The 6 best rock and metal albums of 1986
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1986 was a better time. The music was better, the films were better, and it was 24 years away from the debut of Nicki Minaj. To celebrate the year that saw rock at its commercial peak exactly three decades ago, in no particular order, here are my six favourite records to come out of 1986. Metallica – Master of Puppets Honestly, how could Master of Puppets not make this list? The third album by thrash metal pioneers Metallica has served as a gateway drug for an infinite amount of metalheads, becoming the initiation that every rock fan has to go through before being able to call themselves a part of the subculture. To call yourself a metalhead and say that you haven’t listened to Master of Puppets is almost blasphemy. The record has held the coveted number one spot on countless “best album” lists through the years and has received acclaim not only from the metal press, but the mainstream as well. Songs like the blistering title track, the thrashing opener 'Battery' and the instrumental 'Orion' showcase Metallica at their most brutal, innovative, adventurous and passionate. While it may have been its follow-up - 1988’s …And Justice for All – and their 1991 “Black Album” that pushed Metallica onto the global success that they’ve enjoyed up until this very day, it has always been Master of Puppets that has received continued recognition as the band’s best album. In 1986, Metallica showed the world that speed metal was far more than just the undisciplined mutant offspring of classic rock and hardcore punk. But they didn’t do it alone… Slayer – Reign in Blood Quite possibly the heaviest album ever made by anyone, Slayer’s Reign in Blood is a 29-minute long beating that joins Master of Puppets in the pantheon of great thrash metal albums. With the subject matter of the lyrics ranging from wars between Heaven and Hell, Satanic sacrifices, insanity and Nazi experimentations in Auschwitz, Reign in Blood is a thoroughly evil experience. And that’s why we love it! Not to mention the intense instrumentation: once you hear the opening riff of the album’s title track, there is no way that you will ever forget it. A record that should theoretically scare the living hell out of all who listen was not only received astonishingly well in the metal community, but also in the mainstream press. For an album this heavy to break free of the underground is a testament to Slayer’s skills as musicians. The graphic nature of the album’s imagery is now considered almost cliché in heavy metal: it’s typical gore, guts and Satan. When people outside of the rock community think of heavy metal, they think of Reign in Blood, more often than not without even realising it. It’s a release embedded in pop culture and one that defined all metal that followed it. Megadeth – Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? To conclude my tripartite collection of thrash metal, I present the sophomore release from Dave Mustaine et al.
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