Posts Tagged ‘Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time’

Number-of-the-beast-album-coverBack in September of 2018, we started a journey covering all the albums that were listed on Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list. Before we started, we had already covered 14 albums which meant there were 36 albums to discover and explore and now we are down to two. By 1982, Iron Maiden was already a pretty established band having already released two albums (Self Titled & Killers), but the band had just released their singer and now were embarking on a new journey with a new lead singer who would sweep the metal world off it’s feet. Bruce Dickinson was the new lead singer of Iron Maiden and he was joined by Steve Harris (Bass), Dave Murray (Guitars), Adrian Smith (Guitars), and for the very last time Clive Burr (Drums). On March 22, 1982, the band would release their epic third album The Number Of The Beast and it was a huge success for the band as it established Bruce as the leading frontman of Heavy Metal. The album was such a success that it was the first Iron Maiden record to go number one in the UK and it peaked at 33 in the US Billboard Top 200 Charts as it went platinum selling over 1 million copies.

number-of-the-beast-album-cover-back1. Invaders– Burr and Harris kick off the track before the band kicks into overdrive for the opening track that is all about the Viking’s Norman conquest of 1066. Harris believes that the band could have chosen a better track than this for the album. 4.5/5

2. Children Of The Damned-a very melodic intro and pretty mellow track that Dickinson has admitted was based off of Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea track. The lyrics were based on the films Village Of The Damned and Children Of The Damned. 5/5

3. The Prisoner-a cool track that is based off of the television series of the same name and even features an audio clip from the show that the manager of Maiden Ron Smallwood said he had to call Patrick McGoohan just to get permission to use it to which McGoohan agreed. 4.5/5

4. 22 Acacia Avenue– This is the second track in the Charlotte The Harlot saga and how she shouldn’t continue her life of prostitution because of the things that could happen to her if she continues. 5/5

the-number-of-the-beast-ltd-1a-600x6005. The Number Of The Beast– The most famous title track and a live staple for many years in this track that was inspired by a bad dream that Harris had after watching Damien: The Omen II and he has also stated that the track was also inspired by Tam o’ Shanter by Robert Burns. The spoken word in the beginning of the track was from The Book Of Revelations and was read by Barry Clayton because the band refused to pay Vincent Price asking price of £25,000. 5/5

6. Run To The Hills– This is probably the most famous and overplayed Iron Maiden track of all time in this track that is all about European white males who started invading the land that would later be known as the United States of America and what they did to Native Americans. 5/5

7. Gangland– This is probably the weakest track on the whole album and it’s even agreed by Steve Harris who said the choice was made in a rush in this track that I believe is about a man who leaves the gang life behind, but it never really leaves him as it haunts him. 4/5

8. Hallowed Be Thy Name– One of the most legendary tracks in all of Iron Maiden’s catalog as it is the most covered Maiden track. The track is about a prisoner who is about to be hanged. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding the track as the band was sued for songwriting credits. For more info on that, just click here. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is not my favorite Iron Maiden record ever, but it is definitely up there. It’s that album to Maiden that Back In Black was to AC/DC or Blizzard Of Ozz was for Ozzy, it’s just the standard. A track to avoid on here is definitely Gangland while the rest of the album is more than listenable so rock out with your… well you know what I am saying. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars out of five.

jpriest-screamingveng-coverThe album that I chose for today’s Album of the Week always held a special place in my heart because one of it’s lead singles was my introduction to the band and every time I hear it I still can’t stop rocking out to it. The other reason being that Judas Priest’s Screaming For Vengeance was released on July 17, 1982 which was the year I was born. Screaming For Vengeance was the band’s eighth studio album and it once again featured Rob Halford (Vocals), K.K. Downing (Guitars), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), and Dave Holland (Drums) while the album was produced by Tom Allom which this was his fourth time with the band. British Steel was always considered the band’s marquee record, but the truth of the matter is that they didn’t sell well in the US until the release of this album which rose all the way up to two times platinum which made it the first Priest record to do so. It was a huge commercial success here in the US as it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200 charts as well as peaking at number 11 in the UK. The album has received numerous accolades over the years including being listed number 7 on Loudwire.com’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list.

