6. Dream Theater - Train of Thought (2003)
Being a fan since SFAM, when 2003 came around, it was safe to say I was a DT fanatic and knew all albums up to that point. Being a metal head, the concept of this album got me very excited. Back in 2003, I never ordered online and the cd stores were always late in getting cd's in store. Since the release date, I searched every single day in between work and school looking for this, getting madder and madder every day that it wasn't released and the douches behind the counter not knowing what the hell I'm talking about. About a month later, there it was, and I instantly bought it and took it home. Since that day, it has become my favourite DT album. The mix of complex prog and a more straight ahead metal approach really scratched me right where I itched. I love the more simplicity of the record at times, James' amazing diverse metal approach to his vocals, alternate tunings mainly hitting C standard and extra long instrumental sections that still IMO seemed to serve purpose, despite what many people people say. I also love the lack of ballads. Vacant is the perfect filler to this album and is all it needed in the way of lighter songs, keeping the rest heavy as hell. I basically love everything about this record and it really has never gotten old with me and I can always chuck it on and enjoy it all the way though.
Best tracks - This Dying Soul, Endless Sacrifice, Honor Thy Father, Vacant, In The Name of God5. Judas Priest - Jugulator (1997)
Cracking the top 5 is an album that will send most Judas Priest fans wanting to crucify me, but here goes. This is my favourite Judas Priest record!! I cannot remember how many Priest albums I knew before getting this one, but I know it was only my second or third, but it was enough to know Priest, and the sound they were known for. One afternoon after school in 1998 I visited a little second hand cd store where I saw this sitting there for a good price. Since I was still discovering everything from the band, I instantly picked it up. Since I wasn't familiar with this release I was shocked at the booklet and the singer who was on this record. I obviously hadn't researched their history until that point, and was disappointed that the voice of Painkiller wasn't present. Anyway, I was due back at school for a heavy study session that same afternoon until 8pm so had to wait to hear it. Sitting through my study session all I could think about was the amazing cover art, and the brutal song titles and lyrics that I had skimmed through from the booklet. I went home and put the cd on with headphones at around 9pm while everyone else was off to bed. The intro of the title track scared the shit out of me and cemented my faith in heavy metal. The whole cd was brutal, simple, loud with just outstanding vocals. I couldn't believe what Tim was doing here, his screams on the title track floored me and instantly made me a fan of his. Glenn and Ken still had the solos but they took a bit more of a back seat for the songs and the riffs which was IMO mature to see due to the type of songs here. For Priest to bounce back with something like this after losing Rob Halford is absolutely incredible. I actually also simply love the immaturity at times of the lyrics, they are just so simple and at times childish simply to add to the overall metal tones of the recod. I can't say enough good things about this record and I know most will think I'm crazy, but IMO, this is one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.
Best songs - Jugulator, Blood Stained, Decapitate, Burn in Hell, Abductors, Bullet Train, Cathedral Spires
Jugulator - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag8DGC-fKwQ
Burn in Hell - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E-tCigMeD0
Cathedral Spires - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g4yhSjyc3M