It’s no exaggeration to say that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal saved metal from itself, when it simultaneously replaced and legitimized the efforts of many critically abused ‘70s pioneers (like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Judas Priest) with the next generation of denim and leather warriors.

Beginning roughly in the waning months of 1979, hundreds of bands started taking their shot at stardom across the U.K. -- so many, in fact, that some experts insist the NWOBHM phenomenon was really defined by singles, not albums.

They do have a point, but there were also many groups that successfully graduated from singles to albums, giving us more than enough options to choose from for our above list of the Top 25 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Albums.

In order to avoid clogging up the list with a dozen Iron Maiden records, we decided to focus on the absolute greatest LPs unveiled during NWOBHM’s peak years of vitality and importance, from 1980-82.

Several bands released quality albums later on in that decade, but these rarely captured the genre's evanescent mercurial spirit and blue-collar D.I.Y. approach, as you'll see in the below list of the Top 25 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Albums.