My Top Ten 80s Metal albums

Alright. I will not hide that I’m a fan of 80s Metal. So, I decided to do a top ten 80s Metal albums. Why not?

10. Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)

The best live album of the 80s. Period. I’m a big fan of Bruce Dickinson, but in Maiden, I actually preferred the Paul Di’anno albums. Why? Because the first two Maiden albums were fantastic and completely different from anything ever written.

You have to remember, in the early 80s, Metal was slow. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal changed that as several of the NWOBHM bands took the speed from punk and combined it with the heaviness of Metal to form a different kind of Metal.

Iron Maiden led the charge of the new NWOBHM bands. After the first two albums, they still produced a lot of excellent music, but all those albums had filler. Live After Death not only sounded fantastic, it removed all the filler.

9. Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

My favorite Maiden album. Some folks might scoff at rating Maiden so low. Maiden is like the ultimate Metal band to a lot of folks. Yes, I get that. I always liked Priest better though.

Their debut album kicked ass! It was so much different from anything else. I loved Killers (1981) too but that barely didn’t make the list.

8. Black Sabbath – The Mob Rules (1981)

This will definitely offend some people. Black Sabbath without Ozzy ranked higher than any Iron Maiden album? Sacrilege! Yes, but have you heard this album? It’s nearly perfect.

My favorite Dio works are the ones he did with 70s Rainbow. But post-Rainbow, this is my favorite album Dio sang on. Every single song is fantastic. My favorite piece on the album though is “Falling off the Edge of the World.” Dio’s voice still haunts to this day.

7. Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984)

Metallica was not the heaviest Metal band of the time. But for what became the beginnings of Extreme Metal, Metallica had a good sound. Most Extreme Metal bands at the time had no budget and therefore sounded cheap. Metallica didn’t. And they were tight. Extremely tight.

1984 also marked a point in my life when I started to dabble in some things I probably shouldn’t have dabbled in. This album’s lyrics hit me pretty hard.

6. Metallica – Master of Puppets (1985)

I saw Metallica open for Ozzy Osbourne on this tour. It was the first show I saw where the opening act blew the closer off the stage. Metallica played a different kind of Metal and as a result, they changed Metal history. This was their best album they ever produced.

I actually liked side two better than side one. They took more chances on side two and those chances paid off.

5. Ozzy Osbourne – Diary of a Madman (1981)

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a crazy Randy Rhoads fan. Too many people knew Rhoads as a phenomenal guitarist and forgot just how well he composed. He co-wrote Ozzy’s two best works. Of course Ozzy was never the same after Rhoads died.

4. Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith (1984)

I grew up working class and my first experiences with my own music were mixed tapes from other people. My friend Scott made a tape with Screaming for Vengeance on one side and Defenders of the Faith on the other. I’d listen to that tape, flipping it over hundreds of times. I’ve listened to those two albums more than any other two albums. Yet, I’m not sick of either of those albums.

All five of the top five of my albums are perfect albums. I wouldn’t change a thing on any of them. Actually, let’s just say any of these top 10 80s Metal albums. But especially the top 5.

3. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – Marching Out (1985)

Yngwie gets a bad rap. Yes, he did it to himself. But I did get to see Yngwie twice in the 80s and he kicked ass both times.

One serious problem Yngwie had though was unlike Rhoads, he was a guitarist first and a composer second. Marching Out is his only exception. Thus, it’s by far his best piece of music.

This album has some really good riffs on it. It’s his only album I’ve heard where he took rhythm guitar seriously. Most of the rest of his work, he focused too much on leads and not enough on rhythm guitar and songwriting.

“I am a Viking” is one of my favorite songs of all-time.

2. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz (1980)

If it weren’t for my #1, this would be the best album ever made in any genre of music since Tchaikovsky died. Every song on here is a masterpiece. This is the album I started playing guitar from. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up a guitar until February 1988, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is Randy Rhoads is my favorite guitarist of all-time and the two Ozzy albums not only showcase his guitar ability, they also showcase just how good of a composer Rhoads was.

1. Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance (1982)

The greatest album ever. Better than Sergeant Pepper or Pet Sounds. Priest rules! Priest defined Metal. They wrote the book. Yes, Sabbath was heavy, but Priest was Metal.

All Priest fans know that this was the definitive Priest album. And we know just how many great albums they produced, so that’s really saying something.

Once the first notes from “The Hellion” come in and go directly into the Orwellian dystopia that is “Electric Eye,” the rest of the world can disappear for all I care. I’m in musical Heaven.

Priest defined masculinity in an age where it wasn’t evil like it is today. Priest defined coolness before Kurt Cobain had to come along and fuck that up. Judas Priest, the greatest band that ever was. This is their best album.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie, and he can still throw a football

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