Molly Hatchet, 'Flirtin' With Disaster' (1979)
With three guitars aflail, Danny Joe Brown's biker-stepdad growl and Frank Frazzetta's marauding Viking album cover, Molly Hatchet hawked grimy southern-rock with a heavy-metal glint. On 1979's triple-platinum Flirtin' with Disaster, produced by rock vet Tom Werman (Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick), that meant faster, heavier and gnarlier — Eric Church and Randy Houser would be crouched in a corner, awestruck. The riff-lash of "Whiskey Man" revved the engine and "One Man's Pleasure" got furiously funky like Florida-Georgia Line wished they could; but the title track's ferocious jailbreak clinched it, with the FTW edge of Brown's existential lyrics deepening the band's switchblade choogle. Plus, Brown could've been addressing bro-country's smalltown throwdown when he barked, "Come on, heeeah!" during the gleeful stomp of "Boogie No More." These boys knew how to make a stadium as homey as a honky-tonk. C.A.