GMD Poll: Top 10 Metal Albums of the 1980's


Something in My Eye
Jan 12, 2009
It's time folks. Let's completely finish the 80's polls with this final poll of the top albums from 1980-1989.

- first place in your rankings gets 10 points, 2nd gets 9, etcetc, 10th gets 1.
- feel free to post less than 10, the same scoring will apply.
- feel free not to rank your picks, in which case all ten picks will get 5.5 points.

For reference, check out GMD Poll: Top Years of the 80's to see the top 20 albums of each year (pg 3+4)

Deadline: July 10th
1. Mortal Sin - Face of Despair
2. Viking - Do or Die
3. Dark Angel – We Have Arrived
4. Slayer – Show No Mercy
5. Mortal Sin - Mayhemic Destruction
6. Motorhead – Ace Of Spades
7. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
8. Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
9.Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
10. Dark Angel – Darkness Descends
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Fates Warning - The Spectre Within
Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind
Iron Maiden - Killers
Metallica - Ride the Lightning
Mercyful Fate - Melissa
Adramelch - Irae Melanox
Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Exodus - Bonded by Blood
Destruction - Eternal Devastation
Queensryche - Rage for Order
Voivod - Nothingface
Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly
1) fates warning - the spectre within
2) slayer - hell awaits
3) adramelch - irae melanox
4) fates warning - awaken the guardian
5) cirith ungol - king of the dead
6) slayer - reign in blood
7) jag panzer - ample destruction
8) candlemass - epicus doomicus metallicus
9) destruction - sentence of death
10) dark quarterer - dark quarterer

saint vitus - saint vitus
satan’s host - metal from hell
voivod - killing technology
sodom - in the sign of evil
metallica - master of puppets

might slightly tweak the order, we’ll see

edit: forgot about destruction, dropped maiden
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1. Adramelch - Irae Melanox
2. Warlord - And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...
3. Flames of Hell - Fire and Steel
4. Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind
5. Sarcofagus - Envoy of Death
6. Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian
7. Dark Quarterer - Dark Quarterer
8. Manilla Road - Crystal Logic
9. Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus
10. Blind Guardian - Follow the Blind
1. Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
2. Iron Maiden- Iron Maiden
3. Metallica- ...and Justice for All
4. Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
5. Black Sabbath- Mob Rules
6. Slayer- Reign in Blood
7. Slayer- Hell Awaits
8. Fates Warning- The Spectre Within
9. Dio- Holy Diver
10. Candlemass- Epicus Doomicus Metalicus
1. Sarcófago - I.N.R.I
2. Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian
3. Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos
4. Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark
5. Slayer - Reign in Blood
6. Manilla Road - Crystal Logic
7. Infernäl Mäjesty - None Shall Defy
8. Helstar - Nosferatu
9. Fates Warning - The Spectre Within
10. Razor - Evil Invaders


Deaf Dealer - Journey Into Fear (archival, otherwise would've made my list)
Destruction - Infernal Overkill
Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction
Sortilège - Sortilège
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory
Vio-Lence - Eternal Nightmare
Adramelch - Irae Melanox
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1. Metallica - ...And Justice for All
2. Plasmatics - Coup d'État
3. Girlschool - Hit and Run
4. Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations
5. English Dogs - Where Legend Began
6. Candlemass - Ancient Dreams
7. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
8. Metallica - Kill 'em All
9. Mercyful Fate - Melissa
10. Stratovarius - Fright Night

Danzig - Danzig
Tygers of Pan Tang - Wild Cat
Candlemass - Nightfall
Megadeth - Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
Overkill - The Years of Decay
Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today
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This was like pulling teeth. Fuck!

1. Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos
2. Voïvod - Dimension Hatröss
3. Death - Scream Bloody Gore
4. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
5. Slayer - Hell Awaits
6. Voïvod - Killing Technology
7. Autopsy - Severed Survival
8. Death - Leprosy
9. Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
10. Bolt Thrower - In Battle There Is No Law!
1. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
2. Détente - Recognize No Authority
3. Hexenhaus - A Tribute to Insanity
4. Fates Warning - The Spectre Within
5. Voivod - Killing Technology
6. Voivod - Nothingface
7. Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
8. Death - Leprosy
9. Anacrusis - Suffering Hour
10. Testament - The Legacy

