Guest Column: Five Albums That Will Change You By Bryan Nicholas Of Sparrows

Guest Column

In our continuing series of guest columns, we’ve asked a bunch of metal’s heaviest hitters to provide us with a list of five crucial albums they think will change you — either for the better or the worse. Today, we hear from Bryan Nicholas of Sparrows.

Ratt — Out of the Cellar
I remember my mom had the cassette tape of this album, and she would play it in the car all the time. It came out in 1984 and I was born in 1985, so I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 when I heard this for the first time. The thing that made my little ears perk up was the aggressive guitar sound. I really think this record started me on the path to metal.

Slayer — Reign in Blood
I got into Slayer when I was about 14 around the year 2000. Some kids in class were talking about how they hated Slayer because they were anti-Christian and they tore the Slayer article out of their magazine because it was evil. So I had to check it out. Reign in Blood hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew it was “old school” but I felt that it had a lot more balls than most of the stuff I had heard. It still does. I guess I really love the lyrical matter. The riffs are killer, too. Hell, it’s hard for me to find something I don’t like about Slayer.

Metallica — Master of Puppets
I’m definitely not alone in loving this record. The songwriting and production blew me away. I got this record around the same time as Reign in Blood (around 2000) so you can imagine that my naive teenage brain almost exploded. I’ve always loved Lars Ulrich’s little Lars-isms, as I call them. These little fills he does that no one else would think of. He approaches drumming in a very unique, and polarizing way. This record was a huge step for him, I think. Being a drummer, I can see a huge leap from Ride the Lightning to this.

Behemoth — Evangelion
This one came out when I was about 23 and I’m ashamed to say, I had never heard of Behemoth until then. This record became one of my favorites of all time almost overnight. I had been into metal all my life, but this turned it all upside down. My idea of what was great about metal was completely re-written with this record. The ideaology behind Evangelion opened up something in me I had never really explored before. My hatred for religion, specifically Christianity. When a piece of recorded music sparks a feeling in you that is completely outside the medium of music, that is fucking powerful.

Watain — Lawless Darkness
This album came out about a year after Evangelion and when I heard this, that was it for me. It seems I had waited my whole life to hear a record this intense. A record this real. It really does have an old-school Metallica feel at times, from the guitars and drums mainly, that takes me back to those formative years playing drums along to Master of Puppets and such. The lyrics are something that I am still exploring and learning about. I know most of them, but don’t neccessarily understand all of them. In due time. It’s funny because I think on all of these records, the guitar is my favorite thing about all of them. All of these records have pretty killer guitar tone. How could you have metal without that?

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About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.