You only get one chance to make a first impression, as they say, and these bands sure made the most of their opportunity. Some of these inaugural releases launched new subgenres, while others have yet to be matched in more than two decades. Keep reading for a rundown of the ten best debut metal albums.
10. System of a Down - System of a Down System of a Down is the first band to add a wallop of weird, a sugary Hawaiian Punch of pep and a shitball of silliness to metal -- morphing the Melvins' stoner nuttiness into a high-flying centipede on crack. Metal was so damn serious before then, when it should have been associated with fun rebelliousness, like shooting watermelons with a machine gun. As political as Rage Against the Machine and as boisterous as an ADD kid, when the band's video for "Sugar" smacked you in the face, there was no turning back.
9. Korn - Korn Korn is a groundbreaking album even though it ultimately inspired the despised nu-metal genre. The combination of roller-coaster raw emotions, heavy breathing vocals and bass slapping funk tore metal fans in half. Though distant and spacey at times, Korn is just as heavy and full of fucking foul language as standard metal.
8. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine isn't strictly metal, but it is strictly badass, anti-establishment and anti-rich fucks who profit from war. Fuck you, they won't do what you tell them. Rage Against the Machine , the envelope-pushing album released in 1992, has yet to be matched twenty years later -- though many have tried.
7. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity Hearing Dillinger for the first time sounds like someone is cutting their hand off with a bandsaw in a shop class full of buzzing woodworking machinery. With Calculating Infinity, The Dillinger Escape Plan created insanely complex and mesmerizing metal that was at once boldly experimental and viciously chaotic with second-to-second instrumental shifts.
6. Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness Altars of Madness was an album that brought death metal to new depths of heaviness in 1989. With technical instrumentation, wicked shredding, brain rattling double bass drum and unyielding brutality, Altars clearly stamped a new subgenre into the heavy metal dictionary in dark blood.
5. Slayer - Show No Mercy The relentless, vicious, dual high-speed guitar shredding of Show No Mercy tore previous metal to shreds. Ushering in a new subgenre, Show No Mercy paved the way to a near thirty-year satanic wet dream for metalheads, raining blood on the Ten Commandments and abolishing the music rules made of stone.
4. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz This album, his first after parting ways with Black Sabbath, was a major transition for Ozzy. Opening with "I Don't Know," listeners immediately knew that Ozzy's separation wasn't so cataclysmic. Not only is Blizzard of Ozz a great album to listen to from start to finish, it is also one of the only two albums that Osbourne rocked with guitarist Randy Rhoads. Goodbye to romance, and hello to an even longer successful solo career.
3. Dio - Holy Diver Holy shit, Holy Diver, the holy, holy, holiest of metal albums. After a trio of bands -- Elf, Rainbow and Sabbath -- Dio put out a debut album fit for a king, queen, prince and a whole royal family of metal fans. Just like Ozzy, Dio showed he could jump on and ride the tiger of a solo career after leaving Sabbath and ultimately boasted a similarly lengthy solo career until his death in 2010.
2. Metallica - Kill 'Em All Kill 'Em All was was almost called Metal Up Your Ass, which was the name of Metallica's demo the year before. Weeks before recording Kill 'Em All, Metallica kicked Mustaine to the curb and replaced him with Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett. Kill 'Em All blows motorbreath in your face and makes you want to headbang until you get whiplash.
1. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Not only is this the best debut album, it is arguably the best metal album of all time. The planets aligned, war pigs flew and hell froze over with Black Sabbath. Thank all that is unholy that Black Sabbath happened.
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