Top 10 Best Metal Albums of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Metallica - Master of Puppets

This album has the best of all worlds. James's lyrical composition is pure genius, and Cliff's Orion is an absolute opus that meshes sounds that shouldn't sound good together. Kirk nails it with his solos in songs like MOP, Damage Inc., and Battery.

This album was foreshadowed a little by songs like Fade to Black from Ride the Lightning. Orion and MOP also hint at what is to come with the amazing composition of ...And Justice for All. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, unlike the popular rap music of today, which only talks about drugs, sex, and money.

I think this is definitely the greatest album, not only in metal but of all time. Keep on headbanging, everyone.

2 Megadeth - Rust in Peace

We most certainly had to include this one on the list. It's definitely Megadeth's most intense album from the '90s. I like both the original and the remixed/remastered versions, although I have a slight preference for the original. The re-recorded vocals on the remastered version are underrated. They're quite unique to listen to, especially if you have the original version to compare them with. 5 Magics, Take No Prisoners, Lucretia, and Rust in Peace... Polaris are the songs that have different vocal tracks from one edition to the other, just to let you know. I absolutely love singing along to either version of 5 Magics every time. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due was also amazing. I got to see that song performed live, and it was their closing number. Rock on!

3 Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Although there are albums more commercially successful than this one in the massive metal genre, Paranoid should be number one because it's the most important metal album. Whether you think this is Black Sabbath's best album or not, it put metal on the map with classics such as War Pigs, Paranoid, and Iron Man.

There are other awesome tracks on this album that often get overlooked, such as Planet Caravan, Electric Funeral, and Hand of Doom. Without this album, metal most likely would not be a prevalent and formidable force in music, or even a genre at all. This album is responsible for inspiring many people to pick up the guitar and aim for that metal sound.

If there were no Paranoid or Sabbath, there would be none of the bands we enjoy today, such as Iron Maiden, Alice in Chains, Judas Priest, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Overkill, Opeth, etc. Think of all these artists and remember that if it wasn't for Sabbath, they would not be around. Then you will vote for them to be #1.

4 Metallica - Ride the Lightning

This album is amazing. When you look at thrash metal albums, this is the best hands down because of efforts like Ride the Lightning and Creeping Death. The just-as-legendary For Whom the Bell Tolls shows off just how good Cliff Burton was on bass. The greatest instrumental of all time is The Call of Ktulu, which instills a creepy atmosphere that words can't even describe. Escape and Trapped Under Ice, which are the weaker songs on the album, are still masterpieces. Then you add a dose of the insanely fast Fight Fire with Fire and the ultimate power ballad (besides One), Fade to Black, which makes this album the best metal album of all time.

5 Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

It's truly disappointing that this album is not number one.

Invaders is a mad, yet brilliant, album to start it all off.

Children of the Damned features a great song with a powerful chorus.

The Prisoner offers some epic vocals and a fantastic chorus.

22 Acacia Avenue goes a bit too far, and the content is questionable.

The Number of the Beast boasts an incredible opening, along with the best scream in metal history. It's such a misunderstood gem.

Run to the Hills features one of the greatest riffs of all time and an addictive chorus.

Gangland is full of awesome screams.

Total Eclipse showcases some of Maiden's hardest vocals.

Hallowed Be Thy Name is the greatest of all. It has four or five great riffs, an amazing opening, stunning wordplay, and it's the best 7 minutes and 14 seconds you will ever spend in your life.

6 Iron Maiden - Powerslave

I would've voted for The Number of the Beast, but then I remembered how fantastic this album is. After all, you can hardly beat classics such as 2 Minutes to Midnight or Flash of the Blade. And who can forget the legendary Rime of the Ancient Mariner? It's the album's big 13-minute track. It's the best 13 minutes you'll ever experience.

No, actually there's not. Many imitators of Metallica didn't know what to do with themselves when Metallica decided to blindside the scene with Load. So, metal itself is to blame for its reliance on Metallica to carry it.

7 Metallica - ...And Justice for All

Kirk delivers explicit work, and everything we love about Metallica and the heavy/thrash genre in general is combined into what I believe is the greatest album of all time. Everything is just perfect and beautiful.

The album is filled with awesome songs, including some of the most underrated ones like "Harvester of Sorrows," "Dyers Eve," and "...And Justice for All" (the song). I believe that "To Live Is to Die" is the most beautiful music ever created. It's like Mozart to me.

As I mentioned before, Kirk has done some amazing work, featuring amazing solos and generally awesome guitars. Hetfield has never been this impressive. I loved Cliff. His passing was a huge loss to metal, but I believe that Jason "Newkid" is totally awesome too. And this might be the best work we've seen from Lars.

8 Slayer - Reign in Blood

Do you want to know what it feels like to have your ears bleed and be shredded to pieces? If you answered yes to this question, then listen to Reign in Blood. It is easily one of the most intense metal albums of all time. It absolutely mutilates you in under 30 minutes. Everything happens so fast that you won't even be able to make sense of what you just heard. Violent, frenetic, and brilliant.

