I asked a bunch of my friends to answer the questions in the Gauntlet and discuss their thoughts on the music that means the most to them*; here’s one of the responses…

Back in the 90s, when I was still in my early to mid 20s, there was this kid in my youth group that listened to punk and hardcore, and spiked up his hair with wood glue. That kid was Matt Wilwerding, and we bonded quickly through (among other things) our love of music. We’ve remained friends to this day, and he agreed to go through the Gauntlet…

THE ALBUM THAT CHANGED MY LIFE WAS:

Gomorrah’s Season Ends (Earth Crisis)

“I was introduced to this album at the ripe age of 12 by a neighbor up the street who was really into hardcore and straight edge. At the time I was dabbling with a lot of mainstream harder rock, but this wooed me. There was something more aggressive, more sincere and clandestine about this music than the “hard stuff” playing on the radio, and since that point I’ve taken a deep dive into underground punk, hardcore, metal, assorted weirdo music, etc for the past 2+ decades.”

THE FIRST ALBUM I BOUGHT WAS:

Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (Smashing Pumpkins)

“I can’t remember if I bought this or received it for Christmas around age 10, but it was definitely one of my first CD’s that I owned. At the time I had this it was the denouement of grunge, and I was attracted to harder rock stuff. It seemed to somewhat satisfy then. However, I no longer own this and I really couldn’t stand to listen to it now at this point in my life.”

THE ALBUM I BREAK THE SPEED LIMIT TO IS:

Pleasure To Kill (Kreator)

“Jumping Jehoshaphat on a pogo stick, this is a neck breaker! Thrash at its finest and fastest! These Teutonic shredders know how to push the tempo. Besides being in my top 5 thrash albums of all time, I had the immense fortune to find an original LP version of this in Germany (on a recent trip I took) for only 20 euros!”

THE ALBUM THAT SHOULD NOT BE IS:

Grave New World (Discharge)

“After becoming stalwarts of the 80’s hardcore punk genre for the first half of the decade, these Brits released this horrendous take on metal/crossover. Besides the horrible production, the singer decided to change his style from a ferocious, rabid bark to a D-rate Robert Plant caterwaul. Oy Vey…all remaining copies of this should be thrown down a bottomless hole.”

THE ALBUM I NEVER THOUGHT I’D LOVE IS:

Under Lock And Key (Dokken)

“In my teens I was diving head first into harder music, and was gobbling up a lot of death, black, and thrash metal. However I still couldn’t stand any type of hair/glam metal, especially Dokken. This was compounded by the fact that my stepdad liked them, seeing as how they were the background music of his wild, rip-roaring 20’s. However, after “maturing” and opening myself up to more diverse styles over the years, I came to be more receptive to other metal genres, and ended up loving this record.”

SOMEONE ASKS ME WHAT METAL IS, I GIVE THEM A COPY OF:

The Last In Line (Dio)

“Opening with the anthemic and speedy “We Rock” this release grabs you by the throat and keeps your attention for the whole amazing album. Plenty of faster paced songs (“I Speed at Night”) and foot-stomping, fist-pumping plodders (“One Night in the City”), this should be in every metal head’s collection.”

THE ALBUM I WOULD WANT WITH ME ON A DESERT ISLAND IS:

Is Nothing Sacred? (The Lords Of The New Church)

“Is it Goth? Is it New Wave? Is it Punk? Is it all of the above? Yes, and despite having a hodge podge of these styles on one record, the Lords are still able to write some catchy songs and create a cohesive album. I would predict if this was the only album I had, I could scratch my itch for all those great genres with this one LP.”

NO ONE WILL BELIEVE I OWN A COPY OF:

True Blue (Madonna)

“Ok, I’ll admit I have a soft spot for 80’s pop. Even though this is overproduced, shined-to-a-glossy-sheen commercial music, it has some very catchy numbers on it. Though this belongs more in the collection of a Valley Girl or some former cheerleader, I have to come clean and confess this guilty pleasure.”

THE SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE IS:

High School Rock (Huntingtons)

“Although I’ve definitely moved on from my High School years, I still feel that the cliquey-ness endemic therein spreads throughout multiple areas in life beyond the confines of a school building. However I love how the compilation of songs and the stories therein seem to resonate with my life, whether it’s about eccentric individuals we meet, 80’s movies, lost romances or other amusing anecdotes. High School Rock covers them all, and has found a special place in my heart.”

THE BEST SOUNDTRACK ALBUM IS:

The Return Of The Living Dead Soundtrack

“This is a recent find for me, but this album just has a great spooky mix of songs across various genres. Whether it’s straight up punk, new wave, synth pop or garage rock, all these styles coalesce on the soundtrack to prop up the creepy-but-campy (in proper 80’s fashion) atmosphere of the movie. You’ll definitely have a craving for more brains after Side A and Side B have been played through!”

*If you want to participate in discussing the music and albums that mean the most to you, DM me on Facebook, Twitter or email me

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