1980s Back in the Day Books Fifth Angel Forced Entry Lists Rail Sanctuary seattle Shadow TKO Upper Echelon

Seven Bands That Ruled Seattle’s Formidable 80s Heavy Metal Scene

Seven Bands That Ruled Seattle's Formidable 80s Heavy Metal Scene

Earlier than we get began on this headbanging nod to the heavy metallic scene in Seattle within the 1980s, I feel it is essential to reveal I’ve solely lived in Seattle since 1999–so I personally missed out on what was with out query a really fascinating time within the metropolis. Fortunately, it has been comparatively properly documented and as a metallic lifer myself, it has been enjoyable studying concerning the city’s wealthy heavy metallic historical past, in addition to experiencing a lot of it alongside the best way. Like many different spots within the U.S., the metallic scene in 80s Seattle was robusst. Metallic Church and Queensrÿche have been recognized on a nationwide degree, and their reputation helped different bands get the eye of massive labels akin to Epic and EMI, who signed a number of native teams in 1988 comparable to thrash metallic warriors Sanctuary, and Fifth Angel. Many native bands have been touring with massive bands comparable to Megadeth, Dio, Def Leppard, and Testomony and would help others like King Diamond throughout native stops. Heavy Metallic bands in Seattle have been having their second within the 80s, and their jams, for probably the most half, have stood the check of time.

One other thrilling facet of the early metallic scene in Seattle is how quite a few gamers of 80s metallic would later discover themselves an important a part of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mad Season and different musical landscape-changing bands hailing from the town. As with different posts on this spirit, it is unimaginable to function all of them–so in case your favourite old-school Seattle metallic band wasn’t coated, it isn’t as a result of I “forgot.” Lastly, this submit isn’t meant to deduce metallic in Seattle went away once we welcomed in 1990–there have been a shit-ton of nice metallic bands in Seattle prepared, prepared and capable of kick your face in with their sounds. However for immediately, let’s hang around for some time within the 1980s Emerald Metropolis, when individuals most popular spandex to flannel and hairspray to hair.


Fifth Angel’s beginnings are a template for the opposite bands on this submit as members Ted Pilot, Ed Archer, Ken Mary, James Byrd, and Kenny Kay shaped the group whereas nonetheless in highschool in 1984. In 1986 Fifth Angel engaged the providers of producer Terry Date, who had solely simply launched into his lengthy, massively influential profession two years earlier working with Metallic Church on their 1984 debut. Earlier on this submit, I famous Epic Data had a eager curiosity in signing metallic bands from Seattle, together with Fifth Angel. In 1988, Fifth Angel inked a staggering $21 million, seven-record cope with the label. Two data later Fifth Angel have been regulars on MTV, because of their polished video for the monitor “Time Will Inform” and have been being touted by main publications and others like Howard Stern as “the subsequent massive factor.”

In 2018 Fifth Angel signed on with Nuclear Blast Data, releasing their third album, The Third Secret, 29 years after Time Will Inform. The document has been properly acquired, and the vocals of Kendall Bechtel (changing unique vocalist Ted Pilot, who departed the group in 1989) sound robust and Dio-esque. Take a look at the title monitor from the album right here.

The video for “Time Will Inform” by Fifth Angel.

“Midnight Love” by Fifth Angel. Howard Stern used “Midnight Love” because the theme music for his tv present “The Howard Stern Present.”


Pressured Entry.

Thought-about by many to be the forefathers of Seattle thrash (and pioneers of the style as nicely), Pressured Entry was face-smashingly far forward of their time. Shaped by childhood associates Brad Hull, Colin Mattson, and Tony Benjamin, the trio bonded over their love of Iron Maiden and sick basslines by holding jam periods whereas nonetheless in highschool. After placing out three data on their very own between 1987 and 1988 (Thrashing Helpless Down, All Fucked Up, and Hate Fills Your Eyes), the band would signal on with New York label Fight, who had beforehand signed one other native metallic band, TKO. They then headed off to London Bridge Studios to work with producer Rakesh Parashar (RIP). London Bridge has lengthy been considered a magical place, and by the point Pressured Entry entered the artistic epicenter, Mom Love Bone had already recorded their EP Shine, and Soundgarden had laid down their leviathan album, Louder Than Love. Parashar recalled the day they began work on their album Unsure Future, Hull, Mattson, and Benjamin arrived on their skateboards, as a result of they have been nonetheless youngsters and that is how youngsters obtained round. Throughout their time with Fight, the band had problem with getting correct distribution, particularly in European markets. They moved over to Relativity Data for his or her second album, As Above So Under, and a single from the document, “Macrocosm, Microcosm” was a daily on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. As soon as once more, inept distribution on the a part of Relativity labored towards the band. In line with Hull, Relativity was so low cost they even refused to help the group on a joint tour with Cannibal Corpse and Carcass. Pressured Entry would, nevertheless, head out on the street with Obituary and Sacred Reich in 1989 as help for the Slowly We Rot Tour.

