Jun 252013

Last week I came across an article on a site called Ryan’s Rock Show! in which the site asked Fuck the Facts founder Topon Das (above) to write about “five albums that changed his life”. His answers read like a sketch of a personal musical journey, one that began with Metallica’s …And Justice For All. As I read through his list, I couldn’t help but start thinking about what albums had a similar impact on my own musical journey. And then I thought, wouldn’t this be a nice subject for an NCS post! Everyone who is serious about metal must have their own personal list of life-changing albums, so why not ask what they are?

Five is an arbitrary number, of course, but it’s a manageable number. In my case, making lists tends to confound me. I think I take list-making too seriously. I usually start thinking too hard about it, partly out of fear that I’ll embarrass myself if I just shoot from the hip and partly because I have difficulty making choices even under the best of circumstances, unless I go with my first impulses. When I think too long and too hard, my brain tends to lock up like an engine that’s been victimized by a gaping oil leak.

So this time I thought for all of about 10 minutes. If I’d thought longer and harder, I have no doubt I would have hit a wall, and there would have been no list. But there’s also something to be said for going with the albums that leap to mind immediately. That means they made a lasting impression, right? You, of course, may choose to be more deliberate in your thinking, but however long it takes, I hope you’ll feel like adding a comment to this post and sharing the five albums that changed your life. But try to focus, as Topon Das did and as I’ve done, on the albums that led you into heavy music (Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony may have also changed your life, but this is a more focused kind of list).

Here’s my impulsive list of five, just to get things going:


1.  Led Zeppelin
     Led Zeppelin (1969)

I listened to a lot of other rock music before buying this album, but when I think about what really started me down the road to heavy music, this has to have been close to my own first steps on the path. In addition to being a life-changing revelation for me, it has had staying power — I still listen to songs from this album decades later, and it has been fun to see new generations discovering the band’s music in much more recent years.


2.  The Clash
     London Calling (1979)

There was a time when I listened to almost nothing but punk (and later, post-punk) music. I got into it because it quenched a thirst for something more “extreme”, more revolutionary, than what most everyone else was listening to at the time. That same thirst would eventually lead me into metal, but that came later. I had started listening to punk music before finding London Calling, but that album is the one that had the most dramatic impact, the one that pulled me headlong into the scene. It has also had staying power — another album I still listen to.


3.  In Flames
     Reroute To Remain (2002)

Once again, I had started listening to more extreme forms of metal before hearing Reroute To Remain, but this was certainly one of the first (if not the first) albums that really clicked. People talk about their personal gateways into extreme music, and this album was one of those for me. Songs like “Trigger” and “Cloud Connected” were so damned infectious, and “accessible” — that’s a bad word, I know, but at the time I first heard the album my tastes were still evolving, and accessibility was what I needed. Certainly not In Flames’ best album, but the right music at the right time for me.


4.  Entombed
     Left Hand Path (1990)

In quest of more extreme forms of metal after getting quite comfortable with melodeath, I stated exploring the music of influential early death metal bands. It didn’t take long before I found Left Hand Path, and it was another revelation. Fuck, the guitar tone alone had me in the bag, and I thought the songs were just brilliant. I still do. It proved to be an important branching-off point in my tastes, one that ultimately led to a whole new world of extreme music, and probably the reason why to this day I have such a weak spot for old school Swedish death metal.


5. Rotting Christ
    Theogonia (2007)

Black metal has become one of my favorite genres of music, but for me it was definitely an acquired taste rather than something that captured me immediately. When I first started dabbling in the genre, what I heard was just too . . . uncomfortable. But by the time I came to Theogonia, I was ready — or maybe it made me ready. Whatever the explanation, I simply loved everything about it. I still do. As is true of every other album on this short list, it has had staying power for me, in addition to marking a turning point in my tastes that led me down pathways which ultimately branched into new dimensions.


I listen to a lot more metal these days that’s far more “extreme” than any of the albums on this list — Fuck the Facts, for example. As I mentioned earlier, I think I’ve always been in search of unconventional, powerful, emotional music — harder and harder drugs, if you will.  But as I look back on my own journey, I see a trajectory, an arrow through time that led me to where I am now, and these five albums were definitely key mileposts along the way. There were certainly others, maybe equally important as these, but these are the ones that sprung to mind in the 10 minutes I gave this exercise.

So now it’s your turn. Please leave a comment and tell us about the five albums that changed your life.





  1. Reroute would probably be in my top ten. That or Clayman. Will have to give some serious thought though to what five albums have really had the most impact on me.

  2. in no particular order, and just off the top of my head:
    def leppard – hysteria
    megadeth – rust in peace
    ministry – psalm 69
    pantera – vulgar display of power
    minor threat – complete discography

  3. Led Zeppelin – IV
    My mom played this on long road trips, and hey so did my Dad! I LOVED the guitar playing and atmosphere (although I didn’t have a word for it then). I was hooked after the first few notes. This album not only got me into heavy music, but it also made me decide to pick up the 6-string guitar!
    Deftones – White Pony
    This album just has so much emotion, and listening to it feels like being up all night on caffeine (which happened a lot when I was that age!). I listened to this one for hours on end, stayed up late reading the lyrics, figured out the guitar parts…
    Meshuggah – Nothing
    This was just the heaviest thing I had ever heard. It started my obsession with strange grooves, but more importantly it just crushed everything I had listened to before. SO OVERBEARINGLY HEAVY.
    Candiria – 300 Percent Density
    This album destroys genre walls and resonates with my personal life. Many sides to the same coin.
    Into Eternity – Buried in Oblivion
    This album simply shreds, and sparked my interest in blast-beats and otherwise fast music. You could say this was my gateway to death and black metal (despite being only marginally related to either sub-genre).

    I guess this list is more chronological and concerns my path to heavier/more “extreme” territory.

  4. 1. Led Zeppelin IV- I can remember being 14 or 15 years old (maybe the summer of ’85) and being out in a car load of buddies cruising around (because there was nothing to else to do) blasting this album. This is what sparked my interested in heavy music, but at that time my interested stayed with more classic rock/prog rock from the ’60s and ’70s.

    2. Bob Dylan “Blood on the Tracks”- This was introduced to me in college when I (surprise) broke up with a serious girl friend. While Bob always denied this was a confessional album, it seemed undeniably clear to me that there was some serious introspection going on in it, and at the time I really appreciated it.

    3. Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind”- I had to be coerced into listening to this by a buddy of mine. I had grown up with the religious propaganda that Iron Maiden and most other heavy metal bands were servants of the Devil. Luckily I was able to undo that mental programming and fell in love with Iron Maiden, but unfortunately I pretty much saw them as an anomaly in the metal scene. At the time, hair metal was king and although thrash had a strong underground movement, it never appealed to me. My exposure to any other type of metal was very limited.

    4. Helmet “Meantime”- This created a major attitude adjustment for me towards metal. Here was a bunch of guys in shorts, polo shirts, and short hair creating just different and crushing music, when everyone else was still trying to cling to long hair, make-up, and power ballads. Helmet sent me in the direction of alternative and post-hardcore metal for years and years to come.

    5. Agalloch “Marrow of the Spirit”- This album (and then journeying into their back catalog) opened my mind up to styles I had largely ignored previously: black metal, neofolk, post-rock/post-metal. Ever since I have been searching with great exuberance for similar artists, which is why I lurk here.

  5. Top 5 Albums that changed the face of music for me…..

    1 – The Clash – London Calling
    2 – Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
    3 – Tool – Undertow
    4 – L7 – Hungry for Stink
    5 – Dying Fetus – Killing on Adrenaline

  6. 1. Def Leppard – High N Dry 1981. I’d listened to AC/DC and Kiss in the past but mostly interspersed with rock and pop etc. This album was the start of the path into a heavier focus.

    2. Metallica – Master of Puppets 1986. When I first heard this I was blown away, no going back from here.

    3. Slayer – Reign in Blood 1986. I’d never heard anything so frantic before and the break neck speed of this release was amazing. Still listen to it a lot even today.

    4. Entombed – Left Hand Path 1990 – When I saw the music video for Left Hand Path on late night tv I was hooked. The guitar tone of the early Swedish death metal bands like Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed was so unlike anything else out there.

    5. At the Gates – Slaughter of the Soul – 1996 – I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

  7. Krokus – Headhunter. This was the first metal album I ever heard, and it served as my gateway drug to all things metal. I lost interest in Krokus after a while, and moved on to other bands, but this is where it all started for me.

    Slayer – Hell Awaits. I think I listened to this all day every day for almost a month when I first got it. It redefined what heavy metal could be for me, and introduced me to musical extremes.

    Slayer – Reign in Blood. This became the standard by which I judged all other speedy music; most didn’t measure up.

    Candlemass – NIghtfall. Doom’s Reign in Blood. This introduced me to slower epic music like no other band before or since.

    Cradle of Filth – Lovecraft and Witchhearts. / Behemoth – As Above, So Below. These two fueled my renewed interest in extreme metal after a lull in the 90s.

  8. Hmmmm…

    Off the top of my head (because I too freeze up, overthink these things, and second-guess myself to death unless I just go off the top of my head) and in no special order:

    1. Metallica – …And Justice For All
    2. Alice In Chains – Dirt
    3. Pink Floyd – The Wall
    4. Ian Moore – Modernday Folklore
    5. Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage

  9. Guns N Roses- appetite for destruction. The first hard rock album I ever bought. As soon as I heard ‘it’s so easy’ I knew that this music would become my life. Marilyn Manson- Antichrist superstar. It was the single ‘get your Gunn’ from the first album that started my love for alternitve music, but This was the most violent and extreme album I’d heard, and I loved it! Cradle Of filth- cruelty and the beast. I was looking for a gateway for more extreme music. I watched the sleeping with the enemy documenty on bbc ( if you haven’t seen it, YouTube that shit!) and I was blown away. Years later when I discovered Darkthrone and Immortal, I was like ‘ this isn’t black metal! Where are the female vocals and keyboards!?’. Deicide- once apon the cross- my first death metal album. I’ve never heard a dm album since that can match it’s groove. Kiss- alive. You wanted the best! You got the best! Need I say more…

  10. Metallica – Master of Puppets: It was the 90s, I was in 7th grade, and no one cared about metal. I just thought the cover was cool. It took 3 or 4 listens, but then the music clicked and I was begging for more.