judas-priest-screaming-vengeance-2-cd1. The Hellion– One of the greatest opening instrumental tracks to an album that when I would play it on my college station I would accompany it with the next track. 5/5

2. Electric Eye– Picking up right where the last track took off, this classic track about big brother and the paranoia that went with the idea of the government watching you. Played in E minor the track is based off George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four book. 5/5

3. Riding On The Wind-I love how the track opens with the drums before it goes to the answer/call effect by the twin guitar attack in the beginning in what I believe to be a motorcycle track as far as the lyrics are concerned. 5/5

4. Bloodstone– The guitar riff is slowed don a bit before the track kicks off in this song that I think is about all the blood that has been spilled in the world and how it seems like it’s never ending. 5/5

5. (Take These) Chains– One of my favorite power ballads that I think has a deeper meaning than just about love. I think it was Halford crying out that he just wanted to be free and not have to hide his true feelings. 5/5

6. Pain And Pleasure– a slowed down tempo leads this track that has the same kind of sound as Metal Gods as far as drums are concerned in this track that is all about S&M and how even though it hurts that is what is enjoyable about it. 4.5/5

judas-priest-screaming-for-vengeance-columbia-38160-lp-vg--2_442943527. Screaming For Vengeance– The title track is next and it hard charging/chugging riff in this song that is all about injustice and how the man always tries to keep you down. 4.5/5

8. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’– This is the one track that every time I hear it I can not stop playing air guitar to. The very first single off the record written in F-sharp minor is the only Priest track to ever chart in America. The track is about doing what you want to do no matter what others say! 5/5

9. Fever– A very melodic track much like (Take These) Chains, in this track that is all about two lovers who become re-acquainted. The real highlight of this track is Rob Halford’s vocals in this song and how he smoothly fits right in with the music so effortlessly. The guitar solo in the track is pretty bad ass too. 5/5

10. Devil’s Child– The last track on the album is an absolute banger in the same sense as any of their other popular tracks. It’s about being in a relationship/friendship with someone that you know is bad, but it’s very much a necessary evil. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is definitely one of my top Judas Priest albums ever and that is why it holds such a special place in my heart. The only unfortunate thing is that 8 out of the 10 tracks is a 5, but that they are not too far behind because the album gets 4.9 stars out of five for a final grade.

118933420One of the greatest thrash albums of all time in my opinion has always been Metallica’s second album Ride The Lightning which was released on July 27, 1984 via Megaforce Records (later re-released by Elektra Records). The album in my opinion still featured some of the fury and rawness of the previous effort Kill ‘Em All, but it was a step forward in their sound that would eventually be featured on their next effort Master Of Puppets. The album also still featured traces of former guitarist Dave Mustaine of Megadeth who has writing credits on the album. The band once again featured James Hetfield (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitar), Cliff Burton (Bass), and Lars Ulrich (Drums) while the album was produced by Flemming Rasmussen as well as Metallica. The album was a critical success for the band as it established that they were the alphas of the Metal scene that was emerging in the US as it charted at Number 48 on the Billboard Top 200 while being certified platinum six times. The change in style of this album to the previous was all due to Cliff Burton who apparently introduced musical theory to the band and they allowed him to have more input as far as writing was concerned.

main_1525890639-James-Hetfield-Jason-Newsted-Signed-Metallica-Ride-the-Lightning-Vinyl-Record-Album-Inscribed-04-2013-JSA-COA-PristineAuction.com1. Fight Fire With Fire– The opening track starts with an acoustic riff that Cliff Burton had been playing around with before the all out metal assault hits you like a freight train. The track is all about denouncing the idea of an eye for an eye with the fear of nuclear attacks being an option. 5/5

