Not Surprisingly, Rolling Stone’s Metal Readers Poll Skews On The Ancient Side

Posted by on September 20, 2012

Hey guys, do you like Black Sabbath and Metallica? Apparently, Rolling Stone readers do. In fact, those two bands comprise six of the top ten albums in their reader’s poll of the top ten metal bands of all time. But by “all time,” they really mean “of all time, but ending in 1991.” This is extremely unsurprising, as Rolling Stone readers tend to be either about as old as The Rolling Stones  However, The most recent album on the list is Metallica’s Black Album, which means even the newest album on the list is old enough to drink now.

What’s worse than this unsurprising list is how little the magazine actually knows or seems to care about metal. The writeup of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast refers to “Run to the Hills” as “Run Through the Hills.”  And while Led Zeppelin is unquestionably a rock band, they’re not metal. Again, we’re not expecting much from Rolling Stone or its readers, but this might be a new low for a magazine that’s done their damnedest to ignore metal, a genre that was essentially spawned the same year as the magazine.


01. Metallica “Master Of Puppets”
02. Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
03. Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath”
04. Iron Maiden “The Number Of The Beast”
05. Metallica “…And Justice For All”
06. Slayer “Reign In Blood”
07. Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction”
08. Metallica “Metallica”
09. Led Zeppelin “Led Zeppelin II”
10. Metallica “Ride The Lightning

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  • Jake

    Ancient or not, Puppets deserves the top spot.

  • All of these albums are very standard answers. I find it hard to believe that 4 Metallica albums would make a top 10 if you polled this blog’s audience.

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  • Lord Amon

    No Electric Wizard “Dopethrone,” not an official list.

  • pheet007

    Any self respecting metal fan or real rock and roll for that matter should never take Rolling Stone magazine seriously. These curmudgeons are after the trendiest crap that’s selling like hot cakes, kiss the asses of the same handful of musicians, like Springsteen, Petty, or whatever lame ass band is on their radar. They cover rap and hip hop like they think they’re really down with that style just to try to be politically correct, and fool no one. I am not attacking rap or hip hop, but these pathetic post yuppies are out for sales and in my view wouldn’t know great rock and roll if it bit them on their collective asses. Metal is very demanding musically, has all the elements that made rock and roll great – attitude, power, huge long term fan bases and what is left of genuine rebelliousness. RS won’t play anything themselves that might actually get heavy.
    And yes, the top ten are all old albums. It was a list of 100 albums and some of the stuff wasn’t bad – Voivod’s incredible “Dimension: Hatross”, which is in my top three at any given time – but I suspect they just got a kid or grandkid to submit the lists because I seriously doubt David Fricke or other contributors ever listen to Mastodon, Celtic Frost, Motorhead, Vader, or Immolation.
    I submitted a list on metalsucks, but in commentary about more recent material that is criminally ignored, here’s 10 albums that came out after 1990, and note Metallica will be nowhere to be found, having reduced themselves to stadium pleasing mass audience pandering fakes.

    10) Morbid Angel “Domination” It may be slightly before 1990 but I’m too lazy to look it up. Nonetheless, it’s death metal at its trippiest, convoluted, and darkest. Trey Azagthoth is a brilliant guitarist and songwriter.

    9) Venom “Hell” When they regrouped with the current line-up it was time to take them much more seriously as musicians. While we love “Welcome to Hell” and “Black Metal” for their spirit if not technical brilliance, new Venom albums are not to be fucked with. They are heavy as hell and deserve your respect and attention.

    8) Floor “Oblation” Steve Rogers balances Floor with Torche – the former almost doomy riffing that can bring down water towers, and with Torche, either the most metallic pop or the poppiest metal, whichever. “Oblation” defines heavy in new ways that do not fit categorization easily.

    7) Devin Townsend “Ocean Machine” Metal’s mad scientist has tons of albums under a few different monikers, but this is his masterpiece – beautiful, heavy and full of passion almost unparalleled anywhere in any type of music. It’s that good.

    6) Electric Wizard “Dopethrone” You better make sure your pictures are nailed securely to the wall before unleashing this monster. Not terribly original, but this is so heavy it almost has its own gravity.

    5) Cathedral “Endtymes” The true heir to Black Sabbath who have since called it a day, nobody was better at paying homage to the God Iommi than guitarist Gaz Jennings while still providing great hooks and riffs of his own. This album would not have been out of place playing in the Tower of London back in the Middle Ages, so dark and foreboding as it is. Truly Gothic and bone crushingly heavy.

    4) Motorhead “Bad Magic” Lemmy’s last studio album, but you would never know how sick he was as he and the band delivered one of the best post-classic line-up albums of this great band’s history, that classic line-up of course being Lemmy, Philthy Animal Taylor and Fast Eddie Clarke. Shows that regardless of personnel, Motorhead still out rocked everybody.

    3) Pallbearer “Foundations of Burden” One of the greatest doom albums of all time, possibly only eclipsed by the follow up, the equally brilliant “Heartless”.

    2) Krisiun Everything I’ve heard. This South American trio may be the most ferocious, brutal and musically brilliant metal band of any genre. Only the mighty Vader or possibly Immolation can stand up next to this onslaught. Not for sissies. Or Rolling Stone editors and pussed out readers. Krisiun will make them go home and cry.

    1) High on Fire “Death Is This Communion” I picked their previous album “Blessed Black Wings” for the other list, but High on Fire embody the rock and roll spirit with unrelenting fury that only the mighty Motorhead was capable of matching. This three piece band are so powerful a fourth instrument like a second guitar is unthinkable, and Matt Pike’s massive guitar tone and throaty roar is truly in a class by itself in terms of sheer power and velocity, plus he plays great, too. I did score Motorhead’s “Overkill” and “Ace of Spades” very high on my other list as a tie – you can’t divide this awesome pairing.