Best Metal Albums for Raising a Future Metalhead

They say it’s important to teach your kids a good foundation early on, and I can only assume “they” are talking about classic metal albums. After all, I want to raise my daughter right; if that means Swedish Melodic Death Metal 101 comes later, so be it! We’ll play things by the book.

As Mostly Metal Parents it’s our responsibility to usher in the next generation of metalheads. This means providing our progenies with timeless works of the genre’s forefathers. So slip one of these on after her evening bath or when she goes down for a nap, and she’ll be following you in your footsteps before she can even say your name.

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Album cover for Black Sabbath's Paranoid.

As far as I’m concerned, Black Sabbath is the first metal band to ever exist. That’s how this household is run, dammit! Paranoid may not be Sabbath’s deepest cut, but I think it’s a more significant, more refined metal sound. Yeah, “Black Sabbath” the song is almost enough to singlehandedly change my mind, but against “War Pigs,” “Hand of Doom,” and “Fairies Wear Boots,” my daughter will be off to a better start. Look, as soon as she’s lolling her head in time to “Iron Man,” I’ll know I’ve made the right choice.

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

Album cover for Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast.

How do you introduce just one Maiden album to your burgeoning metal disciple? Simple – choose the one with the most satanic imagery! In all seriousness, it’s the quality of the songs I want her to focus on; the other stuff is just an added bonus. Number is not my favorite Maiden album, but I’m not sure which is really, so when in doubt, stick with the classics. “Number of the Beast,” “Children of the Damned, ” “Hallowed Be Thy Name” – do I really need to go on? This is just the tip of the iceberg that is Maiden’s discography. With luck, those NWOBHM boys will put out at least one more before they’re through.

Judas Priest – British Steel

Album cover for Judas Priest's British Steel.

I really, I really want this to be Painkiller. Not to discredit British Steel, which is admittedly both metal and British as fuck, but I suppose Painkiller will be a nice treat when she’s older and she can really appreciate the change in direction. For now, however, she’ll enjoy hits like “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” which pretty much provide a blueprint to a metal lifestyle. I mean, the song “Metal Gods” is on this album. “Metal Gods!” You don’t get much more self-explanatory than that.

Metallica – Master of Puppets

Album cover for Metallica's Master of Puppets.

Yeah, I know the Black Album has an actual, literal lullaby on it. That’s useful for babies, but I’m looking for staying power. Master of Puppets is timeless, the result of a metal band defining what “metal band” even means with blistering tracks like “Battery” and “Damage, Inc.” while taking the genre to new places with “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “The Thing That Should Not Be.” And once we’re done here, it’s onto …And Justice for All. That way if this whole plan of mine backfires, she’ll have some appropriate lyrics to pin the blame on me: “Dear Mother, Dear Father / What is this hell you have put me through”

Start ‘Em Young

There are plenty more albums I could have included, but this is a good start. So before you go asking “why isn’t X on this list?!” know that it’s entirely up to you what albums you show your kids. It’s an open curriculum! Just so long as your intentions are in the right place – namely, making sure your child has a taste in music as good as yours.

Now, I don’t want to come right out and reveal my diabolical plans, but maybe I’ve got ulterior motives for this whole Mostly Metal Dad thing. This could be my way of corrupting today’s youth, starting with molding my very own in my image. But consider that she’s only two and a half months old; my daughter can’t really understand any of it yet. If or when she decides to perceive these albums as more than just senseless noise, well, that day is a long way off.

Will showing her classic metal albums really have any impact on her future musical preferences? Maybe not, else I’d have started right from the womb. But then she might be able to take me to court for subliminal messaging.

Baby Sleep Tricks

Getting my daughter to sleep every night is the hardest thing. She’s tired, I’m tired, Mom’s tired. Everyone’s tired. It’s the point where a band would go on “indefinite hiatus.” That, or stick at it long enough to develop a seething hatred of each other.

So you can see how much I very much won’t let that happen. It’s why I’ve had to adopt a whole slew of baby sleep tricks to make sure my daughter gets her beauty sleep. Some are more metal than others, and a lot of them don’t work all the time. But they’re all designed to help keep the band together.

Tanking Up

Every night is a heavy drinking night. No – not for me! I get droopy-lidded after a single beer. But my daughter, now she can knock ’em back, like Lemmy on a binge-drinking stint. The idea is to get as much tryptophan as she can stomach flowing through her so she’ll conk out as soon as she hits the bassinet. Half an hour of feeding right before bedtime is usually enough to get her head lolling, but the more the better. We might pay for it in early AM poops later, but that’s a risk we’re all too willing to take. Sometimes you getting the night started is the first victory in a long night’s war.

Rock Out

Bouncing slash rocking is supposed to recreate the womb environment, make babies feel secure and safe enough to fall asleep. I like to think the intense g-forces at which I rock my daughter rattles her insides so much she’d rather will herself to sleep than endure it any longer. I can’t help it; I can’t be expected to have a metronome on me at all times.

I’ve read that Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” is a near-perfect tempo to rock a baby at. But who wants to have that stuck in their head every time baby needs to go down? Not this Mostly Metal Dad. Pantera’s “Walk” suits me just fine, and my daughter seems to appreciate the slightly higher tempo anyway.

Pacify Her

My daughter resisted pacification at first. But as they say, “resistance is futile.” Honestly we just reached a point of desperation where none of the usual baby sleep tricks were working. That’s when you turn to the Forgotten Magicks, those methods you tried early on to no effect that now seem too good to be true. Putting a pacifier in her mouth now gives her a proxy nipple to suck that works so well I wonder if I somehow signed some infernal contract one bleary, sleep-deprived night. There’s not a website where you can check that, is there?

