comparisons to Robert Plant. The band would go on to record several albums for CBS / Epic Records and performed the soundtrack for the horror movie “Trick or Treat” which featured Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons in cameo appearances. While the band continued to record great albums, none of them reached the level of the debut and the band eventually parted ways. Dave King is currently the lead singer in the Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. Sadly, Pete Way passed away in 2020 from serious injuries.
Fates Warning formed in 1982 and released their first album in 1984. Soon, the band had a devoted following with their progressive metal sound that has often been compared to that of Queensryche. Fates Warning released the following albums in the 1980s: Night on Bröcken (1984), The Spectre Within (1985), Awaken the Guardian (1986), No Exit (1988), and Perfect Symmetry (1989). The band’s defining album Parallels (1991) is considered to be one of the best of the genre and has been listed as inspirational to many other bands. The band has recorded an album slated to be released in the near future.
Femme Fatale, lead by vocalist Lorraine Lewis released their self-titled album in 1988 and immediately found success on MTV with their video for “Waiting For The Big One”. It was enough to propel them into the top 200 charts in the U.S. However Femme Fatale didn’t release a second studio album with MCA records. Essentially, a one-hit-wonder when it comes to commercial sales, the band still attracted a decent audience. Sadly, guitarist Bill D’Angelo died of a heart attack in 2005. Lorraine Lewis had a brief solo career and now fronts the band “Vixen” replacing Janet Gardner as the vocalist.
Fifth Angel was a band filled with incredible talent and great musicians. However, despite that fact, the band never found mainstream success. The band was compared to bands like Queensryche, Fates Warning, and others. Ted Pilot was an amazing vocalist. Ken Mary, former Alice Cooper drummer provided an incredible thunderous rhythm and James Byrd was spectacular as the guitarist. The band releases a second album “Time Will Tell” but eventually disbanded afterward.
After hitting the scene in 1990 with their debut album, Firehouse leveraged rock radio and MTV airplay to gain overnight popularity. Their second album also contained several radio hits. The band still performs and records to this day. Each album released by the band has been a solid outing and the band still draws a huge crowd for their live shows.
Flotsam And Jetsam
Flotsam And Jetsam was formed in 1981 in Arizona. This thrash metal band released Doomsday for the Deceiver (1986) and No Place for Disgrace (1988) during the 80s. Jason Newsted played bass on the debut album before leaving to replace Cliff Burton in Metallica after his tragic death. Flotsam And Jetsam have a long history and have released many albums since their inception. Their latest release was 2019’s The End Of Chaos. While the band lineup has changed many times, they still continue to release quality thrash metal albums, time and time again.
Freak Of Nature
After White Lion disbanded, vocalist Mike Tramp started this band and took it in a decidedly more heavier direction. While it came closer to fitting the sound of the grunge movement of the 90’s, it never found enough success to continue long term. Tramp eventually went solo and still performs and records today.
Freight Train Jane
This short-lived project by Black N’ Blue vocalist Jamie St. James was actually very good. It unfortunately never reached enough people to garner the success it deserved. Think of it as a heavier Black N’ Blue with a slightly modern twist. While it’s hard to find, collectors pay top dollar for this one.
After Kix disbanded, vocalist Steve Whiteman continued on with Funny Money. While similar to Kix in sound the band did develop its own personality. Another victim of wrong time and wrong place, the band eventually disbanded and Kix reformed to continue doing what they do best.
Giant was founded by Dan and David Huff, founding members of the Christian rock band Whiteheart. They released the album Last of the Runaways in 1989. They scored a radio hit with the single “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. The band was critically acclaimed and developed a fan base rather quickly, in part from fans of Whiteheart and then new fans from MTV and radio airplay. Giant disbanded in the early 90s but has returned with different lineups, most recently in 2010 with the album “Promised Land”.
Girl is famous for having two members that went on to be in successful bands in the 80s. Frontman Phil Lewis would later go on to be the vocalist for L.A. Guns and guitarist Phil Collen would find fame with Def Leppard. While the band only released two studio albums before breaking up, Sheer Greed (1980) and Wasted Youth (1982) they left a lasting impression and had a significant impact on the future work of Lewis and Collen. The song “Hollywood Tease” from Girl’s Sheer Greed album would reappear on the self-titled L.A. Guns album.
This British all-girl metal band showed that women can rock just as hard as their male counterparts. They released a series of albums in the 80s: Demolition (1980), Hit and Run (1981), Screaming Blue Murder (1982), Play Dirty (1983), Running Wild (1985), Nightmare at Maple Cross (1986) and Take a Bite (1988). After finding success n the U.K. the band set its sights on the U.S. and signed a record deal with Mercury Records for their 1985 album Running Wild. However, it failed to achieve the commercial success that the label was hopeful for and Mercury dropped the band from the label. This didn’t detour the band and they have continued to record new albums and tour with a varied lineup ever since. Their latest release was an EP in 2015 called Propaganda!.
Originally a side project formed by Greg Giuffria after his band Angel ended, Giuffria became a full-fledged band. During the 80s they released Giuffria (1984), Silk + Steel (1986) to good reviews. Singer David Glen Eisley drew comparisons in vocal style to that of Journey’s Steve Perry. The band had their first taste of success with the single “Call To The Heart” which helped push the album to #26 on the U.S. charts. The band received MTV airplay for their single “I Must Be Dreaming” from their sophomore album Silk + Steel but failed to break into the big time commercially. Greg Giuffria would go on to form the band House Of Lords and then ultimately retire from music altogether. David Glen Eisley and Craig Goldy reunited in 2017 for an album called Blood, Guts, and Games. The album also included work from former Giuffria member Chuck Wright.
After the fall of Communism in the U.S.S.R., this Russian band quickly embraced the western culture of rock and metal music. They were signed to Mercury Records where they released their debut album in 1989. The band released “Bang” as their first single and was the first Russian band to be featured on MTV. They also received radio airplay with the singles “Try to Find Me” and “Peace in Our Time”. They performed at The Moscow Music Peace Festival with Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Cinderella, Ozzy Osbourne, and Scorpions. However, this would be the peak of their career outside Russia. Gorky Park released their last album Protivofazza in 1998.
This German metal band turned out the following albums in the 80s: Heavy Metal Breakdown (1984), Witch Hunter (1985), War Games (1986), and Stronger Than Ever (under name Digger). They received critical acclaim for the Heavy Metal Breakdown album. They toured with Helloween with the release of their second album, which exposed them to more new fans. Grave Digger’s style is considered classic heavy metal. The original band members split up and the lineups changed but the band reformed eventually with only vocalist Chris Boltendahl remaining as a constant. Their latest album Fields Of Blood was released in 2020.
Grim Reaper’s output in the 80s consisted of See You in Hell (1983), Fear No Evil (1985), and Rock You to Hell (1987). This British metal band was known for great guitar work from Nick Bowcott and strong vocals from Steve Grimmett. Their classic melodic heavy metal sound made people take notice and they received their fair share of airplay on MTV, but commercially they failed to connect with a large audience like their peers Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Grim Reaper is well respected and still has a loyal fanbase. In recent years, singer Steve Grimmett has revamped the band as “Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper” and they have released two albums under that moniker to date.
Starting out as a more traditional metal band, Guardian soon changed vocalists and went for a more every man’s hard rock sound, in the lines of Tesla with a slightly more glam image and sound. Guardian was formed in 1982 under the name Fusion, by singer, Paul Cawley and bassist David Bach. The original band lineup also featured drummer Steve Martinez and guitarist Gene Thurston. Originally signed to Enigma Records, they wanted a more Christian-focused record label and asked to be released from their contract. Cawley left and the band brought in Jamie Rowe with a new sound and vocal style.
Guy Mann-Dude whose real name is actually Guy Shiffman, is a guitar shredder who originally was a pro drummer who switched to guitars. He released two albums: Sleight of Hand (1989) and Mannic Distortion (1991). He made a guest appearance on Alice Cooper’s Trash album and played guitar on the tracks “Spark in the Dark”, “Why Trust You” and “This Maniac’s in Love with You”. He performed as part of a one-off supergroup on the song Shocker from the movie “Shocker” along with Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake) Paul Stanley (KISS), and Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard).
Gypsy Rose was one of the first bands to sign to Gene Simmons’ record label. This Canadian band released two singles, “Poisoned By Love” and “Don’t Turn Your Back On Me Now” from their debut album “Prey” and garnered them a growing fanbase. While the band disbanded when the height of the glam metal era began to fade, vocalist Michael Ross returned with solo material and has also returned with a new lineup of Gypsy Rose. The band has since released several albums with FNA Records.
Not to be confused with the German metal band Helloween, Halloween commanded quite a cult following. The band is known for their album Don’t Metal with Evil (1985). Formed in Detroit, the band was outside of the glam metal scene that took Hollywood by storm. Unfortunately, their geographic location probably kept the band from being big. As many bands were relocating to L.A. to play the clubs in search of big record deals. Halloween never made the jump but is one of the hidden gems that collectors still look for. The band went through many different lineups and released several albums throughout the 90s and 2000s.
