Here are the best metal album-opening songs, ranked from No. 50 to No. 1.

Which song is selected to occupy the hallowed lead spot on any album is one of the biggest decisions a band (and their label and management) can make. Aside from singles that are released before a record (many of which tend to be the album opener), it's the first impression a fan is going to have when they set out to listen front to back.

Openers set the expectation for the rest of what lies ahead, and, as evidenced in this list below, that can be for better or for worse. There's some all-time songs that kick off some pretty average albums, but we should simply be thankful to have at least one incredible song if those other tracks don't live up to it.

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In most instances, however, these iconic openers set the stage for brilliant albums, many of them regarded as pillars of heavy metal and the various subgenres represented by the recordings.

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