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Heaven's Metal Top 100 Christian Metal Albums Of All Time

 

There have been some requests to republish the "top 100 list," so here is the essential content (sans album pics) from the 'list' as originally published in 2010 for the 25th Anniversary issue (#86) of the Heaven's Metal fanzine. Keep in mind that this list doesn't include anything released post 2010. The plan is to eventually make this issue (along with other back issues) available to view in its (their) original, full color glory (pdf format). Stay tuned for that, but in the meantime ... enjoy!

 

 

The Top 100 Christian Metal Albums Of All Time

The what? As managing editor for Heaven’s Metal, I – with the help of our editorial team – was tasked with delivering an answer to this query. Unlike HM, where the list was formulated primarily by editor Doug Van Pelt, the plan here was to create a “consensus” list. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. One, do you know how hard it is to define “metal?” Two, do you know how hard it is to get a bunch of metalheads to agree on the definition of “metal?” Three, do you know how hard it is to get a group of metalheads to come to a consensus on which “metal” is the best? Three strikes, you’re out … almost. By the sweat of our brows – after tons of passionate and earnest fighting – and by the grace of God, we accomplished our goal … more or less. After all, there is no way to get 100% perfection or agreement on a list; someone will always end up hating someone else’s choices in the end.

 

What is metal anyway? Metal (i.e. heavy metal music) shares many of its attributes with its literal “elemental” origins: It’s both electrically charged and heated, literally and figuratively; from a mechanical standpoint, metal flexes (a sign of strength) and is malleable (is susceptible to creativity) but it rarely breaks; it’s certainly loud and lustrous (akin to thunder and lightning) which has the combined effect of shock and surprise; like gold or silver, it’s universal, found in virtually all societies – revered by all kinds, regardless of socioeconomic class, ethnicity, gender or age. But, while these virtues of metal derive nicely from the literal definition of the word, it is the figurative aspect of metal – metal’s “mettle,” so to speak – that best defines the uniqueness of the genre from a musical perspective. In other words, while the abrasiveness of the sound gives metal its edge, the attitude and content of the music give metal its character.

 

Through brainstorming – and much debate – we decided to keep the music on our list as true to the above definition as possible … Probably one of the main reasons you won’t find any Petra – as influential and blessed as they were – on this list. In the end, we present to you a nice mixture of titles that reflect the past and current subgenres of metal: power, progressive, melodic, classic and extreme … with a few oddballs thrown in for grins.

 

Using Doug’s 5 criteria for great music (see the HM 25th Anniversary issue), along with a healthy inoculation of “this is what my heart and soul tells me is great,” each writer in our 'karew' submitted a ranked, top 100 list. Points were assigned, votes were tallied and a consensus list was formulated. But we didn’t stop there. This list was further scrutinized, criticized and dissected until we had a reasonable agreement on both the content and the rankings of the titles.

 

The list represents a good mixture of old and new – with some forecasting incorporated as well. Nevertheless, please keep a few things in perspective: this isn’t a “best band” list – titles were chosen on the overall consistency and greatness of the songs on the release rather than the sole impact of the band on the scene; multiple titles per band were allowed (Stryper scoring the highest with three of their titles on the list); and most importantly, the purpose of this list is to honor greatness within our scene – to recognize artists who have been committed to honoring God through the highest quality metal the world has to offer. Praise God, up the irons … and bring the metal. Selah. – Jonathan “Doc” Swank

 

 

1. Vengeance – Human Sacrifice

[Intense/1988]

 

“Undeniably the most brutal and controversial Christian metal release up to its time, this one essentially paved the way for the plethora of Christian extreme metal which followed.” – Doc

 

“Trivial detail: Did you know that’s Pastor Bob’s hand on the cover?” – Doug Van Pelt

 

2. Tourniquet – Psycho Surgery

[Intense/1991]

 

“A timeless slab of gut-wrenching metal, combining the best of technical riffs, progression, speed metal and love of classical music in a way that only these Christian thrash kings can.” – Chris Gatto

