The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Categories: Commentary

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Dylan Hollingsworth
Yeah, this dude's making the cut.
In the near or not so-near future,when you're lying on your deathbed, you'll reflect on things in your life that you've failed to accomplish: the kiss you never gave, the boss you never slugged and the metal album you never bought because your partner was bitching about the money that you "wasted on an exotic dancer who then sent you a message on Face..."

Well, you get the picture.

In honor of these failed accomplishments, here is a list of 10 heavy metal albums you must hear before Murray drags you kicking and screaming into the abyss.

See also: Ten Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2013

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10. Lamb of God - Killadelphia

One of the best live metal albums ever recorded. Mark Morton and Willie Alder shred at top form, with John Campbell and Chris Adler providing rhythmically loaded bass grooves. Randy Blythe's vocals sound better than some band's studio shit: "When the five of us get together and make music, we get on stage... and it's just absolute madness" and tranquility for the fans. Killadelphia is the band's first live album.

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9. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster

The fathers of thrash metal ushered in a decade of fast tempos, double bass and, more importantly, shredding. Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt, or the "H-Team," slay fans with their own brand of guitar violence. "The Last Act of Defiance," "The Toxic Walk" and "Cajun Hell" are just some of the gems awaiting you. Fabulous Disaster is the band's third album.

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8. Cannibal Corpse - Vile

This album features new singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher who helped to elevate the band to the next level of death metal domination: abyssal slayers. Corpsegrinder infused Rob Barrett and Jack Owen's complicated riffs with his own brand of intensity, solidifying the band's place as explorers of a new style of metal: horror metal. Vile is the band's fifth album.

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7. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz

The Godfather of metal's first solo album and one of the best metal collections to ever cross the Atlantic. Randy Rhodes ignited the guitar in ways that still haunt Eddie Van Halen. "Crazy Train," "Mr. Crowley" and "Suicide Solution" are just some of the tracks that inspired fans to hunt bats, to practice Rhodes' killer riffs and to pay homage to AC/DC's lead singer Bon Scott, who died from alcohol-related causes.

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6. Pantera - Cowboys from Hell

As metal slipped into thrash-metal redundancy in the late '80s, two Texas brothers shed their band's glam image and released an album that mixed Texas-sized attitude and musicianship with blues-inspired metal. Songs like "Psycho Holiday," "Clash with Reality" and "The Art of Shredding" are sure to inspire you to dust off that old guitar case. Cowboys from Hell is the band's fifth studio album. It ranked #11 on Guitar World 100 greatest guitar albums of all time (2006) and #19 on IGN's most influential heavy metal album of all-time.

See also: A Not-So-Vulgar Discussion of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power

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5. Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast

What to say about an album that pisses off social conservatives and inspires public burnings? Fucking metal. This band not only caused my old preacher to foam at the mouth when he saw the numbers 666 but also inspired a religious furor that culminated into a crazed man (my second cousin) dragging a 25-foot cross back and forth in front of the stadium while a 30-foot mummified Eddie flipped him the bird from the stage. At one point ranking #1 on UK albums chart, The Number of the Beast is the band's third album.



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53 comments
ChangingF8
ChangingF8

Often left out but shouldn't be is the band Metal Church, Blessing in Disguise and The Human Factor are two of the best metal albums from the 80's and should not be overlooked by any metal fan. This list is ok and people will disagree with it because that is what happens with any such list as this.

Joey Haynie
Joey Haynie

Lamb of God is ridiculously overrated, good list otherwise

Blake Kennedy
Blake Kennedy

7 out of 10 dead on. The top 7 8, 9, 10 not so much. .

tenebrae23
tenebrae23

My list is Manowar-Into Glory Ride, Thor-Thunder on the Tundra, Venom-Black Metal and At War With Satan, Angel Witch-Angel Witch, Manilla Road-Crystal Logic, Oz-Black Candles, Demon-The Unexpected Guest...Eh, you get the picture. I had all these albums when I was like 14 or 15. Loved them then. Not much of a fan now. Found Beefheart.

