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The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Yeah, this dude's making the cut.
Yeah, this dude's making the cut.
Dylan Hollingsworth

In the near or not so-near future,when you're lying on your deathbed, you'll reflect on things in your life that you've failed to accomplish: the kiss you never gave, the boss you never slugged and the metal album you never bought because your partner was bitching about the money that you "wasted on an exotic dancer who then sent you a message on Face..."

Well, you get the picture.

In honor of these failed accomplishments, here is a list of 10 heavy metal albums you must hear before Murray drags you kicking and screaming into the abyss.

See also: Ten Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2013

10. Lamb of God - Killadelphia

One of the best live metal albums ever recorded. Mark Morton and Willie Alder shred at top form, with John Campbell and Chris Adler providing rhythmically loaded bass grooves. Randy Blythe's vocals sound better than some band's studio shit: "When the five of us get together and make music, we get on stage... and it's just absolute madness" and tranquility for the fans. Killadelphia is the band's first live album.

The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

9. Exodus - Fabulous Disaster

The fathers of thrash metal ushered in a decade of fast tempos, double bass and, more importantly, shredding. Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt, or the "H-Team," slay fans with their own brand of guitar violence. "The Last Act of Defiance," "The Toxic Walk" and "Cajun Hell" are just some of the gems awaiting you. Fabulous Disaster is the band's third album.

The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

8. Cannibal Corpse - Vile

This album features new singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher who helped to elevate the band to the next level of death metal domination: abyssal slayers. Corpsegrinder infused Rob Barrett and Jack Owen's complicated riffs with his own brand of intensity, solidifying the band's place as explorers of a new style of metal: horror metal. Vile is the band's fifth album.

7. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz

The Godfather of metal's first solo album and one of the best metal collections to ever cross the Atlantic. Randy Rhodes ignited the guitar in ways that still haunt Eddie Van Halen. "Crazy Train," "Mr. Crowley" and "Suicide Solution" are just some of the tracks that inspired fans to hunt bats, to practice Rhodes' killer riffs and to pay homage to AC/DC's lead singer Bon Scott, who died from alcohol-related causes.

The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

6. Pantera - Cowboys from Hell

As metal slipped into thrash-metal redundancy in the late '80s, two Texas brothers shed their band's glam image and released an album that mixed Texas-sized attitude and musicianship with blues-inspired metal. Songs like "Psycho Holiday," "Clash with Reality" and "The Art of Shredding" are sure to inspire you to dust off that old guitar case. Cowboys from Hell is the band's fifth studio album. It ranked #11 on Guitar World 100 greatest guitar albums of all time (2006) and #19 on IGN's most influential heavy metal album of all-time.

See also: A Not-So-Vulgar Discussion of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power

5. Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast

What to say about an album that pisses off social conservatives and inspires public burnings? Fucking metal. This band not only caused my old preacher to foam at the mouth when he saw the numbers 666 but also inspired a religious furor that culminated into a crazed man (my second cousin) dragging a 25-foot cross back and forth in front of the stadium while a 30-foot mummified Eddie flipped him the bird from the stage. At one point ranking #1 on UK albums chart, The Number of the Beast is the band's third album.

 

4. Slayer - Reign in Blood

Blood literally rained from the sky as Kerry King raced through the killer riffs that bleed through this album; of course, the schoolyard bully had hit me three times to make the blood rain, but I'll never forgot the title track thundering across that abandoned parking lot. Reign in Blood is the band's third studio album. Short, intense songs that defy thrash-metal repetitiveness make this one of the most influential metal albums of all time.

The 10 Heavy Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

3. Dio - Holy Diver

When Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath for a solo career, only one man could attempt to fill his shoes - Ronnie James Dio. As with many metal bands, after a disagreement over song mixing, Ronnie and Vinny Appice left the band and eventually formed Dio in '82. This album not only features the first appearance of Murray, a devil with an agenda, but also inspired legions of fans who would later pay tribute to the album through popular culture: video games, anime and movies. Holy Diver is the band's debut album.

2. Metallica - Master of Puppets

"Master of Puppets is pulling your strings, twisting your mind and slashing your dreams." Every time I hear these words, I want to bang my head and scream, "Master! Master!" But then my daughter looks at me and asks, "Dad, why do you gotta be so weird?" Yet this album has been at the forefront of metal charts for years. Songs like "Battery," "Welcome Home" and "Orion" are the reasons why I picked up a guitar in the first place. And let us not forget Cliff Burton, one of the greatest bass players to ever grace the four string. Master of Puppets is the band's third album.

1. Black Sabbath - Paranoid

It's no surprise that their second LP is known as the Best Heavy Metal Album of All Time. With gems such as "War Pigs," "Fairie Wears Boots" and "Paranoid," this album packs power and riffs that devour. (Not bad for a guitar player who's missing his middle and ring fingertips on his right hand.) It is the most influential metal album of all time. Paranoid is the band's second album.

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