Metal

Paranoid

Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Bla

Black Sabbath stands in here for the culmination of true beginning of the genre (well, technically, their first record). Yes, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, etc. all are influences, even, I suppose, The Beatles' "Helter Skelter", but this is "one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time...it refined Black Sabbath's signature sound -- crushingly loud, minor-key dirges loosely based on heavy blues-rock -- and applied it to a newly consistent set of songs with utterly memorable riffs". - Steve Huey


Black Metal

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

Mayhem
Adult Audiovisual Download - Freegal

This record, currently available for download through Freegal, is one of the founding records of black metal (well, technically Norwegian Black Metal is 'second wave'). If you are interested in genre, I would suggest watching this documentary at searching for bands it mentions like Darkthrone (or, if you must listen to a self-avowed racist and convicted murder, Burzum). There is also Lords of Chaos, a fairly ridiculous feature film dramatization, based on this book, that gives a similar overview of the Norwegian scene. Or go back to 'first wave' influences, outside or Norway, like Bathory or Mercyful Fate, or even Celtic Frost. Most of the CDs in our collection are way more recent and I have no desire to go through those.


British Metal

The Number of the Beast

Iron Maiden
Adult Audiovisual Streaming - Hoopla

The third record by this highly influential band (with the iconic record covers by Derek Riggs, featuring their mascot Eddie) hit the top of the UK charts with its new vocalist Bruce Dickinson. His operatic style brought a distinction to the already pummeling sound. In the U.S. claims of Satanism were made against the band, due to the title and the general 'satanic panic' of the time. Dickinson claims it is about a nightmare he had after watching The Omen II (which would be consistent with other songs on the record about the TV show The Prisoner, sci-fi film Children of the Damned, etc.).
*Note* This title is currently only available on Hoopla (with almost all of the other Iron Maiden records).


Overkill

Motörhead
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Mot

With the majority of influences mentioned along with Sabbath being from the U.K., it was only natural that the genre evolved there. The so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal (usually abbreviated as NWOBHM) packaged many of these new bands into a movement, despite their varying sounds. While Motörhead came along before this designation, it was one of the first to indicate this coming Wave. While frontman Lemmy never accepted the 'heavy metal' label, there is no doubt they paved the way for the bands that came after them.


Pyromania

Def Leppard
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Def

With NWOBHM basically running its course now that metal had entered the mainstream (charts), the pop-metal tangent began to emerge in the UK (as it had been, even earlier, in the U.S.). "Songs on Pyromania are driven by catchy, shiny melodic hooks instead of heavy guitar riffs, although the latter do pop up once in a while....polished drum and guitar sounds, multi-tracked layers of vocal harmonies, a general sanding of any and all musical rough edges, and a perfectionistic attention to detail -- set the style for much of the melodic hard rock that followed."  - Steve Huey


Stained Class

Judas Priest
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Jud

While British Steel is probably their best known record (and much more intentionally/successfully commercial), "this is easily one of the most important heavy metal albums ever released...Their blues-rock roots have been virtually obliterated... Never before had heavy metal sounded so viciously aggressive, and never before had that been combined with such impeccable chops." - Steve Huey
The cover song "Better by you, Better than Me" was notoriously subject to a lawsuit by a young man, who survive a suicide pact, that claimed the band recorded subliminal messages on the song that compelled them. Ironically, this was added at the insistence of the record label to have "something with commercial potential to liven up an album they felt had a very dark and sinister tone".


Death Metal

Arise

Sepultura
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Sep

"A classic of the death metal genre, the first single "Dead Embryonic Cells" was unquestionably the strongest of the band's death metal era, and its accompanying video broke new ground thanks to ample MTV rotation. Ironically, the subsequent banning of the vicious title track's video (filled with apocalyptic religious imagery) by the cable network would generate even more publicity than Sepultura could have hoped for had it actually been aired." - Eduardo Rivadavia


Scream Bloody Gore

Death
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Dea

More extreme forms of metal inevitably started emerging, perhaps in response to fans seeing their genre increasingly commercialized or in reaction to the impending massive cultural force of grunge (of which the same was being done). While Human was probably this Florida based band's breakthrough record, this one helped created death metal as a subgenre (mostly Chuck Schuldiner's vocals sounding like the title of the record).
See other "Florida Death Metal" bands like Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Obituary.
Should definitely not to be confused with the Detroit punk band of the same name!


