The 15 best German metal bands of the 80s

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# 15 Rage

Rage was actually formed in Germany in 1984 under the name Avenger, but changed its name to Rage in 1985 after another group also used the name. The group has produced numerous albums over the years releasing the following albums: Reign of Fear (1986), Execution Guaranteed (1987), Perfect Man (1988), Secrets in a Weird World (1989), Reflections of a Shadow ( 1990), Trapped! (1992), The Missing Link (1993), 10 Years in Rage (1994), Black in Mind (1995), Lingua Mortis (1996), End of All Days (1996), XIII (1998), Ghosts (1999), Welcome to the Other Side (2001), Unity (2002), Soundchaser (2003), Speak of the Dead (2006), Carved in Stone (2008), Strings to a Web (2010), 21 (2012), LMO (2013) ), The Devil Strikes Again (2016), Seasons of the Black (2017), Wings of Rage (2020) and Resurrection Day (2021). Peter “Peavy” Wagner – lead and bass vocals is the only original member remaining.

German Steeler# 14 Steeler (Germany)

The German band Steeler took the name of the song from Judas Priest. They are probably best known for having guitar guru Axel Rudi Pell in the band, who would then go on to embark on a solo career. Steeler released the following albums in the 1980s: Steeler (1984), Rulin ‘the Earth (1985), Strike Back (1986) and Undercover Animal (1988). After Steeler split, singer Peter Burtz became the editor-in-chief of Metal Hammer Germany from 1989 to 1991.

# 13 Axel Rudi Pell

The German guitar virtuoso began his career with the band Steeler, not to be confused with the American version with Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen. Like Malmsteen, Pell was considered one of the new guitar masters in the 1980s. Pell released only one solo album in the 1980s, Wild Obsession (1989), but his reputation with Steeler was enough to push his name onto many lists of favorite metal guitarists. The group still performs today with a constantly evolving formation with Axel Rudi Pell as the main constant

# 12 Gravedigger

This German metal band released the following albums in the 1980s: Heavy Metal Breakdown (1984), Witch Hunter (1985), War Games (1986) and Stronger Than Ever (as Digger). They were critically acclaimed for the Heavy Metal Breakdown album. They toured with Helloween with the release of their second album, which exposed them to more new fans. Grave Digger’s style is considered classic heavy metal. The original band members went their separate ways and the lineups changed, but the band eventually re-formed, with only vocalist Chris Boltendahl remaining a constant. Their last album Fields Of Blood was released in 2020.

Run wild# 11 Run wild

German metal band Running Wild started out with lyrics that revolved around satanic imagery, but in 1987 they helped kick off the “Pirate Metal” sound with the release of “Under Jolly Roger”. The group focused on historical themes, particularly around sailing after 1987, and became the Iron Maiden of the pirates. They released the following albums in the 1980s: Gates to Purgatory (1984), Branded and Exiled (1985) Under Jolly Roger (1987), Port Royal (1988) and Death or Glory (1989).

Sinner# ten Sinner

Led by Mat Sinner, this German metal band is often compared to another great metal band, The Pretty Maids. The group debuted in 1982 and released the following albums in the 1980s: Wild ‘n’ Evil (1982), Fast Decision (1983), Danger Zone (1984), Touch of Sin (1985), Comin ‘Out Fighting ( 1986), and Dangerous Charm (1987). Mat Sinner then joined the group Primal Fear as bassist and backing vocalist and Sinner is still releasing new tracks, their last album was released in 2019. Originally the band was a much heavier traditional style metal band, but has moved on to a more melodic metal sound style over the years.

# 9 Fire

German band Bonfire started out as Cacumen, before becoming Bonfire for the 1986 album “Don’t Touch the Light” which was followed by Fireworks (1987) and Point Blank (1989). The band enjoyed modest success with their first two albums but never really made it to the United States. They are most often associated with the glam metal scene. The band still exists and has varied over the years, with guitarist Hans Ziller being the only consistent member.

victory# 8 Victory

German metal band Victory released the following albums in the 1980s: (1985) Victory, (1986) Don’t Get Mad… Get Even, (1987) Hungry Hearts and, (1989) Culture Killed the Native. The band was recommended by Michael Schenker for a deal and they had former singer Gary Moore and Ted Nugent on vocals. Victory enjoyed decent success in the 80s around the world and ranked alongside Scorpions, Accept and Helloween as one of the most popular German metal bands. Victory is releasing a brand new album in 2021.

