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From Hell's Heart

"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the team. Every other month or so we pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.

Check out past editorials

Suggestions for a heavy metal 'virgin' (November 2001)

The idea for this month's topic comes to us from a reader's e-mail. Below is the original e-mail followed by each of our rants...hope ya like it!

"First off I would like to complement you on a what good website, you people have created.

The suggestion I have is, when I started off getting into Heavy Metal I didn't know what to listen to, and what bands to check out, I was a Heavy Metal Virgin LOL. I thought that bands like krap etc were Heavy Metal, but later I found out they weren't (can't get any further away from it), but I obviously know the truth, but I had to look for myself which I didn't mind, but I wished I could have had some guidance. The suggestion I have is, you could have a new feature called Heavy Metal Virgin or new to Heavy Metal (Personally I think Heavy Metal Virgin would be more appropriate:). You could give a list of starter albums to get like Kill Em All, Paraniod, Seasons in the abyss etc...

Hope to hear from you soon"

Suggestions for a heavy metal virgin
by EvilG

This is a tough one, yet important. It would be easier to recommend metal to someone if you know some bands that they already like. That is not the case here so for my rant I will assume that the "virgin" is not into any hard music at all and so far has only been exposed to mainstream "top 40" music. Below are five albums that may not be my favorite CD's but are ones that I think woulb be easier for a new listener to take to.

Some people might think that the only reason I picked Rhapsody is because they are just about my favorite band. In part, you are right...but bear with me. There are other reasons why I think a heavy metal "virgin" might find them fascinating. Rhapsody's music combines power metal with lots of classical orchestration. I think this would surprise and interest some people with pre-conceived notions that metal can't have other sounds incorporated. As well, Rhapsody's entire package with the excellent and extensive artwork, liner notes and their ongoing storyline would interest those who love good story telling from the fantasy genre. I know some people cannot relate to the grandeur and splendor of a band like Rhapsody because they think it's too uppity or pompous…so for those people there is a "meat and potatoes" heavy metal band like……..

HammerFall - RENEGADE
I know this is not the best HammerFall album released, but I think it is perhaps the most accessible. Lots of mid-paced kick ass tunes with strong "sing along" melody lines would not offend or turn off a new listener. Songs like "Renegade" and "Way of The Warrior" have strong choruses that someone who is not accustomed to complex music could swallow. If the listener has an aversion to a higher pitched voice then there is a band with strong melodies and excellent songs featuring a strong vocalist with a mid-ranged voice. That band is………

Kamelot - KARMA
Kamelot are another band that have great potential to be embraced by new fans. Their music might be more complex then HammerFall, but the vocals of Roy Kahn are hypnotizing. A band with less on the "orchestration" side of things and who are heavier is……

One of my fav bands up until this album was SLAYER! This will no doubt turn off some metal virgins because it is much more intense then the other selections I have here. However, some younger metalheads to be do not want pretty melodies or "nice" vocals. They want something that will make them go "holy fuck this is insane!" For a first time checking out something heavy, this is an excellent choice. If you happen to love this one, work your way BACK into Slayer's catalog...not forwards!

Perhaps Iron Maiden's most CLASSIC album is the best place to start in their catalog from a new fan's perspective. I think Iron Maiden are one of those bands who has fans that like different styles of metal. That is evidenced by the varying types of bands today who claim they were influenced by these guys. 

I can't resist throwing in some honorable mentions...
Sonata Arctica - ECLIPTICA
Amorphis - TUONELA
Metallica - "Black Album"
Stratovarius - INFINITE

Some people might be saying, "Why didn't you recommend some death, black, brutal" metal. To those people I say "that is an acquired taste!!" I have never in my life met a fan of metal that went from liking no form of hard or aggressive music to instantly liking for example Cannibal Corpse. Sure, they might find it humorous for the vocals or if they are a sick fucker they might get off on the lyrics, but on a musical level they won't be "getting it." The bands that I selected above are more about melody and many have catchy songs/choruses. Those elements would speak to a wider audience then say a blast beat ever will haha!

