Metal Starter Pack

A recent study indicates what Metal fans have known all along: Listening to Metal makes you grow up to be awesome (you can read the details for yourself here: The Metalhead Kids Are All Right).

That being the case, here’s Murfie’s Metal Starter Pack to get you on the road to a happy and successful life (don’t worry if you’re getting started late, most of these musicians are likely older than your parents).

123048-largeBlack SabbathBlack Sabbath

Arguably where it all began, this album is essential classical listening for all headbangers.

AC/DCBack in Black

Black, the staple ingredient of any quality metal band.  AC/DC defined a generation of rock-leaning metal musicians and Back in Black captures their unique ability to be simultaneously condemned by the moral majority and still receive play at wedding receptions.

Iron MaidenNumber of the Beast

Where would the world of metal be without disturbing album art?  Probably on more record store shelves, but that’s not what matters to Eddie and company.

123530-largeMotorheadAce of Spades

Don’t bother reading the lyric sheet, just pound your fist on the dashboard and press the accelerator into the floorboards.

Mercyful FateMelissa/The Beginning (Disc 1 and Disc 2)

Mystical traditions often appear in the the lyrics of metal music.  Mercyful Fate, headed by King Diamond, took this atmosphere to the stage.

MetallicaKill ’em All

What more can you say, “metal” is their first name!  Kill ’em All marks the beginning of a new generation of shredders lifting metal out of its rock roots and elevating it into a new form.

37087-largeMegadethRust in Peace

A counterpoint to Metallica (although the two cross stylistic paths over time, and share an origin story), Rust in Peace shows that metal can be intellectual as well as completely bad-ass.

SlayerSeasons in the Abyss

Taking metal into the darkest recesses of the human experience (at least before 1990), Slayer takes metal to an all new low (which is a good thing).  See “Dead Skin Mask” for a nod to a historical Wisconsinite…

AnthraxSpreading the Disease

Inoculating metal traditions with a stiff shot of Thrash (and the occasional thoughtful reflection), Spreading the Disease keeps it metal while opening doors to future crossover acts and points to the then future (now past) of metal music.

By 1990, metal had fragmented into a wide assortment of hybrid genres which I encourage you to explore once you’ve studied the essentials.  When you’re ready to graduate to the next level, rescue a 1980’s Camaro from it’s cinder-block perch, install a pair of Craig speakers in the rear deck and pick up one of those cassette-deck adapters for your phone…


Jason Gullickson
@jasonatmurfie

Jason makes sure all the electrons flow in the right direction at Murfie. His dream job is to automate himself out of his dream job, then hire his automaton to execute the “master plan.” He enjoys 20% of all musical styles and 35% of metal, punk, electronic and classical.


Keith’s Picks

Working at Murfie has taught me how important music is as a cultural phenomenon, and how people from different musical backgrounds can inspire one another. My musical taste has become more diverse in the last few years, originating from the deepest and darkest of the metal genre. Here are some of my favorite heavy metal albums found on Murfie:

2463-largeDomination by Morbid Angel

Florida death metal gods Morbid Angel bring a hard-hitting, excruciatingly heavy sound to this album, with amazing guitar riffs and extremely fast and complex drumming. This album gives a much more sludgy feel, with notable grooves in “Where the Slime Live”, and also “Caesar’s Palace”—which I would have to say is my favorite song on the album. The album was (and still is) heavily criticized by many fans as being much simpler musically and lyrically than their earlier albums. Nonetheless, Domination shows that metal bands can sound extreme without being aggressive and technical.

62111-largeMidian by Cradle of Filth

In my opinion, classical music and black metal go together like penut butter and jelly, or maybe pizza and a bloody mary (just me?). This is a great transition album for metal lovers who wish to get into black metal but don’t know where to start. Dani Filth’s infamous screeching vocals, mixed with the beautiful operatic undertones and chilling instrumentals, make this album both accessible and absolutely horrifying to the unaccustomed listener.

 

SymphonyX-VTheNewMythologySuite-1V: The New Mythology Suite by Symphony X

This is probably one of my favorite progressive metal works of all time. Inspired by some of the greatest guitarists in the world, this album shreds to a whole new level. There isn’t much to say about this album that hasn’t been said already: Its fast, melodic, complex guitar work mixed with powerful vocals and beautiful use of orchestral instruments provides a fresh and engaging take on a genre of heavy metal that has been around since the time of Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin.

 

7154e2a8-ddca-11e1-ac7b-1231381a75beBlood Fire Death by Bathory

To me, Bathory is the band that really captured the sound of black metal (although some critics will argue that it was actually the band Venom that fathered the genre). Bathory’s use of war-like themes, norse mythology and grim vocals really set the standard for the majority of black metal out there. What I love about this album is that it is incredibly experimental. The band certainly doesn’t like to stick to the same sound that can, quite frankly, get incredibly boring after a few listens. “A Fine Day to Die” and “For All Those Who Died” provide a more traditional black metal sound, whereas tracks like “Pace ’till Death” and “The Golden Walls of Heaven” are extremely fast and aggressive, akin to many famous thrash metal bands like Slayer and Municipal Waste.

 

66280-largeThe Light at the End of the World by My Dying Bride

I do have to admit that I found this album on Murfie after looking for a great doom metal album to add to my list. I have always loved the style of My Dying Bride, but I really haven’t given this album much of a listen. Some of the things that I really enjoy about the band are absent here: The depressingly slow and melodic guitar work, devastating vocals and the courageous use of violin and other such instruments that provide a great emotional experience. Still, this album is very poetic, dark and and at times can have a much more death metal sound than some of their other works. If you love depressing music, you will definitely enjoy this album.