Ten important metal albums

Last updated 10:06 16/07/2010

A while ago I posted this - I called it "Ten important hip-hop albums". I'm going to repeat the opening paragraph from that post:

I'm  a huge metal fan

We all know that lists are subjective - that is the point of them. So I've decided to do a series of top 10 albums across genres. They'll appear sporadically. And rather than call them "Top 10" I will call them 10 of the most important - sorry if that sounds pretentious. It's not meant to.

The point of the hip-hop list was to name 10 hip-hop albums that I connected with. And then you were all given the chance to name some of yours. We built up our lists and hopefully reminded one another of some albums worth hearing.

So now it's time to pick another genre. And metal gets the nod today. I know there'll be arguments over what constitutes metal - I'll let you fight and argue. I'm just going to pick the 10 most important albums I can think of right now that would - at least at some point - come under the metal genre. So - here we go:

1. Guns N' Roses, Appetite for Destruction

Push comes to shove - as is often the case in an audience at a metal show - this is possibly my favourite album of all time. I could name something by The Beatles or Miles Davis or The Velvet Underground or Jeff Beck or The Beach Boys - but in terms of music I discovered for myself it is AppetitefFor Destruction. In terms of music I discovered for myself that I am still listening to today it is Appetite For Destruction. I still get the same sense of sleaze and lust and rebellion oozing from the stereo when I play this. And I talked about it the other week here: it's an album I've owned on every format. I've played songs from the album in bands myself. It's so evocative of the time. And it has had a lasting impact.

2. Black Sabbath, Paranoid

My uncle had a stack of records. It was a small stack - but it was awesome: Led Zeppelin III, Cosmo's Factory Best of Cream, Tubular Bells. I was allowed to borrow them for a while. I bundled them up and took them home. Studied them. I was about 14. And my favourite from that bundle was Paranoid. All I knew at that point was the title track. But War Pigs was a revelation instantly. A thrill. I sat on the edge of the seat as it writhed and pulsed. I understood it completely yet was baffled by it. I loved it. I skipped the needle straight back and played it again. Some of the songs were frightening, some were ethereal, some were sludgy and filled with doom. I still love this album. I still get those feelings.

3. Deep Purple, Machine Head

A copy of The Deep Purple Singles was one of the first CDs in our house as my parents made the transition from vinyl to the new format. From there I started buying tapes, based around some of the CDs that were coming into the house. If mum and dad bought a greatest hits compilation I would try to find an album by that artist if I liked what I heard. So, I returned from the music store, aged 13, with Machine Head, purely because I liked what I had heard by Deep Purple - which was just the singles and the song Smoke on the Water. My favourites from this are Lazy and Space Trucking. There are other Deep Purple albums I listen to more but this one opened the door.

4. Metallica, Ride the Lightning

This is the first Metallica album I heard and to this day my favourite. Fade to Black, Creeping Death and For Whom the Bell Tolls sounded like nothing I had heard at the time. The overall experience hearing this was, if anything, similar to how I felt when I heard Black Sabbath's Paranoid; I knew it was something new for me and I liked it. I followed Metallica for years - stopping around the time of the Load and Re-Load albums. There's a lot of truth in the first four albums and it all feels like posturing from then on. Today I don't even really want to hear this album. I have a sealed copy on vinyl. One day I'll bust it open, sit and listen to it. I reckon it'll take me back to when I first heard it. I reckon I'll still really love it. Even if I don't, it'll be worth the trip.

5. AC/DC, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

I remember hearing all about this "heavy metal band" called AC/DC. And then I heard Dirty Deeds and didn't think it sounded like metal at all. It sounded like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. It sounded like boogie. And rock'n'roll. I liked it a lot. This was the default album for me - until The Razor's Edge; that would trigger a move back through the rest of the catalogue. And to this day Dirty Deeds is the sentimental favourite.

6. Faith No More, Angel Dust

We travelled to Wellington in 1993 to see Faith No More live. We did this because, on a whim, I decided I wanted to see them. I had really liked The Real Thing but on the way down to the concert I bought Angel Dust. I didn't have much time to hear it before that show - but I was sucked straight in at the gig; sucked in by songs like Land of Sunshine and Caffeine and Be Aggressive. After the gig Angel Dust became a favourite album for a long time. And I reckon I'd still have it high on a list, regardless of genre, to this day. I love it.

7. Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast

Iron Maiden have never really figured that much in my life. But this album was a staple. You see I knew about this album from its cover - and being frightened of it - long before I ever heard the music. An uncle (another one) had this on cassette tape. And I was always fascinated by the cover. When I came to finally hear it I was whisked about by Run to the Hills; still one of my favourite Maiden songs. And of course the title song, which had appeared on a hard rock compilation. It was hearing that song that made me slip the tape into the stereo one day around at my uncle's place. I thought I was going to get caught, maybe get in trouble. It's stayed with me. I only have a couple of Maiden compilations - but this album is still the one for me when I think of Iron Maiden.

