90 Comments

  1. If this sounds like trolling I apologise, but on giving it some thought, I think in order to have a full and comprehensive understanding of metal, you’d need to listen to just about every metal album ever. For example, for Motley Crue alone, you’d need to listen to Too Fast For Love to understand what a step up Shout At The Devil was, then through to Dr. Feelgood to see the band at the peak of their quality and fame, then to Motley Crue because it was an important step in another direction and THEN Generation Swine to witness the backpedalling of re-recruiting Vince Neil into the fold, and last of all their latest Saints Of Lost Angeles album as an example of the nostalgia-cum-comeback bilge train of modern culture that results in endless reunions and sullying of the past. Knowing two albums from a band with as storied a history as this is simply not enough, and the same could be said for just about every band. Concrete: debut of Ross Robinson – Demanufacture: self-explanatory classic – Archetype: fundamental lineup change – Mechanize: partial lineup re-establishment. Fear Factory’s evolution is a statement in itself of the evolution of metal over three decades, from sound to personal politics and business model, even. Mayhem are another band worth mentioning more of, on account of the lineup changes being so drastic.

    Like, looking at it this way there’s no way to do it in 400. Maybe a thousand?

    And then you’re talking countless influential underground bands (like the OTHER Pentagram), punk acts like The Exploited… many, many offshoots.

    Also you’ve no Soulfly! 1 and Dark Ages are surely important in such a venture. And I’d challenge your defintion of The Colour And The Shape as a grunge album as it is no way at all a grunge album. 34.788…% Complete needs mentioning because it was so drastic and unsuccessful a musical gambit. Inside The Torn Apart and From The Cradle To Enslave were blatant attempts at getting metal back into the charts. Evinta and Midnight In The Labyrinth typify a possible emerging trend of re-assessing older tracks as soundscapy, music-only type things.

    The hardest thing to do would be to clarify why the likes of Elvis and Nick Drake are on there. Like, maybe Elvis influenced Blue Cheer, who influenced Rush, who influenced Metallica, who influenced every spotted grease oik ever, but then you’d have to go back further and analyse where ELVIS came from. Nile covered Holst on their first album – there’s a classical music offshoot right there. Nick Drake is a clear influence on Mike Akerfeldt, but by that token you’d have to include every influence for every successful act ever to merit its inclusion in the first place.

    I’m spending a lot of time thinking about this at work but can’t bloody contact you from there, by the way, hence the lapse in comments.

    Believe it or not, as a comics reader I struggle with something similar. In many cases you’re dealing with 50-70 years of history – getting a true handle on these characters is impossible, so finding a so-called ‘jumping on’ point is crucial. Picking up back issues and collections is a good way to plug the gaps, but will I ever have a full and comprehensive understanding of the history of Batman? I’m not sure it’s possible. The determination is admirable nonetheless, my main man. Keep it up.

    Also – “main man”.

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    • This is a great list, props to you man! Alot of respect for actually acknowledging metalcore. You’re one of the few metalheads to actually understand that not all core is bad/it has had a huge impact on modern metal.

      Also one of the few metalheads to realise that “just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it bad” type things. Again, props to you and one day I’ll get through this list

      Cheers,

      Mike

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      • Also one more thing, I kinda consider Colors more of a progressive metalcore album. Mostly because what death metal bands really include clean vocals, melodies, and the amount of breakdowns (not a rediculous amount like modern metalcore) that the album has? Again though, that’s just me.

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  2. It’s clear that a good amount of effort was put into this, respect. Obviously there are quite a few albums I believe should have been included that were not, and to a lesser extent, albums that were included that should not have been, but I have no intention of complaining about any of that. Props for even attempting to create a comprehensive list that documents Metal’s history in full, even going back to Rock N Roll, Blues & Folk. A lot of albums I plan on checking out thanks to this. It’s a shame this list hasn’t gotten as much attention as it should have.

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  3. Great list overall! There’s a couple weird choices however. Why is The Great Misdirect on here but not Colors? and why Ziltoid over Deconstruction?

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  4. The list is great, but when I saw Lamb of God’s albums I expected Ashes of the Wake to be there 🙂

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  5. Is there a reason veil of Maya isn’t on here? I think that they’re really unique and show the side of djent that isn’t highly gear focused, as well as covering both the melody and the bass parts.

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    • No, I haven’t. I don’t know much about Black Metal, and what all made it to the list so far have been suggested to me on forums I went to for help.
      Cheers for the suggestions, I’ll look into all of those.

