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5 Albums to Get You to Appreciate Metal

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of metal. I mean, I’ve only been writing about it on BD for over six years. For me, it started by watching music videos on MTV of bands like Soundgarden, Tool, Metallica, Megadeth, etc… Also, sneaking the occasional episode of “Beavis and Butthead” didn’t hurt things.

As the years have progressed, I found that I began listening to metal from all sorts of different sub-genres, from the edges of heavy rock to the most blistering, in-your-face extremist cacophonies you could imagine. And along with that love of discovering more and more metal came the realization that most people who “hate metal” simply don’t give it a fair shot. I’m sure the same can be said about any other genre but what other genre can you really think of that has such a negative connotation in mainstream society? Hip hop is celebrated, country is one of the biggest sellers in the country, and no one really knows about polka except for Weird Al.

So I want to take an opportunity and use this platform to talk about five specific albums that I think will give people a chance at understanding what there is to love about the genre and how they can approach, at the very least, having a sense of appreciation for the true musicality and technique that goes into metal.

As always, if you’ve got some suggestions, leave them in the comments below!

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  • SpaceManSpliffz .

    good list, I respectfully disagree with it though.

    5. Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss: about as metal as metal will ever get.

    4. Lamb of God – Wrath: Heavy as fuck groove metal

    3. Pantera – Far Beyond Driven: One of the first and one of the absolute best southern metal records ever made

    2. Tool – Aenima: Complex songs plus Maynard does the trick

    1. Protest the Hero – Volition: One of the best technical metal albums I’ve ever heard, a must have.

    • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

      I think you didn’t the “GET YOU to appreciate Metal” part. Tool, Pantera, Lamb of God, Slayer…they’re hardly entry level stuff (I don’t know Protest The Hero).

      • The Polish Hammer

        Agreed. We want to get people to dip their toes in the water, not dive unprotected into a shark-infested ocean.

        • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

          Haha, pretty much 😛

      • heavymetalfightingsioux

        Protest the Hero is what i call emo metal. They have some shredding shit for sure. Their first album called Kezia is their best to date imho.

  • eli

    Shocked there’s no Slayer on this list.

    • Trying to get people into metal, not scare them away, haha!

      • eli

        But part of metal is being scary! ;P

        • Hahaha, fair enough!!

          • Hal Sutton

            Jonathan…I wanna be friends..I really do. But man. This list of getting people “into” metal is like Rosie O’Donnell getting guys into porn…its just plain wrong.

            ever heard of Uncle Acid? The Sword? Kadavar? Witchcraft? Elder? Thats what pops the cherry.

          • Gadriel

            Rosie O’Donnell getting guys into porn

            Ha ha ha!

          • frgfdfg

            brotalhead detected.

          • Hal Sutton

            Yes. Brotalhead. Says hipster Wham troll.

          • Man’s Ruin

            The Sword is a great suggestion, as is Uncle Acid.

      • I Am Colossus

        Dumbass hush now

  • robotdan

    You picked the Metallica album that wasn’t even metal. Holy shit

    • What makes it not metal?

      • Db

        robotdan’s over-inflated ego.

    • Gadriel

      Wow. Just wow.
      It’s one of the definitive metal albums.
      Maybe it wasn’t as “thrashy” as their earlier works, but to say it wasn’t even metal?

      • robotdan

        Great, the kids are here

        • Gadriel

          Well if a 6 foot 4 42 year old metal head of 30 years is a kid……
          Dude, I’ve probably forgotten more about “metal” than you’ll ever know.

          To say that Metallica’s eponymous album isn’t metal is ridiculous.

          Metallica are one of the bands who DEFINED metal.
          Yes, perhaps they lost their way over the last 20 odd years – but there is no denying that they are one of the great, DEFINITIVE metal bands based on their first 5 CLASSIC albums.

          As Jonathan asked – what makes it not metal?

          • eli

            I knew after reading JB’s list, there’d be at least one person decrying the Black Album’s worthiness, hahaha.

          • Gadriel

            It’s a great album.

          • eli

            Agreed. God forbid a band goes in a slightly different direction.