    Snapcase – Designs for Automotion: Growing up in upstate NY in the 90s meant heavy hardcore was everywhere, and these Buffalonians were the kingpins. Smart as hell and brutally heavy, I still have a big soft-spot for the metallic side of hardcore.

    Opeth – Blackwater Park: I wanted something heavier, but that fit with my sensibilities as a classically trained musician. The epic scope of this album, the tone painting and beauty of the songs was eye-opening.

    Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera: I know I’m one of the most power metal friendly regulars on this site, and you can place the blame here! I grew up with a father who loved epic hard rock, and BG’s open love of Queen, Zeppelin and iron Maiden sucked me right in.

    Woods of Ypres – Pursuit of the Sun and Allure of the Earth: Confessional black metal? The first black metal album I truly enjoyed, and my introduction to a personal musical touchstone.

  11. The Tea Party – The Edges of Twilight
    First album that got me into music full stop (about 10 or 11), and directed me to eastern, folk, rock and metal.

    The Haunted – One Kill Wonder/The Dead Eye
    First albums I got into with unclean vocals, a friend sent them to me when The Dead Eye was first released in 2006 (I was 13) – took me a while to really appreciate it, but I was thrilled by the concept and the illicit nature of the music. A conscious decision, and a revelation that I loved this kind of “music”.

    Lamb of God – As the Palaces Burn/Ashes of the Wake
    I discovered these on youtube when I was 14, and were the first two metal albums I went out and bought with my own cash. Before then I’d got most of my music off friends, but my hard rock/nu-metal mates hated these songs (they’re just noise,!). So not only the first albums I bought, but the first I found and enjoyed on my own.

    Karl Sanders – Saurian Meditation
    So after LoG and The Haunted, I made the obvious guitarist’s progression searching for technical songs that still grooved, into melodic DM (old in flames/cob) and newer prog stuff (Protest the Hero, Veil of Maya etc), then tech death (Necrophagist, Nile etc), with a few other bands like Opeth who I didn’t really appreciate at the time. I found out about Karl Sanders’ solo project through Nile, but it was nothing like I was expecting. I listened to this for weeks non-stop, and it showed me that there IS more to music than metal. Also helped shape my love for folk and ambient, which has strongly influenced my taste in metal since then.

    Lantlos – .neon
    I’d dabbled in bands like Burzum and Inferi for a while, but besides being a novelty black metal wasn’t really my thing. I found Neige’s projects just before I started Uni two years ago now, and for some reason it just clicked with how I was feeling. It crept into my AOTY of 2011, along with a few bands with post-rock influences like *shels and Uneven Structure, and not only got me into black metal but also got me out of the juvenile mindset that it’s only how fast you can play that matters.

    Now I’m into metal bands like Opeth, Agalloch, Krallice, Amenra and Maudlin of the Well (and still have an unfortunate soft spot for BTBAM and Meshuggah!)… and listen loads of folk such as Birch Book and :Of the Wand and the Moon:, as well as ambient/drone like Stag Hare, Alio Die, and GY!BE. Also a soft spot for Atom Heart Mother/Ummaguma era Pink Floyd, as well as the mandatory stand-outs like Karnivool and Gaza.

  12. 1. Metallica — And Justice For All
    My first exposure to metal, thanks to my older cousin who was blasting this in his Mustang on the day it came out. He turned me onto a lot of good bands: Priest, Sabbath, AC/DC, G’N’R. I owe him a huge debt.
    2. Bad Religion — Suffer
    My first exposure to hardcore punk rock and I loved it. Smart, fast, and addictive to this day.
    3.. Helmet — Meantime
    The heaviest thing I’d ever heard at the time. Something about those lock-step riffs just stuck with me.
    4. Slayer — Reign In Blood
    I came to Slayer way late but they were the tipping point into extreme metal for me
    5. Sepultura — Chaos A.D.
    A political awakening for me, marrying the politics and anger of crust to the riff-first mentality of metal.

  13. Not good enough in english and to lazy to comment all but here are mine:
    1 – Iron Maiden- 666 number of the Beast
    2 – Slayer – Reign in blood
    3 – Ramones – ST
    4 – Bad Brains – rock for light
    5 – Isis – Oceanic

  14. Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark
    Metallica – The Black Album
    Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit
    Shining – V Halmstad
    and a local band’s album… Pledge Defiance – Painometer

  15. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
    Uriah Heap – …Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble..
    Deep Purple – Machine Head
    Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin III
    Alice Cooper – Killer

    ….nuff said

  16. 1. Motley Crue-Shout At The Devil
    Just as much for the videos as the album itself. This is the album that got me into metal.
    2. Satyricon-Volcano
    I was always an old school, 80’s metalhead, but thought all of my favorite bands had broken up or just became crap. I never thought to look underground until a friend of mine introduced me to black metal through this. The floodgates were opened.
    3. Nuclear Assault-Survive
    This was just the most badass album I knew of in High School. Brainwashed was a revelation.
    4. Primus-Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
    Not technically metal, but often got lumped in with metal bands back in the day. Responsible for giving me a taste for the more offbeat side of music.
    5. Opeth-Blackwater Park
    Another album that opened my eyes to the kind of metal that was out there waiting for me. I really had never heard music structured like this before. I missed the boat on so many bands in the 90’s to early 00’s just because I didn’t think to look.

  17. Inspiring read. Here’s my list, in no particular order:
    The Sisters of Mercy – Floodland (and almost all of their other stuff)
    Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables
    Death – Human (still No. 1 on my alltime list after all these years)
    Joy Division – Closer
    NoMeansNo – Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed

  18. Metallica – Master of Puppets
    Iron Maiden – Powerslave
    Sublime – 40 oz to Freedom
    BLS – Sonic Brew
    Black Sabbath – Paranoid

    All stuff I was into early on, the love grew from that, with metal and ska being my favorite genres.

    • Damn, when I was writing that there was a time I listened to nothing but punk and post-punk, I should have written “punk, post punk, and SKA!” (or at least ska punk). The Specials and Madness were the bands that opened that door for me.

      • I have a huge soft spot for Less Than Jake and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Both bands hit a certain emotional resonance for me, especially Less Than Jake, which may one of the most vitriolic bands I’ve ever heard. Their anthems about getting out of their shitty home town got me through some annoying high school days. That said, I can’t listen to it all the time, I have to be in a certain mood. Usually not a good one, strange as that seem.

  19. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry (I discovered this vinyl album in my fathers collection and was immediately blown away by the cover. With “Burn In Hell” it contains a really “evergreen”)

    Metallica – … And Justice For All (to me this is the pinnacle of their career. I was really impressed by the songwriting and the overall anger on this album)

    Slayer – Reign In Blood (do I have to say something more?)

    Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness (my gateway album into Death Metal with some of the best vocals ever)

    Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (great musicians, great songs)

  20. My path into music in general started with the heavier end of the spectrum:

    Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Soul For Rock and Roll.
    My first hard rock/metal album, one of my first albums ever. Double album, heavy as shit!!! You open it up and there is some goth looking chick in a coffin holding a cross and I was like, this is too cool! I was hooked and would never look back.

    UFO – Strangers in the Night.
    I had heard some of the songs that are on this album prior like doctor doctor and lights out, but the studio recordings did not hit as hard as the live stuff. such a huge sound and the jams on lights out, and rock bottom and the cool intros they would stick on the beginning of some of the tunes were bad ass. Schenker’s tone is just sick!!! I was fortunate enough to catch their reunion some years back and they just CRUSHED!

    AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
    Nasty, filthy rock n roll. Nuff said.

    Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables.
    “I don’t need your way of life, I can’t stand your attitude I can do without your strife, I don’t need this fucking world!”
    fast, loud kick ass lyrics, I just loved this album and it got me into the speedier side of music that would be the natural progression to what I like today. On a side note, I have always thought that System of a Down owe a lot to DK, just sayin.

    Slayer – Haunting the Chapel.
    what more can I say? the speed and aggression was over the top and I fell hard for this stuff. It was like the flood gates opened and Exodus, Metallica, Anthrax, megadeth came rushing out. the first albums by the a fore mentioned bands hold such a prominent place in the formation of my musical tastes. I feel lucky to have been there when these bands were starting out and all the discoveries from tape trading and record stores , fanzines etc. I would scour and dig for anything I could find about this music after that. Tower Records had a METAL SECTION!!! I lost my shit every time I went in there, I’m gettin all misty eyed, think I’ll go throw on some Bonded By Blood.

    Sorry about the long winded tirade but I cannot seem to be short and sweet when it comes to all things metal.

    Thanks to NCS and all the scribes that share my love and endless appetite for this music. I visit this site at least twice a day, and until a couple days ago I never heard of a band that had current and former members of suffocation, dying fetus and misery index called Criminal Element!!!!! fuck yea you guys are the shit keep it up!

    Ok, I’m done

  21. The Who- Live at Leeds
    The Ramones- It’s Alive
    Bad Brains – Bad Brains
    Iron Maiden – Killers
    Motorhead – No Remorse.

    At this moment…. this is the list.

  22. In order of listening:
    1. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” – got me into heavy music
    2. Fantomas’ “The Director’s Cut” – got me to also listen to the underground kind of music
    3. Strapping Young Lad’s “Alien” – got me onto extreme metal, and off nu metal
    4. Cynic’s “Traced in Air” – got me onto progressive metal, off speedy-for-the-sake-of-speed extreme metal, got me listening more closely to bass parts in all music, and led me to purchase my bass
    5. Ulver’s “Perdition City” – let me start enjoying genres of music other than metal again, especially hip-hoy for some reason

  23. Hah, Love this article and love your choices, Islander. Zeppelind efinitely made a big splash on me and so did LONDON CALLING. Love that album. The “London Calling” bassline, along with “N.I.B.” got me into the instrument itself.

    so my 5.

    1-Metallica: Master of Puppets
    The ultimate gateway drug. STILL the best metal album ever released in my opinion.

