Comedian, actor and sometime singer Brian Posehn celebrated his unabashed obsession with heavy metal and his own self-professed genre-specific superiority on the 2010 song, More Metal Than You. One could easily assume that such a true aficionado might view the late '80s/early '90s hair metal era with a pronounced level of disdain, but as Posehn recalls, things weren't all bad back then.
"Hair metal drew cute girls to the music," he says. "I didn’t like Bon Jovi, and I didn’t like Def Leppard at that point – well, their first albums were good – but I would get free tickets to shows because I worked at a radio station. I’d take girls to the gigs and just deal with it. Let's face it, you didn’t find cute girls at Slayer shows. The ones that were there looked like Richard Ramirez wearing a wig."
The passage of time hasn't softened Posehn's stance on hair metal, but it has produced a rather unique perspective in the context of today's music. "I’m so old that I’d rather listen to the worst hair metal from back then than what passes for current pop music," he says. "Warrant’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is the biggest pieces of shit from the ‘80s, would be most welcome over anything that’s popular right now."
Posehn cites KISS’ Detroit Rock City as the first hard rock record to make an impression on him as a kid, and from there he moved on to AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen. "After those bands, it was all about finding stuff that was heavier," he says. "I got into Judas Priest, Black Sabbath – the Dio-era Sabbath. When Iron Maiden’s Killers came out, it was so much faster and heavier than anything else I was listening to. That was a really big album for me."
Unlike many metal-crazed teens, Posehn never envisioned becoming a guitar shredder himself, although he did buy his share of Shrapnel Records releases. "It's kind of weird that I liked all that stuff," he says. "Most guys who bought Tony MacApline records were guitar players, but I wasn’t. I liked it, though. I even wrote ‘Yngwie Is God’ on a couple of blank T-shirts. I was into all those super-nerdy guitar records."
In compiling his list of 10 essential metal albums, Posehn was struck by the fact that his choices end after the year 1992. He stresses that he follows new music and stays on top of the current metal scene, but his assessment of "essential" carries with it a certain weight and meaning: "My attitude is, if you didn’t have these records, other things wouldn’t exist," he reasons. "These records make up the foundation of metal, and besides, they’re the stuff I love the most.”
Posehn's latest release is a one-hour special called The Fartist, available on DVD and CD at iTunes and Amazon. On the following pages, he runs down his picks for 10 essential metal albums.