Paranoid – Black Sabbath (1970)

Paranoid - Black Sabbath (1970)

The strongest Black Sabbath album by a mile if you ask me. They’ve got a lot of good albums, and this is coming from a guy who’s not a huge metal fan. Seldom does rock come with riffs on this level. I played the title track in my Camry with the volume all the way up and the car actually melted ($100% true story). I haven’t heard so much raw power in an album since Raw Power. Even the slower, quieter Planet Caravan works really well, advancing the dark atmosphere of the album as a whole.

Choice Cut: Iron Man

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Fun House – The Stooges (1970)

Fun House - The Stooges (1970)

An album doesn’t get more rock ‘n’ roll than Fun House. Not only does this album rock like nothing else, it also rolls, “rolls” as in “grooves.” The ear-bursting guitars work in tandem with the rhythm section, and damn, does it fucking ROCK! It grabs you right from the beginning with a clutch of powerful rockers (especially T.V. Eye, which kicks off with its famous scream, (“LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD!!!!”), but the best song here would be track four, Dirt. Iggy Pop screams, moans, grunts, whispers, shouts, occasionally even sings, and proves that he is arguably the most badass person ever to exist.

Choice Cut: Dirt
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Joe’s Garage- Frank Zappa (1973)

Joe’s Garage- Frank Zappa (1973)

You know, this is probably the weirdest album I’ve ever listened to. Joe’s Garage criticizes big government, censorship, Catholicism, rock journalism. This album satirizes Scientology and contains a tribute to Zappa’s bodyguard and anal sex. Somehow this album also manages to do this within the context of a story, accompanied by some of the greatest, most forward-thinking rock music. There’s a wide range of opinions on Zappa’s politics and morals, but it can’t be denied that the man made some of the most forward thinking rock music for his time.

Choice Cut: Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?
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Wasting Light – Foo Fighters (2011)

Wasting Light - Foo Fighters (2011)

I never thought the Foo Fighters ever made an album that lived up to The Colour and The Shape. Not that the Foo Fighters suck, I actually enjoy most of their albums. I just always felt that The Colour and The Shape had something that all their albums after just simply lacked.  Then Wasting Light came out. Maybe it is because they recorded this album all on analog and could not go back and fix mistakes. Maybe it is because they had Butch Vig as producer. Whatever Foo Fighters did, they did it right.

Choice Cut: Bridge Burning
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Queens of the Stone Age – Queens of the Stone Age (1998)

Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age (1998)

These guys will absolutely bludgeon your head with crunchy riffs, make you enjoy it, and leave you begging for more. R and Songs for the Deaf tend to get more public love, but their self-titled debut may be a better starting point. Regular John comes on like thunder, screaming a mission statement about the band as a whole. QoTSA would eventually go on to make more heartfelt, trippy, and complex music later on (while still rocking). Their self-titled is not made for that. It’s just here to sucker punch you in the gut. You can be very sure it does.

Choice Cut: How to Handle a Rope
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Pyromania – Def Leppard (1983)

Late Registration - Kanye West (2004)

When it comes to favorite albums of all time, Pyromania will always be near the top for me. This is a case of an album that has nearly everything going for it. Elements of glam metal are present in songs such as Rock of Ages and Photograph, where songs like Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop) simply rock hard like no other. Pyromania is like the poster-child for what every 80’s glam rock album should have been: glam elements exist but are only present when needed and the rock elements fill in the rest of the gaps. This album rocks hard, and it isn’t afraid to show it.

Choice Cut: Too Late for Love
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Fire – Electric Six (2003)

Fire - Electric Six (2003)

After first hearing Danger! High Voltage! for the first time, I wasn’t sure what I’d just heard. All I knew was that I wanted more of it. The first place I looked was its original album, Fire, and I didn’t have to go much farther than that. Fire is an album that is fun, hard rocking, and different all at the same time. There are songs that are goofy or funny and there are songs that have a more serious rock feel to them. The way all the songs blend the elements of hard rock and comedy rock produces an album that is a crime to miss out on.

Brandon’s Note: This is the first album all of us really wanted to write about…to the point of argument. So definitely pick it up.

Choice Cut: Danger! High Voltage!
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