The Best Metal Albums

The first heavy metal album I heard was Black Sabbath’s first self-titled album (followed soon after by Paranoid and Master Of Reality). I was about nine years old, and while I had already been exposed to some punk and hard rock, Black Sabbath sounded far more scary. The low, rumbling minor chords were different from anything I’d heard, though by 1978, there was plenty of metal available, but not so easily to a little kid. It wasn’t until 1982 that I really started listening to metal. MTV was starting to play a few metal videos, including Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills.” Then I discovered a college radio station called WSUP 90.5, from University of Wisconsin, Platteville, that played everything from Sabbath to Deep Purple, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Motörhead, Dio, and New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and others. While my initial reaction to metal was that it sounded too hard and fast, I quickly got over that aesthetic issue, and it became addictive. At the same time, however, I began exploring pre-punk, punk and post-punk on another college station, KUNI. So I never became completely immersed in metal culture. I listened to my friend’s Iron Maiden albums for a couple years before I got some of my own. I was a fairweather metal fan, my interest ebbing and flowing in relation to whether any landmark albums were released that year. In the mid-eighties, my interest outside of Iron Maiden was minimal, until I heard Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, Master Of Puppets and Megadeth’s Peace Sells…. I was aware of Slayer’s Reign In Blood, which actually freaked me out enough that I didn’t really get into them until college a couple years later.

In college I focused my radio show on post-punk and indie rock. But I had a roommate who listened to Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. After being disappointed (at least with the production) by Metallica’s …And Justice For All, I needed to scratch my metal itch, and began hanging out with the metalheads when they did their radio shows. The studio hazy with weed smoke, these really smart guys, most of them accomplished musicians themselves, would listen to this dense, super fast, ultra complex music and deconstruct their structure, and try to figure out what effects pedals and drum equipment were being used. Slayer, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Bolt Thrower and Sepultura became my new favorite metal bands. I realized that metal wasn’t necessarily something I needed to outgrow with age. Metal was evolving and maturing with the rest of us.

Despite my renewed allegiance to metal, it was easy to get out of the loop at times. And I continue to be guilty of overlooking great metal albums at the time they come out, and underrating albums that deserve more serious attention. At the end of the year I tend to hurriedly try to catch up on metal releases from the whole year, and inevitably miss some good ones. My rock lists and all-time top 500 list has not sufficiently reflected the best metal albums, and I’ve spent the last couple months correcting that. Inspired by the need to review the new Rough Guide To Heavy Metal, great new albums by Mastodon and Opeth and a mind-melting live Mastodon show at a small club, I’ve listened exclusively to metal for the past eight weeks. I’ve made repeated visits to Metal Haven, possibly the only metal specialty shop in the Midwest, located conveniently a block from my place. My listening habits depend on varying moods, but I found that in sticking to metal, there’s enough variety that a true full-time metalhead can pretty much get the whole emotional and musical range they could ever want, whether it be super aggressive death metal, hypnotic doom metal, complex progressive metal, or even cheesy love ballads.

As I listened to albums for the first time and re-listened to others for the 20th time, I slowly compiled my own all-time metal list. It’s in no way definitive or comprehensive. It’s simply my favorites that I’ve heard. In order to simplify things, I’ve left out a few bands and subgenres that I don’t think are really metal. The most contentious choice is Led Zeppelin, which I explained in the main article featured this month. Robert Plant agrees that the first Led Zeppelin album is more ethereal than metal. While Led Zeppelin II comes close in that half the songs nearly fit the criteria of metal, Black Sabbath is the first truly metal album from start to finish. However, one could also argue that the first modern heavy metal albums were In Trance by Scorpions in 1975, and Sad Wings Of Destiny by Judas Priest. So the first five Black Sabbath albums are included in the a separate list for heavy rock and proto-metal. Out of respect for Lemmy, Motörhead is restricted to the heavy rock list, as he has always vehemently denied that his band has anything to do with metal. “It’s just rock ‘n’ roll” he says. There you’ll also find bands like AC/DC, The Cult, Blue Cheer, Blue Oyster Cult, Hawkwind, Rush, Queen, UFO, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Melvins, Monster Magnet, Boris, Earth, Godflesh, Scorn, Tool, Katatonia, Anathema, Mars Volta, Isis and Jehu. With the exception of Motley Crue and Ratt, there is not much glam/hair metal simply because it just didn’t make my top 400. No Nu Metal made the list because I hate it. Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot’s dumb, self-pitying lyrics are not stupid in a entertaining way. They’re just annoying. That’s my own bias, but judging from the several metal polls I’ve seen, most people share it.

Like any subjective list, its main value is not derived from bickering about specific ranking orders (though I’m always up for debating), but getting turned on to albums you may not be familiar with. I’m always open to recommendations, as none of my lists are static. HAILS! \m/

– A.S. Van Dorston

For a more up-to-date list, go to Lists and choose “Metal” in the Genre filter.