Hardline released their debut album Double Eclipse in 1992. The band featured Neal Schon (Journey) on guitars, Deen Castronovo on drums, brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli, and Todd Jensen on bass. Touted by fans as one of the best hard rock albums of the 90s, Schon and Castronovo left after the first album. There wasn’t a large promotional push around the album when it came out but word spread that it was a great album and did marginally well in sales for what was essentially a Neal Schon side project at the time. Currently, Hardline still exists and records new albums with vocalist Johnny Gioeli as the only original member remaining.
Notable for featuring Tommy Thayer (Black N’ Blue, KISS) on guitar and included Teresa Straley vocals, Pat Regan keyboards, Todd Jensen bass, and Steven Klong drums. The band only released one album, the self-titled “Harlow” in 1990. The band had more of an AOR sound, despite looking more like a glam band. While it was a commercial failure, it wasn’t terrible either.
Hawk was the band founded by Doug Marks, which you may remember from all of the 80’s Metal magazine ads for his “Metal Method” Guitar Lessons. Members of Hawk included: Doug Marks (MetalMethod.com), Scott Travis (Judas Priest), Charles Morrill (Charlie Wayne Morrill), Lonnie Vencent (Bullet Boys), David Fefolt, and Matt Sorum (Guns ’N Roses). The band imploded due to personal differences after releasing only one studio album. However, that self-titled Hawk album remains a hard-to-find classic metal album.
While the band got its start in 1984, it wasn’t until 1987’s Breaking The Silence that the band hit its stride. The band released their cover of The Sweet’s “Set Me Free” as the first single and it proved to be quite successful. MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball put the video in rotation which allowed the band to reach a much larger audience than before. The band’s early sound was more reminiscent of the bay area thrash metal but became more technical metal sounding after Breaking The Silence. The band has gone through many lineup changes over time but still releases new material. They are set to release their latest album in 2020 called “Empire Of The Blind”.
Australian band Heaven released three studio albums “Bent”(1982), “Where Angels Fear to Tread” (1983), and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1985). The band toured the U.S. under support for their single and video for “Rock School” and picked up news fans. However, they never seemed to break through to the mainstream U.S. metal audience. Early on their sound was closer to that of AC/DC but later albums went in a more commercial, radio-friendly version. Fans regard all of their albums as quality releases and they are still collected heavily by metal fans. In 2015, vocalist Allan Fryer died after a lengthy battle with cancer.
I will probably go to my grave thinking that if the debut album by Heaven’s Edge had only been released a few years earlier, they would have been one of the biggest names in 80’s hard rock. Unfortunately, it wasn’t released until 1990, just as grunge and alternative rock were becoming all the rage. The very day that I bought this album, I must have played it at least twenty times. It’s really that good. And thanks to the shift in the musical climate at that time, it just wasn’t given the great record label support that it deserved. This album is all killer and no filler. These carefully crafted songs were well written and balanced with a few ballads that didn’t feel cheesy and full-on rockers that metalheads like me were all about. So, in essence, a complete band that you and your girlfriend could listen to without an argument. Once Play Dirty gets going, it doesn’t take long to realize that this is a killer album. Skin To Skin, Daddy’s Little Girl, and the live, acoustic-tinged, Is That All You Want are my absolute favorites, but it’s a great cohesive album that’s awesome from beginning to end. Heaven’s Edge did release a second album entitled Some Other Place Some Other Time that’s also a great testament to their sound, incredible songwriting ability, and musicianship. The band still does select live concert appearances.
This band comprised of Joel Ellis (Cats In Boots), Gary Hoey, Rex Tennyson, & Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot) released their only album, “Heavy Bones in 1992. The album was really quite good and is still sought after by music collectors. Commercially it didn’t sell well and the band disbanded soon after. But, it’s simply a great hard rocking album that shouldn’t be missed.
Heavy Pettin is a Scottish band that released its debut “Lettin Loose” in 1983. The band’s sound was often similar to that of early Def Leppard material. They seemed to be a band on the rise with the release of their second album “Rock Ain’t Dead”(1985) but their sound became more commercial and keyboard-heavy by the time they released “Big Bang” in 1989. Melodic metal fans still seek out all three albums and recently the band has re-formed to release a new EP called 4Play.
Heist was a glam metal band that featured Paul Holdgate (vocals), Kurt Fry (guitar, backing vocals), Craig Truman (bass), Steve Robello (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards) and Darryl Hill (drums). They released their only album High Heel Heaven in 1989 which features cameos by Night Ranger’s Kelly Keagy and Jeff Watson as well as a cameo by the late Ronnie Montrose.
Hellion released their self-titled Ep in 1983 and the album Screams in the Night (1987), and another EP, Postcards from the Asylum (1988) during their run in the 80s. Led by vocalist Ann Boleyn, the band often headlined shows on the Sunset Strip clubs but failed to find a major record label offer. Ronnie James Dio offered his help to the band and worked on demos with Boleyn. The members of the band decided to split from the singer. Undeterred, Boleyn reformed Hellion and formed her own record label, New Renaissance Records. The band continued to release material into the 2000s.
Here’s a band who were poised for success in the glam metal world, but the timing was just “Too Late”, referring to the great song of the same name on this album. They had the look, the sound, and a vocalist that was reminiscent of David Lee Roth, yet still came up short by arriving just a few years behind the glam metal tidal wave that marked the 80’s music scene. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves glam metal. It’s a great addition to any collection.
Herman Ze German
Former Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell released this solo album featuring vocals by Don Dokken and Great White’s Jack Russell. MTV put the cover version of the classic hit “Wipeout” in rotation for a while, but this was simply a one-off solo album that is fun for collectors to find.
When glam metal hit it big in the ’80s, many Christian metal bands went the same route. Holy Soldier had two really good albums before changing personnel and going in a more acoustic-based alternative. Holy Soldier is a band that has secured its position as one of the most important and identifiable bands of Christian rock & roll history. The group, which formed in Los Angeles in 1985, distilled so much of the music that had come before them and has exerted a decisive influence on so much that has come after. Very few artists and musicians in their genre have achieved that stature, and stand proudly among them. They looked the part and had a decent sound, but ultimately they just faded away like so many bands from the era.
House Of Lords
When former Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria ended his solo band Giuffria, he started House Of Lords and signed to Gene Simmons’s record label. Their debut album launched in 1988 with vocalist James Christian as the frontman. The band had a hit with “I Wanna Be Loved” and followed it up with “Love Don’t Lie” which also received airplay. The band would change band members over time including losing Gregg Giuffria after The Demons Down album in 1992. The band has a lengthy discography including House of Lords, Sahara, Demons Down (1992), The Power and the Myth (2004), World Upside Down (2006), Come to My Kingdom(2008), Cartesian Dreams (2009), Big Money (2011), Precious Metal (2014), Indestructible (2015), Saint of the Lost Souls (2017) and New World – New Eyes (2020)
HSAS, which stands for Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, and Shrieve was a one-off project that allowed Journey guitarist Neal Schon to work with Sammy Hagar. The supergroup’s only album was “Through The Fire” and was actually recorded on several live dates and then re-edited in the studio to remove the crowd noise. It was then released as a studio album. Neal Schon returned to Journey and Sammy Hagar recorded V.O.A. afterward which lead to the huge hit single “I Can’t Drive 55” and subsequently lead to his joining Van Halen after the band split with David Lee Roth. While HSAS was a small snapshot in time, the album produced some really great songs, and both Schon and Hagar definitely had interesting band chemistry together.
Hurricane is notable for having the brothers of Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo from Quiet Riot, Tony Cavazo, and Robert Sarzo as bassist and guitarist. Kelly Hansen, who now fronts Foreigner was the fantastic vocalist that rounded out the band along with drummer Jay Schellen. The band had the biggest success with 1988’s “Over The Edge” album, but never quite made it to the level of bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, and others that were dominating the L.A. music scene at the time. Recently, Hurricane has reunited with only Sarzo and Cavazo as the original members and has plans to record new material in the near future.
Steve Napoleon A.K.A Steve Batky, who was once the drummer for the band Witchkiller formed I, Napoleon as the vocalist for the band. They were signed to Geffen Records and only released one album. It’s somewhat different than most of the hair bands at the time but was not a commercial success. It has been acclaimed by many fans and critics and is a sought-after album by collectors.
Icon released their debut album Icon in 1984. The band showed extreme talent and promise for the future. Then in 1985, they released the appropriately named “Night Of The Crime”, because it’s simply a crime that this album didn’t top the hard rock and metal charts at the time. If any band had everything that it needed to hit the big time it was Icon. One of the best albums to come out in the 80’s it’s criminally underrated. The band seemed to suffer from a lack of exposure problems, which cost them their rightful place as one of the best bands in the ’80s. While bands like Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ratt, and Cinderella were getting airplay on radio and coverage on MTV, this Arizona band simply seemed to fall through the cracks. Night Of The Crime is a brilliant album from beginning to end, with outstanding production and talent to spare. The band released several albums after this with a different vocalist, A More Perfect Union (1987), Right Between the Eyes (1989) but it just didn’t have the same magic that Night Of The Crime did.
