Not many bands can be credited with creating a new genre, but all forms of modern metal can trace their roots back to this very album. Tony Iommi is in another league when it comes to creating slow growling riffs that sound like the ever encroaching apocalypse. Songs like ‘War Pigs’, ‘Iron Man’ and the title track ‘Paranoid’ sparked a musical revolution.
The new wave of British heavy metal brought music that was more complex, both musically and lyrically. Beast was the band’s first album to feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals and the last to feature Clive Burr on drums. The album features some unforgettable singles in the form of the title track and ‘Run to the Hills’ as well some great storytelling on ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ which is about a prisoner sentenced to death.
Whilst it may not be Judas Priest’s heaviest album, it was however the album that brought them mainstream success. It brought heavy metal into the public eye and helped define many of the genre’s defining characteristics. Big singles like ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Living After Midnight’ may seem tame and commercial by today’s standards, but at the time of release they were some of the heaviest songs on the radio.
Ronnie James Dio is one of the best, if not the best vocalist in heavy metal. Having already made incredible albums with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, and created the famous metal horns hand gesture, Dio pulled together the best musicians he could find and made yet another great album under his own name. The title track, ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ and ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ condense his expansive fantasy lyrics into a radio friendly format.
Metallica are undoubtedly the most famous band in metal and one of the most innovative. Master of Puppets was the band at their creative peak. The aggression and fast tempos set a new standard but no other band, not even Metallica themselves, have managed to match the quality of this album. The title track and the instrumental track ‘Orion’ in particular are a master class in metal.