By: Heather Quinlan
January 1, 2024

One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of metal records from the Eighties (1984–1993, in our periodization schema). Series edited by Heather Quinlan. Also check out our MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM playlist at Spotify.

In January, we announced a MÖSH essay contest. HILOBROW readers were invited to submit a short essay about their favorite 1984–1993 metal song. In February, Tony Pacitti’s essay on Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” was named the contest winner. Congratulations to Tony, and thanks to all who submitted entries!


Thank you, Dave.

I became a metalhead thanks to Led Zeppelin II. A boy in my 9th-grade class liked them, I liked him, and suddenly my bedroom walls were covered with photos of Anthrax, Exodus and the New York Mets. (I’m a huge Met fan too.)

I was about 13, shy, chubby, an unremarkable student with unruly hair. Yet I realize now that what I loved about metal was that its anger, its fury toward the establishment, toward the world (for me, both meant high school), and a howling loneliness… these were the same violent, sad emotions I felt. I was trapped on Earth in Bergenfield, NJ, but at least I could surround myself with Megadeth and photos of Dave Mustaine (and his revolving door of bandmates) like a comfy blanket.

Now I’m 49, I need to up the font size in order to see what I’m writing, and I don’t have photos of Anthrax c. 1989 on my bedroom wall anymore. But that kid is still there, and so is her love of metal.


The following 25 writers will share what metal songs make them rage, love, hate and soothe. From how Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” got Crockett Doob to heal from a concussion, to Dean Haspiel’s requiem for his late brother in the form of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” to Alycia Chillemi’s dark eroticism intertwined with Glenn Danzig and “Soul on Fire.” Here’s the series lineup:

Crockett Doob on Metallica’s ENTER SANDMAN | Dean Haspiel on Mötley Crüe’s HOME SWEET HOME | Jack Silbert on Poison’s TALK DIRTY TO ME | Adam McGovern on Dio’s INVISIBLE | Mariane Cara on Faith No More’s EPIC | Heather Quinlan on Blue Öyster Cult’s SHOOTING SHARK | Steve Schneider on UFO’s DIESEL IN THE DUST | Carlo Rotella on Primus’ JERRY WAS A RACE CAR DRIVER | Erik Davis on St. Vitus’ BORN TOO LATE | Greg Rowland on Motörhead’s ACE OF SPADES remix | Kathy Biehl on Twisted Sister’s WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT | Nikhil Singh on G.I.S.M.’s GAS BURNER PANIC | Erin M. Routson on Metallica’s ESCAPE | Holly Interlandi on Helmet’s MILQUETOAST | Marc Weidenbaum on Celtic Frost’s I WON’T DANCE (THE ELDERS’ ORIENT) | Amy Keyishian on Living Colour’s CULT OF PERSONALITY | Josh Glenn on Scorpions’ STILL LOVING YOU | Alycia Chillemi on Danzig’s SOUL ON FIRE | James Parker on Godflesh’s CHRISTBAIT RISING | Miranda Mellis on The Afflicted’s HERE COME THE COPS | Rene Rosa on Type O Negative’s BLACK NO. 1 | Tony Leone on Slayer’s SOUTH OF HEAVEN | Christopher Cannon on Neurosis’s LOST | Brian Berger on Black Sabbath’s HEADLESS CROSS | MÖSH CONTEST-WINNING ENTRY: Tony Pacitti on Metallica’s THE CALL OF KTULU. PLUS: CONTEST RUNNER-UP: James Scott Maloy on Accept’s MIDNIGHT MOVER.


As has been the case with the previous ENTHUSIASM series that I’ve edited for HILOBROW, few suggestions that I proposed were chosen, but those that were chosen — ones that I have and haven’t heard of — were both a chance to catch up with an old friend (like Carlo Rotella on Primus’ “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”) and make some mad new ones (like Nikhil Singh’s “Gas Burner Panic” by G.I.S.M.)

My own selection, too, came a bit out of left field: Despite my preamble above about anger and loneliness and Megadeth, I chose a little-known song by Blue Öyster Cult called “Shooting Shark” — based on Patti Smith’s journaling about what would now be called toxic codependency… with someone in Blue Öyster Cult.


HILOBROW series like this one are often restricted to a specific cultural “decade”; my goal was to assign essays about Metal songs released within the timeframe of 1984-1993. This was a challenge for many; and we cheated a little, here and there. (The remix of “Ace of Spades” written about by Greg Rowland, by the way, is from 1993.) Apologies to all the Sabbath fans I had to turn down, hopefully we’ll have a Mösh II series some day — for those of you who put pictures of Tony Iommi on your wall.

I have to thank my mother for coming up with this series’ title. Although not a metalhead (she’s still angry with the Stones for stealing Dave Clark Five’s thunder), she did pick up on “mosh” when I was throwing around words to use as a title. The umlaut was my idea, but I guess I have Motörhead to thank for that. And Spın̈al Tap.

Rock on,





Enthusiasms, Music