Led by guitar shredder Chris Impellitteri, the band released an EP simply titled Impellitteri (1987) and Stand in Line (1988). Former Rainbow and Alcatrazz vocalist Graham Bonnet joined for Stand In Line and the album also featured a song of the same title released as a single. It hit the top 100 charts and handed the band their first hit. The band also found great success in Japan. Impellitteri is still recording, now with original vocalist Rob Rock with their latest album being Nature Of The Beast in 2018.
Jack Starr’s Burning Starr
Releasing Rock the American Way (1985), No Turning Back (1986), Blaze of Glory (1987), and Jack Starr’s Burning Starr (1989), the band proved to be talented but lacked great promotion and good tours with other bands to really help them reach a large audience. Led by former Virgin Steele guitarist, Jack Starr Burning Starr produced some solid albums during the 1980s. The band reformed with a different lineup and have released three more studio albums in the 2000s.
Jailhouse released their debut EP “Alive In A Mad World” in 1989. The band featured three Rough Cutt members, Amir Derakh, Matt Thorr, and Dave Alford along with guitarist Michael Raphael and vocalist Danny Simon (who nows fronts the band Autograph). The band would later release three more albums but never achieved commercial success.
Originally based in San Francisco, Jetboy relocated to L.A. in the 80s to be a part of the growing glam/hair metal scene at the time. Jetboy fused everything from metal, punk, and rockabilly into their sound. Their debut album, Feel the Shake (1988) was a modest success, but it took the band two years to release a follow-up and by then the scene had begun to disappear. Undaunted, Jetboy would go on to release the albums Damned Nation (1990), A Day in the Glamorous Life (1997), Make Some More Noise (1999), One More for Rock N’ Roll (2002), Off Your Rocker (2010)
and their most recent release, Born to Fly (2019).
Formed by guitarist Jimmy DeLisi and bassist Ty Westerhoff, Julliet would add vocalist Kenny McGee and drummer Greg Pecka to round out their lineup. They would eventually sign to Enigma Records to release their debut album in 1990. The album received decent praise from listeners and critics alike. Changing trends in music would overshadow glam metal bands and it would be 12 years before their second album “Passion” was finally released which featured Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow on backup vocals and Frankie Banali on drums.
Formed in 1987 Junkyard started with previous members of Dag Nasty and Minor Threat to combine into a blues-punk hard rock band. They signed to Geffen Records and released their debut self-titled album in 1989. The single “Hollywood” was featured on MTV and the band received critical praise for the album. The band would record one more album for Geffen before moving on. Junkyard still performs and records currently and features original singer David Roach, drummer Pat Muzingo and Todd Muscat (Brother Of Bret Muscat former Faster Pussycat) has been with the band since 1991.
This single self-titled album is still one of the most sought-after albums for collectors. Released on Epic Records in 1991, Katmandu featured ex-Fastway vocalist Dave King who currently fronts the Irish Punk band “Flogging Molly”. The album features a hard-rocking cover of U2’s song “God Part II”. It’s really unfortunate that changing music trends drowned out this great album in the commercial sales area. It’s highly recommended to fans of Fastway.
Formed by former Steeler vocalist Ron Keel, Keel featured two guitarists, Marc Ferrari and Brian Jay with exceptional skills, that managed to play completely different styles and still create a cohesive sound. Keel released their debut album, “Lay Down The Law” in 1984. It showcased the vocal dominance of Ron Keel, the thunderous drumming of Dwain Miller, and a massive guitar sound. Their second album, “The Right To Rock (1985) put the band squarely on the map with the single of the same name. MTV played the video in heavy rotation and suddenly, along with Ratt, Dokken, and Motley Crue were on every rock magazine around. While the Right To Rock got them known, it would be their next album The Final Frontier (1986) that would chart the highest. It was powered by the band’s cover of The Patti Smith song “Because The Night” that showed the band was more than all hair and screams. The band would continue to sell well on their self-titled album, Keel (1987), and Larger Than Live (1989). The band would eventually split up. However, the band would reform again and release two more studio albums. The band is still technically together at present time.
Canadian metal band, Kick Axe never seemed to get a fair shake. They were another band that just didn’t receive enough exposure to be well known with hard rock fans. The band released several great albums, with “Vices” being their most widely known album. The band always had great songs and arrangements to make any metalhead go wild, but the band seemed to die a slow death with very little promotion.
While Kik Tracee’s fame was short-lived, their debut album received decent airplay thanks to MTV with their cover of “Mrs. Robinson”. The album was an attempt to create a more alternative glam metal sound but never quite succeeded in finding the right audience.
Kill For Thrills
Kill For Thrills was a sleazy/glam band that featured Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses) lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Todd Muscat bass, background vocals, Jason Nesmith (son of The Monkees Michael Nesmith) lead, acoustic, and sitar guitars, background vocals, and David Scott drums, percussion, background vocals. They released a five-song EP in 1989 called “Commercial Suicide” and released their only full-length album “Dynamite From Nightmareland” in 1990.
This product of Canada released its debut album in 1983. The original lineup consisted of Russ Graham (vocals), and Darrell Millar (drums), Bryce Trewin (guitar) and, Ange Fodero (bass). Guitarist Mike Hall and bassist Ron Mayer were the latter members soon after. The band found a decent amount of success with their second album “Stand Tall”. Armed with a sense of humor, (all the band members adopted the stage surname Dwarf) the band found MTV airplay helpful to reaching a larger audience outside of Canada. Big Deal would be their last album during the 1980s and it also did moderately well. The band is currently still performing and released the album Start @ One, most recently in 2013.
King Kobra was the brainchild of drummer Carmine Appice, who had played with Rod Stewart and the king of metal, the madman himself, Ozzy Osbourne. The band featured band members that would later go on to other bands like W.A.S.P. and the Bulletboys. King Kobra’s look was unusual, to say the least with all members except for Appice having extremely bleached blonde hair. Ready To Strike was a great album and promised great things to come, but unfortunately the band never quite reached this level again. The band recorded the soundtrack to the movie Iron Eagle” and several other albums but ultimately disbanded. Lead vocalist Mark Free has since changed his gender to female in now known as Marcie Free. Carmine Appice is currently performing with his brother Vinnie Appice in Drum Wars.
Kings Of The Sun
This Australian band barely got noticed in the U.S., but if you did happen to hear them, it was usually met with rousing approval from hard rock fans. The band forged a raw hard, bluesy hard rock sound that had a bit of a 70s rock sound mixed in. It was different from what most of the metal bands were doing, but nonetheless energetic and rousing rock. The band was formed by Jeffrey Hoad and Clifford Hoad in 1986. Kings of the Sun released their self-titled album in 1988. It charted in the top 200 in the U.S.
Kiss Of The Gypsy
Kiss Of The Gypsy released their self-titled debut album in 1992. The band is comprised of Scott Elliott drums, backing vocals, George Williams keyboards, backing vocals, Tony Mitchell lead vocals, guitars, harmonica, Martin Talbot bass, backing vocals, and Darren Rice guitars, backing vocals. Kiss Of The Gypsy has often been compared to House Of Lords as far as their sound goes. But, Kiss Of The Gypsy incorporated a little bit more blues styling in their overall presence.
This 80s pseudo-thrash band released City’s Gonna Burn (1984), No Stranger to Danger (1985), Know Your Enemy (1987) and Annihilation Principle (1989) during their 80s run. While these guys were part of the Bay Area metal scene, they have never gotten the recognition that bands like Metallica, Testament, Death Angel, and Megadeth have. When the band signed with Enigma Records and released Known Your Enemy, it was a much-needed shot in the arm for the band and saw them get larger record distribution. The album as well as the follow-up, Annihilation Principal both received good critical reviews and the band hit the tour circuit with bands like Metallica, Anthrax. Megadeth, Overkill, and more. However, the band just never seemed to reach a large commercial audience The band is currently thought to be still technically active, but their last recorded album was in 2008.
Law & Order
Law & Order was a bluesy hard rock band that blurred the line at times between glam metal and alternative, perhaps trying to reach a larger audience or perhaps just different and maybe even a little ahead of their time. The band released their debut “Guilty Of Innocence” in 1989 to little fanfare, but it was noticed by fans of the metal genre and received a sort of a cult following. They would release two more albums over the years, but nothing struck a chord on a commercial level.
Le Mans was an underrated band that released two albums and featured original Enuff Z’ Nuff guitarist Derek Frigo. Their first release “On The Streets”(1983) was straight ahead classic-sounding heavy metal with a glam look, but the band quickly went to a much softer overall sound for their second album, simply titled Le Mans (1986). The band was obviously trying for radio airplay and MTV attention with the more commercial material, but it failed to materialize into anything long-term. The band briefly featured Randy Castillo (Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, Motley Crue) and Leonard Haze (Y&T).
Chastain vocalist extraordinaire Leather Leone released her debut solo album entitled “Shock Waves” in 1989. Fans of her work with Chastain ate it up, but it was a bit too heavy and dark at times for the commercial hard rock scene. It’s an excellent album that showcases her exceptional vocal abilities even though it didn’t garner huge sales.
