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3. Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast (Capitol Records, 1982)

The album that unquestionably made Iron Maiden one of the godheads of modern metal. Even though Number of the Beast was Maiden's third studio effort, it marked the debut of vocalist Bruce Dickinson, the man who would become as synonymous with the band as their album cover mascot Eddie. While both the album artwork and the title track raised the ire of right wing Christian groups, the band wasn't just some hack Satanic standby. On the contrary, Dickinson and crew would showcase their penchant for epic historical sagas that touched upon various socio-political issues. In this instance said track was their breakthrough hit "Run To The Hills" which revisited the plight of the Native Americans. SD

2. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Warner Bros., 1971)

Sabbath's sophomore release is not only one of the seminal band's greatest efforts, it's also one of the greatest rock albums of all time. The album was a #1 record in its homeland of the United Kingdom (this of course during a time when prefab girl and boy bands were virtually non-existent and heavy metal ruled supreme). The album's title track and "Iron Man" have become signature anthems not only for Sabbath, but for air guitarist and karaoke masters alike the world over. But the heavy metal hits didn't stop there. The album also boasts "War Pigs" (good enough to be covered by Faith No More, no less) and the wonderfully titled "Fairies Wear Boots." Hell, the album cover art alone is pure classic as it conjures up a Dungeons & Dragons-meets-Star Wars visual pastiche long before the game or film were even part of the pop culture zeitgeist. How's that for prescience? SD

1. Metallica - Master of Puppets (Elektra Records, 1986)

Say what you will about the Metallica of post-2000, but in their hey day the quartet from the San Francisco Bay Area were the kings of all things metal. Six string shredding? Check. Machine gun drumming? Check. Thundering sh!t-in-your-pants-bass? Check. It was all there in spades. Heavy metal fans no doubt have argued till blue in the balls about which Metallica album is the greatest. It's a tough argument, to be true, but after kicking all naysayer's in the gonads, we came to the conclusion that the band's third magnum opus was easily their best. Why? Because it built upon and perfected everything they had experimented with prior. It's the album where all the pieces come together in glorious cohesion and it's the album that finally woke the general public up to the power and the glory that Metallica was born to spread. SD

Honorable Mentions

Angra - Fireworks
The Black Dahlia Murder - Miasma
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Black Sabbath - Sabotage
Black Sabbath - Volume 4
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell
Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth
Blue Oyster Cult - Blue Oyster Cult
Corrosion of Conformity - Deliverance
Death Angel - Act III
Death- Symbolic
Danzig - Danzig
Dream Theater- Images and Words
Exodus - Bonded by Blood
Fates Warning- Parallels
Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Flotsam and Jetsam- Quatro
Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I
Helloween- Better than Raw
Helmet - Meantime
In Flames - Colony.
In Flames - Come Clarity
Iron Maiden - Powerslave
Iron Maiden- Somewhere in Time
Isis - Oceanic
Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Judas Priest - British Steel
Judas Priest - Killing Machine
Killswitch Engage - Alive or Just Breathing
Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun
Lamb of God - Sacrament
Manowar - Kings of Metal
Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Metallica Black album
Morbid Angel - Blessed are the Sick
Nightwish - Oceanborn
Pantera - Far Beyond Driven
Queensryche- Rage for Order
Queensryche- The Warning
Queensryche- Empire
Rush - Permanent Waves
Savatage- Hall of the Mountain King
Sepultura - Arise
Sepultura - Chaos A.D.
Shadow Gallery- Tyranny
Sir Lord Baltimore - Kingdom Come
Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer - South of Heaven
Stratovarius- Episode
Stormtroopers Of Death (S.O.D.) - Speak English Or Die
Tenacious D - Tenacious D
Testament - The Ritual
Testament - The Legacy
Vicious Rumors- Welcome to the Ball
voivod - Nothingface
X-Japan - Art of Life

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