The New Wave of British Heavy Metal is one of the most importants movements in metal history.It brought metal back in shape,and redefined the sound of the genre,taking the elements from the pioneers and infusing it with punk rock agression.So the bands were skilled musicians with complex songs but they also had a raw power that wasn´t that present in 70´s metal,these bands ended up paving the way to all metal that followed,being a strong and a main influence to genres like Thrash Metal.
Despite some controversy,Judas Priest and Motorhead aren´t nwobhm bands (if ,they were they would definitely be here in my list),they predated the movement and were an influence to the bands.The only bands that really made it big were Iron Maiden and Def Leppard,while others gained a cult fanbase like Saxon and Venom,besides those most nwobhm are relatively unknown to the mainstream and even to many metalheads.Despite this,the bands on my list are the most well known,but there were many other great obscure albums from the old british guard.
So without hesitating anymore,here are some of my favourite albums from the movement,metal for muthas!!:
Note: Please,excuse my awful grammar,im not in a good shape lately.
10.-Tygers of Pan Tang
This is the first Tygers album to include John Skyes on guitars and the other dude on vocals,and you can listen to the improvement over the first record.John showed his skills at an early age in this record,and the singer is much better than the first,wich was good for what it was (kind of a punk-metal mix) but here they showed their potential,and sadly was the only great album that they had.The album varies from high speed tunes like Gangland and Hellbound to melodic and ballads like Don´t stop By.A great record.
- Wheels Of Steel
Saxon were one of the earliest champions of the nwobhm.They delivered a rock and roll infused heavy metal with catchy riffs and tuneful vocals,their music wasn´t outstanding technically but still they played with enough energy and could write good songs.They had an attitude kind of similar to Motorhead,with all the lyrics about bikes,gang fights and whatnot.
- Angel Witch
Another band that was considered promising but couldn´t make throught their first album.Angel Witch is kind of similar to Iron Maiden first album,with lyrics about occultism fantasy,and well,witches (both good and evil,it seems),the songs are mostly cheesy but in a good way,specially the title track,wich is one of the best cheese fest in metal.The guitarwork is pretty catchy too.
- High 'n' Dry
This is more of a hard rock album than metal,but i think it deserves it spot because,it´s a notable improvement over their first album (wich was good,and more loyal to the nwobhm sound) and because is in my opinion a very underrated album and should be treated as a classic.If you have only heard the "Pour some sugar on me" Def Leppard,i recommend you this one,as this is more straightforward hard rock,showing influences from AC/DC,UFOand Led Zeppelin,with great riffs and vocals,catchy grooves like Let it Go and a great ballad in bringing on the heartbreak.This is an important record in the nwobhm catalogue because it was one of the first to gain some mainstream exposure,as it was comercially accesible while still being strong enough for heavy rock fans.
- Strong Arm Of The Law
Saxon third album is a little bit more diverse than Weels of Steel,it starts with one of their best songs (heavy metal thunder) and has some of Saxon´s best,like the title track,or the high speed 20000 Feet.
- Black Metal
While Venom are often credited as being precursors to black metal,this album is a seminal influence to all extreme metal that followed.From thrash,speed and early death/black metal,everything can be heard here.Sure,they were not very good musicians,but nobody played like this then,and they could write some kickass songs and riffs like Don´t burn the Witch.
- Rock Until You Drop
Raven is one of the most underrated bands of the nwobhm in my opinion,because they had a fair share of good albums,but my favourite is the first.These guys were pioneers of speed metal,the album is really fun to listen,with bouncy riffs,crazy vocals and energetic drums,this power trio was one of the best acts and were a notable influence to many thrash metal bands.
I didn´t include any other Maiden record besides their first two with Paul,because i don´t think that they could be considered nwobhm anymore when Bruce joined,and because it wouldn´t be fair.Killers had a better production than their first,althought i think that the debut was more significant,this is one of Maiden´s best overall.Some songs are really heavy and fast for the time,like Purgatory and the title track,one of my favourite of all time with Paul menacing vocals.
- Lightning to the Nations
One of the best debuts in metal history,and one of the best "riff" albums you can listen.Sadly is the only great thing that this band did,everything after that is hardly pwned by this one.There is no need to remind the influence and impact that this band had in bands like Metallica and Megadeth,but in case that you don´t know,they were like their biggest influence back then.You can hear why,as this albums is full of awesome riffs,epic songs,tempo changes,and everything you can ask for a metal album.
- Iron Maiden
Two of the best debuts in metal history in a row.Iron Maiden debut represents the nwobhm era for me,as it showed heavy metal with a renovated sound,fusing their influences of heavy metal pioneers like Black Sabbath,Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin with the complexity of progressive rock and the agression of punk.I love this album so much,because is like a mix of some of my favourite music genres,be it heavy metal,hard rock and punk,you can hear traces of everything here,from Led Zeppelin,Thin Lizzy,to Judas Priest,UFO,Wishbone Ash and Pink Floyd (like in the atmospheric Strange World) .Paul di Anno is also one of my favourite singers ever,with his streetwise vocals and howls,it kind of reminds me to Bon Scott with an extra injection of metal and punk .This album is really varied,each song is different,it starts with the awesome Prowler,with that commanding riff and that fast part,then it has a simple yet catchy punk number like Running Free and incredibly progressive and complex (specially for it time) piece like Phantom of the Opera,showing the talent of Steve Harris,all in one album.This stuff must have been really impresive back just starting the 80´s,and it stands the test of time.