Heavy Metal Fans Must Have Top 10

Inspired by this thread, I propose the following list of classic metal must-haves albums for any beginner listener (in no real particular order).

1.) Black Sabbath - Paranoid
2.) Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast
3.) Judas Priest - British Steel
4.) Metallica - Kill’ em All
5.) Queensryche - The Warning
6.) Slayer - Hell Awaits
7.) Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil
8.) Scorpions - Blackout
9.) Megadeth - Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?
10.) Anthrax -* Spreading the Disease*

I realize others may have different preferences from each band but are there any other suggestions?

Am I the only one cringing at Motley Crue on a serious metal list? Everything else looks good to me.

Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies. Classic metal wouldn’t be classic metal without Alice Cooper.

I agree to an extent, except at the time it was influential in that it pretty much led to the whole hair/glam rock genre.

Funny, I love BDB but I prefer *Love it to Death. *
That said…Alice wasn’t really metal until maybe the Constrictor comeback album.

All the more reason to cringe.

No Motorhead, no list.

Maybe an * would help:

Motley Crue*

*See: Quiet Riot, Van Halen, Poison, Bon Jovi, The rest of the fucking '80’s…

I’d probably sub Piece Of Mind for Number
Screaming For Vengeance for British Steel
Master Of Puppets for Kill 'Em All
South Of Heaven for Hell Awaits
Jettison Spreading The Disease in favor of Vulgar Display Of Power by Pantera…

need to think more…

Initial thoughts…

I’d replace Kill 'em All with Master of Puppets.

This list depends quite heavily on how you define ‘Heavy Metal’. For example, what about Back in Black? It’s definitely a ‘must-have’ album, but I can see some saying AC/DC is not a ‘heavy metal’ band. Personally, I classify them as ‘hard rock’ (whatever that is).

Same. Thunderstruck was mentioned in the other metal thread, and my immediate thought on relistening to it was “this is hard rock, not metal.” Funny thing is I can’t really explain why. It’s just…bouncier. There’s no snarl in it, no matter how gravelly Brian Johnson’s voice is.

It’s not that, exactly; it’s that there’s no hate in it.

It’s fun music, good playing in the background while you have a good time shooting pool or playing volleyball at a keg party or something.

Metal isn’t fun.

Metal is brutal, pounding, violent, tribal me-against-the-world & “fuck you” music, good playing in the background while you have a helluva time driving too fast or chopping wood or doing some other ass-kicking activity.

Hard rock and arena rock are, by nature, inclusive music, beckoning to all to come have a blast.

Metal is more exclusive, telling all who come near that they will get blasted.

No Manowar, or Alestorm, or Saboton? I find this list shallow and pedantic.

Pretty much the same thing, but you fleshed it out a lot better than I could.

The other thread got me thinking about hard rock vs. heavy metal. The best that I could come up with was this: hard rock is fun, heavy metal is serious. Maybe overly serious. Sometimes pretentious.

Motörhead - Ace of Spades
Venom - Black Metal
KISS - Creatures of the Night (Their only album I would classify as Metal)
Dio - Holy Diver
White Zombie - Astro-Creep 2000

I would have went with Operation:Mindcrime instead of The Warning, but that’s just me. I’m just glad to see Queensryche on the list.

I teared up a little bit just seeing a Queensryche record on there.

  1. Faith No More - Angel Dust
    This makes the list more as a showcase than an album. 13 songs, all totally different, but nearly all awesome. Without Faith No More, there’d have been no KoRn, no Limp Bizkit, and no Linkin Park… uh, so it’s a good thing I really like this record, 'cause it has a lot to answer for.

  2. Deep Purple - Machine Head
    I know lots of people think it’s not metal, but it just is. Deep Purple deserve as much credit as Sabbath and Zeppelin for heavy metal, and get one tenth as much. Metal still has yet to produce a riff as heavy as Smoke on the Water.

  3. Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
    Iron Maiden have the opposite problem to Judas Priest (see below)- their best 20 songs are on like 12 different albums. This has the most I like, so it gets the nod.

  4. Queensryche - Rage For Order
    Like Maiden, they have a ton of good songs spread over lots of records.

  5. Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power

  6. Metallica - Metallica/The Black Album

  7. Motorhead - Ace of Spades

  8. Judas Priest - British Steel
    Priest have kind of an unfair advantage here, because all of their best work is packed into one record. There’s quite literally one Priest song I like that isn’t on this album.

  9. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
    I know it’s the birth of the genre, and a watershed moment in music, and blah blah blah, but I just don’t like it. I like Dio-era Sabbath and Ozzy’s solo records ten times better.

  10. Guns and Roses - Use Your Illusion II
    Maybe not metal, but metal fans bought it, and it was really, really good. Far more polished than Appetite.

Honorable mentions: Tool - Aenima, Megadeth - Rust In Peace, Paradise Lost - Icon, Sepultura - Chaos A.D., Stabbing Westward - Wither Blister Burn & Peel, Ozzy - Blizzard of Ozz

Decent list. I’m in agreement with those who’d switch out Kill 'em All for Master of Puppets. Take out Crue and put in G 'n R Appetite For Destruction. Take out Scorpions and put in Ace of Spades.


Great list. Like some other people have suggested, I’d swap out the Mötley Crüe for some Motörhead.

“Shout at the Devil” is a great album, but it’s not really representative of the rest of their work, and it’s not really representative of glam metal either. (Glam, black, death etc should probably have their own lists anyway.)

That was a really great summation. You really nailed it.

Aww, snap. Shit just got real.

LOL I find the use of the word “pedantic” shallow and pedantic.
It’s a list of top 10 classic metal albums must-haves not your personal favorite bands.

I suppose the Shout at the Devil might go on another list and I suppose Motorhead - Ace of Spades must be on the list so I’ll make that switch.

As a metal guitarist back in those days, I was going with alot with stuff we were all playing back then. In the case of bands having more than one good album, I went with the ones that were IMHO most significant.