The 80’s was really the decade that established metal, which is a genre that is itself defined by many genres, as well as periods and clarifications, and, of course, controversies. It’s difficult to accept that such classic-style metal given to us by those artists like Ozzy Osbourne and Dio were around the same time as thread’s price bluster and technically exceptional sound, as well as pop metal’s hairspray and eyeliner. The 80’s gave something to everyone. Whether you liked your music glittery, poppy, politically themes, brash, loud, or irreverent, then this decade had to do it for you, as it soared and went through a time of rapid and unprecedented growth. Here are the 1980’s top 11 metal albums, those we bought, cherished, and banged our heads to, and that still hold a special place in our hearts today.
Hysteria, Def Leppard (1987)
Pop metal defined the second half of the decade, and from that very sub-genre, the most successful album was Hysteria. It’s a perfect production thanks to ex-Mr Shania Twain, Mutt Lange and the fact that the band concentrated on hooks more than they did hairspray. With Animal and Love Bites more poppy than any track on their 1983 album, Pyromania, the band established a stranglehold on pop metal with this hugely successful album that sold 10 million copies in the U.S. Alone.
Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying, Megadeath (1986)
David Mustaine could have faded into obscurity after his exit from Metallica. Instead, he took the anger that came from that departure and transformed it one of 80’s thrash’s finest albums. Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying leaves no doubt as to why Megadeath belongs in Thrash’s Big 4. Mustaine’s superb performances, uni ethos, and political awareness, combined with wordplay ability make this album a must-own.
Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden (1982)
Three songs on the album, Run to the Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name, and the title track, remain regulars on the band’s setlist and are still regarded as some of the finest tracks of the era. The band’s back catalogue is as expansive as it is deep, but this album perfectly illustrates how best to do British Heavy Metal, New Wave-style. It was also Bruce Dickinson’s recorded debut, the lead singer who impressed with the showmanship he became famous for, as well as those siren-like vocals. Metal fans still scream for the ‘Number of the Beast’.
Holy Diver’, Dio (1983)
The late and fantastic Ronnie James Dio enjoyed stints as part of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath. It was his solo work on the ‘Holy Driver’ album, however, that is regarded as a metal classic of the decade, as well as his benchmark. Dio’s soaring vocals were supported by a number of quality musicians, such as Vivian Campbell on guitar. There’s no doubt about it: this album is heavy metal in its most pure form from the singer who came to establish the genre’s universal symbol: devil horns.