5 Great Metal Debut Albums

Warner Bros. Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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You only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s true whether you’re talking about a job interview, a date or a debut album. The stakes are high and you gotta come out with your best face forward. For some bands, it’s a long, slow, twisted path to their creative peak. For others, they crash through the gates, blow listeners’ minds and immediately claim their spot in the metallurgic pantheon. So it was for the revered groups listed below, who dropped five of the greatest metal debut records of all time.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

What can you really say about Black Sabbath’s debut? Evil, infectious and far beyond heavy, it essentially kickstarted the metal genre and still defines it to this day.

Slipknot – Slipknot

When Slipknot dropped their self-titled debut on the unsuspecting metal masses in 1999, jaws dropped and heads banged. The music was ferocious, dense and raw, yet full of undeniable hooks. But it was the band themselves that captured fans’ imaginations: nine maniacs in jumpsuits and Halloween masks, looking like they’d just escaped the asylum and were on the lam.

Korn – Korn

“Are you ready?” goes Jonathan Davis’ album-opening roar on “Blind” — and though metal fans didn’t know it at the time, Korn’s angsty, thick, hip-hop-inflected sound was exactly what they were ready for and needed in 1994. Yes, the album launched the nu-metal movement, but it also completely transcends it.

Machine Head – Burn My Eyes

From the revolutionary cry of album opener “Davidian” to the “fuck it all” nihilism of closer “Block,” Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes is one of metal’s finest examples of “all killer, no filler.” Bandleader Robb Flynn may have matched its greatness with The Blackening 13 years later, but the truth is, he has no chance of ever topping it.

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All

Snotty, fun and stacked with timeless anthems, Metallica’s debut album is thrash metal through and through. It might not have the orchestral and conceptual ambition of the band’s classic trilogy that followed, but that’s a big part of its charm, too. Kill ‘Em All has a simpler, more primal mission: Seek and destroy. And destroy, it does.