Yhann Ortiz

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05.14.12 The Ten Albums That Changed My Life

The Ten Albums That Changed My Life

These albums changed the way I listen to music. Some of them simply rdefined my tastes, while others expanded my musical horizons. Read on.
10 Sticky Fingaz
Black Trash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones

Starting things of with a shocker...yes, Sticky Fingaz' debut solo album helped me appreciate what an actual MC is. He was my first (and probably still is) my favorite rapper and helped me judge MC's as actual musicians the same way that I judge guitar players. It takes huge writing skill, verbal dominance and charisma to be a good rapper, and thanks to Sticky, I can see that.
9Guthrie Govan
Erotic Cakes

This is the most recent addition to my list. Although I had always messed around with the fusion genre, I wasn't really blown away by it....until I heard Guthrie. The way the man works his way through the fret board was something completely alien to my ears. As a guitar player, it opened up new horizons in the way I could mess around with sweep picking, tapping and all-round innovative melodies. After hearing this, I went back and heard Frank Gambale and Al Di Meola and "understood" it this time around. So basically, I owe my love for fusion guitar to Guthrie.
8 Public Enemy
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

This is the first rap album I ever owned, and the first actual exposure to the genre. Like most metalheads, my interest sparked when I first listened to Anthrax's cover of Bring the noize. After a couple of listens, I got curious and listened to the original one. it took me a couple of tries to "get it", but after I did, I was hooked. The rest of the album was really good to, though as of now, it isn't really my style of rap. That said, it's the album that showed me the ropes of the genre and how to appreciate it, and I still play Don't believe the hype and black steel in the hour of chaos regularly. What, you think im jokin'?!?!
7 Megadeth
Greatest Hits: Back to the Start

When I was growing up, most of the music I discovered was limited to my parents' catalog. One fateful afternoon, I heard "Washington is next!" on the radio (though at the time, I didn't knew the name). IT ROCKED! After the announcer said that it was Megadeth, I eagerly asked my father if he had any Megadeth records. He was completely unfamiliar with the band. I just HAD to get some records. So the next day, with my own money, I bought the first Megadeth compilation I could find. Although the song wasn't in it, I fell in love with it. I always consider this record essential to my musical expansion because it was the first one that I actually went on my own and bought. After this, I started to look for similar artists and such and my REAL love for metal was born.
6Tony MacAlpine
Maximum Security

Let me start with saying that Tony MacAlpine might be the most underrated shredder of all time. I urge anyone that hasn't heard of him to check him out. Start by this album. You won't regret it. With that out of the way, I heard this out of my father's recommendation. I was really big on Vai and Malmsteen, but this guy was just at another level. The melodies played in this album are nothing short of phenomenal, and his technical prowess is unmatched. This is definitely one of the albums that has influenced me the most as a guitar player. Every time I have doubts on how to write a specific lead section, I always pop this gem in to find inspiration.
The Sound of Perseverance

A short time after getting into Megadeth (I was roughly 14-15) and discovering great metal bands not played on the radio, It was only a matter of time until I stumbled upon the extreme metal genres. I used to agree with most closed- minded "dad rockers" on regards of the subject: Everything with harsh vocals and fast music was death metal, AND AWFUL. A good friend of mine recommended me some Death, and showed me a couple of their videos. I actually really liked it. They were heavy, dark, and wrote some mean riffs that I was completely unfamiliar with. Hell, even the vocals sounded cool. After months of doubt, I ended up buying this record. And what a record it was. I was afraid that it would have been to heavy for me, but after the first song, I didn't care. It was so damn heavy and so damn awesome, I couldn't stop listening to it. Next thing I knew, I was into death metal.
4Wu-Tang Clan
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Although Public Enemy's nation of millions introduced me to the art of rap, and Sticky's Black Trash taught me what a good MC is capable of, it wasn't until I heard this album that I officially became a rap fanatic. It's definitely not an easy album to get into. Just like PE, it took me a while for it to sink in...but when I got it, well, I GOT IT. The amount of culture and slang in the lyrics is overwhelming. Every song is overflowing with each of the 9 members distinct styles and personality traits. The production is perfect, and RZA's beats are sharp. This album is always on point...with the beats, with the rhymes, everything.
3System of a Down

I first heard this album when I was like 12. I don't even remember where I got it. All I know is that It kicked my ass. At the time, the only thing that I listened to was 80's hard rock and nu-metal. It was BY FAR the heaviest thing I had heard. Every riff was so kick ass, and the vocals were top notch. 6 years later and its still one of my favorite albums of all time. This album is extremely important to me because it defined my love for the heavier stuff. Nuff said.
2 Styx
Styx - Greatest Hits

Wow. Listening to this brings me way back. I can't think of a time in my life were this album wasn't present. It's the one that my parents made me listen to since I was just a child. It was my first favorite album actually. Every time I listen to the opening piano notes from "Lady" I get goosebumps. The melodic, prog songs here are ace. What else can I say? There are some pretty great songs in this album. There are some that flat out suck. But one thing is still certain: It defined my taste for years to come.
1Dream Theater
Images and Words

Here it is: The most important album of my life. Like Styx, it was introduced to me by my father at a very young age. Unlike Styx however, I never really "grew out" of it. In fact, its always been relevant to my musical tastes. All of the songs here have been my "favorite song" at least once. From the shredtastic heavy metal sections to the cheesy ballads, everything about this album has been reflected later on in my musical library. The best part of all? Every time I revisit this one, I find something new to like about it. It's like the wise grandpa you visit every few years that always has something new to say.
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