Releasing their debut and only release “We Came To Kill in 1983, Leather Angel was an all-female metal band in the style of early Motley Crue and W.A.S.P. Consisting of Terry O’Leary, Debbie Wolf, Cathy Amanti, and Krissi North. They would later change their name to Jaded Lady and had a very brief appearance in the movie “The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years”.
Leatherwolf released their self-titled album in 1987 which featured a triple axe attack and incredible power metal sensibilities. The band garnered great reviews from fans and critics alike. The song “The Calling” was a great anthemic metal track that propelled this album to reach new fans. Unfortunately, the band could never seem to duplicate the same formula in later releases. The band has reformed in recent years and has released several quality albums since.
Canadian, Lee Aaron whose real name is Karen Lynn Greening released her debut album “The Lee Aaron Project” in 1982. Followed up by the album “Metal Queen” in 1984, she signed a multi-album deal and was heavily promoted in major rock magazines. Metal Queen produced a minor hit of the same name. She would go on to release such albums as Call of the Wild (1985), Lee Aaron (1987) and, Bodyrock (1989). She continued to release albums throughout the 90s and 2000s with Diamond Baby Blues being her latest release in 2018. Lee Aaron is currently still active in music.
Life Sex & Death
Life Sex & Death (LSD) was a unique band that featured a vocalist known as simply Stanley, who was allegedly a homeless person. While this was proven to be a gimmick, later on, Stanley supposedly stayed in character and would roll in dumpsters and vomit on himself before shows to make the persona believable. Musically, the band was actually pretty good and in a strange sort of way, is the missing link between hair metal and grunge. The Silent Majority is their only official album release.
This New Orleans-based band received a nice start when Ratt’s Robbin Crosby produced their debut album in 1988. The band led by guitarist Steve Blaze included Ron Taylor (lead vocals), Jon Ster (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Rob Stratton (bass guitar, and Danny King (drums). Their second album. 1989’s Love + War was a critical success but failed to chart the band highly on commercial charts. Lillian Axe has since released the albums Poetic Justice, Psychoschizophrenia, Fields of Yesterday, Waters Rising, Sad Day On Planet Earth, Deep Red Shadows, and XI The Days Before Tomorrow. The lineup has changed over the years but Steve Blaze is still the mainstay of the band. They are the first hard rock band to be inducted into the Louisana Music Hall Of Fame.
Lion came out of nowhere with Dangerous Attraction to deliver one of the most underrated metal albums of the ’80s. Featuring Doug Aldrich on guitar who would later go on to work with bands like Dio, Whitesnake, and currently Dead Daisies. Kai Swan’s vocals were incredibly powerful. In an untimely and unfortunate accident, drummer Mark Edwards suffered a broken neck which lead to the band breaking up a month later. Aldrich and Swan continued on in a new band called Bad Moon Rising. Lion was probably best known for recording the Transformer’s Movie Theme. While the band was on a major label at the time of Dangerous Attraction’s release they were never truly exposed to the large American mainstream metal audience that could have helped them reach the level of bands like Whitesnake, Motley Crue, and Def Leppard who were dominating the airwaves at the time.
Scoring a small amount of fame from their cover version of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” on their debut album, released in 1989, Little Caesar didn’t quite fit in the glam hair metal scene of the 80s. looking more like Hell’s Angels and sounding more like a hard rock version of a soul band, they failed to gain much momentum mostly because they were quite unique and just didn’t really fit with hardcore metal fans or the pop-metal fans of the late 80s and early 90s. The band still continues to record and release albums with vocalist Ron Young still fronting the band.
Lizzy Borden was started in 1983 by brothers Lizzy Borden (real name Gregory Harges) and Joey Scott. Lizzy Borden had a large output during the 1980s including the following albums: Give ‘Em the Axe EP (1984), Love You to Pieces (1985), The Murderess Metal Road Show Live (1986), Menace to Society (1986), Terror Rising EP (1987), Visual Lies (1987) and Master of Disguise in 1989. The band reached its commercial peak with the Visual Lies album. They were featured in the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years and still continue to this day.
Sadly London is more famous for being a stepping stone for other band members that went on to bigger things including Blackie Lawless (WASP), Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses), Slash (Guns N’ Rose), Izzy Stradlin (Guns N’ Roses) and Fred Coury (Cinderella). London released two albums in the 80s, Non-Stop Rock (1985) and, Don’t Cry Wolf (1986). Led by Nadir D’Priest and guitarist Lizzie Grey these albums are worth listening to but failed to chart commercially. The band was a staple on Sunset Strip during the glam metal years and appeared in the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years. London has released two albums since then with the latest being in 2018.
Lord Tracy released The Deaf Gods Of Babylon” in 1989 and the single “Out With The Boys,” reached #40 on theBillboard charts. The band featured former Pantera vocalist Terry Glaze, who performed with the band during their glam era before Phil Anselmo joined. The album was filled with a sense of crass humor and developed a cult following because of it. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell well on a commercial level and the band split up. The band has released several albums since comprised of demos and unreleased material.
The Lost Boys was a spectacular band that literally slipped through the cracks. Released on Atlantic records, it featured vocalist Randy “O” from Odin and who was also featured in the film “The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 2; The Metal Years”. The music was interesting, moody and possibly a great pre-cursor to the sound bands like Alice In Chains would invoke soon after. This is a great and unique album if you can find it.
Blackout In The Red Room hit in 1990 and this band seemed to have the swagger of a young AC/DC. The band received great airplay on MTV but was just another victim of bad timing in a changing musical scene. Vocalist Jizzy Pearl has since served as frontman for Ratt, L.A. Guns, and Quiet Riot among others. Without a doubt, Love/Hate was one the best of the 90’s hair metal scene.
M.A.R.S. Project Driver
This one-off project released on Shrapnel Records is pretty amazing. The title stands for (Tony) MacAlpine, (Tommy) Aldridge, (Rob Rock), and (Rudy) Sarzo or M.A.R.S. The band is filled with talented musicians and this is heavy metal guitar shredders dream. The biggest issue with this album would have to be the sound production, which comes off as a terrible mix considering the artists involved. It would have been great to see this group continue because this album showed real chemistry between the players involved.
Formed by sisters Maxine and Roxy Petrucci and including Bret Kaiser and Chris Doliber, the band actually once featured a young Sebastian Bach. They released the album We Reserve the Right in 1984 and scored a minor hit with the song “High In High School”. The band would break up in 1988 but returned again in 2017 to release the album Monstrosity. After the original breakup, Roxy Petrucci would join Vixen and is still a member of the band today.
Malice hit the L.A. metal scene in the early ’80s and developed a great following. Often compared to bands like Queensryche and Lizzy Borden, primarily because of the high-pitched vocals of James Neal. The band featured incredibly talented musicians with License To Kill being the epic album that failed to put them over the top. The band has morphed through different members over the years and still records and performs periodically. Sadly, Guitarist Mick Zane passed away in 2016.
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.
Masi was a 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 was never able to achieve mainstream success as Stryper did.
Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1991, McQueen Street made a name for themselves in a time when traditional hard rock and metal were starting to be displaced at the top of the charts by alternative rock and hip-hop. They received airplay on MTV, but the band disbanded shortly thereafter. Tragically, drummer, Chris Welsh died in 1994. After a 10-year hiatus, singer Derek Welsh released “McQueen Street 2” and has released two singles in recent years “Outside In” and “One Way Ticket” for a reported third album in the future.
Neverland, comprised of Dean Ortega, Patrick Sugg, Gary Lee, and Scott Garrett released their debut album in 1991. They got some notice with single and video for ‘Drinking Again” but were overshadowed by changing musical trends. A decent hard rock album if you can find a copy.
Nitro was formed in 1988 and the group featured vocalist Jim Gillette (Ex-Tuff), guitarist Michael Angelo Batio, bassist T. J. Racer and drummer Bobby Rock (Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Nelson, Lita Ford). Hailing from Hollywood, these guys set out to be over the top on everything with Michael Angelo Batio’s double-necked guitar that he played with both his right and left hand at the same time and Jim Gillette’s incredibly high-pitched screams. They released their debut album O.F.R which stands for Out-Fucking-Rageous in 1989 and followed it up with Nitro II: H.W.D.W.S. in 1991 before disbanding. They received some MTV airplay with the video for Freight Train but failed to connect with a larger audience as far as commercial sales are concerned.
Noisy Mama released their only album “Everybody Has One” in 1991. They mixed an AC/DC-like bluesy rhythm with a Faster Pussycat-like sleaze factor, but just didn’t get much promotion and virtually no airplay to seal their fate. This album is another sought-after collector’s item for hair metal fans.
Formed in 1982, Obsession was an American heavy metal band that helped launch the career of singer Michael Vescera who would go on to sing for Yngwie Malmsteen and Loudness. The band released their debut album, Marshall Law, in 1984 and would go on to release the albums Scarred for Life (1986), Methods of Madness (1987)
Carnival of Lies (2006), and Order of Chaos (2012).
This Finnish metal band released their debut album Heavy Metal Heroes in 1982, followed by Fire in the Brain (1983), III Warning (1984), …Decibel Storm… (1986)
Roll the Dice (1991), Dominator (2011), Burning Leather (2011), Transition State (2017), and Forced Commandments (2020). The band has been associated with having a sound similar to the NWOBHM.