 

3. Deliverance – Deliverance

[Intense/1989]

 

“One of the first major thrash releases in the Christian market – combining an early Testament/Metallica feel – it still gets the head banging, fist pumping and air guitar screaming.” – Jeff McCormack

 

4. Whitecross – Whitecross

[Star Song/1987]

 

“Gritty, Ratt-inspired melodic metal with memorable songs, featuring Rex Carroll – our scene’s first real shredding guitar hero.” – Doc

 

5. Extol – Undeceived

[Solid State/2000]

 

“Arguably the greatest amalgam of progressive and extreme metal ever crafted by Christians.” – Doc

 

6. Stryper – To Hell With The Devil

[Enigma/1986]

 

“The bumble-bee boys ripped into the scene with Yellow and Black Attack, grabbed the reins of greatness with Soldiers..., and this release took them over the top with many major hits. A true pinnacle of their melodic pop-metal greatness.” – Jeff McCormack

 

7. Sacred Warrior – Obsessions

[Intense/1991] 

 

“Christendom’s best power metal band ever hit their high water mark with this collection of songs which perfectly blended Queensryche, Iron Maiden and their unique and inspiring take on the scene.” – Doc

 

8. Bloodgood – Detonation

[Frontline/1987]

 

“A masterful release that screams for a rock opera production to go with it, and the band did just that. ‘Crucify’ and ‘Messiah’ are a one-two punch of power and emotion.” – Jeff McCormack

 

9. Bride – Snakes In The Playground 

[Star Song/1992]

 

“The Christian scene’s answer to GNR’s Appetite for Destruction, these hard-hitting songs – to this day – remain gutsy, catchy and memorable.” – Doc

 

10. Believer – Sanity Obscure

[R.E.X./1990]

 

“No other album is as equally technical and brutal as Sanity Obscure.” – Chris Beck

 

11. Barren Cross – Atomic Arena

[Enigma/1988]

 

“Taking the Mainden-esque sound to new heights on their second release, the band soared with high energy and hard-hitting social commentary.” – Jeff McCormack

 

12. Galactic Cowboys – Galactic Cowboys

[Geffen/1991]

 

“Although we had a tough debate over which of the band’s first two releases was superior, there was no denying the greatness and inventiveness of this release. And yes, ‘at the end of the day,’ the majority of us conceded to our editor’s preference.” – Doc

 

13. Extol – Burial

[Solid State/1998]

 

“Revolutionary. This release may have single-handedly been responsible for the revival of Christ-centered extreme metal.” – Loyd Harp

 

14. Impellitteri – Screaming Symphony

[Victor/RCA/1996]

 

“A band that should be huge offered some of the fastest shredding riffs layered with the powerful golden-throat vocals of Rob Rock. Does melodic metal get any better than this?” – Jeff McCormack

 

"Christian metal’s best melodic metal of all time!” – Chris Beck

 

15. Holy Soldier – Holy Soldier

[Myrrh/1990]

 

“Great musicianship and a slightly different take on the ‘hair band’ style. Mature songwriting and deeper lyrical content set this album apart.” – Keven Crothers

 

“These guys spent years touring the West Coast before recording their debut and it shows. Near flawless pop metal that has aged better than most of the cheese of yesteryear. Haunting melodic vocals, intelligent lyrics, and muscular axe and skin work make Holy Soldier still relevant.”  – Chris Gatto

 

16. Theocracy – Mirror Of Souls

[Ulterium/Nightmare/2008]

 

“Reflecting significant maturity from their already-great first album, Theocracy defines excellence in current Christian metal.” – Chris Beck

 

17. Mortification – Scrolls Of The Megilloth

[Intense/1992]

 

“Though the band’s been living it down ever since, this album raised the standard of Christian grindcore to almost unattainable levels.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

18. POD – Satellite

 [Atlantic/2001]

 

“The band’s greatness and power gelled on this release, mixing melody with punch. ‘Boom,’ ‘Alive’ and ‘Youth of a Nation’ kill. – Doug Van Pelt

