Grymm KittyEveryone remembers their first time. The stories may be slightly different, but we all can recall them with a certain amount of glee, zest, and maybe an embarrassed smirk or two. For some, it required a bit of a learning curve, while for others it was instantaneous and gratifying. For some, it happened in an older sibling’s bedroom while they were away. For others, it was in the backseat of a friend’s car. For me, it was at the dinner table while my parents and younger brother were eating ice cream while looking at me in abject terror. But no matter where we were, we all agree on one thing: we can recite, with crystal-clear detail, that magical moment when metal music grabbed us for the first time and opened us up to our favorite music genre.1

The year was 1986. MTV had this little program called Hard 30, which was the daytime equivalent to The Headbangers Ball and sported a beautifully-coifed Adam Curry playing about a half-hour’s worth of glam rock, thrash, and traditional metal. As a nine year-old kid in New Hampshire, I would have the TV on while doing homework, and more often then not MTV would be playing in the background. Yet, on one fateful day, as my little brother was in the kitchen, bugging me while I was doing multiplication tables, a siren sounded from the TV. This was followed by trumpets, and a convincing gallop that was otherworldly, and a voice that beckoned me to worlds beyond my young imagination could ever comprehend.

In other words, I was grabbed by “The Final Countdown” by Europe.2

Nine year-old me was enthralled. Here was a band that eschewed songs about girls (until “Carrie”), cultural appropriation (until “Cherokee”), and rock ‘n roll stereotypes (until “Rock The Night”), and brought something original. Mind you, it wasn’t necessarily good, but even at that young an age, I really didn’t give much of a shit about stereotypical glam rock trappings. I was impressed by John Norum’s leads. I was floored by the fact that Mic Michaeli’s keyboards were front-and-center. And they had me convinced that we really were heading for Venus, and still we stood tall. Hell, most sports agree with me, as “The Final Countdown” is played whenever a game is about to end, and there’s very little separating the victors from the losers. Cheesy? Yes. But I will defend this song as one of the gateways for me becoming the Angry Metal Cat that I am today, and I have no shame in admitting so.


And speaking of gateways, I don’t believe for one second, that we’re all born from the womb already kvlt as fvck, and if you were, there stands a strong chance that I would find you awfully humorless and not worth getting to know. That said, we have our gateways that got us from Point A, to Destination 2, to Planet Xenon, and maybe to Point B. In a prior retro-piece, I praised Screams and Whispers, the still-timeless final album by Anacrusis that got me into underground metal. From there, the floodgates opened. In 1993, Carcass‘s Heartwork, drew me into death metal. Samael‘s Ceremony of Opposites pulled me into the more orthodox side of black metal, while a decade later, Blut Aus Nord‘s awesome The Work Which Transforms God threw me into the genre’s more fucked up side. All of these albums have, for better or worse, left time stamps on my psyche, and provided me with quite the impressive soundtrack that only grows bigger with each passing day. In fact, there’s another song from 1986 that has stood with me, and the album it came from is getting its own Yer Metal is Olde piece very, very soon.

So no matter what, dear readers, don’t be afraid to admit a “guilty pleasure,” because there’s nothing guilty about something that brought you into the awesome world of metal music. Never be ashamed of your roots, and always tell your “first time” stories with those around you. You are bound to get a good laugh or two, but you will also get some smiles and memories. Cheers, gang!

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  1. Had ya, didn’t I?
  2. Shut up.
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  • noname

    My first time was Behexen’s Sota Valon Jumalaa Vaastan. One hell of a song.

  • El_Cuervo

    “But no matter where we were, we all agree on one thing: we can recite,
    with crystal-clear detail, that magical moment when metal music grabbed
    us for the first time”.

    I actually can’t. I’ve always been vaguely exposed to metal through my dad who likes Maiden, Metallica, Sabbath, etc. I don’t recall an exact moment.

    • Mmm. My itchy firing finger is gettin’ itchy.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Remember NeO.

        • Grymm

          Oooooooof.

          Damn, that’s gotta smart.

        • Oh, I do. I do…

    • Luke_22

      I’m in the same boat in not being able to recall a distinct moment. My older brothers exposed me to early Metallica & of course the Black album when I was about 9 years old, along with Pantera & Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction (not metal but a pivotal album in shaping my music tastes). From that point onward I went through various discovery stages, eventually leading into more extreme pastures. Fear Factory’s Demanufacture, Meshuggah & Strapping Young Lad were huge for me developing heavier tastes and even Lamb of God’s New American Gospel had a big impact on me when it first came out. Naturally I dabbled in a bit of nu metal as well. My first actual metal CD purchase was White Zombie’s Astro Creep 2000 (still a very fun & nostalgic album for me).

      Despite being an Aussie, I actually single out the NOLA metal scene as crucial to my conversion to extreme & underground metal. Hearing Acid Bath’s When the Kite String Pops at a mate’s house for the first time blew my mind & led to me getting into Soilent Green as well. Other than that, it was basically backtracking through history to discover many great extreme metal classics, especially death metal.

  • The Nerd.

    The Final Countdown is the best bad song of all time. The first time I remember hearing a metal song was Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. The metallic voice had me enthralled, and then the riff began. You can say I was hooked

    • pafg

      For best bad song of all time i’d vote for Scorpions “Still Loving You”

      • The Nerd.

        OH that’s right up there. So cheesy, so good.

  • Dammage

    I really liked the Tony Hawk games as a kid, my parents (who never listened to metal) bought me Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 for Christmas one year and that’s where it all started. Deadly Sinners by 3 Inches of Blood began my love of metal, and although my library has changed a lot in the 10 years since then I’m still in love with that song.

  • pafg

    Yeah Europe, Duran Duran, Status Quo, Queen, Alphaville, Bon Jovi, Scorpions… those were my roots. My first purchase was a vinyl of Bryan Adams single Run to You. Only when i was around 12 yo (1992) i got my hands of a mix tape with a dozen metal bands. The first song, Metallica’s One must have heard on repeat at least 20 times before moving to the second song, Powerslave by Maiden. And that was it: “Metal it is”.

    • Wilhelm

      I remember watching the One video, being scared as hell because the music was dark, heavy and menacing, not 5 guys jumping around, partying and having a great time – combine this with the fact my mom told me metal was evil. I knew I could never go back though, I sold my soul =)

  • [not a Dr]

    I used to only listen to classical music, until I heard Epic, by Faith No More, while wasting my youth in a friend’s basement. I’ve never been sure if it counts as metal.
    If not, it would be Aces High. I then proceeded to get my parents to buy me a cheap bass for x-mass.

  • Huh. Didn’t I rhapsodize about how much better Wings of Tomorrow was? Because it was SO MUCH BETTER than The Final Countdown and your subjective experience is fucking wrong.

    • Grymm

      I was nine.

      NINE!

      • I WAS 5 AND I KNEW BETTER!

        • Grymm

          At 5, my mom got me listening to disco and… I’ll stop now.

          *awkward whistling*

          • “As a young boy I learned a really important lesson at the hands of one of my favorite bands, Europe. You laugh, but I was 5 and it was the ’80s, so I was well within my rights to listen to Europe. In 1984, Sweden’s very own, very popular foray into glam rock released a record called Wings of Tomorrow. The album cover was simple. An armored bird of prey, in profile against a red planet cradled in a vast blanket of stars, ready to attack an unseen foe. Five-year-old me was in awe. My unconstrained imagination transported me into space with this mighty, ironclad hawk, to fight futuristic wars. This set the stage for a magical listening experience and the record is still one of my favorites.

            When I finally got around to The Final Countdown something important had changed: the cover was five poofy haired dudes in space. No suspension of disbelief, no imagination, just Swedish glam rockers in space. And the record? Well, it had one great song… and in retrospect a lot of stinkers. It was certainly not a worthy follow-up to Wings of Tomorrow. In that moment an important seed of distrust of bands with their own pictures on the cover of a record was instilled in me. If a band isn’t creative enough to come up with a cool record cover, that band probably isn’t creative enough to write really good music.”

            From my review of Amaranthe’s “The Nexus.”

          • Hulksteraus

            For me it was AC/DC and Black Sabbath and then my curiosity for the awesome album art of Iron Maiden. But the song that grabbed me and remains the ring tone on my phone to this day is Wasted Years..

          • jetblindracos

            The exception being when band members appear as part of the cover art,Yngwie’s Trilogy,Maiden’s SiT,Warlock’s TaA,Anthrax…

          • Leave the youth hall!

          • Kronos

            This explains your Anaal Nathrakh obsession.

          • Grymm

            It has a good beat and you can dance to it!

        • Blueberry Balls

          You are correct sir. And I share your age and taste.