2. Ride The Lightning– the title track is one that Mustaine helped write, but that Metallica had to slow down because neither Hammett or Hetfield could match the speed of Mustaine. The track is about the corruption of the justice system as told by a man facing the electric chair. 5/5

3. For Whom The Bell Tolls– a church bell kicks off the track that is one of my personal favorites and the opening chromatic riff that you hear is actually Cliff Burton playing with distortion and a wah wah pedal and not the guitars. The lyrics and track were based off of Ernest Hemingway’s book of the same name in the matter of the dishonor and all of the horrors associated with warfare. 5/5

4. Fade To Black– The track is a ballad of sorts, but it deals with a very touchy subject matter of suicide. Apparently. the track is about the emotions that Hetfield went through when he and Metallica had discovered that someone had stolen all of their equipment before a show in Boston, MA in January of 1984. 5/5

118875110-35. Trapped Under Ice– This was a track that was based off of a demo that Hammett had written with Exodus called Impaler. They tuned it up and fixed it and turned it into this track that is all about a man that wakes up after being trapped in a cryogenic state and the helplessness that he goes through after. 5/5

6. Escape– While I am a fan of this track, apparently James Hetfield hates this song because this track was the result of the label telling them they had to write a more radio friendly song. I really like this track. 5/5

7. Creeping Death-This is probably the most famous Metallica song ever written besides Fade, Bell, and even Master Of Puppets. The track is about the story of Moses and the plagues that engulfed Egypt. 5/5

8. The Call of Ktulu– The instrumental track was named after the H.P. Lovercraft book The Call Of Cthulhu and features the intro written in D Minor by Mustaine (He used again in Hangar 18) and is followed up by a bass solo by Cliff Burton. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– There is a reason that Loudwire ranked this album 8TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of all time list and that is because it is one of the greatest albums written by Metallica. The album gets five stars out of five stars because it belongs in the five star album club.

0000329891I remember when System Of A Down first came out with their self titled album in 1998, they were a band that just stormed the scene out of nowhere with their whacked out in your face alt metal assault. They were the right kind of band to come out when they did because soon enough Rage Against The Machine would be no more and we needed a new band to take over the activist mantra and they did just that with their second album Toxicity.  The album which once again featured Serj Tankian (Vocals/Keyboard/Strings), Daron Malakian (Guitars/Sitar/Vocals), Shavo Odadjian (Bass), and John Dolmayan (Drums) released the album September 4, 2001 and it was produced by Rick Rubin as well as Serj and Daron. The album was a huge success upon it’s release as it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts in the US and in Canada as it sold 220,000 copies in it’s first week. The album was certified triple platinum a year later as well as finishing at 101 on the Billboard Year End charts in 2001 and then it finished 28TH in 2002. Another achievement from the album is that every single released charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as having a single finish number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts. Loudwire ranked the album 13 on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.

System of a Down - Toxicity back1. Prison Song– an in your face track kicks off the album in this track that was said to be written about how our prisons are overflowing with Americans and so we keep building more prisons. 4/5

2. Needles– an interesting track where one may feel that they are talking about drugs and how can I blame you with a title like that. But I saw someone explain that the song is about euthanasia and the idea of how tough it is to grow old especially when the body begins to fall apart. 4.5/5

3. Deer Dance-a relentless track that is all about the protests that happened during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. 4/5

4. Jet Pilot-SOAD does not take their foot off the pedal going into this track which I ultimately think is a metaphor for the environment 4/5

5. X– a track that is all about how oppressive a government can be especially when it starts telling the people what they can and can’t do. 4.5/5

6. Chop Seuy!– This was the first single off the record and controversy followed it due to the fact that it was released during the week of 9/11. Daron explains the meaning to the lyrics saying, “The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die’. The lyric passages ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ and ‘why have you forsaken me?’ are a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as, according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying.” 5/5

