I don't know why but now, at 28 years of age, after no longer being an angry teenager this album finally clicked with me. It's metal, it's fast but at the same time it has a really upbeat vibe and some really good melodies. I liked some songs off the first two but here almost every song is a killer (pun unintended). I can finally see or more like feel why people like it.
Well up until now I listened to stuff that had a heavier chunkier guitar sound and more pummeling riffs, stuff in the vein of thrash, hardcore and groove metal. In fact I still do. Maiden kind of lacked that, they're not a really pissed off band.
I listen to a lot of metal but only recently did this particular album really click with me. It had nothing to do with the genre labels or memes or all the other bullshit you guys care about and let yourselves be influenced by.
It varies. Depends on the mood, emotional state, and because of my personal history a lot of my favourite artists you wouldn't know since they're foreign. But if I had to rattle off a few I'd have to say Hatebreed, Ensiferum, Blind Guardian, Gryphon, Gentle Giant, Grigore Leșe and the Romanian band Phoenix.
Also I should have mentioned it depends on the activity. When I lift I pump myself up by listening to some hardcore, usually Hatebreed, Bury Your Dead's second album or Danforth. Ensiferum have some great songs, I love the Finnish style melodies they have, I find it's something you can hear even in Finnish videogame soundtracks like the one of Trine.
I hated metal as a teen, turned to punk and industrial because it was visceral and angry (It also didnt help that back then, you listened to punk OR metal, not both. Punks and metalheads were like rival gangs)
But in my early 20's I started listening to the Maiden and Priest that I had heard as a child, and fuckin' A - it's great shit!
I highly recommend Sad Wings Of Destiny by Judas Priest if you haven't heard it already
Same thing happened to me OP. When I was a teenager/young adult I went through an insecure phase and wrote off all metal as childish trash, but as I got older and realized nobody worth a damn gave a shit about what you listened to and became less insecure about my tastes metal finally clicked with me.