  1. Slayer – Reign In Blood (American) 86
  2. Metallica – Master of Puppets (Elektra) 86
  3. Slayer – South Of Heaven (American) 88
  4. Metallica – Ride The Lightning (Elektra) 84
  5. Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind (EMI) 83
  6. Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss (American) 90
  7. Black Sabbath – Sabotage (WB) 75
  8. Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny (Columbia) 76
  9. Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast (Capitol) 82
  10. Iron Maiden (Capitol) 80
  11. Iron Maiden – Killers (Capitol) 81
  12. Mastodon – Crack The Skye (Reprise/WEA) 09
  13. Mastodon – Leviathan (Relapse) 04
  14. Mastodon – Blood Mountain (Reprise) 06
  15. Scorpions – Lovedrive (Mercury) 79
  16. Riot – Fire Down Under (Fire Sign/Metal Bldade) 81
  17. Judas Priest – Stained Class (Columbia) 78
  18. Judas Priest – Sin After Sin (Columbia) 77
  19. Opeth – Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner) 05
  20. Mastodon – The Hunter (Reprise) 11
  21. Iron Maiden – Powerslave (Capitol) 84
  22. Hammers Of Misfortune – 17th Street (Metal Blade) 11
  23. Scorpions – Virgin Killer (RCA) 76
  24. Judas Priest – Unleashed In The East (Columbia) 79
  25. Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla (RCA/Koch) 74
  26. Opeth – Blackwater Park (Koch) 01
  27. Ghost – Opus Eponymous (Rise Above) 10
  28. Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood (Relapse) 96
  29. Napalm Death – From Enslavement To Obliteration (Combat) 88
  30. Opeth – Watershed (Roadrunner) 08
  31. Scorpions – In Trance (RCA) 75
  32. Kreator – Terrible Certainty (Noise/Sanctuary) 88
  33. Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes (RCA) 78
  34. Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break The Oath (Roadrunner) 84
  35. Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh (Prosthetic/Red) 08
  36. Isis – Oceanic (Ipecac) 02
  37. The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Twilight Of The Idols (Dragonheart) 99
  38. Orphaned Land – Mabool – The Story of the Three Sons of Seven (Century Media) 04
  39. Entombed – Uprising (Threeman) 00
  40. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine (Relapse) 10
  41. Mastodon – Remission (Relapse) 02
  42. The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Traveller (Dragonheart) 03
  43. Pharaoh – Be Gone (Cruz Del Sur) 08
  44. Def Leppard – High ‘N’ Dry (Polydor) 81
  45. Megadeth – Rust In Peace (Capitol) 90
  46. Def Leppard – Pyromania (Polydor) 83
  47. Intronaut – Valley Of Smoke (Century Media) 10
  48. Slough Feg – The Animal Spirits (Profound Lore) 10
  49. Krux – III – He Who Sleeps Amongst The Stars (GMR) 11
  50. Obrero – Mortui Vivos Docent (Night Tripper) 11
  51. 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room (Cyclone Empire/Metal Blade) 11
  52. Pantheïst – Pantheist (Grau) 11
  53. Judas Priest – Painkiller (Columbia) 90
  54. Megadeth – Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (Capitol) 86
  55. Raven – All For One (Neat) 83
  56. Manilla Road – The Deluge (Black Dragon) 86
  57. Shrinebuilder (Neurot) 09
  58. Gojira – From Mars To Sirius (Listenable/Prosthetic) 05
  59. High on Fire – Blessed Black Wings (Relapse) 05
  60. Saint Vitus – Born Too Late (SST) 86
  61. Raven – Rock Till You Drop (Roadrunner) 81
  62. Kreator – Pleasure To Kill (Noise/Sanctuary) 86
  63. Celtic Frost – Into The Pandemonium (Noise) 87
  64. Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (Leviathan/Peaceville) 86
  65. Possessed – Seven Churches (Relativity) 85
  66. Cynic – Focus (Roadrunner) 93
  67. Meshuggah – Destroy Erase Improve (Nuclear Blast) 95
  68. Entombed – Wolverine Blues (Sony) 94
  69. More – Blood & Thunder (Atlantic) 82
  70. Iron Maiden – Brave New World (Portrait/Columbia) 00
  71. The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Down Among The Deadmen (Dragonheart) 00
  72. Sigh – Imaginary Soundscape (Century Media) 01
  73. Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (Megaforce) 83
  74. Venom – Black Metal (Neat/Combat) 82
  75. Sepultura – Chaos A.D. (Roadrunner) 93
  76. Loudness – Law Of Devil’s Land (Columbia Japan) 83
  77. Judas Priest – Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather (Columbia) 79
  78. Dio – Holy Diver (Reprise) 83
  79. Dawnbringer – Nucleus (Profound Lore) 10
  80. Raven – Wiped Out (Roadrunner) 82
  81. Bathory – Blood Fire Death (Maze/Kraze) 88
  82. Overdrive – Swords and Axes (Metal for Muthas) 84
  83. Angel Witch (Castle) 80
  84. Raise The Red Lantern (At A Loss) 09
  85. Hacride – Lazarus (Listenable) 09
  86. The Sword – Warp Riders (Kemado) 10
  87. Zu – Carboniferous (Ipecac) 09
  88. High On Fire – Death Is This Communion (Relapse) 07
  89. Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell (WB) 80
  90. High On Fire – The Art of Self Defense (Man’s Ruin) 00
  91. Hammers Of Misfortune – Fields/Church Of Broken Glass (Profound Lore) 08
