7 Heavy Albums From 1988 That Turn 30 This Year

7 Heavy Albums From 1988 That Turn 30 This Year


I remember being in High School in 1988 and all the kids being given a bicentennial coin. It was also the year that I went to Bathurst for the first time with my dad for the (then) James Hardie 1000 in a converted bus with all his mates. We camped on top of the hill and it was the best time ever. Yep, 1988 was awesome for me as a kid.

That was THIRTY FREAKING YEARS AGO! I was just finding hard rock and metal, due to Metallica releasing And Justice For All and getting caught in the hype by mates older brothers who were already into it, so I wanted to look back on just a few heavy albums from ’88 that impacted me and turn the big THREE-OH this year. (we’ve covered And Justice For All in another article you can check out, here).

Bon Jovi – New Jersey

This is from a time when ‘the Jove’ were still doing the spandex and hard rocking stuff, of course, my sister Donna was the gateway to Bon Jovi because like so many other young girls, she loved Jon. He was a ‘spunk’ according to her. This was a fantastic follow up to Slippery When Wet. New Jersey contained the kick arse monster track, "Bad Medicine", the uber ballad "I’ll Be There For You" the up-tempo rocker "Born To Be My Baby" and the sensational opener, "Lay Your Hands On Me". It climbed to #1 in the States and stayed there for 4 weeks, and debuted at #1 in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Bon Jovi were hot hot hot.

David Lee Roth – Skyscraper

I was always a David Lee Roth fan from the Van Halen days, so naturally I followed his career post VH. However, I skipped Crazy From The Heat and jumped straight into Eat 'em And Smile, and then Skyscraper. Sometimes I think that Eat 'em is the better album, but then I listen to Skyscraper again and realise that I love it just as much. The common thread? Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai. Along with DLR and Greg Bisonnette, those two albums are absolute dynamite for me. "Knucklebones" is a great opener, which slides into one of his biggest hit, "Just Like Paradise", then BANG into goes into the pseudo psychedelic-thrash blues "That’s The Bottom Line". This was a hodge-podge of an album and influences for a young kid. "Hot Dog And A Shake" has a kick arse solo and will remain one of my all time favourite tracks from the DLR camp. VAI RULES!

Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of A Seventh Son

This was the first Iron Maiden album to feature keyboards. Now, that might have thrown a few people at first, especially during the intro to the opening track "Moonchild". However, any fears that keys would alter the sound of ‘Maiden were quickly stubbed out. This concept album was an absolute cracker, and one that would serve me well on my early morning paper round, blasting through cheap on ear headphones that mostly bled sound rather than stuff it into your ear canals. It was the band’s first number 1 UK album since Number of The Beast, and guitarist Adrian Smith declared, ”Can I Play With Madness” as “our first proper single”. This is a fantastic story told by one of the world’s biggest heavy metal bands of all time.

Poison – Open Up And Say… Aah!

This. Was. Huge. In my high school EVERYONE had this, and EVERYONE loved it. Guys, girls, metal heads and pop lovers. Poison could write a bloody catchy tune. Of course, this album featured the mega acoustic ballad "Every Rose Has It’s Thorn", which is undeniably a song of legendary status. Blokes learning guitar could pick up a guitar at a party and EVERYONE would sing along and even try to emulate the solo with their voices, massive. But for those who dug a little deeper, they album had great stuff on there, "Nothing But A Good Time" really took people into the LA scene, their cover of "Ya Mama Don’t Dance" is a crowd favourite, "Tearing Down The Walls" reeks of 80’s spandex glam rock, and "Fallen Angel" was about as cheesy as that era could get. It was perfect. A time capsule.

AC/DC – Blow Up Your Video

OK, for those who reside in Melbourne, you may know of a place called Caribbean Gardens. For those that don’t, it’s a market that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays, and as kids, our parents loved walking around there on a Sunday morning looking at all kinds of stuff that markets have to offer. Sometimes we’d get new shoes there, or jeans, mum would often come home with knick knacks and gardening stuff. Well in 1988, I came home with Blow Up Your Video on CASSETTE. I played it to death. "Heatseeker" was a brilliant album starter, which then launched into "That’s The Way I Wanna Rock and Roll", a brilliant riff complemented with the tss t-t-tss of the high hat. Even thinking about it as I type this, it gives me goosebumps. That song RULES! I cannot love this album enough.

Suicidal Tendencies – How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today

I got into Suicidals because of skating. I loved skateboarding and would seek out and watch as many skate videos on VHS as I could. Mostly by swapping them with friends, and that’s when I first heard bands like Butthole Surfers, Suicidals, Dinosaur Jr, and bands of that ilk. The song that got me into them and made me buy this on cassette? "Trip To The Brain". A flat-out thrasher that would pump us up when skating as it blasted from the boom box. It’s funny now, I haven’t listened to it in such a long time, but as soon as I started playing it (now digitally via my computer) it all comes rushing back and I have to check my old skating photos. This is another album that I flogged to death.

Slayer – South Of Heaven

I’ve written about Slayer before in articles, in which I stated that I was late to the party on them.

It was High School where I first introduced to them through mates older brothers, and I was quickly taught just how important a band they were to the thrash movement. So when South Of Heaven came out, I bought it because I wanted in. What I got was a slowed down Slayer. I remember thinking, ‘hang on, these guys used to be a million miles an hour, all the time, what’s happened?’. What happened was a brilliant and well thought out move. South Of Heaven, nestled beautifully between Reign In Blood and Seasons In The Abyss stuck out like the proverbial poo in a punch bowl. Doomed down Slayer was dark, bloody scary monster for a 14-year-old kid. They honestly scared the shit out of me because I could actually understand and keep up with Tom Araya vocals.

For me, this is a pretty accurate representation of me dipping my toes into the heavy metal world that would soon turn into me seeking out the heaviest and most brutal music I could find. What are your ‘must listen to’ heavy album from 1988 that turn 30 this year? Drop 'em in the comments on Facebook and keep it loud!

- Higgo



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