Top 10 heavy metal albums
The following greatest metal albums of all time top 10 list was compiled by averaging metal album rankings between a number of popular heavy metal websites. In fifty years when musicians look back on the birth of heavy metal, the follow ten releases will definitely be looked upon as the greatest metal albums of all time. If you disagree, please contact me about it and tell me your top albums!
1 - Master of Puppets
Master Of Puppets is the greatest metal album of all time. In terms of originality and intensity, there was nothing that could match it at the time. Tracks like Master of Puppets, Battery, and Welcome Home (Sanitarium) are just a few of Metallica’s most brilliant songs. Unfortunately, Master Of Puppets was the last album with Metallica’s Cliff Burton on bass guitar, who tragically passed away in a tour bus accident. Metallica were definitely pioneers of the thrash and speed metal genre, but overall were just great innovators of metal all around. It is no wonder that this is not their only release to make our greatest metal albums list.
2 - The Number of the Beast
- Iron Maiden
The Number Of The Beast is considered by some to be the greatest metal album effort of all time; we will list it as second greatest though as we’re trying to go by popular opinion. However, Iron Maiden are definitely one of the greatest metal bands of all time and have put out more than a few amazing heavy metal gems. Specifically, The Number Of The Beast features some of Iron Maiden’s most recognizable tracks like Run to the Hills, The Number of the Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name. Again, it is a really close tie between this and Master of Puppets, but at least it’s our second greatest metal album right?!
3 - Paranoid
- Black Sabbath
Paranoid may not be first on our greatest metal albums list, but it is definitely first chronologically. This is only Black Sabbath’s second full-length, which they released in late 1970. Paranoid is the kind of album that blew kids minds the first time they heard it and still holds up as brilliant to this day. It features some of Black Sabbath’s best songs, such as Paranoid, Iron Man and War Pigs. Here we think it is Black Sabbath’s greatest album.
4 - Ride the Lightning
Ride The Lightning by Metallica is something of a classic amongst thrash metal fans and simply one of the greatest metal albums ever. This was only the second studio release from Metallica, coming out in 1984 through an independent label. This album made Metallica a serious contender in the metal scene and also showed off more of their instrumental guitar work. Ride The Lightning has some of Metallica’s classics like Fade to Black, Creeping Death and For Whom the Bell Tolls. This effort from Metallica surely revolutionized an entire genre of music.
5 - Reign in Blood
Reign In Blood contains one of the most recognizable thrash metal songs and guitar riffs of all time Angel of Death. Slayer had put out a couple before this one, but Reign In Blood elevated the group to the mainstream and helped to ensure their place in heavy metal history. Its speed and ferocity combined with an always brilliant production effort from Rick Rubin make Reign In Blood one of the greatest metal albums of all time and forever.
6 - Powerslave
- Iron Maiden
Powerslave is Iron Maiden’s fifth full length album and their second in our list of all time greatest metal albums. It features notable songs from their catalogue including 2 Minutes to Midnight, Aces High, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (which is almost 14 minutes long). Powerslave is another one of those releases that will forever be respected until the end of time.
7 - Holy Diver
Holy Diver is one of the most beloved and greatest metal albums of the 20th century. Released by the heavy metal band Dio, this is one of those releases that forever immortalized the lead singer, Ronnie James Dio. Holy Diver has such amazing tracks as Holy Diver and Rainbow in the Dark; those are two songs that always inspire the listener to throw up some devil horns and sing along.
8 - Rust in Peace
Rust In Peace is Megadeth’s most beloved album. Released in 1990, this album exposed Megadeth to a larger metal audience and was even nominated for a couple Grammy Awards. Most notably, Rust In Peace contains two of Megadeth’s best songs Holy Wars… The Punishment Due and Hangar 18″, which is most likely inspired by the conspiracy theory of UFOs being transferred to Hangar 18 in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base after the Roswell incident in 1947.
9 - Screaming for Vengeance
- Judas Priest
Screaming For Vengeance is the eighth studio release from Judas Priest and we believe it is their best; although British Steel was definitely in contention as well. A number of sources rate Screaming For Vengeance in their greatest metal albums of all time lists, including IGN and Metal-Rules.com. This double platinum bestseller boasts some of Judas Priest’s most killer tracks with You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Electric Eye.
10 - Vulgar Display of Power
Vulgar Display Of Power was Pantera’s sixth full-length and is closing out our Greatest Metal Albums of All Time top 10 list. This was just one of those kick-ass records to really define American metal in the 1990s. With that said, there are a number of amazing tracks from Vulgar Display Of Power including Fucking Hostile, Mouth for War, Walk, and This Love. There are few American metal acts who have commanded the kind of respect and inspired like Pantera have.
If your vision of a Greatest Metal Albums list differs than our own, go ahead and contact us with your own top 10 greatest metal albums with arguments in favor of each release to publish on the site.