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.
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
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
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