7. Bounce-an in your face track that surprisingly is about group sex. I love how it goes crazy during the chorus and calm during the verses. 5/5

toxicity-589cd99826a8a8. Forest-a great track that I think is about how the original concept of religion has been ruined by the people who take something that should be about peace and love, but have created war over it. 5/5

9. ATWA-One of my favorite tracks on the album that starts calm with the clean channel playing before they kick it in overdrive for the choruses. The song is based off of Charles Manson’s views on the environment. 5/5

10. Science– an interesting view on the world of science and the age old topic of science vs religion. It tackles the idea of how science without a moral/faith based view and  understanding could destroy the earth, but also could lead us to the promise land. 5/5

11. Shimmy-an interesting track that looks at the idea of how school instills what the majority believes is the right thing for you to believe in like education, marriage, etc. 4.5/5

12. Toxicity– Another one of my favorite tracks on the album. According to wikipedia, the track is played, ” predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/4, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/4 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part (“somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep”) makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge.” According to John the song is about, “your poisonous content. Your toxicity level. But toxicity doesn’t necessarily mean the toxicity of a person, it can be the toxicity of a city. Or the toxicity of a nation. The toxicity of a speech. It’s just toxicity in general or whatever.” 5/5

13. Psycho– A great track to hear and sing along with live in this track that is all about drugs and groupies. 5/5

14. Aerials– The best song on the whole entire album with it’s clean channel guitar intro and incredible guitar riff during the chorus that is intoxicating to listen to. The track is about how ignorant we can be as a society when we close our minds to those who are different or have different opinions. An incredible track that still translates well today. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Besides the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums, this might be the best piece of work that System Of A Down ever put out as almost every track is brilliant. I have always favorite the mid to late tracks on this album more than I did the opening tracks hence the grades. Check out the album and I am giving the record 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

tool_lateralus-1For most of 2018 and 2019, the biggest talk of the rock and metal world was always the prospect of a brand new Tool album and when it was going to come out. The album is going to come out on August 30TH according to the band and it’s the band’s first album since 2006’s 10,000 Days, but to help us while we wait, I am going to check out the bands third studio album in Lateralus which Loudwire ranked 13TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.  Lateralus was released on May 15, 2001 via Volcano Entertainment and it featured Maynard James Keenan (Vocals), Adam Jones (Guitar), Justin Chancellor (Bass), and Danny Carey (Drums) and the album was produced by David Bottrill who produced the band’s previous effort Ænima. When the album was released it instantly went to number one on the Billboard Top 200 charts and it also went number one in Australia, Canada, and Poland. It also peaked at number one as the top Internet album selling over two million copies and the rock and roll hall of fame has it ranked number 123 on their definitive 200 list.

UgLvB1. The Grudge– The track starts with what sounds like someone hitting play on a tape machine before Chancellor comes in with an amazing bass riff. One of the great signatures is all the time signature changes you’ll hear in one track, but I think this song is about Maynard throwing how stupid holding grudges can be. 5/5

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse– an instrumental track on the album that is all about Danny Carey’s dog Eon who passed away from Bone marrow cancer. 4/5

3. The Patient– The track starts off a little slow with a persistent and driving guitar riff, but when it gets to a certain point it explodes into one hell of a track that is all about that point when you reach a certain mindset that you are centered. 5/5

4. Mantra-a small instrumental interlude that is actually just Maynard James Keenan squeezing his Siamese cat. 4/5

5. Schism– This track beat out tracks from Black Sabbath, Slayer, Slipknot, and System Of A Down for best metal performance at the Grammys in 2002. Keenan described the science and math behind the track saying, “They’re all about relationships. Learning how to integrate communication back into a relationship. How are we as lovers, as artists, as brothers – how are we going to reconstruct this beautiful temple that we’ve built and that’s tumbled down? It’s universal relationship stuff.” 5/5