I'm a big Slayer fan, but have you heard of Sadus, Kreator, Exodus, or S.O.D before? What about South of Heaven or Seasons in the Abyss? They all easily match Reign in Blood, as great as it is. If you hang your hat on one Slayer release, then you're on a slippery slope. I'll take the atmospherics of Dead Skin Mask over Criminally Insane any day.

9 Judas Priest - Painkiller

What? Metallica's MOP is first? What the hell is Paranoid or The Number of the Beast doing here? Have you even listened to something other than Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath, guys? Painkiller would destroy your ears, kill your brains, and then rip out your hearts!

Can't stop the Painkiller!

The other albums on this list are all great, but they barely come close to Priest's 1990 outing. Halford truly shines here. Every song is fantastic, and I highly recommend listening to Painkiller if you have time.

I'm not exactly a fan of Metallica, but there are more of their fans than there are of JP's.

10 Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power

When we're talking about the best *album*, Vulgar Display of Power takes the title. Master of Puppets had epic songs from front to back, but Pantera put together a listening experience that flowed like none of these other entries. It hits hard and takes you on a vicious ride, but it does so with style - angry, angry style. You can't listen to This Love without expecting to hear Rise blast in right after! Hollow leads back into Mouth for War so seamlessly, you'd never think the album ended.

I understand albums like The Number of the Beast, Master of Puppets, and Rust in Peace being the top three, but this really should be in the top five. Every song is a masterpiece, and when combined, they make the greatest heavy metal album ever.

The Newcomers

? Equilibrium - Sagas
? Emperor - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
The Contenders
11 Opeth - Blackwater Park

I'm so glad this album is ranked so high! I have never heard an album that's so harsh yet beautiful at the same time. It has a perfect atmosphere, and it's all done with guitars and Steven Wilson's amazing production. Albums like this usually don't stay in my rotation for long, but Blackwater is different. It keeps me interested, and I keep discovering something new every time I hear it.

I love all of Opeth's albums, even the much softer ones. My favorite is probably one of the first three: Orchid, Morningrise, or My Arms, Your Hearse. My favorite songs are In the Mist She Was Standing from Orchid and April Ethereal from My Arms, Your Hearse. I think either this album or My Arms, Your Hearse should still be number one. Opeth is a great underrated band, very underrated indeed.

12 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Great album. It sounds more experimental than the rest of their albums, and it's very different from how traditional heavy metal sounded in the '70s. But it's great for all doom metal lovers.

This album is the Bible of Metal, the Ten Commandments of metal, the darkness. It's the album that gave birth to all other great metal recordings, the father of Metal.

This is the #1 heavy metal album of all time. Deal with it. Iron Maiden and Metallica may be better than Sabbath now, but Black Sabbath just invented metal.

13 Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz

A masterpiece in metal. This will always be entertaining, even after the end of time. Mr. Crowley and Crazy Train first appeared on this album, I believe. This album is extremely heavy, especially if you listen to the copies with the original bass and drum tracks.

This is definitely one of the greatest music masterpieces in world history. This is also probably the only album of metal (Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion II is hard rock) that I am literally crazy for every song. Young Ozzy with guitar legend Randy Rhoads is nothing less than perfect.

14 Dio - Holy Diver

I love Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead, Priest, Testament, and Anvil. Dio nailed something here. Holy Diver should have its own category. No disrespect to the other artists or voters - this album is important.

How come this isn't at the top? Holy Diver is one of the best albums by one of the best metal bands of all time, Dio! Just listen to the title track, and you'll see why this album rocks.

What is this doing down here? Metallica is way overrated. This should be second. Number of the Beast should be first. This album is so underrated!

15 Metallica - Metallica (The Black Album)

As a fan of Metallica outside of the US, I think it's important to look at the Top Ten metal album list on opinion polls, as they cover the opinions of Metallica's albums globally. This album is now regarded as better than Ride the Lightning. The world is finally starting to understand how great it always was. The so-called sell-out album is now gaining the reputation and recognition it deserves.

This album bores me. I'm a huge fan of the first four albums, and I can't listen to this one. It's so much more simplistic and weaker. I don't like the guitar tone, and I find this album thematically less interesting than their previous work. To me, this was the death of Metallica's greatness. But I do understand why people like it. This album simply isn't for me.

16 Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance

Priest's biggest seller is filled with awesome riffs, starting from the classic Hellion intro. It takes you to a future not so unlike our own until you soar through the heavens, riding like the wind. Honestly, I think Defenders of the Faith is even better. Don't get me wrong, though. I put Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, and Painkiller in the top 20 metal albums of all time.

Not too crazy, not too mellow, amazing intro song "The Hellion," and all the songs on here are masterpieces. It's the best heavy metal album ever because its music is suitable for anyone to love it.

