20. Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break The Oath (1984)
Genre: Heavy Metal, Black Metal
The often replicated but never duplicated Mercyful Fate is one of the most influence metal bands in history, especially for the black metal genre. Mercyful Fate is one of those bands that needs to be experience. Some of the best metal riffage ever and some of the most extreme metal vocals from the incomparable and legendary King Diamond! This is a band to pay homage to if you are any kind of metal fan. Know the classics to better appreciate the bands that followed in the footsteps.
19. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo (2010)
Genre: Pop Rock, New Wave, Alternative Country
I was so anxious for this album to come out because I am a huge Killers fan and a huge Brandon Flowers fan. I like every song I have ever heard from Brandon Flowers/The Killers. I didn’t know what to expect with a solo effort. I read some reviews before hearing the album and was disappointed that, again, critics were bashing Brandon. First single “Crossfire” is a great song, one of the best he has ever written in my opinion. I liked this album a lot by the 4th listen and think its a great album. I will admit that it does sound slightly like watered down Killers but it is a true solo release. It sounds different than Killers songs. This album is more of a love song album. I saw him in concert twice in support of this album and the songs sounded way better in person. They changed the sound and feel and made them a lot more rocking. The album is more produced sounding. Still, a great album and I anticipate continuing to like it into the future.
Genre: Emo, Post-hardcore, Screamo, Pop Punk
There is so much emotion in this album. I feel it in the music, hear it in the lyrics, sense it in every song. The best emo/screamo album I’ve ever heard. I don’t remember exactly how I got this album but I’m pretty sure it was a Christmas present from my brother. This is another album that grows and grows. It has to be listened to all the way through because it is a true album album.
17. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1992)
Genre: Rap Metal, Alternative Metal, Funk Metal
This album is a classic. What a powerhouse of an album! This album spoke to me personally and also put me in the context of an entire nation of people. Not one of your annoying, overtly political rock albums that complains about all that is wrong with the world and gives no solutions. This album has energy, passion, and emotion. Zach de la Rocha’s lyrics are not just about taking back control from the government and rising up to speak your voice and opinion. He also sings about an entire culture’s oppression. No other band sounded like this at the time and Tom Morello’s guitar work is truly awesome and unique. I had 3 different RATM t-shirts when I was in Jr. High and High School and I wore this album out!
16. Scorpions – Love At First Sting (1984)
Genre: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
This is another hard rock/metal classic and home to one of the best metal songs ever released: “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. Each track on this album kicks ass and gets better and better with age. It ended up being the most successful album for the band, at least here in the States, peaking at #6 on the album charts. Another fun fact is that it was one of the first digitally recorded metal albums to be released. A must hear!
15. Children of Bodom – Hate Crew Deathroll (2003)
Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Power Metal, Black Metal, Thrash Metal
This album rocks my socks off. It’s killer. My favorite metal musicianship outside of Metallica. The solos on this album are amazing, the one in “Chokehold” in particular. The rhythm guitar work is outstanding, Alexi Laiho’s lead guitar work is on a whole different level, the keyboards are like nothing you’ve ever heard, and the drums are unreal. I owe getting into this band and album to my brother Jeff. A must hear band, a must hear album if you are any kind of metal fan.
14. Live – Throwing Copper (1994)
Genre: Alternative Rock, Post-grunge, Hard Rock
It’s pretty simple with this album. It’s a solid, powerful, rockin’ alternative rock record. It’s a classic. So many people own this album it’s ridiculous. My sister got me into this album because she was a huge Live fan. I’ve been a fan ever since and love all their albums. This one is special though. It’s safe to say this is the quintessential Live album. I think Live made a career for themselves with this album. So many greats songs!
Genre: Punk Rock
The Ramones were always ahead of their time and were never truly appreciated until much later in their career. Arguably they were the very first punk rock band so that goes to show you how new their sound was when they first started out as a band. They have many great songs and many great albums but the first was their best. An all-time classic and legendary album and a must hear for any music fan.
12. System of a Down – Toxicity (2001)
Genre: Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Experimental Rock
I listened to this album almost daily on the way to school during junior year of high school. I heard the first single “Chop Suey!” on the radio one day when I was at work and knew System of a Down was about to blow up. I was very excited about this album because I liked their first release a lot. I’m pretty sure I bought it on the first day it came out. I constantly go back to this album, it never seems to get old. All songs = good.
11. Less Than Jake – Hello Rockview (1998)
Genre: Ska Punk
Back in Jr. High and High School, my friends and I were huge into Ska music. There was a pretty good revival, particularly with Ska punk music. Less Than Jake was always my favorite of the bunch and I’ve seen them live probably about 15 times. Most Less Than Jake fans would probably say that Losing Streak is their favorite release but Hello Rockview is mine. This was the first album they put out on a major label. Signing with a major label usually changes a band’s sound but how can it not? Yes, they lose some creative control but they get to use better equipment and recording material, plus they get the chance of reaching a broader audience and make more money. Less Than Jake got more catchy/pop with this record and that’s kinda why I love this album so much. The songs are catchy and good. It’s one hell of a catchy punk-ska record plus the lyrics were meaningful and not stupid or super lame like with a lot of other punk-ska bands at the time. These songs are about life and growing up, and they make you want to dance. Can’t get much better than that.