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.
1991 saw the release of Outlaw Blood’s only album. Comparisons have been made to vocalist Marc McCoy sounding somewhat like Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott. This one really seems like a record company miss all the way around as the cover and the band name both do nothing to reflect the actual sound of this band. The rest of the band included Marti Frederiksen guitar and vocals, Rick Harchol lead guitar, Nick ‘The Hammer’ Parise bass, and Larry Aberman drums. This is an example of a good band with talent getting wasted by changing musical styles and promotion that didn’t seem to represent what they actually were.
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).
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 in 1995. Pretty Boy Floyd has 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.
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.
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).
Reckless had a lot of potential and their debut album “No Frills was produced by Twisted Sister’s Mark “The Animal” Mendoza and J.J. French. They released No Frills in 1987 on Warner Brothers Records but seemed to disappear almost overnight. It’s a shame that they didn’t hang around and release more albums because they were actually pretty good and went for a straight-ahead hard rock sound.
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 was 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 City Angels
This South Florida band mixed glam metal with punk and classic era rock sounds to create a gritty approach to their songs. They released “Young Man’s Blues” in 1988. Johnny Depp was actually a guitarist in the band for a year or so before getting his big break as an actor on 21 Jumpstreet. The Rock City Angels didn’t quite fit into any category and this probably limited their chances for success. They were a little too abrasive to compete with the glam metal bands that L.A. was cranking out at the time and not pop-ish enough to get radio airplay. There are several albums that were released independently years later, but nothing that quite had the appeal of their debut album.
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”.
The Rods was formed in 1980 by David “Rock” Feinstein (guitar, vocals), Steven Starmer (bass, vocals), and Carl Canedy (drums, vocals). Feinstein is the cousin of Ronnie James Dio and had played previously in the band “Elf” with Dio. The Rods had a no-nonsense approach to rock music and would be most likely classified as traditional heavy metal. The band failed to gain commercial success despite being active throughout the 1980s. The Rods released their debut album Rock Hard (1980), which was reissued as The Rods (1981), Full Throttle (EP) (1981), Wild Dogs (1982), In the Raw (1983), The Rods (Live) (1983), Let Them Eat Metal (1984) Hollywood (1986) and Heavier Than Thou (1986) before disbanding. They reunited in 2008 and have since released Vengeance (2011) and Brotherhood of Metal (2019).
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.
Originally called “Teeze” in 1983, the band changed their name to Roughhouse in 1988 and released their only album simply called “Roughhouse”. The album was a solid hard rock, glam metal release but was released into an already crowded metal scene at the time. An interesting fact is that their guitarist Rex Eisen would later go on to join the band Static-X under the name Tripp Eisen.
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”.
Roxanne released their debut self-titled album in 1988. They garnered the most attention for their cover of the song “Play That Funky Music”. The album had some great hard rock songs on it but seemed to get lost in the shuffle with so many hard rock and metal bands filling the shelves of the record stores. Amazingly Roxanne reunited and released the new album “Radio Silence” 30 years after their debut album in 2018.
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.
Roxy Blue is almost infamous for not only arriving too late but for trying so hard to sound like Van Halen. While the band had musical talent and decent songwriting ability, they were often derided for being un-original.
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).
Salty Dog comprised of Jimmi Bleacher – vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano, harmonica, Pete Reeven – guitar, banjo, backing vocals, Michael Hannon – bass, backing vocals, and Khurt Maier – drums, percussion released their debut album “Every Dog Has Its Day” in 1990. The band would implode soon after and replace vocalists but they never made it to record another major-label album. Salty Dog is another hidden gem in the hair metal scene that collectors often look for.
Sanctuary released the album Refuge Denied in 1988. Led 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.
This early 80s British metal band is listed as one of Metallica’s early influences along with Diamond Head and Budgie. Savage consisted of Chris Bradley (Vocals, bass), Andy Dawson (Guitar), Mark Nelson (drums), and Kristian Bradley (guitar). They released their debut album Loose ‘N Lethal in 1983. It received great critical acclaim as well as most of their album releases after it, but the band never was never commercially successful. Their latest release was the album “7” in 2015.
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.
The Scream is probably most known for having John Corabi as their lead singer who would go on to replace Vince Neil in Motley Crue for one album. The band released their debut album “Let It Scream” in 1990 and it was well-received by hard rock and metal fans. They received airplay on MTV with their single Father, Mother, Son but Corabi left to join Motley Crue before the band could record a second album. The band also featured Bruce Bouillet on guitar and John Alderete on bass, both of whom were members of Racer X.
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.
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.
Shogun featured former Tokyo Blade vocalist Alan Marsh along with two other former members of Tokyo Blade, Andy Wrighton on bass and drummer Steve Pierce. they released their self-titled debut album in 1986 and followed it up with “31 Days” in 1987. While commercial success eluded the band, fans of Tokyo Blade gave the band a boost in interest.
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 all-female Japanese metal band was originally formed in 1981 and released its first studio album in 1985. The band’s main lineup included: Keiko Terada – lead vocals, Miki “Sun-go” Igarashi – guitar, backing vocals, Miki “Captain” Nakamura – keyboards, backing vocals, Satomi Senba – bass, backing vocals, Miki “Mittan” Tsunoda – drums, backing vocals and Mitsuko Numata – guitar (1981-1984). Show-Ya was a stand-out in the 80s metal genre in Japan because of the band being comprised of all female members. Show-Ya forged the way for modern female metal bands like BabyMetal and LoveBites in Japan. They have released the following albums to date: Masquerade Show (1985), Queendom (1986), Ways (1986), Trade Last (1987), Immigration (1987), Glamour (1988), Outerlimits (1989), Hard Way (1990), Touch the Sun (1995), Genuine Diamond (2012), Progress (2015) and Aurora (2017). Show-Ya is set to release their latest album “Showdown” in 2021.
Shy who would later change their name to Shy England to avoid being confused with another band already using the name Shy was led by a great vocalist named Tony Mills who would later join TNT for several albums. The band came close several times to breaking into the mainstream charts but just couldn’t quite make it the top. The band received the most critical praise for the albums Brave the Storm (1985), Excess All Areas (1987), and Misspent Youth (1989). Sadly original vocalist Tony Mills died from pancreatic cancer on September 18, 2019, at the age of 57.
Silent Rage released their debut album “Shattered Hearts” in 1987 The band scored a minor hit with the song “Rebel With A Cause”. Unfortunately, in 1987 there was a significant amount of competition for attention among bands, and Silent Rage suffered from a limited amount of promotion. The band followed up “Shattered Hearts” with “Don’t Touch Me There” in 1989. And while it was a hit with fans, it was a little too late to gain the attention of mass record buyers as the scene was moving toward grunge and alternative rock. Silent Rage released a third album called “Still Alive” in 2002.
This German band led 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.
Slammin’ Gladys comprised of Brooks lead vocals, J. J. Farris lead guitar, Alley bass, and Stephen DeBoard drums dropped their debut self-titled album in 1992. Going for a mix of sleaze, glam metal, and a little bit of funk mixed in, they had a slightly different sound. Of course, they suffered the same fate as many other bands releasing albums in the 90s being overshadowed by the growing alternative rock scene. The band has returned in 2021 with a follow up album entitled “Two”.
Formed in 1985, Slave Raider released two albums in the 80s: Take The World By Storm (1986) and What Do You Know About Rock ‘N Roll? (1988). An interesting cross between pirate attire and glam, the band was known for their wild antics including lead vocalist Chainsaw Caine using a chainsaw on stage during the performance. The band opened for bands like Poison and Ratt, but never quite caught on with glam metal fans. The band did have the song “Make Some Noise” appear in 1988’s License to Drive movie.
The Netherlands spawned this band who found the most success in the U.S. with their single “Stranger Than Paradise”. Their subsequent albums are actually quite good and they are a best-kept secret for melodic metal lovers. (This one is also released in 1989 but hit big in 1990)
Smashed Gladys hit the L.A. glam scene and released 3 great singles from their album “Social Intercourse”. The songs”17 Goin’ on Crazy”, “Lick it Into Shape” and “Legs Up” were all great tracks that should have brought the band way more attention and exposure than they did. The band seemed to be another victim of lack of promotion. Rarely seen in rock magazines, on MTV, and with virtually no radio airplay, it’s a mystery what happened with their promotional team. Led by singer Sally Cato, the band released “Social Intercourse as their major-label debut. The band released one more album, years later, which appeared to be early songs and possibly pre-released EP material. It’s a shame that they didn’t receive more acclaim.
Sound Barrier broke the color barrier in heavy metal by being one of the first metal bands to have all black members. Formed in 1980, the band was started by Bernie K. And Spacey T. who had originally met in a funk band. The band released the album “Total Control” in 1983. The debut album only sold 12,000 copies and they were dropped by MCA records for lack of sales. The band released “Speed Of Light” (1986) after signing with Metal Blade Records. However, the band split up a year later. Vocalist Bernie K went on to sing on the critically acclaimed “Fire In The Rain” album by guitar virtuoso Alex Masi. The band briefly reformed and released the single “I’m Just A Man” in 2017 on Tom Morello’s (Rage Against The Machine) Firebrand Records.
