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5 Classic Metal Albums Every Collection Should Include

Updated on October 30, 2018

Crank Up the Volume

I am long past my teenage years, but I still love the thrill of putting some quality heavy metal in the CD player and turning up the volume. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a thundering bass line or a killer guitar riff. The feel of adrenaline running through your body, matching the frenzied tempo of the music is something only a true metalhead can appreciate.

I have been listening to metal music for three decades now and it is no small task attempting to narrow down a list to five albums. In my lifetime I have probably purchased a thousand cassettes and compact discs. Some I have forgotten, many I still listen too, but a few stand out in front of the crowd. This list is not intended to be complete, there are many albums that I could have included here. What follows is my five personal favorite classic metal albums that I feel should be in every collection.

1. Kill 'Em All - Metallica

The 1983 studio debut from the San Francisco band Metallica was fresh and raw. Right from the opening track "Hit the Lights", Kill 'Em All grabbed your attention. The second song on the album, "The Four Horsemen" is a bonafide metal classic. The album also contains the songs "Whiplash", "No Remorse", "Seek and Destroy" and the Cliff Burton bass solo "Anesthesia". This is one CD that you can throw in the player and listen all the way through, there are no "filler" songs thrown in to fill the gaps. It is Metallica at their best.

2. Powerslave - Iron Maiden

The 5th release from the British metal group Iron Maiden, Powerslave was released in September, 1984. The album contains the singles "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight", along with the epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Powerslave shows off Iron Maiden at their best, with the bass work of Steve Harris providing the backbone and the dual lead guitar work of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. Topped off with the imagery of Bruce Dickinson's lyrics, Powerslave sets the bar high.

3. Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche

Operation: Mindcrime was a concept album released by Queensryche in 1988. The album tells the story of a disillusioned man, Nikki and his love interest Sister Mary. The plot involves corruption in politics and the church. It is a well written story that will keep you interested from start to finish. The music is tight, with many tempo changes and Geoff Tate's powerful vocals are the perfect compliment to both the story and the music. This is an album worth getting play time.

4. Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? - Megadeth

Released in 1986, Peace Sells...But Who's buying was the second album by original Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine's band Megadeth. The album has an edge and an attitude, a little bit political, a little bit punk and all metal. The single "Peace Sells" is a true classic, right from the opening bass line the listener is hooked. Just the perfect choice to get you in the mood for an election year.

5. No More Tears - Ozzy Osbourne

I do not think any list of top metal albums could be complete without at least one Ozzy selection. There are so many great releases from Ozzy that it was a difficult choice, but I finally settled on the 1991 release No More Tears. The title track alone is enough to make this one worthy of the list, add in "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and "I Don't Wanna Change the World" and this is one metal classic that should receive lots of airplay.

In Conclusion

This was an enjoyable hub for me to write, as it gave me a chance to go back and revisit some great metal music. This is by no means a definitive list, I welcome all comments and suggestions for future lists. What this list does represent is 5 metal albums that you will always find in my personal collection and that I still listen to and recommend for others. In the meantime, Up the Irons!

© 2012 Christopher J Wood


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