It's a NWOBHM frenzy! Fist, Savage, Tygers of Pan Tang... they're all coming out, and even a solo instrumentalist! Bill Steer from Carcass nails down his most influential platters o' splatter!
Judas Priest, British Steel LP ('80)
"Living After Midnight was where it all took off for me!
"I liked Screaming For Vengeance too, but that was one of the last good things they did for a while. It's difficult for a band to recapture a vibe they had 10 years previously. We couldn't go back and recreate the first album - and I'm glad we can't!"
Fist, Name, Rank And Serial Number seven-inch ('80)
"A great record. The songs were just classic metal. Pretty much everything after was a bit of a letdown.
"The production was rough as hell, but it had a certain charm. They re-recorded it for the LP, but it didn't have the same vibe!"
Tygers of Pan Tang, Spellbound LP ('81)
"A NWOBHM classic! It was a really heavy record, but also really melodic. 50 percent of the lead playing was excellent - the 50 percent from John Sykes.
"It was the only good line-up they had, so I liked that album and Crazy Nights which they did afterwards, and that was it. To me, it still stands up today.
"When did I last listen to it? Five or six days ago!"
Venom, Black Metal LP ('81)
"That really was a big influence on me. When I first put it on, I just couldn't believe it! But the fact that Venom still exist doesn't help! If they'd finished after the first three albums, they would have stayed a myth. I'm a firm believer in bands knowing when to quit, although it's difficult..."
Thin Lizzy, Thunder And Lightning LP ('83)
"Totally heavy, with great lead playing and songs. Everyone was shocked that Lizzy could be heavy again; they hadn't done anything like that since the Black Rose album. It was a rebirth for Lizzy when John Sykes joined."
Savage, Loose 'N' Lethal LP ('83)
"Nothing striking by today's standards, but a really heavy album at the time. They had a really low profile; they just didn't get a chance." (Carcass frontman Jeff Walker interjects with: "Reminds me of another band!")
"But that's what happens if your band isn't prolific. A few of the things we've touched on here are by bands who just happened to record something that turned out well, but never managed to repeat the formula."
Death, Infernal Death three-track demo ('86)
"Insane! This was their second demo as Death, and I completely freaked out when I got it. I thought it was incredible, and my copy soon wore out...
"By this time, I'd either sold or destroyed every 'un-heavy' LP in my collection! It got to the stage where I wasn't even listening to records, because no one who was releasing vinyl was heavy enough! It was... I believe the expression is 'anal-retentive'!"
Genocide and Siege demos ('86)
"They were two of the first bands to use a 'blast-beat' - Genocide later became Repulsion.
"I thought that stuff was fast, until someone taped me the Siege demo. That seemed like the absolute speed limit!
"One of the reasons we started a band was that we wanted to release a demo, and be part of that whole scene, rather than just being observers."
Slayer, Reign In Blood LP ('86)
"I don't like everything they've done, but this is a great thrash album. The only one that's worth anything, really, in terms of saying it all. If thrash is about aggression, then it's all there."
Macabre, Grim Reality EP ('87)
"I was really taken with the whole thing. Not just the music but the atmosphere, and the fact that the serial killer lyrics were quite unusual at the time. They seemed to have a professional approach - despite being mad!"
Alan Holdsworth, Secrets LP ('91)
"The only solo guitarist I've really got time for. It's an extremely exciting record, but also really deep. It's not fretboard masturbation; there's emotion behind what he's playing. In general I hate that kind of music, but he's the exception to the rule." (Jeff interrupts again with "Him and Trey Azagthoth!")
The first four Iron Maiden albums, UFO, Whitesnake, Motorhead, Metallica ("briefly"), Helmet, Pantera, Alice In Chains, and mid-'80s demos from Insanity and Decapitation.
Bill Steer, er, descanted his insalubrious records to Jason Arnopp.