Jul 17, 2008
Popular Products in Video GamesThe Bottom Line Too many metal lists spoil the broth
Heavy Metal album lists are found in every metal magazine these days. Whether it be the esoteric genius of England's Terrorizer, the now semi corporate, yet still enjoyful Metal Maniacs or even the borderline poser attitude of Revolver, the tributes to every metal album in the past 40 years never seem to end in the pages of these magazines. Or any metal magazine for that matter. There is nothing inherently wrong with writing lists of the alleged "greatest" or most "influential" metal albums of all time, but let us be honest, these lists are the epitome of subjectivity.
Every "best of" heavy metal list has its favorites. Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, and Pantera are going to be found in any ordinal list on top heavy metal records. Not that this should come as a shock to anyone. Come on, without these bands heavy metal would not be the brutal genre metal heads hold so dear in our black hearts, but it does raise the issue of favoritism and can leave out lesser known but still very influential bands off the list. First off this writer will go one record my saying that Black Sabbath and Slayer are my favorite bands of all time. Nothing comes close, with the exception of a few other bands but there are so many bands that these lists fail to mention or perhaps they recommend only one of their respective albums.
Perhaps the biggest problem with metal lists is something this writer likes to call the Metallica Syndrome. The belief that AT LEAST 2-4 Metallica records must be in every list. Why is this? Because Metallica is the most popular heavy metal band in there. Not necessarily the most influential or the best, but the most popular. This creates a problem when a group of editors and writers come together to discuss how the list will pan out. To adhere to the Metallica standard that Master of Puppets is the quintessential metal album, limits the types of metal subgenres that are included in a list. Metallica is a thrash band, which is why in so many metal albums it comes as no surprise that about half of the albums listed are either traditional/early heavy metal, NWOBHM, or thrash records and maybe the occasional melodic death metal album (looks over at picture of Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates.) Very few grindcore, technical death or doom metal bands are recognized and the only black metal albums even acknowledged are those from the early era of black metal from 1980-1985 or the infamous and almost tiresome 'classic' era of black metal from 1990-1994 when black metal was still 'true'. Alas, heaven (or hell forbid) that a post 1995 black metal album or albums are included in a list.
The end result are lists compiled of albums that most metal heads either own or plan to own and a disregard for newer albums or even older albums from bands that never broke big. So what it turns into is a big butt kissing fest as opposed to informing readers of the great metal album they may have missed in the past 40 years or so. Of course one must keep in mind that these magazine have to interview these bands as well and it is highly doubtful Revolver will get an interview with Metallica if they disregard or even criticize one of their albums.
Good Records to check out in no order
Black Sabbath- Master of Reality
Slayer- Seasons in the Abyss
Danzig- How the Gods Kill
Death- Individual Thought Patterns
Sepultura-Beneath The Remains
Prong-Beg to Differ
Nile- In Their Darkened Shrines
At the Gates- Terminal Spirit Disease
Morbid Angel-Altars of Madness
Prong-Beg to Differ
Carcass- Symphonies of Sickness
Napalm Death-Smear Campaign
Possessed- 7 Churches
Cannibal Corpse- The Bleeding
Judas Priest- Stained Glass