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Deafheaven’s George Clarke: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Vocalist shouts out Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven,’ Weakling’s ‘Dead as Dreams’ and more

Deafheaven's George Clarke: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Deafheaven's George Clarke picks his 10 favorite metal albums, including Pantera's 'Far Beyond Driven' and Weakling's 'Dead as Dreams.'

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At its heart, metal has always been about pushing boundaries, and no young band has explored the outer realms of the genre as deftly as Deafheaven. Formed in San Francisco in 2010, the band nailed a unique fusion of overdriven black metal and softer shoegaze on their 2013 breakthrough LP Sunbather. “That mixture of influences has kind of always been our thing, much to some peoples’ annoyance,” the band’s guitarist, Kerry McCoy, told Rolling Stone with a laugh in 2015.

The guitar tones on Sunbather alternate between bitter and sweet, and the tempos either pummel or gently pulse, as frontman George Clarke growls like a wounded animal. Moreover, Sunbather’s echoey production and adventurous songcraft earned it a place on Rolling Stone’s recently published list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.

In an effort to poll metal artists from different generations while making that list, including Ozzy Osbourne, Lars Ulrich and Corey Taylor, among others, we reached out to Deafheaven’s Clarke and asked him what his favorite metal albums are. He emailed us back a list of 10 picks that range from LPs by obscure, sometimes controversial black-metal artists to some of the biggest names in thrash. Here is what he picked, in alphabetical order.

Slayer, ‘Hell Awaits’ (1985)

This was a difficult one because with early Slayer, how do you choose? I feel like this record is pretty unsung compared to their other albums around that time. “Kill Again,” “Praise of Death,” “Necrophiliac” … it has so many fast, unrelenting songs that created a blueprint of what was to come. 

Weakling, ‘Dead as Dreams’ (2000)

An essential pillar of American black metal, this album helped redefine what the sound was for me and so many others. It has beautiful, original arrangements that continue to influence and inspire bands of the genre decades later. 

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