    • Slayerformayor

      Fuck you, dude. “Final Countdown” is the fucking shit.

    • Mikko Ojanen

      I’m a big fan of Europe and I FUCKING HATE THE FINAL COUNTDOWN OH MY GOD.

      Not that the song is actually bad – it’s decent fun in a vacuum – but it’s so incredibly overplayed and overrated and just completely steals the thunder of the myriad better songs Europe have done. I also like to blame it for the band’s reputation as some sort of “guilty pleasure” joke band, which is undeserved because they have so much better stuff outside of that glam bullshit.

  • Frost15

    Excellent article and right on the spot haha. My first time was Dimmu Borgir’s Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse. I was 15 and my friend mailed me the video (I was a christian back then and he wanted to provoke/shock me I guess haha). “Is this even music?, Is that considered singing?! and what is with all that satanic bs imagery?” Lol, I remember I gave it like three listens in a raw and I thought “How can anyone like this?!” Then I went to sleep and the melody was somehow stuck in my head… There was something really good about it and I didn’t know what it was…. For several months I came back to that and other metal songs furtively and in a year I was huge into metal haha Now I can say I have listened to over 3100 metal albums and I love metal to death, my favourite bands being Enslaved, Deathspell Omega, Primordial, Gojira, Extol, Gorguts, Devin Townsend, Shining (Swe), Cattle Decapitation, Orden Ogan (and like 200 more metal bands haha). I listen to other stuff too, like Miles Davis, classical music composers, classic rock like The Doors…

  • I was really into pro wrestling when I was little kid. Somehow, my older brother convinced our parents to order ECW on pay-per-view. All the wrestlers came to the stage with famous metal songs as their entrance music and it blew my mind. Honest to god, I was searching for bad ass entrance music for the day I finally broke into my pro-wrestling career. Maybe I still am…

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      You know what, my twin brother lives in Mexico City, he sent me a video from the Mexican version of wrestling. A wrestler got on stage to Pantera, Cowboys from Hell. Nice.

  • Akira Watts

    Mötley Crüe. And not good

  • Akira Watts

    Mötley Crüe. And not good Mötley Crüe. “Without You,” which is by no stretch of the imagination an acceptable song. Caught it at a friend’s place, though I have no further memory of the country text. I loved the hell out of it and, slowly but surely, moved on to metal that was actually good and was, you know, actually metal.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      hmmmm good Mötley Crüe….?

  • Merijn Kooijman

    As a child I’ve been fan of Rowwen Hèze, a band that sings in Limburgian dialect (where Carach Angren is from, I believe). Actually, this might have very well been my first encounter with metal.

  • tetters

    Children of the Grave by Black Sabbath on a Best of Album, We Sold Our Souls For Rock and Roll. That song was so awesome and scary when I was 12. The main riff in my very humble opinion is still wicked but the spooky part at the end was creepy as hell to me. But it was that tune amongst Iron Man, War Pigs, Sweet Leaf etc… that got me hooked for life. I would play that double album over and over again.

  • beurbs

    My dad playing Van Halen 1 on cassette tape. Blew my mind, still does.

  • Kronos

    Oh man, great article, and the comments so far are as excellent as I’d expect from a Grymm comments. I can’t recall my first time listening to metal, as I grew up listening to rock radio – but I do remember the first song anywhere close to extreme metal that I liked. It was In Flames’ “Come Clarity” playing on some cable streaming music channel. I was hooked. A few months later and I was blasting Meshuggah driving through suburban Wisconsin. I became metal pretty fast.

    • El_Cuervo

      Ya I don’t remember when I first got into metal but EXTREME metal is different.

      The Jester Race and Still Life opened my eyes. I feel like In Flames and Opeth are fairly common picks for entry into extreme metal.

      • Hideous destructor

        Ha. Yup. Still life, the Tokyo showdown and Prometheus by emperor where the album’s that led me into extreme metal.

        • Hulksteraus

          My first taste of extreme was “a bolt of blazing gold” by Dark Tranquillity followed by “in mist she was standing” by Opeth…

  • Slayerformayor

    1992. “Enter Sandman”. Summer of my 12th year. A friend from elementary school (his name was Brooks Green) that happened to be along for the ride on a terrible softball trip that I was forced to take with my cousins. He played it for me on his discman. Changed everything.

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    Hm. Not “one crystal-clear moment”, sorry. Must have been something from Van Halen (first album), Motörhead (Ace of Spades? Bomber? Overkill?), or AC/DC (Whole lotta Rosie).

  • Anarchist

    I wanna challenge for nerdiest entry to metal here, so Imma tell my story. I was getting involved in fanfiction communities very heavily at the time, and had been working on a project of mine myself written around Metroid of all fandoms. I was searching DeviantArt for cool coverart I could use and ran into a picture I thought would look particularly good as a desktop background (I didn’t use it for the story). Some six months later I notice the artist advertises their website in small font in the bottom right corner (I don’t often change backgrounds and I’m not particularly observant). Curious, I follow it, and start browsing their various works.

    Eventually, I come to what I would learn was the cover of Cormorant’s Metazoa. It grabbed me, and she advertised the band in the description. I followed it, played Scavengers Feast, was immediately floored by it, and that’s how I made the jump from Boston being the heaviest thing I listed to to Death Metal.

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      Whoa, that will be hard to top :-)

    • Blueberry Balls

      Cool stuff, but -1 for using “Imma” properly.

    • Soge

      I might be able to top that one.

      I had never cared much for music, having grown up hating all the radio crap, and only occasionally listening to the classics, like Bach or Beethoven. I had even been introduced to some of the more popular nu-metal bands and later Metallica, but nothing really grabbed me.

      Back in 2006, when I was 18, I got sucked into the MMORPG “Ragnarok Online”. One of the main selling points of the game was a weekly war event, where guilds of players would try to conquer (and defend) castles. Some players would record their plays, and edit highlights to accompanying music.

      In order to study their strategies, I’d often stop and watch a bunch of them every week, until one day it happened. After some forgettable 90s rock song, I heard a piercing guitar song, galloping drums, and soaring vocals singing cheesy lyrics in broken english. It was Rhapsody’s Dawn of Victory, the first truly magical musical experience of my life.

      In a matter of weeks I had gone through their whole Discography, as well as Blind Guardian’s, Hammerfall, Helloween, Sonata Arctica, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Eventually my ever expanding search leaded me to this very site, which was key in me expanding my musical tastes to the more extreme side of things, which I very much enjoy to this very day.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    I got into metal by getting into Metallica in the sixth grade mainly because of Weird Al. “Enter Sandman” was part of one of his polka medley songs, and then I heard it on the radio in the car with my parents, said “hey, Weird Al did this in polka!” and they turned it up so I could hear it better. Something hooked me, and I bought the Black Album as my first ever disc. Listened to it a bunch while writing a book report on “The Black Donnellys”.

    I got into death metal in the ninth grade by being an idiot. I saw “Death…is Just the Beginning Vol. II” for $3 at a used shop and thought it was the second volume of an album called “…is Just the Beginning” by that legendary Death band I’d just recently heard of, so I bought it. The first track was Pungent Stench’s “Daddy Cruel”, and I was shocked, confused, entertained, and a bit worried that I actually liked it, especially considering the lyrics and vocals. The rest of the compilation really sold me on death metal generally because riffs and whatnot. Still have that disc back in Canada, and it still rules.

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      Nice! Almost same ” Death is just the beginning vol II”-story here… got it on vinyl for nothing in the mid -90s, played it on dad’s equipment. Normally particularly good compilation, except The Glorious Dead by Gorefest.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        That would’ve been great to have on vinyl. But what’s wrong with “The Glorious Dead”?

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Oh, auto correct messing with me…* not really a paticularly good compilation… The Glorius Dead is fucking killer! ::)

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            You didn’t like it?! I still think there’s tons of quality stuff on there, and I’d like to think that’s not just the nostalgia talking.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Maybe because I had to use my dad’s turntable – and because I had the compilations Monsters of Death and Masters of Brutality II (both from 1992). And they’re the fucking bomb diggity! Still, every time I listen to the end of the title track on Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten I’m waiting for Paradise Lost’s As I Die to kick in :-)

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Masters of Brutality

    • SelfIndulgence

      Funny how you bring up polka. I have always considered SoaD a polka/metal fusion.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Now that you mention it, “Chop Suey” would probably be better with accordions and such.

        • GoatForest

          Weird Al thinks so too.

