TOP 10 ALBUMS OF SUMMER

July 7th, 2013
by EvilG

sun

As the summer heat has really kicked in for many of us, it got us thinking about the albums we reach for on a hot summer’s day. The type of album best played while having a few cold ones, having a BBQ, sitting at a pool, going swimming, or just melting in our own hell!

We took in about 150 nominations from staff which we then narrowed down to the list that you see below. We applied some guidelines to the nominations: it had to be albums (not demos, no EP’s) and it goes without saying, the nominations had to be metal. Nominated albums were both new and old, and covered everything from glam to death metal. However, when scoring, the main point kept in mind was that the album had to remind us of summer, or we had to feel it was suited to summer listening. That means that what someone had as a #1 selection was not necessarily their favorite album from the nomination list, it was just the one they thought was best suited.

So load up your CD player, iPod, or whatever medium you prefer, crack a cold one and enjoy listening to some of the greatest summer metal albums available.

-EvilG, July 2013.

TOP 10 ALBUMS OF SUMMER

(Note: because some of our staff have eclectic tastes, below the top 10 is what each contributor had to say about their #1 selection.)

1. Dio – Holy Diver

Dio - Holy Diver

Dio – Holy Diver

Easily coming in at number one when votes were tallied is HOLY DIVER. Released on May 25, 1983, Dio’s first solo album is arguably his finest. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio, hot shot guitarist Vivian Campbell, legendary bassist Jimmy Bain and respected drummer Vinny Appice made up what many consider to be the definitive Dio line-up.

2. Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood

Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood

Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood

The Crue’s 1989 album is their best selling thanks to the huge hits “Dr. Feelgood” and “Kickstart My Heart”. Was this album glam metal’s last big moment? Perhaps, but the album did see the band return stronger than their previous release, although for some fans, nothing will touch the evil metalness of SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, but that album may not be as “summer-ish” making DR. FEELGOOD an all around good time summer album. Sadly, things fell apart for the Crue after this album and never really got back on track 100% despite reuniting with Vince.

3. David Lee Roth – Eat ‘em and Smile

 David Lee Roth - Eat 'em and Smile

David Lee Roth – Eat ‘em and Smile

Although Van Halen was nominated several times, they oddly didn’t make the top 10. This wasn’t the case for (at the time former) VH vocalist David Lee Roth’s 1986 debut full-length solo album which comes in at #3. Backed by bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Gregg Bissonette and some of guitar-god Steve Vai’s best work, it’s no surprise that this album really had something to say and stands the test of time rather well. Going Crazy from the heat…indeed.

4. Twisted Sister: Stay Hungry

Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry

Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry

The iconic videos, the music, the anthem-like quality of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” which crossed the band over from the US metal market into mainstream consciousness, made this an album that practically every metal kid in the 80’s owned. It’s no wonder that an album so widely listened, would make for something that could be played in many situations creating instant sing-along and fist raising fun.

5. Ratt – Out Of The Cellar

RATT - Out of the Cellar

RATT – Out of the Cellar

Again from 1984 was the album that skyrocketed Ratt into the homes of the MTV generation with huge hits like “Round And Round”. What a great song – catchy, poppy, but with enough twin lead guitars to bend the ears of even many a Priest/Maiden fan.  Songs like “Wanted Man”, “Lack of Communication” and “Back for More” are all at the top of Ratt’s best material.

6. Skid Row – Slave to the Grind

Skid Row - Slave to the Grind

Skid Row – Slave to the Grind

For many of us, just seeing a list of song titles like “Monkey Business”, “Slave to the Grind”, “The Threat”, “Get the Fuck Out”, “Creepshow”, etc makes us hear the music in our head. So iconic and groundbreaking was this 1991 metal album as it slammed right into the #1 spot on the Billboard top 200, making it the first heavy metal album to do so! This was the album that made it clear the Skid Row was not just a “hair” band, but a metallic force.

7. Kiss – Crazy Nights

KISS - Crazy Nights

KISS – Crazy Nights

It’s no surprise that Kiss gets a spot in many metal fan’s summer metal listening. What is a bit odd perhaps is that this is the album to do so! The song “Crazy Crazy Nights” is clearly the track that most would recognize from the album, and it’s the one that the band has had recently in their live setlist while ignoring the rest of the album.

8. Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

Pantera - Cowboys From Hell

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell

Pantera’s fifth album from 1990 is the album which catapulted the band to international success in what seemed to many like overnight. Many fans consider this their pinnacle, the album that defined the sound, the album with a perfect blend of the Priest-like wail and the more “tough guy” hardcore edge vocals. This is the album that heralded an overall shift from the stagnant, safe, and boring mainstream sounds that glam metal had degraded into and represented what the future of metal would become. It’s just too bad that more didn’t advance and died in their stagnation making way for the unspeakable form of music that came out of Seattle soon thereafter….but that’s another story.

9. AC/DC – Highway to Hell

AC/DC - Highway To Hell

AC/DC – Highway To Hell

The last of the AC/DC albums to feature legendary vocalist Bon Scott was 1979’s HIGHWAY TO HELL. The album ranks high in many polls for best albums, so it’s no wonder with the amount of listening it receives, that it also ranks highly for recommended summer listening. The reason’s for it’s popularity, beyond the obvious that it simply is a great album, is how accepted it is for different situations and across generations. It’s played in concert arena’s before many bands take to the stage, it’s on classic rock/metal radio, people grew up with it (and other AC/DC albums) as a part of their lives so no wonder it reminds people of summer!

