Inspired by the latest Facebook trend going around, I’ve compiled a list of 10 metal albums that have impacted me in a big way. For those unfamiliar, the idea is people tag their friends and commence 10 days of posting albums that inspired, impacted, or changed them in some way.
1. Killswitch Engage – The End of Heartache
Favourite song/s: Breathe Life & When Darkness Falls
This album is probably the forerunner for my album of all time. I just cannot get sick of it; the soaring melodies, thunderous breakdowns, and insane riffs. Every second of this record is powerful, with every note struck striking a chord somewhere deep within me.
My introduction to Killswitch Engage was fairly typical of the era. It’s 2005, I’m up late watching VH1 (MTV’s counterpart in Australia), and I hear about this new metalcore act Killswitch Engage. I thought the name was cool, but didn’t really give them a second thought. Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m browsing through a Cash Converters (Australian pawn shop) and I notice a CD titled “The End of Heartache”. “Hey, that’s that band I saw on TV,” I think to myself. It was only $2, why not grab it and give it a spin?
Best $2 I ever spent.
2. Lamb of God – Sacrament
Favourite song/s: Descending
I grew up in a Christian household and, while my parents weren’t too strict on me, there were definitely times I felt that influence affect my interests. Lamb of God were perhaps the most hilarious instance of this. The name, of course, comes across as religious in nature and somewhat welcoming to sensitive, born-again ears. My parents caught wind of the band and listened to them themselves, and they were insta-banned from my CD collection. Goddammit mum.
Little did they know, iTunes existed. I had ripped the CD to my library. Cheeky little tyke.
Lamb of God are a band that people always recommend for drummers to listen to. As it turns out, I am a drummer, so Chris Adler was on my radar for some time. He is, to put it simply, a fucking GOD on drums. His speed and slick style has had a massive impact on me from a young age (Sacrament came out when I was 14), and I continue to spin it regularly for bangers such as ‘Walk With Me in Hell’, ‘Blacken the Cursed Sun, and of course ‘Descending’.
3. I Killed the Prom Queen – Music for the Recently Deceased
Favourite song/s: The Deepest Sleep & Sharks in your Mouth
Ask almost any Australian heavy music fan, and they’ll probably have at least one memory involving I Killed the Prom Queen. Widely considered the breakers-of-ground as far as Australian metalcore goes, Prom Queen were responsible for the discovery of Parkway Drive, kicked off the trend of massive regional tours to small Aussie towns, and have members that branched out to Bleeding Through, Confession, Deez Nuts, and Bring me the Horizon.
Compared to most, I was super late the I Killed the Prom Queen party. I distinctly remember THE emo girl in our grade wearing one of their shirts to a free dress day in year 10 (2006) and asking her to show me the band, and I was disgusted. The vocals man, the vocals were HORRID to my virgin ears. If memory serves, I described the band to her as “the sound of a grizzly bear choking on a salmon while being eaten by a great white shark”.
We weren’t good friends after that.
As I matured as a heavy music fan, Prom Queen became more and more unavoidable. At the time, they were absolutely murdering the live scene across Australia, and it became impossible to ignore the impact they were having. Eventually, ‘Say Goodbye’ won me over because it had a clean chorus, and from then on the album grew on me like mold on old bread. When it came time for me to start my own bands (2010-ish), my go-to riffs were I Killed the Prom Queen riffs, 9-times-out-of-10. It was then that I realised just how much this band and album had infected me…
and I kinda love that.
4. Metallica – Master of Puppets
Favourite song/s: Disposable Heroes & Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
I am a firm believer that every metal fan should at least pay respect to Metallica in one way or another. To discredit them the honours they deserve would be the same as discrediting The Beatles or Michael Jackson as far as I am concerned. Are they my favourite band? Hell no! Have they had an impact on me as a heavy music fan? Absolutely.
“Master of Puppets” is always my response when asked which album of theirs is my favourite. The reason being is the memories attached to it are some of my favourite. In 2009, I started a new job in a field I had no experience in, and soon learnt that some of my co-workers also liked metal. They were considerably older than me, but nonetheless invited me for a jam session. The catch was they only knew Metallica songs (which is hilarious, but it is what it is).
I had always enjoyed Metallica, so I learned all of the tracks of “Master of Puppets” on drums in preparation. Those jam sessions broke the ice of a new job, formed friendships that have lasted almost a decade, and taught me a lot about playing with other musicians. One of the guys ended up being one of my closest friends and song-writing partners.
