The Best Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time

heavy metal music list

Heavy metal is a music genre that emerged in the 1970s. It features heavily distorted guitar riffs, driving basslines and fast-paced drumbeats.

Critics have accused the genre of singing of morbid themes and occult topics. Critics have accused both musicians and their followers of inciting violence, suicide, and other social ills.

1. Slayer – Angel Of Death

Angel Of Death, the longest track on Reign In Blood, sets the mood for an iconic album with its 210bpm drumming and epic sonic assault. Though widely considered Slayer’s most influential song, it also raises controversial issues; lyrically it chronicles Josef Mengele’s human experiments at Auschwitz in graphic detail.

Slayer had only been around five years before Reign In Blood, but the Los Angeles group had already cemented themselves as an influential part of the underground metal scene. Their 1985 second LP Hell Awaits combined regulation Satanism with a love of horror movies and heavy influence from genre pioneers Black Sabbath.

Slayer had achieved success with songs such as Disciple, New Faith and Seven Faces, but were struggling to find a balance between their thrash roots and hardcore influences. That all changed with God Hates Us All, an album that earned them an ever-growing number of new fans.

Slayer’s third track, Payback, proved they were more than just speedy thrashers with this song that appealed to a wider audience than previous efforts and helped break away from the glossy nu-metal that had dominated the scene for so long.

It’s easy to see why label head Rick Rubin was so eager to sign Slayer after seeing them in Metal Blade. The label, known for its unconventional approach, had a history of championing upstarts who weren’t quite fitting into the mainstream. But when Rubin saw the band’s aggressive lyrics, he knew they had something special to offer.

Angel Of Death’s opening scream-heavy chorus set the scene for this brutal musical assault, and Tom Araya’s voice captured all of its horror. But Slayer hadn’t just focused on mass death or Josef Mengele’s human experiments; their lyrics also demonstrated their interest in philosophy as well as banging metal heads into submission.

This implies they sought to forge a deep connection with their listeners, not just a few notes and an emphatic scream. This was evident in tracks like Spill The Blood which featured arcane and doom-inspired sounds – dark and hostile in comparison to their more uptempo material which often felt light and airy.

2. Slayer – Belly Of The Beast

After five decades leading some of metal’s biggest acts, Joe Lynn Turner continues to create powerful music. His eleventh studio album, Belly Of The Beast, will be released October 28th through Mascot Label Group subsidiary Music Theories.

New Jersey-born songwriter Turner, who has supported legendary acts such as Black Sabbath and Rainbow, is a true heavy metal voice. His latest record – produced by Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy, PAIN and Lindemann – conjures up an atmosphere of dark lyrical horror as Turner shines the spotlight on some troubling subject matters.

Belly Of The Beast is a brutal and savage album in which Slayer delivers poignant lyrics and guitar solos. Their thrash-inspired music has an unmistakably unique character due to guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who tragically passed away from liver failure in 2011 and left Slayer shortly thereafter.

No doubt, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax have long been renowned for their dark, graphic lyrics about death, dismemberment and war. This approach has earned them the title of being among metal’s Big Four thrash bands alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax.

Although they are renowned for their brutal guitarwork, their music also contains plenty of melodies. Indeed, early albums like De Profundis and Revelations largely focused on this aspect of their sound; The only exception being 1983’s The Beast which lean more towards traditional heavy metal influences.

However, their aggressive sound has never wavered and their capacity for producing intense music speaks volumes about their commitment to rock. Their latest album, Repentless, released earlier this week, further solidifies their status as one of the premier thrash bands worldwide.

Slayer’s lyrics often displayed their incredible abrasiveness, as well as taking on sensitive topics like the Holocaust. Their song “Angel Of Death” is inspired by Josef Mengele – a German doctor responsible for conducting horrific experiments on prisoners during World War II. This poignant reminder serves to serve as an unsettling reminder that evil knows no boundaries.

3. Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Black Sabbath’s Paranoid album, released in 1970, marked their second studio album and the start of heavy metal as a genre. This release spawned their first hit single “Paranoid”, propelling them to become one of rock music’s greatest success stories.

Black Sabbath began as a working class band from Birmingham, England in 1969. Their lyrics on Paranoid were an expression of their grim reality: nuclear apocalypse, war and depression were just some of the topics they addressed.

Paranoid remains one of the most beloved heavy metal songs ever recorded, despite its dark subject matter. It has been featured on multiple albums and can still be heard today on classic rock radio stations worldwide.

Paranoid’s signature guitar riffs combine with heavy bass and drums for an unforgettable combination that makes the song so beloved.

Paranoid is the most renowned track on the album and continues to be played regularly on classic rock radio stations. Additionally, it has been re-recorded multiple times by the band.

With such a compelling back story, it’s no wonder this album has earned the title of one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever recorded. Not only that, but its lyrical content also captures life’s dark side at a time when all hope seemed lost.

Paranoid stands out due to its eclectic musical palette, blending psychedelic rock with heavy metal. Songs like Iron Man’ and War Pigs’ showcase this well as instrumental track ‘Rat Salad’.

These tracks are all distinctly unique and feature a different style than other heavy metal songs of their era. Additionally, they contain some intriguing lyrical content not often seen within this genre.

On September 18, 1970, the album’s powerful title track reached #4 on the UK chart and went on to earn four platinum records – an incredible accomplishment for a band that hadn’t even made it onto the charts before this record-setting release.

4. Black Sabbath – The King Of Darkness

Black Sabbath were an English heavy metal band formed in the late 1960s in Birmingham. Members included Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (keyboards) and Bill Ward (drums). Their music was dark, foreboding and filled with occult imagery; lyrics and musicianship earned them a reputation for vulgarity but they went on to become one of the pioneers of heavy metal during the 1970s.

Their music often featured dark guitar riffs and slow-burning rhythms. Their lyrics, saturated in Satanic imagery, created an ominous atmosphere; Osbourne’s sullen vocals perfectly matched the dark mood created by their words. Their name came from a song by Butler inspired by Boris Karloff’s movie adaptation; thus their style was also heavily influenced by it.

On their debut album, Sabbath employed a low bass sound to give their music an unsettling atmosphere. This technique is often employed in movies as lower tones tend to be scarier than higher ones – in fact, research has demonstrated that humans actually evolved to perceive low tones as more dangerous than high ones.

They utilized a wide range of tones on their music, such as higher pitched and high bass tones. Ultimately, though, they succeeded in creating an atmosphere of fear and tension through their soundscape.

The King Of Darkness is an outstanding heavy metal album from the band. It boasts several songs known for their menacing, foreboding sound. One such tune, “Heaven And Hell,” deals with the popular metal theme of good versus evil.

It is an impressively produced album, boasting some fantastic guitar riffs. Iommi’s playing remains unwavering while Dio astonishes in front of an impressive production.

This classic Black Sabbath album is a must-have for fans of heavy metal music. It includes some of their best songs, including “Heaven And Hell,” which has a powerful message and powerful vocals from Ozzy Osbourne. This classic Black Sabbath album also features some outstanding artwork from artists like David Gilmour.