6.66 Hot Points Of The ’80s Heavy Metal Satanic Panic

Demonic backward messages on rock records! Nationwide underground devil worship! Live nude human sacrifices! Sex! Drugs! Booze! Cults! Suicide! Murder! And all of it set to a completely kickass heavy metal soundtrack!

Such were the suspected deviancies that defined a peculiar unholy hysteria that beset America in the 1980s that, in the (relatively) saner times since, has been labeled “the Satanic Panic.”

From Black Sabbath’s 1970 debut onward, heavy metal rejiggered rock’s furthest extremes by coupling new highs in volume and intensity with dark and dangerous subject matter, much of which arose from the occult. Then by the mid-’80s, heavy metal was big and scary, prompting America’s most uptight moms, square dads, and non-groovy religious leaders to shriek about how Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, and Mötley Crüe were bewitching teens via albums, concerts, and MTV videos.

Adding fuel to all this hellfire were horrific real-life crimes committed by heavy metal fans, plus raging debates regarding the First Amendment.

Alas, the fact that the whole brouhaha got dressed up in pointy horns and pitchforks makes it all seem ludicrous in hindsight. However, the 1980s Satanic Panic has also since proven fascinating, bizarre, and, as even the most righteous preacher for the other team is liable to admit, that the devil always has the coolest music.

1. PMRC Hearings (1985)

Embedded from www.youtube.com.