Hair metal is often derided as a vapid form of the rock genre, but frankly, I am having none of that. 80s glam rock bands were often filled with excellent musicians and vocalists, while few can deny many of those songs were damn catchy.
Certainly, few musical genres get the adrenaline flowing like hair metal, while it had a wide influence in popular culture. For example, there are even hair metal-inspired slot machines at places like https://casino.netbet.co.uk/slots. Also, because these bands were talented musicians, they could often transition into much heavier territory.
Here we will show four times hair metal bands went heavy.
Skid Row – Slave to the Grind
Skid Row is arguably the quintessential example of a hair metal band embracing a heavier side. Not only did the band create a heavy song, they went all the way and released a full album of metal-infused songs. For the band’s sophomore effort, Slave to the Grind, songs went beyond rock and moved directly into the thrash metal movement.
Taking advantage of Sebastian Bach’s insane vocals, Skid Row were smart enough to see the changing musical trends and to embrace them. Make no mistake, you can listen to the Slave to the Grind album alongside Pantera, Judas Priest, or Metallica and not skip a beat. This is best encapsulated by the chugging riffs and aggressive vocals of the title track.
Twisted Sister – Destroyer
If other bands on this list were glam rock (hair metal) bands that occasionally turned heavy, Twisted Sister is the opposite. This is fundamentally a metal band that embraced a poppier sound and found huge success. Of course, just a look at Dee Snider evokes glam metal, but Twisted Sister could get heavy and “Destroyer” is a good example of this darker side.
This is no speed-metal track. Instead, “Destroyer” moves at a snail’s pace, plodding with aggressive bass and a foreboding vocal performance from Snider. It is aggressive in an understated way and is a good example of the band’s heavier roots in the New York underground scene.
Motley Crue – Red Hot
Like Twister Sister, Motley Crue was not afraid to mix a glam persona with aggressive and heavy music. Several tracks through the band’s catalogue move towards a heavier output, including hits such as “Dr Feelgood” “Shout at the Devil” and “Kickstart Your Heart”.
Then there’s “Red Hot”, a song that utilizes a double kick drum to good effect. The result is something that recalls Motley’s earlier days as a punk band. Indeed, the overall sound of Red Hot reminds of a low-key Judas Priest track.
Bon Jovi – If I Was Your Mother
Bon Jovi and metal hardly go hand-in-hand. Of all the 80s hard rock bands, Bon Jovi was the most pop-oriented infusing obvious Springsteen influences with big hooks, big choruses, and soaring guitars. Whether you love or hate that formula there’s no doubt it worked, propelling the New Jersey outfit into becoming the best-selling of the 80s hair metal bands.
One of the things Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were adept at as songwriters was changing styles easily. There are heavy (heavier?) songs dotted throughout the band’s catalog. Second album, 7800 Fahrenheit, was a generally heavier album, while all subsequent records dropped the occasional thumper (“Let it Rock”, “Homebound Train”, “Save a Prayer”, and “Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White” being notable examples).
And then there was “If I Was Your Mother”, a song that was Bon Jovi getting as close to metal music as it ever could, or indeed should. Of course, this isn’t Megadeth, but it is a rocking slice of heavy riffage courtesy of Sambora mixed with an unusually subdued (purposely) vocal from Jon Bon Jovi. Mixed with inventive lyrics and an acid trip of a video, you have what is a solid heavier track from the Bon boys.