The 10 Worst Metal Bands of the '80s

AnthraxGroovehouse.JPG
Photo by Groovehouse
If you look closely, you can pinpoint the exact moment Scott Ian realized people know him as "that guy on VH1 with the beard."
Look, the '80s are back in style in every way, and that's totally cool with me. I love it, actually, because it means pop music is more bearable than it's been in a long time. For someone who grew up on 106.9 The Point, this is a wonderful gift that I cherish.

But I'm noticing a disturbing trend in metal. It's not quite that some top acts are aping the decade's worst aspects, but they're definitely starting to verge into some of the less-flattering trends. For instance, much love to Dallas crossover thrash band Power Trip, but the reverb addiction has got to stop.

So to give some helpful hints on what to avoid in the future, here are ten metal bands from that decade who absolutely sucked, and you should avoid sounding like at all costs.


Tesla-1009.jpg
10. Tesla
Christ, these guys were awful, and they have so much to teach about what not to do. First, it doesn't matter if the riffs and solos are hard to play. If they're strung together with as little logic as this, the song will sound like shit. Second, intellectual subject matter doesn't make your lyrics any less cheesy or horrible.


9. Def Leppard
What you should take away from Def Leppard is, if you didn't glean this from Metallica, don't fucking sell out. Yeah, they made a lot more cash betraying their New Wave of British Heavy Metal roots, but you respect Iron Maiden a hell of a lot more than you do Def Leppard, don't you?


8. Twisted Sister
Gimmicks like Dee Snider's can only hide how bad your music is for so long. At some point, people will notice, and your next stop is a fate worse than death: VH1.


List continues on the next page.

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64 comments
troyboy2000
troyboy2000

If you don't know the difference between thrash metal (Anthrax), and hair metal (Poison, et al), please just stop,

iicor33
iicor33

You know nothing of their work.

Tesla's lyrics were never intellectual. You farted this idea out without any reasoning or example. Their riffs and solos were tasteful and easy to play. Frank and Tommy were never shredders, and even they admitted to it in interviews. That was your most wtf entry, as though you'd never even heard the band.

All of Anthrax's full-length albums with Joey  were groundbreaking, and not known for any type of rap style. They were east coast thrash metal, and their sound was brutal. I'm the Man was a sensation, but that's not what their foundation was built on. Nor was it MTv.

Def Leppard, whom I am not a fan of, did not sell out, but pursued the musical direction they had more interest in. Joe was a fan of glam and pop. They just happened to find a producer that contributed to their layering of influence (and vocals, sure) within a tighter core of songwriting.

WASP lyrically grew up in later albums, but their early lyrics were no more juvenile than most metal bands of the day. Metal was never known for lyrical contributions. It's known for its musical assault, and WASP did fine with that.

I can agree with Poison. It's the only time you make sense here, but even then your writing is lacking in reasoning to support your argument. For me Poison had a weak sound and a weak guitarist, but as I always say, they were a pop band, not metal, and barely rock. That sentence alone carried three times the poignancy that your little diatribe carried.

I could go on. But these were the ones that stood out best to me. This list is a joke.

finengood
finengood

Motley Crue would beat out Winger for number one, if they were a band.   But a band is comprised of musicians, not posers.  So Motley Crue is number one on the poser list.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Tesla opened for the Scorpions on thier Farewell Tour and they (Tesla) sucked I couldn't even hear them in the rafters.

Must have been a bad night or something?

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

You put down Anthrax as one of the WORST Metal Bands, I don't believe it because they were innovative for thier times. Who makes these stupid lists?

Tish Squish
Tish Squish

I can't take this list seriously since it includes Anthrax.

Jibbies
Jibbies

You got the Top 3 right, other than that, it's more misses than hits. Just to start with highest ranking miss, you clearly never saw Warrant live.

Kent McCreight
Kent McCreight

Anthrax?? On a worst-of list?? Jesus....you have zero cred re: anything metal.

Hugh Bishop
Hugh Bishop

Europe is nowhere to be found, yet Anthrax makes the list? Obviously, the writer never saw a Metal concert in the 80's.

Hugh Bishop
Hugh Bishop

Anthrax shouldn't be on the list. A true Metalhead would know better. A writer looking for attention wouldn't.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Anthrax and Tesla (though not metal) are both great bands. Opinions and assholes though I guess.

Joey
Joey

Anthrax? Seriously? One of the "Big 4"? Among the Living? You are a  musical moron. 

Bob McBrinn
Bob McBrinn

There was a good metal band in the 80's?