  • brklyner

    I got into heavier bands in the early 90s though grunge (I think my first proper metal record was probably Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes), and then discovered hardcore and DIY culture. Realizing that I could not only see bands I loved in my small town, but also talk to them and be treated as an equal was a huge eye opener for me as a teen. Hardcore mutated so quickly into lots of more complex styles that, to be quite honest, much of the metal I heard at the time seemed a little stale and put on in comparison to my youthful ears. While I got into bands like Death, At the Gates or Nile fairly early and there was always some metal in the mix, I really regret not digging deeper, since I missed out on a lot of good black and death metal while it was happening. No regrets (which I believe is the name of 500 hxc songs) though–I grew up on Botch, Coalesce, Neurosis and Converge, and as I’ve been getting older I’ve worked my way back through the other metal genres, which is a never-ending quest.

  • David D.

    When I was 9 or so my mom would listen to the rock stations on the radio and got me into all the butt rock of the time like Evanescence and Three Days Grace, along with some great bands like Metallica and Rush. A few years later I had a friend show me Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce, which eventually led to The Berzerker, Dimmu Borgir, and Wintersun at around 15. My tastes have evolved since but those and bands like Nevermore, Kalmah, Moonsorrow, Dream Theater, and Pagan’s Mind really solidified my love for metal

  • Blueberry Balls

    Oh god I am really going to show my age here. Anthrax Armed and Dangerous was the first taste. Then Slayer Reign In Blood. Then followed Obituary Cause of Death, Sepultura Arise and then Morbid Angel Covenant and Fear Factory Soul of a New Machine. It all went downhill quick. (Downhill is good!)

    • Diego Molero

      didn’t know you like metal, thought you were here only for unicorning purposes

      • Blueberry Balls

        Oh I like metal, Id say the 30k+ songs on my hard drive and my personal metal pedigree are pretty solid! m/ m/

    • Col_Dax

      You’re not alone, will show my age too. :-)
      My first musical influence was the “Neue Deutsche Welle” (New German Wave), a post-punk / new wave thing at the beginning of the 80s.
      When that wave slumped, I heard erratically everything from Depeche Mode to Einstürzende Neubauten, from U2 to Böhse Onkelz (a German Skinhead band at this time). Such are the searching years of adolescence…
      My single initiation moment came in 1984, when I was on holidays in the nice city of Quimper in France. I flipped through the audio cassettes of a little record shop, trying to find some input to fight the boredom of a 14 yeras old only child.
      The selection narrowed down to Gary Moores “Victims of the Future” and Metallicas “Kill ‘Em All” – the only names proficient to me at that time. But I had only money for one of both.
      I took Metallica – and that was it.

  • One More Thing

    Way back in 2003, I was an angry kid that grew up in a very sheltered home. I had an affinity for rock music and, at the time, had just recently begun listening to Linkin Park, Alien Ant Farm, and P.O.D. One hot Texas afternoon, I was being driven around in my friend’s truck when he boldly told me “I’m gonna change your life.”

    He didn’t lie. My first time was a three punch combo of the mighty ’86 Metallica, starting with Battery, followed by Master of Puppets, and then concluding with Disposable Heroes (which really drove it home for me). I was hooked. Still in a sheltered upbringing, my folks did not approve of Metallica because they found them to be evil. When I bought Master of Puppets, they threw it away. I bought it again, and they trashed it again. Thank God MTV and the radio weren’t like they are today (and for CD-Rs!!).

    From there I got into Nu-Metal, which I still consider to just be hard rock. I discovered Mudvayne’s LD50, which helped me make a huge jump into more aggressive music. Eventually this led to Slipknot, which led to Opeth, and many others. A great deal of my growth is to be credited to this site, as my tastes have grown and developed tremendously. While I’m not kvlt in how I got here (or even now), I’m at a point where I thought I’d never be – listening to bands like Wormed, Anaal Nathrakh, Cattle Decaptitation, and Voices on a regular basis. I appreciate what you’ve all done for me, which has obviously been a lot.

    • Reese Burns

      Mudvayne’s L.D. 50 was a big one for me as well, so I can relate.

    • The Nerd.

      Slipknot did lead me to Opeth as well. That’s why I still have a soft spot for Slipknot, and Avenged Sevenfold, they lead me to great metal.

  • SegaGenitals

    At the tender age of 16 I spent my first tax return by purchasing the entire metallica discography through S&M. Next big gateway was Opeth’s Blackwater Park in 2001.

  • AngryMetalBird

    1986. “Somewhere in time” on my cousins tape recorder. We lived in east Germany so no idea how he got it. My parents never forgave him.

  • I take it we’re actually talking about getting to the point where we can listen to the guilty pleasure part of metal with the hard to understand vocals and violent intensity that drives away most others. Because I mean shit everyone listened to Led Zeppelin and Queen right? RIGHT?

    My extreme music of choice growing up was industrial and noise music. I rejected extreme metal as lacking imagination. I mean, guys, how extreme can you be without spooky electronic effects?

    Then, 2013 hit (yeah, that’s right) and I was like, well, I have forced myself to listen to and love every musical genre except extreme metal. This year I will put the work in. It has been a largely successful endeavor though I have a hard time with most death metal acts. (I’ve a very narrow sweet spot for the stuff, I don’t know how to explain it. Opeth- meh. Omnium Gatherum- awesome. Bolt Thrower- meh. Wormed- hell yeah.)

    Anyway, first extreme metal I recall being like “fuck yeah” was Bölzer which I played for my now ex wife who very patiently listened and then put on headphones for the rest of the day. She left me three years later.

    • Scourge

      Ya know, it’s weird… I had a huge aversion to exreme metal vocals until about 2012 or so, so mostly avoided it until then with a few exceptions. And yet in the 80’s and 90’s never had a problem with Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Skinny Puppy, et al.

      I still have a fairly narrow window of appreciation for death metal, but black metal checks all the right boxes for me.

  • Scourge

    In the fifth grade, 1984, I moved midyear from a fairly large city to somewhere pretty rural. We were Jehovah’s Witnesses, so part of a very fundamental religion that eschews pretty much anything that’s not in their version of the Christian bible. Where music is concerned, actual lists would be disseminated by church leaders of what church members were not allowed to own or listen to.

    Prior to this point in my life, say… ages 6 to 10 between years 1979 and 1983/84… KISS was not only at the top of the Do Not Listen To list, but secretly my favorite band that both entertained and scared the absolute shit out of me, having a bible-addled mind. But I couldn’t very well listen to them, except if a neighborhood friend happened to listen to them (nobody I knew did) or someone else’s radio (I wasn’t allowed one) happened to broadcast a song every now and again. And yet somehow I convinced my parents to watch Phantom of the Park when it came on originally (and this probably went a long way to demystifying KISS’s inherent evil in their eyes, seeing these guys who’d been built up as so demonic reveal themselves to be so incredibly cheesy and ludicrous).

    And then we moved, and due to a series of fortunate circumstances, music became more readily available to me. In the Fifth Grade music room while getting our recorders ready (the wind instrument, not the tape machine) a guy named Bryan got out a cassette with what to my Fifth grader eyes looked like it had a cover featuring a baby with angel wings smoking a cigarette. Captivated as I was by what I considered evil imagery, I struck up a fast friendship with Bryan who went on to introduce me to WASP, Iron Maiden, Metallica, beer and smoking.

    And regarding Final Countdown, I broke a school bus window once trying to get that tape back from a kid that stole it from me. I think the Principal understood. It was the Final Countdown for Christ’s sake!

    • Berit Dogg

      I was scared of KISS too. Someone (i forget who) had a theory that the roots of black metal are the nightmares about KISS that we had as six-years-olds.

      • Reese Burns

        ..I can see that. As a kid, I saw KISS appear in an episode of Scooby Doo, and for about three months, the image of Gene Simmons in full getup haunted me.

      • Scourge

        They definitely fueled a few years of nightmares… Once during Halloween theses kids all got on the bus at the same time with KISS masks on and I thought we were all about to get killed Purge style. When I was 5 KISS lived in my fucking closet and persecuted me every night.

        • That shot of Gene is one of the coolest ever taken.

  • Reese Burns

    In 2013, Christmas day, I heard Hail to the King and Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold and knew that this was the kind of music that I wanted to listen to, surround myself with, and hopefully sometime in the future, play. While my tastes in music have definitely changed (Thanks in no small part to this site) towards heavier, darker music, (Black metal, death metal, funeral doom, etc) Avenged Sevenfold is still my favourite band because of the happy memories I have going through their discography and finding a new favourite song every week.

    • One More Thing

      A7X used to be a great band for me until newer “fans” ruined them for me. Whenever I’d meet someone who said “I like A7X.”, I would respond with “Awesome, me too! What album/song do you like most?” I got the same answer every single time; A Little Piece of Heaven. They hadn’t even heard any other songs (except maybe Critical Acclaim) but that was what they defined the band by. Add them ranting about Nightmare over and over when it was the new single and I was done. Everything up through their self-titled still sits proudly in my CD collection though.