    2-Mastodon: Leviathan
    the record that, on a whim, got me into metal that was released during my lifetime. I still know every note of this fucker. And i still call it a must-have classic. Every song is brilliant.

    3-Opeth: Ghost Reveries
    The beginning of a love affair with atmosphere. Everything, the production, the art, the lyrics, just took me someplace ELSE. Someplace, like star wars, long ago and far away. Opened my eyes to the possibility of metal as art.

    4-Lamb of God: Ashes of the Wake
    Got me into harsh singing. For that alone i will love it. But I just thought the riffs and the political lyrics were so PRESENT. so RIGHT IN THE SHIT WITH ME. It didn’t leave my car stereo for like, a year.

    5-Watain: Sworn to the Dark
    I was not down with black metal, or Satan, nor did I have any interest, until I heard this record. From here came Emperor, Dissection, Mayhem, and later more important bands for me like Wolves in the Throne Room and fucking Cobalt, which NEARLY edged out Sworn to the Dark.

  24. in no particular order, and they’re all pretty standard but with good reason! :

    Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath: the first few times I heard this I was like, wtf is this falsetto shit? It was just too weird and I didn’t understand it. One day though, this album just clicked with me and I fully understood how badass it was. In The Shadows is also a favourite, I love the theme structure and the focus on melody as well as riffing, but that magical moment when the organ on “The Oath” starts….ohh it’s pure evil! Nowadays, my love for Mercyful Fate is pretty hard to beat.

    Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky: is it weird to say that black metal was my first true metal “love”? i was into standard NWOBHM and big 4 stuff, and then one day I heard burzum and it was all downhill (uphill?) from there. Hvis Lyset Tar Oss was incredible, and Mayhem’s Deathcrush gets close to the highest rotation on my turntable of all the records I own….but for me there’s something about Darkthrone that I just love too much to leave off this list. While I love all their records (really!), and their current speed-metal direction was close to edging out ABITNS for this list, this record is just too epically black to ignore. The second I hear those demonic croaks that start “Kathaarian Life Code”, I’m lost in a world of frozen evil–and that’s how I like it!

    Iron Maiden – Powerslave: one of the first vinyl records I “owned” — I dug it out of my mom’s basement when I was probably 15 or 16? Now, Number of the Beast was definitely the first Maiden record I loved (how can you not), but Powerslave riffed harder, told weirder stories, and to this day is guaranteed to get me out of my chair. Couldn’t come close to counting the numer of times I’ve listened to this record, but every time it’s like reading a favourite story. I have nothing but happy memories attached to hearing it, and to this day it’s an absolute pleasure to spin.

    Slayer – Reign in Blood: another obvious one, but it came with one of those incredible moments-of-clarity that are always worth mentioning. I loved Slayer for being so fast and heavy, but never saw it as anything other than angry-time-music; we used to call it “slayer o’clock” when work was over and we were all on a rage-bender, and we’d blast this album. But one day, not that long ago actually, I ended up putting it on in my headphones when my husband was driving, and kind of slipped in and out of dreaming. I was totally isolated except for the music blaring into my ears, and for the first time I realized how much more than just “angry music” it was. The incredible production (or total lack of production?) on this album leaves you with nothing but cold, hard, pure intensity, save for the masterful touch of a little rainfall. If you listen carefully, you can hear Jeff’s fingers sliding on the strings in the quiet moments before his takes. It sounds like it was recorded in a cold dark basement, and to me that’s what makes it such an unbelievably perfect album. I woke up fully after it was over, and I knew then clearly and fully that I would never hear anything as heavy ever again.

    Rainbow – Rising: now I’m only 24, and I’ve had a TV and access to VH1 specials most of my life. That means I’ve heard Rainbow in clips and bits and pieces since before I can remember, so for my memory there’s no definitive moment of the “first time” I heard this album…but I wish so badly there was! The first time I heard it on vinyl was as close as I’ll ever get, and I’ve pined for that first time ever since. Plugged in headphones and listened to it front-to-back. It is such a euphoric climb to the end, by the time I hit that crescendo of Stargazer and then A Light in the Black, I thought my heart would burst…that combination of Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio will always shake me to the core. Ever since, even hearing strains of this album in the distance will bring a tear to my eye (no shame!). Another one of those incredible moments of perfect beauty, trapped forever on wax.

    well this all ended up coming off a little bit sappy, but hey what can I say, I’m an emotional lady haha. Music is powerful stuff! Looking forward to reading more lists!

  25. 1. Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith
    2. Metallica – Master of Puppets
    3. Anthrax – Among The Living
    4. Slayer – Hell Awaits
    6. Dio – Last In Line

  26. A lot of ‘classic’ metal listeners on this site! I personally (at least partially due to generation gap; I’ve been born in the eighties so I wasn’t really consciously paying any attention to metal at the time) never really got into the likes of Zeppelin, Maiden, Slayer and the likes so they certainly didn’t change the way I listen to music. The records that did do that were:

    1. Korn – Follow the Leader ’98: Yeah, go ahead hate me for having been a nu-metal fanboy back in the day 😉 Thing is, I was addicted to grunge rock and nu metal when I was in my early teens, and that really was THE gateway that got me into metal in the end. Plus I still enjoy their stuff every now and then!

    2. In Flames – Come Clarity ’06: Becoming sick of the same old alternative rock stuff and looking for something more challenging, I picked this album up the day it came out just because the album cover looked awesome. I was not disappointed! Especially the first time I listened to the opener ‘Take This Life’ I was sold. I’d say 2006 marks the year I got into ‘real’ metal, and Come Clarity is the first metal album I ever owned. Looking back, not their best by a long shot, but it is what it is: a release that gets angsty teenagers such as myself from the ‘rock’ to the ‘metal’.

    3. Insomnium – Above the Weeping World ’06 // Swallow the Sun – Hope ’07: A year or so after I discovered the ultimate joy that is metal I devoured every ‘Gothenborg melodeath’ band there is – Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, The Haunted, etc etc.. I wanted something else, something darker. That’s when I more or less simultaneously stumbled upon both Insomnium’s and Swallow the Sun’s most recent releases (in 2007), and this introduced me to a genre that’s still one of my favorites: a blend of doom and melodic death metal in a way only the Finnish make it. I still absolutely love the shit out of both albums.

    4. Anaal Nathrakh – In the Constellation of the Black Widow ’09: I picked this album up cause my friend of mine told me this was the absolute worst noise one could ever listen too, and that got me quite intrigued. So I bought it, and man oh man at first I did not know what the flying fuck was happening. The music’s so fucking fast, vocals hard to handle, and just fucking evil in general. It took me a while to get used to their sound but in the end it got me ready to listen to more extreme forms of black metal, death metal and grind/deathcore; genres that sounded ‘noisy’ to me before.

    5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here ’75: Strangely enough I never really got in touch with Pink Floyd until relatively recently – let’s say two years ago. This is the album I explored first from their mighty discography, and also the one I still love the most. In the end this is the album that made me appreciate ‘progressive’ music much more, and gave me the patience I have today to listen to albums multiple times to be able to digest songs that span longer than 10 minutes and lack conventional song structures. And these days albums that contain songs that take time to build up – for example of the likes of Persefone, Stealing Axxion, Lightbearer and the Fall of Every Season – are albums that I listen to most frequently, and I owe that to listening to Pink Floyd.

  27. 1. Rush – Moving Pictures
    Not so much “changed” and “defined”. I grew up listening to Rush and especially this record. My dad would play it all the time, probably even when I was still in the womb. This would have a huge impact on my favourites for years to come, and it is still one of my top albums of all time.

    2. AC/CD – Live
    This was my first exposure to hard rock and fiery guitar solos. There were earlier things I listened to, but this was the first time I found a band I liked by myself. I loved ACDC back when I was about 12 and 13. The energy in the live performances on this album is amazing, even if the band isn’t the most technically challenging.

    3. Dream Theater – Images and Words
    This is the biggest one on my list. When I first heard Dream Theater, I had no idea something could be so musically competent, catchy, and energetic. Once I bought this album, there was no looking back, it turned me into the prog nerd I am today.

    4. Iron Maiden – Edward the Great
    This compilation album, the revised 2005 edition, was my first real introduction to Iron Maiden and the metal world outside Metallica. I’d heard Iron Maiden before, courtesy of my step-dad and our long family road trips, but never really gotten then until this moment. I later bought The Number of the Beast, Somewhere in Time, A Matter of Life and Death, and Seventh Son of A Seventh Son, and at that point I was pretty much hooked on metal.

    5. Enslaved – Eld
    This is the album that got me into more extreme metal. I’d heard it was a progressive album, which pretty much meant I had to listen to it. The opening epic 793 astounded me, and this album, and Enslaved as a whole, was what got me into harsher vocals and into black metal.

  28. Oooohh… what a question! Here goes off the top of my head:

    1. Anthrax – Attack of the Killer B’s. Yes believe it or not, this was probably the first metal album I owned (*cough* tape traded with a boyhood friend). Said friend and his brother were into metal, and really they probably opened my eyes to this genre back when I was 11 – 14. I remember AC/DC was the first band I really got into (as opposed to just listening to the radio or something) around 11 to 12. I started playing some classical guitar at age 13, and I remember hearing those opening notes of ‘I Want Some Milk’ – a 12-string guitar playing what seemed a really evil-sounding riff – and thinking ‘oh man, that’s so heavy!’ Kind of funny to look back and think about it now.

    2. Metallica – Master of Puppets. I remember sitting in my room thrashing out riffs from this album on my classical guitar as a teenager, and then of course an electric once I could afford one. Grew up listening to a lot of this and Justice, but MoP was always the better for me. Throw in an awesome instrumental like Orion, and good old classic metal themes like war, insanity, societal control, bad relationships with parents, and definitely belongs on a life-changer list. Also, I also just ‘got’ the lyrics to The Thing That Should Not Be last year when I read the entire works of HP Lovecraft.

