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The Greatest Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time

In my opinion, these albums are the best in heavy metal history and that includes best riffs, amazing solos and especially very unique vocals.

Created by: Mountain King | 19.04.2010

1. Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith
(1984) Priest continued with same formula as Screaming For Vengeance but with a darker approach, more menacing lyrics and vocals and it paid off well. Some of the greatest metal songs ever written are found on this legendary album which inspired generations of new bands. Favorite tracks: "Jawbreaker" "Rock Hard Ride Free" "The Sentinel" "Freewheel Burning" "Night Comes Down"
2. Judas Priest - Screaming For Vengeance
(1982) The greatest Heavy Metal band and their best album to date with Defenders Of The Faith. Revolutionary song writing and very catchy and of course the metal god Rob Halford's unique vocals. Favorite tracks: "Electric Eye" "Riding On The Wind" "Take These Chains" "Bloodstone" "Fever"
3. Def Leppard - Pyromania
(1983) One of my favorite and most enjoyable albums. Everyone should own this album. It was really hard to find such great and creative metal songs back in 1983 and it's certainly the best album by the Defs. Favorite track: "Rock Of Ages" "Foolin" "Billy's Got A Gun" "Too Late For Love" "Stagefright"
4. Savatage - Gutter Ballet
(1989) Savatage matured well beyond the boundaries of classic heavy metal and included some orchestral and operatic vocals. Perfect solos by the one and only Criss Oliva with some of the best songs ever written. Favorite tracks: "When The Crowds Are Gone" "Summer's Rain" "Gutter Ballet"
5. Skid Row - Slave To The Grind
(1991) The second and best Skid Row album is enough to make them one of your favorite bands. The attitude the band possessed was so undeniable which made Skid Row so famous and these songs are hailed as legendary among metal fans. Words can't describe it, go listen to it now! Favorite tracks: "Psycho Love" "The Threat" "Monkey Business" "Quicksand Jesus" "In A Darkened Room" "Wasted Time"
6. Scorpions - Love At First Sting
(1984) Might be my all time favorite album. It shows Scorpions at their peak and as one of the biggest forces in metal back in 1984. Favorite tracks: "Coming Home", "Still Loving You", "Bad Boys Running Wild", "Rock You Like A Hurricane", "Crossfire"
7. Whitesnake - Whitesnake
(1987) This is what happens when Whitesnake abandon most of the their bluesy roots and play pure Heavy Metal! We get an eternal masterpiece when David Coverdale and John Sykes come together under one name. Songs from this album are still played on radios and rock pubs everywhere till today. Favorite tracks: "Still Of The Night" "Is This Love" "Give Me All Your Love" "Children Of The Night" "Looking For Love"
8. Judas Priest - Painkiller
(1990) Who doesn't know this Diamond among metal albums which some call the greatest metal album of all times. One of the most well known metal albums and for a good reason, it's PERFECT. Extremely tight songwriting that ranges from Heavy Metal to Speed & Power Metal. Favorite tracks: "Painkiller" "Night Crawler" "Hell Patrol" "One Shot At Glory" "Between The Hammer And The Anvil"
9. Black Sabbath - Headless Cross
(1989) I'm a fan of Sabbath not because of Ozzy or Dio but because of the one and only Tony Martin. My favorite Sabbath album, epic and dark heavy metal all the way with some of the best riffs and solos laid down by Tony Iommi, not to mention the crushing rhythms of the legendary Cozy Powell on drums. A cornerstone of metal by all means. Favorite tracks: "When Death Calls" "Nightwing" "Headless Cross"
10. Scorpions - Blackout
(1982) Almost on the level of Love At First Sting. It has everything a devoted metal fan needs. The crazy solos by Matthias Jabs in Can't Live Without You, Dynamite and Blackout to name a few; Klaus Meine's glass shattering vocals and Herman's solid drumming. Favorite tracks: "Blackout" "No One Like You" "Dynamite" "When The Smoke Is Going Down"
11. Black Sabbath - Tyr
(1990) Almost on the same level as Headless Cross, this is one of the greatest metal albums I have ever heard. Add to that some viking lyrics about Odin and Valhalla. I think this is Sabbath at their peak. God bless those days. Favorite tracks: "Anno Mundi" "Odin's Court/Valhalla" "The Sabbath Stones"
12. Queensrÿche - Rage For Order