This band seemed poised for fame in the glam metal market but couldn’t quite gain the traction needed to get them to the top. The band featured vocalist Jesse Harte. The band received rotation on MTV with the single “Tainted Angel” but didn’t keep the momentum going after that. The album is really quite good and would have been most likely very successful if it was released only a few years prior to its 1991 release. The band would release a second album called “Group Therapy” in 1992 before officially calling it quits.
Releasing their debut album in 1990, Spread Eagle comprised of Ray West vocals, Paul DiBartolo guitar, Rob DeLuca bass, and Tommi Gallo on drums got some decent press with their sleazy style of metal, with some critics drawing comparisons to Guns N’ Roses and Skid Row. However, their second album didn’t sell well and the band split afterward.
Steelheart’s debut album sold quite well in 1990 thanks to airplay by MTV. But follow-up albums, although still quite good, just didn’t live up to the level of the first release. The band still records and recently released a new album to critical acclaim.
Steeler released their debut album with featured Ron Keel on vocals and the first U.S. appearance of Swedish guitar master Yngwie Malmsteen. The brainchild of Shrapnel Records founder Mike Varney brought the project together. Although the band didn’t hold together for very long with Malmsteen departing for Alcatrazz before his own solo career and Keel leaving to concentrate on the band that would ultimately bear his name, this is a great notable piece of heavy metal history. While the band is most famous for having Keel and Malmsteen together, the other musicians were unfortunately overshadowed. Both Rik Fox on bass and Mark Edwards would turn up in other influential bands throughout the 80’s such as W.A.S.P. and Lion.
The German band called Steeler took the name from the Judas Priest song. They are probably most famous for having guitar guru Axel Rudi Pell in the band, who would go on to forge a solo career afterward. Steeler released the following albums in the 1980s: Steeler (1984), Rulin’ the Earth (1985), Strike Back (1986), and Undercover Animal (1988). After the break-up of Steeler, vocalist Peter Burtz became the editor-in-chief of Metal Hammer Germany from 1989 to 1991.
Fans of Kingdom Come will recognize the vocals of Lenny Wolf on these early 80s albums by Stone Fury. The band released two albums: Burns Like a Star (1984), Let Them Talk (1986) but couldn’t quite reach a large audience. The band received rave critical reviews but success eluded them. However, Wolf would find success on a much larger scale later with Kingdom Come.
Merely a flash in the pan, Sweet F.A. were sort of a Tesla meets Southern rock hybrid that didn’t make it on most people’s radar. However, if you like a good bar-room boogie-woogie sound mixed with hair metal, you’ll probably really like Sweet F.A.
Sweet Pain took their name from the KISS song, signed to Combat Records, and released their only album in 1985. Notable for featuring a then-unknown Kelly Nickels on bass, who would later go on to join L.A. Guns. The album actually features the recording of the song “Shoot For Thrills (In The Night)” written by Nickels, which would also appear on L.A. Guns’ self-titled album. Sweet Pain was a decent glam rock band that literally disappeared overnight. The album is quite rare and sought out by collectors since it has long been out of print.
Sweet Savage was a glam band based out of Texas that just never reached the next level. I’m sure the cover photos of all 4 members appearing shirtless with bleached blonde hair didn’t help their case. Musically, they were considered a little more bubblegum glam than bands like Poison but had great catchy songs that earned them a following. Their debut EP was produced by none other than Dana Strum, who later go on to play bass in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter. They received the most attention with their cover version of Sweet’s “Fox On The Run”.
Sword is an outstanding true metal band that just got lost in the shuffle. Metalized should have brought these guys into the limelight because it’s own hell of a great metal record. It’s outstanding from beginning to end, especially considering it’s their debut release. The band went on to release one more album which also received praise from critics and fans. The band eventually broke up, but has reformed recently and has joined the newly re-formed Combat Records label owned by Megadeth’s David Ellefson. The band is currently working on new material to be released in the near future.
T.T. Quick was formed in 1980 and then hit the scene in 1984 with their debut EP. Singer Mark Tornillo would later replace Udo Dirkschneider as the vocalist in the German band Accept. T.T. Quick released the following albums in the 80s decade: TT Quick EP (1984), Metal Of Honor (1986), and Sloppy Seconds (1989). The band had a following of die-hard fans but never found the big success that other bands from the 80s found. T.T. Quick is a great band for those looking for hidden gems that they somehow missed years ago.
Talas is famous for being bassist Billy Sheehan’s first full-time band and it helped him showcase his abilities. Of course, Sheehan would later go on to play in David Lee Roth’s solo band and Mr. Big. Both Shy Boy (David Lee Roth) and Addicted To That Rush (Mr. Big) were written by Sheehan while in Talas. Talas released two albums in the 80s: (1982) Sink Your Teeth into That and
(1983) Live Speed on Ice. The band’s biggest success came when they opened 30 dates for Van Halen in 1980, but they never could make it much further in a crowded field of metal bands.
Tangier made its debut in 1985 with a lighter more AOR sound to little fanfare. However, they made their major-label debut in 1989 with the album “Four Winds” and followed it up with “stranded in 1991. Both of those albums would feature a harder sound and would garner them attention from the press and fans but the sales were not so great. The band members were Bill Mattson lead vocals, Doug Gordon guitar, backing vocals, Gari Saint guitar, backing vocals, Garry Nutt bass, backing vocals, and Bobby Bender drums.
Tattoo featured band members Dave Injeski Bass, Vocals, Gary Stewart Vocals, Glenn Miller Guitar, Vocals, Joe Minor Guitars, Vocals, and Tommy Salzburg Drums, Vocals. They released their first album “Blood Red” in 1988 on Metal Blade Records. While they built a sort of cult following, they never quite hit the mainstream. Musically they fit in the same vein as Quiet Riot or Y & T. They would release two more albums “Out Loud” (1990) and Kings Of The White Trash Neighborhood (1993).
Tattoo Rodeo released their first album “Rode Hard-Put Away Wet” in 1991. The band featured three ex-members of the band White Sister: Dennis Churchill Dries lead vocals, bass, Rick Chadock guitar, and Rich Wright drums, along with Michael Lord keyboard. With Tattoo Rodeo they went for a sleaze rock meets southern rock sound. The album is quite good and worth checking out but just didn’t sell well due to changing musical tastes.
Thunder came from England sounding a lot like AC/DC mixed with Extreme. While they made the scene briefly, they never achieved real mainstream success. The band still records and has a great following in their home country to this day.
Tigertailz was the U.K.’s version of Poison. Musically their debut was much heavier than Poison’s. The band featured vocalist Steevi Jaimz on vocals, who had a more gruff voice that contributed to the band sounding less like a bubblegum glam band and more like a sleaze rock band in the vein of L.A. Guns or Faster Pussycat. Young And Crazy was a fantastic debut, but the band parted ways with Steevi Jaimz after this release. While they continued on with other vocalists, and still do today, they never reached the level that they achieved with the first album. Young And Crazy was one of the best glam metal releases of the ’80s. If you can find this one, you should get it. It’s great on every level.
TKO released “In Your Face” in 1984. Raspy-voiced vocalist Brad Sinsel gave the band a decidedly heavier sound, while still being melodic. The band had a raw “street” sound that provided a sleazy hard rock sound mixed with classic heavy metal. The band based out of Seattle signed with Combat Records and later released the album “Below The Belt” for Roadrunner Records in 1986. Vocalist Brad Sinsel went on to front the band “War Babies” which released their only album in 1992 and had a minor hit with the song “Hang Me Up”.
Norwegian metal band TNT started in 1982 and featured an amazing guitarist named Ronni Le Tekro. Originally the band featured Dag Ingebrigtsen on vocals but would recruit California singer Tony Harnell who appeared on their second album. With Harnell on vocals, the band reached a wider audience and increased its sales and presence worldwide. MTV helped the band with a heavy rotation of several videos but TNT never made it to the top of the charts. TNT released the following albums circa the 80s: (1982) TNT, (1984) Knights of the New Thunder, (1987) Tell No Tales, and (1989) Intuition
This English heavy metal band hit the scene in 1982. While they’re considered part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the band would change their sound and image as well as lineups a little too frequently. By 1987 the band sounded closer to the glam metal bands of Hollywood than their original sound which was closer to early Diamond Head. Their 80s albums are: Tokyo Blade (1983), Night of the Blade (1984), Black Hearts & Jaded Spades (1985), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1987) and, No Remorse (1989). The album Night Of The Blade released in 1984 is probably their most popular and well-known release. Tokyo Blade is still alive and well and making new albums as of 2020.
Guitar shredder Tony MacAlpine is known for instrumental rock albums similar to artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Paul Gilbert. His debut album was released on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records and brought him to the attention of guitar fans around the world. He would then record an album with the group M.A.R.S. (an acronym for MacAlpine/Aldridge/Rock/Sarzo), in 1986 called Project: Driver. Tony MacAlpine still records albums and performs currently.