    3. Fear Factory – Demanufacture/Obsolete. I’m not sure which of these takes first place. Demanufacture was too heavy/extreme for me when I first got a copy off a mate. The way it’d been taped, side B of the cassette had Pisschrist and A Therapy for Pain, and I found the latter really intriguing, especially as I’d read a few books about near-death experiences around the same time. Gradually I began to ‘get’ the rest of it, and when Obsolete came out, my brain just gobbled that shit up like a sponge. I was playing drums by then, and just listened to these over and over trying to figure out the drums lines, so much that my copy of Obsolete (on tape no less) got those distortions and drop-outs when you wear them out. (Yeah, I was too poor to buy a CD player until my last year of uni or something!).

    4. Sepultura – Chaos AD. I’ll second Christopher above, and put this on my list for largely the same reasons. Sure, metal has always had plenty of politically-infused lyrics and themes, but this just had something different that’s hard to define. Maybe because they’re also from Brazil, at that time very much a developing/borderline third world country, as opposed to the more western-dominated metal world up to the 90’s. Awesome album that got me thinking on a more global level. Plus, along with Raymond Herrera, Igor was one of my early drumming heroes. I remember seeing the Brazilian movie ‘Carandiru’ at a film festival when it came out in 2003 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293007) and thinking ‘oh, this is old news, Sepultura sang about this 10 years ago’.

    Right, those are definitely albums from my more formative years. It’s hard to pin down a real-life changer from more recent times, especially since my tastes and music collection has diversified so much, so I’m gonna break with the theme (come on, this is metal, it’s all about breaking rules!) and just highlight a few albums I’ve really thrashed over the last 5-10 years which stuck out from the crowd:

    Threat Signal – Under Reprisal. Holy fuck there’s just so much energy on this album. Heavy as hell, and every member of the band is firing on all cylinders – the drums are great, the guitars, the songwriting. I really wonder what happened to the lead guitarist and drummer, especially as the whole line up apart from the singer changed by the next album.

    Cynic – Traced In Air. I was late to the party on this one, only getting it around 2010. There’s just such good musicianship on show here, especially Sean Reinert on drums, there’s so much nuance in his playing, and the mix is great so you can hear all of that too. Proggy awesomeness.

    Septic Flesh – The Great Mass. Holy fuck it’s hard not to say enough about this album. As opposed to symphonic metal, which I’d always thought of as metal with string sections in the background, this is really orchestral metal. Spiros Antoniou classifies it just as ‘extreme music’ on the behind-the-scenes DVD. Throw in that Spiros does the fucking amazing artwork himself, that Christos does all the orchestral composition himself, and that there’s a 150 person real life orchestra/choir which also records horror movie soundtracks, and fuck that’s just the whole deal right there. How many bands have that much talent all packed into 4 members?! I think the best description I’ve seen for this album is ‘Dante-an’, like a horrific but beautiful descent into hell, that deserves to be remembered through the ages just like that author’s ‘Inferno’.

    Well, that turned into an essay… so I’m done.

  29. Kiss – Gene Simmons solo album and Destroyer. I got them together the summer that I turned seven and the imagery and energy started something that has yet to slow down.

    Metallica – Ride the Lightning. Blew my mind and accelerated the fire for more.

    Deicide – s/t and Cannibal Corpse – Tomb of the Mutilated. Got these cassettes at the same time on recommendation from friends. The flames grew higher.

    Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar. I still ain’t real sure what makes me love this fuckin album, but I do.

    Goatwhore – Eclipse of Ages into Black. Sammy and the boys made me really start paying attention to black metal.

  30. Probably not chronological all the way through, but I know the first was the one that changed things for me.

    1. Metallica …And Justice For All(Particularly”One”)- Probably pretty typical, but considering I was about between 6 and 8 years old, maybe not. I’m very thankful for my oldest cousin and the advanced music education I received because of him, even if he acts like he’s “too good” for metal now. Still an album I love from beginning to end, and appreciate even more now that my taste in music continues to develop.

    2. In Flames – Reroute to Remain: To start…IN FLAMES WE TRUST! I’ve seen this band about four times now, and through them my love Swedish Metal was born. It also led to my discovering what other great European nations, such as Finland and Norway, had to offer.

    3. Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down/The Great Cold Distance: I couldn’t decide between the two albums, but I know Katatonia was a life changing band in metal for me. Along with depression becoming more visible, new musical discoveries were made. I was less obsessed with fast paced death metal and more about metal with atmospheric as well as emotive qualities.

    4. Cynic – Trace in Air: In the midst of “death metal legends” reuniting, I came across the videos of Cynic playing Europe in 2007. While as I already mentioned, I had an interest death metal, I had never heard it played like this. This led to me educating myself on the history of the original incarnation of Cynic, and then seeing them live almost every time they have come through my area since the release of TIA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7B1OKdpTJo {Cynic live at Hovefestivalen, one of the videos that hooked me}

    5. Opeth – Deliverance: I will always appreciate this album. It’s part of why my musical palette is as diverse as it is, as well as being a big part of why death metal will always be one of my favorite sub-genres of metal.

    With having listened to metal for a little over half of my life time, my musical taste or palette is quite confused at best. On any given day I can be found listening to In Flames, Joy Division, Frederic Chopin, Death Cab For Cutie, etc., but metal always remains. Thanks for posting this Islander, the memory lane listening time is in full swing now.

  31. 49 years old and listened to all the radio rock and FM rock/metal of the 70’s and 80’s, but these were the first bands that brought me underground.

    Dream Theater–Images and Words- I know not your typical underground band now, but they were when this came out. This got me into progressive metal.

    Death–Sound of Perseverence- Like Dream Theater on mega doses of steroids. Got me into the harsher vocals and the production was unbelievable

    In Flames–Colony- Opened up the Swedish metal sound to me. So melodic, yet the vocals kept my friends from even trying to listen to it. Made me like it even more.

    Opeth–Still life- My first purchase from Opeth. Haunting and beautiful.

    Nevermore–Dreaming Neon Black- Loved everything about this release.

  32. You guys will all wanna crucifix me on an upside-down cross upon seeing this short list:

    1. Linkin Park – Meteora
    2. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want to Be
    3. Silverstein – When Broken is Easily Fixed
    4. Bullet for My Valentine – The Poison
    5. Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal

    Yep, I started out as a very un-extreme-metal person.

  33. I hope the comments and lists keep rolling in (and if they do, I’m going to be writing another one of these comments), but for now I just want to thank everyone who has commented so far for an immensely entertaining read. Love the descriptions and explanations, and this was also in many ways a trip down memory lane for me, too. I saw so many other albums in these lists that were a big part of my own evolution as a music fan, some of which would definitely have been on an expanded list of life-changing albums for me. So thanks to everyone for doing this.

    • I certainly wouldn’t mind writing about why I chose those five albums I listed in my previous comment as life-changing!

      • You should. And by the way, I think if my list had been a top 15 or 20, Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” would have been on it. Another album that hit me at the right time and in the right way. But it’s been a steep downhill slide for them since then, in my book.

    • Yeah I second this – thanks for all the replies everyone, so interesting to see not only what makes the lists but why and the stories behind them. Also, I’m quite surprised at the amount of overlap and appearance of classic old school albums on here. Keep ’em coming!

  34. My list is weird. Weird in that my list doesn’t contain any of the bands you guys have listed, and weird because it won’t be based on albums. It’s more based on songs or just the general “hits” of these bands.

    Trivium – my first real gateway into music with harsh vocals.

    Job For A Cowboy’s “Entombment of a Machine” – an expansion on that gateway to music with harsh vocals. Oh, and I think “Doom” era JFAC is better than anything that came after “Genesis”. All of that sounds boring, generic, and I get the slight feeling that it is forced.

    Satyricon’s “Black Crow on a Tombstone” – when I was a wee metalhead about the age of 15 or 16 (to put it in perspective that’s about 4 years ago), I listened to Sirius/XM’s Liquid Metal station. It was great for a person trying to get into heavy music (not so great now), and “Black Crow” was making the rounds regularly. It was my first real introduction to black metal (well, black metal filtered through rock ‘n’ roll, anyway), and it appealed to me.

    Lamb of God’s “Contractor” – this song was a big hook for me, and it still is. This is quite possibly my favorite LoG song along with “Again We Rise”. This has a similar story to “Black Crow” as “Wrath” was being released in 2009, so it was also making the rounds on Liquid Metal.

    Cannibal Corpse’s “Evisceration Plague” – this song is iffy in that I’m not totally sure how I came across it. Either I heard it on Sirius/XM and it was my first real exposure to death metal, or I downloaded it for free (interestingly, I had issue with music piracy back then too–however I wasn’t aware of the legality of how I got the music, so naive back then… it’s worth noting that I deleted everything I downloaded illegally soon after). Either way, the riff was a monster and I was hooked. I loved and still love this song (and its bridge especially).

    A sixth band also should get a mention, although it isn’t metal in the least and it’s kind of lame.

    Nickelback – Nickelback was probably the first band during my late middle school/early high school days that really got me into music. I had heard “Savin’ Me” on one of those music compilation commercials and I enjoyed it. Eventually I was steered into modern rock music by the radio (as I assume most of the people here were at some time) and thus a potential metalhead was born. For the record, I still like Nickelback’s music, but it doesn’t have the kick that it did.

    • I missed LoG, Badwolf had a LoG album. I skimmed the comments before posting.

      By the way, these aren’t my favorite songs or anything (although those two LoG songs I mentioned are still very good, as is “Evisceration Plague”). My favorite songs are by RC and Cattle Decap. I might be able to make a list of my favorite albums so far, but I think that list is too shaky at the moment.

      • Hey, it’s still more metal than mine. IS THERE ANY OTHER NCS READER OUT THERE WITH A MORE UNMETAL LIST THAN MINE?!?!?!

        • You’re too open-minded! Stop it! 😛

        • I think I can give you a run for your money.

          1. Duran Duran “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”: Bought the vinly because of the video for Union of the Snake. I also bought the vinyls for “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. But Duran Duran was the band whose music I loved first.

          2. Metallica “Master of Puppets”: I was a huge pop fan until 1986 when my sister gave me her boyfriends tape of Master of Puppets. That changed my life. I still listen to pop from the 80’s and 90’s every once in a while, but Master of Puppets turned me into a metal fan.

