Death – Leprosy
Emerging at a time when death metal was still barely in nappies, Leprosy was the next logical step after the neanderthal bludgeoning of Scream Bloody Gore had laid waste to thrash back in 1987.
Notably progressive when compared to Death‘s solid debut, the late, great, Chuck Schuldiner upped the ante in every department on this sophomore effort.
With a vast improvement in songwriting, Death were already leaving their peers in the dust, and Leprosy‘s 8 tracks of sublime brutality arguably defined the genre before it had even begun.
Quite simply an album whose importance to death metal cannot be underestimated.
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Iron Maiden’s first real dip into pure proggy waters came on 1988’s bona-fide classic, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.
Adding keyboards to their trademark sound upped the already intensified drama and the epic title track indicated that Maiden were no strangers to abrupt time changes and high-brow concepts.
Their trademark gallop wasn’t gone – “The Evil That Men Do” maintained the desired grit of old – but a new found finesse now accompanied the memorable choruses and elaborate structures. Somehow, despite composing some of the most progressive songs of their illustrious career, Maiden were still savvy enough to include their obligatory hit single in the shape of “Can I Play With Madness”; a song that maintained the high quality found on the preceding “Wasted Years”, “2 Minutes to Midnight”, “The Trooper” and “Run To The Hills”.
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son remains a significant moment in Maiden’s formidable back catalogue and we doubt anyone would be unhappy if Maiden released an album of this calibre in 2018!
Metallica – …And Justice For All
Rightfully celebrated as a milestone in thrash history, Metallica would never be this expansive and this experimental again.
…And Justice For All rivalled technical thrashers Heathen, Realm and Believer in the progressive thrash metal stakes, as Metallica recovered from the death of Cliff Burton by proving they could not only survive without his guidance, they could flourish! And, while it may have its flaws – bone-dry production and Jason Newsted’s mostly inaudible bass spring have been discussed endlessly – it remains a milestone of progressive thrash.
With a clinical approach bordering on maniacal obsession the likes of the epic “…And Justice For All” and “One” were the epitome of surgical precision and it was left to “Dyers Eve” to remind fans that this was the band that once penned “Whiplash”!
“Do you hear what I hear?”, snarled James Hetfield on the absurdly catchy, stop-start rifferama of “Eye Of The Beholder”. We did James, we loved it then…..and we still love it now!
Honourable mentions (and there’s a shit load….which all deserve a list of their own!): Anthrax – State of Euphoria / Judas Priest – Ram It Down / Forbidden – Forbidden Evil / Danzig – Danzig / Ozzy Osbourne – No Rest For The Wicked / Coroner – Punishment For Decadence / Bolt Thrower – In Battle There Is No Law! / Flotsam and Jetsam – No Place For Disgrace / Voivod – Dimension Hatröss / King’s X – Out Of The Silent Planet / Death Angel – Frolic Through The Park / Nuclear Assault – Survive / Realm – Endless War / Sadus – Illusions / Blind Guardian – Battalions Of Fear / Vicious Rumors – Digital Dictator / Rage – Perfect Man / Sacred Reich – Surf Nicaragua [EP] / Sanctuary – Refuge Denied / Razor – Violent Restitution / Saint Vitus – Mournful Cries / Holy Terror – Mind Wars / Helstar – A Distant Thunder / Acid Reign – Moshkinstein [EP] / Prong – Force Fed / Ministry – The Land Of Rape And Honey / Manowar – Kings Of Metal / Jason Becker – Perpetual Burn / Marty Friedman – Dragon’s Kiss / Cacophony – Go Off! / Living Colour – Vivid / L.A. Guns – L.A. Guns / Kingdom Come – Kingdom Come / Stone – Stone / Necronomicon – Escalation / Running Wild – Port Royal / Godflesh – Godflesh [EP] / 220 Volt – Eye To Eye / Meliah Rage – Kill To Survive / Tarot – Follow Me Into Madness / Kix – Blow My Fuse / Wargasm – Why Play Around? / Protector – Golem / Brocas Helm – Black Death / Liege Lord – Master Control / Atrophy – Socialized Hate / D.R.I – 4 of a Kind / Angel Dust – To Dust You Will Decay / Manilla Road – Out Of The Abyss / Hexenhaus – A Tribute To Insanity / Tankard – The Morning After / Vengeance Rising – Human Sacrifice / Mekong Delta – The Music of Erich Zann / Pantera – Power Metal / Adramelch – Irae Melanox / Anthem – Gypsy Ways / Scanner – Hypertrace / KAT – Oddech Wymarłych Światów / Impellitteri – Stand In Line / Carcass – Reek of Putrefaction / Meanstreak – Roadkill / Assassin – Interstellar Experience / Rata Blanca – Rata Blanca / Death SS – …In Death Of Steve Sylvester / Heretic – Breaking Point / Minotaur – Power Of Darkness / Soundgarden – Ultramega OK.