Sunday, June 2, 2013

13 albums which will most definitely get you into metal music.

I'm not playing a heavy metal advocate here, but metal kicks ass! It's empowering music if you ask me. It is your friend in your time of need. It is your escape, a mental refuge, during sad times. We humans cannot avoid life's reality. For me, my passion for metal get's me through the day. I like to listen to different metal genres, practice some riffs, even sing along like a maniac in the shower. Hehe. I enjoy it in every way.

Six years, hundreds of artists and thousands of songs later, I still can't be confident of what genre I like the most. That's the thing. Metal is so versatile, that you can't pin point a favorite genre. And that is also the reason why it can be liked by anyone.

I've compiled a pretty solid list of all my favorite metal albums, which if you give a listen, might turn you into a metal head. Read on..

13. Follow The Reaper  - Children Of Bodom (Melodic Death Metal) 
This Finnish band is named after the Lake Bodom murders and play classic melodic death metal. They use symphonic elements in their songs, while playing at fast tempos. Sticking to their routine, this album contains songs tailored with rocket-speed riffs, growl vocals and melodic keyboard pieces. The overall theme for the album is horror and they pretty much fit right in the death metal super-genre like a jigsaw piece fits into it's puzzle.

12. Mesmerize - System Of A Down (Alternative Metal)
Alright, I'm going old school now. This is a band I started listening to 6 years back. I STILL have their entire discography in my music library. All the members look like freaks but they are quite the opposite. All of them are genius composers and disciplined instrumentalists. Mesmerize is one of their last albums they've released before they went on a hiatus. Much like their previous albums, with oblique lyrics, progressive riff-structures and versatile songs, Mesmerize blew me away. The single 'B.Y.O.B' won a Grammy in 2006!

11. Blizzard of Ozz  - Ozzy Osbourne (Heavy Metal)
Ozzy released this album after parting with Black Sabbath, which acted as a launch pad for his solo career. Blizzard heralds one of the best guitarists of all time, Randy Rhoads, before unfortunately passing away in an accident. 'Crazy Train', 'Mr. Crowley', 'Goodbye To Romance' are some of the songs which stand out from this album. With beautifully crafted heavy riffs, tight drum tracks,  and the ever-powerful Ozzy vocals, this went on to achieve 4x platinum status in the U.S.

10. Damnation  - Opeth (Progressive Metal)
After I heard this album, I had only one word for Opeth. Diverse. Damnation is Opeth's mellow masterpiece. It is unlike any of their other albums. Most people categorize this as "progressive rock". I don't know why, but to me, it has a very metal vibe. Devoid of growling vocals and distortion guitars, it takes the listener on a heavenly trip down melancholy lane. Akerfeldt's composition and arrangement is godly, which makes this album, divine.

9. Vulgar Display Of Power - Pantera (Groove Metal)
I can listen to this album starting form Track 1, 'Mouth For War' to Track 11, 'Hollow' without any breaks. One of the most influential heavy metal albums of all times, it's a raw, unadulterated mix of aggressive vocals, groovy riffs, heavy drumming and powerful lyrics. This is a staple in my "Muscle Music" playlist and I kid you not, during workouts, it slowly injects resolve into your brain, and you won't even notice it, you will however, feel it.   

8. Reign In Blood - Slayer (Thrash Metal)
This has been one of the saddest years in the history of metal. Jeff Hanneman, an integral part of Slayer, passed away. When I read the news, I had that sinking feeling. It was one of those moments which made me realize, that I'm a part of a huge family and I don't even know it. This album is Hanneman's best work IMHO. The composition and lyrics of each song are eternal. Obviously, the band recorded the songs with precision and passion alike. Critically-acclaimed and highly-favored by fans, Reign In Blood resides carved in stone, high up the metal mountain.

7. Images and Words - Dream Theater (Progressive Metal)
The album that got me into DT. Holy mother! The versatility in this album is incomprehensible. All these guys are in a different league when it comes to musical arrangement and song structures. The band stands in the forefront of progressive metal genre, and this is the album that started it all. The beginning track 'Pull Me Under' is the first song I ever heard of Dream Theater and I was hooked. So you see why I have a soft spot for this album. What do you get from a band full of perfectionists? A perfect album.

6. Sacrament - Lamb Of God (New Wave Of American Heavy Metal)
We are half way, and this list is already gotten heavier than plutonium. Listing this album now is like adding uranium to it! Excuse my chemistry geekery, but this is one bad-ass album. I'm going to be honest; It took me some time to get used to them. If you think groovy-thrash riffs, heavy duty percussion and growl-to-screech vocals is all there is to this album, you are wrong. It neatly disguises the technical proficiency, cleverly lurking under all the aforementioned attributes.

5. Peace Sells...but Who's Buying? - Megadeth (Thrash Metal)
One. Of. A. Kind. Album. This will remain in one of my favorites of all time, till I die. It is a treasure chest of awesome riffs and melodic solos. Each song is probably loaded with 5 to 6 classic thrash riffs, which are so much fun to play on the guitar. Dave Mustaine is a one-man army as all songs are written and composed by him. Peace sells... is a thrash metal classic and a must-listen. Do me a favor; Play 'The Conjuring' from the album and forward it to 2:55 and just shut your eyes. You'll see.
4. Paranoid - Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal)
Black Sabbath's magnum opus.  Everyone should listen to this album, doesn't matter if you're into metal or not. That's because it's not just an album. It's an essential event since the heavy metal epoch. Sabbath took heavy to a different level with this one. It's filled with doom-riffage galore, excellent drumming and Ozzy's ominous vocals. This album is omnipresent in almost every rock magazine's "Greatest albums of all time" list.

3. Metallica - Metallica (Thrash Metal)
The biggest of " The Big 4".  Metallica had a huge influence on me and I credit this album as my pathway into metal. 6 and half years ago, I heard 'Nothing Else Matters' and boom! I was sold. This album is 60 minutes of exhilarating music and has some of best compositions in Metallica's history.  Get ready, coz, it will engulf you into a heavy metal tornado and throw you out as a Metallica cult-head. Exit light. Enter night.

2. Sad Wings Of Destiny - Judas Priest (Heavy Metal)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this. This is my personal favorite album OF ALL TIME.  Every time I listen to this album, I feel the hairs stand up on my neck. You can feel the passion of the musicians. I have such undying respect for all of them. Especially, for the metal god, Mr. Rob Halford. He's like a sniper who strikes the metal bullet right in your head and it will stay there until you die. Heavy metal assault right here.

1. Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal)
Here it is.. I'm just some average joe, lost in a sea of millions of metal heads, writing this post. But I know this.. when I listen to this album, I always feel redeemed as someone who believes he's so much more. Music like this makes me realize that I'm not alone. I was never alone. Phenomenal instrumental and vocal performance in this album. The Number Of the Beast is the heavy metal classic waiting to be heard.

“Tears they flow, but why am I crying? After all, I’m not afraid of dying.." -  Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden)