13 Albums Which Will Get You Into Metal Music

The article lists my personal favorite metal albums which will appeal to any listener. Just spreading the metal...

Ultimate Guitar

I'm not playing a heavy metal advocate here, but metal kicks a-s! 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 gets 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)

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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. "Mezmerize" - System Of A Down (Alternative Metal)

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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. "Mezmerize" 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, "Mezmerize" blew me away. The single "B.Y.O.B." won a Grammy in 2006!

11. "Blizzard Of Ozz" - Ozzy Osbourne (Heavy Metal)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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-a-s 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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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) *Ends* Image by myporcelaintears

138 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I consider myself "into metal" and wouldn't suggest half these albums to people who have never listened to metal...
    I agree, you don't just throw someone into the grinder, you have to make them develop a taste for heavier and heavier music, progressively.
    The one song that got me into metal (and I was listening to Hip Hop before that) was Bodom Beach Terror, which is quite extreme compared to Maiden or Metallica. I think it was kind of a "thrown in the water" situation. So I wouldn't say you necessarily have to progress to heavier stuff. My friends' niece is 16 now and the exact same thing happened to her, down to the exact same song!
    Personally I like this list, it shows how diverse the taste of metal music can be for different individuals...
    Black Sabbath - First 6 albums Judas Priest - Sad Wings - British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance, Defenders Of the Faith, and Painkiller Iron Maiden - First 7 albums Motorhead - Overkill - Orgasmatron Mercyful Fate - Melissa, Don't Break The Oath Celtic Frost - First 3 albums (and the Hellhammer compilation) Venom - First 3 albums Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations Metallica - First 5 albums Megadeth - First 5 albums Slayer - Reign In Blood - Seasons Anthrax - Spreading - Persistence of Time Ozzy - First two albums Death - Leprosy, Spiritual Healing, The Sound Of Perseverance Down - NOLA Corrosion of Conformity - Deliverance Sleep - Holy Mountain & Dopesmoker Mastodon - all albums Tool - all albums Opeth - First Two albums, Black Water Park Pantera - Cowboys - Southern Trendkill Ministry - Land of Rape and Honey - Psalm 69 Nine Inch Nails - Broken Godflesh - Streetcleaner KMFDM - Naive, Angst, Symbols That's always my recommendation, a bunch of genres from Classic Metal to Industrial.
    My Only Discrepency is that you need to add Show No Mercy & Hell Awaits for Slayer, and Human & Symbolic for Death.
    For me, it was Metallica's classic discography. Master of Puppets gave me my initial exposure to metal, and The Black Album was the gateway that led me to listen to more metal, and it advanced me to heavier and heavier stuff.
    In fairness mate, you can't throw anything too heavy or technical at people, because you have to build towards those types of things, so the basics like this stuff is usually the best way to go about it. I don't really like any of these myself any more, but I can see why they would work
    you sure sound like a true metalhead >"into metal"
    I agree. I basically went from mostly grunge and alternative rock to metal over a long period of time. Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Alice In Chains are probably the best start for people looking to get into metal. Though you could argue AiC isn't metal, they are great for transitioning into heavier stuff. Usually to convince people that not all metal or even death metal and black metal is all noise, I show them Viridian by Between the Buried and Me, or something by Cynic, Alcest, or Ne Obliviscaris. It usually changes their mind real quick.
    I aggree, I listen to a lot of metal and if you want someone to get into it, i'd start off with bands that are closer to this generation as that is probably what they are going to be hearing most. Not saying that these bands are bad, their great, just not suited for the new generation listeners who want to get into metal.
    I would agree. I find this to be especially true for the really heavy sub genres like Black metal, Death metal, and all of their various sub-genres. They tend to be acquired tastes.
    i agree, you need to start out light with hard rock rock then work your way in to bands like Maiden which aren't super heavy, then slowly work your way up the heaviness scale, by then the person should be hooked like i was