  92. Enslaved – Ruun (Candlelight) 06
  93. Hammers Of Misfortune – The Bastard (Tumult) 01
  94. Dio – The Last In Line (WB) 84
  95. Voivod – Nothingface (Mechanic) 89
  96. The Haunted – Made Me Do It (Earache) 00
  97. Prong – Cleansing (Epic) 94
  98. Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion (Noise) 85
  99. Bathory – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark (New Renaissance/Black Mark) 86
  100. Enslaved – Isa (Candlelight) 05
  101. Opeth – Deliverance (Koch) 02
  102. Reverend Bizarre – In The Rectory Of Reverend Bizarre (Hammerheart) 02
  103. Manilla Road – Open The Gates (Black Dragon/Dragonheart) 85
  104. High On Fire – Surrounded By Thieves (Relapse) 02
  105. Nachtmystium – Addicts – Black Meddle Pt II (Century Media) 10
  106. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz (Jet) 80
  107. Pharaoh – After The Fire (Cruz Del Sur) 03
  108. Slough Feg – Ape Uprising (Cruz del Sur) 09
  109. YOB – The Great Cessation (Profound Lore) 09
  110. The Darkness – Permission To Land (Must Destroy) 03
  111. Alunah – Call Of Avernus (Catacomb) 10
  112. Witchburn – This Is How We Slay Our Demons… (Witchburn) 10
  113. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini (Nuclear Blast) 10
  114. Gojira – The Link (Listenable) 03
  115. Christian Mistress – Agony & Opium EP (20 Buck Spin) 10
  116. Enslaved – Below The Lights (End) 03
  117. Enslaved – Monumension (Osmose) 01
  118. Tiamat – Wildhoney (Century Media) 94
  119. Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse (Century Black) 94
  120. Tygers Of Pan Tang – Spellbound (MCA) 81
  121. Entombed – To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth (Music for Nations) 97
  122. Kreator – Extreme Agression (Epic) 89
  123. Lord Vicar – Signs Of Osiris (The Church Within) 11
  124. Neurosis – Enemy Of The Sun (Alternative Tentacles) 93
  125. SubRosa – No Help For The Mighty One (Profound Lore) 11
  126. YOB – Atma (Profound Lore) 11
  127. Obake (Rarenoise) 11
  128. Pentagram – Last Rites (Metal Blade) 11
  129. The Gates Of Slumber – The Wretch (Rise Above) 11
  130. Witch Mountain – South Of Salem (Mountastic) 11
  131. Castle – In Witch Order (Van) 11
  132. Opeth – Still Life (Peaceville/Snapper) 99
  133. Orphaned Land – El Nora Alila (Holy Records) 96
  134. Manowar – Hail To England (Music for Nations) 84
  135. Glitter Wizard – Solar Hits (Archers Guild) 11
  136. Slough Feg – Made in Poland (Megadisc) 11
  137. Corrupted – Garten Der Unbewusstheit (Nostalgia Blackrain) 11
  138. Grayceon – All We Destroy (Profound Lore) 11
  139. Green & Wood – Devil’s Plan (Cyclopean) 11
  140. Turisas – Stand Up And Fight (Century Media) 11
  141. In Solitude – The World. The Flesh. The Devil (Metal Blade) 11
  142. Thy Catafalque – Rengeteg (Season Of Mist) 11
  143. YOB – The Unreal Never Lived (Metal Blade) 05
  144. Trouble – Psalm 9 (Metal Blade) 84
  145. Cathedral – The Ethereal Mirror (Colulmbia) 93
  146. Manowar – Battle Hymns (Liberty) 82
  147. Nachtmystium – Assassins – Black Meddle Part I (Century Media) 08
  148. Enslaved – Vertebrae (Nuclear Blast) 08
  149. Slough Feg – Hardworlder (Cruz Del Sur) 07
  150. Finntroll – Ur Jordens Djup (Century Media) 07
  151. Slayer – Hell Awaits (Metal Blade) 85
  152. Neurosis – Times Of Grace (Relapse) 99
  153. Corrupted – El Mundo Frio (HG Fact) 05
  154. Sigh – Hangman’s Hymn: Musikalische Exequien (The End) 07
  155. Enslaved – Mardraum (Necropolis) 00
  156. Anvil – Metal On Metal (Attic) 82
  157. Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners (EMI) 82
  158. Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse (Century Media) 98
  159. At The Gates – Slaughter Of The Soul (Earache) 95
  160. The Obsessed – Lunar Womb (Noise) 91
  161. Girlschool – Demolition (Bronze/Sanctuary) 80
  162. Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman (Jet) 81
  163. 3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (Century Media) 09
  164. The Gates Of Slumber – Hymns Of Blood And Thunder (Rise Above) 09
  165. Accept – Restless And Wild (Portrait/Steamhammer) 83
  166. Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre (Earache) 95
  167. Tombs – Winter Hours (Relapse) 09
  168. Death – Sound Of Perseverence (Nuclear Blast) 98
  169. Girlschool – Hit & Run (Stiff/Sanctuary) 81
  170. Pharaoh – The Longest Night (Cruz Del Sur) 06
  171. Anvil – Forged In Fire (Attic) 83
  172. Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (Century Media) 97
  173. Entombed – Clandestine (Earache) 91
  174. Minsk – With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (Relapse) 09
  175. Cobalt – Gin (ProfoundLore) 09
  176. Uriah Heep – Demons And Wizards (Mercury) 72
  177. Napalm Death – Scum (Earache) 87
  178. Pentagram – Relentless (Peaceville/Snapper) 85
  179. Candlemass – Nightfall (Powerline/Peaceville) 87
  180. Today Is The Day – In The Eyes Of God (Relapse) 99