 

19. Demon Hunter – Summer Of Darkness

[Solid State/2004] 

 

“The band proved they had staying power with this sophomore album. ‘My Heartstrings Come Undone’ introduced an original and melodic sound to the scene.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

20. Precious Death – Southpaw

[Metro One/1993]

 

“Imagine Living Colour and Metallica jamming in the studio … with Cher on lead vocals?!” Wow! Originality. Progressiveness. Power.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

21. Rob Rock – Holy Hell

[AFM/2005]

 

“The finest moment from one of the great vocalists in the metal genre. Heavy and dark, this album is like an M1 Abrahams tank on a mission.” – Keven Crothers

 

“Rob breaks free from the ‘by-the-numbers’ criticisms to produce his heaviest and most epic album. Contains the best version of Rob's classic song ‘I'm A Warrior.’” – Chris Beck

 

22. Kings X – Out Of The Silent Planet

[Megaforce/1988]

 

“Most people know this band from the mega hits achieved from album two and later, but album number one is where it started, and is not to be overlooked. Lyrically a much more ‘spiritual’ album, the riffs and songs are top-notch.” – Jeff McCormack

 

23. Tourniquet – Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance

[Intense/1992] 

 

“Arguably their best album, Tourniquet achieved near perfection from beginning to end with brutally heavy guitars and lyrics.” – Chris Beck

 

24. Stryper – Against The Law

[Enigma/1992]

 

“Both highly underrated and underappreciated when it was released, this one stands up well over time and was probably their most consistently great collection of songs ever.” – Doc

 

25. Living Sacrifice – Reborn

[Solid State/1997]

 

“Along with Extol’s Burial, this riff-heavy reincarnation of the band provided a monumental surge in the credibility of Christian metal circa late 1990’s.” – Doc

 

26. As I Lay Dying – An Ocean Between Us

[Metal Blade/2007]

 

“Third time was the charm for these guys as they moved away from the crowded metalcore scene with huge crushing metal riffs and a more credible sound. ‘Nothing Left’ is hands down one of the best metal songs of the decade.” – Doc

 

27. The Crucified – Pillars Of Humanity

[Ocean/1991]

 

“The perfect marriage of hardcore and metal, this release was hugely influential for many young musicians in the scene. The brilliance and intensity was exemplified by ‘Mindbender,’ which continues to do just that almost 20 years later.” – Doc

 

28. Guardian – Fire And Love

[Pakaderm/1990]

 

“Miracle Mile wowed everyone with its sheen and polish, but this album had the songs. ‘Forever And A Day,’ ‘Time And Time Again’ and even the token ballad ‘Never Gonna Say Goodbye’ are classic.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

29. Zao – Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest

[Solid State/1998]

 

“The birth of metalcore: for good or for ill, it all started right here.” – Loyd Harp

 

30. Becoming The Archetype – Dichotomy

[Solid State/2008]

 

“Genre-defining progressive death metal, this is, without a doubt, one of the scene’s most innovative and powerful releases and it was produced by none other than metal genius Devin Townsend. While all three of their releases are brilliant, diverse and captivating, this one is their best so far. We’re forecasting that these guys will be huge.” – Doc

 

31. Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster – III

[Ferret/2009]

 

“Southern rock/metal hybrid with tons of wit and attitude. While all of their releases have been consistently great, III features their most memorable songs to date.” – Doc

 

32. Galactic Cowboys – Space In Your Face

[Geffen/1993]

 

“While not as commercially appealing as the debut, these songs nevertheless ruled. Infectious lyrics delivered via clean, harmonized vocals backed by huge, powerful and crunchy riffs equaled progressive metal brilliance. The monster riffs and riveting lyrics to ‘If I Were A Killer’ are simply obliterating.” – Doc

 

33. Believer – Extraction From Mortality

[R.E.X./1989]

 

“Although Vengeance was at the top of my list, this is the classic thrash CD I am most likely to pull out and listen to … still to this day.” – Loyd Harp

 