          3. Tie between Sepultura’s “Arise” and Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss”: These two albums, along with Metallica pretty much saw me through the 90’s. I was basically a thrash fan. I hated extreme metal with passion. I wasn’t a fan of alternative except for a couple of songs by Nirvana and Soundgarden. Once I was married in 1995, listening to metal music pretty much evaporated becuase my ex wife hated it and she loved country, so I spent 5 years listening to country music. I completely missed the end of alternative and the nu-metal explosion.

          4. Korn “Korn”: This was the first “metal” album I bought after I got divorced in 2000, 6 years late. Jonathan Davis’ angst got me through a lot of pain.

          5. Dimmu Borgir “In Sorte Diaboli” This was my first enjoyable experience with extreme metal. I have since moved away from Dimmu Borgir, but I still love this album because it allowed me to expand my horizons to where I am at today.

      • This started off as a list of albums, but my guess is that individual songs are what sucked people into the albums they’ve listed (that’s what happened in my case), and then the albums as a whole cemented the attraction, so I think your list counts. Also, this is a list of life-changing albums. That doesn’t necessarily mean they would be on anyone’s list of the best albums they’ve ever heard (though they might be). It’s more about the impact of them at the time they were first heard, which is why the idea for this list appealed so much to me. It’s really more about identifying some factual personal history than being a “critic”. Relating personal history just requires honesty (and a good memory).

    • To counter your assertion about “Doom”… it’s bloody awful in comparison with everything that’s come since. Just a directionless mess. It’s not surprising that if you see JFAC live these days the crowd is clearly divided between death metal fans and deathcore fans.

  35. 1. Journey – Fronties (one of my dad’s favorites, I always heard this growing up and is probably one of the main reasons I grew so fond of rock-based music)
    2. Dream Theater – Train of Thought (the album that got me into metal, or more specifically…sharing a pair of earbuds with a friend on a school bus listening to “Stream of Consciousness”)
    3. Wintersun – s/t (made me abandon my prejudice against extreme metal and harsh vocals)
    4. Opeth – Ghost Reveries (first Opeth album I ever heard, and it completely blew my mind and made me re-evaluate how I thought about extreme metal)
    5. Forest of Fog – Abgrunde (fairly obscure black metal band which, believe it or not, got me into black metal…a genre of music I had previously regarded with distaste even after getting into other extreme metal)

  36. Hmmm. Amazing question- after deciding, reading everyone’s list and then rejiggering my list:

    1) Marilyn Manson – Holywood. While Rob Zombie’s Dragula made me realize that heavy music existed and was enjoyable, it was because of how much I liked this album and the friends I made through it that I started down the musical path I’m on.

    2) Megadeth – The World Needs a Hero. Definitely not even close to their best album, but my introduction to thrash. From there it was on to earlier Megadeth, then onto faster and faster stuff.

    3) Converge – You Fail Me. So much aggression. It wasn’t until a late night of writing an essay that I started digging this album and it got into me in a big way.

    4) Ocean – Here Where Nothing Grows. I bought this at the urging of a record store owner that I knew. Hated it, didn’t understand it, and couldn’t get into it. Stuck with it, got me super into doom and remains one of the best doom albums I know.

    5) Pig Destroyer – Terrifyer. Never liked grind, but dug PD’s Natasha, so gave this a shot. So happy I did.

  37. Metallica Garage Days – old days of detasseling corn and listening to tapes what the heck is this music combine it with Puppets and Ride the lightening, but I never owned it until released on CD, even Garage days re revisited which I gave away at some point 🙁
    Ozzy blizzard of ozz – this was before garage days, but came to my mind second. My friend and I played the tape a lot, Crazy Train. Got the CD again recently.
    Megadeth Countdown to Extinction – I picked this up instead of the older stuff. I used this as demo music when I picked up a pair of Klipsch Heresy II which was in my discman at the time so it has a special place in my heart
    Guns n Roses Appetite for Destruction – yeah the tape was awesome. Had a copy of the cd, and bought the CD to get higher quality rip. it’s my goto CD for familiar old school Welcome to the jungle baby!
    Def Leppard Pyromania – I had the vinyl album but probably listened to hysteria more. I haven’t purchased CDs.

    Bon Jovi Slippery when wet

  38. 1. The Police-Zenyatta Mondatta (my love of music started as a kid and this was the first band I really got into)
    2. Joy Division- Closer (8th 9th 10th grade I was obsessed with Joy Division)
    3. Slayer -Reign in Blood (Junior year of high school and Metallica/Slayer made me a metalhead by RIB was the
    album for me)
    4. Entombed-Left Hand Path (first band where I had the demo before the album came out thru a friend and the album
    was as good as the buzz at the time)
    5. Seeing Friday Night Lights movie and waiting for the end credits to find out who did the music, thinking it was
    going to be Mogwai (who I had heard of but never really listened to) and finding out that it was Explosions in
    the Sky which got me into post rock though I was listening to Isis/Cult of Luna at the time

  39. Cool topic-
    1. Metallica – Master of Puppets – This was a gateway into metal for me. Timeless classics that we all know.
    2. Slayer – Reign in Blood – Definately the next level from Metallica, this thing scared me at first, and soon was my all time favorite album. Complete insanity for 10 songs.
    3. Anthrax – Among the Living – Great catchy songs, fun to sing along with. I now like Spreading the Disease better, but back in the day it was on constant rotation.
    4. 3 Inches of Blood – Advance and Vanquish – Blew me away when I first heard the mix of Thrash with Maiden/ Priest style heavy metal. Also love the vocals, and pretty much everything they’ve ever done.
    5. Amon Amarth – With Oden By Our Side – Got me into the Swedish Death Metal scene, where I’ve discovered that Sweden+Death Metal=awesome.

  40. For metal, the first DragonForce album. You can laugh but they had speed and intensity that lead me to grindcore and the like.

    Next would probably be wormrot with abuse. Because grind.

    The first truly metal album I ever bought was Falkenbach Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty.

    Other important albums were Taliban kweli ‘s Quality and Hishou by the Yoshida Bothers.

    Mechanical Animals and downward Spiral drastically affected my youth, too.

    Fuck you, I can have seven if I want.

  41. Metallica – Master of Puppets
    -I would say the song more than the album, simply because at the time I really wasn’t all too interested in listening to full albums. I always liked a lot of punk and ska when I was younger, but hearing this on the radio and putting into my regular rotation gave me my first exposure to metal.

    System of a Down – Toxicity
    -I vaguely remember the first album and would argue that going back to it now it’s still System’s best. But it wasn’t until Toxicity that they grabbed my attention as a kid with “Chop Suey”. Was not disappointed with the rest of the album either, timeless classics abound on these first two albums. The seed for heavy music was planted by eraly Metallica and Megadeth, but System watered it well.

    Rhapsody of Fire – Symphony of Enchanted Lands pt II
    -Towards the end of high school, heavy music was still just something I listened to on occassion, but indie rock and electro-pop still dominated my playlists. Until of course, I met and became friends with my now good friend Sami. We were from totally different schools, but met up in a secondary-education program for juniors and seniors. The course we chose was of course, Music/Media Entertainment. He had begun writing power metal songs to which I played bass for. He educated me on all of his favorites, from Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray, and Blind Guardian, but it was Rhapsody (of Fire) which I truly fell in love with and gained a newfound love of metal. I’ve been hooked to all forms of metal ever since.

    Mastodon – Leviathan
    -I don’t remember exactly how I came across them. I do remember it was the early days of Myspace and heard a few of their songs from their first albums. I think I was walking through a Cheapo (record store) and saw this album on display in the Metal section with a bio of the band and album. They usually do this for what they think are “classic” or important albums, so I picked it up and slowly fell in love with extreme metal and prog. At first I liked it because it sounded so brutal (to me) and blasted it to be obnoxious. But then I began to notice the intricate drumming, the insane guitar fingering, and the vocal style grew on me. I began to understand headbanging and breakdowns. This band, more than any other before or since, has been an obsession of mine. I have more shirts of theirs than I can count. Crack the Skye was an equally tremondous album which I found was tough not to put here instead, but without me discovering Leviathan, I wouldn’t have come to love and understand the band’s progress to Crack the Skye. As for The Hunter… never heard of it. I have no idea what you’re talking about. >_>

    Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
    -Hated this band at first. Black metal made no sense to me and even after being conditioned to enjoy harsh vocals, black metal vocals just sounded silly to me. Sami shared all of their albums with me, but none left as profound impression on me as this one. Just the quiet intensity, slowly building to massive walls of sound. The cinematic tapestry of audio that is this album was, and is, unforgettable. It was upon listening to this that I really gave the rest of their catalog a closer listen, and began to realize the genius of each. This was my gateway album to so many other countless genres and taught me the important lesson of giving new sounds the time of day to grow on you before dismissing them completely.

  42. Don’t fucking laugh now. This is my five, goddamnit, and I say it with no shame:

    The Tea Party – Transmission
    Rammstein – Herzeleid
    Agalloch – The Mantle
    Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe
    In Flames – Colony

    Chumbawamba almost made the list, but I decided to start from the middle of puberty. If I had not, it would be:

    Chumbawamba – Tubthumper
    Madonna – Ray of Light
    Weird Al – Alapalooza
    Loreena McKennit – The Visit
    Mike Oldfield – The Songs of Distant Earth.

    • Okay. Now that you’ve broken the ice I think I’m free to say that I listened to Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” approximately 20 times in the first week after I discovered it. I still worry that I slaughtered an innocent family at some point during that week. Also, the song “Tubthumper” is one of the pinnacles of Western Civilization.

  43. Lists are fun!

    1. Metallica – TBA
    After falling in love with TBA I worked my way back through their discography. I was the biggest Metallica fan for years, it was somewhere in teh void between ReLoad and St. Anger that my interest definitely waned. I had found so much more interesting bands in the underground by then.

    2. In flames – Whoracle
    The first extreme metal album I heard and loved that had growls, blastbeats etc. Still, it was the acoustic folk-melodies that drew me in and that captivates me to this day. In Flames never sounded better, except for the drumming which is atrocious at times, before or after.