    i heard this suggestion before but it didn`t work for me. i`ve listended to lots of different genres but mostly pop, country, some pop electronica, some melodic indie music before i listended to grunge, old punk and post-punk. What facinated me in heavy metal at first were the guttural and growling vocals and the heavy sound. I don`t play any instrument, so the sound of electric guitar is my biggest challenge - i just don`t like it. I like everything else more than those guitar solos.
    I've tried to include a variety of genres from the plethora available. Of course, this is an opinionated list, as I listed albums, which got me into metal. Difference of opinion doesn't necessarily make anyone less metal, my brother! \m/
    Can we have 13 albums which get you out of metal?
    Mr Winters
    Any album by bands like Asking Alexandria or Bring me The Horizon or garbage like that, I guess.
    I really enjoy them. I also love Metallica and Slayer. Not to mention Maiden, Dream Theater, and Pantera.
    lately there are too many metal bands that just produce heavy riffing with no purpose or heart. those two bands are definitely part of that wave.
    That album from Metallica is anything but thrash metal
    personally, I would have done Kill em All for the Metallica. I guess that's just a personal preference, but that's always been my favorite
    kill em all is pretty subjective imo, its too old-school of an album to throw at ALOT of people in this day and age. even when i first got into them, kil'em was the last thing i got into yes, i know, some people started off with kill em all, i dont care, just saying that not everyone is able to jump on the bat with it unless theyve really got a feel, rather than an annoyance, for old school sounding material. still a great album
    you know other songs from that album apart from enter sandman and nothing else matters?
    Like Don't tread on me, Of wolf and man or My friend of misery? Not very thrashy tunes y0
    Holier Than Thou is definitely a thrash song. Same with through the Never. I would have recommended Ride The Lightning though
    I listed it indicating the artist genre as Thrash metal, but it's got a great mix of ballads to classic thrash songs. That's why I picked this.
    Powerslave is a much better Maiden album IMO
    I'd say any Maiden album is great for introducing a person to metal. They help break the "metal is just mindless screaming" stereotype and most of their songs are focused on melody rather than heaviness, which is much more appealing to a common listener.
    Guy right above me- most relevant comment on metal ever!
    totally agree, even if you love screaming i can guarantee it was a band like maiden that started your journey. also, back to murtoll's comment, i expect the guy who wrote this agrees, look at his name
    I think that every Maiden album from "The Number of the Beast" thru "Seventh Son..." is a masterpiece. I've been a Maiden fan for almost 25 years and all of those records still amaze me to this day.
    I agree, but NotB was many people's introduction to Maiden, due to it being more popular. So I think it being first is fitting.
    I find it ironic that the author is listed as "Powerslave1412" yet Mainden's Powerslave album isn't listed....
    Haha, I love the song. But as an album, NOTB is definitely better, IMHO.
    if Number of the beast didn't have Gangland it would be better, that song kills the flow of it, where as Powerslave never lets up and has the best metal album opener and closer imo of all time. also Number of the best would have been better with a different song as the intro I love invaders but it's always seemed out of place as the intro.
    Maybe he/she thought "Powerslave1412" would fit better than "Hey NumberoftheBeast1324"
    Lamb Of God on the list and no Power Metal. I am disappoint.
    you mean you dont consider Iron maiden or Chilren of bodem the slightest bit power metal-like?
    I wouldn't even say power metal-like. Iron Maiden is most definitely power metal in some aspects. I mean look at Bruce Dickinson's voice. It screams power metal. No pun intended. And I feel as though Judas Priest deserves a mention here. Aethan, wouldn't you consider Rob Halford a power metal vocalist? Especially in songs like Painkiller. And I don't think that any metal fan would say that Judas Priest "is almost not even metal". The same applies to Dio, and pretty much anything Ritchie Blackmore's ever done.
    I rank them the same, they're my two favourite Maiden albums and although they are very different, they are both classics in their own right.
    Glad Bodom got some love here. Killer album
    Follow the Reaper is a good album although I don't think I'd recommend it to someone who hasn't listened to metal before.
    There's some poor choices here if you ask me. Children Of Bodom, SOAD, Slayer, Opeth, Dream Theatre and Lamb of God are bands that I would not at all suggest to someone being introduced to heavy metal. These might be YOUR favourite albums, but to someone getting into metal, these ones might be too technical or in fact too heavy for someone new to the genre. Personally, I'd start off with some Iron Maiden (NOTB) and Black Sabbath, then move on to Metallica (Black Album, anything earlier might be too much). Maybe also some Motorhead to give them a taste of faster tempos.