34. X-Sinner – Get It

[Pakaderm/1989]

 

“Blues-drenched, working class metal that stands up tall next to AC/DC or Accept. This album is burned into my memory of the summer of 1989.” – Chris Gatto

 

35. Project 86 – Drawing Black Lines

[BEC/Atlantic/2000]

 

“Moving into a more metallic musical direction, the P86 boys continued to evolve their sound. Full of high energy musical masterpieces, with some of the more noteworthy lyrical content in the scene, this release became a high-water mark for others to compete with.” – Jeff McCormack

 

36. Rage Of Angels – Rage Of Angels

[Regency/1989]

 

“An unfortunately overlooked, yet amazing melodic power metal release. Amazing musicianship from a band featuring members who later went on to become part of the popular band Steelheart.” – Jeff McCormack

 

“Christian metal's answer to Motley Crue, this album has the attitude and hooks that all albums should.” – Chris Beck

 

37. Brainchild – Mindwarp

[R.E.X./1994])

 

“Without a doubt, this is one of the coolest techno/industrial hybrid metal releases ever. Paradoxically, it was the relative presence of a song structure and memorable groove that really distinguished this release from other ‘noisier’ entries within the genre.” – Doc

 

38. Veni Domine – Fall Babylon Fall

[Massacre/1992]

 

“In the immortal words of Doug Van Pelt, ‘This band shreds!’”

 

39. Sacred Warrior – Rebellion

[Intense/1988]

 

“Highly purported within our 'karew' to be the best Sacred Warrior release, Rebellion fell to this lower position when we conceded to our editor’s insistence that Obsessions was superior, but we stubbornly refused to let it fall from the list!” – Doc

 

40. Antestor – Return Of The Black Death

[Cacophonous/1998]

 

“Devastatingly dark, ROTBD set the standard for Christian black metal.” – Chris Beck

 

41. Balance of Power – Perfect Balance

[Massacre/Nightmare/2001]

 

“Lance King's best singing performance also features some of the best production ever heard. The song ‘Shelter Me’ should have been a huge hit.” – Chris Beck

 

42. Paramaecium – Exhumed Of The Earth

[R.E.X./1994]

 

“Conceptually based on the life of Christ, this epic masterpiece – influenced by doom giants My Dying Bride and Cathedral – featured operatic elements and other classical instrumentations alongside heavy, plodding guitar riffs. With its release, the Aussie trio of Andrew Tompkins, Jason De Ron and Jayson Sherlock essentially delivered the most powerful and moving death/doom recording in the history of Christian metal.” – Doc

 

43. Horde – Hellig Usvart

[Nuclear Blast/1994]

 

“From the band that inverted the inverted cross, this release defied the rules and brought the ‘Light of the World’ to the black metal scene. It should be no surprise to see two of Jayson Sherlock’s post Mortification releases back-to-back on this list.” – Doc

 

44. Zion – Thunder From The Mountain

[Image/1989]

 

“David Zaffiro produced hard rock/metal with superior hooks and a great rock n roll album. ‘Who Pulls the Strings?’ … Domination of Christian Rock Radio was imminent.” – Keven Crothers

 

“Melodic hard rock with catchy choruses marked this, Zion's only album. Singer Rex Scott would later move to California and sing for X-Sinner, but I always thought he did his best work with Zion. ‘Is it a Crime’ and ‘Roll the Rock’ are still great songs for you to sing along to.” – Chris Gatto

 

45. Vengeance Rising – Once Dead

[Intense/1990]

 

“The follow up to Human Sacrifice was heavier and more brutal. Just take one listen to ‘Into The Abyss’ or ‘Herod’s Violent Death.’ If you want nice melodies look elsewhere.” – Keven Crothers

 

