In my latest series, bringing my inner metalhead out, we’re talking about the 300 metal albums that grace my iPod. And of course, if I think they are good, then I think you should as well. Wishful thinking, I know – but you will like some of these, I guarantee.
270. Megadeth, Risk (1999)
This is without a doubt, the black sheep of the Megadeth catalog. Everyone can agree this sounds nothing like other Megadeth records, but the opinion is torn whether this is a piece of shit or Dave Mustaine should be rewarded for trying something a bit new. Obviously you know how I feel since it’s here.
I have always felt that if bands want to take a chance on a different sound then more power to them, as long as it turns out well. And I think this album turned out great. It’s certainly not a thrash record with much more melody, pop tones and traditional metal riffs. But songs like “Insomnia” and “Prince of Darkness” completely rock.
The re-mastered version is really the one you want as it brings out the guitar tones so much better than the original. Even if you think you’ve never heard a track from this album, you’ve almost certainly know “Crush ‘Em” which was used in Universal Soldier: The Return or as the entrance song for Goldberg in the WCW. Or you’ve heard “Breadline” which is the closest thing to a pop song that Mustaine has wrote but still goes down as one of my favorite Megadeth tracks of all time.
269. Melvins, Lysol (1992)
This is the first of eight(!) Melvins records to appear in this list. King Buzzo and friends have been hit or miss their entire career. They’ve made enough unlistenable crap to turn people off to their entire catalog and just dismiss them. But there are also a lot of people that really think they are geniuses.
The most common thing I read about the group as a whole is that they are one of the few bands in this world that have influenced so many other bands, all of which are better than them.
To me though, if you weed out the crap albums and get down to the core, there’s some magnificent material in the catalog. Lysol (or later just Melvins after Lysol got their panties in a bunch because the name is trademarked) is their fourth full length and actually the worst of the four. But “worst” is still damn fine as Lysol is a kickin’ slab of stoner-doom that gets almost trance like in stages.
268. Manowar, Hail to England (1984)
Hail to England was their third record and is still their best. While as epic as any Manowar record, it’s also very short, clocking in at 33 minutes and only 7 tracks. This plays to the listener’s advantage athough as it cuts out all the filler, storytelling and chest bumping man-love present on many of their records. Hail to England just gets to the core of Manowar, manly-men power metal on a fucking grand scale.
267. Overkill, Under the Influence (1988)
Personally I think Overkill is one of the most overrated old-school thrash bands ever. I was never impressed with singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s voice and never thought they cared about much other than shredding as fast as possible rather than creating listenable music.
Now, I know a lot of you are quoting the title of their 1987 EP to me right now (Fuck Off) and you could make a case for their first four records being okay, but that’s about it.
Under the Influence is the only Overkill record that I find cool from start to finish. It’s the only album where solid songwriting is there from start to finish and it feels very much like a cohesive record.
“Hello from the Gutter” is a video I actually remember from Headbanger’s Ball back in the day on MTV in the video era.
266. Savage, Loose and Lethal (1983)
The first track on the record – “Let It Loose” – is a complete classic of the genre, power and speed mixed together with some of the best vocals of the decade. It was released in 1981 on an EP from the group and then Ebony records picked them up for their full-length debut.
All 8 tracks on the record aren’t great, but at least six of them are so good that it deserves a place in this list.
The band switched labels and put out another disc in ’85 I believe which sounded nothing like this album and they proceeded to disappear. I know singer and guitarist Kevin Osborn ended up playing with Billy Squier for a while, but it would be a shame if he didn’t front another group as his vocals are fabulous on this album.
265. Municipal Waste, The Art of Partying (2007)
Municipal Waste along with Toxic Holocaust are the new leaders of thrash metal – or at least that’s what I heard before I started listening to them. While I like Toxic Holocaust much more, Municipal Waste are a fun party thrash/speed metal band.
The part that makes their blisteringly paced thrash work so well is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. With tracks like “Headbanger Face Rip”, “Lunch Hall Food Brawl” and “Beer Pressure” they could be a better version of Tankard with a wider array of topics to talk about.
And just like Toxic Holocaust, Municipal Waste haven’t made a bad album yet, so they will certainly continue to be one of the leaders to continue the new thrash movement.
264. Church of Misery, Vol. 1 (2007)
Church of Misery is a Japanese doom metal band that pretty much owes its style to Black Sabbath. It’s painfully evident when you heard the slow doom mixed with psychedelia that Sabbath presented, as well as the cover art of Vol. 1 which is a take on Sabbath’s Vol. 4 album.
Not only that, but they have a split called Born Too Late that takes off on Born Again and a 2001 CD called Master of Brutality, that is a take off of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. So hiding their influences is not on Church of Misery’s mind at all.
Vol. 1 was actually released in 2001 for the first time though it was recorded in 1997 and never released (only via bootleg). It follows the same general path as early Sabbath records as well – doom, doom, psychedelic, instrumental, doom, psychedelic, doom. In fact “Frog’s Funeral” is vintage Black Sabbath with a Japanese accent!
263. Chastain, The 7th of Never (1987)
One of many projects that David T. Chastain led over the years, the 7th of Never is probably close to his peak. Chastain was a shredder and his projects showcased his ability to rip your face off with a riff.
The 7th of Never is really the only Chastain record to have all the elements come together – killer guitar work, quality songwriting and production values – although that still doesn’t mean it’s his best work, but very close. If you want to get a good taste of his guitar work, take a listen to “Paradise” below. And it’s hard to forget the amazing vocals of Leather Leone!
262. Demon, Night of the Demon (1981)
This is just a wonderful NWOBHM record from Demon. Unfortunately, they never lived up to this great debut again. This is simply a slab of super-melodic hard rock with some of the best harmonies of the period.
This is that record you would have played in your convertible back in 1982, with a big breasted blonde lady in the passenger seat, wind blowing her hair in all kinds of directions; hands up like you were on a roller coaster. As least I assume, since I was 5 at the time.
261. Death Row, Whore (1983)
I’ll admit this one is interesting to have here as it’s simply a three-song demo, but damn is it good. And the lineage around this release is interesting.
Influential doom metal group Pentagram formed in 1972 and put out demos until 1979 when they split. That’s when guitarist Victor Griffin and bassist Lee Abney formed Death Row and recruited Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling and drummer Joey Hasselvander to play with them.
After a VHS release and two demos, (including this one) the group dropped Abney and rebranded themselves as Pentagram again, this time getting a deal and creating the well known self-titled record and Day of Reckoning.
The Whore demo is better than all of these combined, which is why I put it here. I’m just addicted to this thing for some reason despite it definitely sounding like a demo. “Whore” doesn’t appear to have been rerecorded as a Pentagram track, though “The World Will Love Again” was rerecorded for 1994’s Be Forewarned and “Madman” for 1987’s Day of Reckoning.
The demo is super rare, so there’s no capture on youtube that I can give you, but below is the Pentagram version which has better production and is sped up quite a bit. The demo is much slower.