The mid-'80s was a period where heavy metal got decidedly heavier and faster. Building on the foundation laid by bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Venom and Motorhead in earlier years, the genre was starting to branch out into the multi-subgenre tree we know it as today. Thrash was defining its sound while simultaneously paving the way for death metal and those influenced by the NWOBHM were starting to speed things up as well.

While metal was getting darker and heavier, glam was taking things in a completely separate and commercial direction. It was a time where heavy metal fully started its stranglehold on radio, arenas and underground record stores and clubs. In 1985, bands like Slayer and Anthrax were just starting to hit their stride, expanding on their debut albums and taking things in new and exciting directions. The year saw some of metal's finest contributions hit the shelves, releases that are still being praised 30 years later.

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