The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Iron Maiden, 'Powerslave' (1984)

38. Iron Maiden, 'Powerslave' (1984)

By the time Iron Maiden released their landmark fifth LP, Powerslave, in 1984, the British metal group had four seminal albums under their studded belts and had become such a powerful touring force that they were already planning to record a live album – what would become the epochal Live After Death – on their next world tour. "We took what was best from [our last record, Piece of Mind] and gave it the aggressive style of [1982's] Number of the Beast," lead singer Bruce Dickinson said at the time of Powerslave's release. "We've made a high quality record ... artistically speaking, of course!" Dickinson's pride in the album is justified: The singer's stunning skill is evident throughout, as when he soars above tracks like the aerial-combat–inspired "Aces High" and the anti-war screed "Two Minutes to Midnight," as bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain weaponize their trademark rhythm-section gallop and guitarists Adrian Smith and Dave Murray hand each other the shred baton like Olympian relay racers. Powerslave culminates with the classic 13-minute–plus opus "Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem of the same name) but not before Dickinson summons his inner Egyptologist for the album’s title track, which examines the inescapable mortality of even the most exalted and revered. T.B.

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