If this were the early 80's I would have been able to answer this question based on albums that got me into metal. Some of the albums that helped me become a "metalhead" were: Judas Priest's SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE, Motley Crue's SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, Ozzy Osbourne's BLIZZARD OF OZ, W.A.S.P.'s glorious first self-titled album and finally Iron Maiden's NUMBER OF THE BEAST. Honorable mention has to go to bands like Ratt, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Dio, Def Leppard, Quiet Riot, etc. for also enlightening me in my early listening years. As you can see, most of this is not the heaviest metal that might of existed. But for me bands can be stepping-stones to other bands that may be more extreme in certain areas. When you get to that point, you will realize you are no longer a "heavy metal virgin."

Suggestions for a heavy metal virgin
By Waspman

Wow, there's so many classic metal albums out there, how do you pick just 5 for a "metal virgin"? After some thought I decided on the following 5. Why? Well, first off, 'cause I think they rule. Also, I tried to stay away from the sub-genres like black metal etc. and stick with "traditional metal". Reason being, is that I feel that most newbies to metal would have an easier time getting into the traditional sound before branching out into the more extreme stuff themselves. It IS NOT a slight on death metal, black metal, or any other sub genre. I also realize that there are two live albums on this list, and the reason is that I think they would make great introductions into their respective bands' catalogues. So, with that, here's the verdict:

Album #1: Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath/Paranoid
OK, so I took a liberty here and included 2 discs, but hey, they're both pretty short. This should be self-explanatory. More than any other single band, Black Sabbath was responsible for the birth of metal, especially on their first two albums. Considering the amount of classic material on these two discs, every beginning metalhead should own 'em.

Album #2: Judas Priest - Ultimate Unleashed In The East
The perfect live album? Maybe. In any case, it is a great document of one of the most influential bands in metal history (and the top "tier 2" metal band). The dueling guitars are in top form here, as are Halford's lungs. This band basically paved the way for the classic 2-guitar inherent in all metal.

Album #3: Iron Maiden - Live After Death
The second live album of the list. Why? Because IMO, Iron Maiden perfected the style prototyped by Priest, while introducing their own ideas into the mix, leaving the metal world a basic impression that would later spawn power metal and countless copycats.

Album #4: Slayer - Reign In Blood
The ultimate thrash album. Often imitated, but never duplicated, RiB stands as the black monolith of the 80s. Classic in every possible way, no burgeoning metalhead should be without this one.

Album #5: In Flames - Whoracle
Yeah, I realize that I'll probably catch some shit for this one, but hear me out first. While not the most "classic" disc in any sense (although it is arguably the band's best), I chose this album for the simple reason that the other albums on my list were all somewhat dated. A metal newbie needs to hear at least something of where metal has progressed since the 80s and In Flames, like it or not, is one of the most important bands on the scene right now. Also, it keeps with what I said about not getting too extreme, as In Flames is one of the most accessible non-traditional bands in metal. Consider this the "substitute pick" - this could have been anyone.

Suggestions For A Heavy Metal Virgin
By Rick

In this months editorial we are supposed to pick 5 CDs that could be great starter CDs for someone who is new to Metal. On the surface it seems like an easy task. But when I actually sat down to do it, well lets just say it wasn’t as easy as I thought. How to interest one of the non initiated into the world of metal without sending them away screaming. After some pondering I have 5 CDs which I probably will change my mind about as soon as this editorial goes online.

1. Stratovarius - Infinite
The reason that I chose this CD is simple. I have already made a couple of converts using this disc. Infinite has some great songs that run the gamut from speedy tracks like "Millennium" to ballads such as "Mother Gaia" and catchy sing along songs (and the one that might appeal to a new metalhead the most) "Hunting High and Low". This CD has lots of variety and is sufficiently non abrasive so that the listener will not turn it off. At least not right away.

2. Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith
No list of introductory metal CDs would be complete without a Judas Priest disc. The one that I think might be a good introduction to the world of metal is this one. Released in 1984 DOTF contains a great balance of aggressive tracks such as "Freewheel Burning" and "The Sentinel" and more accessible songs ala "Rock Hard, Ride Free", "Love Bites" and "Some Heads are Gonna Roll". Strangely enough, this last song got some airplay on my local top 40 radio station back when the CD came out. It was a frequent request and knowing the audience of that station there were many a non metalhead who liked that song. Maybe some were converted. Who knows.

3. Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss
I think this is an interesting CD because it would probably appeal to someone who is looking for an aggressive type of music but is used to some melody. Yes, melody. I know you are all staring at your screens in blank amazement but I think that SITA has some great songs and who can argue that the title track is not a masterpiece. The disc also has some great fast thrashy tracks. This would also be an introduction to rough vocals that can’t be found in the aforementioned choices. Again I choose this one because I have friends who are not into metal at all who totally went nuts when they heard "War Ensemble" and just lost it over "SITA". If it worked on these guys I am sure it would be a good introduction to the more aggressive side of the metal spectrum.

4. Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time
Along with Judas Priest, what list of CDs would be complete without something from Iron Maiden. Maiden are one of those bands that have fans outside the metal world and for good reason. They put out some of the best albums of the last 20 years. NUMBER OF THE BEAST, PIECE OF MIND and POWERSLAVE. I have chosen SIT because it is a great Maiden album but it also has the song "Wasted Years" which is a more accessible track which has an infectious sing along chorus that has drawn in many of my non metal friends over the years.

5. In Flames - Clayman
I know, I know. Most of you consider this to be a sub par output from In Flames. Well, this rant is about good first discs for metal virgins. I have already covered the melodic vocals and the thrash side of this so now I will go for something which might appeal to a kid who wants something slightly melodic but with aggressive and harder vocals. I know that some kids can’t get into the soaring voices of Dickinson and Halford and think them cheesy. I think Clayman, while probably not the best In Flames CD is less complex than some of their other work and for that fact might be of interest to someone just getting into metal.

These are only a few of the releases that could potentially help turn a prospective metalhead to the dark side. I know that everyone will not agree with me and that is a good thing. I have just tried to choose a few albums that might interest someone not already accustomed to the world of metal. Is this list set in stone? Not at all. After this goes online I am sure I will want to change some, if not all of it. But for now, if I had the opportunity right at this moment to play something for someone interested in metal, I would haul out this discs and give them a spin.

Suggestions for a Heavy Metal Virgin
By Michael De Los Muertos

One of the great, rare pleasures of being a metalhead is getting to "train" others - to bring newer "baby metalheads" into the fold by suggesting albums to get them started in the wonderful realm of music that we love so much. To come across someone who has just discovered metal for the first time, and is eager to explore and understand and enjoy all the great stuff that's out there, is a really energizing experience. For that reason I'm especially glad to write this month's Hell's Heart, because I think making suggestions for the benefit of newer metalheads is one of the most important things that those of us who have been into metal for a while can do.

Some of my choices are classic and predictable, while others may raise some eyebrows. But as a broad-based smorgasbord for a newly-discovered metalhead, here is what I'd suggest:

What just-starting-out metalhead's listening list would be complete without this? For sentimental reasons alone - I first acknowledged my metalness while listening to "Battery," the opening track - I have to suggest this. An understanding of metal is incomplete without an understanding of what Metallica once was, and how, in a very real sense, they once spoke for metal with an (almost) unified voice. MASTER OF PUPPETS is the apotheosis of 80s thrash, and, even 15 years after its release, is like to have the same "Holy shit!" effect upon a newer metalhead who's hearing it for the first time as it did on all of us.

Of course a virgin's list must include some Megadeth - but why, do you ask, should it be this one, instead of RUST IN PEACE? It's true, RUST IN PEACE is a better album, but COUNTDOWN is catchier, more polished, more accessible, and frankly simpler. I just couldn't get my head around the guitars in "Holy Wars" until after I had been listening to metal for a few years, but "Sweating Bullets," "Symphony of Destruction" and "Skin Of My Teeth" are very easy to like and appreciate. This album is fun, it's spiteful, it's irreverent, and it packs a concise punch. Let the heavy duty, math-major Megadeth wait for another day. A virgin should check out COUNTDOWN first - and he or she will be hooked on Megadeth at the start!