(1986) Intelligent lyrics, heavy with a progressive touch. One of the best metal bands of the 80's highly popular because of their acclaimed "Operation: Mindcrime" but I believe this is their true masterpiece. Favorite tracks: "I Dream In Infrared" "Walk In The Shadows" "London" "I Will Remember"
13. Crimson Glory - Transcendence
(1988) I would call this album the chosen one of the Metal genre. Go buy it now. I'm not sure if the band are actually humans or supernatural beings cause this album is revolutionary. Favorite tracks: "Lady Of Winter" "In Dark Places" "Lonely" "Red Sharks" "Eternal World"
14. Accept - Metal Heart
(1985) It's hard to pick the best album of the Accept golden era which is the 80's. Metal Heart might not have had the impact that Restless And Wild had but I overall I prefer this one. It has the catchy songs and hooks of the mid 80's "Living For Tonite" and epic heavy metal tracks "Metal Heart, Teach Us To Survive" and solos are just out of this world. Favorite tracks: "Metal Heart" "Teach Us To Survive" "Living For Tonite"
15. Halford - Resurrection
(2000) Other than Judas Priest, the Metal Gold released one of the best Heavy Metal albums. Resurrection sees Rob Halford go back to his Priest roots with perfection, very close to what Painkiller is yet catchier in a way. Favorite tracks: "Resurrection" "Locked And Loaded" "Made In hell" "Hell's Last Survivor" "Fetish"
16. Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
(1991) The beginning of Pantera's groove with this landmark album. And it's heavy as hell! Dimebag shines on this album so do all the other members and makes this my favorite Pantera release. Favorite tracks: "Cowboys From Hell" "Psycho Holiday" "Cemetery Gates" "Domination"
17. Dokken - Back For The Attack
(1987) Dokken released a couple of great albums in the 80's and this one shows them at their peak. Mainly guitarist George Lynch pens down some of his toughest and heaviest guitar licks and riffs on this one. A crazy Heavy Metal mania and singer Don Dokken adds the intensity with his soaring high pitched vocals. Favorite tracks: "Kiss Of Death" "Mr. Scary" "Dream Warriors"
18. Metal Church - Metal Church
(1984) Everyone claims it's Thrash Metal but in fact it's pure Heavy Metal perfected with one of the greatest debuts in metal history. I still adore this album even after years of listening to it and David Wayne's best vocals are found on this one and a cover of Deep Purple's "Highway Star". Favorite tracks: "Gods Of Wrath" "Metal Church" "Battalions"
19. Europe - The Final Countdown
(1986) Europe at their peak. A perfect mix of Glam and Heavy Metal & Hard Rock. Joey Tempest & John Norum shine on this one and give us timeless classics. Favorite tracks: "The Final Countdown" "Rock The Night" "Cherokee" "Carrie"
20. Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast
(1982) To me Iron Maiden are inconsistent when it comes to an album as a whole, you find 2 or 3 great tracks while the others are average or the same. Number On The Beast on the other hand is what I consider a classic, with timeless metal hymns like "Run To The Hills" or the epic "Hallowed Be Thy Name" I think every metalhead should own this album. Favorite tracks: "Children Of The Damned" "Hallowed Be Thy Name" "Run To The Hills"
21. W.A.S.P. - The Headless Children
(1989) W.A.S.P abandon what's left of their glam metal influences and release a very solid Heavy Metal album. Everything sounds perfect; the riffs, Blackie Lawless' eerie vocals and the pounding double bass drums not to mention the great lyrics dealing with politics and other social issues. Favorite tracks: "The Headless Children" "Forever Free" "Heretic"
22. Riot - ThunderSteel
(1988) My favorite Riot album. It has the great voice of Tony Moore at his peak performing metal anthems like Flight Of The Warrior and the title track. Late guitarist Mark Reale does a great job and writes some his best riffs and solos to date. Favorite tracks: "Bloodstreets" "Thundersteel" "Sign Of The Crimson Storm" "Fight Or Fall"
23. Manowar - Hail To England
(1984) Some might think Manowar is a joke. Well maybe in the 90's they released some of the cheesiest songs with the worst lyrics ever but no one can deny that in the 80s they were one of the loudest and best metal bands around. Hail To England is a classic that everyone must own. The production is the only problem but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best metal albums of the 80's. Favorite tracks: "Bridge Of Death" "Kill With Power" "Army Of Immortals" "Hail To England"