Twilight of the Thunder God

Amon Amarth
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Amo

There are so many sub sub-genres of death metal that I hesitated to even put another example on this list beyond the early two listed. So, how about some Viking worship? This Swedish band (so technically "Swedish Death Metal'') would be considered more 'melodic death metal' here, but I suppose that adjective is relative to your other listening experiences. The 'death growl' vocals are a key component of this subgenre (though Johan Hegg is a bit easier to understand than some, sometimes), so if that's a turn off (as it is to me personally), maybe find something else?


Doom Metal

Day of Reckoning

Pentagram
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Pen

For those unfamiliar with Pentagram, I would suggest watching the documentary Last Days Here about this Virginia band that has/had wallowed in obscurity for decades. While I prefer the first record Relentless, this is more Sabbath sounding and probably more representative of early doom metal (See also Saint Vitus). It's a good example of imitation transcending its influence.


Electric Wizard

Electric Wizard
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Ele

"This eternally stoned-out English trio went about setting a new standard for slothful, detuned heavy metal noisemaking...the entire record revels in the purest, uncompromising post-Sabbath doom metal dirge...of mind-numbing riffs exploring the lowest imaginable sonic frequencies still within human range." - Eduardo Rivadavia While some consider this first record 'lightweight' in comparison to, say, their most well-known Dopethrone, it's still dooooom. Or, if you want to be super specific, 'stoner doom', I guess. See also: Sleep


Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

Candlemass
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Can

"During the mid-80's, the European heavy metal scene was dominated by countless thrash, death, and black metal bands playing at breakneck speeds and screaming in a high-pitched frenzy. So when Candlemass released this debut in 1986, its songs (featuring slow, lumbering riffs straight out of the Black Sabbath handbook and vocals delivered in a baritone, operatic style) offered up a stylistic curve ball of shocking proportions." - Eduardo Rivadavia
I, for one, appreciated the turn back to clean vocals, setting the path for most doom metal after this.


Drone Metal

Earth 2

Earth
Adult Audiovisual Streaming - Hoopla

Drone metal is by its very nature experimental music. This could be described as a 'Black Sabbath-Terry Riley crossover' or a 'mash-up of the Melvins and LaMonte Young', but that may not mean anything to anyone. Dylan Carlson, a former roommate of Kurt Cobain, started out making 'sonic collages' with him in their room. "Carlson is a guitar player who enjoys the amplifier more than the guitar itself. The production is extremely muddy, and the licks consist of slow-churning, basic two-cords and repetitive bass lines...the bassist changes position and creates a sort of spherical feedback." Many will be turned off by the minimalism (really only a few 'notes' per song; very little, if any, melody). Yet, Earth applied this approach to metal and a new tangent was formed. This is currently available on Hoopla (several others are on Freegal).


Monoliths & Dimensions

Sunn O)))
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Sun

If you like your bands wearing black robes on stage while they play, very, slowly, this is the band for you. "Sunn 0)))'s Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley began their career as an Earth cover band, and explored the extremes of the low-tuned electric's guitar's drone capability at maximum volume... In its seemingly impenetrable, slow, spacious, heavy sonic darkness... a new music formed from the ashen forge of drone, rock, and black metal." - Thom Jurek


Pop Metal

Holy Diver

Dio
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Dio

"After playing a major role in five positively classic heavy metal albums of the late '70s and early '80s (three with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and two with Black Sabbath), it seemed that singer Ronnie James Dio could truly do no wrong...This is one of the finest pure heavy metal albums of the 1980s." - Eduardo Rivadavia


Shout At the Devil

Mötley Crüe
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Mot

Notorious PR stunts and a general, slightly androgynous hedonism helped this band stand out enough to eventually have this record certified 4x platinum. It's hard to believe the original record had a pentagram on the cover instead of their four glammed up visages, but they didn't really go full-glam until the next one. Apparently, the pentagram was a hold over from bassist Nikki Sixx's previous band that was a bit ahead of their time in its usage (presumably influenced by Alice Cooper). Though, the linear notes did provide the tongue-in-cheek warning: "Caution: This record may contain backward messages."


