Thursday, September 28, 2023

7 More Metal Albums for Geeks and Nerds.

August 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Last time, we went into five metal albums for our fellow nerds, Blerds, geeks, and gamers. That list was leaned more towards fantasy fans so here are seven more metal albums for nerds—with more sci-fi themes.

A Refresher on Speed Metal and Power Metal

Speed metal is basically traditional 70s and 80s heavy metal with a faster tempo. It’s something of an older sibling or even parent genre to thrash metal. The main difference is that it doesn’t feature harsher vocals as prominently. Also, the punk roots in speed metal aren’t as defined is in thrash.

Judas Priest’s song “Exciter” or Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” (a song everyone has heard several times in their lives) are great examples. Also, a couple of very early thrash albums such as Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All and Slayer’s Show No Mercy feature moments of both speed metal and thrash metal.

Power metal is a child of speed metal. A couple of the bands from our first list started out as speed metal bands before morphing into power metal bands a few albums in. The best way I can explain power metal is that it’s usually faster than speed metal and at times more melodic. It also features a similar focus on solos.

Now let’s get into these seven albums!

Scanner – Hypertrace (1988)

This album is Scanner’s debut and dropped as German speed metal was drifting towards power metal in the late 1980s. It’s a sci-fi concept album told from the perspective of a space-faring adventurer or criminal—a Han Solo, Lando Calrissian-type—and a disembodied narrator.

The music is fast-paced and dramatic. You have songs that lay out the lore of the story and tunes that are recollections of adventures. The mix works because that’s kind of what you expect in a fantasy or sci-fi novel.

Standout Tracks: Locked Out (highly recommended), Grapes of Fear, Retaliation Positive

Liege Lord – Master Control (1988)

Here we have a band that wrote about fantasy in their first two albums Freedom’s Rise and Burn to My Touch. In their third album, Master Control, the lyrics take a sci-fi direction. There’s a little more aggression in the vocals which is a signature of 80s U.S power metal.

While the band is still performing live, this was the last album of trio of strong offerings. Master Control is a well-balanced album where it rides along but doesn’t come off as too lengthy, too short, too fast, or too slow.

Standout Tracks: Fear Itself, Master Control (recommended), Broken Wasteland

Children of Technology – It’s Time to Face the Doomsday (2010)

We’re going to stay in the realm of speed but check out something outside of power metal. Children of Technology’s debut album mixes thrash metal with punk and takes you on raids through the wasteland!

It’s definitely more aggressive sounding than most of the albums on this list. In addition to the aggressive approach, it’s faster than some of the albums here as well. Getting into It’s Time to Face the Doomsday might take a few listens and that’s not just because of the sound.

This album is just fast and clocks in at almost 25 minutes. I’d say check out a couple of songs, who knows they might just find their way into your Fallout playlist.

Standout Tracks: New Enemies to Hunt, No Fuel…No Hope!!, Escape from the Danger Zone

Jag Panzer – Ample Destruction (1984)

I’m dropping a little of sword and sorcery in these five metal albums for nerds list. Jag Panzer’s debut album leaned heavily towards the Conan, Kull, Kane, and Imaro end of fantasy. The kind of fantasy where there is world-building but the flow of the story isn’t bogged down with it. It’s very action/adventure-oriented fantasy and that’s what Ample Destruction delivers.

As far as the sound goes, we’re looking at something similar to Liege Lord—mentioned above. It’s slightly more aggressive power metal and has a mix of fast tunes and strong mid-tempo tracks.

Standout Tracks: Symphony of Terror, Generally Hostile (recommended), The Watching

Gamma Ray – Somewhere Out in Space (1997)

How could I discuss sci-fi-themed power metal and speed metal without getting to Gamma Ray?! This band was an offshoot of Helloween, one of 80s big three of German power metal (with Blind Guardian and Running Wild). When lead singer and guitaris Kai Hansen left the band he founded in 1989, we got Gamma Ray.

The early Gamma Ray sound is a continuation of late-80s Helloween. Where Gamma Ray differs is in the sci-fi and horror compared to fantasy focus of Hansen’s previous band. When Hansen took up singing duties for the band, Gamma Ray truly found its sound.

Standout Tracks: Beyond the Black Hole (recommended), Somewhere Out in Space (recommended), Shine On

The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Traveler (2003)

Traveler has two big things going for it. The first is that this is straight up heavy metal. It’s as if an American version of Iron Maiden or Metalucifer did a sci-fi concept album. On the subject of Iron Maiden, that gallop-y style can be heard here and I’m all for it. Not only that but the direction brings that epic storytelling of some heavy metal and a lot of power metal to a sci-fi story.

Standout Tracks: High Passage/Low Passage (recommended), Baltech’s Lament, The Final Gambit

Carnivore – Carnivore (1985)

The second and final album of defunct New York thrash legends Carnivore’s self-titled album—which had its moments of anti-PC—is a romp through post-apocalyptic wastelands. This is primal, nuclear barbarian thrash metal. It’s what raiders in Mad Max and Fallout would blast.

Standout Tracks: Carnivore, Legend of Doom, World Wars III and IV (high recommended)

So, we’ve got a mix of science fiction and fantasy. Next time expect another seven metal albums for geeks and nerds!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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