The Sh-ilver Bullet

Babies can be real monsters sometimes. You never know what supernatural immunities they’ll develop to render all your other tricks useless. That’s why you gotta have a secret weapon, and shushing happens to be mine. It’s not a failproof solution, but it has a cumulative effect when stacked with other techniques. I’ll rock her, make the “sh-sh-sh-sh-sh” sound in her ear. It doesn’t always get her to sleep, but it calms her down. Sometimes.

I really wish this technique were more metal. I mean, it’s a far cry from screaming something cool and tough like, “Die! Die! Die!” which would be problematic for a number of reasons. Still, it sounds like a silver-haired school teacher quietly scolding a student, when what I really want to be saying is, “SHUT UP JUST FUCKING CALM DOWN RGHRGHRHRHRH”

Face Stroking

“Stroking” is not a very metal word. Unless you’re talking about stroking the blade of your sword before you do battle or some other power metal fantasy-inspired lyric, I’d rather never hear about stroking ever again. But getting a willful baby to sleep by stroking her face? Okay, I’m willing to don my chainmail.

This technique is seriously black magic. It’s less a physical act than some mind game that convinces my baby she’s tired. Running my fingers from between her eyes and down the bridge of her nose is a more compelling subliminal message than the satanic undertones found in a Judas Priest court case. Sure, it won’t take when she’s on alert or freak-out mode, but like most mental warfare it works best when she’s already weak and tired.

A mock album cover of a shadow figure looming beyond a crib, which stands over a pentagram with a candle at each of its five points.

Give Her the Finger

You can do it the way you know best, of course; that as good as civil disobedience. But my daughter’s pretty alert already; she may realize the message her old man is trying to send to her and end up scorning me with her very first words. How will I explain to the wife if our daughter’s first utterances are a squeaky “fuck you” brought on by months if flipping her the bird? No, I’m talking about something else entirely.

Giving her a finger to suck on as a transition into bedtime worked wonders her first month of life. She eventually graduated to the pacifier, but there are times when I think the ‘ol finger is the last line of defense I have against the horrors of a sleepless night.

My daughter is growing. I guess babies do that? They’re a lot like mold in that way, you just let them do their thing and soon enough they’re sprouting their own personalities. But it means I’m constantly having to alter my how I attempt to get her to sleep.

All these tricks reminds me of adding new drum fills to my player’s toolbox. (Drumming, remember when I used to do that?) It’s an apt comparison, except instead of enhancing a song I’m helping teach a tiny, undeveloped human a basic function of life. Like anything, I guess even sleep has to be practiced first.

What Would Lemmy Do?

It’s the middle of the night. Your kid’s been crying her ass off for hours, and you haven’t slept a wink since 5 AM the previous morning. WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You need a true professional to take the wheel. You need to ask yourself: What would Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead do if he were in your shoes? It’s time to strap on your cowboys boots and find out!

Born to Raise Hell

Lemmy’s been on the scene a while now, so it’s safe to assume he probably knows a thing or two about babysitting. No doubt he’d know how some babies get sleepy when driven around the block, so he’d bust through the walls of the bedroom in a big white limousine. Your kid would be startled at first, but then she’d notice the friendly mutton chops, genial grin, and trademark Rickenbacker bass.

After buckling your kid up in a chromium steel car seat, Lemmy would start cruising around the block with one hand on the steering wheel, the other on a bottle of Jack. The constant motion as he careens around the block, combined with the screech of the wheels – not to mention “Ace of Spades” blaring from the speakers – would begin to lull your kid into a deep sleep. That is, until Lemmy pulls over to the local strip bar.

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead behind a steering wheel, smoking a cigarette and smiling, with a sleeping baby in the backseat buckled into a car seat with pistons attached to it.

Whorehouse Blues

While Lemmy’s getting a lapdance or two, your kid has probably woken up again, and she’s feeling kind of peckish. Although there are plenty of ladies around who could help out, Lemmy’s not one to be outdone. No doubt he had the foresight to bring plenty of milk bottles from your home (or formula, if you’re into that), and now it’s time to start tanking the kid up.

Lemmy knows there’s tryptophan in milk, which will get your kid dreary enough for a nice long nap. There’s no better drinking partner than Lemmy. He really knows how to toss ‘em back, and it’s this skill that he’ll apply to getting your kid nice and sloshed. Shots of Jack Daniels and bottles of milk will flow, and when they’re both good and tanked, it’ll be time for the final phase.

Nightmare, The Dreamtime

After all that, your kid will finally be ready to go down for a nap. Who are we kidding, Lemmy will as well (he’s going to be 70 in December). So Lemmy will break out the ‘ol Rickenbacker and warm up the vocal cords to serenade your kid to sleep. Your kid will start drifting off to the melancholy of “1916,” lulled by the soothing synths and snare marches. Sure, the lyrics are pretty grim, depicting the horrors of war for a child soldier, but she can’t understand them. What’s important is that finally, finally, she’s asleep.

But then Lemmy will probably get bored of all that slow-tempo bollocks. Motörhead hasn’t been in the business for this long by playing ballads. Your kid might start to protest in the change in decibels, but Lemmy will play “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)” to show your kid who’s boss. If she starts crying, “Deaf Forever” will let her know what he thinks of that. And of course he’ll play “Ace of Spades” again because, well, just because.

Jesus. When it comes to getting kids to sleep, Lemmy seems like a psychopath. Maybe he’s better off just being a killer frontman, he’s still got a couple good decades in him. Whatever you’re doing to put your kid to sleep has got to be better than this. Take heart that, compared to Lemmy of Motörhead, you’re probably doing just fine. Just hang in there, and all the guts and glory will be yours.