17 Death - Symbolic

This is on par with "Master of Puppets" in terms of catchy riffs, "Rust in Peace" in terms of technicality, and "The Number of the Beast" in terms of pure epicness. This album really should be in the top 5. I think the only reason it's not is because many people haven't heard it before and think that just because its genre is "death" metal, it will sound like Cannibal Corpse - but it doesn't. If anything, it's more like progressive thrash metal. It really is sort of like a mix between the three albums I stated above, with very little actual death metal in it. At least, that's my opinion.

If anyone here is new to Death and this album, you should listen to "Crystal Mountain," "Empty Words," and "Without Judgement" first, as those are (in my opinion) the best songs on the album. But they are all great.

R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner

18 Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?

The great Peace Sells. You won't regret listening to this. I love how the drums are on this album - loud and heavy. It's a great piece of history, no doubt. Good Mourning/Black Friday is amazing, despite the sinister lyrics. Peace Sells is one of the most well-known songs of metal to date. The Conjuring is mysterious and crazy. Overall, I recommend this to anyone, especially Megadeth fans. The remixed/remastered edition is not bad at all - I love the intense bass - but make sure you don't miss out on the original pressing, where the drums are even more booming.

19 Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

It seems that this masterpiece is really underrated. It has by far the most melodic and epic songs of the whole series of Maiden albums. "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" feels like an update of "Somewhere in Time" to me, and I like it much better. There is no really bad song on this album. Right now, "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" is my favorite Maiden album ever, even better than the almost unbeatable "Powerslave."

It's just so epic. Listen to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Infinite Dreams, Can I Play with Madness, or The Evil That Men Do.

Here is my Top Ten:

1. Master of Puppets
2. Ride the Lightning
3. The Number of the Beast
4. Rust in Peace
5. Painkiller
6. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
7. Powerslave
8. Reign in Blood
9. Peace Sells... But Who's Buying
10. Screaming for Vengeance

All are mega-classic albums that are just awesome.

20 Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss

Dead Skin Mask
War Ensemble
Blood Red

This album is the most well-rounded, complete Slayer album. And they are "arguably the most metal band of all time" (Brian Posehn's "Fart and Wiener Jokes" - hilarious bit of stand-up, download it now).

Every track takes over your mind. Reign in Blood has the two best Slayer tracks, but Seasons in the Abyss is the greatest album of all time.

Where do I begin? The best Slayer album is so underrated. Along with "And Justice for All," "Rust in Peace," "Paranoid," "Reign in Blood," "Tomb of the Mutilated," and "British Steel," this is the best metal album of all time. Or at least for me.

21 Alice in Chains - Dirt

Falls under the radar, but this album is absolutely spectacular. There is not one track on here that I skip. I always listen to this all the way through. It's absolutely fantastic. If you don't have the time, throw on the track Rooster, and if you've already heard it, try Sick Man. That's kind of the overall feel of the album - very dark, murky, and downright depressing. However, there are moments that just send chills down your spine.

If it's not metal, then why does Phil Anselmo state that Pantera fought off grunge metal? Them Bones is definitely metal, as is Soundgarden. They were just ahead of their time. Lemmy didn't think Motörhead were metal, but they were. Disturbed think they're a hard rock band, and Bullet for My Valentine think they're a hard rock band with metal influences.

22 Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory

It is the greatest progressive metal album in all of history. Great lyrics, storyline, and obviously instrumental work by the gods of Dream Theater. Listen to it, and you'll forget any other band exists. It truly deserves a top 10 spot.

Amazing lyrics, amazing music, amazing instrumental technique - this is what should be considered a perfect album. The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, and ...And Justice For All are a few albums that are more than just music, and this is one of them.

23 Deftones - White Pony

This album is an Alternative Metal masterpiece.

Perfect bridge between heavy and ethereal, similar to Around the Fur, although that's a bit more abrasive.

24 Anthrax - Among the Living

Whoa, whoa, whoa, why is this ranked so low? Anthrax is better than Slayer, way better. They are the most underrated of the Big Four. The best are Megadeth or Metallica. Here are my top five:

1. Rust in Peace
2. Master of Puppets
3. Among the Living
4. Countdown to Extinction
5. Kill 'Em All

It's great, but it's humorous. Is that a good thing? Actually, yes, perhaps it is. Maybe we all take metal too seriously.

I have both the Black album and Among the Living. I often listen to both at the exact same time.

25 Metallica - Kill 'Em All

What in the world? How are Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning so high up, and this is at 59? This should be in the top 3 with them. This album was so influential to thrash and is one of the most celebrated metal albums ever released. This album is legendary!

I agree. As an album, it's superior to Death Magnetic, and for its influence and legacy, it definitely deserves to be higher.

I love Death Magnetic, but why is this below that? This is classic thrash at its best! A great album by the Four Horsemen!

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