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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,
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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