      • Reese Burns

        Well… I mostly agree with that, although Nightmare happens to be my favourite release of theirs, but I have reasons for that though. Their fan base irritates me a lot though, so I get where you’re coming from. There seems to be a pretty big overlap of Avenged Sevenfold fans and fans of bands like Black Veil Brides, and all that, so you probably know what I mean when I say they’re “not my type of people”.
        Edit: A Little Piece of Heaven is a cool song, but I don’t understand how it could be someone’s favourite. Desecrate Through Reverence and Save Me are mine.

        • One More Thing

          Yeah man, I totally understand what you mean about the fan base. Don’t get me wrong, ALPoH’s not a bad song (I do like it), nor is Nightmare a bad album; I’m just tired of hearing about those two individual songs from “fans” as if they are the only tracks that the band’s ever released. Chapter Four remains my all time favorite song but City of Evil and Waken the Fallen at tied for first place album-wise. Save Me is also a great song, which I think I’m gonna go play that now since you reminded me about it.

          • Reese Burns

            City of Evil is fantastic, the soaring guitars are just amazing.

        • Hideous destructor

          Ax7 have some good songs. I got into them with waking the fallen, so my favourites are chapter IV, second heartbeat and I won’t see you tonight part 1. Kinda lost interest after that, but afterlife is a good song.

          • Reese Burns

            And All Things Will End is another great song on Waking the Fallen, that solo at the end still blows my mind.

  • Alastair McAlpine

    Pretty new to this whole metal gig.
    Always been a big fan of music, but tended towards the indie rock side of things.
    Then, 2 years back, forced myself to listen to Deafheaven’s Sunbather after Metacritic voted it album of the year (I figured I needed to at least give it a spin).

    Put it on in my car, thought it was weird that the dude was screaming and that there were no discernible choruses or verses. It was difficult, it was challenging… and then, quite suddenly, it became the most beautiful thing I had heard in over a decade.

    And I couldn’t stop listening to it for the next year and a half.
    Now, I know Deafheaven is a hugely polarising band, and I don’t want to start ANOTHER debate on the band’s merits here, suffice it to say that for ME, that album was (and still is) one of the most important I have ever listened to. It blew me away, and I needed more.

    So my metal journey began, and a genre that I had always thought was silly and faintly ridiculous has now become my favourite, bar none. I listen to metal every day, and I feel like I’m an 18 year old kid again, discovering a wonderful new world that was always there, hiding in plain sight.

    I still listen to lots of other music, too, but nothing excites me these days quite like a crushing metal riff.

    So thanks to all you good folk for turning me onto so many amazing bands and such great music. These days, I tend towards the black/atmospheric side of things, but I’ve also discovered a surprising weakness for quality funeral doom.

    And regardless, I will always, always, be grateful to Deafheaven for exploding my little mind.

    • Kronos

      Say what you will (and I have), they appear to be reeling people in.

      • Scourge

        I think it’s an important point to be made. I mean, a lot of people who came of age in the mid to late 90’s broke their cherries on nu-metal before growing in to more discriminating metal fans. Gateway bands/albums are always great, even if they’re not.

    • Berit Dogg

      I think that that feeling of silliness and/or guilty pleasure (both quite unfair, but there it is) gives a certain extra flavor to the crushing metal riffs, one that – maybe – the people who grew up with metal don’t experience.

  • Akoto

    My musical taste were forever altered and begin my life long obsession into the world of “heavy” music begin in the late 70s when I was around 9 or 10 with the still timeless riff that I crank up to this very day… UFO’s “Rock Bottom”… Another gateway band that was not even metal / hard rock but was completely intrigued by the salacious name and fuck you attitude that appealed to my rebellious 10 year old heart (and watching my parents negative reaction!) was the Sex Pistols…

  • Noobhammer

    I remember it quite well….

    It was the blistering winter of 2003, where there was a howl in the early morning frost of a North Carolinian Christmas morn. The morning was a one of joy and laughter, getting whatever major thing I asked my parents for that year.

    As with all Christmases, as I’m sure many can attest to, once you open your parent’s gift, or even your big gift, then everything else after is just icing on the cake. Yet this year…this year was different.

    I had opened nearly all my presents handed to me when my mother handed me a small package sent to me from my aunt, her younger sister, a generally more wild spirit in terms of the family dynamic. Needless to say I didn’t pay much attention to what was in it, as many younger children seemingly think that gifts from aunts and uncles, while thoughtful and nice, just don’t measure up. Little did I know that this would be the biggest gift of my life, which changed how I viewed everything.

    With a uncaring look upon my face, I began to unwrap the package and noticed it was 3 CDs stacked on top of one another, Rush’s “Moving Pictures”, AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Live at Budokan”. I was confused, because the only music I had been immersed in at the time was that of my parents, usually Tom Petty, REM, BB King, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton. So i shrugged and put it by the side with the rest of my gifts.

    Once all were done, i was instructed, as I’m sure all readers were, to put my gifts away and help clean up a bit. Well while cleaning up and organizing in my room, I popped in “Moving Pictures” into my small stereo, and suddenly I was entranced with the whooshing and encapsulating sound of that intro to ‘Tom Sawyer’ (as I’m sure any rock fan knows by heart), and that was it. I was done. My soul was forever set forth on the road of exploring the beauty of heavy metal, and learning everything I could about the various genres and styles under this vast umbrella.

    I had grandparents and parents take me to FYE where I would explore the metal section and pick out albums on cover art, some by name told by friends, and some just because they were on sale. I had some mis-steps, namely nu-metal, but that style led me towards death metal and melodic death metal, which I am happy for in that regards. The intricacies of Rush led me to Dream Theater which pushed me towards Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, and Stratovarius. With the advent of Emusic, Limewire, Rhapsody, Napster, and various torrents, my growth and exposure increased exponentially.

    Now I am pretty set in my genres I like, and those who I can’t stand, but I cannot deny that I still try new bands I hear or seem intriguing even if they are in genres i’m not usually a fan of (thanks to this illustrious site which brought back not only new avenues for metal, but reinvigorated my love for well crafted reviews and writing). I think we are blessed to be living in such an open time where yes meany genres are set, but because of these set genres, we now have beautiful exploration and innovation from some promising acts, which will lead to more people’s firsts being these great bands. This cycle is endless and beautiful.

  • ChrisGoner

    In 1982, I “grew up” and became a real rock fan. I became obsessed with AC/DC and, after falling in love with their latest, “For Those About to Rock…,” methodically purchased their entire discography, moving backwards. Most of those albums were obtained without me hearing a single tune from them.

    At the end of ’82, I heard “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest. I couldn’t believe they rocked as hard as AC/DC, but they sure seemed to. I asked for “Screaming for Vengeance” for Christmas. Much like the Aldo Nova record I’d also purchased earlier in 1982, I assumed the rest of that Priest record would be much more commercial than that rockin’ single. My poor mind was pretty shattered after hearing, “Electric Eye,” “Riding on the Wind” and “Screaming for Vengeance.” I could not believe there could be SUCH POWER in hard guitar rock! This singularity was beyond even my boys from down under and I thought THEY had a monopoly on the market.

    During the first week of January, 1983, I was at the local Wal-Mart during my high school lunch hour, praising the merits of British steel to all my friends. I had discovered the heaviest band in the world. There was NOTHING ELSE like them on Earth!

    My friend Steve had his Walkman™ with him. On the cassette he was listening to there was a shitty dub of Iron Maiden’s, “The Number of the Beast.” He declared that I was about to hear something even heavier than my beloved (and he too believed amazing) Judas Priest. I told him he just had no idea what he was on about. Then I listened.

    Then it was officially over. Judas Priest. Iron Maiden. These were not anomalies. THERE WAS A WHOLE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE OUT THERE!

    From there, the rest of 1983 was spent discovering the Motörhead, Girlschool, Thin Lizzy, Saxon, Krokus, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, more NWOBHM, and on and on. I was hooked.

    And I still had not placed my Christmas of 1983 End of the Rainbow mailorder order yet. The one that would include Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Angel Witch, Venom, Raven, Overdrive, Virgin Steele and Witchfynde…

  • Akoto

    To drop into “old guy” mode… I almost feels sorry for my kids that music in general has seemed to lost its sense of danger and “evil” nothing is schocking any more… Any one out there ( especially the kids who grew up in a religious upbringing ) remember the genuine fear of bands like KISS (Knights in Satans Service!!). As a kid that was true “kvult”….

