The Shit List: Top 10 Best Old School Heavy Metal Albums [PART TWO]

For those who enjoyed our first installment, we now bring you the rest of our selections in the latest Shit List: Top 10 Best Old School Heavy Metal Albums. Enjoy!



Iron Maiden / The Number Of The Beast


Sure, you’d be hard-pressed to include Iron Maiden in metal’s first wave, but their triumphant 1982 masterpiece is definitely an old school main-stay that belongs on any metal Top 10 list. While not exactly speed metal, Maiden was the first band to up-the-tempos while, at the same time, seeing how many guitarists they could fit onstage! HA! This album is remarkable for not only featuring new drummer Clive Burr, but a new singer by the name of Bruce Dickinson. Together, they set the band’s iconic line-up in concrete. Those who don’t think this album was essential never visited an amusement park during the summer of ’82. If they had, they’d have lost track of all the Maiden t-shirts. In the years since its release, the monstrous impact of this album remains fully intact. One listen to “Run To The Hills”, “Hallowed Be Thy Name, or the blistering title cut and you’ll be picking your jaw off the floor.


Metallica / Ride The Lightning

Sure, Metallica have completely lost touch with their inner metalheads – how else to explain the musical atrocity that is “Lulu”, the album they recorded with Lou Reed? – but back in 1984, these guys injected som,e serious venom into the metal mix, proving that this California-based underdog could rock with the best of them. Granted, it took a European tape-trading frenzy to bring them to the attention of metal fans in their own backyard, but it is this ambition that breathes serious life into this album, which remains the #1 most influential thrash metal album ever recorded. Anyone who can listen to the one-two throat punch of “Ride The Lightning” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and not be banging their head gloriously off the dashboard should be checked for a pulse. While many might call “…And Justice For All” the band’s best album, it is this effort that sees a young and hungry Metallica out to prove they can hang with the big boys. They would never sound this vibrant again.



Ozzy Osbourne / Blizzard Of Ozz

With the original line-up of Black Sabbath having run out of ideas and patience with one another, the state of heavy metal in general lied in peril. Truth be told, other once great bands like Deep Purple and UFO had fallen victim to internal squabbles as well. Additionally, punk and new wave had become the musical genres most closely associated with teenage rebellion. It wasn’t until Ozzy Osbourne teamed with former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads to record his legendary debut solo album that heavy metal was literally reinvented. Almost instantly after its release, every disillusioned kid in suburbia knew the words to every song on this album and Ozzy Osbourne was enjoying the greatest commercial success of his career mere months after virtually every major label in the US and UK had turned him down. Like Eddie Van Halen had done a couple years earlier, Randy Rhoads masterful riffage on this album set in motion a tsunami of teenage wanna-be’s who began emulating his style. While his prowess is undeniable, it is the strength of the songs and the cohesive nature of the album that made Ozzy a household name a year after getting kicked out of Sabbath.


Starz / Violation

While some may dismiss this band simply because their lone hit, "Cherry Baby", was a little on the sugary side, anyone who has taken the time to listen to this entire album knows exactly why Metal Blade Records saw fit to release the band's entire catalog in the '90s...because this band literally defined the genre that would become pop metal, or hair metal, or whatever you wish to call it. One listen to the devilishly twisted lyrics of songs "Subway Terror" (sung from the POV of a serial rapist), "Violation" (railing against the confines of life in an institution) and the Stones-y "Cool One", with the hilarious line "She reached over and she squeezed on my rocks/I lost it all in the popcorn box". Despite the band's stunning ability to slay audiences with their twin-guitar attack and over-the-top showmanship, a legion of lesser acts (*cough*POISON*cough) stole their schtick and rode it to platinum success, proving that perhaps this band was merely a decade or so ahead of their time.


Thin Lizzy / Jailbreak

I still remember the very first time I heard the song "Jailbreak". I was maybe ten years old, riding around in an Econoline van with my teenage uncle and my younger brother. My uncle had control of the 8-track player, of course, and was pumping the jams. As the part in the song where a siren wails in the background, my little brother actually leaned out the window to see if the cops were chasing us. Unc and I laughed our asses off. Cherished childhood memories aside, Jailbreak remains one of the finest moments in heavy metal, with Phil Lynott and company brandishing the mighty metal sword that would see them play to hundreds of thousands of devoted fans and influence the likes of Metallica's James Hetfield. This loose concept album is a non-stop riff-laden tour de force that charges at you like a pissed-off bull in a china shop, beginning with the aforementioned title cut and continuing the barrage with monumental tracks like "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "Cowboy Song". By the time the final strains of "Emerald" fade out, the listener is left completely spent, both arms tired from endless air-guitar playing.

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