          • Man’s Ruin

            It’s a great album if you are completely ignorant of the history of the genre and like to wear flat brimmed ball caps titled to the side so people think you are a rebel. The Black Album is no more metal than Taylor Swift.

          • Gadriel


          • robotdan

            You sure seem eager to suck that corporate pseudo metal cock. Do you also enjoy rap rock, numetal, and kkkountry? The Black album is basically just like Load and Reload: it’s audible dog shit. You just lack taste and discipline young Jedi, to divine the true genre of the album. Folks with bad taste usually think shit is audible chocolate. It’s dogshit still. Grow a pair and stop gargling Lars’s nut hairs. It’s country rock, you inane subhuman dog. Btw I am totally not Dave Mustaine. YOU JUST GOT YOUR ASS VERBALLY WHOOPED BY A MARINE WHO IS 200% ABSOLUTELY NOT DAVE MUSTAINE. HOOAH

          • Gadriel

            To answer you question – no, I do not enjoy rap rock, nu metal and kkkountry.

            I’m a fan of Emperor, Obituary, Woods Of Ypres, Crowbar and bands of that ilk – hopefully you consider that stuff “metal” enough.

            Glad to hear that you’re a Marine. Allegedly.

            Although I believe you will find that my ass was in no way verbally whooped at all – if you believe that, hell, you’re living in your own little bubble and I wouldn’t want to burst it for you.

            The Black Album is country rock? Oh dear.

            Garth Brooks that ain’t…..

            Metal it is…..

        • Db

          If Iron Maiden released Number of the Beast tomorrow instead of 1982, you’d be one of those idiots who talks about how “not metal” it is. Metal doesn’t need morons like you as self-appointed elitist douchebag gatekeepers. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • heavymetalfightingsioux

            Please don’t feed the troll.

          • Db

            Yeah my bad, I typed this before I scrolled down.

          • robotdan

            AHAHAH yeah a good metal album released today wouldn’t be called good because…..oh wait you don’t have a good explanation for that

      • Man’s Ruin

        The Black album is garbage, and it is almost entirely responsible for the rise of that pathetic emo-crap known as nu-metal. Metallica has sucked donkey nuts every year since that album was released; it’s only gotten worse since then. Now STFU and go listen to High on Fire, Khemmis, Tempel, Behemoth and any of the rabidly talented musicians still actually making art rather than swill that sounds as if it belongs in an American light beer commercial. Lars should go back to collecting overpriced artwork he doesn’t understand.

        • Gadriel

          Although I will agree that post Black album, Metallica haven’t been the force they were during the 80s, I still stand by my claim that the Black album is a GREAT album.

          Seems though that a lot of metal fans seem to want to hate on it because it sold so many copies – and many of them were to non traditional metal fans.
          Funny thing is that I remember it when it was released – and just about EVERY metalhead LOVED it at the time. It was GREAT to hear a metal band on a tradition radio station. We WANTED more people to listen – and appreciate – OUR bands.
          But when it happened? Waaa waaaa waaaaa.

    • Hey man, you blew me away again 🙂
      Of course, there are country-rock elements, but in fact it is 100% metal album. American heavy metal often has these elements. Actually metal is a derivative style and its sub-genres contains all possible styles –
      from classical and jazz to pop and country.

  • shawn lawson

    White zombie’s La sexorcisto. Get through that first 58 seconds and let the energy of Welcome to Planet Motherfucker propel you to their hits Thunder Kiss 65 and Black Sunshine. After that its a pure blast of gritty late 80s, early 90s metal mixed with cool, classic horror soundbites. Alot of people i know cant stand Zombies lyrics, but fuck,man…..they flow soooooo good with the music. Hes got the perfect amount of grungy mumble and hair metal screaming. I love everything he does, but this is hands down my favorite rock metal of all time. Honorable mentions: Pantera: Vulgar display of Power and Slipknot: Subliminal Verses vol 3

    • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

      Thanks for the discovery! I’m not the biggest metalhead around but I’m listening to “La sexorcisto” at this very moment and I like it. Not bad at all.

