29. Pain of Salvation – The Perfect Element Pt. 1 (2000)
In their third concept album, Pain of Salvation’s TPE is a progressive metal journey exploring emotional landscapes and struggles of one’s self. While a lot of progressive concept albums seemed to focus on a particular story – and usually science-fiction – TPE is brought back to Earth and delved into the two individuals and their emotions. With musical crescendos and emotional weight, TPE came at a time for me when I was still developing my understanding for music. This album helped me get where I am today.
28. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust EP (2016)
Gorguts’ 33-minute long song took me by surprise when I first heard it. It sounded like Gorguts, but with leader Luc LeMay getting the rest of the band’s input – Pleiades’ Dust came with a whole different feel. The lyrically historical song has monumentous movements and incredible techniques which are unparalleled in other death metal bands. While Gorguts have changed a bit since their initial debut, Pleiades’ Dust is easily one of the best things they’ve ever done.
27. Anathema – A Fine Day to Exit (2001)
I could easily have every Anathema album in this list, but I had to keep myself from going overboard. A Fine Day to Exit resonates with me for many reasons – but primarily for its lyrical content. It strikes so close to home for me, every album spin is as if I’m having a friend over for a visit. With many songwriting credits going to drummer John Douglas, the stand-out song on the album has to go to Daniel Cavanagh with a personal favourite of mine, Temporary Peace.
26. Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King (1987)
Easily one of the most underrated heavy metal bands in existence, before Trans-Siberian Orchestra, there was Savatage. Hall of the Mountain King was, and still is, a master lesson in guitar technique and operatic song writing. With each song having their own unique feel to them, the album is still cohesive and ultimately one of the most powerful heavy metal albums on Earth. Each song is a blast to listen and sing along to, and quite frankly, this album always puts me in a great mood. Madness reigns, my friends.
25. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast (1982)
If there’s one quintessential heavy metal album on everyone’s list as “most important,” I’m sure Number of the Beast is in everyone’s top 10, if not 20. With so much literal power and strength behind this release, I literally can feel myself fill with adrenaline on each spin. For singer Bruce Dickinson’s debut – he comes out smashing. With major singles, Run to the Hills and The Number of the Beast, this album is always a good time.
24. The Gathering – Nighttime Birds (1997)
Dark. Moody. Gothic. All used to describe Nighttime Birds, but also to describe the massive presence of lead singer, Anneke van Giersbergen. From the haunting vocal harmonies in the title track, to the incredibly passionate The Earth is My Witness – The Gathering absolutely blow me away with this album. While I debated having both Mandylion and How to Measure a Planet? on this list, I felt Nighttime Birds was the strongest album for me on an emotional level. It needed to be singled out.
23. Frank Zappa – Roxy & Elsewhere (1974)
I honestly had always said this was my favourite Zappa album. Then I placed it on here versus the other album on my list, and quite frankly(!), I surprised myself. Roxy, however, is one of the most insane live albums I have ever heard. Recorded over four nights, the musicianship of The Mothers and Frank is astonishing. I listen to this regularly just to feel the music – to enjoy what was written – and to have a great time. You should do yourself a favour and grab a Blu-ray copy of the concert.
22. Vektor – Terminal Redux (2016)
My favourite album of 2016, Vektor’s Terminal Redux is a progressive thrash metal masterpiece. With a brilliant science-fiction concept, this album is on a league of its own. With the addition of female soul singers during integral parts of the story, I get chills time and time again with every listen. It’s fast, intense, and a stunning work of art.
21. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata (2014)
Like Celtic Frost, I appreciate Triptykon because of the raw ambition and emotion Tom G. Warrior brings to the band. Each song is a journey into both the extreme and despair; crushing and squeezing the feelings from your chest. From the brutality of the Tree of Suffocating Souls to the slow burning, haunting track Aurorae, Melana Chasmata is an extreme trip to go on.
20. Judas Priest – Painkiller (1990)
An overwhelmingly positive experience, Judas Priest’s twelfth album is easily one of the most aggressive ones the band had ever released. Still to this day, I spin this album and wonder how the band pulled Painkiller off after a series of lackluster albums. From front to back, Painkiller is ferocious with its screaming guitars and battering double kicks. Halford’s simply on another level on this album.