“The sheer impact of VR's first 2 albums on extreme Christian metal cannot be overstated, even 20 years later. And Once Dead (which lends its name to the band's current incarnation) keeps a steady rotation in my CD player even now. The ominous sounding Lord's Prayer segueing into ‘Warfare,’ the hilarious ‘Can't Get Out,’ ‘Herod's Violent Death’ and ‘Frontal Lobotomy’ were some of the most extreme songs in Christian music at the time, as well as a kicking thrash cover of Deep Purple's ‘Space Truckin’ and the spacey ‘Into the Abyss.’ Looking forward to the reissue, so a new generation can hear this classic slab of metal.” – Chris Gatto

 

46. Saint – Hell Blade

[Retroactive/2010]

 

“For an 80's band making a comeback, they hit the mark big time! Saint proves with this release that it is not only wine and cheese that get much better with age.” – Jeff McCormack

 

47. Joshua – Intense Defense

[RCA/1988]

 

“I can’t think of a finer collection of melodic metal songs, trak-for-track. Dieter Dirks (Scorpions fame) produced this act in hopes of birthing the next great band.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

48. Stryper – Soldiers Under Command

[Enigma/1985]

 

“Just seeing the video on MTV’s Heavy Metal Mania, should remind us all that 1985 was the continued infestation of the Yellow and Black Attack. The title track, ‘Surrender,’ ‘The Rock that Makes me Roll’ – HEAVY … ‘Together as One’ not so much. Still, a classic album, bar none.” – Keven Crothers

 

49. Divinefire – Into A New Dimension

[Rivel/2006]

 

“Sounding exactly like a cross between Narnia and progressive death metal, this is the best album from Christian Rivel's best band.” – Chris Beck

 

“I was initially hit with the amazing looking photos in the insert, but when hitting play, this release blew me away with its sonically stellar production and musically powerful melodic Euro-metal. An unfortunately overlooked highlight in its genre with masterful musicianship all around.” – Jeff McCormack

 

50. The Showdown – Back Breaker

[Solid State/2008]

 

“An amalgamation of the best pieces from their previous two amazing releases, this album has all of the heaviness while maintaining a palatable melodious side. Powerful!” – Jeff McCormack

 

51. Seventh Angel – The Torment

[Edge/1990]

 

“British thrash classic that wedded speed metal with the gloom and doom that all Ian Arkley's later bands would flesh out. Brilliant and overlooked. Who could forget songs like “Dr. Hatchet?’” – Chris Gatto

 

52. Crimson Moonlight – The Covenant Progress

[Rivel/2003]

 

“Well-produced symphonic black metal that rivals the best any other band (Christian or secular) in this subgenre can offer.” – Chris Beck

 

53. Recon – Behind Enemy Lines

[Intense/1989]

 

“Many seemed to pass over this release labeling it as a Helloween copy, but that should be a plus in my book. High energy melodic power metal done well, this band should have gone on to greatness with future releases.” – Jeff McCormack

 

54. Immortal Souls – Winterreich

[Dark Balance/Facedown/2007]

 

“Probably the best output so far from this Scandinavian death metal band. From the allegorical lyrics to the speedy and powerful riffing, this band exudes excellence.” – Doc

 

55. Angelica – Angelica

[Intense/1989]

 

“Rob Rock on vocals and Dennis Cameron on guitars made for a fantastic album.” – Chris Beck

 

56. Sympathy – Anagogic Tyranny

[Bombworks/2008]

 

“Excellent blend of early Mortification, Extol and Believer, these crushingly fast and furious songs – replete with heady lyrics – are a veritable feast for fans of extreme metal.” – Doc

 

57. Undercover – Balance Of Power

[Broken/1990]

 

“Best metal album by a non-metal band – period. The untimely death of the guitarist's wife left the band to create this dark ball of raw emotion, deeply moving, and so far from any of Undercover's other albums.” – Chris Gatto

 

58. Deliverance – Learn

[Intense1993]

 

“The big D’s answer to Metallica’s black album, these songs were – and are to this day – stinking heavy. Accompanied by some of Jimmy’s best lyrics ever, to boot.” – Doc

 

59. Kekal – The Painful Experience

[Clenched Fist/2001]

 

