• Steve Jenkins

Record Store Day - Classic Rock & Metal Albums You Should Have In Your Collection Part II

Record Store Day is April 21st, and in preparation for this, we've decided to put together a list of the records you should definitely have in your collection. Whether you're just starting one or your collection has a room in your house dedicated to it, this is part one of the list of what we think are the staple rock and metal albums which deserve a place in your collection, in no particular order.

11. Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast

One of the greatest and most popular heavy metal bands to ever take the stage, Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 by bassist Steve Harris. The band were one of the pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the early 80's, distinguishing themselves from their peers with literary subject matter and considerable musical talent. For these reasons and others, countless metal acts have cited them as a strong influence. The Number of the Beast was Iron Maiden's breakthrough album and a very important one in the band's career. It was their first album to reach #1 in the charts, and spawned hit singles such as the title track and "Run to the Hills", which are still played in concert to this very day. Any fan of the genre should definitely pick this up if they haven't already done so. In the sense that The Number of the Beast was very influential and commercially successful, The Number of the Beast can be declared a classic in the world of metal.

12. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced?

Another strong debut from a talented act, this album was the embodiment of Jimi Hendrix's innovative guitar playing and songwriting, showcasing exactly why, in such a short career, he firmly cemented himself as one of the greatest and most influential musicians of all time. Gifting us with some incredible songs, such as 'Purple Haze', 'Foxy Lady', 'Hey Joe' and 'The Wind Cries Mary', the album changed the shape of music forever. With it's skillful fusion of rock, rhythm, blues, and free jazz, it was a huge commercial and critical success, becoming the yardstick at which all future rock 'n' roll releases were measured against. Added to the National Recording Registry in 2005 for being 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant', it's one of the greatest rock classics, and deserves a place in any collection.

13. Nirvana - Nevermind

By no means was Nevermind the birth of grunge, but it was certainly a pioneering force in bringing the subgenre to the mainstream, signalling what many believed was the death of rock n roll as we knew it. Serving as not only the benchmark for a whole new subculture to come into the light, the album also served as a shining light for the disenfranchised youth, who felt that they were largely ignored or downtrodden. As well as the famous 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', the album also contained the insanely popular 'Lithium' and 'Come As You Are', well and truly earning it's spot on the National Recording Registry alongside other monumental releases. Adding to the importance of the album, it also gifted us the eternal ray of sunshine that is Dave Grohl (sure, he may have still created Foo Fighters if it hadn't have been for Nirvana, but we'll never know).

14. Mastodon - Crack The Skye

Crack the Skye is a haunting, fantastic album that showcases an amazing band at the high of their career continuing to pursue personal and musical evolution. This album should not be missed by any progressive metal fan, and could be a good starting point for those seeking to dive into the mysterious world of thinking man’s metal. Crack the Skye is Mastodon's most progressive album to date, showing a vast maturity in the band since highly acclaimed previous releases Blood Mountain and Leviathan. Whilst not as heavy as any of their previous albums, Crack the Skye is still an exciting, unpredictable gem of an album. I highly recommend this album to any Mastodon fan, and especially any enthusiast of progressive music. When given the attention it requires, this album proves to be an unbelievable listening experience.

15. Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine

The debut album by the rap metal legends has to be one of the strongest debut albums to ever be released. Featuring iconic, game changing tracks ‘Bombtrack’, ‘Killing In The Name’, ‘Bullet In The Head’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’, amongst many more, it successfully merged the seemingly unmergable genres of rap and metal, birthing a genre and legions of copycat bands. It’s a politically charged, highly emotional album that served as a battle cry for many who opposed the social injustices Rage Against The Machine sang about. Touted by many acts as a huge inspiration for them, it’s a fiery, unapologetic, raw album, that propelled the band to musical icons. An absolute must have and must listen.

