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20 Essential Metal Albums

I believe great music is meant to be shared over and over and over again. So, one of the great joys in my life is to share the music I love with the people I love. Friends, family, fellow music lovers, the wife. Whomever loves music, whomever may learn to love metal and hard rock, whomever appreciates true talent, hard work , grit and those who’ve paid their dues in order to become successful. I believe heavy metal and hard rock music is rooted in that ethic.  

One of the first ways great new music and artists were shared with me other than the once great WCMF-FM in Rochester, NY was and still is best of lists. As a decades long metal fan I’ve always loved best of lists of metal and hard rock artists. Whether it was Guitarist of the Year in Guitar Magazine or one of a myriad of lists that Metal Edge magazine did so freakin’ well for all the glory years of metal in the 80’s and early 90’s. Nowadays, like most metal fans out there I’ve learned to use the web to find out what new albums are out there, what some of my favorite bands are up to and what’s new in the world of hard rock and metal. I also look for hard rock and heavy metal websites and blogs that inform and entertain me.

This blog is going to be a way for me to connect my passion for metal and hard rock music with others and maybe pass along some knowledge but more importantly share some great music that has gotten lost along the way. Some great new music that deserves to be heard and classic riffs that may be forgotten.

One way I’d like to share my love of hard rock and heavy metal music and the attitude that comes with it is to develop my own “best of”, “essentials”, “must own” , and “best player” lists .

For my inaugural list I believe it’s fitting to share what I consider my 20 Essential metal Albums

Here is the criteria I used to compile my list:

1. It has to be a true metal album, not hard rock. That’s why Back in Black and Appetite for Destruction, as well as 18 other hard rock masterpieces aren’t on this list. That list will be next.

2. This is my Top 20 Metal Albums, the masterpieces I see as required listening for any true metal fan and the albums I consider essential to understanding heavy metal music.

3. I have to own the album. If I don’t like it enough to spend my own hard earned money it, sometimes in many formats over the years, then it doesn’t belong on the list.

I’ll begin with my 20 Essential Metal Albums in chronological order of release

1. Black Sabbath- Black Sabbath   February 13, 1970

2. Judas Priest- British Steel April 14, 1980

3. Black Sabbath- Heaven and Hell April 25, 1980





4. Motorhead- Ace of Spades November 8, 1980

5. Ozzy Osbourne- Blizzard of Ozz September 20, 1980

6. Iron Maiden- Number of the Beast March 29, 1982

7. Dio- Holy Diver May 25, 1983

8. Metallica- Kill ‘Em All July 16, 1983

9. Metallica- Master of Puppets March 3, 1986

10. Slayer- Reign in Blood October 7, 1986

11. Megadeth- Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? November 1986

12. Suicidal Tendencies- Lights, Camera…Revolution July 3, 1990

13. Megadeth- Rust in Peace September 24, 1990

14. Pantera- Vulgar Display of Power February 25, 1992

15. Alice in Chains- Dirt Setember 29, 1992

16. Skid Row- Subhuman Race March 28, 1995

17. White Zombie- Astro Creep 2000 April 11, 1995

18. Corrosion of Conformity- Wiseblood October 15, 1996

19. Anthrax- We’ve Come for You All May 6, 2003

20. Overkill- Ironbound February 9, 2010


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