Bang your head, metal health will drive you mad! We continue on looking at the 300 metal albums that grace my iPod as we inch closer to the number one spot. Each album in this post would get 4 1/2 out of 5 stars if I did that sort of thing.
And here’s an updated list of what we covered so far (download).
120. Salem, Playing God and Other Short Stories (2010)
I always say that I like things that are different and Israeli Jewish death metal falls into that category without even listening to the actual disc. But when you do, you find a very accessible brand of death metal and some of the most unique metal drumming and percussion around with the use of bongos and maybe even some steel drums (?). And it’s that drumming that absolutely makes the record for me. Critically, this has gotten ripped and thus might be considered the worst of their six records at this point. I have no fucking clue what other people are hearing as I could listen to this all day.
119. Machine Head, The Blackening (2007)
The simple fact of the matter here is that Machine Head sucked brutally for many years. When they began in 1994 with Burn My Eyes they were following the trends of music and eventually turned into pretty much a nu-metal band, which each album getting worse and worse. Then in 2007 they pop out this ripping thrash record out of nowhere. You can still hear moments of “Old” or “Davidian” from their early days but the rap is gone and The Blackening is a great thrash album with lots of melody. Now if only they’d follow it up one of these days.
118. White Zombie, Astro-Creep: 2000 (1995)
For my money, this is the only record that Rob Zombie has made that is great from start to finish. I remember being hooked on this piece of yellow vinyl with a remix of “More Human Than Human” on it that was totally killer. But man, this record is a blast with fun tracks like “Super-Charger Heaven” and “El Phantasmo and the Chicken-Run Blast-O-Rama.” I find all of Rob’s solo albums to be a little too pop for my taste but this is rippin’ from start to finish.
117. Death Angel, Killing Season (2008)
Death Angel is another group I didn’t like in their heyday. They released three records from ’87-90, took a little break, released another in 2004, took a smaller break and then released Killing Season in 2008. Up until this point they really did nothing for me. It was all because of my dislike for Mark Osegueda’s voice. But on Killing Season, it works for some reason. Maybe it’s because the riffs are stronger than they ever were. Maybe it’s because of killer melodies from start to finish. Either way, this is a key album in the new wave of thrash.
116. Goatsnake, Goatsnake Vol. 1 (1999)
Goatsnake only managed two albums before they broke up but their debut here is a benchmark for stoner rock records. It marks the ability to mix slow, heavy riffs with more upbeat rockin’ sounds and yet still maintain that gritty down-in-the-mud type feel. And Goatsnake is known for having Greg Anderson as the guitarist. He’d go on to be one of the masterminds behind the universally loved Sunn O))).
115. My Dying Bride, Songs of Darkness, Words of Light (2004)
1995’s The Angel and the Dark River was the first goth metal disc I owned and I wore that shit out. I’ve loved the band ever since though they went through a rough patch for a while and at times were way too depressing for me to listen to. But Songs of Darkness, Words of Light is far and away their peak. The record is filled with gloom and darkness but the strings provide the tracks with more of an epic feel than on any other album of theirs. My Dying Bride is certainly not for a party crowd but turn the lights down low with a pint in hand and you’ve got a mesmerizing listen.
114. Exodus, Shovel Headed Kill Machine (2005)
Exodus reformed in 2004 to modernize their rippin’ thrash metal sound and while that album (Tempo of the Damned) was pretty solid, Shovel Headed Kill Machine was where they got the new vibe completely correct. The riffs are immense, the production powerful and the choruses are total sing alongs. It’s every man’s thrash and a great one-two punch along side the Death Angel record from earlier in the post.
113. Dio, Killing the Dragon (2002)
Most metal fans should know the ’80s Dio with great albums like Holy Diver and The Last In Line. But he wasn’t given enough credit for his later work. Some was mediocre for sure but much of it was pretty great even if it didn’t get the praise it should have. Killing the Dragon was Ronnie James Dio’s next to last studio record with his band and the best of his later period. Doug Aldrich provides a soloing clinic and RJD’s voice is stellar on the recording. It’s the only one of his last three or four albums that doesn’t have a bit of filler on it. Now of course, I’m not sure what to say of “Rock & Roll” which opens up with a riff that sounds strangely familiar with “Kashmir.”
112. Attila, Rolling Thunder (1986)
One album, one slab of brilliance. Although released in 1986, this sounds very 1981-1982. The biggest flaw of the disc is the production. It kind of sounds like it was recorded with the band three rooms away. It might be up 50 more slots if it sounded even half better than it does. That’s really the only problem on this otherwise super catchy traditional heavy metal album.
111. Lita Ford, Dancin’ on the Edge (1984)
With my usual dislike of female artists it might be a bit of a surprise to see this here. But Lita ford was a total shredder and her second solo disc, Dancin’ on the Edge is a wonderful slab of rock. Her debut was a little too raw and disjointed and her next one (Lita) pushed that commercial direction, but this is the one record from her that you truly need to have. You want to hear a real lady tear it up on the guitar – right here baby.