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

Categories: Metal

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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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No Dictators?  No credibility!


Leeway born to expire and the first Breakdown demo


There's a lot missing And amongst them is D.R.I. Dealing with it

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

I'm glad (surprised, actually) Anthrax 'Among the Living' made #1 from this list.

Àdouble Poisse
Àdouble Poisse

Winter should have been higher on the list! Biohazard too!


Anthrax should have gotten #1 for "Fistful of Metal" but the only way that'd happen is if i put the list together myself. some i wouldn't argue are Sick of it All, Cro Mags, Agnostic Front, and of course Riot and Twisted Sister. Bad Brains were transplants from DC but gimme a break they were the best hardcore band in New York for the entire 1980s. Murphy's Law debut should have been high up on the list as well. Carnivore "Retaliation" is the most overrated piece of shit record ever in my opinion. i can't understand how anyone likes it even a little bit


Nothing from Dream Theater, DIO, KISS, Adrenaline Mob, Creation's End, Cannibal Corpse, HolyHell, MANOWAR, White Zombie, Virgin Steele, Symphony X, or Dark Empire, fail list is fail..


It is criminal that acts like Nausea, Cattlepress, The Crumbsuckers and yes THE MISFITS / SAMHAIN are missing. Also, Overkill should be in there for the Metal. Life of Agony? Those guys blew. Also, if mentioning Biohazard, that demo is the real star of their catalog.


Very nice list, but no Overkill or Misfits?


Now WHY would you mix up Hardcore with Metal. It's two completely different types of music? Doesn't anyone think before they make articles like this?


For the record, the elitist Village Voice never gave a shit about blue collar outer borough music when I was a kid.


LOA, La Famiglia forever. Recorded at Joey Z's Method of Groove Studio for my band, Cadillac Rock Box' 2 albums. Joey Z is also featured on our song Breathe.

I have seen LOA shows from '95-'08 counting in the hundreds, I'd have to count my tickets.
25 August 2005, I opened for LOA at then Jaxx in Springfield, Va. with my band, GONE MISSING, and in '06, with Cadillac Rock Box.

Great band, great music and recording with a musical hero and having him on our record, was a fan's dream come true.

On our song's Hail Mary and How It Ends, Joey Z called our guitarist, The Unsigned Dimebag. Helluva compliment humbly accepted.

If you want to hear Joey Z's work with us, head over to

And yes, because of Anthrax, that's how we got our name. Track 10, We've Come For You All

Every band on this countdown, I have their whole catalogue. Why? NYCHX is the home for HX!

J Erickson
Cadillac Rock Box
US Army Veteran (Paratrooper)


A few glaring omissions here: Leeway "Born to Expire," Agnostic Front "Victim in Pain," Nuclear Assault "Handle With Care," Killing Time "Brightside," Crumbsuckers "Life of Dreams," although I'm not a fan, something from Overkill???

epac666 topcommenter

This is actually a pretty decent list (although would've liked to have seen Overkill represented). Nice to see the oft-forgotten Riot with their best album "Fire Down Under".

NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

@jofftanD.R.I. is from Houston, then SF



'fits and overkill are from new jersey.    contrary to popular belief, new jersey is not part of new york.

Torqemada topcommenter

Says the phaggot with the muscle selfie.


@Joe Sombrotto Too bad you don't like it.


@Joe Sombrotto  Maybe for you its soulless, but for the people that live in nyc and supported the scene going to shows and buying the music it was a lifestyle.

If you didnt have anything to say in support of this column why talk about it at all

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