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5 Classic Metal Albums Every Collection Should Include

Updated on May 8, 2017

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.

Ozzy Osbourne

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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    • profile image

      Casimiro 5 years ago

      We're both middle-aged (and I don't think it's funny! :) ), but I guess I never really got into Metal as I don't recognize any of those albums, but I do recognize the groups. Great hub in any case! Thanks.

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      It was a difficult task trying to narrow the list down to five, I considered including some Judas Priest and even some classic Scorpions. There are so many choices worthy of making the list, I will likely come up with some more lists just to include them all.

    • Craig Hartranft profile image

      Craig Hartranft 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      It must have been tough to pick just five. I would have tried to stick Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny in the list.

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      I agree, it was an easy decision picking Kill 'Em All. It was Metallica at their best.

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      I have alway been a big Maiden fan, so I knew that there would be one on the list. I actually considered doing the hub as a top 5 Maiden albums...

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      Those were pretty much the top of my list, but there were so many I considered for the list.

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      I'm glad you enjoyed the list. It was actually more difficult than I imagined limiting myself to just 5 albums, there are so many great ones to choose from.

    • CJWood71 profile image

      Christopher J Wood 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      Thanks, I will have to check out the book sometime. I enjoy going back and checking out about the bands and stories behind their works.

    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Fantastic list! All great albums (though I think Powerslave has to be the most essential of them all!). I'm happy to see you picked Kill 'Em All over Master of Puppets from Metallica.

    • cryptid profile image

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      Agree x5, and I've got every one of them sitting over on my CD shelves as well. Great albums by great bands. Powerslave has special place in my heart as one of the first metal albums I owned when I was a kid.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 5 years ago from The Garden State

      Can't argue with any of these picks, they're all solid.

    • iTommyGuns profile image

      TommyGuns 5 years ago from Blakeslee, PA

      I hope you enjoy it Georgie. The author is one of the few that keep that genre alive with his radio show. I was never a big Maiden fan either, but when I listen Im amazed at how well they all sound together. BTW they still sound great too!

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 5 years ago from Texas

      Great, great list. I was thinking just before this page loaded, wondering what I'd have added to a list like this, and I would have picked three of your five! I don't like Maiden, but I absolutely agree with Powerslave as a top five classic metal album.

      iTommyGuns, thank you for that link as well. I just bought the Kindle version on your suggestion!

    • iTommyGuns profile image

      TommyGuns 5 years ago from Blakeslee, PA

      This is a great list of your favorites. I love the Kill Em All cd, it is in my car right now. I like looking back on metal and bought this book below a few months back. It was cool to find out about the cover image because I realized I was at the Anthrax show it was taken at in Brooklyn.