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10 Scariest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time

Heavy metal is, to quote Mr. Ian Christie, the sound of the beast. Heavy metal is music made for evil; it's supposed to be Satan's favorite genre, after all. Basically, heavy metal is the music world's equivalent of horror movies. Most metalheads get that and sort of dig it. However, when we listen to heavy amplification alongside blast beats and the caterwauling of a grown-up, are we ever scared? For the most part, metal makes us feel awesome, powerful, and happier than a suidae mammal in excrement. Maybe it's familiarity, but few metal records have the power to actually terrify the headbanging tribe.

Normies are a different story.

This post is from their point-of-view. The following ten albums are guaranteed to make the flesh on non-metalhead arms crawl with legions of goose pimples. If you're suspicious of this claim, then hijack the jukebox at your local bar or kindly offer to be the DJ at a Halloween party. When the metal hits, most will be annoyed and ready to revoke your playing privileges. A sizable few will be absolutely horrified.

10. Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath


The only reason this record is so far down on the list is because Black Sabbath gets routinely played on classic rock radio, and anything on classic rock radio is definitively not scaring. That being said, the song "Black Sabbath" is still one of the most chilling things ever recorded, especially since it's widely believed that Tony Iommi's riff utilizes the dreaded "Devil's tritone." Imagine if you can what it must have been like to hear Black Sabbath for the first time in 1970. Rock and roll was certainly in, but even the hardest acts, from Led Zeppelin to The Jimi Hendrix Experience, couldn't touch the pathos of four working class lads from Birmingham. Black Sabbath was more than just a Hammer horror film come to life; Black Sabbath's first album became the blueprint for all future metal releases.

9. Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast



Like Black Sabbath, the fear factor of Iron Maiden's third studio album has lessened over time thanks to the advent of death metal and black metal. Still, The Number of the Beast scared the beejeezus out of people when it was released in 1982. In particular, the repeated refrain of "666" in the title track convinced many that Iron Maiden were nothing but a bunch of long-haired Satanists. The band may have denied this accusation, but the rumor didn't hurt their careers. The Number of the Beast became the band's first record to reach number one on the UK charts, while in America the record went platinum. It's safe to say that Iron Maiden ruled the early 1980s, but their popularity didn't calm any parental fears.

8. Slayer, Hell Awaits



While Reign in Blood is the band's masterpiece, it sounds too clean and too well produced to be scary. Hell Awaits, on the other hand, combines some of the low-fi edginess of Show No Mercy with the sheer and unrelenting brutality of the band's brand of thrash metal. And unlike the band's previous studio release, the horror of Hell Awaits is less hammy, Dungeons & Dragons fare and more grizzly gore and guts. From the denim and leather vampires of "At Dawn They Sleep" to the sexual deviant at the heart of "Necrophiliac," Hell Awaits is morbidity channeled through Marshall stacks. The scariest of the bunch, "Hell Awaits," sounds like nothing less than a plunge into the heart of Dante's Inferno.

7. Sarcofago, INRI


This is the moment when vicious, openly blasphemous black metal got its start. There is no sleazy camp a la Venom here. Brazil's Sarcofago were serious about their diabolism, and INRI is all the proof you need. Once a cherished item among tape traders in places as diverse as the U.S., Norway, and Japan, INRI combines the best of crust punk with the murderous savagery of bands like Bathory and Celtic Frost. INRI also sounds like it was recorded in a dungeon, which makes it all the more terrifying. No wonder Euronymous dug this record so much that he lifted much of its production value and repackaged it as the "necrosound" of his own Deathlike Silence Productions.

6. Blasphemy, Fallen Angel of Doom


Blasphemy are sometimes thought of as the pioneers of war metal–a particularly caffeine-rich version of black metal. For many years, they weren't thought of at all. The Vancouver band was something of an underground commodity until the invention of the internet. The band's first record, Fallen Angel of Doom, went from being something mostly traded in tape form between pen pals to one of the classics of black metal. Fallen Angel of Doom is a Stygian assault on the senses, with instruments and vocals so compressed and intertwined that the whole album sounds like a hellish cacophony. This is TRVE CVLT before the meme even existed.


The top five are on the next page…

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