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...And Justice for All - Metallica
It's hard to pick one Metallica album. This represents Metallica at their most ambitious and progressive. So many layers to appreciate and revisit, this is a definitive metal classic.
Rust in Peace - Megadeth
Again hard to come up with just one Megadeth record, but Rust In Peace is a masterpiece. Not a single dud on the album, plus Marty Friedman and Nick Menza really solidify the line up and help deliver a relentless thrash classic.
Heaven and Hell - Black Sabbath
Wow. Black Sabbath replaces original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne with Ronnie James Dio and the result is one of the best albums of all time. Highly inspired, amazingly complex. A must have in your metal collection.
Blue Record - Baroness
Progression is an integral part of Baroness' growth, and Blue Record is leaps and bounds above Red Album. Heavy, melodic, experimental and awesome. It's hard to find an album in the genre that flows as well as a complete product.
Powerslave - Iron Maiden
Bruce Dickinson joined Iron Maiden on their third record, Number Of The Beast, but it wasn't until Powerslave that I feel that Maiden delivered their definitive, perfect album. Gripping from start to finish.
Reign in Blood - Slayer
Thrash metal titans Slayer solidify their trademark sound on this landmark thrash record. Unrelenting from start to finish, Reign In Blood delivers a potent blend of aggression and fury that Slayer has failed to capture since. A must have.
Them - King Diamond
King Diamond spun a solo career out of Mercyful Fate that rivals and even exceeds their legacy. Them is the perfect King Diamond album, weaving an excellent horror tale among some truly titanic and epic tracks, Them is your one stop shop for the full King Diamond experience.
Practice What You Preach - Testament
It was tough to decided between The Legacy and this one, but for me Practice What You Preach is too good to pass up. An essential addition to any thrash fan's collection.
Demanufacture - Fear Factory
Fear Factory found their true sound with their excellent second album Demanufacture. An epic industrial metal classic, all the essential elements of a Fear Factory album are present here. An amazing step up from Soul Of A New Machine, and an authenticity that they have struggled to find since.
Colors - Between the Buried And Me
Between The Buried and me made their masterpiece with Colors. Weaving between various themes, feelings, and even genres in the scope of each single epic track, Colors is a dizzying display of musical craftmanship.
Master of Reality - Black Sabbath
I broke the rule of my list, but Sabbath really entered a second phase with Dio. Master Of Reality is a genre classic, and helped establish the rules for the doom/stoner sub genre of metal. This is my favorite classic Black Sabbath album to listen to from start to finish.
The Hunter - Mastodon
Sure, some may dislike Mastodon branching out on this record, but I don't. Mastodon limits themselves to crafting shorter songs that cut to the point, and the result is spectacular.
Danzig - Danzig
Danzig climbs out of the shadow of horror punk legends The Misfits and delivers his solo legacy on his very first record. An excellent mix of metal and bluesy evil, you can't go wrong with Danzig as a starting point to his entire career.
Heartwork - Carcass
Sweden's Carcass had established themselves with gory death metal before this release, but this melodic death masterpiece is their true legacy. Beautiful, heavy, melodic, and devastating.
Opus Eponymous - Ghost
Is it a gimmick? Yes. Does it matter? Nope. Ghost craft an excellent album, mixing 60's throwback doom and classic metal with pop and Satan. This album has an excellent atmosphere and flow.
Colony - In Flames
In Flames is divided between its modern fans and its classic fans. For me, the perfect blend between their modern sound and classic melodic death sound is Colony. There are so many classic tracks to choose from, you relly can't go wrong with Colony.
Mantrapping for Sport & Profit - Scissorfight
Scissorfight fizzled out before they ever had a chance to break out, and that's a shame. Mantrapping for Sport & Profit is their standout record, straddling the lines between being raw and produced just enough.
Scumdogs of the Universe - Gwar
Gwar brings humor to metal in the way that only they can. It was hard for me to decide to go with a classic or some of their more recent releases, since Gwar is on their second wind, but I decided to go with this one.
Wrath - Lamb of God
Some people like to call these guys "mall metal", but they can eat it. Lamb Of God is the real deal, and "Wrath" is a relentless album. Adding the heaviness and speed of their earliest works with the refinement and production savy of "Sacrament", this one is my favorite.
Hellbilly Deluxe - Rob Zombie
Astro Creep 2000 by White Zombie and this fought it out for me, but Hellbilly Deluxe pulled out just ahead. I have so many great memories associated with this record that it just had to win out for me. Excellent artwork and well crafted tracks, this is the best Zombie release and a level he hasn't been able to attain since.
Limiting my top 20 to just one entry per band, here is a list of my top 20 favorite metal albums across all genres and subgenres
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