Tora Tora comprised of members Anthony Corder – vocals, acoustic guitar, Keith Douglas – guitar, backing vocals, Patrick Francis – bass, backing vocals, and John Patterson – drums started in Memphis, Tennessee in 1985. They released their debut album Surprise Attack in 1989 got airplay and attention with their first single “Walkin’ Shoes” and followed it up with the album Wild America (1992) before taking a long hiatus. They returned with Revolution Day (2011) and Bastards of Beale (2019) and are currently working on material for a new album
Guitarist Bernie Torme’ who was the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne briefly after Randy Rhoads’s death put together a band simply called Torme’ with singer Phil Lewis (L.A. Guns, Girl) and Chris Heilman on bass and Ian Whitewood on drums. They released “Back To Babylon” in 1986 and followed it up with “Die Pretty, Die Young” in 1987. Lewis’ vocals are really good and he would move on to L.A. Guns right after his stint with Torme’.
Trash Broadway released only one self-titled album in 1989 which featured guitar shredder, Joe Stump. Stump would later have a solo career and join Alcatrazz in recent years. Trash Broadway had the sound of most early Sunset Strip bands but failed to move to the next level. This CD, cassette, and vinyl are all difficult to find and is sought after by metal collectors.
This hard rock band from Sweden has been an under-the-radar gem for years now. They released their debut album “Scratch And Bite” in 1985. The band was originally comprised of Robert Emlund lead vocals, Anders Wikstrom lead guitars, backing vocals, Jamie Borger drums, backing vocals, Joe Larson bass, backing vocals and Patrick Appelgren keyboards, backing vocals. They would go on to release the albums The Pleasure Principle (1986), Dreamhunter (1987), Organized Crime (1989), Treat (1992), Coup de Grace (2010), Ghost of Graceland (2016), and Tunguska (2018).
This power trio only released one album but it was enough to get people talking. Comprised of Dan Arlie bass, vocals, Jeff Tyson guitars, backing vocals and
Eric Valentine drums, backing vocals. They had a layered sound that defied categorization. It had elements of sleaze, glam, traditional hard rock, and even an electronic element. It was different enough that listeners noticed but in 1992, you almost had to set yourself on fire if you wanted to get noticed in the field of alternative rock bands that dominated radio.
The biggest problem with Trixter was they appeared to metalheads as a glam metal version of New Kids On The Block. Most people wrote them off as a boy band that was only liked by teenage girls, but in reality, the band had incredible talent and were great songwriters. If you give them a chance they actually had some good rockers on their albums and still continue to record albums periodically. Guitarist Steve Brown has filled in with Def Leppard for both Phil Collen and Adrian Campbell when needed.
Consisting of Jimmy Driscoll vocals, Steve Durrell drums, Eric Klaastad bass, and Adam Wacht guitars, Trouble Tribe released their only album in 1990. Trouble Tribe was another victim of the over-saturated metal scene of the 80s and early 90s. The album has some great songs and the band was definitely talented, they were fighting against the odds to get noticed in the early 90s and the musical climate was moving toward alternative rock and grunge.
Tuff was the epitome of the 80’s glam scene. Vocalist Stevie Rachelle looked like Brett Michaels of Poison with more muscles. Rachelle’s voice was much deeper and added a darker sound to their version of glam rock but just couldn’t catch up to the rising tide of alternative rock that was taking over at the beginning of the ’90s. Tuff, however, created some great albums and should still appeal to fans of the genre.
Tuff Luck was a really talented band that fell victim to not being able to land a big record contract. The band was based in South Florida and were drawing thousands of people to their local shows. they did however release one album for Ann Boleyn’s New Renaissance Records. The album is still sought after by collectors and fetches top dollars in auctions. The self-titled album had some great tracks like “Sleaze if you Please”, “Take It or Leave It” and “Tonight, Tonight”. The band released a second album in 1993 but it failed to capture the spirit of the original album. A documentary DVD was also filmed showing the band’s struggles that kept them from reaching the top of charts alongside bands like Dokken, Ratt, and Motley Crue.
This melodic metal band featured Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham along with Leif Johansen bass, keyboards, backing vocals, Thomas La Verdi lead vocals, Mike Sturgis drums. The band released two studio albums Salute (1992) and Nothing’s Real (1997). 21 Guns disbanded after Gorham went on to play in Black Star Riders.
Tygers Of Pan Tang
The Tygers Of Pan Tang is probably most notable for featuring guitarist John Sykes on the albums Spellbound and Crazy Nights. Sykes would of course go on to work with David Coverdale in Whitesnake which would release one of the biggest hard rock albums of the 80s. Tygers Of Pan Tang would disband and reform multiple times with various members in the lineup but are still active as of 2020. Tygers Of Pan Tang released the following albums in the 1980s: Wild Cat (1980), Spellbound (1981), Crazy Nights (1981), The Cage (1982), The Wreck-Age (1985), and Burning in the Shade (1987)
Tyketto was formed in 1987 by former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn. The band released their first album Don’t Come Easy in 1991. They would go on to release the albums Strength in Numbers (1994), Shine (1995), Dig in Deep (2012), and Reach (2016). With Vaughn’s vocals they definitely had that radio-friendly rock sound but failed to reach a large audience quickly enough. Tyketto still performs and has released several albums on Frontiers Music in recent years.
Tytan features a then-unknown Scottish vocalist Norman ‘Kal’ Swan who would later front the critically acclaimed glam metal band Lion. Tytan also featured bassist Kevin Riddles and drummer Dave Dufort and guitarist Steve Gibbs The band’s only album Rough Justice (1985) was released after they had already broken up from the original recordings that were planned for an album prior to Swan’s departure.
With the release of “No Respect”, Vain should have been superstars. A great album that received some help from MTV, but couldn’t quite garner huge success. No Respect is still a favorite of mine and their follow-up albums, including their most recent release, are all great additions to any hair metal fans collection.
Comprised of Hugo lead vocals, Neil Christopher drums, Adam Holland guitars, Craig Pullman keyboards, and Gerard Zappa bass, Valentine released their self-titled album in 1990. Often compared to sounding like a heavier version of Journey, Valentine most likely would have struck gold if they had released this album a few years earlier. Recently, the band has released the album “Demos From The Attic” which is filled with tracks that the band was working on for a future album that was never released.
Vamp released their only release “The Rich Don’t Rock” in 1989 and it’s a totally underrated hidden gem of the hair metal scene. The album was released on Atlantic Records and is hard to find. Collectors are often on the lookout for this album and those who have it and have heard it, know that it’s a great album from the era. Drummer Dicki Fliszar would go on to work with Jack Russell’s Great White.
This band centered around Dutch guitarist Adrian Vandenberg would release three albums in the 80s: (1982) Vandenberg, (1983) Heading for a Storm and, (1985) Alibi. By 1987, Adrian Vandenberg had done some guest solo work on the epic Whitesnake album (1987) and was recruited by David Coverdale to join the band. The other members went on to various projects while Vandenberg was in Whitesnake but on May 29, 2020, Vandenberg would release their first studio album in 35 years, simply titled 2020.
Vicious Rumors released two great metal albums in the 1980s: (1985) Soldiers of the Night and (1988) Digital Dictator. While the band didn’t reach a large commercial metal audience in the U.S., they were critically acclaimed and reached the charts in Europe, Japan, and other countries. Released on Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, the first two albums are now considered classic power metal albums. Vicious Rumors is another great metal band that’s extremely underrated in the genre.
German metal band Victory released the following albums in the 1980s: (1985) Victory, (1986) Don’t Get Mad… Get Even, (1987) Hungry Hearts and, (1989) Culture Killed the Native. The band was recommended by Michael Schenker to get a deal and they had former Gary Moore and Ted Nugent singer on vocals. Victory had decent success during the 80s worldwide and once ranked alongside Scorpions, Accept, and Helloween as one of the most popular German metal bands.
Another guitarist to gain exposure from Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, Vinnie Moore released his debut album Mind’s Eye in 1986. He would follow it up with Time Odyssey two years later in 1988. Both albums were critically acclaimed and helped him achieve the notoriety of being a “Guitar Shredder”. Vinnie Moore played lead guitar with the heavy metal band Vicious Rumors on their debut album, Soldiers of the Night (1985). Moore joined Alice Cooper’s band and appeared on the Hey Stoopid album in 1991. Vinnie Moore has been the lead guitarist for UFO since June 2003.
Vinnie Vincent Invasion
After being released as the guitarist in KISS, Vinnie Vincent formed his own band called the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Featuring Vinnie, Dana Strum on bass, Bobby Rock on drums, and former Journey vocalist Robert Fleischman. This lineup recorded the debut album and found success touring with bands like Iron Maiden after the album’s release in 1986. The band’s look was entirely over the top glam. Fleischman would be replaced before the first tour and the second album “All Systems Go” which featured Mark Slaughter on vocals. However tension within the band members and Vinnie Vincent lead to Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum leaving to form the band “Slaughter”. Bobby Rock would go on to play drums with Nelson and Lita Ford among others. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion received great reviews from fans and critics alike, but the band’s implosion lead to Vincent becoming somewhat of a recluse and rarely releasing any new material afterward.
