Den of Antiquities – Blue Cheer

Many bands have been cited as the first founders of heavy metal - Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple… you’ll even hear chirps of Grand Funk Railroad or Blue Oyster Cult - but if you asked me? I’d tell you that the first sparks of metal could be found at a back-to-school fundraiser in Sacramento, California, a good five years before any of those bands would put riff to record. Mid-September, 1965 a group of British-invasion struck teens come together to celebrate the new school year and with them, the first glimpse of what would become an entirely new subculture. Featured at this benefit were two bands, the Hide-a-Ways (later known as the Oxford Circle) and Group B, whose members would go on to form a powerful, groundbreaking, and quite literally deafening blues rock power-trio. For your consideration, the first heavy metal band - Blue Cheer.

Riffs from the Crypt – Lord

Stumbling in funereal darkness, I’ve chanced upon the tomb of a long-forgotten Lord! Their only album, The Second Coming, was released in 1988. That’s a bit late for a Riffs from the Crypt post -- generally, I try to reserve them for bands who had the talent to become pioneers in their respective genres (like Rat Attack), but were unable to break into the mainstream. But what’s special about Lord isn’t that they were groundbreaking in any way -- rather, the reason this album deserves more attention is because it’s a culmination of everything that was good about metal in the 80’s. Nearly every song on the album seems to represent a different era of metal, from its hard rock roots to thrash metal, prog, and everything in between.