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 In Rock - Deep Purple

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

Most important in my opinion. - zxm

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. - Metal_Treasure

2 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

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. - Metal_Treasure

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

The album that started it all: HEAVY METAL! m/

3 Welcome to Hell - Venom

1981 - thrash metal, speed metal. - Metal_Treasure

4 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!

5 Rising - Rainbow

First power metal album

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

6 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. - Mrveteran

7 Kill 'Em All - Metallica

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

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

8 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!

9 Cowboys from Hell - Pantera

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

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

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

10 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... - somekindofaguy

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

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

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 Holy Diver - Dio

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

13 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. - Mrveteran

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

14 Seven Churches - Possessed

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

15 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. - Metal_Treasure

16 Sad Wings of Destiny - Judas Priest

It influenced Dave Mustaine to become a metal artist.

17 Stained Class - Judas Priest

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

18 Painkiller - Judas Priest

This sing has a good beat...

19 Ace of Spades - Motorhead

Was a influential for many metal bands - christangrant

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

20 British Steel - Judas Priest
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List Stats

200 votes
42 listings
1 year, 28 days old

Top Remixes (7)

1. In Rock - Deep Purple
2. Welcome to Hell - Venom
3. Rising - Rainbow
1. In Rock - Deep Purple
2. Kill 'Em All - Metallica
3. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
1. Holy Diver - Dio
2. Cowboys from Hell - Pantera
3. Master of Puppets - Metallica

View All 7


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