Iron Maiden unlocks many doors in metal. If you're into Maiden, it's not so far a jump to the real hard-core power metal, like Helloween, Edguy or Blind Guardian, nor is it too far a voyage to the world of 80s thrash like Annihilator, Forbidden or Sabbat. And who couldn't like Iron Maiden, especially after hearing this, Maiden's best album? Oh, I've heard the arguments for KILLERS, but POWERSLAVE is the height of Maidenness - Bruce's stellar voice, glorious tracks like "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight" - it still gives me chills! I can't imagine a metal virgin not going nuts over this album. Once a Maidenhead, always a Maidenhead.

This is probably the most controversial choice on my list. It's neither a classic, nor one of the quintessential death metal albums, at least, not in the sense that Morbid Angel's ALTARS OF MADNESS or Entombed's early albums are. But MAXIMUM VIOLENCE is about the catchiest, most accessible and "listenable" death metal you could listen to. The brilliance of Six Feet Under is that the material is very simple. It's not the grinding "math metal" that turns many people off to death metal. A virgin who has heard and likes something like MAXIMUM VIOLENCE is 92.3% less likely to someday say, when confronted with another death metal album, "I can't get into those Cookie Monster vocals" or "it just sounds like noise." Six Feet Under is the aural equivalent of a "gateway drug." Start with this, and the gory goodness of death metal will become a lifelong friend.

This album is something special. You'll be skeptical when you first put it in your CD player. Who is Queensryche? They aren't one of the "big" metal bands. In fact, in recent years they haven't done much of anything. But after listening to the 45 minute concept album OPERATION MINDCRIME - and you must listen to it all in one sitting - you'll suddenly and completely understand what was so brilliant about them. This album, like MASTER OF PUPPETS, is another mind-blower. You won't be the same after hearing it. You may stare blankly into space, as I did, in silence, amazed that you heard something quite so perfect. If you could pick only one album from my list to listen to in your early metal development, let it be this one. It will introduce you, vividly and violently, to the central feature of what makes metal so terrific: it makes you THINK.

I hope this list is helpful to those metalheads just starting out in our great world of metal. It's a great thing to see new metalheads come onto the scene - and seeing them enjoy the music as much as you do is the greatest thing of all!

Suggestions For A Heavy Metal Virgin
By Pete

1. Metallica: Master of Puppets
Essential of all the Metallica releases. No filler on this album from start to finish. From the assault of opener 'Battery' to the full blown heaviness of 'The Thing That Should Not Be', this album is what Metallica truly is, was and probably never will be again. Well structured songs with fantastic musicianship, I played the shit out of this one. A great lesson on how to be heavy yet listenable - not just for the sake of being heavy.

2. Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance
How could I do this list and not include Priest??? Actually the first Priest album I heard was "Point of Entry", but "Screaming..." was the album that really opened the doors for me on this band. Great twin guitar leads from Downing and Tipton. And the vocals....Halford is THE metal god and shows it on this album. May not be as heavy as Painkiller, but heavy in it's own right. Essential Priest!!!!

3. Kiss: Alive
Ok, maybe Kiss aren't what many would consider a "Metal" band, but If I'm to include albums that led me down the metal path this would be on of the earlier ones. A big influence at an early age, "Alive " is a great introduction to a band with a great leagacy. It covers their first 3 albums and hey, it includes "Rock and Roll All Night", what more can you ask for? Classic cover shot as well.........

4. Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast
Maiden are definitely one of the top bands of the heavy metal genre and you can't go wrong with any of their first 5 albums. I emphasize "Number..." as it's a classic metal blueprint. Great vocals from Dickinson, Harris's songwriting is great and the dueling guitars of Murray/Smith just rule on tracks such as 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Run To the Hills". A good example how a band can build up a strong following with virtually no airplay.

5. Slayer: Reign In Blood
The essential thrash album. Slayer rule supreme as the masters of thrash, at least they did with this release. Features the classic "Angel Of Death", this album's 10 tracks clocks in less than 30 minutes. An unbelievable lesson in intensity and brutality. No thrash album has come close since except the Haunted's debut CD. Highly recommended.