Bill_Zebub
Bill_Zebub

Exodus? Fabulous Disaster? Blasphemy...should have been "Bonded By Blood".

meganewton
meganewton

This guy needs to get fired!  Just saw he has Alice in Chains on the anticipated metal albums of 2013 list.  AIC is Grunge dude, and again...  No MEGADETH? UM Dave and Chris are hands down the best 1-2 punch in metal right now...

bstrout
bstrout

Not listing either Mercyful Fate's Melissa or Don't Break the Oath weakens the list by quite a bit.

The rest of the list is relatively decent, but having Lamb of God over Mercyful Fate is like choosing Green Day over Iron Maiden.

mweaks
mweaks

No list is complete without AC/DC. Maybe I'm too old? Judas Priest - British Steele?

deyanruggieri
deyanruggieri

Why are there so many people bitching. Its a list of 10 albums. Obviously its going to be super selective and not include everything. 

nomad2746
nomad2746

No Rust in Peace or Peace Sell...But Who's Buying from Megadeth? No Among the Living from Anthrax? I thought this was a list of HEAVY METAL albums. I won't deny the influence of Ozzy, Dio, or Iron Maiden but they themselves will say that they aren't heavy metal. A top 10 list of heavy metal albums with no mention of Megadeth or Anthrax just isn't a list of top 10 heavy metal albums. 

TheBrokenFlipFlop
TheBrokenFlipFlop

Meh, to each their own, but including fabulous disaster over bonded by blood is a befuddling choice.

franz_sf_007
franz_sf_007

WHERE THE FUCK IS RUST IN PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OR PAINKILLER

wefeee
wefeee

Lamb of God's presence on this list and the absence of   Megadeth or Mercyful fate's albums not being on the list..... MAKES THIS LIST A FUCKING JOKE.

jmhall2369
jmhall2369

My top 10: Pantera- Vulgar Display Of Power, Megadeth- Rust In Peace, Mercyful Fate- Melissa, Dimmu Borgir- Death Cult Armageddon, Fear Factory-Demanufacture, Slayer-Reign In Blood, Iron Maiden- Number Of The Beast/Piece Of Mind (it's a tie), Type O Negative- Bloody Kisses, Metallica- Master Of Puppets, and Machine Head- Burn My Eyes. Mixing it up, no particular order.        Honorable mentions: Cradle Of Filth- Dusk And Her Embrace, Sepultura- Roots, Sigh- Insomniphobia, Celtic Frost- Monotheist, Candlemass- Nightfall, Motorhead-Ace Of Spades, Mastodon- Remission, Slough Feg- Traveller, and Bjork- Post. I'm kidding about the last one.

jumpinthefire82
jumpinthefire82

Why is "Shogun" never on these? It is a damn good album.

sstuckel
sstuckel

Way to fuck up the lyrics to Master of Puppets. Its "smashing" not "slashing" dumb ass

kplo
kplo moderator communitymanager

Some of these albums might be the soundtrack after I die. 

seventhassassin
seventhassassin

ALTARS OF MADNESS!!!! FUCK YOU FOR NOT INCLUDING IT!!!!

nosleepatall.com
nosleepatall.com

 Lamb of God should not be anywhere on this list! 

Then we have to look how wide the spread is? Cannibal Corpse although I prefer Chris Barnes as lead is not anywhere near Dio music wise. Slayer is and should be near the top of the list. Metallica is a freaking Cover band!