  181. Sepultura – Beneath The Remains (Roadrunner) 89
  182. Atheist – Unquestionable Presence (Metal Blade) 91
  183. Uriah Heep – Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble (Mercury) 70
  184. Sepultura – Arise (Roadrunner) 91
  185. Destruction – Release From Agony (Profile/Steamhammer) 88
  186. Anthrax – Among The Living (Megaforce) 87
  187. Morbid Angel – Blessed Are The Sick (Combat) 91
  188. Death Angel – Act III (Geffen Goldline) 90
  189. Madder Mortem – Eight Ways (Peaceville) 09
  190. Thy Catalfalque – Róka Hasa Rádió (Season Of Mist) 09
  191. Metal Church (Elektra) 85
  192. Whitesnake – Slide It In (EMI) 84
  193. Hammers Of Misfortune – The August Engine (Cruz del Sur) 03
  194. Madder Mortem – Deadlands (The End) 03
  195. Sodom – Persecution Mania (Roadrunner/Steamhammer) 87
  196. In Flames – Jester Race (Nuclear Blast) 95
  197. Metallica – …And Justice For All (Elektra) 88
  198. Pharaoh Overlörd – Out Of Darkness (Ektro) 11
  199. Argus – Boldly Stride The Doomed (Cruz Del Sur) 11
  200. Orchid – Capricorn (Doom Dealer) 11
  201. Finntroll – Nifelvind (Century Media) 10
  202. Manilla Road – Crystal Logic (Massacre) 83
  203. Sahg – Sahg III (Indie Recordings) 10
  204. Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love (Beyond/Elektra) 81
  205. Leather Nun America – Kult Occult (PsycheDOOMelic) 11
  206. Wooden Stake – Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades (Razorback) 11
  207. Loon (Beta-Lactam Ring) 11
  208. Dopethrone – Dark Foil (Dopethrone) 11
  209. Altar Of Plagues – Mammal (Profound Lore) 11
  210. Tombs – Path Of Totality (Relapse) 11
  211. Madder Mortem – Desiderata (Peaceville) 06
  212. Slayer – Christ Illusion (American) 06
  213. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft (Prosthetic) 11
  214. The Flight of Sleipnir – Essence of Nine (Northern Silence) 11
  215. Maligno – The Funeral Domine (Maligno) 11
  216. Lento – Icon (Denovali) 11
  217. The Wounded Kings – In The Chapel Of The Black Hand (I Hate Records) 11
  218. Seidr – For Winter Fire (Flenser) 11
  219. Ice Dragon – The Sorrowful Sun (Ice Dragon) 11
  220. Negura Bunget – Om (Code 666) 06
  221. Dark Tranquility – The Gallery (Osmose) 95
  222. Cathedral – Forest Of Equilibrium (Earache) 91
  223. Slayer – Show No Mercy (Metal Blade) 83
  224. The Meads Of Asphodel – Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua (Supernal) 03
  225. SubRosa – Strega (I Hate Records) 08
  226. Loudness – Disillusion (Music For Nations) 84
  227. Armored Saint – March Of The Saint (Chrysalis) 84
  228. The Gates Of Slumber – Conqueror (Profound Lore) 08
  229. Purple Rhinestone Eagle – The Great Return (Stank House) 10
  230. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (EMI) 10
  231. Korpiklaani – Korven Kuningas (Nuclear Blast) 08
  232. Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness (Earache) 89
  233. Mercyful Fate – Melissa (Megaforce) 83
  234. Alcatrazz – No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll (Grand Slamm) 83
  235. Converge – Axe To Fall (Epitaph) 09
  236. Slough Feg – Atavaism (Cruz Del Sur) 05
  237. Meshuggah – Nothing (Nuclear Blast) 02
  238. Savatage – Sirens (Metal Blade) 83
  239. Voivod – Angel Rat (Mechanic) 91
  240. Portrait – Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae (Metal Blade) 11
  241. RAM – Lightbringer (AFM) 09
  242. Wolf – Legions Of Bastards (EMI) 11
  243. Dark Forest – Dawn Of Infinity (Cruz Del Sur) 11
  244. White Wizzard – Flying Tigers (Earache) 11
  245. Arkona – Slovo (Napalm) 11
  246. Absu – Abzu (Candlelight) 11
  247. Pharaoh – Ten Years EP (Cruz Del Sur) 11
  248. Beastwars (Destroy/Universal) 11
  249. Demonic Death Judge – The Descent (Inverse) 11
  250. Cauldron – Burning Fortune (Earache) 11
  251. Bullet – Highway Pirates (Black Lodge) 11
  252. Troglodyte – Welcome To Boggy Creek (noMore Tomorrow) 11
  253. Korpiklaani – Ukon Wacka (Nuclear Blast) 11
  254. Wizard Smoke – The Speed Of Smoke (Wizard Smoke) 11
  255. Enforcer – Into The Night (Heavy Artillery) 08
  256. Portrait (Holycaust) 08
  257. Rwake – Voices Of Omens (Relapse) 07
  258. Anthrax – Spreading The Disease (Megaforce) 85
  259. Grand Magus – Hammer Of The North (Roadrunner) 10
  260. Enforcer – Diamonds (Earache/Heavy Artillery) 10
  261. Testament – The Legacy (Atlantic) 87
  262. Rock Goddess (A&M) 83
  263. Opeth – Morningrise (Century Media) 96
  264. Cough – Ritual Abuse (Relapse) 10
  265. Cauchemar – La Vierge Noire EP (Nuclear War Now!) 10
  266. Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time (Nuclear Blast) 10
  267. Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power (Atco) 92
  268. Iron Maiden – Dance Of Death (Columbia) 03
  269. Slayer – God Hates Us All (American/Columbia) 01
  270. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal (Peaceville) 11
  271. Hell – Human Remains (Nuclear Blast) 11
  272. Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down (Peaceville/Snapper) 01
