My apologies about missing last week. My neck was a little sore from headbanging so much! Well, okay — there’s no such thing as headbanging too much, so that’s a total lie. And you’ll find that out by checking out the 10 albums below as we continue to look at the 300 metal albums that are on my iPod. We haven’t quite reached that level of perfection yet but all of these albums are close. They would all get a 4 1/2 out of 5 if I was using a rating system.
70. Slayer, South of Heaven (1988)
Today, South of Heaven is a brilliant record. Back in the day, not everyone thought so. This of course is the album where Slayer slowed it down a notch. They did it on purpose to counter the deliberate speed of Reign in Blood before it. Some critics praised them for writing “real songs” rather than just playing as fast as they could. It seemed like just as many were disappointed that it didn’t sound like previous records. I would tend to think that it’s grown on most of people by this point as today it’s loved just like everything else from this period of Slayer domination.
69. Europe, Wings of Tomorrow (1984)
Now don’t fucking laugh (just yet at least) as this is a serious entry here. Yeah, so Joey Tempest, John Norum and the gang are mocked for “The Final Countdown” but they had two albums before they released their breakthrough on tiny Hot Records. Their self-titled debut in ’83 was a pretty hard rockin’ affair and Wings of Tomorrow carried over some of that heaviness. But what they also did here was clean up the production and add some more melody and thus they bridged the gap between the serious heavy metal on the first record and the hair metal after this. It’s a really rockin’ record and the last good one they gave us.
68. Killing Joke, Killing Joke (1980)
For a moment I debated whether this was a metal record or not. But my doubts were erased when a comment in the first couple posts mentioned this record and where it would show up at. The first single from the album — “Wardance” also helped this notion out. The whole album is post-punk-funky-grinding-metal. The vocals to “Wardance” have an almost industrial feel to them too. Their sound had changed, changed back and changed some more over the years, but I can always go back to this album when I need something raw and gritty.
67. Celtic Frost, To Mega Therion (1985)
Widely considered the peak of Celtic Frost’s career, Tom G. Warrior reeled in the avant garde aspect of Morbid Tales a little bit and turned To Mega Therion into a pretty brilliant slab of extreme metal. And I don’t think you can put this into any genre other than that. Some people call it a thrash record but there are so many long, monotonous passages that calling it straight thrash doesn’t really do it justice. And calling this monotonous is not a bad thing either, that’s part of the charm of the group. There’s not a bad song on the album but the only reason I don’t think it’s perfect is that it really loses something when you listen to it a track a time. Listen to it from start to finish to get the full scope of the awesomeness.
66. Anthrax, Among the Living (1987)
I’ve always stated that I wasn’t a big Joey Belladonna fan back in the day but there’s still no denying this is a fantastic record. In fact, the tracklist reads like an Anthrax greatest hits record, “Among the Living,” “Caught In A Mosh,” “I Am the Law,” “Indians” and “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” all are classic Anthrax tunage.
Anthrax hasn’t always put out great albums but what I’ve always respected them for is that they took chances and didn’t sound like anyone else. They were a speed/thrash band but they took the time to develop riffs and make real songs. Among the Living is the best example of that.
65. Annihilator, Carnival Diablos (2001)
Jeff Waters is a fucking shredder if there ever was one and while I’ve always loved his band, even I can’t say he hasn’t gone off course now and again. He writes much better guitar parts than he does lyrics, without a doubt. And as much as those very early records from the group were great, over the years Waters really perfected his craft and turned out some great albums. Dave Padden has been the vocalist for the last four records and it seems like he’s finally the guy for the job, but before that Joe Comeau got two chances to front an Annihilator album, of which Carnival Diablos is one of them. I love his deep, gritty vocals with the guitar sounds and this album from start to finish is not only super fast but melodic as hell. It’s the best album Waters has put out.
64. Megadeth, Endgame (2009)
This is the final Megadeth album on my list and I’m very curious to see if there’s any reaction to Endgame being this high. Obviously I think it’s the best album Dave Mustaine has put out. It’s brutally fast, extremely well written and has some amazing energy to it. And I think overall it really surprised me quite a bit. United Abominations and The System Has Failed were decent records but they didn’t give any indication that something this great was going to be released from the group.
63. Exodus, Pleasures of the Flesh (1987)
Raw, powerful and fast as fuck. Most people think their debut album, Bonded By Blood is their masterpiece. I’ll go back to Pleasures of the Flesh before that one any day of the week.
62. Nailbomb, Point Blank (1994)
Don’t forget about Nailbomb, the one off side project of Max Cavalera from Sepultura and Alex Newport of Fudge Tunnel. The album also featured Max’s brother Igor, Andreas Kisser and Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) on various tracks. It’s a massive, loud, hatred filled album with enough samples and electronics to make it feel like an industrial groove metal piece. “Religious Cancer” is one of my favorite metal tunes of all time, though I swear the drum beat is the same as “Let’s Go All the Way” by Sly Fox. Zee-nee-nee-nee.
61. Karma To Burn, Appalachian Incantation (2010)
Just like the other Karma To Burn I had in this list, there’s really not a heck of a lot I have to say about this mostly instrumental stoner metal group. This was their first album in eight years and it’s like they never broke up. So far, the group hasn’t put out even one shitty thing. Amazing.