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Best Heavy Metal Albums Of 1980

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1980 was a watershed year in heavy metal. It was the dawn of a new decade, and several albums that are now considered classics were released that year. Here are our selections of 1980's best heavy metal albums.

1. Judas Priest - British Steel

Judas Priest - British Steel
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After releasing several good albums in the 1970's, British Steel sent Judas Priest to the stratosphere. It is widely considered to be their best album. By this time Priest had refined and perfected their sound and focused on writing catchy arena rock anthems, and they hit home runs with "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight."

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2. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz
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After leaving Black Sabbath to embark on a solo career, Ozzy Osbourne hooked up with guitarist Randy Rhoads, and the result was a fantastic album. It was more technical and modern than Sabbath, thanks to Rhoads and his guitar virtuosity. There are some great songs on this album, including "Crazy Train" and the controversial "Suicide Solution."

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3. Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell
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With lead singer Ozzy Osbourne leaving the band, many thought Black Sabbath's future was bleak. But by choosing Ronnie James Dio as the new vocalist they proved everyone wrong. Between Dio's great pipes and Tony Iommi's excellent guitar work, the band delivered one of their best albums in years. Standout songs include "Children Of The Sea," "Neon Nights" and the title track.

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4. Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
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As far as debut albums go, this is one of the best and most influential. Countless bands would follow down the path Iron Maiden blazed. It wasn't until Bruce Dickinson became the lead singer that the band would rise to even higher heights, but Paul Di'Anno did a solid job. This album contains both straight ahead metal songs and more progressive and epic tunes that the band would gravitate toward in the future.

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5. Motorhead - Ace Of Spades

Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
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This was the first Motorhead album to be released in the United States, even though their first few albums were very successful in the UK. This album is a classic, from Lemmy's distinctive singing voice to memorable songs like the title track. It was loud, raw and in your face.

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6. Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations

Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations
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Diamond Head were a New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band that was a strong influence on Metallica, who later covered several of their songs. "Am I Evil", "Helpless" and "The Prince" are all on this 7 song album. There is some conflicting information about the album's release date. I've seen anywhere from 1979 to 1981 in various sources. The band's official web site says 1980, so I'm going with that.

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7. Saxon - Wheels Of Steel

Saxon - Wheels Of Steel
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Even though they've been around nearly as long as fellow NWOBHM groups Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, Saxon never reached the commercial popularity of those groups, although they've always had a strong and loyal fan base. Their second album was probably their best. It contains songs like "Motorcycle Man" and "Suzie Hold On." Despite the fact that they never really broke through in the U.S. this is a great band.

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8. Scorpions - Animal Magnetism

Scorpions - Animal Magnetism
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The Scorpions have been around forever. Even by 1980 they had been releasing albums for 8 years. It would be a few more years before they became international stars, but this album shows they are well on their way. It includes the classic tracks "The Zoo" and "Make It Real" along with several other excellent songs.
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9. Angel Witch - Angel Witch

Angel Witch - Angel Witch
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This album is a classic of early New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, but Angel Witch proved to be a flash in the pan. After their debut in 1980 the band imploded and several members quit. They regrouped for a couple mediocre albums in the mid '80s and then disappeared again. This album is well worth finding. It's intense and dark, but with plenty of melody.
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10. Samson - Head On

Samson - Head On
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Head On was the second album from the NWOBHM band Samson, and their first with singer Bruce Bruce (although he later re-recorded vocals for a reissue of their debut album).  You might know him better by his full name, Bruce Dickinson.  Samson's sound was melodic, but still packed some punch.  The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but it's an entertaining album that fans of both NWOBHM and Iron Maiden may want to check out.

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