After thrash's breakout year in 1986 which saw Metallica and Slayer compete for dominance with Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood respectively, heavy metal continued its upward trajectory, branching out even further into new takes on the style that had rose to prominence from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal just a handful of years earlier.

Thrash, of course, was still in full bloom as Testament came onto the scene and Anthrax continued to buck the Bay Area trend with a different sound altogether while still remaining within the very same bubble as their West Coast contemporaries. In 1987, metal began to delve further into extremity as the first wave of black metal continued to push new boundaries both stylistic and sonic and grindcore and death metal finally entered the ring after a couple years of cutting demos and forging these new, otherwordly sounds.

With the budding extreme scene offering something for those seeking the heaviest of the heavy, metal also splintered in another new direction: power metal. A hyperactive form of traditional metal, power metal stomped on the accelerator in pursuit of greater speed and even more theatrical guitar playing alongside wailing vocals. For one just getting into metal at the time, it was a year with more to choose from than ever before, though it also saw fans divide into camps as they preferred certain styles, neglecting others, creating a bit of a rift in scenes.

Look back in this historic year in the gallery above as we count down the 10 Best Metal Albums of 1987!

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