Let's Continue the Tournament: Final Opening Round Matchups
**Voting for Part II has closed. Click Here to vote on the next round of matchups.**
It’s time for you to vote on the final eight opening round matchups of the Best Metal Album Ever Tournament. This week’s battles will take place in the regions of Massachusetts and New York. The first eight matchups were completed and voted on over the last week and we have some pretty interesting results that pose some really great matchups in the next round (The Screaming Sixteen). Before we can get to that next week, please vote on these final album matchups to see who else will move onto the final sixteen.
For those of you who missed the first part of the tournament, you can check it out here: The Best Metal Album Ever: Part I. This is a thirty-two album single elimination tournament, just like the NCAA basketball tournament, to crown the best metal album of all time that is voted on by you, the readers. Voting for the following opening matchups will be open until 11:59 pm on Wednesday March 14, 2012.
Before we get to last week’s results, here is a quick refresher on the rules and how the tournament will commence. The readers will be given a background and critical opinions for the albums in each matchup. In addition, each album will have two YouTube videos associated with it in their opening round matchups to help make the best decision. Each round after, the band will be represented by one video and then the two albums in the championship will be represented by their three most well-known videos. So I don't continually repeat myself in each leaf, this will be the final article to contain album descriptions and critical opinions. If you need to go back and look, I will have links to the first two articles in all proceeding articles and you can also click on the Amazon links for information and fan reviews. After reading and viewing each matchup, there will be a link for you to vote on which album is better. Only one album per band is allowed in the tournament, so the bands will be represented by their best album. Voting for each week will close on Wednesday at 11:59 and the leaf for the next week of matchups will be posted on Thursday. The winning album will have an entire leaf dedicated to it at the end of the six week period and a top ten list will be created.
Scandinavian and San Francisco Regions
Paranoid (1) 100% defeated Comalies (8) 0%
Black Metal (4) 67% defeated Dirt (5) (33%)
Rust in Peace (3) 100% defeated The Powerless Rise (6) 0%
The Art of Balance (7) 67% defeated Holy Diver 33% (2)
This sets up matches in the Screaming Sixteen of Paranoid vs. Black Metal and Rust in Peace vs. The Art of Balance.
Ace of Spades (1) 51% defeated Anthems of Rebellion (8) 49%
Badmotorfinger (4) 51% defeated Slaughter of the Soul (5) 49%
Vulgar Display of Power (3) 67% defeated Alive or Just Breathing 33%
Blizzard of Ozz (2) 100% defeated Dusk and Her Embrace (7) 0%
The screaming 16 matchups in this region will be Ace of Spades vs. Badmotorfinger and Vulgar Display of Power vs. Blizzard of Ozz next week.
Opening Round Matches
British Steel vs. Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
Angel Dust vs. Rage Against the Machine
Arise vs. The Fall of Ideals
Reign in Blood vs. Hate Crew Deathroll
Judas Priest vs. Dimmu Borgir
British Steel (1) was released in 1980 by Judas Priest. It was their sixth album and it was the album that saw them permanently change their style from hard rock to heavy metal. Priest was one of the first bands to really embrace the term heavy metal. The album reached 34 on the Billboard chart and 4 on the UK album charts and to this day is still one of the most recognizable heavy metal albums ever released. It is considered to be the first album to really define the heavy metal sound with dual guitar sounds that are used by the majority of bands today. The most well-known tracks on the album are “Breaking the Law”, “Living After Midnight”, and “Rapid Fire”.
Dimmu Borgir put out their fifth album, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (8) in 2001. This album saw them begin to use interludes with clean vocals and is one of the first Black Metal albums to embrace the use of an orchestra instead of a keyboard. Many Black Metal bands have followed suit since the release of this album. The album is known for its great production and is widely considered to be their signature album. The songs “Kings of Carnival Creation”, “Hybrid Stigmata”, and the cover of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell” from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure are awesome songs.
British Steel or Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia?
Faith No More takes on Rage Against the Machine
Angel Dust (4) is the breakthrough album released by Faith No More in 1992. Most people know their album The Real Thing because of the track “Epic”, but Angel Dust was a truly revolutionary album that blended metal, rap, country, death metal, punk, folk, and funk all into one. It highly influenced Progressive bands like Tool and Nu Metal bands to experiment with different sounds. Many magazines had it as an album of the year candidate. It hit 10 on the Billboard charts and 2 on the UK album charts. It was very successful for something with a very non-commercial sound. Check out the songs “Land of Sunshine”, “Caffeine’, and “Midlife Crisis”
Rage Against the Machine (5) is the debut album from the band of the same name released in 1992. This album was the first by any metal band that fully embraced the mix of rap and metal. It is probably the most consistent and successful rap/rock album of all time. This album influenced everyone from Korn to All That Remains. Tom Morello’s unique guitar sounds that were almost like turntables had never been heard before and many other metal bands began to experiment with them after the release of this album. So many great Rage songs are contained here. It would be impossible to pick a few as they are all well-known and the album is great front to back. The album is ranked at 368 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 greatest albums of all time and reached 45 on the Billboard charts at a time when metal was not popular.
Angel Dust or Rage Against the Machine?
Sepultura against All That Remains
Arise (3) is considered to be the best album the Brazilian band, Sepultura has ever released. Fans still flock to buy it to this day and it was a successful thrash album in 1991, when thrash and metal were on a huge decline. They began using some more groove type riffs and rhythms to appeal to fans of bands like Pantera. The album also experiments with industrial sounds, punk rock, and native South American percussion. It has been called a classic of both thrash and death metal. It is known for the songs “Arise”, “Murder” and “Altered State”.
The Fall of Ideals (6) is the breakthrough and influential album released by All That Remains in 2006. It was the first album to fully use the signature sound that they created. The sound is a mix of melodic death metal and metalcore. It has great lyrics, vocals, and blazing guitar riffs. It influenced other metalcore bands, like As I Lay Dying, to go in a similar direction. I consider this to be the best metal album of the last decade and many critics would agree, as it really revolutionized the metalcore subgenre. Their track “Six” is a featured song on Guitar Hero II and the album reached 75 on the Billboard charts which is unbelievable for a local Massachusetts band with an independent record deal. “This Calling” and “The Air I Breathe” are the singles from the album. Check it out, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Arise or The Fall of Ideals?
Slayer grapples with Children of Bodom
Slayer released what many consider to be the best thrash album and even best metal album of all time in 1986. Their third release Reign in Blood (2) was one of the first metal albums to have strong critical reception in both the mainstream and the underground. Both passing fans and hardcore metal fans know and respect this album. It showed off fast and technical playing with great lyrics and Kerry King’s signature screeching guitar solos. There is nothing like it that has ever been released. It influenced mainstream bands like Pantera and underground Black and Death Metal bands. Its influence still reaches into today, as many metal musicians still site it as a huge influence. It reached 94 on the Billboard chart with no radio or MTV airplay. This album bridged the gap between commercial metal and the underground and Slayer continues to do that to this day. With songs like, “Angel of Death”, “Raining Blood”, and “Jesus Saves”, this is one of the most important metal albums of all time.
Hate Crew Deathroll (7) hit the shelves in 2003 and is considered to be the best album by Finnish Extreme Metal band, Children of Bodom. On this album, they began to mix more of a thrash sound with their death metal elements. They toned down their keyboard use and focused more on loud fast guitar riffs. It was a commercial success in Europe reaching number one on the Finnish charts and 2 on the UK album charts. This album has the perfect mix of aggression, complexity, and great musicianship. “Needled 24/7”, “Sixpounder”, and “Angels Don’t Kill” are amongst some of the best extreme metal tracks ever.
Reign in Blood or Hate Crew Deathroll?
Opening Round Matches
Number of the Beast vs. Adrenaline
Just Look Around vs. Korn
Sound of White Noise vs. Clayman
Master of Puppets vs. Ashes of the Wake
Iron Maiden tangles with The Deftones
Number of the Beast (1) is the third album released by Iron Maiden. It was released in 1982 and to this day is still considered to be their best album and a pinnacle of the heavy metal sound. The lyrics and imagery of this album influenced European Black and Death Metal bands, while the fast dual guitar continue to influence thrash bands to this day. It reached 33 on the Billboard charts and 1 on the UK album charts. It has sold 14 million copies worldwide making it one of the bestselling metal albums ever. Many of their signature songs like, “Run to the Hills”, “Number of the Beast”, and “Children of the Damned reside on this excellent album.
