The 1980s proved to be a defining era for metal music, laying the groundwork that would later develop into various subgenres of the sound.

It also was a decade marked by what some would consider polar opposites in the metal scene: Glam and thrash.

Glam, to this day, is not only used to describe the evolution of metal in the 80s, but it also is closely associated with music in general during that era. Bands like Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Poison dominated the charts as they reached audiences far beyond metal-heavy locales like the Sunset Strip.

As these acts grew in popularity, so did their larger-than-life personas complete with flashy outfits and excessive lifestyles.

Meanwhile, thrash metal gained momentum thanks to acts like Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax. Their raw and unrelenting style was anything but glam.

The Loudwire staff sorted through all of the chaos of the decade to come up with this list of the Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1980s.

Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1980s

The 1980s were fertile, formative years for metal, defined by lots of genres, classifications and periods, and not to mention controversy. It's hard to believe that classic-style metal churned out by the likes of Dio and Ozzy Osbourne coexisted with the brutal, technically astounding and surgically precise bluster of thrash, as well as the eyeliner, hairspray and glam of pop metal. The 1980s truly offered something for everyone. If you liked things irreverent, loud, brash, politically charged, poppy, glittery and unforgettable, then the '80s had to be your favorite period of the genre, as it ballooned and enjoyed a period of unprecedented and rapid growth. We proudly present you with the Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1980s:

Top 11 Metal Albums Of The 1990s

The '90s were a challenging decade for metal. The enormous growth of the genre in the '80s certainly carried over at the start of the decade, with powerhouse classics from the Big 4 of thrash kicking things off at a steady clip. But what followed was the wholesale retreat of metal from the mainstream as alternative rock, grunge and bands like Nirvana challenged for cultural supremacy. Suddenly, the sullen and relatively sloppy Seattle sound was in, metal's virtuosic grandstanding out. But metal never dies, and by the middle of the '90s new mutations were sprouting up; the most visible, a rap-metal hybrid called nü-metal. Here, we turn it up to 11 with our list of the Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1990s:

Top 11 Metal Albums Of The 2000s

The first decade of the 2000s was a unique one for metal music. The mainstream media had broken off their love affair with hard alternative rock for an array of rap, pop-rock and child stars who seemed to get younger and younger. Although MTV and the like rarely played anything heavy, the rise of the Internet made both popular and underground metal acts more accessible than ever. Waves of post-hardcore, metalcore and deathcore swept the scene with short periods of dominance. Underground metal acts from around the world ensured that metal got heavier, faster and more experimental. The metal "tree of life" was constantly growing new branches as its roots remained sturdy. Here, Loudwire presents our list of the Top 11 Metal Albums of the 2000s:

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