  273. Gojira – Terra Ingognita (Mon Slip) 01
  274. Emperor – Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise (Candlelight) 01
  275. Cathedral – Endtyme (Earache) 01
  276. Manowar – Into Glory Ride (Music for Nations) 83
  277. Voivod – Dimension Hatross (FAD) 88
  278. Esoteric – Paragon Of Dissonance (Season Of Mist) 11
  279. Premonition 13 – 13 (Volcom) 11
  280. Morbid Angel – Formulas Fatal to the Flesh (Earache) 98
  281. Sodom – Agent Orange (Roadracer/Steamhammer) 89
  282. Autopsy – Severed Survival (Peaceville) 89
  283. Exodus – Fabulous Disaster (Combat) 89
  284. Coroner – Mental Vortex (Noise) 91
  285. Lamb Of God – As The Palaces Burn (Prosthetic) 03
  286. Opeth – Orchid (Century Media) 95
  287. Hands Of Orlac (Horror) 11
  288. Condenados – A Painful Journey Into Nihil (Shadow Kingdom) 11
  289. Nile – Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka (Relapse) 98
  290. Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death (Sanctuary) 06
  291. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (Century Media) 10
  292. Burst – Origo (Relapse) 06
  293. Poison The Well – You Come Before You (Trustkill) 03
  294. Immortal – Battles In The North (Osmose) 95
  295. Exodus – Bonded By Blood (Combat) 85
  296. Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side (EMI) 95
  297. Nachtmystium – Instinct: Decay (Southern Lord) 06
  298. Blind Guardian – A Twist In The Myth (Nuclear Blast) 06
  299. Prong – Prove You Wrong (Epic) 91
  300. Anatomy Of Habit (Self) 11
  301. Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys Pt. 1 (RCA) 87
  302. King Diamond – Abigail (Roadrunner) 87
  303. Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Polydor) 78
  304. Riot – Narita (Capitol) 79
  305. Blind Guardian – Tales From the Twilight World (EMI) 90
  306. Accept – Balls To The Wall (Portrait) 84
  307. King Diamond – Them (Roadrunner) 88
  308. Yakuza – Of Seismic Consequence (Profound Lore) 10
  309. Testament – The New Order (Megaforce) 88
  310. Demons & Wizards (SPV) 99
  311. Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force (Polydor) 84
  312. Morbid Angel – Covenant (Giant) 93
  313. Tank – Filth Hounds Of Hades (Action Music) 82
  314. Dissection – Storm Of The Light’s Bane (NBA) 96
  315. Knut – Wonder (Hydra Head) 10
  316. Deathspell Omega – Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice (Norma Evangelium Diaboli) 04
  317. Death – Human (Combat) 91
  318. Death – Individual Thought Patterns (Combat) 93
  319. Atheist – Piece Of Time (Metal Blade) 89
  320. Anvil – Forged In Fire (Attic) 83
  321. Cannibal Corpse – The Bleeding (Metal Blade) 94
  322. Bolt Thrower – Warmaster (Combat) 91
  323. Cauldron – Chained To The Nite (Earache) 09
  324. Darkthrone – Circle The Wagons (Peaceville) 10
  325. Behemoth – Demigod (Regain) 04
  326. Witchfinder General – Death Penalty (Heavy Metal) 82
  327. Lamb Of God – Ashes of the Wake (Epic) 04
  328. Bathory – The Return… (Black Mark) 85
  329. Entombed – Morning Star (Music for the Nations) 01
  330. Black Capricorn (12th Records) 11
  331. SerpentCult – Raised By Wolves (Listenable) 11
  332. Krallice – Dimensional Bleedthrough (Profound Lore) 09
  333. Anvil – This Is Thirteen (VH1) 09
  334. Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (Rhino) 09
  335. Bolt Thrower – Realm Of Chaos (Combat) 89
  336. Cathedral – The Guessing Game (Nuclear Blast) 10
  337. Megadeth – Endgame (Roadrunner) 09
  338. Korpiklaani – Tervaskanto (Napalm) 07
  339. Pig Destoyer – Terrifyer (Relapse) 04
  340. Entombed – Serpent Saint: The Ten Amendments (Candlelight) 07
  341. 3 Inches of Blood – Fire Up The Blades (Roadrunner) 07
  342. The Haunted (Earache) 98
  343. Meshuggah – Chaosphere (Nuclear Blast) 98
  344. Black Sun – Twilight Of The Gods (Future Noise) 10
  345. Black Pyramid – Stormbringer (MeteorCity) 11
  346. Soilent Green – A Deleted Symphony For the Beaten Down (Relapse) 01
  347. Entombed – Left Hand Path (Earache) 90
  348. In Solitude (Pure Steel) 08
  349. Prong – Beg To Differ (Epic) 90
  350. Meshuggah – Catch Thirty-Three (Nuclear Blast) 05
  351. Dimmu Borgir – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (Century Media) 97
  352. Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime (EMI) 88
  353. Burst – Lazarus Bird (Relapse) 08
  354. White Wizzard – Over the Top (Earache) 10
  355. We Are The Damned – Holy Beast (Bastardized) 11
  356. Wolf – Black Things (No Fashion) 02
  357. Genghis Tron – Board Up the House (Relapse) 08
  358. Solitude Aeturnus – Beyond The Crimson Horizon (Roadrunner) 92
  359. Cynic – Traced In Air (Sem) 08
  360. Corrupted – Paso Inferior (Frigidity) 97
  361. Crystal Viper – Legends (AFM) 10
  362. Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works (Wea/Relapse) 07
  363. Neurosis – Given to the Rising (Neurot) 07
  364. Unearthly Trance – V (Relapse) 10
  365. Ludicra – The Tenant (Profound Lore) 10