“This Indonesian band's early work was primitive black metal. TPE took the harshness of black metal, but infused it with lots of melodies and some progressive sensibilities. It hinted at the ground their later work would traverse, but The Painful Experience is perhaps the most successful of their fusion of progressive metal and extreme black metal.” – Loyd Harp
 

60. Slechtvalk – At The Dawn Of War

[Fear Dark/2005]

 

“The brutality and creativity of Slechtvalk's music on this album prove that the term ‘Christian Viking metal’ should not be an oxymoron.” – Chris Beck

 

61. Magdallan – Big Bang

[Intense/1992]

 

“Mix the vocal harmonies of Queen and the Beach Boys at their best and add lots of guitar flash and power melodic rock and you’ve got a gem – at least 5 great songs.” –

Doug Van Pelt

 

62. Narnia – Course Of A Generation

[MCM/Nightmare/2009]

 

“Changing singers tends to hurt bands quite often, but in this case it set a new high standard for this amazing, already well- established power metal band. Sounds like a totally different band.” – Jeff McCormack

 

63. Alice Cooper – Brutal Planet

[Spitfire/2000]

 

“Alice's second ‘Christian’ album shows the world's dark side with probably the most brutal music released by him to date. A true heavy metal slab of shock rock glory.” – Jeff McCormack

 

64. Jerusalem – Warrior

[Lamb & Lion/1982]

 

“The song ‘Sodom’ is an all-time epic, classic and show stopping tune. Then there’s ‘Man of This World.’ Pioneering hard rock slightly in the vein of Thin Lizzy.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

65. Leviticus – Setting Fire To The Earth

[Royal/1987]


“A huge step forward for an already amazing band. The new vocalist made a total change in sound, and the phenomenal bass playing took the band to new levels in melodic metal. With lyrics often right from the Scripture, this gem is amazing.” – Jeff McCormack

 

66. Demon Hunter – Storm The Gates Of Hell

[Solid State/2007]

 

“They do what they do – and they took it to amazingly new heights this time around by combining some of their most brutal tunes with high doses of heavy, yet melodious vocal styling. The great production brings out the power like never before.” – Jeff McCormack

 

67. Saint – Time’s End

[Pure Metal/1986]

 

“The earliest Christian metal bands were of the hard rock variety, until Saint changed that with this dark apocalyptic vision of the future. By showing that Christian bands could play as hard as Priest and have imaginative lyrics they opened the door for more extreme bands to follow. Yeah, some of us fought hard and lost to see Time's End higher on the list, but it's a landmark nonetheless.” – Chris Gatto

 

68. Jet Circus – Step On It

[Wonderland/1990]

 

“Terry Haw and Ez Gomer mixed dance rhythms with hard rock riffs to create a new and infectious hybrid. Not too unlike the sound (and creativity) of Faith No More.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

69. POD – The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown

[Atlantic/1999]

 

"This breakthrough release was huge. Their streetwise hardcore/hip-hip/reggae-infused agro metal nicely transcended stereotypes and powerfully paved the way for the monumental and timely Satellite." – Doc

 

70. Mortification – Post Momentary Affliction

[Nuclear Blast/1993]

 

“Is there a better song than ‘Grind Planetarium’ to exemplify the Mortification death metal sound? More diverse and progressive than Scrolls, this release represents the pinnacle of the band’s early years.” – Doc

 

71. Cage – Hell Destroyer

[DA Records/2007]

 

“Hands down, one of the best modern power metal bands from the U.S. Sean
Peck's powerful screams will take you for a ride through a Revelations-based concept album with Cage's unique brand of speed/power. Not a Christian band per se, but see if ‘The Christhammer’ doesn't get your fist and blood pumping.” – Chris Gatto

 

72. Saviour Machine – I

[Intense/1993]

 

“One of the most lyrically controversial releases in the Intense Records fold, their debut was, nevertheless, an amazing accomplishment by Eric Clayton and company. Their gothic-tinged, progressive metal was quite unique to the scene when this was released in ’93. ‘Killer’ remains one of the most epic songs in the Christian metal archives.” – Doc

