Staring down the barrel of a new decade, many rockers found themselves at a crossroads in 1989: They could continue making the type of music that launched them to stardom, or they could stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing tides.

As our list of Top 20 Hard Rock and Metal Albums of 1989 proves, some of them played their cards right, while others enjoyed their last gasp of major success.

It was a year that saw several platinum and multiplatinum releases from the glam-metal genre that had dominated much of the '80s. Motley Crue scored their first chart-topping album with Dr. Feelgood, while Aerosmith continued their incredible comeback with the seven-times platinum Pump. Alice Cooper successfully reinvented himself with Trash, while Skid Row and Warrant established themselves as hot up-and-comers with their debut albums.

Yet the most significant hard rock and metal albums of 1989 didn't adhere to the template established several years earlier. Instead, they saw new artists breaking the mold and helping to bridge the gap between the '80s and '90s. Artists like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry made great strides in the burgeoning industrial metal genre, while Nirvana and Soundgarden signaled that Seattle would soon supplant Los Angeles as the new hard rock epicenter.

Within a few years, the entire scene would get a facelift, and several of the bands on this list would be relegated to the dustbin of history. But for a brief moment in time, they were able to coexist. As a result, our list of the Top 20 Hard Rock and Metal Albums of 1989 has something for rock fans of all stripes.

Top 20 Hard Rock and Metal Albums of 1989

The tides were shifting, but that didn't stop these rockers from putting out great work.

Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli

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