  366. Belzebong – Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves (Self-released) 11
  367. In Flames – Reroute To Remain (Nuclear Blast) 02
  368. Kreator – Violent Revolution (Steamhammer/SPV) 01
  369. Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon (Nuclear Blast) 03
  370. Exhumed – Anatomy Is Destiny (Relapse) 03
  371. Sigh – Scenes From Hell (The End) 10
  372. Children Of Bodom – Hate Crew Deathroll (Century Media) 03
  373. Naglfar – Sheol (Century Media) 03
  374. Megadeth – Countdown To Extinction (Capitol) 92
  375. Scorpions – Animal Magnetism (Mercury) 80
  376. Metallica (Elektra) 91
  377. Judas Priest – British Steel (Columbia) 80
  378. Trouble – Manic Frustration (American) 91
  379. Hellhammer – Apocalyptic Raids (Noise) 84
  380. Heavy Load – Metal Conquest (Thunderload) 81
  381. Heavy Load – Death Or Glory (Thunderload) 82
  382. Grim Reaper – See You In Hell (Spittfire) 84
  383. Samson – Shock Tactics (Grand Slamm) 81
  384. Stygian Shore – The Shore Will Arise (Shadow Kingdom) 89
  385. Prong – Rude Awakening (Epic) 96
  386. Saxon – Strong Arm of the Law (Carrere) 80
  387. Saxon – Wheels of Steel (Carrere) 80
  388. Coroner – No More Color (Noise) 89
  389. Opeth – Damnation (Koch) 03
  390. Earthless – Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky (Tee Pee) 07
  391. Middian – Age Eternal (Metal Blade) 07
  392. Turisas – The Varangian Way (EMI) 07
  393. Yakuza – Transmutations (Prosthetic/Red) 07
  394. The Meads Of Asphodel – The Excommunication Of Christ (Supernal) 01
  395. The Sword – Age Of Winters (Kemado) 06
  396. Napalm Death – Fear Emptiness Despair (Sony) 94
  397. East Of The Wall – The Apologist (Translation Loss) 11
  398. Virus – The Agent That Shapes The Desert (Duplicate) 11
  399. Hull – Beyond the Lightless Sky (The End) 11
  400. Dir En Grey – Dum Spiro Spero (The End) 11
  401. Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord) 11
  402. Liturgy – Aesthethica (Thrill Jockey) 11
  403. Morne – Asylum (Profound Lore) 11
  404. Giant Squid – Cenotes (Translation Loss) 11
  405. Cynic – Carbon Based Anatomy EP (Season Of Mist) 11
  406. Weedsnake (Weedsnake) 11
  407. Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil (Motley/Beyond) 83
  408. Caina – Hands That Pluck (Profound Lore) 11
  409. Tank – This Means War (Music For Nations) 83
  410. Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations (Metal Blade) 79
  411. Metal Church – Human Factor (Epic) 91
  412. Metal Church – Blessing In Disguise (Elektra) 89
  413. Loudness – Thunder In The East (Atlantic/Wounded Bird) 85
  414. Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Secret) 82
  415. Scorpions – Blackout (Mercury) 82
  416. Ihsahn – After (Candlelight) 10
  417. Accept – Metal Heart (Portrait) 85
  418. Cult Of Luna – Salvation (Earache) 04
  419. Bolt Thrower – For Victory (Earache) 95
  420. Gwynbleidd – Nostalgia (MRI) 09
  421. Liturgy – Renihilation (20 Buck Spin) 09
  422. Obscura – Cosmogenesis (Relapse) 09
  423. Crumbling Ghost (Withered Hand) 11
  424. Wolf – Ravenous (Century Media) 09
  425. Weedeater – Jason…The Dragon (Southern Lord) 11
  426. Rwake – Rest (Relapse) 11
  427. Wolf – Evil Star (Prosthetic) 04
  428. Slabdragger – Regress (Holy Roar) 11
  429. Brutal Truth – End Time (Relapse) 11
  430. The Atlas Moth – An Ache For The Distance (Profound Lore) 11
  431. Sólstafir – Svartir Sandar (Season Of Mist) 11
  432. Ixion – To The Void (PID) 11
  433. Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (WB) 81
  434. Motörhead – 1916 (Sony) 91
  435. Dethklok – The Dethalbum (Williams Street) 07
  436. Tank – Power Of The Hunter (This Record/Repertoire) 82
  437. Early Man – Closing In (Matador) 05
  438. Queensryche – Empire (EMI) 90
  439. Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (Relapse) 02
  440. Wolf – Black Wings (Prosthetic) 02
  441. Dimension Zero – Silent Night Fever (Century Media) 02
  442. Bloodbath – Resurrection Through Carnage (Century Media) 02
  443. Carcass – Symphonies Of Sickness (Earache) 89
  444. Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters (Southern Lord) 07
  445. Wolfpack Unleashed – Anthems of Resistance (Napalm) 07
  446. Pharaoh Overlord – The Battle of the Axehammer (Riot Season) 07
  447. Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb (Relapse) 07
  448. Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine (Relapse) 04
  449. Testament – The Formation Of Damnation (Nuclear Blast) 08
  450. Esoteric – The Maniacal Vale (Season of Mist) 08
  451. Converge – You Fail Me (Epitaph) 04
  452. Bullet – Bite The Bullet (Black Lodge) 08
  453. Bullet – Heading For The Top (Black Lodge) 06
  454. Bloodiest – Descent (Relapse) 11
  455. Nile – Black Seeds Of Vengeance (Relapse) 00
  456. Angel City – Dark Room (Epic) 80
  457. Cursed – Two (Goodfellow) 05
  458. Repugnant – Epitome of Darkness (Soulseller) 05
  459. Krallice (Profound Lore) 08