Suggestions for a Heavy Metal Virgin
By El Cid

First off, these picks might seem kind of wacky since there are a couple of CDs in the list that might seem too extreme for metal virgins. But I'll try to explain why I picked everything.

Iron Maiden- Powerslave
There's no mystery here, every person that wants to try to get into metal must have heard at least the name Iron Maiden. I think of all of Maiden's releases, Powerslave is the easiest one to get into, the album just sticks to you. And having a track like Aces High open the album and causing a first impression should be enough to make any listener curious (at the very least) of what the rest of the album sounds like. In addition to this, the second track (2 minutes to midnight) is very catchy and it'll make you want to hear more. In all the entire album flows very well and has no elements that would turn someone who wants to get into metal off, after all, Iron Maiden is still one of the best Metal bands around.

Metallica- Ride the lightning
No surprise here either. I do believe that 95% of the mallcore population in the world has heard LOAD, RELOAD, CRA… no wait… that's not out yet…. And the Black Album. I do think that if one of these guys suddenly wanted to get into metal, it'd be much easier to do it through a band the think they already know. Metallica might be a huge pile of dog poo nowadays, but back in the 80s they were one of the biggest (and best) Metal bands around, it's no surprise that their second offering would impress a potential metal fan and open the gates of thrash metal to them.

Blind Guardian- Nightfall in Middle Earth
Now that we have successfully started to listen to metal through metallica and Iron Maiden, what would be the next step to take? Well of course Power Metal would be a good choice, but it might be risky if the voice doesn't click, or if the lyrics are too chessy or if…or if…or if… That's why the German quartet Should be a valid choice for the next album to check out, NiME is extremely easy to get into with all the orchestral arrangements, catchy melodies, excellent vocal work and colorful (I can't believe I said that) lyrics. Now that we're getting seriously into metal, I figured it would be easier to showcase one the best metal bands in the world to introduce melody, rhythm and a different vocal approach. This way it'll be easier to introduce the big step that comes next.

Dark Tranquillity- Skydancer
Ok, here we are, we've covered Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal and Power (ala BG of course) Metal, now what? Well Death Metal will be easier to grasp than black metal because it's not destroying your religion or moral :D Furthermore, if it's from Gothenburg it won't even scare you away! Since we made it this far I decided that Dark Tranquillity should be the gate to Death (in the Gothenburg way) Metal. Their debut album, SKYDANCER is my all time favorite CD. Why? Because it has everything, aggression, musical proficiency in both chords and percussion (the drumming is magnificent BTW), melodic arrangements and composition to shit your pants, clean vocals at times, feelings explained through music and poetry and the most interesting thing for our little trip into metaldom, a big bad GROWL. Anders Frieden brings you metal newbies his own brand of death metal growl. Meaning it's tough and dark and powerful but you still can understand what he's saying :D
So now the vocals are not a problem anymore let's go to…

Immortal- At the Heart of Winter
This is the last stage in our little trip. Some people say that Immortal is not Black metal, I think they are and I will refer to them in this manner from now on. Now that we have gotten past the vocal problem, I can introduce Black Metal to you. Fury from the north! And yet Immortal is not a cliché burn churches, kill for satan etc… band. Immortal comes at you with their own brand of lyrical content, out of the realm of blashyrkh and through the Raven Gate stride the winter-demons of the north! This band showcases an incredible musical technicality, much like Dark Tranquillity, but Immortal displays it in a much more aggressive way than DT did on Skydancer. The ultra fast drumming and intense shredding will take you through the realms of the frostbitten kingdoms and you will learn to love this band if you keep and open mind.

Well that's it, 5 albums for Metal Virgins that will help you set your journey into metal in course. From here on it's up to you to decide what you like and what you don't and in time you'll become a Metalhead of your own!

Suggestions for a Heavy Metal Virgin
By Thiago

It's difficult to find 5 records to introduce someone to heavy metal. Well, I could pick the five albums I like most, but then I don't know if the result would introduce everyone correctly. But, anyway, I tried to choose according to my taste and some importance for heavy metal. 

