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The Top 100 Heavy Metal Albums

Below are what we, the staff of, have collectively decided are the best and most influential heavy metal albums of all time. We scored a list of some 400-500 albums to determine the top 100. There is absolutely nothing scientific about the ranking that appears below; it is simply the collective opinion of a group of true metalheads. Not everyone will agree with the list or all the items in it, and that's fine, we make no apologies for having an opinion and sharing it with you! This is not meant to be the only definitive list in existence, but it does reflect the common interests of everyone who writes for this webzine as of September 2003.


The Top 10


#1. Metallica - Master of Puppets

Metallica are a band that opened many doors for a lot of fans/bands. They also opened many doors and provided a lot of listeners with a gateway to other more extreme bands. Sadly, much of their material post "the black album" hardly qualifies as heavy metal, but in their prime this band dealt out thrash metal that was second to none! Just listen to "Damage Inc." or "Battery" and even today they still stand up against what has come along.


#2. Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast

It is of no surprise that IRON MAIDEN comes close to the top spot. Culling fans from all areas of the metal spectrum, Iron Maiden, clearly are one of the true innovators in heavy metal. The intro to the track "Number of the Beast" has become one of the "prayers" of heavy metal with just about every fan knowing it word for word.


#3. Metallica - Ride the Lightning

Arguably Metallica's heaviest album, the glorious RIDE THE LIGHTNING comes in at #3! This was the album that really started getting Metallica recognized around the world. It was followed up with MASTER OF PUPPETS which is really what put them on the map. However, the impact of RIDE THE LIGHTNING was definitely felt with "hits" like "Fade To Black", and "For Whom The Bell Tolls" to lesser hailed (but equally memorable) tracks like "Escape" and "Creeping Death" .


#4. AC/DC - Back in Black

Some of you youngsters will no doubt say "WTF is a classic rock band doing in a heavy metal list?" It is true that AC/DC has become darlings of the classic rock radio circuit, also their recent performance with the Rolling Stones in Canada to several hundred thousand people only goes to show that their appeal extends well outside of the metal realm. All this aside, that does not mean that their contribution to heavy metal in the 70's and 80's should be ignored! BACK IN BLACK is not only one of the best heavy metal albums of all time, it is also one of the best selling "normal" albums of all time as well!!


#5. Slayer - Reign in Blood

REIGN IN BLOOD is hailed by many as the definitive Slayer album. Clearly most of us here at agree, as the album comes in at #5. As I've said before, listening to this album is like a religious experience. "Angel of Death" is one of the best Slayer songs ever written. The whole album plays like the soundtrack to hell. Learn the sacred words of praise, hail  SLAYERRRRRRR!!!


#6. Iron Maiden - Powerslave

Iron Maiden's POWERSLAVE is a monster of an album. After the success of NUMBER OF THE BEAST and its follow up PIECE OF MIND, Iron Maiden was hard pressed to deliver an album that would match its predecessors. They would not disappoint as POWERSLAVE, with its instant classic tracks including "2 Minutes to Midnight" and the epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" would cement Iron Maiden at the forefront of the metal world and spawn the massive and seemingly never-ending World Slavery Tour.


#7. Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind

Maiden again? Yes, again...making for the third entry in our top 10! Many people consider this the pinnacle of Maidens career and with tracks like "The Trooper", "Still Life", "Die With Your Boots On" and "Flight of Icarus" it is hard to disagree. Piece of Mind turned 20 years old this year and forever will be a classic of the metal genre.


#8. Dio - Holy Diver

Ex-Rainbow, ex-Sabbath vocal god Ronnie James Dio comes in at #8. Pushing to his 60's, this old goat can still easily kick the ass of the majority of singers on the scene.


#9. Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss

SEASONS IN THE ABYSS is considered by some to be the last "classic" Slayer album. Songs like the evil title track and speed metal masterpieces like "Born of Fire" and "War Ensemble" have become fan favorites standing shoulder to shoulder alongside the band's past material.


#10. Judas Priest - Screaming For Vengeance

Rounding out the top 10 is SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE, the quintessential Priest album in the eyes of many. Fronted by the “metal god” Rob Halford, Priest have been one of the defining bands of the metal movement. “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” helped to create a new generation of metalheads and showed to the world that Metal Rules!!


Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
#12. Judas Priest - Painkiller
#13. Guns n' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
#14. Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil
#15. Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith
#16. Megadeth - Rust in Peace
#17. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
#18. AC/DC - Highway To Hell
#19. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz
#20. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
#21. Judas Priest - British Steel
#22. W.A.S.P. - W.A.S.P.
#23. Slayer - South of Heaven
#24. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
#25. Megadeth - Peace Sells…But Who's Buying?
#26. Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time
#27. Dio - Last in Line
#28. Helloween - Keeper of the 7 Keys Pt. II
#29. Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather (AKA Killing Machine)
#30. Van Halen - Van Halen
#31. Motley Crue - Too Fast For Love
#32. Accept - Balls to the Wall
#33. Iron Maiden - Killers
#34. Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
#35 Slayer - Show No Mercy
#36. Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
#37. Motorhead - Ace of Spades
#38. Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny
#39. Judas Priest - Stained Class
#40. Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
#41. Anthrax - Among the Living
#42. Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry
#43. Black Sabbath - Heaven & Hell
#44. Helloween - Keeper of the 7 Keys Pt. I
#45. W.A.S.P. - The Last Command
#46. Rainbow - Long Live Rock and Roll
#47. Def Leppard - Pyromania
#48. Skid Row - Slave to the Grind
#49. Megadeth - So Far, So Good...So What!
#50. Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction
#51. Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King
#52. King Diamond - Abigail
#53. Cover of Dismember - 'Massive Killing Capacity' Dismember - Massive Killing Capacity
#54. Halford - Resurrection
#55. Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
#56. Testament - Practice What You Preach
#57 Led Zeppelin - IV
#58. Death - Symbolic
#59. Mercyful Fate - Melissa
#60. Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
#61. Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth
#62. Deep Purple - Machine Head
#63. Scorpions - Blackout
#64. Van Halen - 1984
#65. Slayer - Hell Awaits
#66. Venom - Black Metal
#67. Ratt - Out of the Cellar
#68. Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath
#69. Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes
#70. Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle Earth
#71. AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
#72. Metallica - And Justice For All...
#73. King Diamond - Them
#74. Blind Guardian - Imaginations from the Other Side
#75. HammerFall - Glory To The Brave
#76. Van Halen - Van Halen II
#77. Overkill - The Years of Decay
#78. Kiss - Destroyer
#79. In Flames - The Jester Race
#80. Exodus - Bonded by Blood
#81. Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
#82. Skid Row - Skid Row
#83. Megadeth - Killing is My Business...and Business is Good
#84. Testament - The Legacy
#85. Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
#86. Venom - Welcome To Hell
#87. Twisted Sister - Under the Blade
#88. Dokken - Tooth & Nail
#89. Accept - Restless & Wild
#90. AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
#91. HammerFall - Legacy of Kings
#92. Saxon - Wheels of Steel
#93. Manowar - Kings of Metal
#94. Twisted Sister - You Can't Stop Rock & Roll
#95. Scorpions - Love At First Sting
#96. Van Halen - Fair Warning
#97. Black Sabbath - Vol. 4
#98. W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol
#99. Kreator - Pleasure To Kill
#100. Death - Individual Thought Patterns


Well there you have it, a look at the best heavy metal albums of all time!! It will be interesting to re-do this list in another 5 and 10 years to see if more material from the 90's and 20XX creeps into the list.

Thanks for reading,
EvilG, Rick, &

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