      • shawn lawson

        Absolutely. Been fav cd since like 96 haha.

      • heavymetalfightingsioux

        Astro Creep 2000 is pretty awesome as well.

        • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

          I’ll give it a listen.

        • Lawrence Henderson

          never a truer word spoken. if anything iy should be this site’s theme album.

      • heavymetalfightingsioux

        White Zombie is the shit. Rob Zombie, not so much.

  • Eizzy IceBorne

    Can it be, that the Editior has some over-strong love for that somewhat of overrated Prog-Metal?

    When I think about appreciating Metal, I think about albums that are written so well like a mighty Opera. So I think about the early Metallica-Albums, Yngwie Malmsteen, the 70s-Era of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden`s Fear Of The Dark or Nightwish`s first albums. But surely not Leprous and PT!

  • Peter Johnson

    Porcupine Tree is so awesome. A new age pink floyd

    • Not exactly heavy metal, but Porcupine Tree are an underappreciated band. Their drummer Gavin Harrison is amazing, and Stephen Wilson the guitarist/singer is a genius.

  • Morten Jørgensen

    I’ve tried to get my non metal friends into the genre and what seems to resonate best with them is A) Classical songs they have heard before, B) Symphonic and power metal or C) Heavy songs from bands that aren’t strictly metal but have some metal influences or heavy parts.

    On a more personal note, I really liked that Leprous song and will certainly check them out.

    • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

      Yeah, same here. I’m gonna dig more into Leprous for sure.

      • I might suggest the song ‘The Price’, that is the song that got me into Leprous…

        • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

          I’ll take a look. Cheers, man!

    • Hal Sutton

      Get new friends. Problem solved.

      • Gadriel

        Indeed – I found that it’s easy to replace non-metal fans with metal fans.
        All you need is a shovel and a moonlit night…….

        • Morten Jørgensen

          I love me a good live burial.

      • Morten Jørgensen

        Haha, if it were just that easy.

  • Sergio

    How about ACDC: Back in Black, Ozzy: Blizzard of Ozz, Maiden: Number of the Beast, Metallica: Master of Puppers, GnR: Appetite for Destruction, those are 5 great albums to get you to appreciate metal…

    • HorrorMovieSoundtrack

      To be fair, the title says “5 albums…” not “the ONLY 5 albums…”. The guy can’t name them all.

  • Peter Kushing

    I feel sorry for anyone that doesn’t listen to metal.Their interests and tastes must be dull as fuck.

    • Hal Sutton

      Like jerking off to books (no pictures of course). People who don’t listen to metal often enjoy cardboard, zippers, things made of plastic, and the sounds trees make when there is no wind.

    • Christensen

      there are people in the world who aren’t tone deaf and have some self respect

  • Hal Sutton

    Oh shit…i read the title wrong. I thought it was to get people “INTO” metal. #6 is definitely Nickelback.

    Since you have the Haunted on there and anything with the original singer is fucking epic, and anything without him is total shat (in which of course you picked a Haunted song without him), without further ado, Here is my list:

    #1 The Haunted ~ Bloodletting.

    #2 The Haunted ~ Bloodletting.

    #3 The Haunted ~ Bloodletting.

    #4 The Haunted ~ Bloodletting.

    #5 The Haunted ~ Bloodletting.

    Pretty solid list right there. Can’t really find anything that doesn’t make sense.

    • Gadriel

      I dunno, I’m not sure about what you have down as #4…..

    • Cool song, but they don’t have an album called ‘Bloodletting’, just a song. Not hatin’, just statin’. I like the song though, I had never heard the Haunted before and they are pretty cool. You should check out the albums ‘Holy War’ by Thy Art is Murder and ‘Liber Lucifer’ by Thy Darkened Shade, I think you would probably dig them…

      • Hal Sutton

        Oh I’m aware. That’s why I put one song 5 times. Because it is significantly better than the other list. Don’t try to get folks into metal with thechnical pop rock bullshit… Play them fucking metal and if they don’t like it move on.

  • diapers

    In the 80’s I listened to depeche mode and joy division, until one of my metal friends loaned me a cassette of Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore”. That is what sealed my coffin, people. Death metal!