  460. Cough – Sigillum Luciferi (Forcefield) 08
  461. Meshuggah – Obzen (Nuclear Blast) 08
  462. The Sword – Gods Of The Earth (Kemado) 08
  463. Coalesce – Ox (Relapse) 09
  464. Skeletonwitch – Breathing The Fire (Prosthetic) 09
  465. Bloody Panda – Summon (Profound Lore) 09
  466. Slayer – World Painted Blood (Sony) 09
  467. Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit (Profound Lore) 10
  468. Caïna – Mourner (Profound Lore) 07
  469. Watain – Sworn to the Dark (Season of the Mist) 07
  470. Keelhaul – Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return To Obscurity (Hydra Head) 09
  471. Dismember – Like An Everflowing Stream (Nuclear Blast) 91
  472. Immolation – Harnessing Ruin (Olympic) 05
  473. Lazarus – The Onslaught (CD Baby) 07
  474. Ahab – The Divinity Of Oceans (Napalm) 09
  475. Cormorant – Dwellings (Cormorant) 11
  476. Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow (Metal Blade)
  477. Lair Of The Minotaur – War Metal Battle Master (Southern Lord) 08
  478. Rotten Sound – Cycles (Spinefarm) 08
  479. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination (Prosthetic) 11
  480. Loss – Despond (Profound Lore) 11
  481. Disfear – Live The Storm (Relapse) 08
  482. Machine Head – Unto The Locust (Roadrunner) 11
  483. Trouble – The Skull (Metal Blade) 85
  484. Quartz – Deleted (Jet) 77
  485. Nile – Those Whom The Gods Detest (Nuclear Blast) 09
  486. Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR (Century Media) 10
  487. Serpent Throne – The Battle Of Old Crow (Season Of Mist) 09
  488. The Swan King – Eyes Like Knives (Seventh Rule) 11
  489. Amon Amarth – Twilight Of The Thunder God (Metal Blade) 08
  490. Fist – Fleet Street (A&M) 81
  491. Dillinger Escape Plan – Calculating Infinity (Relapse) 99
  492. Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (Steamhammer) 09
  493. Nuclear Assault – Handle With Care (Combat) 89
  494. Triptykon – Shatter [EP] (Century Media) 10
  495. Candlemass – Death Magic Doom (Nuclear Blast) 09
  496. Goblin Cock – Come With Me If You Want to Live (Robocore) 09
  497. Graf Orlock – Doombox EP (Vitriol) 11
  498. Obscura – Omnivium (Relapse) 11
  499. TesseracT – One (Century Media) 11
  500. Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire (Nuclear Blast) 11
  501. Leprous – Bilateral (Inside Out) 11
  502. Bruce Lamont – Feral Songs For The Epic Decline (At A Loss) 11
  503. Gridlink – Orphan (Hydra Head) 11
  504. Riot – Immortal Soul (Steamhammer) 11
  505. Goatwhore – Carving Out The Eyes Of God (Metal Blade) 09
  506. Orthodox – Sentencia (Alone/TSC) 09
  507. S.O.D. – Speak English Or Die (Megaforce) 85
  508. Hammers Of Misfortune – The Locust Years (Cruz del Sur) 06
  509. Bible Of The Devil – Diabolic Procession (Raw Deth) 06
  510. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (Columbia) 82
  511. Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Century Media) 94
  512. Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy (Polydor) 86
  513. Enslaved – Blodhemn (Osmose) 99
  514. The Haunted – Versus (Century Media) 08
  515. Watain – Lawless Darkness (Roadrunner) 10
  516. Metallica – Death Magnetic (WB) 08
  517. Black Sabbath – Born Again (WB) 83
  518. Bloody Panda – Pheromone (Level Plane) 06
  519. Fear Factory – Demanufacture (Roadrunner) 95
  520. Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (Atlantic) 83
  521. Wolves In The Throne Room – Black Cascade (Southern Lord) 09
  522. Nevermore – The Politics Of Ecstasy (Century Media) 96
  523. Devil – Time To Repent (Soulseller) 11
  524. Arkham Witch – Croms Mountain (Barbarian Wrath) 11
  525. Vektor – Outer Isolation (MRI) 11
  526. Demonaz – March Of The Norse (Nuclear Blast) 11
  527. Rotten Sound – Cursed (Relapse) 11
  528. Thou – Summit (Gilead Media) 10
  529. Salome – Terminal (Profound Lore) 10
  530. Twilight – Monument To Time End (Southern Lord) 10
  531. Hanoi Rocks – Self-Destruction Blues (Lick) 83
  532. Accept – Breaker (Universal/Brain) 81
  533. Chateaux – Chained And Desperate (Ebony) 83
  534. Bloodbath – Nightmares Made Flesh (Century Media) 05
  535. Anaal Nathrakh – Domine Non Es Dignus (Season Mist America) 04
  536. Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales (Metal Blade) 84
  537. Terrorizer – World Downfall (Combat) 89
  538. Soilent Green – Sewn Mouth Secrets (Relapse) 98
  539. Old Man’s Child – In Defiance Of Existence (Century Media) 03
  540. Grimfist – Ghouls Of Grandeur (Candlelight) 03
  541. Arch Enemy – Anthems Of Rebellion (Century Media) 03
  542. Entombed – Inferno (Koch) 03
  543. Converge – No Heroes (Epitaph) 06
  544. The Gates Of Slumber – The Awakening (Final Chapter) 06
  545. Motörhead – Kiss Of Death (Sanctuary) 06
  546. Battle Of Mice – A Day Of Nights (Neurot) 06
  547. Cult Of Luna – Somewhere Along the Highway (Earache) 06
  548. Wold – Stratification (Profound Lore) 08
  549. Bloodbath – The Fathomless Mastery (Peaceville) 08
