May the metal always rock on

May the metal always rock on

"Pyromania" is the best Def Leppard album they ever made, and you can fight me on that if you want. The songs "Photograph," "Foolin’" and "Rock of Ages" alone are a trio of the best songs in the hair metal genre. Add in "Die Hard the Hunter," "Too Late for Love" and "Rock! Rock! Till You Drop" and it is near perfection.

The album "Hysteria" with its title track of the same name comes in second for me, but you can throw "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Armageddon It" straight into the trash. Any time I hear them, I want to bang my head against the wall and not in a metal frenzy sort of way.

Once a year I bring up that I am a metal freak and let the cards fall where they may. I don’t really consider Def Leppard a hair metal band, more of an old school rock band (to my 2023 ears), but back then they rocked hard. I listened to heavy doses of AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Dokken and more as I maneuvered middle school through high school. It was an integral part of the landscape of our time, right along with Madonna, Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper.

The '80s were an absolute chaotic moment in the progression of musical genres. I could go from listening to Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam to Motley Crue without batting a Cover Girl blackest black mascara-laden eyelash. From Poison, Quiet Riot and Ratt to the achingly sweet europop standards, we were awash in synthesizers and heavy guitars that made you weak in the knees.

Sometimes when I look back at our styles and music, I long for its resurgence. My kids made fun of it mercilessly, as kids do, but as they became adults, I received some grudging grace we weren’t as uncool as they once thought. There is nothing uncool about how "Master of Puppets" kicks you off your seat as it begins with its ferocious guitar licks. I can feel that beat in my head on any given day.

When my oldest daughter was younger, I introduced her to electronic music through the group The Prodigy, and she recently gave me a shoutout on a podcast she was being interviewed for. Electronic music is a very tiny jump from metal, and I now understand why I can listen to the two genres interchangeably.

We are in a very Top 40 area of Ohio, and there wasn’t much variety on the radio. When I discovered late night college stations that played even heavier metal like Metallica and Megadeth, I began listening and broadening my tastes. After Guns & Roses released "Welcome to the Jungle," I was a goner.

Many of these songs, along with my Shaun Cassidy tunes (who I learned is playing in Kent this June), are on most of my Spotify playlists. I listen to them around the house, when I’m mowing and especially when driving. Nothing gets straighter lines in my yard than listening to the entire length of "One" by Metallica. I still rib George that until he takes me to a Metallica concert, his love for me remains in question.

In the years since my love for metal was cemented, I’ve listened to many, many stellar bands that have advanced the genre in myriad ways. There is something about the surging guitars and chaotic drums that scratches an itch in my brain. Some of you love country and pop, or maybe you love bluegrass. You can’t really explain why you do, just that it flows into a place inside your soul.

Too many times we don’t listen to what we love because we were taught certain things about it or believe it’s wrong. I’m thankful for parents who encouraged my love of music, in all its forms.

Melissa Herrera is a columnist, published author and drinker of too many coffees based in Holmes County. You can find her book, "TOÑO LIVES," at or buy one from her in person (because all authors have boxes of their own novel). For inquiries or to purchase, email her at

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