Virgin Steele was formed in 1981 and released the following albums in the 80s: (1982) Virgin Steele, (1983) Guardians of the Flame, (1985) Noble Savage and, (1988) Age of Consent. Considered the classic period of the band which featured guitarist Jack Starr, Virgin Steele couldn’t quite find a commercial audience. They would often cross the lines of power metal with epic rock in the vein of bands like Rainbow. Virgin Steele still releases new material albeit with a very different lineup these days.
War & Peace
This band was led by frontman Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and featured Rush Parris (“Satchel” in Steel Panther) on guitar. The band also featured Tommy Hendrix bass, vocals, and Ricky Parent 9Enuff Z’ Nuff) on drums. This lineup only lasted for the Time Capsule album released in 1993. The band would continue with Jeff Pilson being the only constant member when the albums The Flesh and Blood Sessions (1999), Light at the End of the Tunnel (2001), and The Walls Have Eyes (2004) were released.
This band was formed with former TKO vocalist Brad Sinsel and Tommy McMullin, Guy Lacey, Shawn Trotter, and Richard Stuverud. Releasing their only album in 1992, the band got some attention when MTV put their video for the single “Hang Me Up” in rotation, but the band simply faded away after that. Closer to glam than grunge they often did a balancing act between soulful ballads and hard rocking tracks.
Releasing their debut album “Last Decade Dead Century” in 1990, Warrior Soul hit the scene with a different style of rock n’ roll sound. With socially relevant lyrics and a futuristic, apocalyptic vision, the Kory Clark led Warrior Soul brings the anarchy back, but fails to reach the superstar potential the band has. Always just a bit on the fringe of what was happening commercially, Warrior Soul has delivered entertaining albums over the years and still has a cult following of fans.
Warrior released the space-themed album Fighting For The Earth in 1985. For a band that was previously unknown, these guys put together a really solid classic-sounding metal album. Singer Paramore McCarty has a voice that combines gritty and high-pitched screams. Overall, the entire album is well done and shows a maturity that many other bands did not display at the time. McCarty resurfaced as Perry McCarty serving as the lead vocalist for Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys. In 1998 Warrior released the album called Ancient Future with McCarty. The band has also released two other albums which featured vocalists Marc Storace of Krokus and Rob Rock.
Waysted released their debut album “Vices” in 1983 on Chrysalis Records. The band features former UFO bassist Pete Way, as well as Fin Muir on vocals, Ronnie Kayfield on lead guitar, Paul Raymond on rhythm guitar, and Frank Noon on drums. After Vices, the band released Waysted – EP (1984), The Good the Bad the Waysted (1985), Save Your Prayers (1986), Wilderness of Mirrors (2000), You Won’t Get Out Alive (2000), Back from the Dead (2004), The Harsh Reality (2007), and Totally Waysted (2008). The band received another shot at stardom in the U.S. with the album “Save Your Prayers” which featured future Tyketto vocalist Danny Vaughan. “Save Your Prayers” had a more commercial radio-friendly appeal to the sound but also failed to sell a large number of albums with limited promotion.
White Sister was formed in 1980 in the L.A. area and released two albums: (1984) White Sister and (1986) Fashion by Passion. The band was featured on several movie soundtracks including Fright Night, Thrashin’, and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. The band had a slightly more AOR, melodic rock sound with heavy keyboards. After White Sister, three of the band members would go on to form another band called Tattoo Rodeo.
How can you go wrong with a name like White trash? Armed with a strange sense of humor, the band was a strange mix of funk and glam/sleaze metal that got noticed when their song “Apple Pie” was aired on MTV. Unique in most ways the band featured a horn section, called the Badass Brass. After their self-titled album, the band never really took off, but they did release the following albums Minor Happiness EP 1993, Si O Si, Que?, 1994, 3-D Monkeys in Space, 2009, and Suburban Purgatory, 2015.
White Tiger was notable for featuring former KISS guitarist Mark St. John who played on the Animalize album, only to be released by the band and replaced by Bruce Kulick after being unable to play with acute tendonitis. St. John was a great player, but this album suffers from really poor production that burdens this album throughout. With more support and clean production and mix, Mark St. John might have re-established himself in the world of metal guitarists, but the album was purchased mostly by die-hard KISS fans and virtually no one else. This was the only album released by White Tiger. St. John released a few solo albums independently but never to the level of his previous success. Sadly, St, John died in 2007 from a brain hemorrhage.
This Canadian metal band released two albums in the 80s: Standing Alone (1984) and, Endangered Species (1986). Both albums cracked the top 200 in the U.S. but failed to generate any hits. The band released a music video for the song “She” which received some airplay on MTV. The band toured throughout the U.S., Japan, and Europe to support the albums but didn’t have the success that they had hoped for in finding a commercial audience. The band reunited in 2007 and released new material. They are currently active.
Whitecross formed in 1985 by singer Scott Wenzel and guitarist Rex Carroll and sounding like the Christian version of Ratt helped these guys find an audience of fans who desperately wanted a Christian band that sounded like the secular bands that were dominating the airwaves. Whitecross could have been up there with Stryper but was relegated to being sold mostly in Christian Book stores.
Wolfsbane is notable for having vocalist Blaze Bailey who would go on to front Iron Maiden for two albums. Live Fast, Die Fast: Wicked Tales of Booze, Birds and Bad Language (1989). Wolfsbane delivered driving hard rock albeit a little lighter than most of Iron Maiden’s material. The singles “Manhunt” and “I Like It Hot” received airplay on MTV during Headbanger’s Ball. The band would then release Down Fall the Good Guys (1991), Wolfsbane (1994) before Bailey joined Iron Maiden. The band reunited and released Wolfsbane Save the World (2012) and is currently working on material for a new album.
Over-the-top glam, metal, and leather all mixed together, U.K.’s Wrathchild was a rumbling glam-metal band resembling early Motley Crue in looks, but going for a more excessive style, Wrathchild released their debut album Stakk Attakk in 1984. Critics claimed they were big on looks, but lacked real talent. After Stakk Attakk they released the following albums: Trash Queens (1985), The Biz Suxx (1988), Delirium (1989), and Stakkattakktwo (2011).
“Under The Influence” is still a great album by a band that found great success in the L.A. club scene of the late ’80s but just recorded too late. Signed by Capitol Records and touted as the next big band, they couldn’t survive the record companies’ abandonment of metal for alternative rock.
X-Cursion is another rare find and included on our list as it was Mark Slaughter’s first band. Of course, Mark would go on to front the bands Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter. X-Cursion is notable for helping to launch the career of Slaughter. The album was released on a small label and is difficult to find in any format as it is believed to be only originally released on vinyl.
XYZ was originally located in France where members Terry Ilous and Pat Fontaine are from. The band moved to L.A. during the 80s glam metal scene and got a deal in 1989 with Don Dokken as their producer. The band released their self-titled debut in 1989 and received airplay from the hit singles “Inside Out” and “What Keeps Me Loving You” and “Maggy”. While the band never achieved huge success in the U.S. they released several albums afterward and singer Ilous would go on to front the band “Great White” for several years after they parted way with singer Jack Russell.
Y & T
After originally starting out in the 70s as Yesterday And Today, the band shortened their name to Y & T and found a decent amount of fame during the 80s with the following albums: Earthshaker (1981), Black Tiger (1982), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Down for the Count (1985) and, Contagious (1987). The band still exists and tours regularly with only singer, guitarist Dave Meniketti remaining as an original member. Former members Leonard Haze, Phil Kennemore, and Joey Alves have all sadly passed away.
For everyone who likes the first Shotgun Messiah album, vocalist Zinny Zan released three albums under the band name Zan Clan. The first album “Citizen Of Wasteland” was released in 1994 and didn’t set the world on fire. Most people got the album they really wanted with the second release called “We Are The Zan Clan…Who The Fuck Are You?” (2005) Sounding remarkably like the first Shotgun Messiah album, it’s been called a sleazy masterpiece. The band would go on to release a live album as well in 2006.
Zebra is a three-piece hard rock band comprised of Randy Jackson (guitar and vocals), Felix Hanemann (bass, keyboards, and vocals), and Guy Gelso (drums and vocals). Releasing three albums during the 80s: Zebra (1983), No Tellin’ Lies (1984) and, 3.V (1986) the band achieved a Gold record with the first album. The songs “Who’s Behind the Door” and “Tell Me What You Want” were both solid hits in the U.S. Zebra last released an album of new material in 2003, but continues to perform live and has had a new album in the works since 2017.
Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction
The band released their debut album “High Priest Of Love” in 1986. However, it would their second album “Tattooed Beat Messiah” (1988) that would gain them international fame, if only for a brief moment. The album featured Zodiac Mindwarp vocals, Kid Chaos bass, Cobalt Stargazer guitar, and Slam Thunderhide drums. The single “Prime Mover” and its accompanying video got airplay, but commercial sales never really materialized for them. Zodiac Minwarp has released the following albums: Hoodlum Thunder (1991), Live at Reading (1993), One More Knife (1994),
I Am Rock (2002), Weapons of Mass Destruction (live album) (2004), Rock Savage (2005), Pandora’s Grisly Handbag (1986 live album) (2006), We Are Volsung (2010)