Iron Maiden’s 1980 debut is the oldest and least abrasive album on this list. It’s also fair to say that none of the other records here would exist without it. The British band gave metal the technical and physical thrust it needed to thrive in the upcoming decade, with songs like “Prowler” and “Phantom of the Opera” codifying their signature gallop and spotlighting their first of many gnarly solos. Whether you’re partial to death-metal, thrash or any of their offshoots, this is essential listening.
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