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Monday, November 5, 2012

The Top 21 Bay Area Metal Albums: The Complete List

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:30 AM

click to enlarge Metallica performing at the Keystone in Palo Alto. Photo by Brian Lew, from the book Murder in the Front Row: Shots From the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter

Think of Bay Area metal, and you may think of a certain band with an iconic logo and a big-ass catalog and a Napster problem. And yes, the classic output of that band still looms pretty large. But while Metallica and thrash play a big part, the story of Bay Area metal includes many different sounds and tempos -- and even a few bands that you may not think of as "metal" proper. Here then is our list of the Top 21 Bay Area metal albums of all time. Enjoy.

See also

* The Top 20 Greatest San Francisco Musicians

* The Top 15 Most Cocaine-Influenced Albums of All Time

click to enlarge asunder_works_will_come_undone.jpeg
21. Asunder, Works Will Come Undone

For all its gloom, funereal doom is gorgeous, spacious stuff. Oakland-based Asunder stamped its bloody handprint on the genre with Works Will Come Undone, which also turned out to be its swan song. The album's two concerto-length tracks crawl towards you on guitars at turns crushing and melodic, wisps of cello, and soul-shaking bass vocals from John Gossard and Dino Sommese. "A Famine" ushers you in with layers of chanting and riffage before "A Rite of Finality" pins you fast, an ever-shifting sanctuary of sorrow. -- Beth Winegarner

click to enlarge Ludicra_The_Tenant_Cover_.jpeg

20. Ludicra, The Tenant

When San Francisco's Ludicra dropped this unrequited love song for the city that had been throwing disdainful art-apathetic residents and high rents in the bandmembers' faces for years, they didn't know it was to be their last record. Two years later, it's not only a triumph of an album ― a thematically ambitious and deeply melodic hybrid of NWOBHM and black metal ― it's also a document of a time when artists felt the burn of the recession grow ever hotter, a burn that unfortunately forced many out of their preferred kitchen. At the precise halfway point of anger and beauty lies this record, a virtual manifesto of the ethics of a Bay Area metal musician. -- Alee Karim

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19. Y&T, Earthshaker

If you look past the stigma of the cheeseball MTV hits Y&T scored during the hairspray era of the '80s, it isn't hard to see why the band was hailed as a heavyweight Bay Area metal act. Anchored by the blistering guitar and catchy songwriting of leader Dave Meniketti, Y&T hit an apex with its 1981 album Earthshaker. Balancing furious songs like "Hungry For Rock" and "Hurricane" with hook-heavy anthem "Dirty Girl" and "Rescue Me" (a rare power ballad that actually rocks), the effort still stands as the closest Y&T ever came to capturing the ferocity of its live show. -- Dave Pehling

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