 

73. Living Sacrifice – Conceived In Fire

[Solid State/2002]

 

“The kings of Christ-centic death metal with a Sepultura vibe originally went out on an extremely positive note with this highly percussive and lyrically convicting release.” – Doc
 

74. Aletheian – Dying Vine

[Hope Prevails/2005]

 

“Imagine the perfect mix of the frenetic intensity of early Extol with the progressive dynamics of Becoming the Archetype and you have a great picture of the soundscape here – blistering metal with intelligent and exhortational lyrics.” – Doc

 

75. Impellitteri – Answer To The Master

[Victor/RCA/1994]

 

“Essential melodic metal in the purest sense … no prog here. When this was released in ’94 it set the standard for a genre of metal trying to survive the alternative/grunge movement.” – Doc

 

76. Barren Cross - State Of Control

[Enigma/1989]

 

“Though many people don't prefer the Elefante-ization of Barren Cross, State Of Control actually contains some of the band's best and heaviest tracks in ‘Out of Time,’ ‘Stage of Intensity’ and the album's title track.” – Chris Beck


 

77. As I Lay Dying – Frail Words Collapse

[Metal Blade/2003]

 

“The album that put them on the map as a real contender in the metalcore scene. They have since blown that door open even further, but here is where it all started, still a high mark in their career.” – Jeff McCormack

 

78. Harmony – Chapter II: Afterlife

[Ulterium/2008]

 

“Amazing melodic metal that hopefully foreshadows other great releases and higher rankings in the next ‘all-time’ list.” – Chris Beck

 

79. A Hill To Die Upon – Infinite Titanic Immortal

[Bombworks/2009]

 

“Many (if not most) death metal records, upon the first few listens, pummel you with brutality and speed, but not much else. In fact, often there are very few dynamic shifts to keep things interesting or even listenable. Immortal is not one of those records. Memorable riffs, brutal structures, mesmerizing melodies – all of this and more cause my finger to go for the repeat button!” – Loyd Harp
 

“Imaginative and thunderously heavy conceptual death metal from another band that should be great. Kudos to Bombworks for signing some great talent recently – this could as easily have been In Grief, Dagon or Bloodline Severed.” – Doc

 

80. Theocracy - Theocracy

[Metal Ages/2003]

 

“The debut was written and recorded by one man (Matt Smith) … and not a bad song on the entire disc. Not only did this release gain Matt a lot of notoriety in the small Christian power/prog scene, but the much larger secular prog/power scene embraced this as well.” – Doc

 

81. Lovewar – Soak Your Brain

[Pakaderm/Word/1993]

 

“King’s X meets Extreme, which equals greatness.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

82. Darkwater – Calling The Earth To Witness

[Ulterium2007]

 

“Delivering what could be argued as Ulterium Records’ first world-class release, these Harmony band mates plus one – treading heavily in Dream Theater waters – forged a wonderfully vibrant and refreshing progressive metal treasure.” – Doc

 

83. Embodyment – Embrace The Eternal

[Solid State/1998]

 

“Heavy, heavy, heavy…” – Loyd Harp
 

84. Neal Morse – Sola Scriptura

[Radiant/Metal Blade/2007]

 

“A prog rock-opera done right, this concept album about issues surrounding Martin Luther tells a story set to some of the most amazing musicianship. None of that psychodelic dreamy prog rock feel here, this is a masterpiece in high intensity music and orchestration.” – Jeff McCormack

 

85. Virgin Black – Elegant And Dying

[The End/2003]

 

“Epic, doomy, gothic, symphonic, haunting. While all of their releases are engaging, Elegant… best showcases the dark and passionate catharsis of these talented Australians.” – Doc

 

86. August Burns Red – Messengers

[Solid State/2007]

 

“One of our best reviewers of HM, David Stagg, call this the best metal album of the year in ’07 and states it’s still the best since. As a sophomore release it elevated their game to take-notice-of-this levels.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

87. Nodes Of Ranvier – Nodes Of Ranvier

[Facedown/2003]

