29. Melvins - Stoner Witch
The deep music heads know Nirvana was the punked-up version of the Melvins, whom Kurt Cobain held in huge regard. The stories of Cobain sitting in the basement where the Melvins practiced weaves a dreamy, wish-you-were-there notoriety that should lure you to these guys. Also one of the most thunderous club acts you'll ever witness, the Melvins are sludge royalty.
28. Deep Purple - In Rock
This is one the heaviest albums of all-time, period. Metal's roots stem beyond Sabbath, going all the way back to Link Wray's pivotal power chord. Yet the MKII era of Deep Purple showed how to project with volume, aggression, tenacity and a disregard for decibel maximization. Zeppelin has been credited as the loudest live band in history, but In Rock might be the loudest album in history.
27. System of a Down - Toxicity
As important an album, culturally-speaking, as the Bad Brains' I Against I. System of a Down leaves behind a short career filled with a masterful catalog. Toxicity may have broken the band to a commercial avenue nobody saw coming, yet it's quantifiably the I Against I and The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan of its day. Few albums seek to change the world before winning any proficiency accolades. Toxicity, like System of a Down's entire recorded body, is ethics-bound.
26. Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
The second metal album I ever heard in-between Maiden's Killers and Dio's Holy Diver, Ozzy's Diary of a Madman is to me, his most important solo album. Blizzard of Ozz is his most acclaimed and certainly a must-have album, yet the cartoon character Ozzy later became is a strange cariacature of the dangerous and wreckless Ozzy Osbourne (with the loving textures of axe maestro Randy Rhodes) who put out this hallowed slab.
25. Venom - Black Metal
Speaking of cartoons, we come to Venom. I'll be honest, there was a time in my life when I was freaking afraid of this band. Moreover, I was afraid of what they represented. One day, though, I realized Venom were more satirists of satanism and paganism than actual proponents of it. Once you get past that and past Venom's sloppy, clunky performance style, you get them.
24. Iron Maiden - Killers
Let us not forget Paul DiAnno was no slouch on the mike. Few bands are blessed to have two dynamic powerhouses singing for them, and even though Bruce Dickinson remains forevermore the voice of Iron Maiden (sorry, Paul and Blaze), Killers is an exceptional display of metal vocalization and building song progression that would simply go bonkers on its successive album. Killers is a haunting album from the cover on down to its guts and every song here is just as classic to metalheads as Maiden's future body of work.
23. Dio - The Last in Line
Most people would take Holy Diver over The Last in Line and I have no arguments against it. That's actually accurate and though Holy Diver is superior, I hold a candle for this one simply for the amount of time I spent with Ronnie singing the title cut, "We Rock" and "Egypt (The Chains Are Falling)" into my ears as a teenager.
22. Van Halen - s/t
Frequently a starting point for many would-be rockers and metalheads, the first time you hear Van Halen's '78 debut will be aural masturbation. As crucial to the widespread panic of heavy metal and hard rock as Black Sabbath's Paranoid, Van Halen is one of the most sonically-disruptive and sensory-pleasing audile experiences you'll ever soak up in your lifetime.
21. Voivod - Nothingface
Yes, Voivod are simply that good to get three nods on this list. I once wrote a piece when Nothingface came out in 1989 in which I declared them to be the band of the future. They damn well should've been, but heavy metal became outlawed in North America and Voivod's responses after Nothingface varied from confused to outraged, though almost always interesting. Nothingface, however, is a prime example of how to effectively seam signature shifts and tempo changes. Prog metal owes everything to this album after King Crimson.
20. Megadeth - Rust in Peace
I will always root for Dave Mustaine and Megadeth and though the 'deth catalog has been filled with ups and downs, Rust in Peace is Mustaine's crowning achievement. One of the first true magnum opuses of thrash after Master of Puppets (no missed ironies, of course) and Reign in Blood, Rust in Peace still astonishes and it's just a bit more articulate than Master when you break the parts down. You go, Dave...
Saturday, September 10, 2011
29. Melvins - Stoner Witch