The 10 best 80's rock groups include some renowned names. The 1980's decade introduced a wide selection of influential rock groups. Followers of the early hard core punk and new wave British heavy metal merged to develop an underground sub-genre known as thrash metal. The 80's rock groups pushed the envelope one inch further with shocking lyrics and concert scenes. Thrash metal divided into various sub-genres, which would contain more extreme and aggressive styles, such as death metal, black metal, power metal and gothic metal. Metal mainstream dominance would come to an end in the early 90's when grunge and alternative rock bands emerged, such as Nirvana and Alice in Chains.
- Metallica. A Los Angeles band originated in 1981 that would reign as one of the top four influential thrash rock groups in the 1980's. Metallica has released nine studio albums, twenty-four music videos and forty-five singles. The legendary band also tallied nine Grammy Awards, including five debuting albums that ranked as number one on the Billboards 200. Metallica carries an aggressive metal sound that hints from past-decade influences, such as Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin and Deep Purple.
- Megadeth. Megadeth, a band hailing from Los Angeles formed in 1983, released twelve albums, thirty-two music videos and four compilations. Mustaine, the lead singer, presents lyrics of a controversial, political, and personal nature. The band's name has roots in the RAND military term for one million deaths. Megadeth addressed political issues dealing with the military-industrial complex and the disastrous effects of nuclear war.
- Anthrax. Anthrax emerged out New York during 1981 with nine studio albums, twenty single releases and a compilation album featuring rap group Public Enemy. The 80's rock group claimed the band name after stumbling across the disease in a biology textbook. The 80's rock group continues to produce music today.
- Slayer. Slayer hails from Huntington Park, California and began marking music in 1981 with a 1983 release of their debuting album, "Show No Mercy." The thrash metal 80's rock group released a total of eleven studio albums. Slayer has attracted negative attention resulting in album bans, delays and lawsuits because of their controversial subject matter.
- Death. Death, a Florida-based death metal ban formed in 1983, is recognized as a pioneering force of the death metal sub-genre. Seven studio album releases, three live albums and one compilation album all comprise of Death's discography. Some consider Chuck Schuldiner, lead guitarist and vocalist, the "Father of Death Metal." Death metal is distinguished by high-pitched growls, distorted guitars and dark lyrical content that addresses Satanism and slasher movie violence.
- Iron Maiden. Although formed in 1975, Iron Maiden persisted to develop a heavy presence as an influential 80's rock group. In fact, it was not until the early 1980s that the pioneers of new wave British heavy metal gained success. Since the rock groups inception, Iron Maiden released a total of thirty-one albums. Iron Maiden found themselves as the center of controversy with the 1982 studio album release, "The Number of the Beast."
- AC/DC. AC/DC sold more than two-hundred million albums worldwide, including "Back in Black," which holds the record as the highest selling album in rock band history.
- Def Leppard. Def Leppard, an English 80's rock band formed in 1977, has twelve times platinum sales for it's 1987 studio album, "Hysteria." The 80s rock band presents a mixture of hard rock and other various musical styles.
- Aerosmith. Aerosmith, a Boston rock group formed in 1970, carried a blues-based hard rock style. The bands 1989 multi-platinum studio album, "Pump," stood out as a worthy gym to earn them number nine on the best 80s rock group list.
- Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper deserves a spot on this list, despite identifying as the sole contributor of his musical efforts. Alice Cooper was known for his shocking theatricals that included boa constrictors, guillotines, fake blood, electric chairs and baby dolls. Cooper began his career in 1963.
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