Sunday, 17 February 2019

Top 10 Albums of all Time

So I figured since I may be doing more regular music reviews (here's hoping) I thought I'd do a post that lets you get to know me a little better and where my musical taste really comes from.

These are the 10 albums that I've ranked as my all time favourites, and while I may now be delving into the abyss of much heavier music and so this list may change with my taste, I'm pretty sure most of these will stay fixed in place for the foreseeable future.

My only rule for this list is that I'm only allowed one album per artist otherwise the list would be filled with albums by my number one choice. Next to each album I will include honourable mentions that were close to the top spot and before I start the top 10, I'm just gonna make some honourable mentions with artists that didn't make the list but deserve some recognition. Here we go:

AC/DC - Back in Black

Anthrax - Among the Living

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Def Leppard - Hysteria 

Dio - Holy Diver

Ghost - Prequelle

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory

Motorhead - Overkill

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

Nirvana - Nevermind

Opeth - Blackwater Park

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz

Power Trip - Nightmare Logic

Trivium - Ascendancy 

And without further ado, here's the top 10.

10. Slipknot - Iowa (2001)

Honourable Mentions - Slipknot (1999), Vol 3 (2003), .5 The Gray Chapter (2014)

Slipknot is a band that I started really loving towards the end of my time in high school and I did think they were one of those bands I would grow out of, but in nearly ten years it still hasn't happened and if anything has only grown stronger. The band have never put out a bad album with All Hope Is Gone being considered the worst and yet still being a damn good record that's worth a listen.

After a career full of highlights, Iowa has always stood at the top of the mountain and for very good reason. It's definitely the most consistent album of the band's catalogue as there's no bad songs to be found and for an album that's over an hour long that's pretty commendable. It's the most brutal and twisted the group have ever sounded and with it they created a masterpiece that people can relate to even today. Plus it's a pretty great choice for a gym playlist and it's one to throw on whenever you're feeling down. I'm finally getting my chance to see them live at Download this year and I cannot wait for the Disasterpiece that awaits.

Tracks to download: People = Shit, The Heretic Anthem, Everything Ends, Left Behind

9. Bring Me The Horizon - That's The Spirit (2015)

Honourable Mentions - There is a Hell.... (2010), Sempiternal (2013)

Now this is one that's definitely gonna divide opinions. And before anyone asks, no, I did not like amo. At all. As far as I'm concerned That's The Spirit is their last great album. If you want to know how much this album actually means to me, I actually have tattooed on my left arm. This albums main theme is dealing with depression and the negative feelings in your mind, and without getting too deep into my own story, it's an album that has helped me with my own mental health issues when I was feeling at my worst and I am eternally grateful to the band for that.

Aside from that, the music is just insanely good. It doesn't matter to me that it's not deathcore or even as heavy as some of the stuff on Sempiternal, this is still rocking enough to enjoy and every single song stands out on it's own. After seeing the band live, I can attest that most of these songs were created especially for a stadium atmosphere with some of the catchiest and adrenaline-pumping choruses you'll find anywhere else. If you didn't like amo and haven't heard this, definitely give this a try.

Tracks to Download: Doomed, Happy Song, Throne, Avalanche, Drown, True Friends, Follow You, Oh No

8. Death - The Sound of Perseverance (1998)

Honourable Mentions - Every other Death studio album

I'm not kidding when I say that Death have never released an album that can be considered any less than brilliant. I don't think I could even rank them worst to best as I would feel too guilty about calling any one of them the worst. I can, however, call this one the best. Even the hoodie I wear daily has the album cover adorning the back of it. It's almost like the band knew that this would be their last album and went all out in creating the final piece of their legacy to make it as epic and memorable as possible.

As well as having 8 outstanding original tracks, the album even ends with a great cover of Judas Priest's 'Painkiller'. Death have long been known as one of the greatest death metal bands of all time, and if you want to check them out, I would highly recommend starting with this classic. You can't go wrong.

Tracks to download: Scavenger of Human Sorrow, Bite the Pain, Spirit Crusher, Flesh and the Power it Holds, To Forgive is to Suffer

7. Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990)

Honourable Mentions - British Steel (1980), Screaming for Vengeance (1982), Firepower (2018)

This was a pretty hard choice to make between this and Screaming for Vengeance, but it terms of pure heavy metal, I don't think Painkiller can be beaten. When anyone mentions metal music this is one of the first albums that comes straight to mind. It starts off with the title track and the best song on the entire album which you might think would dilute the rest of the record. Far from it as every other track holds its own and just adds to the barrage of pure heavy metal as it assaults your ear drums in the best way possible. Plus, Night Crawler is almost the perfect metal song for Halloween. Don't listen with the lights off.

Tracks to Download: Painkiller, All Guns Blazing, Metal Meltdown, Night Crawler, A Touch of Evil

6. Mastodon - Emperor of Sand (2017)

Honourable Mentions - Leviathan (2004), Blood Mountain (2006), Crack the Skye (2009)

Again, this was another tough choice as I was tempted to put the epic Leviathan here, but Emperor of Sand is the album I've easily listened to the most as it's my album of choice when I just want to relax. This is another case of every song on the record being a winner, and the concept of the desert wanderer that's been handed a death sentence and how it ties into real life hardships of the band is always fascinating to me. After a couple of albums that were  at the lower end of Mastodon's discography, this was the band back on top where they belonged. Sure they aren't as heavy as they used to be, and the song Show Yourself has some poppy elements, but you cannot deny the songwriting skill of this group. After seeing them perform last month I can attest to the crowd-pleasing moments of Steambreather and Ancient Kingdom. The album also has my favourite Mastodon track in the form of Roots Remain which is definitely a recommended listen. The band may have a new album out this year and I can't wait to hear what they have in store.

