10 Best Third Albums In Rock And Metal History

These legendary bands all avoided the dreaded third album curse.

Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland

There's a saying in the music business - "the difficult third album".

It makes sense when you think about it. The first album is new and exciting, the second album has all the hype of the first behind it, but the third is nothing special. There's no mystique surrounding an artist's third release and plenty of bands have been derailed by their tertiary releases.

But, as your about to find out, there are exceptions to every rule.

We've rounded up the greatest third releases from some of rock, metal, and punk's best artists and condensed them into the ten best. The criterion for this list was simple: Did the album have good songs? Has it become iconic? Is it still popular today?

We've also taken into account how the album stacks up against the two that came before it. Did the third album take the band in a new direction? Did it change the perception of them? And did it still appeal to the fans who had been there since album number one?

The answers to all these questions and more are all here, so let's not waste any more time and jump right in.

10. Master Of Reality - Black Sabbath

Birmingham, England's favourite nutter Ozzy Osbourne and friends returned for their third record in 1971, still riding high off the mammoth success of Paranoid.

The Masters of Reality sessions produced tracks like "Children of the Grave" and "Into the Void", but it was missing the big hits like "Paranoid" and "Iron Man". But that's not why this album is famous.

Guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler tuned their instruments down and didn't use reverb when they recorded. The result was a much darker, drier sound that some people claim invented the genres of stoner rock and sludge metal.

It even had an influence on grunge music twenty years later, according to Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan.

This record confirmed that Sabbath were one of the darkest bands around, both in terms of their music and presence on stage. It doubled down on their image as satanists masquerading as a rock band and placed them right at the centre of the counter culture movement.

Whilst not as commercially viable as other Black Sabbath records, Master of Reality has endured in other ways and remains popular amongst the band's faithful even now.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including professional wrestling, music, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.