    • Scourge

      I mentioned KISS and my religious upbringing as well. The KISS cards were the most tantalizing things ever in 1979/80! There was a whole fantastic universe held within those pre-internet age cards!

      • Akoto

        The satanic panic was a real thing… Things got “real” in a hurry… Venom’s “Welcome to Hell” was fucking epic for the complete over the top (at that time) sacrilegious nature just a few years later

  • 1 Screaming Dizbuster

    First album I ever bought was BOC’s – On Your Feet or On Your Knees as a teen in the late 70’s, I also purchased the Best of Earth, Wind & Fire. So one out of two ain’t bad.

  • hallowed

    Back in 1986 when my old man was persuaded by some cretin that vinyl is on the way out and the only way forward are cassettes and CD’s, he traded our gramophone for a tape deck and the first three cassettes I bought were Somewhere in Time, The Final Countdown and Queen’s Live Magic.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Anthrax, Pantera, Metallica are my firsts. “for Whom the Bell Tolls” was my first Metallica song and the first metal song that really sucked me in. Then, like everyone else, it grew from there. We never got allowance or anything like that, and there was no place to buy clothes in town, much less music. Plus a grew up in a heavily religious town and music, in general, was frowned upon. So when I finally got money and went to the closest town to purchase a CD (a 2 hour drive away), my very first album purchase ever was the brand new Metallica album: Reload. Yep, ashamed. But I remember being stoked at the time.

    • One More Thing

      …I liked Reload. -_-

      • SegaGenitals

        Me too :(

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Was listening to it earlier after reading this article. Still enjoy it.

        • Hulksteraus

          I walked out on a Metallica gig at that tour. They sounded so dis-interested… Only gig I have ever walked out on and it cost $90 at the time…

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Yeah, I got a free ticket for the Death Magnetic tour. The show kinda sucked and I fucking hate the whole arena thing. Hate it.

          • Hulksteraus

            I have had many more awesome live experiences before and after, from the small venue intimacy (voyager and caligula’s horse, enslaved, anathema) to arena sized Anthrax, slayer, faith no more and 3 mighty maiden gigs.

  • Hideous destructor

    Final countdown was my favourite song as a kid, along with bat out of hell by meat loaf. My folks had them on some mix tape. I guess I was always gonna be into rock. At school in England, everyone was into oasis or blur, but the I heard the kids aren’t alright by offspring, and that was an eye opener. From there I started exploring what the ‘dark side’ had to offer. Discovered iron maiden at 16 and from then on I was an avowed metal head, moving on to new and more extreme / experimental stuff as I’ve gone.

  • Brother Ben

    I was into a lot of lousy metalcore in 8th grade, until I read that As I Lay Dying was inspired by Gothenburg melodic death metal bands. My first listen to “Blinded By Fear” changed my life. It was heavy, melodic, and the vocals actually sounded intense. They didn’t sound weak or pathetic, but angry and tortured. March 24, 2008 was my first time, and I haven’t looked back since.

  • Ein Sophistry

    I never cared much for music at all until about 13 or 14 years of age. At this point, I just sorta caved in to peer pressure (music was all my friends ever seemed to talk about) and started randomly buying CDs. The very first one, purchased solely on the basis of its unique cover, was Tool’s Ænima, which had just come out. I had no idea how to approach listening to this beast and for the longest time thought the album was primarily just random noise (it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize, e.g., that there was more to “Euology” than just its two minute intro).

    Clarity finally came to me one night at my dad’s place as I sat on the floor of my room in complete darkness and finally–finally–listened to “3rd Eye” all the way through. Then a second time. Then a third. What a helluva journey. Now, the subsequent journey from proselyte to proselytizer was a comparatively brief and simple one, as tends to be the case with this band, and I spent several years thereafter being one of “those” Tool fans. Belated apologies, family and friends.

    My bridge to the more extreme realms of metal was scaffolded by many of the usual suspects–Opeth’s Still Life, Tiamat’s Wildhoney, Messhugah’s Nothing, Strapping Young Lad’s City–as well as, in a more roundabout way, by Elend’s The Umbersun and the early work of Diamanda Galás. In my 20s I sort of drifted away from most of this and spent most of my listening time immersed in ambient (by which I mean the real shit–Oöphoi, Mathias Grassow, Lustmord–not minimal techno or pretty New Age schmaltz). Then I went back to school for a PhD in philosophy, got woke to the dire state of academia in the US, got pissed off, and quickly found my way back to angry, cathartic music. One unexpected perk of all the time I spent with ambient music is that it’s helped me to finally, after many years of failed attempts, cultivate a taste for black metal.

    • basenjibrian

      The Umbersun remains one of the most terrifying and awesome albums in history. It gives me chills to this day.
      One of my post-lottery ideas would be to contact the musicians behind Elend and, if they were interested, pay for them to finish and release the remaining music they dropped when Elend became financially unsustainable.

  • Wilhelm

    Grymm, we must be about the same age because one of the first cassettes I bought was “The Final Countdown” I wore that fucker out – I was also big on Bon Jovi (my favorite band in grade school), Whitesnake, Def leppard, Poison, Ratt and Cinderella. Oddly I can’t remember hearing hard rock/hair metal for the first time, but it was all over the mainstream radio and it, of course, led me into metallica, then to doom, black, death, prog, power, etc.

  • Nag Dammit

    Corrosion of Conformity ‘s “Clean My Wounds” on a Metal Hammer compilation tape, which also had White Zombies cover of ‘Children of the Grave’ from Nativity in Black. Before that it was Nirvana, Black Crowe’s and…oh shit, Paul Young and East 17. So face palm-y.

    • The_Martus

      This song was a huge spur into discovery for me as well. I found it on a 4 track CD compilation my very non-metal wife had and triggered all kinds of feelings.
      One of these was the need to discover more heavy music, which lead initially to more CoC, but then to delve into all genres. AMG is definitely responsible for scratching a lot of those itches.

  • Joe Satriani – Circles [ Live ]

  • ferrousbeuller

    I was born listening to Darkthrone. First 4 albums only, of course. Nocturno In Utero.

  • Dion Ka

    I remember listening to some cheesy rock bands and Linkin Park. Rammstein was just to brutal for me. One day playing online in an MMORPG called Guild Wars somebody posted three links of metal videos in the Guild Chat. It was a video of Equilibirum’s “Blut im Auge”, Finntroll’s “Trollhammaren” and one of Die Apokalpytischen Reiter “Friede sei mit dir”. I don’t remember which year it was. It must have been in 2008? I was infatuated with this kind of music. Lots of brutal music with even more melody. I even listened to Eluveitie at this time. It has been changing to Black and Doom Metal reading Angrymetalguy for a few years now. I actually only got into Angrymetalguy because Hail of Bullets recommended it on their Facebook page so hail to hail of bullets, i guess.

  • Mikko Ojanen

    In my early teens I listened to a pretty random assortment of things from eurodance to some occasional Bon Jovi. Then at some point my sister gave me this big bag full of her old C tapes “so I could tape some stuff from the radio on them or something”.

    One fateful evening I was bored and started rifling through the tapes and checking their contents. Went through a bunch of random 80s stuff without anything really sounding very interesting to me. Then one tape caught my attention with its strange, exotic sounding title: “Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys pt. 2”.

    I had absolutely no idea what kind of music that could’ve been (it was a bootleg tape so no cover art or anything), so I put the tape in and hit play. I still remember the growing excitement and wonder as the intro played…. and then it transitioned to Eagle Fly Free and I promptly lost my shit completely.

    That, as they say, was it. There’s been no turning back since.

  • Diego Molero

    I start listening to hard music about 3 years ago, I was sitting in the very same couch that I am right now, and my sister comes and puts some earplugs on me and press play, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was a song by Bring Me The Horizon (yeah, I know), and I hate it so much, those screams and those riffs, I thought It was awful.

    Couple of days later my sister insisted that I give it a try and so I did. And I slowly like all those deathcore and post-hardcore bands.

    Then a friend of mine who doesn’t even like metal told me to listen to 3 Metallica songs (Master of Puppets, Fuel, The Unforgiven), and I fucking loved it, I needed more, so I (illegally) downloaded The Black Album (teen with no money in a shity country, you understand), and so it began my journey.

    I started to investigate and learn all that is to know about metal, I still have a list with over 200 bands divided on subgenres and organized in alphabetical order that I collected surfing on the internet.

    But the real deal-breaker was when I discovered this website. I was like nuts, I spend hours every day going to old reviews and listening to everything I could, I discovered m favorite bands in here thanks too you all.

    I am eternally grateful with my sister, with my friend who doesn’t even like metal, but above all, I am eternally grateful with this website, you literally changed my life and you really don’t know how much that means to me.
    Fucking love AngryMetalGuy and fucking love Metal.