    Oddly, I would probably have said that CoB wouldn't be good but thats the band that actually got me into heavy metal. They were my favourite band for absolutely ages so it worked for me :p
    Of course, I mean everyone's different, but from a general perspective, not recommended lol
    Izzy-Sweet. I listed them in descending order. That means, I agree with you too.
    If that's the case, then fair enough. I don't think you said that clearly enough in the article. I just assumed you meant that those would be your top 13 choices to instantly give to someone. So with that cleared up, good list!
    When it comes to CoB, a good choice would probably be Hate Crew Deathroll and maybe Are You Dead Yet. Sort of bridges the gap between FTR and hard rock in general, imo.
    Emperor's Child
    I disagree. Opeth's Damnation got me into metal, having previously being a fan of progressive rock.
    Ah, but you see, you were already into progressive rock. As I've said above, this is my general opinion, not my opinion for those already into genres that can lead into metal.
    Tool - Lateralus, slowly brought me into Metal. Then All That Remains - The Fall of Ideals made my taste a bit heavier. Then I got my hands on Killadelphia. Oh man. <3 Now I'm getting bored, and am looking for new music. Avatar filled that void for a while, so did Steel Panther. Now thanks to this post, pretty sure Dream Theater is gonna be my new fix. Thanks UG!
    most people i know got into metal with metallica or maiden, but i got into it with slipknot... you never know
    Mr Winters
    Early Linkin Park was the gateway for me.
    Nero Galon
    Yep Early Linkin Park was also my first gateway. Then I got Guitar Hero World Tour and that got me listening to Bullet for my Valentine and SOAD, then came Slipknot and it gradually expanded my taste. Still have plenty to discover mind that and I don't really listen to the stuff I discovered early on.
    I think Meteora would definitely get someone into metal. It kinda bridges the gap from rock to metal without actually being a metal album. I'd definitely include it here
    I loved the list! Even tho mezmerise usually gives a "what the hell is this shit" reaction from my friends
    I would have gone with Ride the Lightnining. Creeping Death to this day has my favorite thrash solo.
    I wouldn't advocate getting someone into metal, just recommending quality artists of any genre. But it really frustrates me when you recommend that someone should listen to a band like Opeth for example, and then when you tell them its progressive metal, they almost dry reach like you've spat in their mouth. I really wish people were more open minded, they are missing out on soo much.
    Gunna be the dick to say that Black album isn't even kind of thrash and that there is no genre as NWOAHM or NWOBHM. LOG are groove metal.
    NWOBHM is a movement not a genre, most of the bands in it would be classified as traditional metal, or speed metal (Motorhead, later Priest), early black and thrash metal (Venom) and doom metal (Witchfinder General) same with NWOAHM genres include Groove Metal (Pantera, LOG, Machine Head, Soulfly, DevilDriver), Nu Metal (Slipknot, SOAD), Metalcore (A7X, Atreyu, Killswitch Engaged, Trivium) and Prog Metal (BTBAM, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan).
    I only see heavy, thrash and prog metal here ...
    I guess I can see why you'd show Children of Bodom to a first time metal listener. Just as a way of saying, 'this is the worst it gets, it only gets better from here.'
    I've tried getting people into metal and the older stuff doesn't typically work, at least from my experience. I actually think that introducing people to basic punk and hardcore helps bridge the gap to some extent. Taking them to live shows also helps because it allows them to see the intensity and energy of metal and it provides a bit more freedom in terms of types and bands to start with
    I would have put Metropolis pt2 instead of Images and Words and Rust in Piece instead of Peace Sells, but good list otherwise!
    "Most people categorize this as "progressive rock." I don't know why." Really? You don't understand how Opeth is "progressive." apparently the ideal's of prog music elude you sir.
    My Last Words
    Learn to read. He said : Opeth - Damnation (Progressive Metal). That being said, I'd never categorize that record as metal.
    I meant "progressive rock" not "progressive". Coming to the "Progressive Metal" title, I'm indicating the genre of the artist.
    Mr Winters
    Replace Lamb of God with anything in Chimaira's 2003-2008 period and Follow the Reaper with Something Wild or Hatebreeder
    I own all of these albums except for Opeth and Dream Theater! They are amazing albums!
    All I read til I got sick of reading was waah waah waah Powerslave Powerslave Powerslave. Cry me a river.