This is one among Pressured Entry’s movies you may need seen on Headbangers Ball again within the day, “Macrocosm, Microcosm.”


Higher Echelon appeared early on the metallic scene in Kirkland, Washington (only a tick east of Seattle) in 1981. Guitarist Morris Gattegno earned musical chops in highschool enjoying saxophone within the jazz band, and their deep love for the stylings of Scorpions, Iron Maiden, and King Crimson yielded a sound harking back to bands related to the NWOBHM, like Tank. The intrepid band self-released a tight-as-fuck four-song EP Floor Rigidity in 1984, and kills as arduous as early 80s Judas Priest. In reality, vocalist Charles Carpp did a reasonably good job of capturing each Rob Halford’s and Bruce Dickinson’s vocal prowess, with out ripping both metallic god off. By means of their label Hierarchy Data, Higher Echelon moved 2000 copies Floor Rigidity, solely to name it quits a number of brief years later when bassist Kevin Crosby left to attend famend Berklee School of Music in Boston. The EP is now 34-years-old, and is nearly as good as something put out by any NWOBHM band through the decade. Assume that assertion is sketchy as fuck? Give it twenty minutes (or 19:56 minutes to be exact) and Higher Echelon will change your thoughts.

Higher Echelon’s sole recording, ‘Floor Pressure.’


Seattle metallic band Shadow was shaped by suggestions king Mike McCready of Pearl Jam fame earlier than he completed the eighth grade at Eckstein Center Faculty in northeast Seattle. In a radio interview in 1985, bassist Rick Friel blamed KISS for uplifting the band to start out enjoying rock and roll. In accordance with Rick, he and his brother Chris (Shadow’s drummer), McCready and vocalist Rob “Berko” Webber would stealthily sneak into exhibits by revered Seattle metallic band TKO as a result of they weren’t sufficiently old to get into the bars but. If this feels like a proper of passage for any aspiring musician, you would be proper on the cash, and the publicity helped Shadow craft their picture. Additional refinement of what they gleaned from TKO would happen on the legendary Lake Hills Curler Rink, and that is the place we get a glimpse into Seattle’s metallic scene from the attitude of somebody who was part of it. This is extra from Rick on rocking out on the Lake Hills Curler Rink again within the 80s:

“The Lake Hills Curler Rink is the place many people first discovered to play in entrance of an viewers. It was a fantastic setup as a result of they might have two levels, one at every finish of the curler rink, with the sound man within the middle. One band would play, and once they would end the subsequent band would begin. The youngsters would run forwards and backwards as every band began, with the sound man pivoting from one to the opposite. That is the place members of Queensrÿche, Alice in Chains, Supersuckers and myself actually discovered the best way to play for an viewers. It was nice as a result of the viewers was the identical age as we have been. It felt actually communal, and it was a good time to be making music.”

One other compelling story from the Shadow camp considerations the late Chris Cornell and the way he virtually turned Shadow’s vocalist. Rick recollects the day when Cornell rolled as much as his home to select up Shadow’s demo tape so he might study their songs for an upcoming audition. Then, in accordance with Friel, their unique vocalist Berko determined to rejoin the band, and that was that. Later, when McCready was simply getting began with supergroup Temple of the Canine, he referred to as Rick to inform him Cornell had approached him saying it had “bummed him out” he by no means obtained to audition for Shadow. Right here, Friel completely sums up this missed alternative by saying he believes “issues turned out for one of the best” for Cornell and Soundgarden. After heading out to Los Angeles (like so many metallic bands did in the course of the 80s), Shadow referred to as it quits in 1988.

Audio broadcast on Seattle radio station KISW in 1985 that includes the Shadow monitor “Do not Rely The Tears” with a brief interview with Rick Friel.


