Family Albums
by C.J. Cain

No, I'm not talking about the ones your parents brought out to show your naked baby pictures to your dates, or the ones you keep to show off your date's naked pictures to your buddies. I'm talking about actual albums that should be in everyone's music collection that says they're serious about heavy music. Since John Kay first uttered the phrase "heavy metal thunder" in Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild, there have been thousands of albums released - some unforgettable, some unforgivable - that have been classified as heavy. While it is impossible to own them all, there are a select few that illicit a universal nod of acceptance when talking about the early greats. If you are new to the lifestyle, or when it is time to sit down with your son or daughter to have "the talk" about the facts of metal, let these metallic milestones be your guide:

AC/DC - Back in Black: Never has a band suffered the loss of its singer and come back more triumphantly with guns-a-blazin! The title itself is a respectful tribute to Bon Scott, and the tracks honor his fun-loving spirit. Brian Johnson makes no effort to sound like his predecessor, instead unleashing the inimitable cigarette-tinged vocals that have characterized the band's sound for the past 20 years.

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz: His Ozzness' first post-Sabbath effort, it not only bit the head off of any doubt that he could make it on his own, it also stands as the unfortunate crowning opus of his young guitarist, Randy Rhoads. The album not only contains the quintessential Crazy Train, but is also ripe with the types of Satanic and questionable-substance references that a generation of parents blamed for society's woes.

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