The 20 Greatest Metal Albums in History: 10-1

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Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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See also: The 20 Greatest Metal Albums in History: 20-11

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10. Metallica

Master of Puppets (1986)

MASTER! MASTER! MASTER! Metallica's 1986 statement is generally regarded by knowing and trustworthy metalheads as the best Metallica slab to date. The album's eight tracks are virtually fat-free, and the damned thing even comes with an eight-minute instrumental cut ("Orion") foretelling two to three generations of heavy metal to come. It's not only a good bedroom jam (just put in on repeat) but the San Francisco boys at their most surly and burly too. If you ask me, your favorite track should be "Leper Messiah." -Craig Hlavaty

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9. Tool

Ӕnima (1996)

All the aural promise of Tool's bleakly cathartic debut album, 1993's Undertow, was realized when they returned with Ӕnima three years later. With new bassist Justin Chancellor aboard, they uncoiled with paranormal, exhilarating abandon: super-proggy, ominously polyrhythmic explorations rippling beneath and around Adam Jones' wonderfully restrained (by metal standards) guitars and Maynard James Keenan's monastic incantations. Subsequent releases have been sometimes frustratingly arcane -- Ӕnima is where Tool's extreme dynamics and esoteric implications intersect to maximum visceral and cerebral effect. -Paul Rogers

See also: Top 20 L.A. Metal Albums

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8. Sleep

Holy Mountain (1993)

If you are going to name your record after one of the trippiest films of all time, you have to be prepared to deliver a seriously mind-altering experience. San Jose stoner metal pioneers Sleep rose to the challenge on their 1993 genre masterpiece, Sleep's Holy Mountain. The colossal riffage begins with the deceptively groovy "Dragonaut" and from there on out one's ears are offered only the briefest of respites. When Sleep chooses to turn the volume down, as on the 48 second bluegrass interval titled "Some Grass," it is only to prepare the listener for the next pummeling assault.

-Emmett Shoemaker

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7. Black Sabbath

Master of Reality (1971)

Black Sabbath deliberately down-tuned for their third effort, Master of Reality, which would become the very ore from which all gloomy, doomy and drudgy metal is mined. Crafted for altered mindstates, this is the band at their stoniest. Prickly critics of the time (notably Bangs and Christgau) failed to see this as the one of ghosts of metal future, despite the act's forward-thinking techniques and fiercely honest outsider attitude. And, yes, there is even cowbell. -Paul Bradley

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