6. Parabol-To create the sound of the Buddhist monks chanting on the track, Carey sampled himself breathing through a tube in this very melodic track. This one is about dealing with your problems. 4.5/5

7oo97. Parabola– If the last track was the melodic version, this is the in your face Tool track that everyone loves from them. It’s driving when it needs to be and calculating at others. The track deals with how our minds create an illusion of what we think we are. 5/5

8. Ticks & Leeches– Another great track on the album that is all about the struggle on your journey to enlightenment because of all the leeches that try to suck you dry. 5/5

9. Lateralus– The track is known for it’s signature time changes which go from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8 during the chorus. Danny Carey commented saying, “t was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 16th number of the Fibonacci sequence. So that was cool.” Keenan described the lyrics saying, “I use the archetype stories of North American aboriginals and the themes or colors which appear over and over again in the oral stories handed down through generations. Black, white, red, and yellow play very heavily in aboriginal stories of creation.” Reports also say that the song could be based on LSD trips. 5/5

10. Disposition-I love the melodic beginning that has a nice and soothing bass riff that opens up the 1st track that forms a sequence with the next two tracks. I think the track is all about realizing that we as people change all the time, it’s just a fact of life. 4.5/5

11. Reflection– The second part of the sequence that really is eye opening lyrically as he tells us that we are really capable of great things if we put our mind into it. The tribal beat from the previous track continues on this one and Chancellor’s bass playing is amazing. There are some great sounds on this 11 minute track. 5/5

12. Triad-The last part of the sequence is a two minute instrumental and a great way to close it out. 4.5/5

13. Faaip de Oiad-The title of the the last track on the album is Enochian for Voice Of God and it features samples of a radio call of a 1997 radio show phone call for the Coast To Coast show by Art Bell of a man claiming to be an Area 51 employee. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– The album took four years to come out because of a dispute the band was going through with Volcano Entertainment, but nonetheless the album was definitely worth the wait. We’ll have to see if the same boast true for the new album when that is released. There are a lot of great songs on the album with a lot of amazing playing and some enlightening, but easy to interpret lyrics. That is why I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

b223926466145523090ae092b42c83f49a8efc44The album that I chose to check out for today is one that I have always wanted to because I have always respected Opeth as artists. I have always heard tracks from the Swedish Progressive Metal band, but I have never checked out full albums until today as we check out what Loudwire.com ranked 15TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list in the band’s fifth studio album Blackwater Park. The band which was made up of Mikael Åkerfeldt (Vocals/Guitars), Peter Lindgren (Guitar), Martín Méndez (Bass), and Martin Lopez (Drums) collaborated with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree for the first time as he was picked to produce the album. The album was considered a critical success for the band with some calling it their coming of age album, but unfortunately despite spawning two singles in the US, it failed to chart on the Billboard Top 200, but it peaked at number 10 in Poland. In 2007, IGN ranked it 18TH on their top metal albums list while Rolling Stone ranked the album 28TH on their Greatest Prog Rock Albums of all time list and 55TH on their The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list as well. Åkerfeldt talked about making the album and how he felt like they were ameteurs compared to Soilwork who were int he studio around the same time saying, “They were working all the time. When they came into the kitchen for a break, we’re still there, on the same break we took 3 hours ago. We don’t want this to become a ‘job’, or something you do because you have to. We wanna have a good time, and thus we only work when it feels right.”

bL6cCUZ1. The Leper Affinity-The 10 plus minute opening track has a slow and eerie buildup with what sounds like an organ before the band comes all guns a blazing in this track that is about a man who is a rapist and a murderer. The guitar work on the track is absolutely amazing. 4.5/5

2. Bleak– an absolute eargasm is the best way to describe this nine minute track that I believe touches upon the theme of a character dealing with loss of a loved one. 5/5

3. Harvest– The next tracks lyrics are powerful and can be left to interpretation by anyone, but I believe the track is about someone who is dying and they have accepted what they have done and feel everyone should too. 4.5/5

