|Iron Maiden - Powerslave |
(Cover by Derek Riggs)
Teenage rebellion usually goes in search for something that will annoy the heck out of your parents and NWoBM was just waiting to be discovered. The music was a mix of piercing and wailing vocals, thumping bass and drums and a shredded guitar sound like an angle grinder on steel.
The album covers often featured Fantasy or Sci-Fi themes and the band logos (often using vaguely occult typography and symbology) were worn as patches on your sleeveless denim jacket like some sort of tribal brand. You wore your greasy long hair like a viking marauder and bullet belts and studded bracers were all part of the genre uniform.
Fantasy in song
|Uriah Heep - Abonimog |
(Cover by Les Edwards)
Just to prove a point Maiden famously did a 13 minute rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" on the 1984 album "Powerslave". This has to be both my favourite Maiden album and my favourite Derek Riggs cover. I spent a lot of time staring at that album cover and if you look closely at the hieroglyphics you'll also see some graffiti from "Indiana Jones", "Mickey Mouse" and the British "Chad" a version of "Kilroy was here".
Other artists like Saxon had tracks such as "The Warrior" which portrayed a generic fantasy storyline.
Of course Metal wasn't a peculiarly british phenomenon and US bands such as Metallica famously covered HP Lovecraft in the tracks "The Call of Ktulu" and "The Thing That Should not Be" and New York Thrash Metal band Anthrax covered 2000 AD's Judge Dredd in their song "I am The Law"
Art influences Art
|Magnum - On a Storytellers Night|
(Cover by Derek Riggs)
Joe Petagno has had a 31 year association with Motörhead and devised their famous "Snaggletooth" emblem which has graced many of their albums.
|Yngwie Malmsteen - Trilogy|
A particularly comical one was that of Sweden's Yngwie "J" Malmsteen (pronounced Ing-vey) and his 1986 album "Trilogy". The impossibly posed neo-classical guitar-god Yngwie, is depicted seeing off a three headed dragon with what can only be described as "a fire spewing lick of his stratocaster". I'm sure everyone in the meeting thought it was a good idea at the time.
In researching this article I also stumbled across an album cover which although it isn't metal is so monumentally bad that there just aren't words to describe it... Rick James - Throwin' Down
Métal Hurlant and Heavy Metal Magazine
|Heavy Metal the Movie|
(Cover by Chris Achilleos)
With the release of an animated feature film Heavy Metal (1981), the combination of art, music and Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories was brought together in one vehicle. A combination of original storylines and a soundtrack featured tracks by a plethora of rock bands of the era such as Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Grand Funk Railroad, Journey and Stevie Nicks it was every pubescent teenage boys fantasy brought to life.
Other Metal Movie Moments
1986 also saw Kiss bassist and tongue waggler extraordinaire Gene Simmons and rock legend Ozzy Osbourne appear in cameo roles in the horror movie Trick or Treat which featured a soundtrack by Fast Eddie Clarke (also famed for playing guitar on Motörhead's "The Ace of Spades"). The plot plays heavily on the urban legend of satanic messages being heard in records when they are played backwards (Hey kids! I bet you can't do that with your Lady Gaga CD) and the spirit of dead rock star Sammi Curr's attempt to be ressurected through a Halloween Dance sacrifice. All good clean adolescent fun really.
Heavy Metal... Meet White Dwarf
The association of Heavy Metal music with gaming reached a climax in November 1987 when Games Workshop's John Blanche conspired to give away Nottingham Thrash Metal group Sabbat's "Blood for the Blood God" as a flexi-disc single in issue 95 of White Dwarf.
|Sabbat - History of a Time to Come|
(Cover by John Blanche)
Another Nottingham band to emerge in the late 80's in association with Games Workshop were Bolt Thrower whose name originated from the siege weapon featured in their Warhammer Fantasy Battle wargame. The cover of their 1989 album "Realm of Chaos" is the same painting by John Sibbick which graced the front cover of the original Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader rulebook.