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Metallica Tag

So this is it. The final week of False Metal, Dead where I took at a look at the 300 metal records which appear on my iPod. It retrospect I probably should have just done 100 instead, but the more and more I listened to some of these albums, they just begged to be mentioned in some capacity.  If you missed any, you can search back in the archives and find the whole series or you can get a simple recap of the list here.

So if you go by my list of the 300, including the 10 below, the best year for heavy metal was 2009 which placed 17 albums in this list.  But the best era for metal would have had to been between 1985-1989 which had 16, 16, 10, 16 and 14 albums respectively.  And not counting the ’70s where it was debatable what was rock and metal once you got into the true metal era, 1998 seemed to be the lowest point with only two albums from that year making this list.  Of course, this is simply one man’s opinion and since I already know I’m going to get one hatred filled comment on my #1 album, I’m sure this doesn’t gel with everyone — but that’s almost impossible to do with any list.

But without further ado – the 10 metal records that I believe are the finest ever made.

10. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral (1994/2004)
In part #29, I mentioned that The Fragile was my favorite NIN record until recently – well that recently was 2004 when the two disc deluxe edition of The Downward Spiral came out. These cash grabs don’t usually interest me but this set was brilliant. The second disc is good for one reason, easy acquisition of “Burn” which is one of Trent Reznor’s best tracks. But it’s the remastering of the first album that made the difference for me.

Since the album was released in 1994 and Reznor was already up on technology, remastering the disc in 5.1 surround sound didn’t make that much difference. Hence, most people will tell you the disc is basically the same. It’s not. There are changes on the disc, often extremely subtle – but to someone that has listened to the Downward Spiral 9000 times, it’s noticeable. Intros and outros tend to differ in length from the original but it’s the blips, bleeps and otherwise background noise that most people ignore that really caught my ear. Reznor added very slight noises or notes here and there to create the full vision he wanted from the beginning and although it’s not drastic, the changes made a perfect album really stand out even more. It was at that point that I bumped this gem up over The Fragile.

9. Testament, Demonic (1997)
Enter 1997, with six albums already under their belt and popularity steadily in decline for the group, Testament change up their sound and put out a masterpiece of a record. The group had been changing over the years to a slower, groove sound but Demonic really brought a new sound to the group – and one that they would never do again. They moved away from political lyrics of recent years and back to occult themes and pretty much tossed the thrash out the window. A lot of people describe this as a death metal record thanks to Chuck Billy using all growls on the album. In reality it’s somewhere between death and groove metal – not too far from what Sepultura sounded like. It’s pretty insane how immense these riffs are throughout the disc and at the same time a song like “John Doe” was almost catchy enough to be played on the radio. Forget the name Testament on this record and just listen to it for the extreme metal throwdown it is.