    What did it for me, and thanks for picking Maiden, was 'Live After Death' which was the tour for the Powerslave album. That was my very first 'Metal' album. I think my 2nd was Queensryche 'Operation Mindcrime'. Those 2 albums made a huge difference for me.
    I would have chosen different albums than you, definitely not any extreme metal bands like Children of Bodom, or Opeth, as much as I like the latter; - Iron Maiden (Powerslave, Number of the Beast) - Metallica (Master of Puppets)- Dio (Holy Diver) - Judas Priest (Painkiller) Then I would show them Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction, then Rust in Peace and a bunch of Sabbath and Motorhead songs. The reasons that these would come so late are because you don't just get used to Dave's singing without being a little into metal. Sabbath because I think instrumentally they are great, but the Dio years were better than Ozzy's IMO (I still like the albums with Ozzy). Motorhead for basically the same reason, except I don't know for sure how many people had trouble listening to Motorhead initially, I know some people including myself. The first two albums I had were Number of the Beast, then Master of Puppets. Edit: I realize the Opeth album (Damnation) isn't exactly like the rest of their discography, but it would be hard to find a lot of similar music on a band that was predominantly progressive death metal.
    The Black Album? Seriously? The most dated, hackneyed and filler-heavy bloated album in Metallica's back catalogue. It vies for the "Worst Metallica Album" award with St. Anger. The Black Album is all shiny production and no songwriting - and don't bet me started on Lars's drumming....
    You can discuss all day but the best album to introduce someone to metal is: Silencer - Death-Pierce Me
    if it where me introducing people into metal etc i would deffinatly start slow and somewhat lame! AC/DC maybe even stiff upper lip and on jovi as almost everybody has listened tothem at one point or another. thten work up through incubus and coheed as the vocals are fairly easy to liten to (ie no screaming) after dealing with the more easily accersable i would then atempt some increase in heavieness still starting slow, led zep, apocalyptica, metallica ( even though i prefer megadeth)and from then on, find your own way brother!!
    that said i very often load out damnation to people and good to see opeth on a list
    Specific songs will get people into metal, not specific albums. I got into it through progressive/instrumental rock, but I'd say something like Highway Star, Enter Sandman or Symphony of Destruction should start you off if you don't have a particular aversion.
    I grew up listening to Master of Puppets, Metallica's Black album, Blizzard of Oz, and Judas Priest's Metalworks anthology, but I couldn't stand screamed vocals until I saw a music video at 2 AM on MTV of All That Remains' "Not Alone." That song and the entire Fall of Ideals album is what got me into a whole other world of metal. Phil Labonte's blend of clean and screamed vocals made it accessible to me. To this day, it is one of my favorite albums.
    tuh hah miss
    Honestly, if I wanted to get someone my age (late high school, early college) into metal today, I would probably start them off with Avenged Sevenfold's City of Evil. Not because its a classic or the best album ever, but because its extremely diverse, accessible, and clearly influenced by a lot of of the bands on this list. After that I would give them the Metallica album on the list. To get someone who primarily listens to pop or alt music into the harsh vocals, I usually recommend What Separates Me From You by A Day to Remember. Its not really a metal album, but again, its extremely accessible. I'd probably follow that with Five Finger Death Punch's The Way of the Fist, as I feel like its a logical next step. I don't really like giving someone the classic, iconic metal albums as suggestions. To me it makes the most sense to start them off to something close to what they're used to, and let them progress from there. I would also hand over Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls and Nightwish's Imaginaerum. Dream Theater is kind of overwhelming to get into at first.
    -yeah yeah metal is just shouting and creaming and noise -Oh yeah? then check this out (Angel of Death starts) I'm not sure if the list is what it is meant to be
    I am really pleased with the inclusion of Sad wings of destiny in this list. I think it's a terrific album. Furthermore, I gave it to my girlfriend, who is more into indie rock, à la Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys, Raconteurs, and she was amazed by it.
    yeah because when someone isn't into metal i'm going to start them off with children of bodom
    Funny cos Sacrament came out when I was 14 and is what got me into metal so for that reason alone I probably would recommend it despite preferring all their other albums over it. Apart from that I would probably recommend someone Master of Puppets since Metallica are the most popular metal band going right now and a lot people agree it's their best album.