      The only Black Metal album I own at all is Defending The Throne of Evil by Carpathian Forest. The genre’s a bit of a mystery to me at the minute. But I’m keen to learn.

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  6. A great list that comprehensively examines all the roots and influences of metal, including the blues which is so often forgotten about. However I know this will sound douchey, but I don’t think you need to understand metal, just enjoy it. That said your list is incredibly informative for showing how all these different genres have combined and rebounded with one another over the years. (except djent, djent sucks and deserves to die)

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    • Cheers.

      Yeah, I’d agree with you on that point. Nobody needs to understand it, sometimes its just fun to try.
      Half of the reason I made the list was to try and get it straight in my own head, half of it was to get recommended some new music to try out. Ok. A third. Because the other third was just for something fun to do.

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  7. Misery Signals- melodic hardcore
    Veil of maya- prog/djent
    Born of osiris- prog.
    The Faceless- prog./tech.
    Being as an ocean- melodic hardcore
    cirlce of contempt- prog
    within the ruins- prog
    every time i die- hardcore/metalcore
    ghost inside- hardcore/metalcore
    tony danza tapdance extravaganza- chaotic awesomeness

    I think the above would make great additions to list and def. worth a listen nonetheless! great list though man!

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  8. Hey there,
    I feel that in the second to last section just after Meshuggah, the band Fellsilent should be mentioned as they were the band that then split to form Monuments and Tesseract, two very strong bands in the djent/prog scene. Personally I think they were one of the original ones at that point. Monuments could be mentioned as their EP was circling around around the time Periphery still was an online project, the two guitarists infact were very familiar with each other.

    The two other bands I would suggest in that section would be Vildhjarta and then Uneven Structure.

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  9. Consider Pink Floyd’s “Soundtrack to the Film ‘More.'” “The Nile Song” comes to mind.

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  10. This list reads like my all time favorites … even Akercocke and Veil of Maya are there :O I’m missing Diablo Swing Orchestra and the fantastic prog-band Unexpect though 🙂

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  11. Born of Osiris- The Discovery Album would be a good album, Trivium should definitely be on here too for sure in my opinion, also maybe August burns red, and although there was a decent section for metalcore I felt maybe one type of album was missing like Asking Alexandria or Memphis May Fire, where its kinda on the punky/post-hardcore side but has a lot of breakdowns and contains a lot of metal as well. Other miscellaneous possibilities Attila, For Today (for chrisian metal), Sevendust, Miss May I, and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!. But damn good list man! Its hard to cover every single thing when there is so much out there

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  12. You probably chose Skinny Puppy’s worst album but it is the most indicative of metal other than Process. Surprisingly they still perform songs live from it to this day. I don’t get the Xandria and Pythia additions either. Goth metal that copied heavily from others? All gawth metal is mostly shite nowadays

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    • Hi Ailyn.

      Yeah. Those albums where chosen to represent the “middle-ground.”

      The list isn’t a “Best Albums Ever” list, but rather a shortcut to a detailed knowledge of all metal in general. A lot of people, or a very vocal minority at least, have a narrow idea of what Metal is nowadays and that idea can usually be brought closer to the truth by listening to enough of the different types of Rock and Metal out there and understanding the relationships between each.

      The list provides the Best albums but also some of the worst, and indeed some of the ‘meh’ albums. How do you know what most humans look like if you only see SuperModels or the Morbidly Obese? The middle-ground is also an important area to consider.

      The list also provides non-metal albums with a strong relevance to metal, for better understanding of how they were implemented into Metal it may be useful to understand how they sound without any metal in them.

      Again, I’m not forcing anyone to sit down and listen to them all, its just a tool for other nerds like me. It may allow someone to see something they fancy and give it a shot. I’m not an international magazine or syndicated TV show trying to claim they have the definitive description of what Metal is, just one lone nerd on the internet putting together a helpful little tool for fun and as one small nay-say to all the rude and negative fans out there who want to deny the vast scope Metal now covers and ignore many large and important parts of its heritage, history, influence and future just because, for example, it “seems cooler” to only like things that sound exactly like Slayer, or just because, for example, they didn’t personally enjoy much Nu Metal or Hair Metal.

      This started off as a fun little project for me. It was a combination of a) wanting a list to give to myself in the past, a road-map to understanding it more clearly and b) an aspirational list of all the albums I’d like to have listened to some day.

