5-star records. Who doesn’t love them, well I mean if you’re working off a 5-star scale of course? Well, that’s what all these records are. Perfect metal records. Records that every metal fan should hear and hopefully love. It’s time for the top 40, as we continue to look at the 300 metal records that grace my iPod.
40. Limp Bizkit, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
What can you say about this record? The best nu-metal record without question. The album that really took the brilliant work of Fred Durst up a notch. Even Scott Weiland appeared with the band. It’s clearly the pinnacle of the year 2000 and made white rappers look totally fly for a change. Now I know ya’ll be lovin’ this shit right here.
40. The Melvins, Houdini (1993)
Keeping in mind that this is April Fool’s Day, here’s the real #40 for you. Houdini was really the first very accessible Melvins record. It maintained some of the sludge, while not losing all of the quirkiness of previous releases. However, it didn’t sound like a grunge record, more like a metal album which is shocking a little bit at least because Kurt Cobain produced much of this. Songs like “Hooch,” “Night Goat” and “Teet” make this album pretty damn awesome and the best one in their massive catalog. Yes, you read that right — this is the final of many Melvins records in this countdown.
39. The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Down Among the Deadmen (2000)
What do you get when you combine a really bad band name with some really good music?You get these guys, a critical acclaimed band that 9 of 10 metalheads haven’t heard about. I slept on these guys for a long time. I mean a really long time simply because of the name. Slough Feg was the character in some British comic book called Slaine but I’m not sure where the Lord Weird part came from. Either way, it screams out to be a bizarre avant garde group. They aren’t. Ask any fan of the group and they will tell you there’s not a bad record in the bunch and that’s over the course of eight albums now. Down Among the Deadmen is their best without a doubt — a blistering rock fest from the first note to the last with great songs about the world of fantasy, sci-fi and folklore. They have this tendency to wander on the lyrical content during each album but have the knack to bring all the songs together coherently. Dig up the entire catalog but start here.
38. Death, Leprosy (1988)
Death is certainly a celebrated band in the world of metal. Evil Chuck had one of best voices in the death metal genre without a doubt and while I didn’t love the entire catalog from the group as it seems most people do, they certainly had at least two or three excellent albums, with Leprosy going down as the classic. The album is short and concise and features the beginning of their progressive metal sound, just a little here and there without giving up any of the maniacal riffs. The shitty thing of course is the Chuck passed away in 2001, otherwise we still might be hearing great music from them today.
37. System of a Down, Mesmerize/Hypnotize (2005)
I normally wouldn’t put two records together, but these two are really a dual disc set that just happened to be released a half year apart and honestly, I can’t really tell which album I like better. They originally occupied back-to-back slots here but that seemed a little stupid, so here they both are at #37. Whether it’s a “Violent Pornography” on the first record, “selling ass for heroin” on the latter or talking about “Old School Hollywood” baseball, this is 23 perfect songs. Even greatest hits records from most artists don’t have 23 perfect songs on them.
36. Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
The ultimate groove metal record, this is the disc that got my senior citizen’s neighbors panties in a bunch and got me pulled over for violating the township noise ordinance. I’ve said it before, at least I’m glad I got pulled over for listening to “Mouth For War” than some Air Supply bullshit. Now by some random coincidence at least once a week on the way home from work, I pull off the state highway and into the parts with the ordiance and lo and behold my iPod shuffles to this. And that’s not an exageration. I think my speakers want me to get the ticket so they don’t have to listen to my metal any longer.
35. Opeth, Deliverance (2002)
Opeth is a relatively ridiculous band and by that I mean ridiculously good. They have nine studio records without a dud in the bunch. In 2001 they really hit their stride though and every record since that point has been fantastic. The SOAD records above were meant to be released separately. Deliverance and the following record — Damnation — were meant to be a double disc but the record label wanted to promote them individually. So Deliverance came out first and was the hardest record they had made to date. The riffs were killer and the growls from Mikeal Akerfeldt were fabulous. It’s six massive progressive metal tracks.
34. Sledgehammer, Blood on their Hands (1983)
You could have a steam train going up and down and around the bend or you could have Blood on their Hands. Neither Sledgehammer would be a bad thing here but let’s focus on the group instead of the Peter Gabriel song. Sledgehammer was a NWOBHM band that formed in 1979 and put out a whopping….one record. Yep, this is the only one in their career but it’s one of the best slabs of pure early ’80s metal that your ever going to hear.
33. Danzig, 4p (1994)
So there’s no official record of this but supposedly this is the most stolen record of all time. Put in a slipcase that happens to be smaller than a normal CD case, a lot of people simply slid it in their pocket, hid it behind other CD’s in the store, slipped them in pages of magazines etc…and walked out with them. Stupid me paid full price for the disc but it was worth every penny. Each Danzig from the debut through this one got better with this being the best in his catalog. It’s the only album that Glenn made that sounds like this. It’s got a lot of minimal moments which gives it a super dark feel. And when Glenn lets out his usual wail at points he sounds like Barney from the Simpsons. As good as the first three albums were, 4p is the masterpiece from this angry little midget.
32. Opeth, Blackwater Park (2001)
Blackwater Park was the turning point for Opeth but they’ve made so many good records since, that it gets a funny rep these days. When someone asks you what your favorite Opeth record is it’s always followed by an audible sigh and “Blackwater Park, right?” as if it’s totally uncool these days. So this record went from being cool to love to sort of being lame. If you look on the encyclopaedia metallium site this only gets a 74% which is total bullshit and simply because there’s a few people that want to act like they know better than to love this now. Fuck it, it’s a masterpiece and the album that set the bar for great Opeth material. I won’t be waivering on that one.
31. Exorcist, Nightmare Theater (1985)
I heard this album for the first time a few years ago as I was camping for the first time. I popped this on my iPod and listened to this around a campfire while roasting marshmallows which is easily the weirdest place I’ve ever listened to a record about the occult. But even weirder is the legend around this album. Supposedly this is the group Virgin Steele. Jack Starr wanted to leave that band, so other members of the group recorded this record but couldn’t put it out under the Virgin Steele name because Starr owned it. So they simply put it out under Exorcist and then went back to their daily business (you know, or something like that). Shame too, because this is a great speed metal record with a very well written story about witches being burned at the cross. It’s definitely a concept record with interludes tying everything together and some killer speed metal riffs.