Heavy Metal, the music so hard it hurts, has had over thirty-two thousand bands attempt to define its style over the past 47 years. Yet, only a chosen few have proven the stamina necessary to achieve total dominance and unrivaled excellence in their field.
Plenty of un-metal people have tried to unlock the code, but all have failed, miserably. As Y! Music's Senior MetaList, I was called upon to make the final decision. I consulted with my dozens of heavy metal albums to determine who should attain the rank of greatness.
Here are the results. In the end, it could not have gone any other way.
Thy greatness speaks its name.
10) Jethro Tull: They won a Grammy and the people laughed for they did not know true metal. They did not know that Jethro Tull had been working their alchemy for decades in service of the loud, thundering roar that was "Minstrel In the Gallery" and "The Aqualung."
9) Creedence Clearwater Revival: Few riffs in all of heavy metal are as memorable as the lick to "The Proud Mary." Others would attempt to better it, but few could master what Lord Fogerty hath wrought!
8) The Lords of the New Church: From the first strains of "New Church," it was loud and clear that new metal fighters were ready to take over from the old guard. Entire generations of nu-metal bands have been schooled by the heavy metal methods heard on The Method To Our Madness album, which featured the #97 smash hit single "M(urder) Style."
7) Pentangle: No one understands the questions of metal better than a band of English blood. An album such as Cruel Sister belongs in every Belfegore fan's collection. For decades, the Pentangle defined the moral courage of the most indecent hues in blood-curdling sound. Thy masters have spoken!
6) The B-52's: "Rock Lobster" redefined modern metal in the late 1970s with a sound that predates thrash by only a few scant years. Metal Priestess Kate Pierson brought the whips and the hair and Fred Schneider dared to go where Robert Halford of B-52's imitators Judas Priest could only dream.
5) Benny Mardones: "Into the Night" is the kind of Mann Act violation that Chuck Berry could appreciate and that Mardones had a hit with it twice, each time getting heavier, just goes to show how you never mess with a true heavy metal genius! Ronnie James Dio could have learned a thing or two!
4) Attila: Most folks don't know what us true metal nuts know about Billy Joel! That he was once a key progenitor of the heavy metal scene! Joel and Jon Small recorded one album as Attila and with songs such as "Holy Moses," "Brain Invasion," "Amplifier Fire (Part I: Godzilla/ Part II: March of the Huns)" and "Tear This Castle Down," essentially wrote the canon of classic metal for decades to come. You ever wonder where modern day metalheads like Counting Crows and Phoenix get their ideas?
3) Angel: Signed to the same label as KISS but meant to be heavy metal white magic in opposition to KISS' dreary disco-pop, Angel went far beyond with such classic thrash albums as White Hot and Sinful.
2) War: With and without spiked and studded Eric Burdon, War were to early 1970s heavy rock what Black Sabbath were to R&B. 1982's Outlaw album with the title track and the eight-minute "The Jungle (Medley)" were a key influence on 1990s metal gods Pavement and Yo La Tengo. Pat Rizzo's saxophones and flutes brought a new dimension to the blood curdling riffing of Howard "Sith Lord" Scott.
1) King Crimson: It feels completely remedial to even type this. Of course it's King Crimson! But bare with me, my fellow soldiers to the metal mass, we must educate those for whom the metal is not their chosen path. These people are unaware of the ritual that my metal brethren take for granted. They have never experienced the headbanging rituals of "Cat Food" or the mosh pit dangers of "Pictures of A City (including "42nd at Treadmill")" and without leaders like myself casting the light of the way, these unfortunate few would spend their lifetimes never experiencing the hair-raising intensity of "The Devil's Triangle."
Happy April Metal Forces Day!