      I am happy for any constructive criticism, advice or help however. I’ve added literally over 200 albums to the list on the advice of people more informed than me. For example, I don’t like Black Metal much personally, so need to defer to the superior knowledge of bigger Black Metal fans and seek their help.

      Just a quick question if you don’t mind; how did you find the list? I just started it for my little blog of about 10 followers, probably 8 of whom are personal friends from my real life. Since then its turned up on Periphery’s facebook and Dream Theater’s forum, as well as Japanese and German guitar forums I can’t even read. I’m just curious where its gone now. So; if its not rude of me can I inquire as to how and where you found it? Anywhere interesting?

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  13. What an excellent article; thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Just two minor points its Stampin’ Ground not Stompin’ Ground 8) and personally I think Ludichrist’s first album ‘Immaculate Deception’ was a fantastic example of the whole crossover genre (speed metal, hardcore, hip hop, jazz, blues) and Adrenalin OD’s ‘HumungousFungusAmongus’ was likewise a big influence on the thrash metal/hardcore crossover genres especially on Anthrax. Both worthy of a mention; but like I said minor points. The list was shared to me on FB by another music junkie; I’ve now shared it on my page for others to check out. Great job.

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  14. great list, but no Slough Feg?? or Praying Mantis, Midnight, Grim Reaper? Way more influential than Korn or half that numetal

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  15. A very interesting article, I particularly like the connection to bands like Radiohead & Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose influence on Prog metal is actually quite profound.
    One criticism – those are easily the worst Cannibal Corpse albums to recommend. Tomb of the Mutilated is ok, but the Chris Barnes albums aren’t nearly as good as greats like Gallery of Suicide, Bloodthirst, Evisceration Plague etc. Vile & Wretched Spawn are not generally regarded to be the best examples of Corpsegrinder’s work. I realise this isn’t a list of the best albums ever, but for newcomers to the band there are better regarded albums to suggest.
    Occult Rock albums deserve a mention. A relatively recent genre, it’s starting to pick up speed and popularity for bands like Ghost BC, Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth, The Devil’s Blood & Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats is at an all time high. Basically takes 70”s psych & prog, mixes it with modern stoner doom sounds, a bit of folk, and tons of occult, mystical lyrics, often using hammond organs and fuzzed out production to enhance their sound. Definitely fit into the modern metal spectrum.
    Also, there’s not much mention of the “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal”. It’s not necessarily a separate genre, but worth a mention for excellent olde tyme worshipping bands like Slough Feg, The Sword, In Solitude, Wolf, Argus, Christian Mistress, Dawnbringer etc. These bands don’t exactly fit with more epic power metal bands like Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray, as they have a more vintage sound and influence.
    Otherwise, the albums and information that are here (aside from the CC ones) are mostly an excellent representation of metal and heavy rock. I do like how you’ve included some of metal’s less celebrated moments, as it’s important to look at failed experiments and just plain poor releases as well. You could add Entombed’s Same Difference, which is altogether an awful album in comparison with any of their other releases.
    Good work!

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  16. That was a pretty cool list. Glad I decided to click through on the link I saw.

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  17. This is really cool! Do you have this list in plain text format somewhere, or a spreadsheet or DB? I’d like to program something around this, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to regex your wordpress code.

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  18. My congratulations for this long article! I found a lot of new albums to listen 🙂

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  19. Quite the undertaking.

    I feel it’s necessary to point out that while it’s true that Lou Reed’s “MMM” wasn’t doing any chart topping, it’s an incredibly important piece of noise/drone music history as it’s one of the first records to bridge the gap between the minimalist composers like La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and the rock world.

    It’s definitely more noteworthy for its influence on music than for its critical “failure”, as it paved the way for the long-form repetition of drone metal bands like Earth, Nadja, Corrupted, Boris, Sunn O))).

    I also think Thergothon’s “Stream From The Heavens” warrants inclusion as one of the first funeral doom records, along with Evoken’s “Shades of Night Descending” and Mournful Congregation’s “Weeping” – all top-tier funeral doom from the early 90s.

    Also, Grief – we wouldn’t have half of the sludge bands we do today if not for “Come to Grief” or “Dismal”.

    Cheers!

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  20. Hey, don’t know if anyone’s mentioned it before, and I haven’t counted the albums one by one:), but “Pig Destroyer – Terrifyer” is listed twice. Meaning there might be just 999 albums. Meaning the OCD pixie inside of me is freaking out right now. Help.

