Let me start off by saying that this is not a list of the best metal albums ever, but some might agree. This is a list of MY favorite heavy metal albums. I very rarely listened to metal, this last week I took advice and suggestions from friends, I did research while being snowed in, I listened to a lot of metal albums. These are the albums that stood out.
I would like to also add that I do not consider Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, or KISS to be heavy metal bands. They are more hard rock then metal. I believe Sabbath and AC/DC were the first instances of what metal would be, but not, in themselves, metal.
“That’s impossible, there’s no such thing as trolls.”
“Then how do you explain the dead unicorns?”
5. Ride the Lightning – Metallica
Metallica’s second record was when they really became top notch musicians. The songs were more then just the fast-paced speed demons that were on Kill ‘em All. They created intricate and complex metal songs that are considered their heaviest stuff. This album is fast and unapologetic, Metallica arrived and supplanted that they were going to be around for a long time.
Recommended listening: Fade to Black, Creeping Death, Escape
4. Vulgar Display of Power – Pantera
Pantera’s 1992 game-changer was perhaps the last real metal album before grunge really got big. This album is perhaps the most “mature” album on this list. It isn’t typical by any means, it is new and exciting. Much the same way Metallica really showed up on Ride the Lightning, Pantera had a stroke of genius with Vulgar Display of Power. This is one of my favorite metal records to listen to again to find all the idiosyncrasies.
Recommended listening: Mouth for War, Fucking Hostile, Attack the Radical
3. Reign in Blood – Slayer
Slayer is considered by many to the quintessential thrash metal band, maybe the best on this list. I cannot say enough about this record. As I said, I am new to metal, this one came highly recommended. It took me at least three listens to really absorb what was going on here. So many bands want to be Slayer, they are not. Tom Araya knocks away any wincing I did, he is a great talent. Outside of metal this record is overlooked too often, it shouldn’t be. It is dirty, messy, fun.
Recommended listening: Angel of Death, Jesus Saves, Raining Blood
2. Master of Puppets – Metallica
Considered by many to be the greatest metal album of all time. That is a very accurate assessment. This album has everything that makes metal great; thrashing rifts, complex story, scary vocals, brilliant musicianship by all band members. This record should be the first any non-metal fans listen to. It isn’t watered down like pretty much everything Metallica did after, but it is just really, really good. I cannot emphasize how good this album is. Hopefully someday Metallica will return to form and grace us with another masterpiece, we shall see.
Recommended listening: Battery, Master of Puppets, Disposable Heroes
1. Piece of Mind – Iron Maiden
This is the metal album that most suits me. It is epic, literary, complicated, raw, and beautiful. The reason this album hit so close for me was that it feels constructed like a very detailed work of art. Yes, metal is definitely art. If you have any knowledge of poetry of literature, this record is perfect. If you love metal and some of the greatest vocals ever and never read, this album is perfect. With this week of really delving into metal, I understand that I love Iron Maiden. This album is my favorite metal record; it is also one of my favorite albums I have ever listened to.
Recommended listening: Where Eagles Dare, The Trooper, To Tame a Land
“We are here to make coffee metal. We will make everything metal. Blacker than the blackest black times infinity” – Nathan Explosion (Dethklok)