Published on February 7th, 2017 | by Francois Biber0
Three Debut Albums
Francois gets personal, sharing three of his favourite metal / hard rock debut albums, records he has gone back to many times over the years.
Have you ever played a record so much that people around you begin to question your sanity? Someone close to you says ‘again?’ when you hit play? Where you simply cannot get enough of a specific riff, a lyric, or the rollercoaster of feelings and emotions professional musicians take you through over the course of a record?
Sure enough, it’s where you can find me; stuck between riffs and melodies from a couple of different bands who I’ve always been a fan of, but whose debut albums for many reasons, continues to make it in the rounds and I just love it every time. It only gets repetitive for my roommate.
While my home playlists usually consist of thrash metal with face-melting guitar solos for a run on the treadmill or an intense online videogame session, lately my ears have yearned for nothing more than good old-fashioned rock, coming from a sort of flash-in-the-pan album from a supergroup that may have flown under the radar: Audioslave’s self-titled release in 2002.
Mixing together the remnants of maybe the greatest rock bands of the 1990s, Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden, the mix of Chris Cornell’s harmonies, Tom Morello, and Tim Commerford’s booming bass and effect-laden music, may be attributable to a Herzog-amp effect.
You’d think almost 15 years later Id have moved past something like this. But no, I continue to go back and listen to the record from top to bottom, every now and then hitting the plus sign on my Bluetooth speaker just for a little extra *oomph.*
One consistency throughout, it’s freaking heavy. Three tracks off the top are bone crunching. There’s nothing but stink face on when the bass hits. Then the album delves into more progressive, outer-space rock with creative sound effects only there to mask the time between when the next bomb drops.
To me, what Audioslave did in 2002 was nothing short of a classic rock album in a time where hard rock and metal were just starting to break off subgenres like Nu-Metal. Audioslave does a great job of dipping its toes into the heavier side of rock but stays true to what made them famous in previous lives.
Sticking with classic first album releases, the debut release from Korn, again a self-titled release in 1994. There’s little that can be said about this album without mentioning the fact that it’s super angry, full of hate and just downright menacing. My parents were probably worried about me when they came home one day to hear ‘Clown’ blasting from my boom box.
It shouldn’t come to a surprise that Korn was the stepping-off point for my lifelong journey through metal music, that’s probably why this album finds a home in the top 10 year after year. Korn really does deliver to its fans, because every time you see them live, they do fret to dig into the past. In a period where music videos which spawned their own music videos including ‘Blind,’ ‘Clown’ and ‘Shoots and Ladders,’ Korn stayed under the spotlight for a long time, making them one of the first hard rock bands to crack mass popularity.
Personally it was the first time I’ve heard of a band playing a seven-string guitar and a five-string bass. Those super powerful lows, unlike anything I’ve heard at the time, sucked me right in.
Fans who bought into Korn early on were rewarded with an equally if not angrier follow up, Life in Peachy, and the album that set the band apart from other bands was the masterpiece Follow the Leader that even today stands to test of time.
I mentioned a love affair with thrash, heavy metal, and face-melting solos, it would probably be inappropriate for me not to mention a band that didn’t deliver on all three. That’s why Helloween’s 1985 debut album Walls of Jericho rounds out this list of three albums I couldn’t stop listening to even if I tried.
In an era where metal bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax were shredding in North America, emerging from Germany as one of the founders of power metal was Helloween. They played as fast as anyone across the pond and started a movement in Europe, together with the rise of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond in Copenhagen, to feed metal maniacs and start a global movement that continues on today.
Perhaps the reason it didn’t get the attention it deserved was the timing of Helloween’s debut, appearing the same year as Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, Anthrax’s Armed and Dangerous, and Slayer’s Hell Awaits. Trust me, I didn’t learn about this album until the early 2000s during a trip down the metal rabbit hole. Anyone looking for a classic thrash album, my goodness this baby delivers. Cascading solos, rapid melodies, and some scream sessions that just jump out of the speaker and send chills down the spine.
While it’s a head-scratcher as to why they open the album title track with the theme for My Fair Lady, the juxtaposition is probably what they were going for here, and what follows is nothing but pure bliss for a metal head like myself: an extended scream you can feel and with that, the bad day you just had seems to just melt away.