8. Motorhead, Ace of Spades

Regular Blog on the Tracks readers will know that I never turn down a chance to reminisce about The Young Ones; I was watching the programme - thanks to very lenient parents - before I ever really understood a lot of its subversive humour. And a lot of the band appearances bored me the first time around. But in one of the show's most iconic episodes there was an appearance by Motorhead singing Ace of Spades. I remembered that and hunted out the album. I had to hear more by this band. That title track still rates up there for me as one of the great rock/metal songs of all time. I never get sick of it.

9. Tool, Aenima

These days I couldn't care less about Tool but the band's Aenima album made a huge impact on me. Particularly the first three songs. I knew Sober from the earlier album, by way of a compilation. And for some reason that stayed with me enough to want to check out Aenima - I stayed on for Lateralus and liked that for a while too. But after that I was done. I still think about Aenima from time to time - often actually. Enough to rate it in my list. Especially due to those first three songs. I haven't played it in a long time.

10. Mastodon, Crack the Skye

Last year this album was one of my favourites - and an album that got me thinking about metal again after a while away from the subject. It's a seven-track, 50-minute concept album featuring a story as absurd as anything by The Mars Volta with glowering bogans trudging through some plodding riffs. The drumming is superb, the songs have melodies, it's heavy but it really sings. The music speaks to me. I found it hypnotic. It goes back to how I felt whenGoats pulled in by Paranoid or Ace of Spades or Aenima or almost anything on this list. It's one of my favourite metal albums. And it made me go back and check out past Mastodon material.

So - that's my list. Laugh all you want. Point out how safe it is. Mock the omissions. Be super-proud with how superior your list is. And then remember that it's all just subjective, right? Or is that only something to remember when you get to say it to me?

I'm just kidding by the way - I'm not trying to sound defensive. That's my list, and for today at least I am sticking to it. These are 10 very important (to me) metal albums. They all opened doors - or made sure that other doors in my house were firmly shut so that I could sit and listen to these albums, over and over.

Can you name 10 important metal albums in your life? Have a go. What's on your list?

» Join Blog on the Tracks on Facebook

» If you like this blog, vote for it in the NetGuide People's Choice Web Awards! Go here to cast your vote for it as Best Blog. Voting closes on July 30.

145 comments
Post a comment
rob   #1   10:13 am Jul 16 2010

Anthrax - Persistence of time. Sepultura - Dead embryonic cells. Megadeth - Rust in peace.

metalhead North Shore   #2   10:16 am Jul 16 2010

you clearly dont have any idea what you are talkin bout Willis!!! to leave Slayer"s Reigning Blood and Seasons in the Abyss albums off the list are simply diabolical

Jim   #3   10:16 am Jul 16 2010

Nice list!

Dan   #4   10:18 am Jul 16 2010

Where is Slayer's Reign in Blood??? - one of the true great Thrash metal albums

Karlos   #5   10:20 am Jul 16 2010

Nice list (although I wouldn't class 'Appetite' as Metal), Ride The Lightning is still my favourite Metallica album too (and one of my all time favourite albums).

Some other important ones for me that I would add:

Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss; Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power; Megadeath - Rust In Peace; System Of A Down - Toxicity;

xCaptainx   #6   10:22 am Jul 16 2010

1 Slayer - Reign In Blood 2 Slayer - Reign In Blood 3 Slayer - Reign In Blood 4 Slayer - Reign In Blood 5 Slayer - Reign In Blood 6 Slayer - Reign In Blood 7 Slayer - Reign In Blood 8 Slayer - Reign In Blood 9 Slayer - Reign In Blood 10 Slayer - Reign In Blood

Juno   #7   10:23 am Jul 16 2010

Don't forget ... Death's Symbolic Anthrax's Persistance of Time & the best of all time ... Megadeth's Peace sells, but who's Buying?

The Difference   #8   10:27 am Jul 16 2010

I, like most metal fans, will be shocked at the lack of Slayer in the 'list'. They are the undisputed kings of the Metal realm. No one comes close. Just play 'Reign in Blood' from start to finish.

Other glaring omissions would have to be Pantera and Meshuggah. But hey, opinions are just that, and yours mr Sweetman appears to be at odds with us sane people (see yesterdays blasphemous Pearl Jam post).

Angus Young   #9   10:29 am Jul 16 2010

AC?DC aren't metal.

G-Sus   #10   10:34 am Jul 16 2010

You didnt do too bad for a change Simon...Dont think I've ever agreed on so much of your opinion. Not sold on Tool though..

For me, in no particular order (because I cant decide) Guns N Rose's - Apetite For Destruction Black Sabbath - Paranoid Trivuim - Ascendency Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil Metallica - Master Of Puppets Faith No More - Angel Dust Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast Motley Crue - Dr Feelgood Protest The Hero - Kezia Mastodon - Crack The Sky


Show 11-60 of 145 comments

Post comment


Required

Required. Will not be published.
Registration is not required to post a comment but if you , you will not have to enter your details each time you comment. Registered members also have access to extra features. Create an account now.


Maximum of 1750 characters (about 300 words)

I have read and accepted the terms and conditions
These comments are moderated. Your comment, if approved, may not appear immediately. Please direct any queries about comment moderation to the Opinion Editor at blogs@stuff.co.nz
Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content