    PS-awesome list. Been going through it one record at a time for over a year now, highly informative 🙂 keep up the good work!

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      • Heheh, alright, allow me to make a suggestion to replace the missing 1k, then – perhaps not a must-hear, but a damn good band nonetheless. http://bandcamp.com/tag/the-canyon-observer Local (Slovenian) post-metal, they’ll be at Bloodstock London, you should definitely check ’em out if you’ll be in the neighbourhood.

        Also, Noctiferia http://www.noctiferia.net/ They’re probably Slovenia’s most well-known metal band, been around for ages and no signs of slowing down. Started out black metal, they transitioned to djent/industrial in later years.

        And did I mention Slovenia has a kick-ass metal festival, set in amazing nature and with incredibly welcoming locals? http://www.metaldays.net Seriously, come check it out and hit me up if you do, I’d be glad to give you a tour.

        Alright, ’nuff spam, have a good one!;)

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  21. Amazing list! I think I’ll take the challenge and try to listen at least half of these albums before I die.

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  22. Oh and also it wouldn’t have hurt to include “Rum, Sodomy & the Lash” by the Pogues for punk (very influental!) and maybe “Xasthur – Nocturnal Poisoning” as an example for suicidal/depressive-Black Metal

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  23. It feels kind of a shame to me that you didn’t find a spot for Solefald somewhere, with their experimentation on what metal is. But that might just be me 🙂

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  24. I’d recommend both Bilo 3.0 by David Maxim Micic and Destiny Potato’s Lun for the djent section. Maybe you could replace Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Turn of Events for one of both. Nonetheless, great list! I’ve started listening to some of the early rock albums, and I hope to finish the list in 2 years or less haha.

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  25. Maybe you should add “Blackgaze”/Post-Blackmetal as an own genre.

    Essential albums might be for Blackgaze:
    My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (Early Shoegaze)
    Sigur Ros – Ágætis byrjun (Shoegaze)
    Amesoeurs – Ruines humaines
    Alcest – Souvenirs d’un autre monde
    Alcest – Écailles de lune
    Deafheaven – Sunbather (Already in the list)

    For post-black metal:
    Austere – To Lay Like Old Ashes
    Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
    Altar of Plagues – Teethed GLory and Injury

    Just an idea, that genre might be irrelevant in comparison to other genres.

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  26. Link Wray – Link Wray & The Wraymen, 1962, Rock And Roll, USA
    Why is this album on the list? I don’t think it had much influence and it’s not his best work by any means.

    Also: Led Zeppelin’s “Presence” might be a good choice, since it’s actually their most “heavy metal” sounding album.

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    • And “Love It to Death” by Alice Cooper should be in there too (his most influential imho). I’ll shut up now :d.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, it’s not in there?
        I’ll add it.
        Lots of these albums get added and it doesn’t always save it. Or when you add new ones old ones get accidentally deleted. I wouldn’t be half surprised if Reign In Blood is missing or something at this stage.

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      • Have you ever considered using the “list” function of rateyourmusic.com or something? It’s quite usefull and good arranged. Would save you some trouble, I guess.

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      • Another suggestion: “This is Spinal Tap” by Spinal Tap. The film had a great influence on the heavy metal genre and inspired metallica to the cover art of the “black album”.

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  27. I love this list! It’s comprehensive and I love that you included many 60s albums there. I think you could put up a 60s 70s proto metal list if you haven’t already

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  28. This list is great. Gonna try and collect everything from here. You still adding to this list? I wanna know every time you do.

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    • I don’t think I’ve updated it this year but I have kept it going for about three years so if more stuff goes classic I guess I’ll update it

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      • Awesome! Is there a way to know the new adds? Like I said, I want all of these! LOL.

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  29. Dude, have you got like a Spotify playlist for this? I noticed there’s one dude who has started one based on this list you’ve made, but it stops after 20 or so songs.

    A collaborative playlist would be good cos we can help build it.

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  30. Hey! This is a great list – thanks for all your effort here. I’m slowly but surely making my way through, having a blast and learning a bunch. Quick question – looks like for Budgie, you have Budgie, Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, Bandolier, and Never Turn Your Back again. Not sure if it’s an accidental dupe, or if one of them should have been another title. Just curious, mainly because I’d like to listen to every album here, and my OCD makes me have to check ; )

    Thanks again for this…it’s awesome!

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