16. Pantera - Cowboys From Hell

It's hard to comprehend that Pantera used to be a glam metal act back in the 80's, with their sound still not yet fully developed they were caught between something cheesy that you'd hear at an LA strip nightclub and an evolution of powerful, speedy, thrashy and straight up metal. Thank God these guys left glam metal behind, because otherwise we wouldn't get such great albums as Cowboys From Hell or Vulgar Display of Power. The band deemed this as their first "real" release, and that claim makes a lot of sense in hindsight. Even if you're not a fan of Pantera's later material, I'd suggest picking this album up; it sees them in the middle of their style-transformation, and captures the greatest moments of both eras of their sound. Plain and simple, this album kicks ass, and even when it isn't absolutely perfect, it's still a whole lot of fun and will be sure to get anyone in the mood for some beer drinking infused mayhem.

17. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

It’s undeniable that the genre defying David Bowie was, and still is, one of the most influential musicians of all time. Refusing to stick to one genre, sound, or even persona, David Bowie’s influence seeped through every genre, right to the very core of music. One of the arguably most influenced genres of music was rock, especially with the release of Ziggy Stardust. Telling the story of the fictional Ziggy, Bowie’s alter ego, the album was heavy on the glam rock influences, and courted controversy and critical acclaim. Another album added to the National Recording Registry, it gave the world ‘Starman’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ and ‘Suffragette City’. A mainstay in ‘best records’ lists for decades, it’s an integral piece of music history and just a brilliant listen.

18. Judas Priest - Painkiller

Judas Priest was scaring the hell out of people before they even heard the music. With a name like Judas Priest, you just know it's going to be pure evil€ the sort of demonic sludge that will send you off straight to hell. Pop an album like 1990's Painkiller onto your record player and things aren't nearly as devilish as we imagined, but rather a masterclass in power metal rife with deadly guitar thrills splashing around Rob Halford's incredible operatic vocal delivery. Screaming For Vengeance scored hordes of passionate fans for this British metal triumph, but it was Painkiller which best exhibited the bands technical brilliance and infectious power metal songwriting, this wasn't pretentious falsetto glam pop, it was an album loaded with punishing riff-acrobatics and Halford's most consistent performance in years. The title track alone is enough to have karaoke hopefuls unconscious with sheer effort, while 'Metal Meltdown' is still a face-melting beast of a song without any question, this is an album which put Priest at the forefront of supersonic anthem metal.

19. Queen - A Night At The Opera

Queen were well known for not only their sheer talent and charisma, but also for their effortlessly foray into multiple genres, and their album A Night At The Opera is the embodiment of this variety of influences. Ranging from ballads to hard rock tracks, music hall-esque songs to tracks with a heavy progressive rock influence, the album is far from boring. Including ‘You’re My Best Friend’, ‘The Prophet’s Song’ and of course, everybody’s favourite track to sing along to, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The album is monumental, grandiose, dramatic, and over the top, just like Queen themselves. While any of the Queen albums deserve their own spot in your collection, this one is definitely a solid start as it is arguable Queen at their very best.

20. Cradle Of Filth - Dusk... And Her Embrace

Although many will suggest that they decayed into a hackneyed metal pantomime later on in their career, Extreme metal band from Suffolk, United Kingdom, Cradle Of Filth's 1996 classic was an absolute ripper release. With vocalist Dani Filth's deafening wails and wolfish growls were worlds away from his hollow efforts on earlier work, the little black Napoleon tore his way through this sprawling album and proved his worth within the genre. Black metal elitists tend to flip out when Cradle Of Filth are mentioned in the same breath as bands like Mayhem and Emperor (who were definitely considered for this list) - these British lads didn't have the Scandinavian roots or the believable air of danger to earn their true black metal stripes from the purists. But this was truly a brooding, ferocious album which demanded respect. Layers of shrill guitars and piercing screams interwoven with ghostly orchestral pieces and a penchant for ominous melodies delivered a dark atmosphere for what would be Cradle's most memorable album.

#RecordStoreDay #ClassicRock #Metal

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