The “sophomore slump” is the old adage of bands not being able to deliver after their first album. As many musicians say, you’ve got your whole life to write your first album, but only a couple of years or even just months to create the second. These bands didn’t just succeed with their second full-length, they exploded because of it.

Perhaps the most gigantic disparity between album No. 1 and No. 2 belongs to Nirvana. Though Bleach still stands as a solid work, it barely brought Nirvana prominence in their local scene, let alone internationally. However, when Nevermind landed, the entire musical landscape shifted and Nirvana was the biggest band in the world. With over 30 million copies sold, Nevermind remains a revolutionary record.

Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla was pretty solid, but many attest that Sad Wings of Destiny is the first true heavy metal album. With the massive “Victim of Changes” riff, Priest became Metal Gods, influencing generations of metal bands to come. Side A of Sad Wings is essentially perfect, with Side B further establishing Priest as metal’s new torchbearers.

We all remember our first time hearing “Chop Suey!”. System of a Down’s self-titled debut was a big underground hit, but the bizarro Armenian-Americans had unexpected and ridiculous success with Toxicity, giving a young mainstream crowd the weirdest music they’d ever heard on the radio. There’s not a dud track on Toxicity and it remains one of the 21st century’s definitive works.

Check out these Top 10 Albums That Debunked the ‘Sophomore Slump’ in the Loud List above.

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