An NYC metal sampler

Take an aural tour of NYC metal, past and present.

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“All Men Play on 10” by Manowar (1984)

No outfit in NYC metal, and maybe in rock & roll at large, has dared to go further over the top than the mighty Manowar, the band that will forever epitomize the genre’s testosterone-juiced Neanderthal sector. (The group technically hailed from Auburn, New York, but racks up crucial local cred via the early-period membership of Bronx-born guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman, formerly of veteran NYC punk cutups the Dictators.)

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“Time’s Up” by Living Colour (1990)

New York City metal would never be the same after avant-fusion shredder Vernon Reid and his Black Rock Coalition–spawned quartet stormed MTV in 1988, and racked up a Grammy the following year, with their blend of funk, thrash, hardcore and poignant R&B.

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“Purgatorial Punishment” by Suffocation (2013)

Repping for Long Island since 1988, Suffocation is known worldwide as the authors of the tightest, most relentlessly punishing death metal on the planet. And as proved by Pinnacle of Bedlam, the band’s recent seventh LP, guitarist Terrence Hobbs, vocalist Frank Mullen & Co. regularly churn out some of catchiest songs the genre has seen.

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“Unsung” by Helmet (1992)

A jazz geek who apprenticed with downtown avant-guitar demigod Glenn Branca, Page Hamilton came at metal from an oblique angle. With Helmet, he’d go on to give the genre a lean and harrowing makeover that resonated with headbangers, skaters and grungeheads alike.

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“Flight of the Warrior” by Riot (1988)

Contemporaries of classic British acts such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Motörhead, NYC’s Riot failed to ascend into that immortal company, but nevertheless produced admirably hard-charging LPs such as 1988’s ThunderSteel.

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