10. AFI – Sing The Sorrow (2003)
Genre: Punk Rock, Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore
I first saw AFI in 1996 when they opened for The Offspring who were on tour supporting Ixnay on the Hombre. I loved AFI’s set and bought Answer That And Stay Fashionable (their first album) which I really got into. Then I kind of forgot about them for awhile until a friend at school played a compilation CD that had a new AFI song that I hadn’t heard. It was from Black Sails in the Sunset. I bought that album and became a huge AFI fan. There was a time when I considered Black Sails in the Sunset to be my favorite AFI album but there is something very special about Sing The Sorrow to me. I feel the songs more. I love the songs more. That’s just the way it is.
9. Alice in Chains – Dirt (1992)
Genre: Grunge, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal
Can anyone argue this is Alice in Chains best album? So many good songs. This album had 5 singles! That is impressive. You can just feel Layne Staley’s emotions and struggles. So much depression and problems with drug use. Such a shame. His voice is one of the best and most unique in rock history. This is a classic alternative grunge rock album. I love it.
8. In Flames – Come Clarity (2006)
Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Alternative Metal
In Flames is one of my favorite metal bands and they have an awesome discography. Their older material is a lot heavier and their second album The Jester Race is known to be one of the best metal albums of all-time. I personally like their ‘newer’ material, from about 2004 on, as I like the more melodic vocals that lead singer Anders Fridén uses. I am not saying this is their best album (because depending on who you ask, it isn’t), I am just saying it is my favorite. Stylistically, it harkens back to their older, heavier sound but still retains elements of their newer alternative sound. Upon release, the band claimed the album sounded like “a bit of the old and a bit of the new” and that was the perfect way to describe it. Killer from start to finish. In Flames we trust!
7. Rise Against – Appeal to Reason (2008)
Genre: Punk Rock, Melodic Hardcore, Alternative Rock
An interesting story with this band. I had an early album when I was in college in 2002 but only liked a couple songs. Then I heard “Ready to Fall” in 2006 and bought The Sufferer and the Witness because I found it for a really good price. I wasn’t crazy about it at first. Then I got into Appeal to Reason and became a huge Rise Against fan and now love their entire discography. Their 3rd album Siren Song of the Counter-Culture is also very good. Rise Against is so underrated. They are just about to explode in popularity because Appeal to Reason had 4 singles and radio support and they toured nonstop. I am so happy for them because they have worked hard and spread a good message. I have a ton of Rise Against songs on my running playlist, with the most from any album coming from this one.
6. Rancid – …And Out Come the Wolves (1995)
Genre: Punk Rock, Ska Punk
Being a huge fan of The Offspring at the time, I naturally took to bands that were in the same scene and had a similar sound. I heard “Ruby Soho” on the radio and saw the video for “Time Bomb” on MTV. I had to get the album! I ended up buying the album at the old Tower Records in Point Loma. I remember popping the cassette in my walkman and listening to it for the first time when my dad was in the Home Depot across the street from the Tower Records. I instantly liked this album and it got better with time. I remember looking at the track list and being amazed that there were 19 tracks. This is another album where the linear notes are awesome. This is a kick ass punk rock record. Huge fan of Rancid and always will be.
5. Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984)
Genre: Thrash Metal
The best metal album of all time, in my opinion. My favorite metal album ever and the one that got me into metal music. Terrifically composed from start to finish. Great songs, great riffs, epic, timeless. The first riff I ever learned on the bass was the verse riff from “Creeping Death”. This was actually not the first Metallica album that I got into. I had heard some songs from Black Album but didn’t really get into Metallica until I heard “Until It Sleeps” from Load. Yeah, go figure. Then I went backwards and bought the back catalogue. Ride the Lightening is a true gem.
4. The Killers – Sam’s Town (2006)
Genre: Indie-rock, Heartland Rock, Post-punk Revival
This album means the world to me. There is no other album that I personally identify with more. This album has been my anthem during my very difficult mid-twenties. I hear and see a lot of myself in Brandon Flowers’ lyrics. Simply put, this album is ME. This is another album, somewhat similar to Silence, that I didn’t get in to right away but fell in love with and got very emotionally attached to. I loved the first album Hot Fuss and remember hearing all the expectation for this second album. As it goes, the album was hated by critics and the public didn’t embrace it like they did Hot Fuss. Trust me, this album grows and grows and grows. Rolling Stone named it the most underrated album of the decade. Rightfully so!
3. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
Genre: Heavy Metal, Power Metal
Iron Maiden has a lot of albums. I happen to own every single one. I happen to love them all, but this one is special to me. Do I think it is Iron Maiden’s best album? No, The Number of the Beast is traditionally deemed their best. But sometimes the best album by an artist isn’t your favorite. Fond memories of when I got into Iron Maiden. My first job was at a liquor store stocking and cleaning. Most of the guys that worked there were older but they hired a younger guy closer to my age. He knew I liked Metallica and figured I would like Iron Maiden so he let me borrow the copies he had, starting with Best of the Beast, their greatest hits album. After borrowing and listening to all the albums, I told him Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was my favorite and he was surprised because most Iron Maiden lovers probably wouldn’t say that. I got to listen to my walkman on the job and remember wearing this album out back then. It definitely has a sentimental draw and I love the album to this day.
Genre: Post-hardcore, Alternative Metal
This album is very special to me. It has the most emotional attachment. The funny thing is that I didn’t like this album much at first; it grew on me in a big way over time. This is a very common theme with a lot of the albums on this list. I bought this album on a whim after hearing first single “Pitiful” on the radio and really liking the song. I listened to the album a few times but didn’t really get into it. I shelved the album for a few months but when I started listening to it again, I fell in love. I was going through my first heartbreak when I was into this album so the emotional attachment is huge. It was a huge part of my life. The lyrics meant and still mean so much to me. I have been a huge Blindside fan ever since. If I were stranded on a desert island, I would sure hope that I had this album in my possession.
Genre: Punk-rock, Grunge, Skate Punk
Number 1 for a reason. Offspring was the band that got me into music and this was the first album I ever bought. I heard “Self Esteem” on the radio a few times and saw the video for “Come Out and Play” on MTV and I was hooked. I remember buying the cassette at Sam Goody in Fashion Valley when I was in Jr. High School. I wore this album out, and have always come back to it over the years. I love everything about this album; the songs, the lyrics, the music, the energy, the linear notes, the videos they made for it. I might not have fully realized it at the time but a lot of the lyrics on this album shaped me as a person. The best selling independent album of all time. My favorite album of all time.