    3. Earache – Earplugged 1
    A sampler CD from Earache with bands such as Entombed, BOlt Thrower, Cathedral, Carcass etc. Looking back I was nowhere near ready for that onslaught of brutality but like Nasum I kept coming back to the CD every 5-6 months. Each time finding another song/band that my ears had grown accustomed to.

    4. Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon.
    Everything epic, proggy, conceptual and psychadelic that I like now I owe to Dark side of the moon. This used to be my “fall asleep to”-album for years when I was a teenager. That and Tool’s “Aenima”.

    5. Nasum – Human 2.0
    The worlds best and most consistent grind-band IMO and and album that took me roughly 3-4 years before I actually liked, but something in the chaotic noise prompted me to go on and keep digging.

    • “Metallica – TBA … To-be-Announced? You like an album that isn’t even out yet? … Oh, wait. TBA = The Black Album … (-_-) People really should stick to just calling it “Metallica”.”

      Anyway, this is the first One has heard of Nasum. One thanks you.

      • Haha, yeah sorry but I’ve always called it “The black album”, mainly because that’s what the bandmembers themselves did.

        Your welcome. I hope you enjoy Nasum. Like I said, they’re my favorite grind-band. They injected great song writing into the cacophony if the genre without looking the brutality.

    • Interesting you’ve got a sampler album on there – the only person to list one so far.

      Reminds me that I used to thrash the first Nativity In Black album when it first came out – and that was how I discovered Type O Negative, and I think Corrosion of Conformity as well.

      Another similar experience with the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack – awful movie, great book, and I loved the soundtrack at the time too, from which I discovered Kidneythieves. Although I’ve never really got into Korn, the soundtrack had Jonathan Davis composing the songs that the vampire Lestat’s band play in the movie, and the actor Stuart Townsend sings the vocals in the movie, but they got guest vocalists in for the studio album. I always found that an interesting and somewhat unusual overlap between movie content and soundtrack content I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere, how there’s a fictional band in the movie and the soundtrack contains their ‘songs’… although I guess maybe The Monkeys fits into that category too.

      • Well that sampler was like Spotify or YouTube are now; the easiest way to find music you didn’t even know you liked. Especially for a teenager living in a small town in the north of Sweden. Luckily my local music store had a good selection of metal albums.

        The nativity in black album was another great sampler for me. Not just for discovering bands like Type O, Sepultura and White zombie, but also to introduce Black Sabbaths greatness to me.

  44. Albums that introduced me to metal were (in this order):
    – Rhapsody – Rain of a Thousand Flames
    – Bal Sagoth – Atlantis Ascendant
    – Childern of Bodom – Hatebreeder

    But, when it comes to albums that really changed my perception of metal, the list looks like this:
    1. Moonsorrow – Vides Luku: Hävitetty
    2. Sig:Ar:Tyr – Godsaga
    3. Ensiferum – Ensiferum
    4. Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked
    5. Finntroll – Nattfodd

  45. AFI – Black Sails In The Sunset

    My dad started me off with music, listening to Queen, Bowie, Bon Jovi, Yes, Pink Floyd, etc… but for me “Black Sails…” epitomises the first type of music I really got into myself. I was a (suburban) hardcore kid when I first started out listening to alternative music, and these guys, along with BoySetsFire, Shai Hulud, Vision of Disorder and Earth Crisis were a huge part of that early defining experience.

    Machine Head – Burn My Eyes

    Robb Flynn’s guest appearance on “Breed The Killers” by Earth Crisis primed me for my introduction to the band, and when I finally gave them a chance… boom… Davidian. What an eye-opener. Obviously they’re not the most respected band around here these days, but that first album served as a gateway to a future of death metal, black metal, and extreme metal in general.

    Nevermore – Dead Heart, In A Dead World

    Probably the album that cemented my need to be in a band some day. It was just a perfect storm of creativity and power and energy that it inspired me then, and still does today. And to think I actually picked it up in a little cd shop in Rhodes purely because the cover and the logo “clicked” with something inside me. Pretty much a (musical) life-changing decision right there.

    Satyricon – Rebel Extravaganza

    Though I was familiar with a few black metal bands already, it was only when my friend Jack (Hi Jack!) introduced me to this album that my love affair with the genre really began. Such extremity. Such clarity. Such venom. Violently focussed and sonically devastating, it opened up a whole new realm and approach to music.

    Extol – Undeceived

    I said earlier that Nevermore were a major part of my inspiration to join/start a band. Well Extol were (and are) the inspiration for what can be done with metal. Extreme, esoteric, aggressive, progressive, this album continually renews my faith in what metal can achieve and stands up as a gold standard that inspires me every day.

  46. 1. Black Sabbath / We sold our souls for rock and roll – and I’m not the only one to mention this! Great!
    2. Iron Maiden / Powerslave
    3. Merciful Fate / Don’t Break the Oath
    4. Opeth / Blackwater Park
    5. Queensryche / Operation Mindcrime

  47. I first took interest in metal music around -99 being 8-years-old and before that I didn’t have that much of an music taste. Records are in the order that I found them.
    1. Stratovarius – Destiny -98. The first metal record that I found and liked, I can only thank my brother.
    2. Rammstein – Mutter -01. Do I need to say something ? Awesome records, I remember this from cover to cover and still like it.
    3. Bolt Thrower – …For Victory -94. A classic, BT is such and legendary band that their whole discography is life-changing. First band that got me into death metal and extreme metal in general.
    4. Swallow the Sun – Ghosts of Loss -05. Got me into much darker music which I feared alot at first but became liking more than anything.
    5. AmenRa – Mass 4 -08. A hard decision, would have had many others for this place. Why this then ? I’ve always had a place in my heart for hardcore and to mix darker metal with it impressed me completely. Nowadays blackened crustpunk/hc is my favourite genre.

    Bonus: Charon – Songs for the Sinner -05. JP Leppäluoto’s singing… Pure awesomeness! I’m always singing his songs and my voice fits well with his. My three ex-gfs have all said that I sound like The 69 Eyes no matter what I sing and no, my gf had no connection to each others.

  48. OK here’s mine:

    Metallica – Master of Puppets: First CD I ever bought. Definitely got me into metal from the start.

    Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying: Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath were the next progression for me. This got me in to a wider range of metal and some more “classical” styles. Also I think Iron Maiden really opened me up to a wider range of tastes musically.

    Emperor – Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk: First black metal album I ever bought. I loved it from the start, it was heavy yet so different from other music I had heard before. I was captivated by the screams and the intricate music on this album. Definitely got me going on to more extreme metal.

    Nile – Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-ka: First true death metal album. My experience with this one was kind of like eating bland food all my life, and then all of a sudden trying a really spicy dish. At first I was thinking wow this is weird, kind of uncomfortable to listen to… Slowly but surely I started listening to it more and more. Eventually, it made me feel like a lot of other music outside of black and death metal was the bland food 🙂

    Amon Amarth – With Odin on our Side: After a break from some metal I picked this one up in 2007. Hearing this album really cemented for me how much I love metal. After getting this one I’ve been primarily listening to metal for the last several years.

  49. 1. Devin Townsend – Ziltoid The Omniscient

    It’s not a flawless album, but at the tender age of 18 it really started my decent into prog metal and rock. And something about the ending that of that album always used to give me shivers. Beautiful arpeggios in space with heartwarming lyrics. Really showed me emotion and technicality could work together. I hadn’t heard anything like that prior to this record.

    2. Children Of Bodom- Hatebreeder

    First album that really got me into more extreme metal. A friend from Xbox Live sent me Bed Of Razors (Halo 2 FTW) via MSN messenger, while I still wasn’t much into the vocal style, I was enthralled by the melodies. I was in grade 8 at the time so this really began my heavy metal journey. Also probably the album that got me to start playing guitar, I was the biggest Alexi Laiho fanboy. I was 13 I think. I was listening to Bodom with my friends and my Dad’s friend said it was “Thrash Metal”, I knew nothing of any genres so I vividly remember going home that night and googling “Trash Metal” to find similar bands and was dismayed with the results.

    3. Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

    This one is kinda hard to admit, but yes the first CD I ever bought myself was Hybrid Theory. I have vivid memories of being at a movie theatre (with my Dad I think) we were going to see some Disney movie about Atlantis. I heard “Crawling” over the speakers that played the local radio station and I knew I needed to find that song/band. I eventually I figured it out and bought the CD. I listened to nothing but Linkin Park for at least a year. System Of A Down get a nod here to, for being the other Nu Metalish band I liked.

    4. Ensiferum – Victory Songs

    This album is just so damn catchy. It played a big part in getting into the folk metal scene, as well as getting many of my friends in High School into metal thanks to it’s anthemic nature. Not much to type here.

    “Deathbringer from the Sky!
    Hunting victims in the night!
    Feel the terror as flames are burning briiiiiight!”

    5. Necrophagist – Epitaph

    I discovered this one a while after it came out but wow. Technically it was phenomenal and was a big inspiration as a budding young guitarist like myself at the time. It also got me into heavier stuff, Cannibal Corpse followed shortly after for me.

  50. So this looks like fun!

    1. Led Zeppelin (first album): my dad was a hippie, was very much into the music of the ’60s and ’70s. When I first started exploring music, it was with his collection. This album was the first I really liked, listening to it over and over again. Also IMHO one of the Zep’s heavier albums.

    2. Metallica …And Justice for All: this was the 2nd album I bought with my own money (first was an Aerosmith album…I hang my head in shame), and probably the first that got me into thrash metal in general. My Metallica collection is nothing more recent than 20 years ago, and I think they lost the thread, but I listened to this and Ride the Lightning to death. For some reason I didn’t think Master of Puppets was nearly as good, contrary to popular opinion…

    3. Satyricon Nemesis Divina: this was probably the album that started my love affair with Black Metal, and a classic in my mind. I think they lost the thread after this one, but this one record is absolutely magnificent.

    4. Morbid Angel Covenant: I think this album came out when I was a jr or senior in high school. I remember seeing the video for Rapture on Headbanger’s Ball and was blown away…I had never heard anything like that!

    5. Slayer Seasons in the Abyss: This is the album that broke my Metallica fandom. Awesome and a lot of good memories listening to it. My CD copy is so old it still has a “parental advisory” sticker on it (before they started printing them on the sleeve…so this came from the transition time when this was introduced).

