When rock made its way out of the Flower Power of the ‘60s, things were starting to get nasty. Hippy idealism seemed to be fading, and the world was starting to see the real horrors that were happening in the Vietnam War. There was definitely some peace and love that could have gone around, but rock also began to go down a much darker path.
In the wake of the Woodstock generation growing up, another version of rock and roll came together with more vicious guitar tones, ominous vocals, and songs that were meant to scare you once you turned on the radio. Though it might not have had a name at the time, the first seeds of metal were planted in those days, and the next few decades would see it progressing even further.
Throughout the ‘80s until now, there have been records of every generation that have signaled where the genre was going to go next, whether that was the offshoots into the underground or turning the genre into a household name. The new age of rock and roll had arrived but it was about to go through some serious changes in the transition. Rock was definitely going to survive beyond the ‘60s, but the more interesting side of the genre was also about to get some teeth.
10. Appetite for Destruction - Guns N Roses
For most of their career, Guns N Roses always found themselves on the fringes of the heavy metal community. Though they may have had dangerous riffs in their arsenal, their influences were always on the hard rock side of the spectrum, having much more in common with bands like the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. They made rock their trade, but Appetite for Destruction feels like metal on rock's terms.
Going through this entire record, it almost reads like a diary of what it's like living as a gutter rat on the streets of Los Angeles, as Slash tears through different licks without batting an eye. As much as a song like Sweet Child O Mine might be the antithesis of what you would think of as metal, the rougher patches of the record like Rocket Queen and Welcome to the Jungle take a much different course, as if you're being pulled down into the underworld of Hollywood, where you can either find your wildest dreams coming true or coming back to your home whimpering from the pain.
And for all of the Eric Clapton-rock chops, the punk attitude that's put into the backing tracks is what really gives these songs their teeth, like the breakneck speed of the final few minutes of Paradise City, which is enough to give some of the fastest virtuosos a run for their money on their best day. Rock and roll may have been going through its 4th revival at this point, but hearing a record like this made it feel like metal still had a say in where rock would be going.