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    5 Albums to Scare Away the Non-Metal Listeners Forever:

    #1 Neurosis – Through Silver in Blood
    #2 Celtic Frost – Monotheist
    #3 Akercocke – Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone
    #4 Cryptopsy – None So Vile
    #5 Deathspell Omega – Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice

    • 1. Destroy, Erase, Improve – Meshuggah
      2. Damnation and a Day – Cradle of Filth
      3. The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution – Infant Annihilator
      4. Demigod – Behemoth
      5. Once Was Not – Cryptopsy
      There’s my 5 albums to scare away non metal listeners forever. By the way, ‘King of New York’ is an underrated relatively unknown badass movie. Glad to see you reference it in your name… 🙂

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Meshuggah and Behemoth are two favorites of mine as well 🙂
        With Meshuggah I’d go for Catch 33 as it has more of a mental institution feel. With Behemoth, The Satanist would be a good choice as well as it is a bit more eerie. Though it isn’t as crushing as Demigod is.

        Yeah, King of New York is probably the greatest gangster movie too little people know about. Cheers!

  • robotdan

    Why did you post Garth Brooks? All I see is Garth Brooks. Can you stop posting Garth Brooks? It’s really obnoxious. “Oh dear” that’s you saying it. Straight from the horses ass. You are a legitimate butt pirate with your choice of words. Calling a man dearie cause you’ve got a thing for boys, eh? You will shill post jumping the shark Metallica all while you haven’t even listened to Warbringer, Municipal Waste, Evile, Toxic Holocaust and others that actually make music that sounds like what Metallica used to be. You know it’s shit and that there’s hope for a future and that future isn’t Metallica pointlessly reenactjng their past all while failing miserably. Lou Reed and Metallica is better than the Black album. At least they did something that made complacent and lazy fans like yourself mad. For once they did something close to their hardcore roots. Thrash and speed metal are hardcore adopters. So fuck your corporate anti punk consumerism. I’m not Dave Mustaine!

    • Gadriel

      You are a funny bunny.
      Let’s hope your batteries don’t run out – otherwise you’re granny may leave you.

      Municipal Waste. Evile. Toxic Holocaust.
      All modern bands who WISH they could recreate the classic Metallica sound. That is why your opinion doesn’t mean shit to me – dearie.

      Ciao Dave!

      • robotdan

        Look… I can see you’re a few albums shy of the discography if you know what I mean. Dadriel or Gayladrianel or fart gastronomus whatever you wanna call yourself. Pretending to be a girl on the internet only cements my argument further. Women are second class citizens. They have plebeian music taste …which is your highest aspiration! You love tonguing anus and you love Lars with his two in her rammed right in your ear. At least modern bands can fucking get drummers who can read and keep a beat. Lars is a massive chode. Even gay men would cringe at Lars massive faggotry. Even Lars dad hates him. Black album is black like a bad turd after eating Indian food. BTW FOR THE RECORD I WOULD LIKE TO DAY ONCE AGAIN FOR THE LAST TIME I SWEAR THAT I AM IN NO WAYNSHAPE OR FORM RELATED TO OR EVEN CLOSE TO BEING DAVE MUSTAINE FROM THE NOT METALLICA BAND MEGADETH. GET IT THROUGH YOUR DAMN DIRTY SKULLS

        • Gadriel

          Guess it’s time for you to lose weight – as I can no longer be bothered to feed you.

          • robotdan

            You know it’s crap butt poo. Yeah good metallicas right? I mean HAHAHAHA I’m just KIDDIN man, u alright? Sent from my iPhone 4 Plus not owned by Dave “Alex jones hubby” Mustaine

  • I Am Colossus

    Fucking shitty list, still Metallicas self titled bout was epic and a good way to get into new age metal. James Hetfield NEVER sounded as good as this, not before or since. Great music, awesome,lyrics, etc. Couldve given waaaay better examples though on appreciation to metal.