Van Halen

Van Halen
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.5 Van

I suppose choosing between this or Van Halen II is like asking whether The Godfather or The Godfather II is a better film, but let's go with the first? To continue with the binary, some consider this a bit too 'hard rock' to be really considered 'heavy metal', but the guitar riffage is unparalleled regardless (back when showing off was still considered cool, I guess?). And they toured this opening for Black Sabbath. So, there.


Progressive Metal

Blackwater Park

Opeth
Adult Audiovisual Download - Freegal

Opeth has become the kind of band where you never know what the next record is going to sound like; they defy genre categorization while also remaining firmly entrenched in their roots. "Transcending the limits of death/black metal and repeatedly shattering the foundations of conventional songwriting... including acoustic guitar and solo piano passages, ambient soundscapes, stoner rock grooves, and Eastern-tinged melodies -- any of which are subject to savage punctuations of death metal fury at any given moment... vocals run the gamut from bowel-churning grunts to melodies of chilling beauty -- depending on each movement section's mood " -Eduardo Rivadavia
This record is currently available for download on Freegal. Many other are also on Hoopla.


Century Child

Nightwish
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Nig

This Finnish band is distinguished by its "symphony-enhanced power metal laced with accessible pop sensibilities (mostly straightforward song structures and romantic lyrics), distinguished by the operatic voice of classically trained singer Tarja Turunen...fans of more aggressive heavy metal might find it simply too saccharine for the palate, but those with an affinity for straightforward rock and pop will not only eat it up, but ask for seconds."  - Eduardo Rivadavia


Images and Words

Dream Theater
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Drea

The core group of musicians here are Berklee School trained and their (here) new tenor vocalist here has a background in opera. This band follows a natural progression of bands like Yes or King Crimson (so I personally wouldn't classify most of this as "metal"). It obviously incorporates some metal into the mix, and there are people who love this band, so whatever.


Thrash Metal

Master of Puppets

Metallica
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Met

"While their first record, Kill 'Em All is considered by some as "the true birth of thrash" (building off of bands like Diamond Head), and Ride the Lightning pushes into inventive new territory (and my personal favorite), this record was the crossover success for the genre ("reaching the Top 30 and selling three million copies despite absolutely nonexistent airplay"). A more cohesive record with clear themes on "the fear of powerlessness. Sometimes they're about hypocritical authority (military and religious leaders), sometimes primal, uncontrollable human urges (drugs, insanity, rage), and, in true H.P. Lovecraft fashion, sometimes monsters." - Steve Huey"


Rust in Peace

Megadeth
Adult Audiovisual Streaming - Hoopla

While we currently don't have any CDs by this band, most of them are available on Hoopla. Megadeth is one of the 'Big Four' thrash bands featured here (all with more expansive choices on Hoopla). Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica after their first record (though co-wrote a few that showed up later), so there were divisive Metallica vs. Megadeth camps spawned by many fans (I would be in the former, if you care). What Megadeth excelled at, aside from the shredding, were many of the songs more socio-politically minded lyrics. "Philosophically, thrash metal developed as a backlash against both the conservatism of the Reagan era and the much more moderate, pop-influenced and widely accessible heavy metal subgenre of glam metal which also developed concurrently in the 1980s." Their first record, this, and, maybe, Countdown to Extinction may have rivaled Metallica in quality, but honestly, I lost track after that (as most did). Apparently some of the more recent records are pretty good?


Seasons in the Abyss

Slayer
Adult Audiovisual CD – 789.6 Sla

Fun anecdote: When I was a kid I was too scared to listen to Slayer, because I saw footage of a fan carve the band's name into their arm on MTV...with a bloody, dripping SLAYER permanently displayed. "While Reign in Blood is probably their best known record, this was probably their breakthrough (on MTV at least) with their honed combination of speed and thrash metal. "Lyrically, the band rarely turns to demonic visions of the afterlife anymore, preferring instead to find tangible horror in real life -- war, murder, human weakness. There's even full-fledged social criticism, which should convince any doubters that Slayer aren't trying to promote the subjects they sing about." - Steve Huey