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’10 Albums That Terrified Me When I Was Growing Up’ by Shai Hulud’s Matt Fox

Matthew Fox

Matt Fox might not be a household name, but his influence on modern metal is irrefutable. Shai Hulud, the group he formed in 1995, was one of the first acts to successfully merge metal and hardcore, inspiring not only bands to form, but entire scenes. Over 15 years into their career, Shai Hulud continue to tour and release albums. In this exclusive feature, Fox compiled a list of 10 albums that terrified him during his younger years.

‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975)
KISS

At the age of five I sat petrified staring at the cover of ‘Dressed to Kill.’ Evidently, the members of KISS were self-admitted murderers, and they even got dressed up just to commit the act of. Gene Simmons became the source of many of my nightmares, and one of my favorite choices of entities to become when playing “make believe.” Right up there with Superman.

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‘Shout at the Devil’ (1983)
Mötley Crüe

Coupling the haunting, spoken word introduction with the angriest music I had found to date, Mötley Crüe both terrified me and became my new favorite band. Twisted Sister had been dethroned. My fear waned quickly, and my general interest in the band plummeted when the follow-up was released in which dark satanic stars and fire were replaced with laced scarves, blatant glamour, and a cover song about smoking.

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‘The Last Command’ (1985)
W.A.S.P.

I remember looking at the image of the decapitated heads of W.A.S.P.‘s band members on the inside of this record. I had never seen such gore depicted in album art before. It looks as if they’re saying, “We’re f—ing dead! Dying is f—ing cool!” If I had to isolate what most frightened me about this album, it would be that image. Certainly not the song ‘Blind in Texas.’

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‘Master of Puppets’ (1986)
Metallica

While over-concerned parents were shielding their heavenly babies from the infernal likes of Van Halen, I was being indoctrinated by Metallica, hiding my ‘Master of Puppets’ cassette under my pillow (seriously) because I knew it was what the zealots were really looking for, had they any idea it existed. This masterpiece introduced me to true metal, scared the shit out of me, and changed my life forever, for the better.

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‘Reign in Blood’ (1986)
Slayer

I remember moshing around my room to ‘Angel of Death’ with a friend one night in 1986. Right as Dave Lombardo’s flam struck, just before one of the most recognizable riffs in metal, I kicked a laundry basket into my lamp knocking out the light, leaving the room pitch black save the red LED glow of an alarm clock: 12:00AM. We never moshed to Slayer after sundown again.

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‘Earth A.D.’ (1983)
Misfits

This album is remorseless, maniacal homicide put to tape. When I first heard it I was certain it was purely an excuse for the band to run riot and commit grisly murders. Why else would they not tune their guitars? ‘Earth A.D.’ sits firmly in my top 5 all-time favorite hardcore albums, and I contend it is the most ferocious and violent album ever recorded. It’s a bloody f—ing masterpiece.

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‘To Mega Therion’ (1985)
Celtic Frost

Hell exists. Celtic Frost proved it. They walked through its gates, watched Old Scratch use Christ as a slingshot while daemons cut a rug to ‘Innocence and Wrath,’ then returned to Earth to record ‘To Mega Therion.’ From the HR Giger artwork to its music, this album is a chthonic descent ‘into the pandemonium,’ which is why I never listened to it at night – or alone.

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‘Mad Butcher’ (1987)
Destruction

Certainly, ‘Mad Butcher’ wasn’t the first song I’d heard about a stalker/murderer type, (hell, I’ve even written a couple myself) though it may be the first time I actually read and fully comprehended such colorfully descriptive lyrics; additionally, that the antagonist’s target was specifically a woman left me afraid and mournful. The expressed focus was disquieting, and more “real” than what I had already been acclimated to.

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‘Mortal Way of Live’ (1988)
Sodom

A crash course in abject carnality, this artwork [too graphic for AOL to post here] still gives me the creepiest, most uneasy feelings; it faultlessly depicts hedonism at its utmost, complete with wholesale insobriety, and some guy schtupping a goat. Despite the prominence of the man licking a cat’s anus, ironically, I find the inclusion of the mentally challenged woman the most disturbing point of this painting. It’s truly a piece worthy of inclusion to The Sistine Chapel.

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‘Them’ (1988)
King Diamond

While my steely friends remained unaffected by this album’s prologue and epilogues, I was terror-stricken, making sure we bypassed every haunting skit under the guise of “just get to the music, man!” King Diamond‘s unearthly vocals were scary enough without my having to endure Grandma’s creepy a–. Within the crux of the album I was fine, but I was always ready with the next cassette upon the ending of ‘Twilight Symphony.’

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