Top Ten Most Influential Metal Albums

The top ten most influential metal songs of all time. Remember that its all metal songs!
The Top Ten
1 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Though this album may not be the best metal album in terms of quality, Black Sabbath's debut not being number 1 is outrageous. It was the first real heavy metal album in history, and an album made 16 years later by a band that was probably influenced by Black Sabbath is just...

Number is my favorite, but this is where metal came from, so it kind of HAS to be the most influential. All the others that came afterward wouldn't have been without this one, therefore their influence adds to this one's influence.

2 The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden

See, Metallica is, although a great band, not as influential as the leaders of NWOBHM (sharing the title with the legendary Judas Priest). When we say influential, there should either be a Black Sabbath album, a Judas Priest album, or an Iron Maiden album up there.

Metallica's Master of Puppets does not deserve first place, in my opinion.

The best of the best in terms of quality, and one of the most influential along with early Sabbath and Deep Purple albums.

MUCH better than Master. In fact, Master wouldn't have happened without this. And since the list is most influential...

3 Master of Puppets - Metallica

Even if it's not my favorite album, I gotta admit that there isn't a single album that influenced so many bands like this one does. It's a masterpiece, can't deny it!

Each and every song is a masterpiece. Honestly, you're mentally challenged if you don't admit this album deserves number one.

Great album, but to be honest, without Black Sabbath, there would be no Master of Puppets.

4 Rust in Peace - Megadeth

I love James' way of writing a song, especially in his early days. My surroundings were always more into Metallica and not so much into Megadeth. It's a shame that this band really came into my life when I was older, over 25, but since then it has never left me.

Metallica is for sure one of my favorite bands in metal. It was breathtaking when I first listened to the Master of Puppets album. But when I first listened to the whole Rust in Peace, I thought, "How is someone even able to write such songs?" It's not like, "Yeah, this riff is awesome." It's more like you listen to a great riff, and then comes the solo, which makes the song even better.

I mean, when you listen to a song, you will surely pay more attention to the riff structure, and the solo is a cool fill but barely influences the overall sound of a song. Friedman, in my opinion, is such a genius on the guitar, and his shredding style is so unique. Dave wrote a song, and then Marty came up and used Dave's feelings in this song to create a solo that makes every song perfect from beginning to end.

And that's just it. Master of Puppets is also amazing, but Kirk isn't making solos like what happened on Rust in Peace. So for me, Rust in Peace, compared to all the metal albums I know so far, is "the one" that came closest to perfection.

5 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

I think a lot of fans may be too young to know how unlike anything else this album was. Though the first album was recorded and released before this one, Paranoid benefited from much wider distribution.

When you hear Paranoid in the context of modern metal, it might sound bluesy. But when you hear it in the context of what was around at the time, it's stunning. It changed my life.

Ask anyone in metal what they think is the most influential metal album of all time. It'll be this, or Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath.

6 Reign In Blood - Slayer

This beast of an album influenced a lot of bands such as Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, and many other extreme metal bands. It's not the most influential, but it gave birth to the roots of death, black, and groove metal.

While I don't like the album itself, I have to admit it's the gold standard for the extreme subgenres of metal and is cited as an influence way more than any other album by the Big Four.

Not my favorite album on the list, but this is the album that basically created the death metal genre.

7 Kill Em' All - Metallica

James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine were the greatest songwriting duo that metal has ever seen. I'm glad we have two great bands now, but it's a shame that we didn't get to hear more of what these two could do together.

Kill 'Em All is faster than Master of Puppets. Even though I love and own all of the albums on this list, I like Kill 'Em All better.

Kill 'Em All started thrash metal, and that's a fact.

8 Black Metal - Venom

This should be at least in the top 5. Instead of voting for Master of Puppets just because you like it, think of this: an influential album is one that has an impact on music, brings new techniques and styles to the table, and revolutionizes heavy metal.

This album not only influenced thrash metal, particularly Slayer, but it also coined the term Black Metal and was the first album to use extreme satanic lyrics. This album was the main influence for all the Scandinavian Black Metal bands.

Second most important metal album after Sabbath's debut. It pretty much launched everything that came after it (Slayer, Metallica, Bathory, Pantera, Death).

9 Sad Wings of Destiny - Judas Priest

While early metal had its foundation together with traditional doom (Black Sabbath), Judas Priest was, among a set of bands, the most important in shaping heavy metal as we know it.

The top 3 albums that shaped the metal genre in its early development were:

1. Machine Head - Deep Purple;
2. Rising - Rainbow;
3. Sad Wings of Destiny - Judas Priest.

Black Sabbath were not metal in the 70s - they were heavy blues rock. Black Sabbath joined the metal movement in 1980 after lots of stylistic changes in their sound and style.

