A guide to celebrating National Metal Day 11/11/11

It’s November 11, 2011 and that means METAL.

Chosen in honor of  Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufner’s modified Marshall amplifier (11/11/11, the volume knobs go to 11 because it’s louder than 10) today is a day set aside to honor all things METAL. 

The day kicked off at 11:11 a.m. with the announcement of the reunion of the original lineup of Black Sabbath, who will record a new album and mount a worldwide tour in 2012.

The festivities continue, with VH1 honoring the day by exclusively programming all heavy metal content all day, including the premiere of “METAL Evolution, Episode One” a series chronicling the history of heavy METAL.

So how do you, the loyal American Rock Scene fan honor today? That’s easy you become a METALhead for the day. Normally we discourage tourist excursions into the METAL realms, the natives can sometimes be less than welcoming to outsiders or posers. But today is a day for everyone to enjoy the genre. So get yourself a metal concert T-shirt, strap on some leather (leave the fringe at home Bon Jovi is not METAL) and take a walk on the METAL side!

Have to work? Of course you do, you’re a blue collar moshing machine who funds his love for all things METAL by working for the man. Well fuck the man, it’s METAL day. Call in sick to work. No scratch that, call in METAL to work. By the way anytime you say the word METAL today you must scream it and throw devil horns.

Next, take a second to mentally thank all the armed forces veterans who made it possible for you to rock. Without them, you’d be listening to Wagner all the time. (Wagner the classical composer, not Winger, the metal poser. You can thank grunge music for saving you from Winger) Sturm and Drang may be the template for METAL, but it ain’t shit without some distorted guitars. Make coffee, take it black like your METAL. VENOM!!

Now is the time to make your first listening choice of the day. This is crucial, but not really a hard choice.

When it comes to METAL it all springs from one source. Black Sabbath. Throw on any of the first three Black Sabbath albums, either “Black Sabbath,” “Paranoid” or “Masters of Reality”. Hell play all three. It’s METAL day!

After Sabbath, it’s a good time for that first beer of the day. And some more music of course. We recommend honoring the forefathers of the genre with a selection from the following. We know they might not be METAL bands, but without their contributions, there would be no METAL.

1. “Highway Star” Deep Purple;
2. “InaGaddaDaVida” Iron Butterfly;
3. “Dazed and Confused” Led Zeppelin;
4. “Summertime Blues” Blue Cheer; or
5. “Sunshine of Your Love” Cream.

Is it whiskey time yet? Noooo, pace yourself it’s going to be a long day. Grab another beer. It’s time to acknowledge the second wave of the bands that would inspire METAL. Although several of these bands are not METAL, merely hard rock, each would add vital ingredients to the stew that would become heavy METAL.

1. “Jailbreak” Thin Lizzy;
2. “Green Manalishi” Judas Priest;
3. “Lights Out” UFO;
4. “Working Man” Rush;
5. “I’m Eighteen” Alice Cooper;
6. “Deuce” KISS;
7. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” Blue Oyster Cult; and
8. “Stranglehold” Ted Nugent.


Lemmy Kilmeister

Okay, you can bust out the whiskey now. Why? One word. LEMMY. It’s time to recognize the New Wave of British Heavy METAL. These bands were the first to fully realized all that it is METAL, combining all the elements and influences of the prior bands. Listen to theses songs.

1. “Running Free” Iron Maiden;
2. “Stone Dead Forever” Motorhead;
3. “Motorcycle Man ” Saxon;
4. “Faster Than the Speed of Light” Raven;
5. “Hit and Run” Def Leppard
6. “It’s Electric” Diamond Head;
7. “The Zoo” Scorpions;
8. “Grinder” Judas Priest;
9. “Running with the Devil” Van Halen; and
10. “Breaker” Accept.

How you feeling? It’s time for the heydey of heavy METAL. Firmly established at this point, in the early 1980s the genre exploded with several U.S. bands throwing themselves into the mix, and even some old bands like Black Sabbath finding new life with lead singer Dio. This era is also notable for the advent of Ozzy’s solo career, with Randy Rhoads revolutionizing the art of metal guitar.

1. “Diary of a Madman” Ozzy Osbourne;
2. “Heaven and Hell” Black Sabbath with Dio;
3. “Live Wire” Motley Crue;
4. “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” Judas Priest; and
5. “Metal Health” Quiet Riot.

By now your head should be aching from banging. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. That’s okay, because now it’s time to mosh and recognize the formation of thrash METAL. After this…it all kind of goes to shit, with every poser in Los Angeles with a guitar and some hairspray thinking that they are heavy METAL. We like to call it the dark ages.


Poison. Not METAL!!

1. “Motorbreath” Metallica;
2. “Madhouse” Anthrax;
3. “Angel of Death” Slayer;
4. “Peace Sells” Megadeth; and
5. “Can U Deliver” Armored Saint.

We’d like to think you’ve got an idea of where to go from here. We’ve left a lot out, there are still many, many flavors of METAL for you to explore, with death, black, grindcore, progressive, industrial and other subgenres all beginning their ascendancy in the mid to late 1980s. With this list, however, you’ve got some of the basics, a short primer of the history of METAL! So go forth and mosh and bang that head. Share your love for METAL with the world and turn it up to 11. And don’t forget, the best way to experience this stuff is live, so get out to a show tonight and support your local metal scene.

The ARS.


It all begins here. “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

About Skager

Shawn Skager is a hack. After more than a decade kicking around local community newspapers in Washington State, someone made the mistake of putting a camera in his hands and giving him a photo pass to a concert. Surprisingly, the photos turned out okay and connections were made in his brain and suddenly he fancied himself a music photographer and journalist.