On another day, some of the following albums might have made it into my top 10:
Helloween - Walls of Jericho
Sacrilege - Within the Prophecy
Znowhite - Act of God
Sacred Blade - Of the Sun and Moon
Forbidden - Forbidden Evil
Watchtower - Control and Resistance
Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta
Voivod - Dimension Hatröss
Flotsam & Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

Overall, this was a nearly impossible task. While "Ride the Lightning" might be the album which gets the least spins from me nowadays (out of the albums mentioned in this top 10), I decided to still put it at no. 1, because it was the album which got me into thrash metal in 1984 and I still remember how much I loved it way back then. And even though the songs can't evoke the same enthusiastic feelings in me anymore which they once did, I still think most of them are more or less perfect. I'm not sure if this was the overall most influential album as regards my musical taste, but it was definitely the most influential in the 80ies, thus it deserves to be at the top of this list.
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1) Metallica - Ride the Lightning
2) Metallica - ...And Justice for All
3) Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz
4) Metallica - Master of Puppets
5) Dio - Holy Diver
6) Obituary - Slowly We Rot
7) Ozzy - Diary of a Madman
8) Megadeth - Peace Sells...
9) Judas Priest - British Steel
10) Dio - The Last in Line

Death - Scream Bloody Gore
Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly
Artillery - Fear of Tomorrow
Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
Damn this was hard.

1. Autopsy - Severed Survival
2. Mercyful Fate - Melissa
3. Metallica - ...And Justice for All
4. Manowar - Sign of the Hammer
5. Pagan Altar - Pagan Altar
6. Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations
7. Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
8. Bathory - Bathory
9. Motorhead - Ace of Spades
10. Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos
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Surprised by the amount of And Justice for All votes. I personally think that's the weakest of the first 4 Metallica like a mile. I'm curious what y'all find good about it.
Surprised by the amount of And Justice for All votes. I personally think that's the weakest of the first 4 Metallica like a mile. I'm curious what y'all find good about it.

the first 4 songs and the last 2

the album took me longer to get into but once I did it was worth it and it’s better than mop now
...And Justice For All is a fucking great album but...

it’s better than mop now


EDIT: well to be fair they are not that far apart. I actually used to think And Justice was a much better album when i was younger.
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There are several reasons I think it’s the best. First, it’s the darkest and harshest. The overall aesthetics, songwriting, and lyrics come together to depict of a broken society. The raw, unforgiving production greatly adds to this. Unlike other Metallica albums, it’s pretty much devoid of romanticized moments, other than the beginning of the title track and One, and even those instances are just to set up the dark turns within the songs. Metallica had been playing with serval “types” of songs for the last two albums, but on AJFA they managed to keep the variety while expressing a cohesive vision. To be fair, they did a damn good job of creating a vision on MOP as well, so I see why some prefer that album, but I think AJFA takes it to the next step.

I also think it has the best songwriting. I just love the way a neck-breaker like Blackened has this extended, multi-dimensional doomy section in the middle, or how the title track transitions from these elegant, neoclassical melodies at the beginning to this rapid-fire jagged thrash sections before finding the main riff. Those are just two examples, but it has the most moments that I really admire. Finally, it has the lowest floor. Even the songs that are typically thought of as weaker, I really enjoy. FEOS, for example, has an epic opening and really well developed bridge. In contrast, MOP has Sanitarium and TTTSNB, which back-to-back I find to produce a lull. On RTL, you have amazing high end tracks, but you also have tracks like FFWF, TUI and Escape that are good enough, but honestly aren’t songs I see as really standing out within the sea of 80s thrash.
^i totally agree with the first paragraph and totally disagree with the second. it’s one of the best and most original sounding albums with a great, bleak unifying atmosphere i’ve waxed lyrical about many times, but IMO the songwriting is substantially worse than MoP, both extremely messy and repetitive/drawn out for no good reason (i love the title track but you could shave off probably a third of that song and lose nothing). shortest straw—>harvester of sorrow is a far worse lull than anything on MoP, the album falls off some in general after the first four tunes. still in my top 25 or 30 of the decade though, as is RtL.
And Justice for All's cold and apocalyptic sound is deliciously depressing all the way through. Close to perfect entertainment for me. My least favourite tracks are The Shortest Straw and The Frayed Ends of Sanity, but I'd still really miss those if they were removed. MoP and RtL don't provide such a consistently intense mood and have songs I could happily skip now and then.