The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Marilyn Manson, 'Portrait of an American Family' (1994)
100
68/100

68. Marilyn Manson, 'Portrait of an American Family' (1994)

"I am the God of Fuck." Has there ever been a more perfect declaration of menace than this whispered statement in the early seconds of "Cake and Sodomy," the lead track from Marilyn Manson's debut? And the most delicious part of the song's blasphemous send-up of sexual hypocrisy and religion was the exquisite camp of Manson's delivery, which never let on if he was serious or sarcastic. In his autobiography, The Long Hard Road out of Hell, Manson describes that song as a turning point in his career. "If televangelists were going to make the world seem so wicked," he wrote, "I was going to give them something real to cry about." Yet as head-turning as Manson's sacrilegious smut was, it was Trent Reznor's production (plus the assistance of various Nine Inch Nails) that ultimately put teeth behind the album's leering smirk. Driven by the throbbing swirl of tom-tom and hi-hat, the searing, feedback-tinged slash of power chords, and the ingenious use of movie dialogue (much of it from John Waters movies), tracks like "Organ Grinder" and "Dogma" reeked of sex and social deviance, and proved irresistible to anyone with newly arrived hormones. J.D.C.

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