Most Important Albums in Metal History

The albums themselves don't have to be metal but more about the influence they had on the history of metal.

The Top Ten

1 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

The Original Heavy Metal album. This is what my list would look like.

1. Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath - invented heavy metal with it's heaviness and occult themes, something which Deep Purple never hard.
2. Welcome to Hell by Venom - template for all extreme metal genres
3. Kill 'Em All by Metallica - the first complete thrash metal album
4. The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden - made metal mainstream and notorious
5. Stained Class by Judas Priest - NWOBHM
6. Rising by Rainbow - In 1976, metal became metal
7. Seven Churches by Possessed
8. Morbid Tales by Celtic Frost
9. Bathory by Bathory
10. Cowboys from Hell by Pantera

Deep Purple isn't metal. The only subgenre you could say they invented was Power Metal and maybe Prog Metal.

1970. One song on this album is related to metal - Black Sabbath: it invented the template for doom metal (only) and not for all metal as many believe.

No! HEAVY metal doesn't sounds like this... too much ignorant people... it started DOOM metal!

The first heavy metal album to exist!

2 In Rock - Deep Purple

Of course the most important... only ignorant people think Black Sabbath or Paranoid were more important than this!

Most important in my opinion.

This is the most important album. It was even more important than Machine Head because In Rock came out earlier (1970), was heavier and gave birth to the metal subgenres that are fast.
Try the song: Hard Lovin' Man - pay attention to its speed, gallop, vocals, screams, etc. Much of Iron Maiden and current metal sound similar to this song.

3 Bonded by Blood - Exodus

What makes "Bonded By Blood" one of the most important albums in metal history is many of the 80's and current thrash metal bands owe a lot to Exodus. Without them, bands like Testament, Death Angel or Kreator wouldn't have been possible or never would have progressed. Same goes for Slayer, who had apparently heard of one of Exodus' demos (thanks to this tape-trading thing) before recording "Show No Mercy".

Didn't expect this album to be up so high. Thanks for not listing "Master Of Puppets" at #1 though.

This album is proof that thrash metal wasn't and isn't all about the "Big 4".

Thrash metal classic!

4 Kill 'Em All - Metallica

As much as I don't like Metallica, this album deserved to be on here. It's obviously an important album because of its launch of the thrash metal genre.

This album started the rise of Popularity for Thrash Metal and Metallica

Without this album, thrash metal wouldn't exist.

Master of Puppets is better but I agree Kill 'Em All was more important.

5 The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden

Not only was it Maiden's first UK number 1 album but it also helped to strengthen Iron Maiden's status as one of heavy metal's finest bands and influenced many bands in its wake. Classic album all round.

6 Cowboys from Hell - Pantera

This album inspired whole modern metal, deserves to be higher. When in comes to importance (it's not the list of best metal albums ever - it's the list of most influencial ones), my list would look like this:

1. Black Sabbath (1970) - Black Sabbath (first heavy metal album)
2. Kill 'em All (1983) - Metallica (inspiration for every extreme metal subgenre)
3. Cowboys from Hell (1990) - Pantera (as I said)
4. Overkill (1979) - Motorhead (on this album Lemmy merged metal with hardcore punk and became enough popular to spread this idea, resulting in birth of speed metal and thrash metal)
5. Stained Class (1978) - Judas Priest (bible for NWoBHM movement)
6. Reign in Blood (1986) - Slayer (I don't like this album, but it's a stample of aggressive and fast metal and it inspired countless bands)
7. Keeper of the Seven Keys pt.1 (1987) - Helloween (this album created whole power metal subgenre)
8. The Number of the Beast (1982) - Iron Maiden (album responsible for ...more

Progenitors of groove metal, and their success helped to further the genre's movement.

The importance of this album is that it not only changed the world, but was a huge influence on many genres that either emerged or were popular during the 90s, including alternative metal, nu metal, groove metal, thrash metal, etc.

Without this album Metal in the 90s would be in a even worse state than it was

7 Practice What You Preach - Testament

Testament may not be as well known as The Big Four, but to my best knowledge, they were "the next Metallica" (predating Pantera, Sepultura, Trivium and other counterparts) based on their style. "Practice What You Preach" was the album that propelled Testament to a larger mainstream audience, and thanks to the airplay of the title track and "The Ballad", the album peaked at #77 on the Billboard chart and even managed to sell over 450,000 copies, only 50,000 short of Gold Certification.

Without this album, Testament wouldn't have gotten the success they deserved.

One of the best thrash albums of all time!

Great to see this album crack the Top 10!

8 Welcome to Hell - Venom

Pretty much laid the template for all extreme metal genres.Especially Thrash and Black.

1981 - thrash metal, speed metal.

9 Master of Puppets - Metallica

One of the classic thrash metal albums that helped to gain Metallica critical acclaim and moderate success at the time, and whose stature has only grown throughout the years, especially with the amount of bands it's influenced and how successful Metallica have become since then.

Metallica's last album to feature Cliff Burton, who died not long after the release of this album.

Metallica's last album to feature guitarist Cliff Burton.

