20 greatest metal albums ever – as voted by you


1Pantera – ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’

Pantera – ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’
A countdown of the top 20 metal albums, as voted for by users of NME.COM. 20. Pantera – ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ (1992) The title of their sixth album comes from a line in the 1973 film The Exorcist. In America, the album was a slow burner, charting at No. 44, but ultimately going multi-platinum.

2Rage Against The Machine – ‘Battle Of Los Angeles’

Rage Against The Machine – ‘Battle Of Los Angeles’
19. Rage Against The Machine – ‘Battle Of Los Angeles’ (1999). Their third album, and something of an under-rated masterpiece, featuring the jaw-dropping likes of 'Sleep Now In The Fire'. The album art featured an image created by the “LA Street Phantom”.

3Pantera – ‘Cowboys From Hell’

Pantera – ‘Cowboys From Hell’
18. Pantera – ‘Cowboys From Hell’ (1990) Pantera’s fifth album, and their first released through Atco Records (after being turned down by 28 other labels). To celebrate the 20-year anniversary of its release, a reissue was released featuring all manner of bonus tracks and demo versions.

4Slayer – ‘Reign In Blood’

Slayer – ‘Reign In Blood’
17. Slayer – ‘Reign In Blood’ (1986) Slayer’s third studio album marked their first time working with record producer Rick Rubin. It peaked at No. 47 in the UK, despite being surrounded by controversy – the initial release was delayed due to concerns of pro-Nazi content (which the band denied).

5Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’

16. Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’ (1970) It was the band’s second album – and their only one to reach the top of the UK chart. Originally titled ‘War Pigs’, it was changed by the record company, who were cautious of offending, er, war fans presumably.

6AC/DC – ‘Highway To Hell’

15. AC/DC – ‘Highway To Hell’ (1979) The last album to feature Bon Scott achieved gold certification, making it into the top ten on the UK charts. The album was recorded from February to April 1979 at Roundhouse Studios, London.

7Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’

14. Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’ (1982) The band’s third album, and their first with Bruce Dickinson on vocals. It peaked at No. 1 in the UK charts and achieved Platinum status, and has sold 14 million copies worldwide.

8Guns N' Roses – ‘Appetite For Destruction’

13. Guns N' Roses – ‘Appetite For Destruction’ (1987) It was a successful debut album – in fact, the best-selling debut album of all time (selling more than 33 million copies). The original album artwork was based on a painting by Robert Williams, but was banned from some shops – so the artwork was moved to the inside.

9AC/DC – ‘Back In Black’

12. AC/DC – ‘Back In Black’ (1980) The band’s first album without Bon Scott on vocals, it was dedicated to the late musician. Selling approximately 49 million copies worldwide, this is one of the highest selling albums of all time.

10Avenged Sevenfold – ‘Waking The Fallen’

Avenged Sevenfold – ‘Waking The Fallen’
11. Avenged Sevenfold – ‘Waking The Fallen’ (2003) This was their second studio album, and their first with Johnny Christ on bass. It sold more than 370,000 copies worldwide and achieved gold status.

11Slipknot – ‘Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)’

Slipknot – ‘Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)’
10. Slipknot – ‘Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)’ (2004) The band’s third album cover features a “maggot mask”, which can be seen in the video for the album's second single ‘Vermilion’. This album peaked at No. 5 in the UK and received platinum certification in the US.

12Rage Against The Machine – ‘Rage Against The Machine’

9. Rage Against The Machine – ‘Rage Against The Machine’ (1992) Rage’s debut album peaked at No. 17 in the UK chart, but the band have since sold more than 16 million copies of their albums worldwide. The cover artwork features an image from 1963 of a protesting Vietnamese Buddhist monk, burning himself to death.

13Parkway Drive – ‘Horizons’

Parkway Drive – ‘Horizons’
8. Parkway Drive – ‘Horizons’ (2007) This was their second album, and was produced by Killswitch Engage’s Adam Dutkiewicz. It achieved multi-platinum status in Europe.

14Bullet For My Valentine – ‘The Poison’

Bullet For My Valentine – ‘The Poison’
7. Bullet For My Valentine – ‘The Poison’ (2005) Their debut album sold well over one million copies worldwide, earning the first RIAA gold certification for record label Trustkill Records.

15System Of A Down – ‘Toxicity’

System Of A Down – ‘Toxicity’
6. System Of A Down – ‘Toxicity’ (2001) Although it only reached No. 13 in the UK charts, the album achieved No. 1 in both the US and Canada and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. This was the band’s only album that didn’t feature a Parental Advisory label (despite containing quite a few profanities).

16Metallica – ‘Ride The Lightning’

5. Metallica – ‘Ride The Lightning’ (1984) This was the band’s second album, and their fifth best-selling release overall. There are 400 rare copies of the album with green covers (instead of blue), mistakenly printed by French label Bernett Records.

17Slipknot – ‘Slipknot’

Slipknot – ‘Slipknot’
4. Slipknot – ‘Slipknot’ (1999) Slipknot’s debut album, it was certified Platium in 2008 by the British Phonographic Industry. In 2009, the band released a special edition version to commemorate its tenth anniversary – releasing it on 09/09/09 to honour the nine members of the band.

18Metallica – ‘Master Of Puppets’

3. Metallica – ‘Master Of Puppets’ (1986) This was Metallica’s third offering, and marked their first gold record. Selling more than six million copies in the US alone, it continues to be praised as one of the best albums of all time. This was also the band’s last album with bassist Cliff Burton.

19Avenged Sevenfold – ‘City Of Evil’

Avenged Sevenfold – ‘City Of Evil’
2. Avenged Sevenfold – ‘City Of Evil’ (2005) This was their third studio album, and the first of their albums be released trough a major label. Selling 2,500,000 copies worldwide, it remains the band’s best-selling album, as well as their longest album.

20Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Suicide Season’

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Suicide Season’
1. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Suicide Season’ (2008). The BMTH online fan army was out in force, ensuring a somewhat, er, unexpected all time number one spot for the band's second studio album, recorded at producer Fredrik Nordström’s studio in Sweden. What can we say? The people have spoken. For daily rock news head to NME.COM/metal.