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Mountain King ]


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Comments: 10   Visited by: 171 users
11.06.2012 - 13:15

I like your originality. If your a Tony Martin fan what about Eternal Idol?? 2 Scorpions at the top and 3 Judas Priest making up the rest of the top 5, dont think thats great but I like some of selections here like Hail to England, Cowboys from Hell, Gutter Ballet, Tyr, Headless Cross. I'd boot Europe and Dokken but hey that's me.
11.06.2012 - 18:12
Mountain King
K i K o
Written by scennkah on 11.06.2012 at 13:15

I like your originality. If your a Tony Martin fan what about Eternal Idol?? 2 Scorpions at the top and 3 Judas Priest making up the rest of the top 5, dont think thats great but I like some of selections here like Hail to England, Cowboys from Hell, Gutter Ballet, Tyr, Headless Cross. I'd boot Europe and Dokken but hey that's me.

I respect opinions. Eternal Idol is good but I prefer the following 2 albums. As for the top 5, It's more of a sorting process than a fixed top 5. I would move Painkiller down a bit but the other 4 are my favorites.
As for Dokken I really like Lynch and his crazy playing and Don sounded so good in the 80's.
28.04.2013 - 23:39

Great list, but where is "Operation Mindcrime"??!
29.05.2013 - 20:41
Iron Nostarion
Maiden Whore
"To me Iron Maiden are inconsistent when it comes to an album as a whole, you find 2 or 3 great tracks while the others are average or the same."

To their tombs the people are immured,
There is their gold, treasure and wealth,
The only condition is to ignore them,
Those who feed on corruption and weave death
01.06.2013 - 20:22
Mountain King
K i K o
Written by Iron Nostarion on 29.05.2013 at 20:41

"To me Iron Maiden are inconsistent when it comes to an album as a whole, you find 2 or 3 great tracks while the others are average or the same."


Of course you're an Iron Maiden fan and u would think all their songs are at least good. But nothing is gonna change my opinion. I know almost all their songs and I have seen them live...
02.06.2013 - 15:46
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
I am Always baffled when I see people rating Love At First Sting or even Blackout as Scorpions' best when to me, and loads of other people, their Seventies albums with Uli Jon Roth on guitar are clearly superior.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

26.07.2013 - 12:19
Infernal Eternal

Good picks but not personal favorites.
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Rest In Peace: Bon Scott, Dave G. Halliday, Michael "Destructor" Wulf, Jerry Fogle, Quorthon, Witchhunter
22.04.2021 - 12:13

This is a cool list, classics and hidden gems. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to hearing the ones I've overlooked till now.
23.06.2021 - 00:57
Nocturnal Bro
I agree that Judas Priest are the absolute best!
However, you should have more Iron Maiden like Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. (I find Number of the Beast pretty weak except for Hallowed be thy Name and Children of the Damned)
19.02.2023 - 12:39
Dylan 1974

Sweet list.

Especially pleased to see the much overlooked 'Tyr' by Sabbath getting a shout.

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