Rail’s (or “Rail & Firm” and “Rail & Co.”) humble beginnings went down in convention room B of Highland Junior Excessive Faculty in Bellevue, Washington in 1970. Rail’s future drummer Kelly Nobles posted an advert within the faculty paper asking for anybody who “wished to start out a band” to point out up at convention room B, and Terry James Younger and his good friend Andy Baldwin did simply that. When it was time to maneuver past highschool, the band was already gigging and determined hold reserving exhibits over the summer time, briefly pushing aside plans for school. Nonetheless unsigned in 1978, native short-lived Seattle radio station KYYX included Rail’s first single (as Rail & Firm) “You’ve got Obtained A Lot To Stay” on the compilation album Seattle Grown. Later that yr rock station KZOK would crown Rail because the “Greatest Native Band” for the primary of many occasions. They might tour with monster bands like Blue Öyster Cult and Seattle hometown heroes Coronary heart. However by far, one of many coolest heavy metallic moments in Rail’s historical past needed to be once they have been invited to open a bunch of exhibits for Van Halen through the World Invasion Tour. In response to the band’s historical past web page, Van Halen was so impressed by Rail that at some point throughout sound verify they broke into a canopy of Rail’s single “Bandit” whereas they watched from the aspect of the stage. A month into the tour with VH, Rail received to see David Lee Roth get arrested after tossing a lit joint into the gang at a present on the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio. MTV dug the band, and after beating out 40,000 different movies, their track “Hiya” can be chosen the victors of The MTV Basement Tapes contest in 1983, in addition to a document contract with EMI.

The video that gained Rail MTV’s “Basement Tapes” contest in 1983, “Whats up.”

Rail’s tremendous enjoyable cowl of Girlschool’s 1983 jam, “1234 Rock ‘n’ Roll.”


The story of how Sanctuary efficiently stalked Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine in 1986 on the Moore Theater in Seattle, opening for King Diamond, is value retelling. In line with the band’s website, Enter the Sanctuary, in the course of the present they have been one way or the other in a position to determine the situation of Dave’s lodge and post-show social gathering with a bit of assist from a few feminine Megadeth followers. Because the celebration rolled on, Rutledge discovered himself tossing again Courvoisier with Mustaine one-on-one, and when his balls have been lastly filled with booze, he slipped Dave their demo (on cassette, naturally). The opportunistic transfer labored out properly for Sanctuary as Mustaine dug the demo and the band would quickly signal on with Epic Data recording their first full-length album, Refuge Denied, in 1988. The attention-catching cowl of Refuge Denied options the paintings of considered one of thrash metallic’s most celebrated artists, Ed Repka. Repka additionally did the paintings for Sanctuary’s 2017 report, Inception.

“Die for My Sins.”


Of all the bands on this publish, TKO is among the most revered in Seattle, and their affect continues to be acknowledged and acclaimed to today. This can be a bonafide reality and when you do not consider it, then maybe you’d choose to listen to it from Seattle metallic historian and writer, James Seashore as a result of that is how he referred to as it too:

TKO was an enormous affect on many native musicians: Mike McCready (Pearl Jam, Shadow), Tommy McMillan (Struggle Infants, Slaughterhaus 5), Glen Logan (Overlord, Bible Stud, Palooka), Kendall Bechtel (Fifth Angel) and the listing goes on and on. Just about each main label band out of Seattle at the very least has members that may say they have been influenced by these guys.

TKO vocalist Brad Sinsel began his days in rock within the very early 70s in Yakima (about two hours outdoors of Seattle). After jamming with native band Mojo Hand, Sinsel and his buddies commandeered the group solely to lose guitarist Rick Pierce to glam rock improv sensations, Ze Whiz Kidz in 1973. This gave Sinsel the thought to start out his personal glam band, Ze Fabulous Pickle Sisters (famous within the ebook, Grunge is Lifeless: The Oral Historical past of Seattle Rock Music), and Ze Whiz Kidz took discover. Each bands joined forces and landed the opening spot for a gig with the New York Dolls at The Moore Theater. In 2014 your writer obtained to see Sinsel in motion once more with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam ripping by means of “Kill the Ache” (a basic TKO monitor from 1979) at The Showbox right here in Seattle, and the gang went nuts when Sinsel appeared on stage. Individuals within the know marvel aloud why the fuck there is not a statue of Brad Sinsel standing proudly someplace in Seattle, or his residence of Yakima, and I’ve to agree I am puzzled at our lack of a Sinsel statue as properly. Let’s make this occur, Seattle headbangers!

“Give into the Night time.”

“I Wanna Battle” 1984.


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