Sid Jacobson
Sid Jacobson

I concur. Anthrax should not be on the list. And twisted sister was a great bar band before the gimmicks went MTV. You missed Zebra and Dokken.

Marshall Allen
Marshall Allen

i think youre confusing glam with metal,those were glam bands of the 80s

Jake Rawls
Jake Rawls

Anthrax has some great stuff and definitely doesn't belong on the list (the rest is fine). Who cares if rap metal is mostly lame, they were way ahead of their time and experimenting with something no other artists were. They are pioneers in a genre that sometimes hates experimentation, so they deserve some credit for that. "Among The Living" was one of the best 80's metal albums; they are in the "Big 4" for a reason.

Dodd Melcher
Dodd Melcher

So Poison, Warrant, Stryper and Winger were metal?

erichenao
erichenao

Wow. No mention of Ratt. I'm surprised.

James Fremont
James Fremont

Slaughter is not on this list, and Anthrax is. This is rubbish.

Stevart
Stevart

You left out Cinderella...and thousands of other pretentious humorless hack musicians with nice hair.  NOW THEY ARE ALL BALD w/prostates the size of watermellons!

theburningdown
theburningdown

How many of these groups were really metal though? At best hard rock except for Anthrax and maybe early Def Leppard as an NWOBHM band. Sure everybody might have a different definition of what metal is. Here's what I figure; a band like Motley Crue straddles the hard rock/heavy metal line pretty well. Dr. Feelgood, despite the radio production and balladry on it, is to me overall an album just barely tipping over on the metal side. If your band is harder/heavier than that, congrats its metal. I'll go one further and say that if your songs can be reinterpreted as Heartland Rock approaching contemporary country, there's a good chance that you aren't really metal in the first place (cough Poison). Most of these groups listed are modded/hot rodded Led Zep wannabes in some way. This should be an article on how some pussyassed hard rock ballad bands like Bon Jovi infiltrated in disguise and steered the media's concept of metal into the ground. 

Russ McClung
Russ McClung

You forgot to mention the "pot rock" of Metallica

Javier Gomez
Javier Gomez

Yep, Overkill & Forbidden are not on the list, this is good news.

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

Most of the list isn't metal. Just rock n roll bands.

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

Tesla and poison are worlds apart themselves and galaxies apart from this list. Bet ya cheered when jethro Tull won best metal...

jamesv12345
jamesv12345

You Corey are a moron. Do you understand the impact that Anthrax had on the metal scene.

They were part of the Big 4. You probably have no idea what im even talking about. Among the Living was better than any Metallica album after Injustice for all.

And Stryper, musically those guys were incredible.They just put out a covers album that is a must buy for all metal fans.

How can you comment about a Music that im guessin happened while you were 4 or 5.

I lived the 80's and you were right winger sucked, but that being said your an idiot.

Stephanie Elena Suarez
Stephanie Elena Suarez

you considering Poison as a "metal band" just ruined all creditability of this article.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Any of those bands are better than whats popular today.

Jeff Poppe
Jeff Poppe

Tesla and Anthrax do not belong on this list... most of these bands aint metal.

kweenjen7
kweenjen7

Tesla and Anthrax do not belong on this list at all....for shame!!!!

Jason Ison
Jason Ison

So Village Voice Media and Viacom have beef eh?

Personman
Personman

Dee: What do you want to do with your life?

Author: I want to write lists that whine about things that happened 30 years ago that look silly in retrospect!!

Dee:  Sorry.  I couldn't hear you.  I was too busy ACTUALLY ROCKING.


Dead right about Winger, though.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

One additional point for your consideration, AC/DC. After Bon Scott, they just sucked out loud.

Mark Young
Mark Young

Hey, don't hate on Anthrax - just because they caused Limp Bizkit... They're still shredding! \m/

Benjamin Mooney
Benjamin Mooney

waaaa!!! i jam all these bands. this is hate on the glam

ClassicRockBob
ClassicRockBob

Ah Corey, Anhtrax does NOT belong on this list for their one or two forays into rap fusion. "Spreading the Disease" "Among the Living" and "State of Eurphoria" are thrash classics!

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Tesla opened for the Scorpions on thier Farewell Tour and they (Tesla) sucked I couldn't even hear them in the rafters.

Anse
Anse

@kweenjen7 And "Bring the Noise" isn't even that bad...there are far worse rap/metal songs

shitfuk
shitfuk

@kweenjen7 @ClassicRockBob Spreading destroyed the joint when it came out and has sood up well over the years. Maybe consider taking shots at pop music instead. brianholson is closer. Enuff was a great rock band and penned some great songs but are not metal.

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