heavy metal

The Top 5 ‘80s Metal Subgenres That Never Took Off and The Bands That Carried the Monikers

If you’re the type of person who gets tired of all of the different labels for various styles of metal music, you’ll be relieved to know that there are some tags/categories that never quite evolved into a proper subgenre. If they had, that would make things even more confusing, wouldn’t it? As metal was changing and getting more extreme throughout the 1980s, some bands categorized themselves in an effort to preserve their own identity. That usually didn’t work to their advantage because either other acts would subsequently follow their formula or label, or they would get placed into a more common niche that others felt appropriately described their music. You’ll find most of these terms are among the sillier names for metal genres. If the thought of one of them spawning its own scene makes you laugh, I’d love to know exactly which one! The labels are not listed in a specific order.

1. Caffeine metal - Los Angeles thrashers Dark Angel described their frantic, high-energy style of music with this term in an effort to avoid any unwanted associations with drugs that might have been brought about by the term “speed metal”. Guitarist Jim Durkin credits legendary drummer Gene Hoglan, who had been a lighting technician for Slayer prior to joining the band, with the origin of the sobriquet. The caffeine theme was further stressed through their nickname, “The L.A. Caffeine Machine”, and a line about “caffeinated ways of life” in the song “Leave Scars”.

2. Hate metal - This is the only alleged sub-genre in this list that was coined in a music publication, rather than by the band members themselves. Specifically, it was the pigeonhole that English journalists developed from their reaction to Essen, Germany’s Kreator. The tag came about because of the name of their 1986 EP, “Flag of Hate”, and because of the nasty, angry, hissing vocal style of frontman Mille Petrozza. The term never stuck with the band, and it didn’t need to, because Kreator has long remained at the forefront of the German thrash metal scene.

3. Virgin metal - …or “pure black virgin metal” if you want to get really elaborate. Hobbs Angel of Death’s late guitarist/vocalist Peter Hobbs gave this label to his band because he believed that their brand of metal music was so pure and hadn’t been touched by any undesirable outside influences. The rest of us felt like they were just a Slayer ripoff typical of the time period, but we let him have it. I mean, did you really want to argue over sub-genres with one of the most diabolical frontmen in metal history?

4. Street metal - This is the one label of these five that is defined more by lyrics than by music. Chicago-based Zoetrope pinned this tag on themselves to give you an idea of their primary lyrical subject - the darker, grittier side of urban life. If you think they had a lot to say about their observations in the Windy City a few decades ago, imagine how many ideas they would have if they did a reunion album now!

5. Athletic rock - Excuse me, rock?! Yes, but it still counts. After all, we’re talking about Raven here! This self-proclaimed genre tag also served as the name of a tune on their 1983 release, “All For One”. It’s a term that suits them very well even to this day, as the Gallagher brothers still hit the stage with the vigorous energy of young athletes all these generations later!

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Tags:  top 10RavenKreatorDark AngelZoetrope

    January 04, 2022

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