Seven Killer Metal Albums You May Have Never Heard

Seven Killer Metal Albums

Photo: Christian Bertrand /

While our site likes to cover all rock music genres, one of our favorites has always been good old-fashioned metal. Of course, there are many different genres of metal music that we have gone deep into in the past few months. However, sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and pick out some of our favorite metal albums that many people may not be familiar with outside of the hardcore fans of these bands. The point is that we want to turn more people onto some excellent metal music that they may have missed along the line. So, in this article, we present seven great metal albums that we think will ignite your rock and roll metal shoes and have you screaming for more……

# 7 – Enforced – Kill Grid 

This powerhouse thrash delivers the same energy, pounding drums, and ultra-fast thrash guitars the late great Power Trip did, and I say “late” because the band has not made any music after the overdose of vocalist Riley Gale. I hope they find a new vocalist with the same charisma. In the meantime, Enforced is the best thrash band out there among the new maniacs on the block. This stuff recalls early Exodus, some hardcore for a more brutal sound, and plenty of chops to keep you pounding your dashboard. Or your metalhead kid will love it.

# 6 – High Tide – Sea Shanties

This album has finally been released and hails from 1969, but it qualifies as “new” because it has just recently been re-introduced, as far as I’ve been able to research. High Tide hailed from Scotland and were a heavy band, especially for their day, and would have given every last hard rock band a run for its money with fiery guitar, also the vocalist who sounded eerily like Jim Morrison, a violin and viola player along with keyboards and a sound that was among the early progressive music.

Think the Doors had decided to go metal, Blue Oyster Cult for the organ and trippy stuff, a tad bit of Jethro Tull, and even one jam tune that is more than just a little reminiscent of Hot Rats era Frank Zappa. There are two albums by this band, and I recommend both. It’s the one classic rock-era album you can call new.

# 5 – Flotsam and Jetsam – Blood In The Water


America has a handful of superb metal bands with brilliant lyrics, outstanding musicianship, and power to burn. This band from Phoenix has been slugging out top-notch thrash/heavy metal for decades and never disappoints.  Indeed, like other veteran thrash outfits and those right on the line between the hardest rock and thrash, Flotsam and Jetsam deliver a modern metal masterpiece. Blood In The Water burns with anxiety, believe it or not, and sounds like it’s just freaking out waiting to get to the next excellent duel guitar section, one of Eric A.K. Knudson’s caterwauling vocals and sharp songwriting. These fellows are not children and do not make childish records.  It is a legend already.

# 4 – Armored Saint – Punching The Sky

These fellows go back to the beginnings of thrash, when Metallica wanted singer John Bush as their vocalist. However, Bush refused the offer, and Armored Saint became a second-tier brilliant band whose star should have risen a lot higher.  This album is a triumph. Bush is always expressive, a great singer and lyricist, again, along with Eric A.K. Knudson, a very personal and thoughtful singer as well. But Punching The Sky is brilliant, with incredible song arranging, advanced guitar, and chords that make every song shine and take on dimensions most bands can’t achieve.  Why this fantastic band and their equally genius albums haven’t propelled them to superstardom is a mystery.

# 3 –  Rivers Of Nihil – The Work

Starting as a reasonably contemporary death metal/progressive act, this band has ambition all over it, and with each new release, the albums have become more involved added more melody; and by Where Owls Know My Name, the band had a saxophone player and used plenty of keyboards and clean vocals. That was an astonishing feat in the extreme metal world, and the newest, The Work, has gone even further down the rabbit hole. There is their death metal still present, but the journey is clearly taking them into the works of the ’70s progressive outfits, showing that modern bands who do not want to stagnate are finding fresh ideas from decades ago and making their styles more interesting. Bands like Rivers Of Nihil are leading the way into more melodic territory.

# 2 – Deafheaven – Infinite Granite 

This band has been around for some time, and earlier albums were much more black metal influenced, but also contained lots of quiet passages and some quite lovely guitar work as well. But like other bands in this “shoegaze” world, so-called because they tended to just stand still on stage and stare at their shoes, the melody is starting to take a stronghold, and this album is a masterpiece. It starts very quietly, reminds me of Alcest’s quiet moments, and is just gorgeous, with less black metal and more beauty. This is the sound that those who started very brutally discovered melody from the past and applied it to their base sound. The vocals are, for the most part, clear, and the guitars are clean and just beautiful. It would have been my first choice had it not been for…….

# 1- Mastodon – Hushed And Grim

I always look forward to a new Mastodon album with the same enthusiasm a fox discovers an unguarded chicken coop. They are unique, to use a cliche, but it really does apply. Many bands and performers use real-life tragedies and events to fuel their creative fires, but if it’s done better than by this great band, I don’t know who it is. This, their first double album, is dedicated to the memory of their manager, and lyrically, it’s very touching, very sad, and musically, it touches the convoluted feelings and anguish and still rocks like hell.

However, there are some new musical approaches, and the album gives you much to think about. It is far from dull or self-indulgent, and the music is usually top-notch, with the unmistakable remnants of Rush not too far away without being derivative in any way. Mastodon are metal, but they are brilliant in a way that non-metal fans would be captivated. Hushed And Grim is an album that sets the bar far higher for all the competition.


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