There were plenty of New York hardcore bands in the ’80s that played matinees at CBGB’s on Sundays and gave the city its reputation. For the most part, the hardcore bands and the metal bands steered clear of each other, but Biohazard was one of the first hardcore bands to embrace metal. And while they didn’t really blow up until Roadrunner signed them and release Urban Discipline several years later, their debut album set the stage.
By the time Cannibal Corpse arrived with their full length debut in August of 1990, they were almost fully formed. Quality death metal, brutal album covers drawn by Deadworld artist Vincent Locke and consistent output have made them one of the most popular death metal bands out there and a consistent seller on Metal Blade, the label they’ve been on since their debut. With the exception of a lead singer change (George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher replaced Chris Barnes in 1995, the band’s pretty much maintained their status as death metal standard-bearers 13 albums in.
This is one of the most influential death metal albums ever. The buzz saw guitar tone on Left Hand Path influenced countless other bands, and from its first note to it’s last, there’s not a bum note on it. While the Swedish band’s sound eventually evolved to death ‘n roll, and the band hasn’t released an album since 2007, the album’s influence on Swedish death metal in undeniable.
If you haven’t watched Noisey’s documentary, NOLA: Life , Death and Heavy Blues from the Bayou, you should get on that now. And while you’ve heard of Crowbar, Goatwhore, Eyehategod and many more, Exhorder might have slipped between the cracks. Led by Kyle Thomas, the band released two albums before disbanding, but their groove metal/thrash sound helped set the stage for bands like Machine Head, Lamb of God and even Pantera to expand on. They’ve reformed and played some shows, but it doesn’t appear like there’s any new music coming out just yet.
Iced Earth, Iced Earth
It’s hard to believe that Iced Earth has been around for a quarter century. The brainchild of guitarist Jon Schaffer, the melodic metal band has been through a revolving door of lineup changes with the exception of it’s founder. In fact, three quarters of Charred Walls of the Damned (Richard Christy, Tim “Ripper” Owens and Steve DiGiorgio) once logged time in the band. Along the way, they’ve released a trilogy of a concept albums (The Something Wicked saga), and a cover album. (Note, while this was released in Europe in 1990, it didn’t come out stateside until February of 1991).