The Top 20 New York Hardcore and Metal Albums of All Time

Categories: Metal

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New York has a very rich history of strong contributions to heavy music. While the NYHC pioneers get worshipped (and justly so), New York often gets overlooked in discussions of other influential heavy music scenes. Our below choices for the Top 20 New York Hardcore and Metal Albums of All-Time will hopefully get those discussions going again, with New York getting the proper respect it deserves this time.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

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20. Biohazard
Urban Discipline (1992)
Biohazard were one of the first metal acts to gain a crossover audience with hip-hop fans. While still heavily grounded in hardcore and groove-metal, the group's second album saw them integrate rap influences to great success. Biohazard's versatility saw them being a credible opening act for both traditional metal acts such as Slayer and hip-hop acts such as House of Pain. The main single from this album, "Punishment," may be one of the most appropriately titled tracks in the history of metal.

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19. Carnivore
Retaliation (1987)
Prior to forming popular Goth-metal group Type O Negative, bassist/vocalist Peter Steele trolled in pure nihilism with this aggressive Brooklyn hardcore outfit. While there are some similar lyrical themes--failings of religion in "Angry Neurotic Catholics" and introspective depression in "Inner Conflict"--overall Carnivore was a much angrier beast and engaged in more incisive imagery on songs like "Jesus Hitler." Steele would also show off the distinctive bass sound he later refined in Type O Negative, making these songs sound as thick as they were pissed off.

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18. Made Out of Babies
The Ruiner (2008)
This now-defunct Brooklyn quartet quite nicely straddled the bridge between early '90s-style AmRep noise-rock and the post-metal atmospherics of bands like Neurosis and Isis. The shrill vocals of Julie Christmas gave off an air of emotional instability that lent chaos to the fine-tuned musical approach of the rest of the band. It may not have been "metal" in the traditional sense, but the air of desperation communicated in every track is smothering in its heaviness.

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17. Unsane
Scattered, Smothered & Covered (1995)
The skateboarding wipeouts depicted in the music video for the song "Scrape" may have gotten the most notoriety for this noise-rock trio, but everything else on this album is fully worthy of your attention. Unsane's third album was a caustic, stripped-down affair that was sheer noise punishment. Their label, Amphetamine Reptile, made its name by putting out some of the noisiest affairs in heavy music, and this was no exception.

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16. Sick Of It All
Blood, Sweat, and No Tears (1989)
Though commercial success would ensue with later releases, Sick Of It All's debut full-length would position them to be just as vital to the NYHC scene as bands that broke earlier in the decade. The riffs were heavy enough to inspire some very fired-up pitting while vocalist Lou Koller spit out insanely catchy shout-along choruses on lively anthems such as "My Life" and "Injustice System." The world view on their debut was also a little angrier than later releases, as evident on tracks like "World Full of Hate" and "Friends Like You."

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15. Riot
Fire Down Under (1981)
Riot built up their name as a heavy rock band with its first two albums, but on their third release they amped up the heaviness and put out a metallic slab that competed with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement that was happening across the pond during this time period. The songs were faster-paced and the guitars of Mark Reale were downright blazing, but the songs still retained the catchiness honed during their more traditional hard rock period.

See also: Ten Metal Albums to Hear Before You Die


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