    These days my favorite metal is the dirty, awful darkness of Finnish Black Metal (Behexen, Sargeist, Horna, Satanic Warmaster).

    • It’s been interesting to see how many people in this thread started on their path to metal by listening to something their parents were playing. I should have mentioned that the first Led Zeppelin song I heard, the one that led me into their debut album, was one my mother had on the turntable. 🙂

  51. Sevendust-S/T: As a teen I wrestled a bit with where I fit in. The anger and energy in this album reflected that turmoil, but on the same hand it presents it mixed with catching and at times beautiful melody. The unique “Soul-Thrash” tone of the album stood out amongst its peers (and even amongst the bands discography itself). Perhaps the single most formative record for me, showing me that it’s okay to feel different and like what you like. Especially when the singer of a metal band looked like me.

    God Forbid-Gone Forever: One of my earliest entries into extreme music. I must have vaguely remembered seeing their name in a magazine or liner notes somewhere, so I picked up the album completely blind and on a whim. Those opening tracks is the definitive instance of my young mind being “blown the fuck away”, I haven’t felt anything like it since. Like your first fix, It was simply too good to handle, but I knew I had to have more. And yet in all that raw fury there was still the backbone of powerful soulful melody that I was growing ever more appreciative of. And the lead singer looked like me.

    Killswitch Engage- The End Of Heartache: The madness and melody turned up to eleven. My God, Those HOOKS My introduction to the band (and my personal favorite, but I dont need to get into Howard vs Jesse arguments because I love em all). Such a wonderful animal, blasting riffs and thunderous beats like a bat out of hell, roars like a caged beast, yet singing like an R&B /soul superstar of old. Like an amplified dose of everything I’ve come to like in metal and music in general. And the lead singer looked like me.

    Mash Out Posse- S/T: Though I love Metal, Hip Hop is still forever a part of me because the stories therein share a perspective not many can know. And so out of nowhere, along come underground rap legends M.O.P. with a remix album of their greatest hits reconstructed into metal songs (with slayer riffs and Beastie Boys snippets for good measure). After all the goddamn buffoonery the joke that was Rap Metal displayed for so many years, here it was. Pure. Perfected. Pulverizing. Real Niggas, Real Rugged, Real Rhymes, Real Metal. And they looked like me.

    *Combo Breaker* Alanis Morissete- Jagged Little Pill: This was the first album I ever owned that I listened to completely and on repeated rotations. As a just-turned-teenager managing the hour long NYC subway commute to and from school each day surrounded by apathetic-to-hostile strangers, there was something in the albums exposed naked rage and yearning that I connected to. Sharing her story and me being able to connect with it on such a strong emotional and intellectual level (particularly that song about her catholic school days) was maybe the most important thing I could ever learn about music: it’s ability to connect us and bring us together.
    She did not look like me, but I’ll be damned if the wailing’s of a scorned canadian white woman and the tumult of an angry black inner city youth didnt perfectly synch together.

  52. Ah yes, lists!! I’m not a regular commenter, but an avid reader of this esteemed metal site. So figured I’d give my two cents as well (some of these may be a bit appalling…)

    1. Metallica – Metallica

    This was the first CD I had ever owned. Now granted, this is certainly not their best, but for a young 10-12 year old this album just hit all the right buttons for a budding metalhead.

    2. Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

    Yup, I can still remember hearing “Crawling” on either MTV or VH1. At that time, Chester’s vocals were the harshest I had ever heard. I had probably listened to this CD well over zillion times throughout the first couple years of high school, and it still brings back fond little angsty memories from that era.

    3. Slipknot – Iowa

    More nuMetal!! Slipknot’s Iowa album introduced me to the art of the double-bass drumming style. While Jordison’s drumming may not be the most impressive out there by any means, this album is the first time that I had ever really noticed what a drummer was doing behind the kit. Taylor’s vocals were also an extreme highlight to me, they were incredibly aggressive compared to what I had listened to in the past.

    4. Bury Your Dead – Cover Your Tracks/Beauty & the Breakdown

    Oh college….the days of having hair, binge drinking, expanding one’s own mind, and of course hearing a ridiculous amount of new music. I am not entirely sure when I had first heard these two albums, but I do remember a friend who had recommended a list of bands for me to try. Bury Your Dead just so happened to be on that list. These two albums started me on the path to other metalcore acts such as: Hatebreed, Parkway Drive, and hundreds of others (perks of a being a college DJ). Metalcore then of course lead to Melodic Death Metal which then lead to Deathcore and then lead to….

    5. Morbid Angel – Gateways to Annihilation

    This is THE defining album of my metal music tastes to this day. I can still remember hearing this album for the first time. Setting: hazy, smoke-filled bedroom of the shitty apartment I used to rent while in college… Reaction: immediately crushed by the opening riff of Summoning Redemption. I had never heard anything like this album before, it was sooo goddamn heavy. From the intensity of Pete’s drumming, the cavernous vocals from Mr. Tucker, and the riffs upon riffs from Trey and Erik, I literally stood no chance against this death metal onslaught. Morbid Angel (let’s forget about Illud, doesn’t exist!) brought me up from where I was to where I am today. If it wasn’t for Gateways, I never would have discovered Cannibal Corpse, Death, Deicide, Entombed, Entrails, etc. or the little bit of Black Metal that I have recently discovered.

    That was long-winded…fun though. Thanks Islander and all the other writers for this fine website!

    • And thank you for making time to add your list and explanations. By the way, if my list had been 10 albums instead of 5, “Beauty and the Breakdown” would have been on it. As much as anything else, it got me into metalcore. Seven years later it still sits in my car CD player, too. Im pretty sure “Hybrid Theory” would be on a list of 10 as well.

  53. I grew up with stuff like Sevendust, Linkin Park, Tool. But the five albums that really shaped my tastes and effected my musical styles are

    Dillinger Escape Plan : Calculating Infinity
    Cannibal Corpse : The Wretched Spawn
    Dysrhythmia : Barriers and Passages
    Between the Buried and Me : Alaska
    The Red Chord: Clients

  54. 1. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
    Prior to this my single-digit aged self was all about Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil, but when GnR’s “Welcome to the Jungle” video emerged on MuchMusic something about it just seemed so much more authentic (despite Axl’s teased-out hooker hair) and my path was set.
    2. Megadeth – Rust In Peace
    I was already aware of Megadeth in elementary school, being decked out in a jean jacket with a depiction of Vic Rattlehead on the back which my mother drew, and red leather stitched over the shoulders from one of her old purses, but it wasn’t until I heard this that I really started to pay attention. Still one of my favourite guitar albums ever.
    3. Nirvana – Nevermind
    At this point, I was overcome with how much could be expressed with just a few chords and some feedback. It was all about the passion, not technicality. Led into Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Jesus Lizard, Pixies, etc.
    4. Skinny Puppy – Last Rites
    I was already a fan of industrial like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, but Skinny Puppy gave machines life and created an atmosphere I had not previously experienced. Listened to these guys and Aphex Twin a lot on acid and feel I’m actually better for it. (not an endorsement though)
    5. Emperor – IX Equilibrium
    This coupled with Unrestrained! magazine #15 opened up my eyes to the real world of extremity and I haven’t looked back since.

    Other albums like Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (which the AC/DC rednecks in my high school still couldn’t grasp), Primus – Pork Soda (don’t even get me started on the ridicule this brought on), Faith No More – Angel Dust, Alice In Chains – Dirt were all big contributors in me branching off in my formative years. Since then, only Devin Townsend – Terria, Mastodon – Remission and most recently Helcaraxe – all (they are so fucking good), come to mind as artists that not only pleased my ears to no end, but grabbed me by the heart and refused to let go.
    Oh, and regardless if you like them or not everyone owes The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix their thanks. I doubt I would have any of the albums on this list if it wasn’t for them.

  55. I know there are so many comments and takes on this, but I had to put in mine. Many of these are very “un-metal.”

    1. Slipknot-self-titled-I believe I know every word to every song on this album, and even the additional tracks/b-sides.

    2. Rob Zombie-Hellbilly Deluxe-My brother let me borrow and listen to this cd. I was looking through his cd case he kept in his truck and the artwork intrigued me. The first time I listened, it creeped me out because I had never heard anything like it.

    3. Tool-Aenima-I cannot even begin to describe the hijinks to which this album was a soundtrack.

    4. Third Eye Blind-self-titled-So many good songs that spoke to my angsty, young self.

    5. Cradle of FIlth-Bitter Suites to Succubi-I had never heard anything like this. I read a review, which was somewhat favorable. I know this is a compilation, not an album, but “Suicide and Other Comforts” blew me away. I love that song. This was probably my biggest gateway album. This album got me to appreciate the vocal styles, and lead me into other things.

  56. Life changers:
    Metallica – “…And Justice for All” A friend in middle school loaned me this CD. I burned it and remained in my CD player for almost a year. This is where it all began

    Amon Amarth – “With Oden on Our Side” After years of Metallica, Sabbath, Zeppelin, and AC/DC, this album pretty much introduced me into the world of extreme metal, and death metal specifically. From here, I discovered At the Gates, Entombed, and the rest of the Swedish death pioneers.

    Bathory – “Hammerheart” I would also say “Blood. Fire. Death.” had just as profound an effect on me, but the power behind the songs on Hammerheart really stuck with me, and to this day it remains one of my favorite albums of all time.

    Wolves in the Throne Room – “Two Hunters” Say what you will about this band, but their second LP opened my eyes to the world of black metal after being nearly exclusively a “death metalhead.” It also played an indirect role in shaping my own views on environmentalism and philosophy.

    diSEMBOWLMENT – “Transcendence into the Peripheral” I could go on and on about this album. After becoming well-versed in the Swedish death metal legacies of Gothenburg and Stockholm, I began delving into other realms of the genre. I of course tore through the Florida and New York staples (Death, Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Immolation), and then began to dabble in the more technical and “brutal” side of the genre (Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Decrepit birth, etc.), chasing for the next big death metal “high” that just never seemed to come. It wasn’t until I found death/doom that I finally felt that guttural elation of truly brutal music. Albums like Autopsy’s “Mental Funeral” and Disma’s “Towards the Megalith” brought me into new realms of depravatiy, but it was diSEMBOWLMENT’s solitary LP that epitomized brutal music for me. I have yet to experience an album quite like it since it first graced my ears, and frankly, I’m okay with that. It’s just such a massive, poweful, and impressive effort.

