5 Greatest Heavy Metal (Live) Albums of All Time

5 Greatest Heavy Metal (Live) Albums of All Time.

Below Is Our List Of The Five Greatest Live Heavy Metal/Rock Recordings Of All Time.


V .) Rush – “All the World’s a Stage” (1976)

We know, 1981’s Exit…Stage Left is also a fine piece of work, but almost too fine: Rush was so tight and precise at that point, the versions aren’t very different from the studio counterparts. All the World’s a Stage, however finds the Rush’s early metal outpourings bursting with electricity, energy and a wildness not quite captured on the studio releases. Geddy Lee’s wails just that much sharper, and when the band lock in together on highlights like “Anthem,” “Bastille Day” and an impressive rendition of the entire “2112” song, you felt like you were in the presence of young Gods.


IV .) Ozzy Osbourne – “Speak of the Devil” (1982)

Some think Speak of the Devil shouldn’t be one of the best live albums ever, but it is!

Randy Rhoads had died a few months prior to this album’s recording, it was released to fulfill contract obligations and there’s raspberry jam coming out of Ozzy’s mouth on the cover. But new guitarist Brad Gillis helped give an edgy slant to these 13 Black Sabbath songs, while Ozzy’s vocals are burlier and a bit more aggressive than on the originals. The overall vibe is “we’re flying by the seat of our pants over here,” which results in a crazed, almost rushed sounding performance, but it fits the dark Sabbath material. You can’t expect these to sound like the Sabbath versions, because the players are all different, other than Ozzy, of course. But it was a blast anyway, and since Black Sabbath never released a seminal live album, this one stands as a fine substitute for just that.


III .) Motörhead – “No Sleep ’til Hammersmith” (1981)

There’s a somewhat understandable misconception that this epic live album was recorded at Hammersmith; but no, Lemmy and the boys were just saying that the road is a long one, ugly slog and that the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end would shine on the infamous Hammersmith Odeon. But the Hammersmith wasn’t played on this short jaunt (dubbed the “Short, Sharp Pain in the Neck” tour),and the album was culled from recordings made at the Leeds and Newcastle stops. What can be said? Motörhead was born for the stage, and the chain of Motör classics fired off by the band’s best-ever lineup resonated like an atomic bomb through every second of this classic live album.


II .) Judas Priest – “Unleashed in the East” (1979)

In some ways, this beauty of an album could be considered as a passing of the torch. Judas Priest reached a certain creative plateau in the late ’70s then moving onto global success, leaving those couple hundred young British bands to unwittingly form what became known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Unleashed in the East finds Judas Priest exceedingly vibrant, reeling off material from all their ’70s albums except Rocka Rolla (a shame they ignored that little gem). It all sounded as majestic as ever. This would be their final album with Les Binks on drums, which was too bad, since he really is the greatest drummer they ever had. We’re not going to sit here and complain about the lack of Rocka Rolla material or monuments like “Saints in Hell,” because this album is terrific just as it is.


I .) Iron Maiden – “Live After Death” (1985)

Not many can argue with our pick for number one…

Everything about this record, from the soundboard/studio production, the stage-set, the set-list and including (in our opinion) one of Derek Riggs’ finest covers, is (we hate to say it but) Fucking EPIC!


We have it on good faith that some of the guitar sections of the album were re-done in the studio: But who really gives a shit? This pressing is the greatest document of what stands as the most exhausting globe-trotting tour any metal band had undertaken up to this point, and Maiden live, in their Powerslave era… No band, past, future or present could touch them with a ten foot pole!


Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (Live at Long Beach Arena)
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (Live at Long Beach Arena)Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (Live at Long Beach Arena)


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