5. Trivium – Ascendancy
Favourite song/s: Rain, Suffocating Sight, & Ascendancy
It is actually really hard for me to pick a Trivium album to include. The “main three” albums all had a huge influence on me as a musician and music fan: “Ascendancy” in 2005, “The Crusade” in 2006, and “Shogun” in 2008. I went with “Ascendancy” because I still, in 2018, enjoy listening to it from front-to-back.
Trivium are probably one of my favourite bands, but I always forget how much I love them whenever the topic comes up. Their songs have been a part of my growing up, from the vicious fury of ‘Departure’, to the spine tingling guitar solos on ‘Like Light to the Flies’, “Ascendancy” encapsulates everything I love about metalcore. This is why it’s on my list, and why I will continue listening to this record for many years to come.
6. Machine Head – The Blackening
Favourite song/s: Halo
Machine Head‘s “The Blackening” is one of those albums that belongs in any metal fans collection. Not only does it have some of the best riffs ever written, it is a lesson in incresiblensong writing and vocal delivery. As if he hadn’t proved it already on “Burn My Eyes”, “The More Things Change”, and “Through the Ashes of Emoires”, frontman/guitarist Robb Flynn throws the hammer down and establishes himself as the Messiah of Metal.
Enough about Robb; let me tell you how this album impacted me. You know when you are studying something, and out of the blue something clicks into place and you just GET IT? “The Blackening” did that to me. When the chorus of ‘Halo’ hits, when the galloping drums in ‘Clenching the Fists of Dissent’ kick off, when Robb’s fury is laid bare in ‘Aesthetics of Hate’, everything makes sense. This is Metal, this is anger, this is agression. This is fucking awesome.
7. The Ghost Inside – Get What You Give
Favourite song/s: Dark Horse
This album came at a time when I had largely abandoned “METAL” in favour of mosh and hardcore. I still loved the classics, but I thought solos and long intros were lame. Songs longer than 3:30? See ya later. When The Ghost Inside dropped “Get What You Give”, it was the perfect album for me; tight, punchy, HEAVY.
I loved “Returners”, and ‘Chrono’ would be my favourite TGI song if I had to pick, but “Get What You Give”, as an album, stands head and shoulders above the rest. The emotional gut punch of ‘White Light’ still affects me, and the reluctant upliftance in ‘Dark Horse’ still brings a smile to my face. The Ghost Inside out out one hell of an emotional record with this one, and I felt every bit of it.
8. Slipknot – Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
Favourite song/s: The Nameless
I vividly remember sitting at the back of the school bus in highschool, iPod Shuffle in hand, listening to these songs for the first time. Finally, a band that turkey caourted what angst sounds like. The teenager in me felt at home; I’d discovered a kindred spirit in the music made by these masked misfits.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m at Soundwave seeing Slipknot live for the first time. For that hour, I was back in school, back on the bus, feeling the same warmth and understanding that hit me as a young man. I love this album. So, so much. Not only because the songs rule, but because it taught me so much about drums too. Joey Jordison is widely considered one of the best drummers in metal, and while I may not agree completely, his influence on me is undeniable. In a way, Slipknot played a MASSIVE role in shaping me as a musician, and I’ll forever cherish that.
9. Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
Favourite song/s: Forgotten, A Place for My Head, & With You
Is it metal? Maybe not, but I can’t make a list of top 10 anything without mentioning this album. Linkin Park, and “Hybrid Theory”, are so deeply linked to my personality that I can’t even get my thoughts together enough to write more than a few sentences about it. I. Just. Love. This. Album. I cannot overstate how influential this album was on me. It literally made me who I am. And I know I am not alone in this.
10. Parkway Drive – Horizons
Favourite song/s: Breaking Point & Horizons
This is it. THE metalcore album. The album that definitely put Australia (my homeland) on the map in the world of metalcore. These songs are among some of the expertly crafted tracks in the genre. The melody, heaviness, and relentless assault on the senses is comforting rather than confronting, and something about this album just feels like home. Ask almost any Australian metalcore fan, and they will say Parkway Drive‘s “Horizons” ranks among the best.
I remember the first time I heard the opening to ‘Carrion’. I was moving house, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and couldn’t sleep. I had heard that Parkway’s new album was a force to be reckoned with, so I took to YouTube to suss it out. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night. This album was on repeat from 12am – 7am. My mind was blown. I love Parkway Drive, and I pray for the day they write music like this again.
What are your favourite metal albums? Let us know!
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