We’re continuing our journey through the decades with perhaps metal’s strongest era — the 1980s. In this list, we narrowed the decade down to find the best song of each year from 1980-1989.

You can’t talk about ‘80s music without mentioning Metallica. The rise of the Bay Area thrashers has still never been matched in metal, and their best work came throughout the ‘80s. With four landmark albums released in a five-year period, it was obvious Metallica had to represent multiple years, so you’ll see the icons entered twice in this list.

1980 was when Iron Maiden took hold of the Union Jack and led the charge for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It was essentially a perfect decade for the band, whether Paul Di’Anno or Bruce Dickinson was on the mic. Both singers actually make appearances on this list, so get ready for two eras of Maiden.

The ‘80s also saw the birth of death metal. The Godfather of Death Metal, Chuck Schuldiner, began his untouchable career in the late 1980s, penning classics like “Zombie Ritual” in 1987. Morbid Angel would bring death metal into a more extreme and blasphemous realm with 1989’s Altars of Madness and its standout track, “Chapel of Ghouls.”

Check out our picks for the 10 Greatest Metal Songs of the 1980s (Year by Year) in the Loud List above.

Top 80 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1980s

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