10 Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die

Categories: Metal

cannibalcorpse.jpg
Cannibal Corpse lineup from 1988-1995

I have been a heavy metal fan for over 50 percent of my existence on this planet. But when you're talking about the all-encompassing musical genre known as "heavy metal," you might as well be talking about something as infinitely complicated as the Universe. It's that vast, and the amount of territory to cover is limitless, especially for the uninitiated.

From traditional heavy metal, to the many sub-genres of metal--black metal, thrash, death metal, grindcore, etc.--there seems to be an eternity of music out there, from the younger up-and-comers, to old-school favorites that stand the test of time. Coming up with a list of the Top Ten Albums to Listen to Before You Die was not as easy a task. After hours upon hours of listening, serious contemplation and flipping of a coin, I managed to come up with a list that, although definitely biased towards a more aggressive and extreme forms of heavy metal, still highlights some amazing albums that contain solid musicianship and above all great songs.

See Also:
*10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before You Die
*10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die


10. Mercyful Fate, Melissa (1983)
How could I have any sort of legitimate discussion about anything metal without including one of the most revered vocalists in the genre, King Diamond? This debut album, released by Mercyful Fate in 1983, is a classic album for anyone who's into heavy metal. Melissa was definitely ahead of its time, and was at the forefront of heavy metal music. The record presented with Diamonds evil, theatrical sound.

Interestingly, Diamond was the first to use corpse paint on his face as part of his live act, and the songs on Melissa (and later releases) paved the way for black metal, power metal, thrash metal and even major acts such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer among a countless horde of other metal bands. King Diamond's high-pitched operatic voice is so distinct, you can tell it's his voice from the first note, and Melissa set that standard. Classics include the opening track "Evil," "Into the Coven," "Curse of the Pharaohs," "Black Funeral," and "Satan's Fall." Without this album, modern day bands like Ghost would not exist.


9. Possessed, Seven Churches (1985)
Seven Churches, the debut album from Possessed, is pivotal to the entire sub-genre of death metal, and founding member, bassist/vocalist Jeff Becerra is even said to have coined the term "death metal" in 1983, and it is the title of the last song on this record. To this day, this collection of songs are revered as not only the first death metal album, but the missing link between death metal, and thrash metal and even--some might argue--black metal. Original guitarist Larry LaLonde (now in the band Primus) buzzes through heavy hitting songs, such as "Burning In Hell," "Pentagram," Evil Warriors," "Satan's Curse," the smashing, evil yet melodic first song, "The Exorcist."


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39 comments
GlenW
GlenW

Angelwitch is my favorite on the list.

fegg
fegg

also it's the somberlain not slomberlain
how are shadowthrone and nemesis divina by satyricon not on this? 

fegg
fegg

love sotlb, but then it said 2002 and then 1995
1995 is when it really was released

fegg
fegg

lol, love sotlb, but it said 2002 even though it's 1995, it says that somewhere in the paragraph for it though

seanwright1890
seanwright1890

Love some of the comments. "Oh, no top 10 bands that constantly get covered by Rolling Stone, MTV, VH1, Spin Magazine, Revolver Magazine. How dare you shine the spotlight on other bands that are equally as important in being the leaders in each of their respected genre/sub-genre? Such blasphemy." It's almost like these same butt-hurt idiots are saying something along the lines of "McDonald's is everywhere so I should never acknowledge family-run restaurants, diners, or other places to eat. I don't want any sort of food in my system other than McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc. Corporate food is the best." I like the fact that Alex took the time to show his appreciation for acts such as Mercyful Fate, Repulsion, Possessed, Dissection, and Angel Witch. 

mypatrick
mypatrick

How can you make a heavy metal list and not include Black Sabbath?  You know… The band credited with inventing the genre of heavy metal.

Mrs80sMetal
Mrs80sMetal

Wait, no Maiden? Metallica (old)? Priest? AC/DC? Good call on Possessed and Mercyful Fate. My list would be very different than this one.

Jenifer K-c
Jenifer K-c

Well, I like all of your choices, but if you're calling these bands generic "Metal" you're kind of off the mark. There are soooooooooo many sub genres in Metal... With that being said I have to agree 100 percent with number 1

Otis Denim
Otis Denim

Behold ! This is a rag 2.0 ! Try spelling any OCW (NTOCW) "staff" with no infection ! Ooze to the pages in back for NT $ glee ! Pages to Pay Before You Die, you will !

undergrindzine
undergrindzine

It is impossible to make such a pile of crap. I don't even know where to start. You either don't like metal or you hate it, if you can come up with such a shit list. There are so many more iconic albums out there that I can't believe anybody is going to take this seriously. Giving a Slayer album the first place? Really? They are like the bloody Beatles of Metal. Why not giving us a list of the 10 thrash metal releases we should listen to before we die? Do that will the other main styles and you can give some serious food for thought.

runningtoalice
runningtoalice

Shit list.No BLACK SABBATH,IRON MAIDEN,MAYHEM,DISMEMBER,JUDAS PRIEST.


FROAD.

Hevarius
Hevarius

My main gripe with this list is that it excludes about half of the sub-genres of metal. I think some of the albums should have been switched up even if only for variance. There is way to much focus on death metal. What about the fans of doom metal, power metal, or the fans of folk metal? There are plenty of iconic albums within those genres, such as Nightfall by Candlemass.

UniverseNumberFive
UniverseNumberFive

Very nice to see Dissection and Repulsion get some love here. As for Cannibal Corpse, the day "The Bleeding" was released I knew it would become their most popular album because it had something about it. However, I personally never made friends with that album. To me, I'd rather listen to any other album in CC's catalog than "The Bleeding" except for the awful "Gore Obsessed".

shoned30
shoned30

How come there is no Obituary - Cause Of Death in the list? That is one of the best albums ever recorded  

Warheart1188
Warheart1188

There could've been a much better list than this. If you're going for brutality, where's Death? Decide? I would definitely put Vital Remains' "Dechristianize" on there. Morbid Angel?

Warheart1188
Warheart1188

Actually, "Hammer Smashed Face" was on Cannibal Corpse's album "Tomb of the Mutilated", which is a far superior album than "The Bleeding" in every way and the one album CC should be known for. I always found "The Bleeding" to be the worst of the Barnes era of CC.

Warheart1188
Warheart1188

Actually, "Hammer Smashed Face" was on Cannibal Corpse's album "Tomb of the Mutilated", which is a far superior album than "The Bleeding" in every way and the one album CC should be known for. I always found "The Bleeding" to be the worst of the Barnes era of CC.

Wuil
Wuil

Shit, i think that Leprosy of Death must be there, But is a really good list. (Sorry for my english)

Munky
Munky

No Meshuggah????!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

Thanks, Eric. I listened to them all. For my enlightenment, as I never listened to this kind of music before. I finally hit on something that resonated with me by playing Dissection and Slayer simultaneously by clicking on both videos. That was good. Because before that I was ready to eat some glass and knife-fuck a witch or something. How do those guys keep from wrecking their throats singing like satan's henchman for years?

whatyouwill
whatyouwill

This article is informative on the subject of extreme metal...but...How the hell did OC Weekly just let you put it up without revision or editing? I hate to be rude but your grammar and punctuation are atrocious.



Stacy De La Vega
Stacy De La Vega

Man, I sure wish we would have been friends back then cus I just think you rock

Jeremy57
Jeremy57

@Munky You read through this list and still think Meshuggah deserves to be there?

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