4. The Drapery Falls– another almost 11 minute banger that starts out very beautifully with some great acoustic guitars matched with the electric before it changes into a metal track five minutes in as they start the track with clean vocals and go right into the death metal vocals. 5/5

blackwater-park-4f220b8bd721c5. Dirge for November– an eight minute track that takes a journey into the topic of suicide that is very real in this modern day. I love how it starts off with the acoustic guitars before going electric which is a very nice transition. 5/5

6. The Funeral Portrait-I think the track is literally about a man who has a secret that no one else knows and that is that he is a serial killer and the people he kills are his canvas. 4.5/5

7. Patterns in the Ivy-An instrumental track on the album that is almost two minutes in length that leads into the next track. 4/5

8. Blackwater Park-Even though the 12 minute title track was named after a German rock band who went by the name, we will pretend that Blackwater Park is a real place and that everyone around our narrator is dying, but it could be a metaphor for all the corruption and death that happens in the world. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-If you want to expand your horizons musically then this is an album that is worth picking up because it kicks a lot of ass. Musically, the album is definitely one of the best I have heard to come out of that Swedish scene. I am definitely glad I listened to it because I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

100755We continue on our road of discovery as we check out albums that were ranked on Loudwire.com’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list and we are checking out another album from the almighty Black Sabbath. The album we are checking out this week is the fourth Black Sabbath record to be featured on the list (Paranoid, Black Sabbath, and Heaven And Hell are the other three) and Loudwire ranked Master Of Reality, the band’s third album overall tenth on their list. The album once again featured Ozzy Osbourne (Vocals), Tony Iommi (Guitar), Geezer Butler (Bass), and Bill Ward (Drums) with Rodger Bain returning for the third album in a row as the band’s producer. The album was released on July 21, 1971 and is the album that is widely considered the album that helped start the genre’s of Doom Metal, Stoner Rock, and Sludge Metal. The album for a long time was a huge success for the band as it went double platinum and was the only Sabbath record to crack the top 10 in the US as it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Top 200. It was the only album for 42 years until 13 came out in 2013 which peaked at number one on the Billboard top 200.

black-sabbath-master-of-reality-17-cd1. Sweet Leaf-The track that begins with the coughing and the big riffs is one of the all time classics from Sabbath. That coughing loop is actually Tony Iommi coughing from a joint he was smoking with Ozzy which is what the track is about. 5/5

2. After Forever-A pretty cool track that was written by Iommi featuring lyrics written by self proclaimed catholic Geezer Butler which the lyrics center on various Christian themes like belief in Christ and the Pope. 5/5

3. Embryo-a :28 second instrumental which helps set up the very next track 5/5

4. Children Of The Grave– This bass heavy super charged track is my all time favorite Black Sabbath with it’s prominent drum beats to match. The track is another anti-war track from the band that is along the same lines as War Pigs and Electric Funeral. 5/5

d6dd99c4-0b8c-11e5-90ff-a60d138ab2b75. Orchid-another instrumental track on the album that is a nice segway into the next track. 5/5

6. Lord Of This World-a great track that looks at Satan and how he claims to be Lord of our world due to the fact that we do so much sinning that it allows him to be. 5/5

7. Solitude– a slow track in the same vein as Planet Caravan that is sung so beautifully by Ozzy that we can’t believe it’s him singing. The track is about losing someone that you were in love with and they left you with nothing. 5/5

8. Into The Void– a track that is widely loved by so many including Eddie Van Halen and James Hetfield due to how bad ass the main riff is. It truly is an awesome song that was written in C# Minor in a song that is all about how man is destroying the earth. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is one of the most bad ass Black Sabbath records ever made. It’s an album that you can truly listen from beginning to end and it flows together nicely. Again, my all time favorite track is Children Of The Grave, but I love all the songs on this one which is why I am giving it five stars out of five for a final grade.