 

“These lads somehow put South Dakota on the metal map. Ya gotta be good to do that. Think muscle-y heavy hardcore meets metal riffage and really angry vocals.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

88. Holy Blood – Waves Are Dancing

[Musica/2004]

 

“One of the most interesting and diverse albums on the list, this Ukraine band perfectly meld folk music and black metal.” – Chris Beck

 

89. A Plea for Purging – Depravity

[Facedown/2009]

 

“With enough downtuned/distorted, heavy riffage and percussion to make any metal fan scream for joy, Plea offers up one of the genre’s less generic/more engaging metalcore platters in recent years.” – Doc 
 

90. Fourth Estate – Finesse And Fury

[Rubicon/1992]

 

“Mind-blowing instrumentation. The first time ever in music history that the revolutionary Trans Performance Automatic Self-Tuning Guitar Technology was employed in a recorded format. ‘Joy’ is a timeless piece. – Doug Van Pelt

 

91. Grave Robber – Be Afraid

[Retroactive/2008]

 

“One of the most original concepts in hard rock and from a Christian point of view! Whether it’s ‘Rigor Mortis’ or ‘I Zombie!’ We are all members of the Living Dead aren’t we? The best is yet to come.” – Keven Crothers

 

92. Disciple – Disciple

[SRE/Epic/2005]

 

“The first album that this former power trio added a fourth member and ventured outside the more traditional metal format. The experiment worked… and propelled the band to a wider audience without losing its edge.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

93. Oh, Sleeper – Son of the Morning

[Solid State/2010]

 

“Part of the new face of Christian metal, Oh Sleeper's 2nd album displays maturity over their metalcore peers and gives us a new symbol – the emasculated pentagram – to scare all the mothers with. Let the devil bashing begin.”  – Chris Gatto

 

94. King James – The Fall

[Viva/1997]

 

“While the 1st album from Whitecross/Stryper/Sacred Fire alums was an over-produced commercial flop, the second album (exit Stryper boys) shows a dark and hungry Alice in Chains side that you will completely surprise you. I always wondered why album #3 never followed after this Zeitgeist of the late 90's hit the nail on its head. Rerelease is
coming!” – Chris Gatto

 

95. The Brave – Battle Cries

 [Pakaderm/1992]

 

“The big arena rock sound – coupled with catchy, singable songs – was the key to The Brave’s success with this release.” – Doc


96. The Devil Wears Praeda – With Roots Above And Branches Below

[Ferret/2009]

 

“All the elements of their sound came together on this one and it was less ‘pretty boy’ vocals and more hardcore. Definitely their most attention-getting release … thus far.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

97. Atomic Opera – For Madmen Only

[Giant/1994]

 

“Replete with heavy, groove-laden tunes, this was Frank Hart’s strongest release with the band. Filled with clever and thought-provoking lyrics, artful metal never sounded so good.” – Doc
 

98. Underoath – Cries Of The Past

[Takehold/2000]

 

“Ever hear someone refer to a period in this band’s career as ‘the metal Underoath?’ This is that era right here.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

99. Flyleaf – Flyleaf

[Octone/2005]

 

“Like half of the albums on this list, this one could easily be top-ten for historical impact and popularity. The frontwoman for this band proves once and for all that girls can rock (as if we doubted that).” – Doug Van Pelt

 

100. Rez – Silence Screams

[Grrr/1988]

 

“‘Light/Light’ is a terrific rock anthem that hearkens back to the band’s first album, while still embodying the energy and spark that this new incarnation of the band had. This album kicked a hot band into high gear again.” – Doug Van Pelt

 

 

 

 

Addendum: Doug Van Pelt’s  Five "Factors"

 

The Greatness Factor – Just how good is this music?

 

The “Love It” Factor – Just how much do you like this music?

 

The Classic Factor – Just how much will you listen to this music?

 

The Historical Factor – Just how much was the impact of this music?

 

The Popularity Factor – Just how much did everyone like this music?

 

 

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