    • Berit Dogg

      I feel as metal fans we should support the artists who create the music we love. And, conversely, illegally download the “black album” att every opportunity!

  • Adam

    Nerd story coming up.
    I didn’t care about music until I was 17 or 18. Nothing had grabbed me, the popular music of those years was Blink, Linkin Park, Eminem, Gorillaz, etc. Mehhh.

    Then a game came out that everyone was hooked on.. Guitar Hero. Obsessively played through the first 2 games, got outrageously good at it. The songs I kept coming back to – Hangar 18, Cowboys From Hell, Iron Man, Ace of Spades. Megadeth sealed the deal.

    Downloaded everything I could by Megadeth, Pantera , Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden. And from there it just grew. Opeth Blackwater Park was probably the first death metal that clicked for me, or In Flames Come Clarity. Stumbling across AMG expanded things from ‘popular’ metal to the new or weird and obscure.

  • Mark Z

    I discovered metal through those Music Choice channels on Comcast cable. For those that haven’t seen them, they basically just play songs from a certain genre nonstop, with facts about the artist appearing on the screen. I would go to the Metal channel every so often and was put off by how quick the drumming was. The music just sounded disgusting as well, as did some of the band names (‘Goatwhore’).

    One day I checked out the channel and Killswitch Engage’s “A Bid Farewell” came on (this must have been early 2006) which I liked because it had a good clean chorus to complement the aggressive guitars and drums. I downloaded it from the iTunes store and that basically served as my gateway to the genre. A few months later I was listening to one of their other songs while at my high school job and had an epiphany. I thought to myself ‘This heavy stuff is so much better than the crap alternative rock that’s filling up the rest of my iPod.’ I realized metal was the music I really enjoyed the most. At some point I discovered the Metal-Archives forum, and within months I was getting into bands like Morbid Angel and My Dying Bride.

    It was funny because I more or less discovered metal independently of any of my friends or anyone else at my school – while everyone else while blasting Sublime and Three Six Mafia I was the guy walking around in an Origin t-shirt. Even my friends at the time would joke about my interest in ’emo screamo’ music. That said, years later I still enjoy those first metal artists I discovered while I can’t stomach more than a song or two of the crap rock that once filled my iPod. I’ve now been to dozens of shows and bought hundreds of albums over the years and couldn’t imagine my life if I’d never taken the plunge into the genre.

  • David Kaz

    I was 6. 1975. Wanted a record of my own. Got the first Kiss album. Then came Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest. Next NWOBHM.

    The first two Europe records are great, after that no thanks.

  • Sfrazer

    Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Yup, I’m a fossil.

  • Logan Waltz

    I started with iron maiden. Live after death version of the trooper. Sorry, no guilty pleasure there.

    • [not a Dr]

      Live After Death (on tape) was my first metal album. I found it in the discount bin at Zellers.

  • 517H

    Hey Grymm do you have a Spotify playlist I can listen to?

    • Grymm

      I don’t have Spotify yet.

      I should get on that.

  • SelfIndulgence

    My first I’ll never forget. I was very young and my parents bought one of those “hits” records (by Ronco…..I think they still have it). Paranoid was on it (Cooper as well) and I wore it out. Then I started collecting Sabbath records (Sabotage is still my favorite) as they were released. It also led to early Scorpions (before they went commercial), Motorhead and early Priest. I got all my friends turned onto it and turned them all into metalheads.

    As things got heavier into the late 70s and early 80s I was in Heaven. I was also finally old enough to start going to concerts so I went to them all. My parents hated the rebellious youth I was, but they never realized they started it. I think maybe I’ll have to let them know now.

  • jetblindracos

    A friend introduced me to Yngwie,Maiden.Judas Priest,Dio,Metallica etc. when I was listening to pretty much anything on radio.Then from there I found Dokken,Rush,Crimson Glory,Warlock and so on…

  • Opeth is THE gateway band for cookie monster vocals. I know so many people that couldn’t stomach harsh vocals until they got into Opeth…

    • Necrocustard

      NUMM NUMM NUMM!!!!!
      COOKIES!!!!

  • doom-erik

    Kiss-Creatures of the Night, autumn, 1984. I was 6 years old.
    My elder brother borrowed the album from a friend. I liked the cover with the four mysterious “creatures”. Then I heard the music and there was no turning back.
    More Kiss but also Mötley Crue (Shout at the Devil) Iron Maiden (notb) and Twisted Sister (Stay Hungry) followed. The rest is history.

  • My mum was always very, VERY into 80s pop, so that’s what I had to listen to as a child. The only thing I remotely liked from that selection was Celine Dion. Plus weirdly we own lots of classical on vinyl. Is this why I like symphonic metal so much?? I can’t believe I never considered this, childhood traumas are no joke

  • Berit Dogg

    I somehow managed to convince my buddy’s big sister that I was worthy of a metal mixtape (this was in the eighties). Despite a lot of effort – I’ve never been so motivated to succeed in liking music before or since – that mix of crappy AC/DC and Iron Maiden didn’t really work for me. I blame my failure on Bruce Dickinson. The first album I fell in love with was Motorhead’s No Remorse. Still love it.

    I’ve been on and off metal since. Often a metal period would start with randomly coming i contact with some really good record and seeking out more (it was hard work, you understand, back in the boring old days without the Internet). Grand Magus’s first record was such a discovery (I didn’t know such a thing as doom existed), as were Symbolic and Slaughter of the Soul.

    Now since I discovered this site a couple of years ago, there’s simply too much good metal all the time to ever have to listen to anything else. Thank you guys!

  • OzanCan

    I love to read mind pieces like that; awesome m/

  • Kiss Destroyer! My cool, pot-smoking uncle (every one needs one of those) gave it to me as birthday present (11 years old? 12?). I’m 43 now, so we were still communicating by telegraph at that point. Anyway, it started me on a long journey of finding music as cool and scary sounding as the cover art. Didn’t happen for quite some time…

  • GardensTale

    I had long dabbled in rock and radio-friendly metal like rammstein but the one that really grabbed me and shook me around for three weeks during which I listened to nothing else was Iron Fucking Maiden, that abominable Wildest Dreams video got me hooked on Dance of Death and I was a metal head from that point on. Next stops were Children of Bodom and Norther. After that, a metalhead friend of my sister took note and introduced me to a fuckload of other bands.

    • Kronos

      Norther has some of the best ESL lyrics ever. “Where do my heart belong?”

  • SegaGenitals

    Not metal per se, but first real music moment ever age 5 at an American style burger joint in Heidelberg, Germany… maybe 1988… music video for Dire Straits: Money for Nothing. Chicks for free!!!

  • Pimpolho

    Two years ago i saw the movie Rock of Ages, and was absolutely enchanted by that movie (it’s not actually good, though, but a (even more) young me did not recognize that). Scorpions, Journey, then made my way too Foo Fighters and Black Sabbath, listening to random playlists. (Mind you, two years ago).

    Something like a year ago i met a friend who liked everything i liked plus Slayer, and we discussed if Slayer was good or bad, my arguments were “it’s just noise” and “all speed metal sucks”. Then, through Blue Oyster Cult, i met Ghost, which was kinda of a landmark, ‘cus Satan and stuff. And through that, Powerwolf. And through that, Amon Amarth. I hated it. “Just noise” i said, “all death metal sucks”, but for whatever reason kept listening to it.

    I remember not knowing the difference between black metal and death metal, so i searched for it, and met Venom. It was so heavy and so good. As an EEEEEEVIL 12 old year boy, i felt great while yelling “EVIL! IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN!”. After that i stopped saying all speed metal sucks.

    Then i bought Secret Garden, my first cd, and was curious to know what other people thought about it, and that’s where i met this site, and it all escalated SO QUICKLY since that, cause imma still a young fuck.

  • Cristian Ramirez

    I’m from the Bronx, so I didn’t know anyone who listened to metal, but I did listen to a lot of hard rock and metalcore (As I Lay Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, Disturbed) during middle school. Then in my freshman year of high school, I went to a public library and started looking through their music CDs. I looked for things that were hard rock/metal and I didn’t know a lot of the bands. I came across these two CDs: Doomsday Machine and Rise of the Tyrant by Arch Enemy. I was intrigued, so I borrowed them and instantly fell in love. It also helped me broaden my horizons in EVERY genre of music. So now as a senior in college, I listen to everything from Hip Hop/Trap, Folk, and Classical to all these different and diverse bands like The Room Colored Charlatan, Ne Obliviscaris, Woods of Ypres, Cattle Decapitation, Haken, and my latest discovery thanks to this site, Thrawsunblat. Me 4 years ago would be so confused at all the different artists that inhabit my library and that makes me so happy.

