Guest Column: Five Albums That Will Change You By Waylander’s Ciaran O’Hagan

Guest Column

In our ongoing 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 Ciaran O’Hagan of Waylander, who have a new album in stores now.

Music to me growing up was just something that I heard on the radio in the house, as my father used to play the traditional Irish music stations. When I was 10, I happened to hear some electric guitar-driven music [think it was Status Quo] and it struck a chord within me. I remembered that I’d seen the Quo backpatch on one of the teenage lads in town who all dressed in denim and leather, so I investigated further. I then found out that my older cousin was a metal head and got some advice on what bands to check out.

I went into the local record shop, bought a vinyl, went home and put on AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock. Needless to say, it blew my young mind; I was hooked and over the next year bought other DC albums as well as Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple.

When I was about 12 we went on a school trip for the day and one of my classmates brought some music to play he’d borrowed from his older brothers. The first band he played immediately had me mesmerized, a band who were playing electric guitars, yet had a huge element of Irish traditional music. This is the first time I heard the Horslips’ The Tain and it set my imagination into overdrive. Here was an Irish band who were singing about Irish Mythology and Folklore [which I was very interested in]. It wasn’t long before i had the notion that it would be seriously cool to mix Metal with Horslip’s sound. A seed was planted.

For the next number of years I simply checked out bands that the magazines featured but as glam was cool at the time I began to lose interest and stuck to what I knew.

I’d heard about a movement called thrash but on the odd occasion i actually heard the music it seemed a bit over the top for my taste. However, when I was about 16 or 17, I got so disillusioned with mainstream metal that I forced myself to check out thrash properly due to the hype surrounding bands like Metallica and Slayer. The first rhrash album I bought was Testament’s The Legacy and before very long the frantic riffing and aggressive nature of this genre made sense and I became a fully fledged thrasher, discovering such gems as Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Sabbat, and Coroner.
 
Within a year or so I was delving into the underground and decided to check out Death Metal and the album that blew me away was Bolt Thrower’s Realm of Chaos.

I surprised myself that I got my head around the growled vocals very quickly and this set me up for discovering gems such as Death, Carcass, Napalm Death, and Morbid Angel, who all remain firm favorites to this day.

Sabbat were one of my favorite bands and after Walkyier left to form a new band I was intrigued. When i heard, Skyclad’s Wayward Sons of Mother Earth, I was astounded.

Lyrically I thought it was genius but more importantly it was the melding together of Metal and folk music which had me frothing at the mouth. So, this was what my teenage vision could sound like. Within a short time I set in motion the search for band members and the rest is history.

(By the way, you can hear a song from Waylander right here)

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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.