9. Voivod – Rrröööaaarrr
A huge step up from their relatively primitive debut, Voivod’s Rrröööaaarrr was still a thrash album but the seeds were already being sown for the progressive metal majesty that was to come.
“Thrashing Rage”, “Ripping Headaches” (the two go hand in hand, right?) and “Korgull The Exterminator” have rightfully gone down as Voivod classics, unashamedly raw, sonically abrasive and totally unique in construct; futuristic thrash personified while the genre was still finding its feet.
Rrröööaaarrr – the first sign that Voivod were to become a truly progressive global force – may be an abrasive experience but its merciless, mechanised and monstrous sound remains an enthralling and engrossing listen.
8. King Diamond – Fatal Portrait
A quasi-concept album from the concept king, Fatal Portrait was the first King Diamond album following the disbandment of Mercyful Fate and while King Diamond would go on to perfect his theatrical sound on future releases, this was a pretty spectacular place to start.
Ever experimenting with an endless array of vocal styles, King Diamond’s recruitment of Andy LaRocque and ex-Mercyful Fate bandmate Michael Denner was inspired, the duos intricate riffing and atmospheric phrasing providing the perfect backdrop for Diamond’s macabre storytelling.
From the more streamlined “Lurking In The Dark” to the terrifying opening triumvirate of “The Candle”, “The Jonah” and “The Portrait”, the essence of what makes King Diamond’s solo material so indispensable is clear to hear.
7. Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory
Few bands could rival the metal perfection engineered by Crimson Glory on this, their debut album, and its follow up Transcendence. Bombastic, heavily charismatic and enlivened by the outstanding vocals of frontman Midnight, Crimson Glory had it all.
Masterful musicianship and a theatricality that left even Queensrÿche flailing, the likes of “Azrael” remain mind blowing; a true classic of 80’s metal overflowing with enough ideas and perfect riffs to fill an entire album.
A band that should have experienced the success of the Maiden’s and Priest’s of this world, their footnote standing in the annals of metal history is a disgrace. While Crimson Glory may sound quintessentially 80’s, this incredible album has lost none of its power over the last 30 years, leaving this band perennially under-appreciated but beloved by those in the know!