Our chronological list of the Top 50 Classic Heavy Metal Albums illustrates just how much the genre has grown.

At first, forefathers like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple dominated.

But as metal began to take hold in the mainstream – and then began to diversify – bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Motley Crue made their presence felt among new fans.

You'll also find influential underground classics from artists like Diamond Head and Saxon in our survey of the Top 50 Classic Heavy Metal Albums.

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