1982 really was the last year when heavy metal was viewed from the outside as just an amorphous mass of noise; And indeed within the scene people were just as likely to wear a Journey shirt as an Angel Witch one before the great thrash/poseur/glam schism that began to open cracks in the genre from late ’83 onwards. Certainly this top ten of acts as proclaimed by our worldwide panel of metal taste shows a nice variation in styles and mood… enjoy!
10. Whitesnake – Saints an’Sinners (Liberty)
Still defiantly blues-based in 1983, David Coverdale’s Whitesnake were probably at the peak of their purist powers in 1982. Saints an’Sinners was such a good album Coverdale lifted its two best tracks – Crying in the Rain and Fool for Your Lovin’ – for use in his later hair metal incarnation, but the guts and the very soul of these tracks are best evinced in their earlier versions, as seen here…
9. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (Casablanca Records)
After the comparitve failure of concept album Music From ‘’The Elder’’, Kiss needed to regain ground with a solid rock n’roll album. They went beyond that, and delivered a solid heavy metal album, chock full of strutting, hands –in-the-air anthems like I Love it Loud and a pop metal anthem in excelsis in the shape of the title track.
8. Twisted Sister – Under the Blade (Secret)
Produced by UFO’s Pete Way, New York glam legion Twisted Sister’s debut, whilst being choc-full of switchblade-sharp anthems and beyond-the-call-of-duty heavy metal thunder, just couldn’t live up to the sheer ferocity of their club-honed live assault. When they arrived in the UK in 1982 to support the album fans were blown away by the sheer firepower at the band’s disposal, as displayed by this frighteningly heavy rendition of Under the Blade’s title track from the Reading Festival in it’s year of release…
7. Venom – Black Metal (Neat Records)
The album that spawned a genre. Not many can claim to have done that, but this trio of unlikely-looking Geordies blew the gaffe apart in 1982 with this insanely influential record. Critics carped, haters hated, but fans… well they fanned in large enough number to let Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon realise they were on to something with this new fangled ‘black metal’. And while Venom didn’t see things through to their logical conclusion – they were never quite this brutal, this essential ever again – the seed had been planted in enough brains to start something very big indeed.
6. Scorpions – Blackout (Harvest)
Moving away from their progressive roots at a rate of knots, Blackout was easily the Scorpions’ best album thus far in 1982; An enticing mix of melodic heavy metal (the title track, which carried on the good work of previous two albums Lovedrive and Animal Magentism) and proto hair metal (see below), the band were honing their skills with an eye on the American market whilst still keeping their long term fans happy. Not an easy job, but one which trhe band managed to do very well indeed on this album.
5. Accept – Restless and Wild (Heavy Metal Records)
Whilst many just wrote off Accept in 1982 as Teutonic Judas Priest wannabes, those of us in the know, well, we just knew better. The band had been knocking on the door for a couple of years with albums like Breaker but nothing really could prepare anyone for the pure metal delight that was Restless and Wild. The sound of a band finding its feet, forging its style and, in tempestuous opener Fast as a Shark, providing a blueprint for much of what was to come of any value out of European heavy metal for the next twenty odd years.
4. Manowar – Battle Hymns (Liberty)
In a classroom in my Grammar school someone had put up pictures of Manowar and Ted Nugent, almost in part to merely reinforce the prejudices of the many at my school who thought that heavy metal was an ‘artform’ made purely for the low-foreheaded masses who clearly though that men in loincloths were in some way ‘cool’. And though they may have had a point, when you listen to the first Manowar album all criticism, all laughter is turned back on those doing the laughing and the carping. This is pure, unadulterated steel, grim-faced in execution and sure of its inevitable victory. And as I’m sure bassist and all round manobeing Joey DeMaio says to himself every day – ‘where are the idiots who put those posters up now, eh?’
3. Motörhead– Iron Fist (Bronze)
The first single I ever bought by Motörhead was Iron Fist – 29p, red vinyl, from ASDA in High Wycombe. Consequently it’s still one of my fave ‘head tunes, even though in historical context this album is a sad one, heralding as it did the end of the ‘classic’ ‘head lineup of Lemmy Kilmister, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and Philthy Animal Taylor. Not quite as strong as it’s three predecessors, Iron Fist is still on hell of an album and certainly worth it’s top 3 place in our list…
2. Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance (CBS)
Judas Priest were already a big deal by 1982, but Screaming… took them to the sort of arena-level metal megastatus few who witnessed them in their silk kimonoed mid-seventies could have imagined. Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, KK Downing and the two ‘sub members’ as my Dad called them really kicked everything up a notch here, delivering a set of stone metal classics many have attempted to better, with precious few coming close. This, in my not so humble opinion, is the ultimate in trad metal hysteria.
1. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast (EMI)
Of course, whilst I stood there flying the flag for Priest almost everyone else on the panel was nominating this album and to be honest, who could blame them? We knew Maiden had the songwriting chops, their first two albums had told us that, but when Bruce Dickinson jumped ship from Samson the final piece in the jigsaw finally fitted and the rest, as they say, is history… NotB is quite simply faultless with not a note or drumbeat wasted. Even is weakest track, Gangland, is streets ahead of most of the competition in 1982 and at its finest, with tracks like Hallowed be Thy Name and The Prisoner, well… words are not enough. A timeless classic.