I don’t often do these things, but seeing as it’s about music and a mate tagged me on facebook… I’m not going to tag anyone in response. If you want to do it, go ahead.
I could list 200 on here, and if you asked me again in a week I’d probably change some of these. I’ve limited myself to only one album per band so that I don’t end up filling it with the output of half a dozen acts.
My top 15 albums (in no order at all)
1) Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Yeah, they’ve done better, but this was the one doing the rounds when I got into them and the first I owned. Also, the first metal t-shirt I got was for “Can I Play With Madness”. I literally wore it until it was falling apart.
2) Lawnmower Deth – Ooh Crikey, It’s…
Proof that metal’s for fun. It was (is) stupid, silly, mental… and led to one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen (Newcastle Riverside). And my first stagedive. As it happens, I just re-purchased this album on vinyl as part of their recent charity activities, and hoping to see them again next year at Les-Fest.
3) Megadeth – Rust In Peace
Technically perfect, and a band at their peak. Musically just superb, and seeing them twice on the accompanying tour just blew me away. To play that fast and hit the notes with such precision on stage is staggering. I’ve followed Marty Friedman since and his acoustic solo work is every bit as good as his shredding on this classic.
4) Sepultura – Beneath The Remains
It would be easy to go for Arise, but BtR just pips it for me. A step up the heaviness scale from what Megadeth were offering at the time, and brutal live. Again, a band at the peak of their career and who managed to churn out a handful of brilliant LPs during that period.
5) Alice Cooper – Raise Your Fist… And Yell
First live gig I ever went to was Alice on the Trash tour. At the time I had that album, RyF and Constrictor. Annoyingly, he didn’t play anything off the latter two. Ah well. Raise just has such a great variety of tracks and that amazing medley at the end. Sums Alice up perfectly.
6) Original Cast – Les Miserables
Who said this list had to be all metal? A staggering musical that I’m surprised I’ve never got round to seeing live. The film that came out recently did it justice, but I’d love to see it in the theatre.
7) Poison – Open Up And Say… Aah
Yeah, it’s silly but – damn – it’s a good album. An anthem of the eighties, filled with quality rock tat and “that” ballad. If you want more on this one, check out the recent “Golden Oldie” article.
8) Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss
That’s right, I’m not going for Reign in Blood. Seasons just has more variety and, I think, darker tracks. For me, personally, this just pushes past the full frontal aural assault that is RiB.
9) Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
Say what you like about them now (and they’re definitely not a band that stood the test of time well), their first album was a breath of fresh air. Not a bad track on it and I played it to death and back in my car when it came out…
10) Papa Roach – Infest
…alongside this one from the same period. Papa Roach, on the other hand, are still doing OK in my book. Not as good as their earlier material, but not as bad as LP have become.
A rare band who, in my view, have not produced a single poor album. Their most recent, for me, is their absolute peak (I write this on the cusp of a new release). Many decry Supercharger, but I admired the band’s attempt at trying something new. Some of the albums that others may rate as classic, I found a bit bland. Musically superb, but just not grabbing me – The Blackening and Through the Ashes of Empires. It took MH a couple of albums full of long, intricate tracks which were just too lengthy to carry off live before they perfected it with Locust. A stunning piece of work on so many levels.
12) Skid Row – Skid Row
Followed by the almost-as-good Slave to the Grind, this was brilliant, gritty, sleazy rock in its day. Not a bad song on it, and covering everything from rousing rebellious anthems to tear-jerking ballads. Ah, why did Seb turn out to be such a dick? Glad to see the rest of the band still touring and churning out some damn good material.
13) Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power
Nope, not going for Cowboys. Aside from the title track, which raises the hairs on my neck if a band even hints at playing it live, it’s very much an album I can take or leave. VDoP, on the other hand, is one brilliant slab of damn heavy southern groove metal. It’s so good, it staves off seasickness.
14) Metallica – Ride the Lightning
I umm-ed and aah-ed about this one, as I’m just not their biggest fan any more, but this is an “of all time” list so they get on. Up to the Black album, Metallica were uniformly good. Master of Puppets would probably win the most plaudits, And Justice was technically incredible, Kill ’em All was genre-defining. But, for me, it’s RtL which wins it. Partly because I think it’s often overshadowed by the equally good aforementioned Puppets. RtL wins, though, as it features “Fade to Black” which is my favourite Metallica track of all time, and one of the only songs I ever learned almost the whole way through on guitar. Funnily enough, the other was “Master of Puppets”.
15) Slipknot – Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
A band that many tried to pass over as a novelty when they first appeared, who have gone on to be one of the biggest acts in metal. This third offering is my favourite for that oft-repeated reason – variety. Heavy, creepy, haunting, blistering, balladic. It’s all there in a wonderful collection.