Adrenaline (8) is the first release from Nu Metal pioneers The Deftones in 1995. They were one of the first to take the sounds that Rage used and expand on them. The percussion was very complex and used hip hop beats. The guitars were groove based and had an element of turn table sounds. Lead singer, Chino Mareno, mixed deep death metal growls with almost falsetto interludes. It was different than anything that had come before it. This is easily one of the best Nu Metal albums ever, as it came before bands sold out and relied too much on hip hop and bad lyrics. This album is a benchmark of what Nu Metal should have been. It has sold over 1 million copies worldwide with little to no radio airplay. The songs “Root”, “Bored”, and “Minus Blindfold” are great examples of the sound they created.
Numer of the Beast or Adrenaline?
Sick of It All fights against Korn
Just Look Around (4) released in 1992 is the most important and influential album released by New York Hardcore band Sick of It All. This was one of the first albums to mix Hardcore Punk with Thrash and would pave the way for metalcore bands in the late 90’s and 2000’s. It was amazing to hear really fast and grooving guitars mixed with hardcore vocals and punk breakdowns. If it were not for this album, the metal bands popular today like, Killswitch Engage and All That Remains, would not exist. This album should not be overlooked. Take a listen to the tracks “We Want the Truth”, “Shut Me Out”, and “Just Look Around”, and you will hear the influence this album has had on the current metal scene.
Korn (5), the bands self-titled debut, is considered by many to be the first Nu Metal album ever. The 1994 release mixed growling vocals and a hip hop influence with a groove metal sound and personal and painful lyrics. This sound and personal lyrical content would be the benchmark of what Nu Metal would come to be and would be the soundtrack for bullied teenagers all over the world. Although Korn would go to a more commercial pop metal sound after this, this album is dark, heavy, and unbelievably influential. It reached 72 on the Billboard Charts and it went platinum in the US only three years after its release. “Blind”, “Ball Tongue”, and “Faget” are great representations of the sound and lyrical feel of the album.
Just Look Around or Korn?
Anthrax versus In Flames
Anthrax fired original singer, Joey Belladonna, and released a slower less thrash sounding album in 1992 with John Bush from Armored Saint on vocals. The Sound of White Noise (3) is widely considered to be one of their best and most fans feel that Bush brought a lot more to the table on vocals and lyrics. On this album they went to a heavier and more groove based sound that worked really well with Bush’s deep raspy voice. It produced some of the bands most well-known material, like “Only”, “Black Lodge”, “Room for One More”, and “Hy Pro Glo”. It debuted very high at number 7 on the Billboard chart and has been certified platinum. This album would influence some other thrash bands to go in a similar direction and would be one the albums to pave the way for metal to get back into the mainstream.
Clayman (6) is the sixth album released by In Flames and saw the band move from death metal to a more technical and precise melodic death metal sound. Clean vocals were added to the death metal growl and the musicianship became a lot tighter. This album would influence metalcore bands, like All That Remains, to use more melodic growling vocals and well produced guitar riffs. This would be the sound that would make them one of the most successful and recognized Scandinavian metal bands and would cause a huge shift to a more melodic sound in death metal. “Bullet Ride”, “Only for the Weak”, and “Clayman” are amongst the best songs ever released by the band.
Sound of White Noise or Clayman?
Metallica takes on Lamb of God
Ashes of the Wake (7) is the Master of Puppets of the Neo Thrash movement. This Lamb of God album released in 2004 really influenced the rebirth of thrash and like Master; it’s a perfect example on how to produce the perfect sounding metal album. I thought it only proper for these two albums to go against each other, but remember without Master, this album would never have existed. I again recommend checking out the whole album, as it is spectacular.
Master or Puppets or Ashes of The Wake?
The Screaming Sixteen
Voting for week two is closed. Click here to vote on the next round.