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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Naked City, 'Torture Garden' (1990)
100
91/100

91. Naked City, 'Torture Garden' (1990)

Iconoclastic jazz rebel John Zorn has always embraced any influence, no matter how extreme: In the Seventies and Eighties, he could often be found honking through a duck call, sowing dizzying chaos through "game"-based improvisation or channeling the turn-on-a-dime schizophrenia of Carl Stalling's Warner Bros. cartoon music. His most notorious project, Naked City, followed a love affair with the furious grindcore blastbeats spilling from England (score sketches had things like "NAPALM BLAST" scrawled on them) and the chaotic noise-punk gargling from Japan. For an album of 26 grind-length songs (longest track, 79 seconds), Zorn's pained sax, a crew of seasoned downtown jazzers and Boredoms vocalist Yamatsuka Eye screech, gurgle and spray through heavily composed, ADD freakouts. Zorn concocted a blend of extreme metal and out-jazz that was as rigorously structured as contemporary classical music, resulting in brutally disorienting, genre-defying bursts that can make Dillinger Escape Plan sound like disco. Describing the 52-second "Speed Freaks" to NPR, Zorn said, "I think there's something like 30 or 40 different styles of music in less than a minute. Each one is one bar long." Zorn's deranged, often perversely loony, switches of time and mood can still be felt across the high-minded, no-holds-barred slice-and-dice of avant-metal's composer class: Mike Patton, Kayo Dot, Yakuza and others. C.R.W.

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