At the start of 1984, metal fans were still going insane over the masterpieces that had been bestowed upon them the previous year. 1983 saw albums like ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ ‘Holy Diver,’ ‘Piece of Mind,’ and a slew of other classics that are still metalhead mainstays! We all wondered what 84’ would bless us with…
And blessed we were! Here is our list for the five best metal albums, in what we consider to be, the most pivotal year in heavy metal history… 1984
Number 5 · ‘The Warning’ Queensryche
With a huge buzz surrounding Queensryche after their self-titled EP, fans couldn’t wait to get their hands on ‘The Warning.’ The album is a departure from the standard “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” approach of the EP and immediately saw Queensryche set themselves apart from so many other bands with their new brand of progressive, “thinking man’s metal.” Cuts like ‘En Force’ and ‘Take Hold of the Flame’ have been live staples and fan favorites throughout the years, with some more hidden gems like ‘NM 156’ being dusted off every now and then live.
Number 4 · ‘The Last in Line’ Dio
Following the massively successful and influential ‘Holy Diver’ album, it was time for Ronnie and his Dio band to go back to work. What came was ‘The Last in Line,’ a worthy successor to the mighty debut album. Songs like the title track and ‘Evil Eyes’ continued the sound with Vivian Campbell’s savage guitar playing leading the way, anchored by Vinny Appice’s titan drumming. ‘The Last in Line’ shows that ‘Holy Diver’ was not a fluke and the legendary frontman once again was a musical force to be reckoned with.
Number 3 · ‘Ride the Lightning’ Metallica
Kill ‘Em All’ broke new ground as one of the first thrash albums, but still retained a bit of that NWOBHM feel. Where Metallica broke free was on ‘Ride the Lightning,’ which is an exercise in no-holds-barred thrash. From the explosive opener, ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ to the instrumental closer ‘The Call of Ktulu,’ every song has proven to be a thrash classic. In 1984, there was absolutely nothing out there like what Metallica unleashed.
Number 2 · ‘Defenders of the Faith’ Judas Priest
While many fans may have been wondering how Judas Priest could follow ‘Screaming for Vengeance,’ the band had more than just an answer. ‘Defenders of the Faith‘ is home to some of Priest’s most outstanding displays of songwriting like ‘The Sentinel.’ The opener, ‘Freewheel Burning’ sees Rob Halford wail like never before, proving even more that he was worth his weight in gold. The band fire on all cylinders here and added yet another classic album to the mix for fans to debate which is the best.
Number 1 · ‘Powerslave’ Iron Maiden
It may be impossible for Iron Maiden fans to choose their favorite album from the band, but one album that is never out of the conversation is ‘Powerslave.’ With the singles ‘Aces High‘ and ‘2 Minutes to Midnight,’ the band expanded on their global success. The ‘World Slavery Tour’ saw Maiden play 187 shows in 11 months, hitting nearly every corner of the planet. The band brought their Egyptian stage set around the world, busting out all the hits and the epic ‘Powerslave’ closer, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’