As I mentioned when starting this list, I'm not the kind to put myself out there unless I really believe in what I'm doing. "Lists" should always come with the caveat of subjectivity because they only speak directly for those who compile them. They don't necessarily include the opinions of all because what we regard as universal truths will always be subject to scrutiny by a few or a lot of people with differing thoughts. It's why we're human.
Still, I did make the attempt to keep my readership in mind when generating a compendium of this nature. You have to include Guns n' Roses, Metallica and Pantera even if you're like me, the kind of guy who both loves and loathes radio. I'm a little mamby pamby, I'll admit, when it comes to radio. I'd be thrilled to pieces to accept an on-air gig, yet the nature of nurture FM can milk out of a single song has ruined my everyday appreciation of the aforementioned groups.
Nevertheless, Appetite for Destruction needs to be here. Master of Puppets needs to be here. Vulgar Display of Power needs to be here. You have to acknowledge the contributions of the artists who walloped the world with their craft and despite their mass appeal, you can't turn a snooty nose away from them, no matter how "street" you want to appear as a rock critic.
On the other end of the spectrum, I found it difficult having to slice out other albums I would consider mandatory to metal's evolution. You may or may not agree, but I consider the Scorpions' Lovedrive, Def Leppard's High 'n Dry and the self-titled debut by Metal Church to be worthy albums of the genre. Even if Def Leppard went pop from Hysteria on out, High 'n Dry and Pyromania are stellar albums. The Scorpions scored big with a handful of crossover cuts (of which two are played on the radio to the tune of a mondo glut) but that doesn't mean they're not an important band. Lovedrive was originally on this list and sadly got trimmed, no disrespect intended. I still think fondly of my interview with Mathias Jabs and almost feel the need to apologize to him and the band as they too, along with Judas Priest, bid us farewell.
As I stacked albums on my desk for consideration, I came across many underground bands I felt should at least be in contention for this list. Gonin-Ish, Korpiklaani, Long Distance Calling, Made Out of Babies, Darsombra, Blind Illusion, Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Rosetta, Mouth of the Architect, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Bloodbath, Iwrestledabearonce, Nachtmystium...all bands I wish could've made it. I wanted Arch Enemy, Unearth and Shadows Fall to make the cut, and I'm sure there are many of you out there gritting your teeth having not seen them here.
Sometimes I picked albums where the artist had better selections. WASP's The Headless Children, for example. Should it have been on here? Oh, hell yes, it should've. Incredible album, as is WASP's The Crimson Idol, but in those cases, it came down to what should be considered indisposable by everyone who digs the genre, not necessarily a biased pick--and assuredly, this list is well-biased. If it wasn't biased, Iron Maiden (whom I consider the greatest metal band on the planet) wouldn't have had four picks, Priest three, Anthrax three, etc. This bias, however, was countered by how much of a cultural impact I felt the albums delivered.
Again, all subjective and honestly, this was a pain in the ass to hedge down, albeit it was a labor of love, as the colloquialism goes. I needed a break from reviewing as some new projects are being pitched my way. This was a fun diversion and a way to get my steam gathered up again.
So that being said, I hope you enjoyed The Metal Minute's 100 Albums You Can't Live Without and I invite everyone to express your thoughts here and offer up some of your choices for albums no metalhead should be caught dead without. The feedback I've been given to this point has turned up familiar names and a lot of obscure ones. Subjectivity at its best.
As always, I thank you for your continued support of The Metal Minute...