  550. Occult – Rage To Revenge (Painkiller) 02
  551. Y&T – Earthshaker (A&M) 81
  552. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Capitol) 88
  553. W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (Capitol) 85
  554. Converge – No Heroes (Epitaph) 06
  555. Portal – Swarth (Profound Lore) 09
  556. Venom – Welcome To Hell (Neat/Combat) 81
  557. Acid Witch – Stoned (Hell’s Headbangers) 11
  558. Indian – Guiltless (Relapse) 11
  559. Ringworm – Scars (Victory) 11
  560. Dawnbringer – In Sickness And In Dreams (Battle Kommand) 07
  561. Highway Chile – Storybook Heroes (21) 83
  562. Saxon – Denim And Leather (Carrere) 81
  563. Celtic Frost – Monotheist (Century Media) 06
  564. Vanden Plas – Christ O (Inside Out) 06
  565. In Flames – Clayman (Nuclear Blast) 00
  566. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor (Century Media) 05
  567. Yngwie Malmsteen – Marching Out (Polydor) 85
  568. Venom – At War With Satan (Neat/Combat) 83
  569. Cannibal Corpse – Vile (Metal Blade) 96
  570. Esoteric – Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum (Season of Mist) 04
  571. Diamond Head – Death and Progress (Metal Blade) 83
  572. Quartz – Stand Up And Fight (MCA) 80
  573. Angel City – Face To Face (Epic) 80
  574. Savatage – The Dungeons Are Calling (Metal Blade) 85
  575. In Flames – Colony (Nuclear Blast) 99
  576. Bathory (Black Mark) 84
  577. Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil (Jet) 82
  578. Pentagram – Day Of Reckoning (Peaceville/Snapper) 87
  579. In Flames – Whoracle (Nuclear Blast) 97
  580. Ascend – Ample Fire Within (Southern Lord) 08
  581. Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown (Roadrunner) 08
  582. Gama Bomb – Citizen Brain (Earache) 08
  583. Diamond Head – Borrowed Time (MCA) 82
  584. Napalm Death – Harmony Corruption (Earache) 90
  585. Big Business – Head For The Shallow (Hydra Head) 05
  586. Arch Enemy – Burning Bridges (Century Media) 99
  587. Venom – Possessed (Neat/Combat) 85
  588. Bal-Sagath – The Cthonic Chronicles (Candlelight) 06
  589. Lamb Of God – Sacrament (Epic) 06
  590. Krokus – Headhunter (Arista) 83
  591. Shadows Fall – Threads Of Life (Roadrunner) 07
  592. W.A.S.P. (Capitol) 84
  593. Dantesco – Pagano (Stormspell/Cruz Del Sur) 08
  594. Scorpions – Sting In The Tail (UMe) 10
  595. Witchery – Witchkrieg (Century Media) 10
  596. Cannibal Corpse – Butchered At Birth (Metal Blade) 91
  597. Tygers Of Pan Tang – Wild Cat (MCA) 80
  598. Napalm Death – The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code (Century Media) 05
  599. Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness (Metal Blade) 05
  600. Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (Metal Magic) 90
  601. Death – Symbolic (Roadrunner) 95
  602. Dio – Dream Evil (Reprise) 87
  603. Trouble – Run To The Light (Metal Blade) 87
  604. Ulver – Shadows of the Sun (The End) 07
  605. Manilla Road – Mystification (Black Dragon) 87
  606. Death – Leprosy (Combat) 88
  607. Death – Screaming Bloody Gore (Combat) 87
  608. Iced Earth – The Dark Saga (Century Media) 96
  609. Ratt – Out Of The Cellar (Atlantic) 84
  610. Ordog – Remorse (Violent Journey) 11
  611. Wooden Stake – Black Caped Carnivore EP (Sorcerer’s Pledge) 11
  612. Wreck of the Hesperus – Light Rotting Out (Aesthetic Death) 11
  613. Hail Of Bullets – Of Frost And War (Metal Blade) 08
  614. Origin – Antithesis (Relapse) 08
  615. Neuraxis – The Thin Line Between (Prosthetic/Red) 08
  616. Exciter – Violence and Force (Music For Nations) 84
  617. Leviathan – True Traitor, True Whore (Profound Lore) 11
  618. Carcass – Reek Of Putrefaction (Earache) 88
  619. Il Malpertugio – Deranged (Il Malpertugio) 11
  620. Unearth – Darkness in the Light (Metal Blade) 11
  621. Krallice – Diotima (Profound Lore) 11
  622. Blut Aus Nord – 777: Sect(S) (Debemur Morti) 11
  623. Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (Metal Blade) 11
  624. Megadeth – Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good (Combat) 85
  625. Anthrax – Fistful of Metal (Megaforce) 84
  626. Voivod – Killing Technology (Noise) 87
  627. Exciter – Long Live The Loud (Music For Nations) 85
  628. Warlock – Burning the Witches (Mercury) 84
  629. Orphaned Land – Sahara (Holy Land) 94
  630. Exciter – Heavy Metal Maniac (Enigma) 83
  631. Jag Panzer – Ample Destruction (Metal Blade) 84
  632. Def Leppard – On Through The Night (Polydor) 80
  633. Thrust – Fist Held High (Metal Blade) 84
  634. Venom – Possessed (Neat/Combat) 85
  635. Scorpions – Taken By Force (Universal/Hip-O) 78
  636. Torch – Fireraiser (Metal Blade) 82
  637. Judas Priest – Point Of Entry (Columbia) 81
  638. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry (Atlantic) 84
  639. Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith (Columbia) 84
  640. Waysted (Music For Nations) 84
  641. Warlord – Deliver Us (Restless) 83

Read more: The Best Heavy Rock Albums

Painting by Martin Birch