10 Rising - Rainbow

First power metal album

1976. Before this album metal wasn't a thing.

Actually, no, metal was a thing before Rising existed. Deep Purple formed in 1967 and Black Sabbath in 1968. Judas Priest also formed in 1969 and Sad Wings Of Destiny came out the same year as rising. Rocka Rolla came out the year before. But I will admit that it was very influential. - CostcoHotDogs

The Contenders

11 Reign In Blood - Slayer

Obviously an important metal album because it not only broke Slayer and the entire thrash metal scene of the 80's (which also allowed other bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax increased exposure), but influenced many metal bands of our generation, from bands like Sepultura to Obituary to Lamb of God.

Important for Slayer's contributions to the thrash metal and speed metal genres.

12 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

80% of the later metal doesn't sounded like this, while DP's In Rock, which inspired heavy/speed/power/progressive and thrash metal, too! This album inspired maximum doom metal only...

This album is basically the birth of metal. Rock on!

Not really. It's not even their debut album that invented doom metal. - Metal_Treasure

13 Machine Head - Deep Purple

I think their album 'In Rock' (1970) was more important but 'Machine Head' (1972) was important, too.
The song Highway Star was the most important song to metal from this album. Overall, it's a proto-speed metal masterpiece but the most important part is the guitar solo - it was the first true metal guitar solo. Before 1972 there were heavy solos but they weren't heavy metal solos in the strict sense. For this solo Ritchie Blackmore used Bach-like chord sequences and it was revolutionary.

14 Holy Diver - Dio

This was Ronnie James Dio's first band and first album after he left Black Sabbath in 1982.

Which turned out to be their best

15 Seven Churches - Possessed

I'm not a Death Metal fan but I have still never seen anyone point to an earlier death metal album. So this little album was probably the first.

To the best of my knowledge - the birth of death metal (1985).

16 Metallica (The Black Album) - Metallica

Metallica's first number 1 album on Billboard 200

17 Stained Class - Judas Priest

Painkiller is better but Stained Class (1978) was more important to the further metal development.

18 Ace of Spades - Motorhead

Was a influential for many metal bands

Helped to not only further the NBWOHM but also was a strong inspiration for both thrash and speed metal.

19 Painkiller - Judas Priest

This sing has a good beat...

20 Ride the Lightning - Metallica
21 British Steel - Judas Priest
22 Rust in Peace - Megadeth

This is must be number 1

23 Among the Living - Anthrax


24 Scream Bloody Gore - Death

One of the first death metal albums to exist.

25 Screaming for Vengeance - Judas Priest
26 Altars of Madness - Morbid Angel

This album is #1 on the "Most Important Albums in Death Metal History" but on this list? Come on!

According to legend, it's one of the first "true" death metal albums!

Very Slayer-influenced!

27 Morbid Tales - Celtic Frost
28 Sad Wings of Destiny - Judas Priest

It influenced Dave Mustaine to become a metal artist.

29 Blizzard of Ozz - Ozzy Osbourne
30 Show No Mercy - Slayer
31 Spreading the Disease - Anthrax

The first album with the classic Anthrax lineup of Joey Belladonna, Scott Ian, Danny Spitz, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante!

32 Balls to the Wall - Accept

The album that made Accept famous!

That name though

33 The Years of Decay - Overkill

Apparently this album had inspired Pantera to not only go groove/thrash metal but to have Terry Date produce "Cowboys From Hell".

Overkill's best work yet!

34 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Iron Maiden
35 Heaven and Hell - Black Sabbath
36 Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? - Megadeth

The album that made Megadeth famous!

37 Powerslave - Iron Maiden
38 De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - Mayhem
39 Symbolic - Death
40 Hammerheart - Bathory
41 Overkill - Motorhead
42 Bathory - Bathory

1984 - one of the pioneers of black metal and speed metal.

43 Brave New World - Iron Maiden

This is when Bruce Dickinson came back to Iron Maiden

44 St. Anger - Metallica

While this album is bad it was important because this album was when Metallica was at their lowest point and at least it was finished because if it wasn't Metallica wouldn't be a band anymore

45 Death Magentic - Metallica

This album proved that Metallica could go back to the Thrash Metal they were known for

46 Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin

Its not metal. It didn't influence any metal guitarist. But one thing I agree on. That is many metal guitar riffs have some similarities with their guitar riffs. Not the solo but the riffs. So their songs may not direct influence them but it came back through many stages.

Out of all the Led Zeppelin albums, this one is the most important in the development of metal (in my opinion). I don't know why no one has included Zeppelin when there's Black Sabbath in the top 5.

Probably one of Led Zeppelin's most important albums in their career, but certainly not metal.

Not metal and overrated as hell.

47 Lightning to the Nations - Diamond Head

Mostly because of the song Am I Evil?

48 The New Order - Testament

Mostly because of songs like "Into The Pit" and "Disciples Of The Watch", which are some of Testament's concert staples.

This was the first Testament album to enter the Billboard 200.

49 Piece of Mind - Iron Maiden
50 Surfing with the Alien - Joe Satriani
8Load More
PSearch List