# 7 Doro

Doro Pesch released her first solo album Force Majeure in 1989, but by this point she was already well known in the metal scene as the frontman of the band Warlock. Force Majeure helped establish Doro as a solo artist that she continues to this day. Over the years, Doro has won the title of Queen of Metal by her loyal fans. Doro has often stated that she never married or had children so that she could focus only on creating quality rock music. She has received numerous accolades from critics and fans for being one of the few metal singers who do not flaunt her sexuality and succeed purely on merit and talent.

you do# 6 YOU DO

After Udo Dirkschneider parted ways with his longtime members of Accept, he branched out with his own solo group. While UDO released 17 albums throughout its existence, only two of those albums were released during the decade of the 1980s. Animal House (1987) and Mean Machine (1989) were both excellent albums and Fans of Udo’s work in Accept got a taste of the same power of metal, but with a slightly heavier, more angry tone. UDO has toured extensively with bands like Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and Guns N ‘Roses around the releases of the first two albums.

Hello# 5 Hello

Helloween released Walls of Jericho (1985), Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I (1987) and Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II (1988) in the 1980s. It’s the Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I which really introduced the band to a wider American audience. The video for the single “I Want Out” was shown widely on MTV and helped boost sales for the album. But this German group was far from over. Although known primarily as an 80s metal band, their biggest album production would actually be in the 90s and 2000s. The band recently released a new album in 2021.

warlock# 4 warlock

Warlock was formed in 1982 and the band’s entire album catalog was released in the 1980s. The band’s Burning the Witches (1984), Hellbound (1985), True as Steel (1986) and Triumph and Agony albums (1987) are considered classics. Warlock with singer Doro Pesch hit the metal scene in Germany and continued to increase its audience with each new album they released. The band will find their most successful album with Triumph & Agony released in 1987. At the end of 1988 Doro was the only original member remaining and she continued to create the same style of music with her solo group simply called Doro. Doro Pesch received the nickname “The Queen of Metal” and had a direct influence on many singers who carried the torch in the future.

Michael Schenker Group# 3 Michael Schenker Group

Although the band members are not German, former Scorpions and UFO guitarist Michael Schenker started MSG in 1979. The band released the following albums in the 1980s: The Michael Schenker Group (1980), MSG (1981 ), Assault Attack (1982), and Built to Destroy (1983). The band received excellent reviews and the debut album reached 8th place on the UK rock charts. Original MSG frontman Gary Barden sang on the first two albums and again on Built To Destroy with Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz) doing vocals on Assault Attack. The albums were a great way for Schenker to showcase his talents as a guitarist and helped him become one of the great guitarists of the 1980s.

# 2 I accept

This metal band was much neglected in the United States during their series of big albums in the 80’s. The single “Balls To The Wall” brought them to a larger metal audience around the world, but from their eponymous album in 1979, they have established themselves as a force with which we must recognize ourselves. The classic range released I’m A Rebel (1980), Breaker (1981), Restless And Wild (1982), Balls To The Wall (1983), Metal Heart (1985), Russian Roulette (1986) and finally Eat The Heat in 1989 with American singer David Reece and a more mainstream sound. However, Udo Dirkschneider would return for several albums before leaving for good. The group currently includes former TT Quick frontman Mark Tornillo, who has been with the group since 2010.

Scorpions# 1 Scorpions

The Scorpions released four albums in the 1980s, Animal Magnetism (1980), Blackout (1982), Love at First Sting (1984) and Savage Amusement (1988). While they all received excellent critical reviews, the band picked up speed with the album “Blackout” in 1982, which was carried by the single “No One Like You”. It is “Love At First Sting” which will finally bring to the group the immense international fame which they seek. The single “Rock You Like A Hurricane” placed the band at No. 6 on the Billboard charts and achieved 3 times the platinum record in sales. The band are reportedly working on material for a 19th studio album.


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