  • Innit Bartender

    Aw man. I really love your colums so much, and yet you had to go and praise the one false-metal song I hate most in the world.
    But I can understand where you come from.

    As far as I am concerned, it all began in the early 80s during what I call “my quest for darkness”. Leaving childhood behind, I started making my way into music and I discovered I liked DARK music.
    Around that time I was reading Edgar Allan Poe for the very first time – and not a school assignment – and spinning 24/7 Alan Parsons’ very first album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, based on Poe’s tales of course.
    Another favourite was Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygen, very dark and unsettling. And then came one of the fundamental albums of my life: The Damned’s Phantasmagoria, which I still listen to from time to time.

    Sure, none of this is metal.
    But so it happened that one day, on the bus to school, I was talking about my love for dark music to an older guy from another class, and he went: You should listen to Black Sabbath.
    So the next day he brought me We Sold our Soul for R&R because, you know, there wasn’t YT or Spotify back then, and the rest is history. From the very first crushing triplet, I knew this was what I’d been looking for.

  • Alex Benedict

    kreator – terrible certainty. track, not album. circa 2007, middle school. I got really into re-thrash after that

  • I guess for me it was seeing bands like Judas Priest, Rainbow and even Triumph on the very early days of MTV.

  • Necrocustard

    Great thread. Interesting to see how different people reached a level of taste that invokes readership of AMG. Like a few others I can’t recall a specific moment but after a few weeks of listening to some Metallica, Chaos AD and Pantera at a friends house I naively bought a second hand copy of the 2nd sepultura album and a promo copy of VBE’s Written in Waters. After about a week of WTF are these awful vocals Written in Waters still remains one if my favourite our items records. Skewed my taste for good…

  • De2013

    Thank you Grymm, this was excellent. I was around around 2 years older than you when The Final Countdown had the same impact on me. Now, 28-ish years later, I finally decided to buy tickets to a Europe show. Yes, I know. Kinda tricky. Especially when taking into account my more recent buys include bands like Behexen, First Fragment, Vinterblot, Messa et cetera. Looking back, another band that made a huge impact was Survivor, Burning Heart. That was so awesome. Littel ol’ me was hooked to the awesome guitars and massive drums!

  • Noé Loyola

    Since I was little, my parents played music such as The Doors, Pink Floyd and the Beatles. I remember I was completely obsessed by Pink Floyd’s The Wall concert, asking my mom to play it for me after I came out of kindergarten. My music tastes stayed very dependent on my parent’s, until I began high school.

    There I started listening to heavier music such as Rammstein and Slipknot. I also started digging through the CD collection in my home, finding stuff such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Metallica and even Pantera. I really liked the music I was listening too, but it wasn’t fanatical love.

    One day, my dad gifted me the “Best Albums of the Decade” edition of the Rolling Stone magazine. Even though it was non metal, I was blown away by some of the music I found there, and more specifically by the fact that there was a huge, ongoing music world outside of what my parents or friends thought was cool. I started looking for my own music with great excitement.

    This search for music made me stumble into heavier genres of metal. I kept reading how amazing and rewarding extreme metal was, but I had a hard time getting into the rough vocals, chaotic riffs and abrasiveness of the sound. The I stumbled into a YouTube video for Opeth’s “Ghost of Perdition”. I dropped what I was doing and listened to the song with all my attention. This was the moment when metal became an addiction and started to become my favorite genre. I still keep listening to a wide variety of music, but metal is the genre that always reminds me how awesome music is.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    When I was ten in (gulp) 1983 I asked my mohawked older cousin what Motörhead was. The word was tattooed on his arm.
    He said he would show me. Next time I saw him he gave me two tapes.
    One had Number of the Beast on one side and Back in Black on the other. The other tape had ‘Ace of Spades’ and Fresh fruit for rotting vegetables’ by the Dead Kennedys…
    Prior to that my understanding of what music was was a tv show called Countdown, AM radio top 20, a beach boys tape and a Seekers tape… Those two cassettes probably changed my life.

  • Nate Howlett

    It was something progresssive. I was a 90’s child. I remember being 1998 or 1999, don’t really know. I’ve always been a huge comic-book geek even in my childhood. I really loved the comic-book Spawn. And then , one day, while watching MTV, a video comes up with animation and drawings made by Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn. It involved said drawings shooting a certain bullet who would then travell all the way into the real world, and then even dance with the band itself. Of course, i’m speaking about KoRn’s Freak on a Leash video. I really enjoyed the song, and not long afterwards I was in a record store, trying to find the album. I started to really like their music, it was heavy in a way I’ve never heard. Soon enough, Korn led me to Limp Bizkit, which were also popular, Rammstein,Marilyn Manson and all of the family values tour related bands. Eventually, my cousin, who noticed that I was listening to “heavy” music, told me that if I liked that kind of music, then I should listen to a certain record. He gave me his “Cowboys from Hell” album, and I was shocked. It was so different, to all of those bands, and at the same time, it was better. From there, I got to know Metallica, Anthrax, and the big 4, though I still retained preference for the aforementioned bands. One day, way back in 2003, I went to a gig featuring KoRn, Manson, Mudvayne and certain finnish band named Apocalyptica. Never heard of them, but they played with cellos, and I LOVED how they blended metal with classical music, so soon aftwerwards I started researching similar bands and got into Therion, Nightwish, Rhapsody, etc, which nowadays are my favorite bands.

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    Great topic!

    Similar to others, I was into metalcore/nu-metal around high school age (2003-2007ish, previously listening to shit like top 40 LOL). Chimera, Killswitch, Mudvanye and sometimes Unearth were as hardcore as it got for me.

    Then on a fateful day in early-mid 2008, I was taking classes post-HS in a nearby city, listening to Pandora or some such, and the channel I was on brought on Heir Apparent by Opeth, freshly released. Something just clicked and I almost immediately consumed huge amounts of Scandinavian metal, and of course branched out from there. I wouldn’t change a thing. At first I wasn’t too sure on it but it all grew on me quick; the vocals were the hardest part I think, having only just gotten into the harsh vocals from KsE and such.

    I guess I’m just lucky I didn’t overindulge, if there is such a thing. I was definitely ready at that point. American metal just wasn’t doing it for me. Even to this day, I only have a select few albums from very few US based bands (JFAC’s Sun Eater is fantastic, Dismantling Devotion from Daylight Dies, Fallujah, Wilderun, and of course BTBAM etc).

    There is still a limit for my tastes though, stuff like slam and grindcore namely. I’ve tried a couple times and just don’t have the ear endurance for it. Black metal is really kinda touchy too. I can tolerate Dimmu’s songs with Vortex in them for example, because he’s got such sexy soaring parts. Vocal parts, not body parts, mind. Or both. Idc.

  • Benjamin Simard

    Ahhhh……metal heads were sure hard to come by in NH back then. I was also 9 in 86, growing up in Nashua, getting my first exposure to metal via a friend’s older brother….listening to Accept, Ozzy, Maiden, Metallica, WASP etc etc….didn’t take me long find my way to the world of death/thrash metal etc and it’s been all metal from there…..30 years and counting!….and people still don’t understand why I listen to it! Fuck ’em all! Lots o’ love from the granite state!

  • Norfair Legend

    I grew up on 80’s MJ, Culture Club, Duran Duran but quickly moved to Naked Raygun, Life Sentence, Suicidal, Bl’ast, Misfits, Public Enemy, 3rd Bass, De La Soul, hated metal and all it stood for.

    Right before my freshman year I met a friend of a friend and we began to hang out. We would go to the mall, get candy, play video game and browse the tapes regualrly like all teenage boys do. He was into metal and kept pushing it on me to give some a listen, finally I caved and went home one night with Death’s Scream Bloody Gore and Helloween’s Keeper pt. 1 and 2, I think one or two more but those were the standouts that I remember.

    I couldn’t believe how crushing and punk Death was, Death Metal just blew my mind and I was hooked instantly…what surprised me even more was how much I liked Helloween and how much I was almost afraid to admit it. Those vocals, those harmonies and melodies, this was everything I was against but it sounded so damn good.

    Needless to say, it opened a whole new world to me and I have been extremely open ever since. My phone is filled with metal, hip hop, punk, jazz, blues, country, house, I basically just can’t get enough of music in general.

    My mom loved Elvis, my dad classical, my sister 80’s and we always had records on when I was younger even if it was Pac-Man Fever, Star Wars Christmas or the Chipmunks. Music has been and always will be a huge part of my life.