Tracks to Download: The Sultan's Curse, Steambreather, Roots Remain, Ancient Kingdom, Clandestiny, Precious Stones, Jaguar God

5. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)

This is the only band to not have any honourable mentions because I don't think they've ever came close to matching it, and while the Use Your Illusion albums may be good, they aren't close to being mentioned in the top albums.

Anyway this album will always have a lot of love from me as Guns N' Roses were the first rock band I really got into when I was much younger, as pop music was just boring to me (moreso nowadays) and I needed something different. Enter Guitar Hero 3 and the first playthrough of Welcome to the Jungle had me hooked and I had to hear more, and the rest is history. I might not even be writing this right now if not for this album. The album itself is a tremendous piece of 80s 'sex, drugs and rock n' roll' style of hair metal and still stands out even today. It's helped by the fact that every song is in your face and has some of the all time great rock songs in form of the previously mentioned Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, and Sweet Child of Mine.

Last year at Download, I got the chance to truly enjoy their fantastic 3 hour set and I hope it isn't the last time I get to see them. Easily one of the best days of my life.

Tracks to Download: Welcome to the Jungle, It's So Easy, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child of Mine, You're Crazy, Rocket Queen

4. Slayer - Reign in Blood (1986)

Honourable Mentions - Show No Mercy (1983), South of Heaven (1988), Seasons in the Abyss (1990), Christ Illusion (2006)

Even putting this at number 4 I feel is too low, but given the next 3 albums on the list, it'll need to settle in here. I feel ridiculous even explaining why this album is here as it may be the most beloved by metal fans, and everyone already knows that this is one of the best thrash metal albums to listen to in it's entirety. I honestly don't think we'll ever get another album like this in our time, as much as great bands like Power Trip may try. Given that the album is also bookended by 2 of the greatest metal songs ever recorded only adds to it's legacy. If you haven't listened to it already, what the hell is wrong with you? Go listen to it and be converted like the rest of us.

I did get to see the band perform last November and it was one of the best gigs I've been to and I'm hoping I'll get to see them one last time at Download this year.

Tracks to Download: The full album but especially Angel of Death and Raining Blood

3. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)

Honourable Mentions - Black Sabbath (1970), Master of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972), Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), Sabotage (1975), Heaven and Hell (1980)

Yeah this is a pretty cliche album to have on a top albums list but I can't help it. I love it too much and along with Appetite of Destruction and the next 2 albums, it's one of the biggest influences on my musical taste. I've been listening to a lot of doom metal lately and I can't help but think of Sabbath whenever I listen to them. This is another album that doesn't need much explanation as just about everyone has to be aware of it's influence on the metal genre. And who doesn't know the riff of Iron Man at this point? An all time classic that needs to be listened to if you haven't before, and if you have then just throw it on for old time's sake.

While I've never gotten to experience the majesty of Sabbath live, I did get to see Ozzy Osbourne at Download last year and he played a few of the songs from this album with War Pigs being a definite highlight.

Tracks to Download: War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Hand of Doom, Fairies Wear Boots

2. Metallica - Ride the Lightning (1984)

Honourable Mentions - Kill 'Em All (1983), Master of Puppets (1986), ...And Justice for All (1988), The Black Album (1991), Death Magnetic (2008)

As easy as it may be to make fun of Metallica, they were one of my first metal bands that I fell in love with when being introduced to the metal genre and this album has always been the main highlight. While Master of Puppets is always considered the favourite (and for good reason as I really considered it for this list) I've always felt that this was the superior album as it was the most diverse with songs like Fight Fire with Fire and Creeping Death opening up the mosh pits, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Call of Ktulu (goddammit guys it's Cthulhu) bringing the atmosphere, and Fade to Black giving what I believe to be the best song in the bands massive catalogue. The worst song on here is probably Escape and even that one is worth a listen as it's pretty underrated. A career highlight for one of the biggest bands in the world.

I'm getting to see Metallica live in London this year and I cannot wait to hopefully hear some of these songs played live. A tremendous achievement.

Tracks to Download: Fight Fire with Fire, Ride the Lightning, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fade to Black, Trapped Under Ice, Creeping Death, The Call of Ktulu

1. Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982)

Honourable Mentions - Iron Maiden (1980), Killers (1981), Piece of Mind (1983), Powerslave (1984), Live After Death (1985), Somewhere in Time (1986), Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988), Brave New World (2000), Rock in Rio (2001), Dance of Death (2003), A Matter of Life and Death (2006), The Final Frontier (2010), The Book of Souls (2015)

As those honourable mentions and 3 of my tattoos can attest, Iron Maiden are my all time favourite band and this is the album that started it all. Powerslave may be technically better, but this one has always been my favourite and the one I always go to when I'm in the mood to listen. The album is known for having 3 of Maiden's mainstay live songs, but there's so much more to it than that. Children of the Damned is dripping in atmosphere with one of Bruce Dickinson's best vocal performances, and we also have underrated gems in the form of The Prisoner and 22 Acacia Avenue. Gangland and Invaders may not be the greatest Maiden songs but they are great placeholders in between the bigger songs and so serve a great purpose. Hallowed Be Thy Name has long been considered the greatest metal song of all time and I have to agree and the title track might just be my favourite song of all time. I don't think anything will ever take this album's place here.

I have gotten to see these guys twice live, and last year in Newcastle is what I hold as the best gig I've ever been to and I doubt it'll ever be beaten. Up the Irons.

Tracks to Download: Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name

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