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THE TOP TEN BANDS MOST OFTEN MISCATEGORIZED AS HAIR METAL: #1, SKID ROW

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Discovered by fellow not-hair-metallers Bon Jovi, Skid Row have a special place in the genre’s history. They were, as Chuck Klosterman points out in his brilliant book, Fargo Rock City, the only band of the era to make good on their continual promises that their next album would be “heavier.” Skid Row definitely had some tracks that could pass for hair metal, but their sophomore effort, Slave to the Grind, was clearly drawing on heavier influences, like Judas Priest (when the band covered “Deliverin’ the Goods” on the B-Side Ourselves EP, Halford even guested on the vocals), and by the time they made Subhuman Race, well, they were almost unrecognizable as a band. But it never felt like they were trend-chasing, the way so many of their peers were; it always seemed like they legitimately wanted to get heavier and heavier, and consequently, they did.

Let’s just listen to the progression for a few minutes, okay? Here’s “Big Guns,” one of their glammier songs from Skid Row:

Even here, it’s hard not to hear the Priest influence. But now check out “Livin’ on a Chain Gang” and “Riot Act,” from Slave to the Grind:

If someone could point me towards the Danger Danger song that sounds like that, I’d be much obliged.

And yet, they got heavier STILL. Here’s “My Enemy,” the opening track from Subhuman Race. If for some reason you’re too ADD to make it through the whole song, start at the 1:11 mark, right before the guitars get metal as fuck at 1:24:

And here’s another not-at-all-hair-metally track from that same album, “Beat Yourself Blind.”

Fuck, they even toured with Pantera! PANTERA!!!

Skid Row were really never a glam band. They get lumped in with those bands due to shitty timing, and all the tours they’ve done with glam bands in the (ridiculous) Johnny Solinger era haven’t helped. But they were a metal band, pure and simple. So the next time someone calls Skid Row “hair metal,” smack ’em. They deserve it.

-AR

THE REST OF THE LIST

#2: Guns N’ Roses
#3: Queensryche
#4: Def Leppard
#5: Extreme

#6: Bon Jovi
#7: Quiet Riot

#8: Saigon Kick

#9: Van Halen

#10: BulletBoys

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