10. Motorhead – 1916

Motorhead - 1916

Motorhead – 1916

While Ace of Spades (at least the song) is more known, the 1916 album is a timeless classic that features such instantly recognizable tracks as “No Voices in the Sky”, “Going to Brazil”, “Shut You Down”, “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)”, and “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”

Playlists

Rdio  /  Spotify

Staff’s #1 Selections

RATT - Out of the Cellar

RATT – Out of the Cellar

EvilG: I’ve been a big fan of Ratt since I heard this album way back in 1984. So why this album as #1 for summer? Part of it is nostalgia and for how it reminds me of being young and cranking Ratt in the summer. I also picture the dusty western town from the “Wanted Man” video and think of heat and summer. As well, the band were one of the dominant forces from the Sunset Strip. The video for “Back For More” also makes me think of summer…just writing this makes me want to crank Out of the Cellar. Classic.

Y&T - Down For The Count

Y&T – Down For The Count

JP: The hit single and video for ‘Summertime Girls’ says it all. The light and fun 80’s Metal with simple lyrics about going to the beach and watching girls, set the standard for summer anthems.

Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry

Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry

Erich:  Nothing says summer and hot weather quite like the cheesy but addictive tunes of “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.  There are other great songs on here as well, sure to get any summer ride to the beach or evening cool down party going.  I played this tons of times, and even though some of my chick friends ordinarily did not like metal, they got into the message that Dee and the boys were delivering.  Its cool and unexpected that Twisted Sister composed both my favorite summer and Christmas album.

Danzig III: How the Gods Kill

Danzig III: How the Gods Kill

Aaron Yurkiewicz: Three Words: “Dirty Black Summer”.  I remember the summer of ’92 when Danzig III came out, and this song was everywhere.  From that moment forward, “”Dirty Black Summer”” officially became the heavy metal anthem of Summer.

“YEEEAA, GIMME BLACK SUMMER…OOOH!”

KISS - Crazy Nights

KISS – Crazy Nights

Marko Syrjala: Why #1? That’s a simply question. It was just the only KISS album on the list and KISS is always  the number one choice ;)

Black 'N Blue - Black 'N Blue

Black ‘N Blue – Black ‘N Blue

Waspman: This album just screams summer beach party, so when I think of having fun in the heat, this is the album I immediately reach for. Sure, it’s not the heaviest album out there, but it damn sure is one of the most fun!

Black Sabbath - Volume IV

Black Sabbath – Volume IV

InfamousButcher: Back in the early 90s, I made a lot of mix tapes for the car. The best cruising music was a tie between Sabbath and Motorhead. I played stuff from Sabbath’s Volume IV heavily in the Summer of ’92 and ’93. “Under The Sun / Every Day Just Comes and Goes”, “Wheels of Confusion”, “Supernaut”, “Cornucopia”, so many of these tracks fit with the Summer for me.

Riot - Thundersteel

Riot – Thundersteel

Rick: This is the epitome of summer music to me. There is nothing better than blasting along the highway with THUNDERSTEEL blaring from the speakers. It gets the blood pumping and gets me in the perfect mood to enjoy a nice summer’s day on the bike or in the car. I can’t help but sing along when this disc is playing. It is one of the first discs I will grab on a hot day and for that reason alone its my # 1 Summer Metal Album.

AC/DC - Highway To Hell

AC/DC – Highway To Hell

Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs: As soon as that Highway To Hell riff kicks in, I’m there! It makes me want to wind down the windows, stick on the shades and drive. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a music festival, a beach BBQ, or just chilling with a drink. What’s more – EVERYBODY – knows at least one of the songs, and EVERYBODY will join in singing it/ impersonating Angus on guitar.

If rock n roll is summer’s sandwich meat, then Highway To Hell is the squidge of sauce that truly makes it a good one.

Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood

Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood

Metalette: If you’re grilling, marinating in the pool, or cranking the radio on the boat, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood is gonna be setting a carefree, summertime mood. Good-time, glam metal tunes like “Same Old Situation”, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”, “Kickstart my Heart”, and of course the title track, “Dr. Feelgood” will make everyone want to come to your block party, ’cause that’s clearly where the party’s at. The album has a great vibe and an excellent sound that’s made to be blasted all summer long.

Whitesnake - Whitesnake

Whitesnake – Whitesnake

Brat: While some of my choices relate to seeing great bands at summer festivals, Whitesnake is full of great songs, familiar to so many people – perfect for any summer gathering.

Om - Advaitic Songs

Om – Advaitic Songs

Caitlin Smith: Summer is all about sun, BBQs and friends; and what better way to chill out than with some experimental drone metal, right? Grab your best pair of speakers, a few bottles of cider and chill as the album slowly unfolds. Underpinned by a good bit of stoner/doom elements OM stand as proof that summer really is just a different kind of grim!

Hanoi Rocks - Two Steps From The Move

Hanoi Rocks – Two Steps From The Move

Anders Sandvall: McCoy & Monroe’s best album together so far. It’s also their swansong before they called it a quit after the tragical loss of Razzle. The album is a statement of how big the band could get if it wasn’t for the loss of Razzle. A perfect album for the summer.

In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading

In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading

Connor Flello: All you have to do is listen to the opening riff before the barrage of sweet heaviness on the title track and you know why this is a great summer album. Plenty of shout-alongs, air guitaring and headbanging make an excellent recipe to making this a great album for the summer.

David Lee Roth - Eat 'em and Smile

David Lee Roth – Eat ‘em and Smile

Celtic Bob: I picked DLR’s EAT ‘EM & SMILE as my favourite Hard Rock/Metal Summer album. Why? It is an album that evokes that good time fun in the sun feel. This album and especially his previous E.P. are like a Hard Rock version of The Beach Boys. Albums that you only feel right listening to on a hot summer’s day with the sun shining down, an ice cold ale in your fist while lounging on the back deck.

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