When Rolling Stone began work on our list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time, we reached out to a few big names, like Ozzy Osbourne, Lars Ulrich and Corey Taylor, to find out what their favorite metal albums were. Now that we’ve published the list, we’ve decided to check in with other luminaries in the genre to get their picks.
For nearly two decades, Avenged Sevenfold have played with the limits of heavy metal, injecting the genre with catchy, off-kilter melodies and stretching the form into lengthy concept albums, like 2016’s The Stage. After their auspicious sophomore LP, 2003’s Waking the Fallen, became a surprise Top 10 hit, they refined their sound on the follow-up, 2005’s City of Evil, garnering MTV play for the single “Bat Country,” a platinum record and a slot on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list. Subsequent LPs have debuted at Number One, and Avenged Sevenfold have made a name for themselves on the road, where they are currently opening for Metallica.
Considering all of this, we hit up the band’s frontman, M. Shadows, to see what metal albums resonated most with him. “When I made this list, I was trying to think of records that really impacted me stylistically, like, ‘Wow, you can do that with heavy metal,'” he tells Rolling Stone. “So I tried to think of those landmark moments in my life when I heard a different sound that sparked something.”
Here’s what he picked, in alphabetical order.