And just like that, 2014 is half over. Hard to believe it’s gone this fast, right? At any rate, instead of listing our top ten records of the year so far, we thought we’d look back – 30 years back – to celebrate some of the best albums of 1984. It was a banner year for metal releases; the previous year, Quiet Riot’s Metal Health had become the first metal album to ever reach #1 on Billboard‘s charts. So while commercial metal was at a peak, there were some still-underground bands that released albums, and you could see some subgenres start to form. As a result, it’s a mixed bag of heavy chart-toppers and emerging bands and genres, many of which have earned their way into any metal fan’s collection. It’d be impossible to rank these albums, so keep in mind that there are in no particular order.
Celtic Frost, Morbid Tales
In 1984, black metal was a two year-old Venom album, not a genre. Yet Swiss band Celtic Frost helped jump start the genre with the release of their first album, Morbid Tales. The band, led by Tom Gabriel Fischer, also drew from doom and goth to create their own sort of sound. In the nine years they were originally together, this EP and 1985’s To Mega Therion are looked at as their most influential albums.
Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus
In addition to Celtic Frost helping usher in black metal, 1984 was also the year Saint Vitus’ debut album was released. Along with Trouble, the two bands helped usher in doom metal as a genre. While the band’s best known for their singer Scott “Wino” Weinrich, he wasn’t in the band until their third album, 1986’s Born Too Late. But for birthing the band and helping birth the genre, this makes its way onto our list.
Anthrax, Fistful of Metal
While we’re talking about genres being spawned, the first, and possibly one of the least essential, Anthrax albums was released in 1984. Recorded with Neil Turbin on vocals and Danny Lilker on bass, both were fired after this album was released. The song “Metal Thrashing Mad” is where Kerrang!‘s Malcolm Dome became the first journalist to use the term “thrash metal.” And hey, if one of the Big 4 releases an album, it almost automatically makes the list!