    • and just to round out the “top ten” because I’m OCD like that…

      Gojira – “From Mars to Sirius”
      Mastodon – “Leviathan”
      The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Miss Machine”
      Death – “Human”
      The Beastie Boys – “Paul’s Boutique”

  57. Here’s my list:

    1) Slayer – South of Heaven. Was (still) a huge Maiden fan, but this opened up the floodgates to heavier, faster side of metal. One of the reasons I was attracted to the album was the cover.

    2) Testament – Practice What You Preach. Good riffs, sound and lyrics. A solid thrash album that I still go back to every now and then!

    3) Terrorizer – World Downfall – Classic.

    4) Gorilla Biscuits – Start Today. The album that started my love affair with hardcore. From here on end, it was a labour of love backtracking to old classics like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Faith, Void…etc. Short, fast and loud!

    5) Snapcase – Progression Through Unlearning. Thought provoking lyrics with solid riffs.

    thank you.

  58. I didn’t start getting into extreme metal until my late 20’s. I came up on mostly punk and some of the metal standards (Metallica, Danzig, Slayer etc.). These are the five albums I would say opened me up to accepting extreme metal. Now my music collection has become a monster.

    Sonata Arctica – Silence: The first power metal band I heard. I had heard DragonForce but didn’t know it was a genere.

    Overkill – Ironbound: Helped me realize that there was amazing thrash outside of the big 4.

    Amorphis – Skyforger: My introduction to melodic death metal. Helped pave the way to accepting harder and more brutal death metal.

    Eluveitie – Spirit: Helped me to appreciate harsher vocals and melodies while not being concerned that I didn’t understand the lyrics. Plus I had never heard that folk element before.

    Nachmystium – Assassins: Black metal took me awhile to warm up to now it is my favorite genre. This helped get me into the flow of things and opened me up to a whole new world of music.


  60. 1. Godflesh – Streatcleaner – I was 13 years old in 1990 when I got his on tape. This was when Earache got released through Combat Records in The States. This scared the shit out of me and although I had been listening to Death Metal and Thrash for a few years by that point, this was something new entirely.
    2. Slowdive – Just For A Day – I got his when I was 14 and it was just as revolutionary as Godflesh was to me. I had been listening to The Cure since I was like 6-7 years old, but this was dreamlike x 10.
    3. Napalm Death – Live Corruption – Although it was a Live Concert VHS, I must have watched this 1,000 times when I was 13-15 years old. This was really my introduction to ND in ’90. Harmony Corruption didn’t come out in The States for another 6 months after I got this VHS. It blended the old with the new ND at the time and it was the first time I had heard a Blast Beat and my jaw dropped to the floor.
    4. Entombed – Left Hand Path – Another album I got when Earache got released in The States in ’90. Obviously the production and guitar sound was totally new. I used to have theories on how they got the guitar sound. This included placing a large Fan in front of the amp to connecting two different distortion pedals together. The song writing was very exciting as it was all up beats with very little down beats and almost no double bass. This was a big influence on my years in FATALIST.
    5. Death – Scream Bloody Gore – This was my introduction to Death Metal and DEATH the band. I got this about 2 weeks before Leprosy came out because I read about the band in an issue of Metal Mania and it was promoting the coming release of Leprosy. I discovered Death, Autopsy, and Massacre just from that Article alone. I was 12 years old and even though I first thought the album sounded like Slayer at the time, I very soon realized this was something altogether different. The songs were more brutal and lower tuned and Chuck had one hell of an evil voice.

    • One just noticed that your name here is clickable… and that you’re the guitarist of P.O.O.R. … One doesn’t know how to feel about this. ( O_o)

  61. Now that we have passed a 100 comments, a question – where the heck are you people on other days? This is just confusing…

    • Can’t speak for everyone, but NCS moves too fast for me – I only catch up to the front every 4-5 days, so most threads are dead by the time I get to read them. My post facto comments rarely appear to add anything to conversations that have passed me by :/

      Anyway, a list to add to all the others:
      1. Helmet – Meantime
      2. Sepultura – Chaos AD
      3. Godflesh – Selfless
      4. SYL – City
      5. Opeth – Blackwater Park

      Slightly worrying to realise your defining albums all come out so long ago. Yet I think the 90s were an amazing decade for metal, in which it rapidly branched into the myriad forms that continue to be explored today.

  62. First comment on this sight and I just wanted to say this a really great an interesting post. I really like looking at the wide variety of answers. My five:
    Alice in Chains – Dirt: I was already enjoying music at this time thanks to bands like ACDC, Nirvana, and Oasis but I was just listening to it on a song by song basis. This is the LP that made me appreciate the art of making a masterpiece of an album. It’s thanks to Dirt as well as Soundgarden’s Superunknown that I started to buy and collect physical media which I still do to this day. It also made me aware of negative emotions and then next level of extreme music aka hard rock/entry metal.
    Korn – Korn: This was the next album that really propelled a couple steps further into the world of extreme music. My 15 year old self really connected with the anger and angst on display here and this was all I listened to for months. The emotions seemed so genuine it was hard to put it away. Looking back on it I realize that this album is no where near the masterpiece I thought it was, but I still owe this album so much in the big scheme of things.
    Shadows Fall – The War Within: This is the first official extreme metal album that really clicked with me. I had already tried to get into Lamb of God, Cradle of Filth, Killswitch Engage. other extreme bands to no avail. Finally I bought this album on a whim and it clicked. I loved it. My first album with unclean vocals/no clean singing. I still listen to it a bunch.
    Converge – The Axe to Fall: This album was the next obvious step in my musical journey and officially saw me entering the metal underground and really got me into the extreme metal subgenres. To be fair at first I hated this album for being a wall of noise and then I found something beautiful and truly amazing underneath it. The raw and unbridled emotional rage that is converge and then I realized similar deep emotions were hidden in other extreme metal albums.
    Agalloch – Pale Folklore: I guess my final album in this list but definitely not my final life changing album, Pale Folklore truly is a master piece and flawless in every regard. It was also the album that finally broke down the wall between me and the final extreme metal genre I wasn’t into: Black Metal. Without Pale Folklore I would probably still have some stigma for one of the best subgenre and one that I am still exploring.
    Honestly I could probably easily 5 more albums to this list, but honorary mentions goes to: ACDC – Back In Black, Megadeth – Rust in Peace, In Flames – Clayman, Death – The Sound of Perseverance, and Immolation – Close to a World Below.

  63. These lists are absolutely awesome. It’s very interesting to discover the ways people got into metal. It’s always different 🙂

    This is my own :

    1. Rammstein – Mutter. It was back when I was 12, an adult made me discover it during a summer camp, and I immediately liked it. It was my first intense sonic discovery — I was only listening to classic rock before that. I started listening intensively to the band, getting a new album each time my parents gave me some money.

    2. Limp Bizkit – Results May Vary. I discovered this album with the cover song “Behind Blue Eyes” which was all over the radio, and which I didn’t particularly like. But my mother bought me the album anyway, and I liked (and still do) the energy of songs like Eat You Alive.

    3. Korn – Take a look in the Mirror. I was 15, this was about the time where some of my friends started listening to this kind of music too, and my girlfriend at the time made me listen to “Right Now”, “Counting on Me” and other songs out of the album like “Let’s get this party started” or “A.D.I.D.A.S.”. There was something depressed in the music that I enjoyed a lot.

    4. Cradle of Filth – Nymphetamine. Again, this is another close friend who made me listen to it, because I wasn’t digging by myself at the time. This was a “horrible” discovery. At first, I strongly disliked it, because I wasn’t used to the vocals and the drums. I found it uselessly brutal and sometimes even unintelligible. But after some listens, I started liking it. Because, precisely, it was transgressing my musical codes, and I had never heard such a thing. This probably explains why I generally prefer black over death metal, even if both are my favorite genres now.

    5. Iron Maiden – Killers. This was by pure chance that I got into this album at a mall when I was 16, searching for some other albums. I found the artwork interesting and somehow a bit funny, and even if I didn’t know what the Maiden could possibly sound alike at all, I bought it right away. And I was not disappointed. With “Killers”, “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “Wrathchild”, it was love at first listen. I found the sound “old-school”, but these songs were really catchy. Now I often trust the eye-catchy artwork to chose whether I’m gonna listen to an album or not. And I’m rarely disappointed. 🙂

    It’s only some years later, when I turned 21, after a lot of other nu/alternative/industrial discoveries, that I really got into metal. But it was with so many bands at the same time that I would be totally unable to tell which album was really important to me. They all were, and they all keep being. Now I don’t listen much to nu and alternative metal, because there’s so much more interesting things to discover in the extreme metal realm that I don’t really have time nor desire anymore for my teenager years’ music.

  64. Funny ! I thought nobody was going to mention Linkin Park here, and still there are some of us who started the metal journey with this band 🙂

    So, here is a spontaneous list of the 5 albums that have somehow had an impact on me:

    -Linkin Park – Meteora
    I’m about 12, I discover this “energy”, powerful songs that I had never heard before, and I love it.
    -System of a Down – Chop Suey
    I loved it, still love it, this band has become one of my favorite band, even though I got in some more extreme metal bands, I will always enjoy listening to a good old SOAD album. Their style is just unique, “versatile”, sometimes very “emotional” as well… (I’m realizing (again) that it is hard to describe music with words)
    -Nightwish – Once
    It has been a century since the last time I listened to a Nightwish song… but at some point, I listened to Nightwish everyday. Probably because I liked the fact that you could mix metal “brutality” and beautiful clean voices
    -Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper
    And then Hate Crew Deathroll 🙂 At this point I also dicovered In Flames. I discovered other genres of metal.
    -Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
    That was a BLAST. To sum up: I feel I totally understand their music.

    Voilà 🙂

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