Friday Mixtape: Metal That Fell Through the Cracks

Metal has been around for more than 40 years (or at the very least, since Black Sabbath's original lineup got together the first time), and by now it's hauling around its own canon of what are generally assumed to be classic, world-shaking albums--some of which are every bit as great as people claim, others of which (as with any other genre) aren't.

But this mixtape isn't about those. Nope--these are bands you probably never even heard about, or (if you did) forgot about, or maybe you heard their names and wondered about them but most likely never got around to checking them out, or (in the case of the more familiar names) maybe they started out way more metal than you ever figured. Or at least more "heavy rock"--once upon a time, the two genres were synonyms. That would've been back in the '70s, which takes up a healthy chunk of this playlist. Thought there's plenty from the '80s, too--especially the first third or so of that decade, when thrash and hair metal hadn't quite fully gelled yet, and lots of bands were somehow unknowingly predating both at the same time, all while the New Wave of British (though also often Non-British) Metal was somewhere between a rumor, a mystery and a myth.

To keep things current, this playlist does eventually wind its way into the '90s and '00s, but that stuff's kept to a minimum, since it really hasn't been around long enough to get lost in the dustbin of history quite yet. Whatever. These 50 songs rock your socks off at the school of hard knocks, as Black N Blue used to say. A few are even about eating the richor about anarchy, the police, war heroes and stuff. (Occupying Metal, if you will!) Two are shrieked in sexy romance languages; another (by Krokus) concerns a long stick going boom. Plus, five artists--Vandenberg, Heavy Metal Kids, Wild Dogs, Axe and Pat Travers--chronicle what's happening out on the street, or at least claim to in their song titles. And what is happening out there? A knock-down, drag-out rock 'n' roll party, of course! So what are you waiting for?

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