The Top 21 Bay Area Metal Albums: The Complete List

12. High on Fire, Death is This Communion
From the raw rumble of 2000's The Art of Self Defense through this year's conceptual time-travel opus De Vermis Mysteriis, High on Fire has amassed a body of work few modern metal bands can touch. Still, it was the Jack Endino-produced Death is This Communion that marked the addition of ex-Zeke bassist Jeff Matz and the first time Matt Pike's gargantuan Iommi-isms and Dez Kensel's thunderous drums were captured in an analog glory that truly did the band justice. "Fury Whip," "Turk," and the galloping "Rumors of War" show High on Fire executing its violent sledgehammer science with a new level of precision and intensity. -- Dave Pehling

11. Faith No More, Angel Dust
Faith No More may have made an MTV splash with "The Real Thing" -- its first album with Mike Patton -- but Patton began to stretch his legs on Angel Dust, bringing the vocal hijinks he first employed with Mr. Bungle. The result is an altogether stranger, but deeply authentic record. His theatrical delivery, coupled with the band's pitch-perfect music, makes for gripping listening, particularly on the chilling "Caffeine" and on "RV," somehow both soul-leaching and country-carnivalesque. Arguably Faith No More's finest hour. -- Beth Winegarner

10. Blue Cheer, Outsideinside
Blue Cheer's corrosive take on the Eddie Cochran nugget "Summertime Blues" is frequently cited as a pivotal proto-metal moment, but it was the band's 1968 effort Outsideinside that elevated the punishing attack of bassist Dickie Peterson and guitarist Leigh Stevens to a higher, heavier plane. "Come and Get It" delivers the locomotive wallop of a Mot├Ârhead tune, even though it was tracked when a pre-Hawkwind Lemmy was still shifting amps for Hendrix. Factor in the flanged drums and fuzz-fueled fury of "Just a Little Bit," the headlong 90-second instrumental assault of "Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger," and the cowbell-banging mayhem of "Babylon," and you have a cornerstone of future heaviness. -- Dave Pehling

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