Metallica - Ride the Lightning
Forget the late stuff that this band that insists in call themselves Metallica is doing, the band we talk about now is different. This album is a highlight. After the first devastating album, Kill 'Em All, they got a bit more melodic, but keeping the same heaviness and aggression of the first album. "Fight Fire With Fire" and "Trapped Under Ice" shows vintage thrash metal, with some furious riffing and singing (James's vocals got much better on this album), while "Fade to Black" and "The Call of Ktulu" gives more of the melodic side of the band. Oh, I was forgetting to say that this album has some all-time metal classics like "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Creeping Death". Killer album. 

Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East
Heavy Metal is a style that gets the best form when played live. This maybe isn't the best live album ever, but this one simply defines heavy metal. Rob Halford kicks some fucking ass singing, KK Downing and Glenn Tipton shows why they are the best guitar-duo in history. Sad Wings of Destiny was a avant-garde album, since it defined what the 80's classic metal would be in 1976; after this album, the band released British Steel, one of the most classic albums ever. This album resumes all the first albums of the band, they are perfectly played live and they get even better than in the studio versions. 

Queensrÿche - Operation: mindcrime
This album is the masterpiece of heavy metal. It mixes prog, classic and power metal, aggressive and emotional vocals, fast and slow guitar playing, a strong yet technical rhythm section, all the stuff that makes heavy metal such and amazing style are condensed here - and the story behind the lyrics is fantastic. This is the best made album - I don't see any album more perfectly done than this, although I like other albums more. But when you listen to Suite Sister Mary and Eyes of a Stranger, hey, this album is perfect.

Death - Spiritual Healings
When masters Chuck Schuldiner and James Murphy gets together to do an album, what else can you expect than a masterpiece? This is a breakthrough album for both Death and Death Metal, since all the brutality trademark of the style is mixed with some technical elements, since changing drum parts till complex guitar harmonies, all sealed by Chuck's insane growling. From this album on, Death has become more and more intricate and technical, and then gave birth to Control Denied, Chuck's band with a traditional singer, but with an instrumental pretty much like Death.

Iron Maiden - Powerslave
I was thinking if I should put an Iron Maiden album here. I know that almost everybody is going to put one, so couldn't I be less predictable and try to say other band? Well, I know I'm missing Slayer, Black Sabbath and Dio in this list, and it hurts. But Iron Maiden is just the biggest heavy metal band ever, and they deserve this position. This album has "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", the shortest long song of all times. If it wasn't enough, it opens with "Aces High", one of my favorite songs ever, fast, powerful, with one of those chorus that makes you want to sing eternally. It is followed by "2 Minutes to Midnight", one of their biggest hits. The, almost in the end, one of the most amazing songs of all time "Powerslave". In the middle, we still have killer tracks like "Flash of the Blade", "Back in the Village", and "The Duellists". Need anything else to say? Oh, there is an instrumental track called "Losfer Words", that is short but amazing. Is it enough to be in the list? So face the fact that touring to promote this album the band recorded the my all-time favorite live album LIVE AFTER DEATH. When I listen to this album, I simply want to forget what Iron Maiden is up to nowadays. They are not even a tiny little shadow of their past. 


Interesting Topic…what to recommend to someone who is curious about metal!
My first thought was, this editorial/essay would be easy, an exercising in listing some classic albums I like. But then I thought, what about discussing "How" to recommend a metal CD to a HM Virgin. The "why" and "how' are as important as the 'what". So my twist on this editorial is slightly different.

Here are JP's 7 Holy Rules of Metal Indoctrination

1.) Take it slow and play safe. My best advice (like with sex) is don't go too hard-core right away. You don't try to get your 18-yearold, virginal, girl/boy-friend into bed by suggesting nipple-rings, leather and bondage on his/her first date! Likewise you don't try to get a metal virgin into metal by taking them to an Exhumed/Mortician concert and throwing them into the Pit! Both are likely to end in failure and no one any has fun, which is what it is supposed to be all about.

2.) Start with the classics. Choose mainstream metal CD's universally recognized by big name bands that even the president of the Brittany Spears fan-club has heard of, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath etc…For a nice overview search out Martin Popoff's book, The Top 50 Metal Bands of all Time. A good read and will soon be reviewed here on MR.

