Rolling Stone magazine recently conducted a poll for the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.
Metal fans are very passionate and opinionated, and they knew there would be a lot of debates over this list, especially what’s truly a metal band.
“We aren’t here to settle these debates,” the publication explained. “We’re merely here to count the [top ten] votes” which are as follows:
Four Metallica albums wound up on the list, including Ride the Lightning at #10, The Black album at #8, And Justice For All at #5, and one more we’ll reveal in a minute. It goes without saying that Metallica’s one of the most important bands in metal, yet as we all know, the fans have accused the band of selling out for years.
Like RS points out, Ride the Lightning, a thoroughly brutal album by most standards, had a ballad which “a small minority saw as a sell-out move.” Then they finally did their first video for One on the Justice album.
“Back then, MTV was the domain of hair metal bands, but Metallica knew that One deserved to be heard by a wide audience, and they felt there was a way to create a video without seeming cheesy. The result is a haunting short film that is the complete opposite of Girls Girls Girls.”
Looking back on the Black album, it “doesn’t seem like an insane departure form their previous work, but there’s still a very vocal minority of fans who feel that [this album] was the beginning of the end.”
The other albums that made the list include Led Zeppelin II at #9, Guns N Roses’s Appetite For Destruction at #7, Slayer’s Reign in Blood at #6, Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast at #4, the first Black Sabbath album at #3, which Stone rightly called “the Big Bang of heavy metal,” and Sabbath’s best known album, Paranoid, at #2. As Rolling Stone notes about Paranoid, the album was “an absolute masterpiece the group never quite managed to top,” and “the songs on this disc have always been at the center of their live set.”
So what did the fans vote as the most important metal album of all time? Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
As with any list like this, you can debate an album or two and you can argue whether this or that band is really metal or not, as well as fight over what order of importance the albums should be in. (We metal fans like to argue like that a lot.)
But for once, these albums actually belong one the list above, as they are indeed very important to the genre’s history.