  • It must be in the late 1980’s with my dad’s records of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Uriah Heep Demons and Wizards. I remember being in the living room with my younger brother, also a metal enthusiast and a respectable guitarist as well today, with our dad rocking those albums when our mother was attending evening classes.
    This was the seed of the obsession. Then in the mid 1990’s, I got for Christmas Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill, their craziest shit and I was then hooked for more extreme metal. I remember on Christmas morning listening to this album endlessly in my room when everyone was still sleeping, with headphones on. Then I was going into some Children of Bodom, Cryptopsy, Martyr. Later I got the compilation Firestater by Century Media and the disease of unhealthy Black Metal got me and never stopped.

  • eloli

    My earliest music related memories that have nothing to do with my parents (who listened mostly to classical, folk and bossa nova) are from 1982. That year, my family moved from Chile to Costa Rica, and MTV was available in Zapote, the neighborhood where we rented our first house there. Back then, Costa Rica boasted a large ex pat community from the US, so cable TV was ubiquitous in upscale neighborhoods.
    At this point, I didn’t really prefer one genre or another, my nine year old mind was too busy absorbing the music, which sounded completely alien to what I was accustomed to, and the visuals, which were unique, fresh and far from cliched.
    I’m sure that I watched and enjoyed my share of heavy metal songs at that time, since until Michael Jackson crossed over to the mainstream in MTV somewhere in 1983, hard rock and heavy metal accounted for at least a third of the videos in MTV’s earliest days, I can remember watching Quiet Riot’s video for Cum on Feel the Noiz every other hour and thinking to myself “boy, that band mascot sure looks a lot like Jason”.
    My earliest distinct heavy metal memory is watching the Looks that Kill video by Mötley Crüe in 1984, when I was eleven. I simply fell in love with the hard hitting music, the wild costumes, hair and visuals, the great looking girls in the video and the fact my parents hated it so much… the next day, some school mate told me that music was heavy metal, and I told him “great, that’s the music I wanna listen to for the rest of my life, and this Christmas I’m getting an electric guitar and I’ll start my own heavy metal band”. That week, this same school mate taped me the Shout at the Devil album, and gave me a mix tape that had songs by Ozzy, Judas, maiden, Twisted Sister, Dio, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Van Halen and Quiet Riot.
    I didn’t get the electric guitar that Christmas, but my parents got me Shout at the Devil, 1984 and Stay Hungry on vinyl.
    My first metal gig was in 1985, also in Costa Rica, it was a bunch of local bands playing some festival in my high school gymnasium. I don’t remember the whole lineup, but I remember two band names, “Distorsión” and “La Silla Eléctrica”, I knew one of the guitar players from the former, he was dating one of my friend’s older sister, he actually encouraged me to start my own band and helped me get my own first metal gig a few years later.

  • basenjibrian

    When I was a kid, I was mostly into gothy and proggy stuff, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Black Sabbath debut s/t/ Then I went through a rather feeble religious phase and I think I burned the album.
    A decade later, I was doing a road trip in New England, and the University of Vermont college station was playing CROWN OF SYMPATHY off the My Dying Bride Turn Loose the Swans release…and I was hooked forever. That violin. Those growls. The heaviness.

  • A friend loaned me Master of Puppets, which started it. Then I bought Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. Don’t remember why, just thought “Yeah that looks cool.” And thus I was hooked.

  • Poop King

    Mötley Crüe – Shout at the Devil got me into metal. I was 11, and got the LP from Columbia House. It had a creepy spoken intro, and a song about killing BASTARDS. In an atheist household, all this devil stuff was new and scary.

  • John

    Awesome topic Grymm. Great read. My first magical musical moment (alliteration!) with anything heavy came back when my brother and I were about ten. We were messing around with my mom’s old record player and trying to get it to play. While the needle was working just fine, the motor wasn’t so we had to take turns spinning the records by hand. My brother decided to throw on a record with some old guy carrying a bundle of sticks on the cover, and I placed the needle and started turning it. By some stroke of destiny, it started playing Stairway to Heaven right after the solo, which was just the heaviest, most beautiful thing we had ever heard. Rocked my world. 18 years later we still talk about this.

  • sir_c

    My dad gave me proper education with his records of led zeppelin, hawkwind and ELP. Then I discovered the records section in our library who carried Maiden, Exciter and Savatage.

  • NDG

    Great read and great comments. There was always music in our house, we had KISS and AC/DC but I never really thought of it as being “heavy”. I remember being obsessed with the guitar (keytar?) solo in the song “Electric Dreams” when it came out and for some reason I thought Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys” was kinda heavy…maybe because the video reminded me of Mad Max. The EVH solo in “Beat It” was also appreciated.

    Anyway, it was December 25th 1987 when my cousin said to me “they’re a new band from America” put a cassette into the car stereo and hit play…”they’re called Metallica”. Keep in mind this was pre internet and news traveled slowly…especially if you lived in the country. “Battery” started playing and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’d never heard anything so fast and precise. That was when everything changed. Later that day he played me Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” which I loved but it didn’t have the same impact as “Puppets”.

    Reign In Blood had just been released, Among The Living was soon purchased and it all fell into place. A friend of my older sister heard that I liked metal and gave me a tape with Venom’s “Singles 80-86” on one side and Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore” on the other.

    I was 11 then and I am now 40. Like someone on the junk I still search out new music looking for that same feeling I got back in ’87 hearing Metallica for the first time. I feel a little sorry for my son (7 yrs old) who is growing up with this music as “the norm” but having said that it is great to see his reaction when something grabs his attention.

  • Khal Drogon

    I grew up in Sri Lanka, a tiny Island south of India (but not a part of India. Let’s get that right straight off the bat!). Even listening to Rock music in the 90s was kind of looked down upon as being weird. But we did have one radio station that played a lot of alternate music and one show late at night that played harder rock. Grew up listening to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit and P.O.D / Disturbed, Nirvana and the like. But I knew a mate from school who I still consider to be one of the best guitarists I’ve seen (He died recently. He was my age at 33. It was all a bit tragic), and he gave me an Iron Maiden CD – Number of the Beast. That’s really how I got into the real Metal side of things. After that I got into Metallica and all the classic bands from the 80’s (Megadeath/Maiden etc). “Garage INC” opened my eyes to the bands who inspired Metallica too. I still love that album. I think because of my guitarist friend and the bands that he was in I really got to appreciate the actual music behind all the sound too. Which I think really sold it all for me. But I think I had a second wind when that dude’s Brother, living in Dubai or something at the time, sent my mate a bunch of CD’s with MP3s on them. On it were Arch Enemy, Opeth, CoB, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, At the Gates and I think Carcass too. I had never heard anything like that stuff before. I remember driving around in a mini van with all these guys and blasting all this melo death across Colombo (our Capital). Needless to say I have been a melo-death fan since. Metal’s given me a great appreciation for the “music” it self and really broadened my listening taste.

    It’s kind of hard to explain to others who might not have been in a similar culture. Rock/Metal anything not pop was seen as weird. Not even that, it didn’t even compute for people in our country. But all this happened at a time where this entire section of teens just sort of got into Rock. It led to an actual industry of Hard Rock/ Metal being born in Sri Lanka. And I am just lucky to have been a part of it.

    Now, I’ve gotten married and moved to Australia and have a 2 year old kid but because of this site I am still listening to all these bands which just blow my mind that no one I know (not even some of my metal head friends) is listening to. One thing my guitarist mate told me (when I was trying to learn to play guitar with him was) “Never get into a comfort zone with listening or playing” and that’s always sort of stayed with me because I am always looking for new bands and new sounds that challenge me.

    Long may it continue I say.

    • Khal Drogon

      On a side note, The Final Countdown is the tits. It’s ingrained in my brain because they used it in this Promo Documentary series they did before the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

      Not too sure how many on here know anything about Cricket but that’s as Kvlt as it gets me thinks.

  • Jeff Kent

    I heard Motley Crue’s “Looks That Kill” on the local radio’s top 5 countdown and couldn’t hit the record button fast enough. The second it was over I popped the cassette out and rode the two miles to my best friend’s house as fast as I could. I breathlessly gasped, ‘you have to hear this’ and the rest as they say. He died only a couple years later, but his older sister who was there when I played it went on to interview Mr. Sixx several times.

  • Dead1

    1991 – Guns N Roses! Still a massive Gunners fan to this day.

  • Jukka Alanen

    Aces High man.. Aces High. Nothing was the same after that album opener. And of course it helps that the rest of the album also delivered.

  • Fuzzybunny

    Geez, I musta been about 14, my dad had me into Led Zep and Deep Purp.
    Then my uncle said hey, you might like this and gave me a bootleg tape of Sabbath bloody Sabbath.