3.) Ask questions. For example, "Are lyrics and stories important to you?" If yes, say, "Well try this CD, Queensryche-Operation:Mindcrime. Most people into metal consider it to be one the best examples of a concept album." If they aren't into stories and lyrics, try to choose something that isn't intense lyrically. Don't give them the first four Rhapsody CD's and tell them to figure of the The Algalord Chronicles! Explain what a concept album is as compared to a thematic album or just a CD with 10 songs. Always ask, do you like fast, slow, complex, simple, etc…Ask what they like and play to those tastes. There is plenty of time to get into the fringes and extremes later.

4.) Share your enthusiasm without being overbearing. Don't give someone a CD and say, "This is the greatest metal CD of all time, if you don't like it, you are not a real metal fan!!" Try, "I really enjoy this CD and here's three reasons why." Don't go overboard explaining the intricacies of the three iced Earth Box-sets to a fan who is curious about Iced Earth. Lend them The Dark Saga and say this kicks my ass because of reasons X, Y and Z. Enthusiasm is contagious.

5.) Have a battle plan. When getting a fan into metal I always try to get someone to listen to the tunes in some sort of sequence so they gain an understanding about the development and history of the artist. I have a buddy (The Barron) who is just getting into Alice Cooper so I lent him the box-set as a nice overview. He liked it enough that he wants to get deeper into the catalogue. So instead of dumping 20 tapes and CD's on him, we are doing Alice's discography in reverse. From Dragon Town back to Pretties, we are in a nice pattern two or three at a time. The Epic years, the MCA years etc…

6.) Don't be discourage by set-backs. If you recommend something and the person doesn't like it, ask why. What did you like about it? Ask, "What didn't you like and why?." Then try to choose something next that would be more suited to that friends taste. You may love it, they could think it sucks, deal with it!

7.) Always explain the highlights. (But don't lecture) Here are the special features of this band. Eg. Bruce Dickinson is well regarded for his powerful voice. Tell the virgin to listen especially for the vocals. (or guitars if you are doing Malmsteen or bass if you are doing Primus.) It helps the listener understand, "OK now I know why everyone likes Bruce Dickinson and one reason why Iron Maiden has sold 50 million albums.

As a metal fan you are in an elite group in society. Everyone inside is a metal fan yet most people haven't come to realize that important fact yet. I have a theory that non-metal fans are missing an important gene or something but more on that later. Your job, your responsibility, and your mission is to convert and indoctrinate as many virgins to the metal way as possible! Remember this is a war for the future of good music. It is a never-ending battle of recruiting new fans to the cause. There is strength in numbers so you must fight for our way of life and bring new soldiers into the metal army.

Seriously…It's all fun, so grab a handful of discs for a buddy and say, "Hey! Check these out, I like them and I hope you do too!" Part of the fun is introducing new bands to people and sharing their enjoyment and appreciation of that music.

For what it is worth (I couldn't resist) here are a few I would recommend.

For the Glam fan: Poison-Open up and Say Ahhh…
For the Prog fan: Dream Theatre-Images and Words
For the Death fan: Obituary-Cause of Death
For the Thrash fan: Metallica-Master of Puppets
For the Guitar fan: Yngwie J. Malmsteen-Marching Out
For the Euro metal fan: Helloween-Keeper Part I
For the Crossover fan: Suicidal Tendencies-How will I Laugh
For the Doom fan: Candlemass-Ancient Dreams
For the White metal fan: Stryper: To Hell with The Devil
For the Power fan: Pantera-Cowboys From Hell
And for the basic curious fan you can never go wrong with Maiden, Sabbath Judas Priest and so on.

Finally, as an exercise to demonstrate the one band that most completely adheres to the principles of sonic annihilation and stays "true" to the archetypes and rules of metal, I recommend, MANOWAR-KINGS OF METAL!!

So, my fellow ambassadors and missionaries of metal, remember JP'S 7 Holy Rules of Metal Indoctrination and they will guide you when you are out there fighting the good fight and converting the heathens. Hail!

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