10 Scream Bloody Gore - Death

Though Scream Bloody Gore kept more thrash influences ingrained in Death's music than later work (like Sound of Perseverance or Symbolic, which are really good), its influence within the genre of death metal cannot be overstated.

The birth of a legend. Every following album is better than the previous. One of the few bands in history that never released a bad album or song. Just pure bliss. RIP Chuck.

I'm tired of seeing people voting for their favorite albums instead of the influential ones.

The Contenders
11 Cowboys from Hell - Pantera

This album revolutionized heavy metal and turned thrash metal into a groove metal sound thanks to Dimebag's shredding riffs and Phil's insane vocals. Tracks like Domination, Cowboys from Hell, and Heresy are hits.

One of the most amazing albums ever. It has one of the very few metal songs that can actually make me almost cry when I listen to it.

12 Machine Head - Deep Purple

This album should always be at #1 because it contains several songs that defined all basic metal elements.

Highway Star - the first metal masterpiece. It's widely considered the prototype of speed metal and metal in general.

Hard Lovin' Man - pure speed metal too. Give a listen to this underrated song, and you will hear everything you hear in 50% of the metal songs created later by other bands - the gallop, vocals/screams, and song structure.

Ian Gillan was Bruce Dickinson's vocal idol for a reason. And obviously, Iron Maiden made this galloping style popular. Deep Purple and Rainbow influenced the NWOBHM directly and massively, thus shaping the whole metal genre as we know it now.

13 Ride the Lightning - Metallica

This is Metallica's best album to me.

14 Rising - Rainbow

An extremely influential metal album released in 1976 and a metal masterpiece. It helped to define and strengthen this baby genre (metal) in the mid-70s.

This is a top 3 most influential album. Without this album, you can't explain the fast and non-bluesy sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in the late 70s.

Metal epicness was introduced with all its aspects - epic songs, epic vocal performances, and also epic, fast, and technical instrumental sections (credits to Ritchie Blackmore and Dio).

This album includes songs like "Stargazer" and "A Light in the Black." It also deserves credit for inventing several subgenres like power metal and neo-classical metal. Dio's star also began to rise.

15 In Rock - Deep Purple

Oh man, I can't believe this list was created 8 years ago, and I had to add at #93 one of the two albums that created metal. In Rock by Deep Purple and Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath were these two important albums that started metal, both released in 1970.

Black Sabbath's album contained the template for doom metal, and Deep Purple's album laid the foundation for all fast metal subgenres.

Ritchie Blackmore's guitars and Ian Gillan's vocals were essential to go beyond hard rock and create the genre of metal itself.

14? Are you kidding? This album pretty much invented metal.

16 Morbid Tales - Celtic Frost

Perfectly exemplifies the birth of the extreme black and death metal upon the cornerstone of thrash.

Pretty heavy album for 1984, with a very Venom and Black Sabbath-influenced sound.

17 British Steel - Judas Priest

This album is the moment at which metal truly reached the mainstream, for better or worse.

One of the best heavy metal albums ever, along with Number of the Beast, Master of Puppets, Rust in Peace, Black Sabbath, and Reign in Blood.

18 Korn - Korn

It's the rawest, most emotionally draining album ever made. Singing about personal demons is scarier than chanting about evil spirits. A revolutionary album that changed the face of heavy music forever! Truly a masterpiece.

Heavy in a different way from every other album on this list and better than every other metal album I've ever heard. The songs make me want to slam my fist through a window.

With the popularity Nu Metal achieved, it's hard not to place the record that started it all in the top 10.

19 Led Zeppelin I - Led Zeppelin
20 Bonded by Blood - Exodus
21 Back in Black - AC/DC

Did some people read the question correctly? Most influential METAL albums? Led Zep, AC/DC, and Guns N' Roses are not metal.

Speaking of who influenced metal without being metal, I have to list Paganini, Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner. But we can't put them here because their albums are not metal.

Where is Rainbow, by the way? A really influential metal band with genre-defining albums.

22 Pleasure to Kill - Kreator
23 Lightning to the Nations - Diamond Head

One of the first metal albums, it inspired Metallica, Megadeth, and many more.

24 Master of Reality - Black Sabbath

The masters of genres gave birth to doom, stoner, and even Christian metal all at once on this masterpiece of an album.

The most influential doom metal album, like a giant passing all around our ears. Tony is the master, Ozzy the madman, Geezer the mental ill, and Bill the puncher.

25 Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
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