  • Bobby Jones

    i played Cemetery Gates for a hippie girl, she then stole my Cowboys from Hell CD

  • Thomas Caniglia

    Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

  • Petey Pete

    Awful list… needs Black Sabbath.

  • markajacoby

    This is so hard to come up with a list because are you talking classic metal (Sabbath, Purple, Maiden), thrash metal, death metal, black metal, nu-metal, etc…. I personally think the list is kind of lame myself but it’s only because I don’t listen to the stuff on there.

  • elpinche

    For some of my buddies who refuse to change and just listen to Maiden, I show them Mastadon with much success. A steady of Maiden isn’t bad though.

  • 1. We Sold Our Souls for Rock N Roll – Black Sabbath
    2. Operation: Mindcrime – Queensryche
    3. The Real Thing – Faith No More
    4. Dirt- Alice In Chains
    5. Rust in Peace – Megadeth
    To get someone who doesn’t appreciate metal to appreciate metal takes a special kind of album. To me, it has to capture the essence of metal, yet transcend the genre to the point of mass appeal. Black Sabbath are basically the founders of heavy metal in my mind. ‘We Sold Our Souls for Rock N Roll’ is their greatest hits album, has every essential Sabbath song arguably ever written. Black Sabbath had it all, the riffs, the musicianship, the songwriting, the aura of darkness that permeated their sound. They are the fathers of metal, period.
    ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ is the best heavy metal concept album ever written in my humble opinion. This album doesn’t have one second of bad music, it is a literal metal masterpiece in every sense of the word. Geoff Tate has a voice that even an opera singer could appreciate, and their musicianship and songwriting are amazing on this album. Sex, religion, politics, metal, and a story about the New World Order. How could you possibly go wrong?
    ‘The Real Thing’ by Faith No More might not even be considered heavy metal by some, but I don’t care. This album has something that almost every kind of music fan can appreciate. They have a little rap, a little alternative, a little lounge music, a little funk, and a little metal all mixed together to perfection.
    ‘Dirt’ by Alice In Chains is an album that changed the way vocal harmonies can be used in music. The voices of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell melt together as if they were the same voice harmonizing with itself. To me, they were like a heavy metal version Simon and Garfunkel, great metal riffage with dark and beautiful vocal harmonies. Hello darkness my old friend indeed, this album is a masterpiece.
    ‘Rust in Peace’ by Megadeth is metal. If you had a definition of ‘heavy metal’ in the dictionary, it would list this album as an example. The vocals might not turn on your average not metal fan, BUT the musicianship alone is enough to make any music fan appreciate their playing abilities. Marty Friedman is and was a masterful guitar player, and every solo on this album is technical, fast, and good as it gets, period. This was Megadeth at their pinnacle, this album is a MUST HAVE.

    • Lawrence Henderson

      gully agree with rust in peace. would swap dirt with facelift just because it’s less heroin-y.

  • Brodequin

    Music of Metal (especially its Extreme subgenre) is been powering me for over three decades. The only kind of music that is constantly evolving. Everyday almost i can find something that is absolutely fresh and innovative, something what that make me feel excitement. None of albums mentioned above can make me feel it. Well, as i mentioned, Extreme subgenres are my favorite. And i’m not talking here about Death, Gore, Brutal, Grind etc… I absolutely love Metal Fusions: e.g.: Brutal Death Jazz, Cyber Grind Blues etc… So here are few eamples of albums that makes my day, everyday:
    1. Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion
    2. Bedlam of Cacophony – Neuroleptic
    3. Coprofago – Unorthodox Creative Criteria
    4. Exivious – Self Tittled CD
    5. Octopus – Coda (EP)
    6. Volto! – Incitare

  • Man’s Ruin

    Yep, and played on exactly the same radio stations with Garth Brooks. Country music fans LOVE this garbage — or have you never been to an NFL game?

    • Gadriel

      I’m in England – so no NFL for me.
      “American” football is only popular in your neck of the woods I’m afraid – there really isn’t that much of an interest in it globally (aside from the Superbowl – when we Europeans and others check it out and see if we can see the appeal – which we generally don’t….)
      We prefer Rugby – the game yours is based on – but without all the sissy boy padding.

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