Look, the ’80s are back in style in every way, and that’s totally cool. It means pop music is more bearable than it’s been in a long time.
But there’s a disturbing trend happening right now in metal. It’s not quite that some top acts are aping the decade’s worst aspects, but they’re definitely starting to verge into some of the less-flattering trends. For instance, much love to Dallas crossover thrash band Power Trip, but the reverb addiction has got to stop.
To give some helpful hints on what to avoid in the future, here are 10 metal bands from that decade who absolutely sucked, and you should avoid sounding like at all costs.
Christ, these guys were awful, and they have so much to teach about what not to do. First, it doesn’t matter if the riffs and solos are hard to play. If they’re strung together with as little logic as this, it doesn’t work. Second, intellectual subject matter doesn’t make your lyrics any less cheesy or horrible.
9. Def Leppard
Yeah, they made a lot more cash betraying their New Wave of British Heavy Metal roots, but you respect Iron Maiden a hell of a lot more than you do Def Leppard, don’t you? Lesson here: Don’t Sell Out for cash.
8. Twisted Sister
Gimmicks like Dee Snider’s can only hide how bad your music is for so long. At some point, people will notice, and your next stop is a fate worse than death: VH1.
Sex lyrics are one thing. Hell, good metal bands wrote some pretty nasty stuff at times. Megadeth’s “Mechanix” comes to mind. If “I fuck like a beast” is the most clever thing you can come up with, though, maybe you should stick to writing about other things.
Stay away from rap. It’s just embarrassing, no matter what. Also, even if you manage to snag the coattails of a movement, you still have to have good songwriting to back it up. Otherwise, you can join Dee Snider over at VH1. Oh, wait.
If you know your album doesn’t have a chance in hell of having a hit, don’t compromise your principles and write a goofy song you think might catch on just to throw a bone to the radio. It may come to define you for the rest of your days.
By now Christian metal bands have more than established themselves as a credible force (see: The Devil Wears Prada, Norma Jean), so we won’t even rip on them for that. Just, for Your Savior’s sake, don’t dress like a bumblebee. You’re going to ruin it for all the good Christian metal bands.
There’s a weird line you don’t want to cross with technical proficiency: get too perfect, too soullessly robotic in your playing, and you will come off more as a joke than a musician worth the world’s time. We don’t understand it either, but it’s true.
Don’t, under any circumstances, be this guy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 18, 2013