Lastly no mention what so ever of IRON MAN? Seems like someone that is not a true fan of this music Genre to me!

toby.mcdonald
toby.mcdonald

No way is Vile better than The Bleeding which is one of the best death metal albums ever. Even tomb of the mutilated and Butchered at Birth are much better. George Fisher did not take Cannibal Corpse to a better level. He is not bad but the Chris Barnes era will always be the best shit ever. I'd put Testament The New Order on there, sepultura beneath the remains, machine head burn my eyes etc

francoissulpice
francoissulpice

THE FUCKING BIG FIVE! MEGADETH, EXODUS, SLAYER, ANTHRAX AND OVERKILL. OFFCOURSE.

francoissulpice
francoissulpice

no no.. before the master of puppets. I choise RUST IN PEACE, PEACE SELLS BUT .. , TEMPO OF DAMNED, THE NEW AGE OF TERROR, HORROSCOPE, TALKING OVER... 

and where is painkiller?  chemical assault? 

Billy Reeves
Billy Reeves

down nola, pantera trendkill, deftones white pony

John Dizzle
John Dizzle

I agree with Josh about the LoG, Exodus, and Cannibal Corpse albums. He lost me on Maiden. None of their records should be #1. If they are going to be on the list, it needs to be the record with "Run to the Hills". I can't think of another Maiden song that is a better example of Maiden for a first time listener.

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson

Special mention!!! \M/ I've hear all of them and own all but two. That Cannibal Corpse and the Lamb of God albums are mystifying inclusions on this list. They're ok, but top ten?! Where's a Priest inclusion? And that Exodus album??? Jesus. Testament more deserving. Maiden should be #1, but a different album :):) And Carcass or At The Gates should replace Lamb of God. ahhh... why'd you have to do this>? haha

JustSaying
JustSaying

Lists like this are exercises in trolling. I'm ashamed of myself for reading it and feeling the need to post because I know that it is exactly what you want me to do. But it's metal so I can't help myself.

No way that Cowboys from Hell is better/more important than Vulgar Display of Power. Vulgar is when Pantera fully came into their own. Thats the one with the offical Pantera sound that metal artists to this day are still ripping off. It is the signature Pantera record. Hell, fans and surviving band members will tell you that.

I appreciate that you included a death metal record on the list. There are very few death metal bands that I can actually listen to. Cannibal Corpse isnt one of them. Too cartoony. The sole death metal spot should have gone to Morbid Angel.

I am a Lamb of God fan but was disappointed in Killedephia. I'm guessing its because it doesnt come close to recreating the live experience that my ears went through. To me, the best metal live record is Sepultura's Under a Pale Grey Sky. Hell, no way this list is complete without a Max-era Sepultura album. I would place any of those studio albums on this list in place of Exodus.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@jmhall2369 Not my personal top 10, but that is a mighty fine list you came up with. I probably would have gone with Chaos AD over Roots, though.

TheBrokenFlipFlop
TheBrokenFlipFlop

@nosleepatall.com Metallica is a cover band? Lol. They went way downhill once bob rock came along, but you gotta givem credit where they deserve it. 

nosleepatall.com
nosleepatall.com

As I said just look at knuckelheadftw and psychofudge69. A LOD lover and the other probably likes the later Metalirats albums! Your both HARD ROCK WANNA BE BOYS!

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Billy Reeves Nola is quite possibly my favorite record. One of the very few that I own that I can listen to from start to finish without having to skip a single track.

Mervis
Mervis

Congratulations John Dizzle. You win blowhard comment of the day for your lack of Iron Maiden knowledge by saying Number of the Beast should not be included but then go on to say that the album with Run to the Hills should. Hmmmmmnnnnn......same album dude.

Comment fail!!!!!!!!!!!!

davidle1
davidle1

@JustSaying Exactly I agree Vulgar Display of power was and still is the better album

Mervis
Mervis

I agree that Vulgar is better/more powerful than Cowboys but Cowboys was the album that woke everybody up.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Mervis You are the one with the "comment fail". His response was to Josh that had originally said that Maiden should be #1 but with a record other than Number of the Beast. John said that he disagreed about any Maiden record being #1, but if any Maiden record made the list it should be Number of the Beast because it has "Run to the Hills" on it. You should probably work on your reading comprehension skills before you try to be funny.

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