2) Motorhead, Ace of Spades
Even if Lemmy was still alive, even if the title track wasn’t the band’s defining moment, there would be an argument to have this album on the list. It was perhaps the first album to capture Motorhead’s gut-punching live sound. Songs like “(We Are) The Road Crew,” “Jailbait” and “Shoot You In the Back” and “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch” were staples of the band’s live set. And then there’s the title track. The best song written about gambling ever (sorry Kenny Rogers), it really sums up the spirit of the band and of the guy that wrote it, who was as comfortable in front of a video slot machine as he was onstage with a bass.
1) Megadeth, Rust In Piece
Megadeth and Dave Mustaine’s vendetta to out-speed Metallica had already been well documented prior to 1990, and they already won over fans with Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? But Rust In Piece essentially cemented Megadeth’s status as metal icons. Songs like “Holy Wars…”, “Hanger 18” and “Tornado Of Souls” capture Mustaine at his best, delivering blistering riffs with the help of Marty Friedman while also upping his songwriting game. It was a defining album for thrash metal as a whole, made by a lineup fans still wish would reunite (and almost happened).
Honorary Mention: Lamb Of God, Ashes Of The Wake
Ok, so this was a tough one… Ultimately it got knocked down to an “Honorary Mention” because technically Sacrament is Lamb Of God’s fourth album. However, if you count the band’s sole album under the moniker Burn The Priest, Ashes Of The Wake would count as their fourth record. And nothing against Sacrament, but Ashes Of The Wake was a much bigger game changer for Lamb Of God. It marked the band’s first album on Epic Records, and proved that bands don’t have to sacrifice extreme brutality. Furthermore, it’s an album jam packed with Lamb Of God’s signature tunes… seriously, go to a Lamb Of God show and see how crazy the crowd gets for “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For”.
[Darth photo via Galactic Empire]