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The Castle of Dr. FettersteinMetal Meltdown
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, September 19, 2013    Share

I remember the Summer of ’83 vividly because Cum On Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot was blasting from my boombox. It wasn’t enough to listen to that song on the radio because I had to have the album. 1983 was a different time when albums still mattered to people. It wasn’t just the music, the cover art was very important and influential is getting you to spend money. So I saved up my allowance and rode my bike to the Zayres inside the shopping plaza at the corner of Gandy and Manhattan in South Tampa.

Then I headed to the music section. There I saw many different albums covers and while I was looking for Quiet Riot, I spotted what looked like a woman without breasts spewing up chucks of grape jelly. This evil woman had long vampire teeth and looked like she had stepped out of a Hammer horror movie. I was confused by a hairy chested woman missing breasts the rest of the day. At the time I was shocked and ran away from that album cover and continued to look for Quiet Riot. Looking back the woman was Ozzy and what I thought was grape jelly was supposed to be blood. It really didn’t look like blood at all.

Anyway, I found an album called Metal Health that had a cover of a random lunatic in a strait jacket wearing a metal mask with crazy eyes that seemed to look through you.

1983 was a time when metal was still dangerous and something you parents tried to steer you away from. I remember waiting for everyone to leave the house so I could listen to my metal records. Also, records sounded so good compared to the crappy thin sound of today’s MP3s.

I paid my money and took Metal Health back home with me. It was a good listening experience. Metal Health was a good song and I preferred it over Cum On Feel the Noize because 95 YNF was overplaying that song and I was already getting tired of it. It contained the feel good song Slick Black Cadillac, the high energy guitar solo called Battle Axe, and the tender ballad that was dedicated to the memory of Randy Rhoads called Thunderbird. I was hooked on metal from that day on.

The following year, Van Halen’s 1984 came out and Jump was a big single with a simple video that was all over MTV that summer. However with Quiet Riot and Van Halen I thought I was listening to radio friendly pop rock so I wanted something heavier.

It was during the Summer of ’84, when I was idling my time away at Musicland that I found an album cover with an Egyptian theme. I was always a fan of mummy movies so I bought the record based on the album art. The band turned out to be Iron Maiden and the album was Powerslave. 1984 was a great year for Maiden. Despite getting no radio airplay, Maiden embarked on the World Slavery Tour and played lots of shows in the US. I was still too young and forbidden to go see them.

I remember when I first heard Powerslave, this was the kind of music I was looking for. Maiden caused me to instantly disregard both Quiet Riot and Van Halen as kiddie pop. I had to have more so I went out to Camelot Music and picked up The Number of the Beast that came out just two years earlier. The twin guitar work on that album was groundbreaking at the time. I loved the song Hallowed Be Thy Name that begins with clean guitar tones and then erupts into heavy riffs drenched in metal distortion. I was in junior high and the only class I cared anything about was my art class. I would draw Eddie’s picture from The Number of the Beast cover all the time. It came in hand to doodle Eddie in boring math classes.

However, as much as The Number of the Beast is praised by metal fans, it didn’t change my life the way Piece of Mind did. When I put Piece of Mind on my turntable and dropped the needle I can’t remember anything else after. I just remember the last song playing called To Tame A Land. I was young and filled with energy and to sit there in my room so quiet and listening to Piece of Mind all the way through was revolutionary. I was always active back then, riding my bike, running, practicing martial arts and then Piece of Mind became my whole world.

All my other Maiden albums were just small tastes of what was to come on Piece of Mind.

It was because of that album that I returned to the mall to pick up the rest of the Maiden catalogue and I brought back Iron Maiden, their debut, Killers, and a mini live album called Maiden Japan.
At the time Motley Crue, AC/DC, Scorpions, and Ozzy were what most people in junior high were listening to and that is when I decided to make Iron Maiden my favorite band. I would visit the magazine rack at grocery stores and book stores just to pick up the latest Hit Parader and Circus magazines. Both magazines catered to heavy metal fandom. There were articles about overzealous religious people burning and smashing records. Also, the magazine contained articles on band rivalries on tour and all the chaos of life on the road.
This was a time when metal musicians were something to fear, guys wearing leather with dangerous looking metal studs, with long hair, having bad attitudes, and having the wildest album covers back when covers still mattered.

As a young kid growing up around all this it was ok to listen to the music but your parents didn’t want you dressing up like that or getting involved in what was perceived as a bad lifestyle.
The other metal album that caused me to grow as a listener and to seek out heavier faster bands was Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I had it on cassette and one day when I was a junior at Robinson High School, I listened to it on my Sony Walkman and it made such an impression on me. Just to be clear, Iron Maiden is still my favorite band and I will always like them over Metallica, however Master of Puppets had this special magic to it that causes people, even in 2013, to still listen to it.

I remember riding around in a jeep with a high school friend. I asked if I could put in a cassette and my friend agreed. The acoustic guitars of Battery started and then the full blown thrash blasted through his speakers. He didn’t know what to do. I remember he quickly slammed on the brakes. He immediately ejected the cassette and handed it back to me. He couldn’t handle the raw brutal force of Metallica. He said, “It starts out like something your grandparents would listen to then it sounds like a plane crashing.”
That was the impact of Master of Puppets back in 1988.

I would hang out with the guitar players at Robinson and they were all trying to figure out the riffs on Puppets. I had a friend who lived close by and we would go to his house to jam. He introduced me to Venom and speed metal bands like SOD. He told me that he started out as a Van Halen fan but the first second he heard Metallica he was hooked and Van Halen was forgotten.

The last band that got to me back in ’88 was Megadeth. I actually prefer Megadeth over Metallica. I would come home from school and watch metal videos on channel 32 and that is when I first saw the video for Wake Up Dead. That was such a powerful video to me at that time. I had to go out and pick up a copy of Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? Peace Sells is such a great song and comes right out of my favorite era of music, the Bay Area Thrash scene.

Now looking at Metallica and Megadeth in 2013, Metallica abandoned their thrash roots, cut their hair, yelled at people over Napster and became a parody of what they started out as. I refused to listen to any Metallica following the Black album. Metallica’s guitar player, Kirk Hammett, said in an interview that most people like their first five albums. That is true and I sometime wonder why they bother recording new music. I won’t be listening to it or buying or downloading it.

However, Megadeth has kept their thrash roots and with the addition of lead guitar wizard, Chris Broderick, on Endgame, and his blazing guitar work on the intro track, Dialectic Chaos, that renewed my interest in thrash. In fact after listening to Endgame I got out all my old thrash CDs and listen to them again with renewed vigor.
Endgame and Thirteen are two excellent thrash metal albums that are sure to please metal fans.

Finally, in 2013, Iron Maiden remains my favorite band and since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith have both returned from Brave New World on, has attracted a younger fan base. I was surprised to see so many female fans embracing Maiden. Back in my time in the 80’s Maiden fans were almost always male. It is great to see Maiden always putting out great albums and going on tour in the US again. I wish them a long career and look forward to whatever they put out.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with horror. Simple. Just listen to the lyrics from the albums I mentioned and gaze at the covers with a few Iron Maiden blacklight posters with Eddie hanging on your walls, turn on your purple light, dim the lights, and let your imagination take over.

"The Castle of Dr. Fetterstein" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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