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Slipknot and Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Singer shouts out classics ranging from Korn’s ‘Korn’ to Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’

Slipknot and Stone Sour's Corey Taylor: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Slipknot's Corey Taylor picks his 10 favorite metal albums, including Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' and Korn's 'Korn.'

Alessandro Bosio/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty

For the past 20 years, Corey Taylor has been Slipknot‘s mouth behind the mask. He and his eight bandmates pummeled their way onto the rock charts with a particularly aggressive take on nu-metal with their double-platinum–certified self-titled album in 1999, and they secured their footing as genre leaders on 2001’s Iowa, which ranked among Rolling Stone’s recently published list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. Their mini-empire has included a streak of Top Five–charting albums and the band’s own Knotfest, which will return later this year.

He’s also lived a double-life as the frontman for Stone Sour, a hard-rock band that put out its self-titled debut in 2002 in which he continues to wave the flag for metal. In 2015, that group put out a pair of covers EPs that offered a glimpse into Taylor’s tastes, including versions of songs by Judas Priest, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer and many others. And outside of Stone Sour, which has a new album out this week, he has worked with Soulfly, Korn and Zakk Wylde, and he came close to working with Anthrax, before original singer Joey Belladonna returned, though contractual conflicts kept him out of that project.

Because of Taylor’s taste and stature in the metal community, he was among the first people Rolling Stone consulted when we began work on the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time, and he gave us a list of his 10 favorite metal albums. “Let’s just do it in no real order,” he said. “There are four or five more that I could probably stick on there, but I think this is a good top 10.” Here’s what he picked in alphabetical order. 

Iron Maiden, 'Somewhere in Time' (1986)

Iron Maiden, ‘Somewhere in Time’ (1986)

That was my favorite Maiden album, because that was my Maiden album. Obviously, I went back and I got into [their 1982 album] Number of the Beast and the first two, and [1984’s] Powerslave, and all that shit. But [Somewhere in Time’s] “Wasted Years” was my fucking soundtrack for years, and I think it’s probably one of the most perfect heavy-metal songs ever written – just from a song standpoint, not riffage or anything like that. It’s just so fucking catchy. And you can still put it on, to this day, for people who don’t like heavy metal, and they’ll dig it. It’s just got a cool vibe to it. 

And that whole album is fucking brilliant, man. Whether it’s the pseudo-title track [“Caught Somewhere in Time”], “Heaven Can Wait,” “Stranger in a Strange Land” or “Alexander the Great.” I took that last song in and played it for my fucking eighth-grade history class, and they were blown away. They were like, “Whoa, this is kind of cool.” This is back when hip-hop was really starting to take over. And I was like, “Hold on. Hip-hop is cool, but check this out. These guys are singing about history.” And my teacher let this happen. It was like a fucking seven-minute tune. It was either that, or they let me do [Iron Maiden’s 1984 rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem] “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” and they certainly weren’t gonna let me do that. It was perfect, man. It was really, really good.

Judas Priest, 'Screaming for Vengeance' (1982)

Judas Priest, ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ (1982)

Everybody has their own Judas Priest record, and this one was mine. I know a lot of people talk about [their 1980 album] British Steel or they talk about [1990’s] Painkiller or whatnot, but in between those, they put out the the perfect fucking power-metal album, outside of the stuff that Iron Maiden was doing, to my ears. Screaming For Vengeance was just so fucking dope, dude. Whether it was the opening with “The Hellion” right into “Electric Eye,” or going into “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” the whole fucking album is amazing. And the title track is ridiculous. Just hearing those fucking [screams], that crazy shit coming out of your fucking speakers. I was like, “What? Should I be listening to this, man?” But it was such a great album and it really showed their evolution, just how fucking amazing that band is. 

A lot of people don’t give Priest nearly enough credit. They talk about how they started, but they don’t talk about their whole discography and just how different and how motivated they were with each record. They would change with every album, whether it was going a little lighter with [1988’s] Ram It Down or coming back just screaming the fuck out of shit like Painkiller. They didn’t have any limits. They’re fucking brilliant, man. Still, to this day, they’re one of my favorite bands. 

Korn, 'Korn' (1994)

Korn, ‘Korn’ (1994)

I feel like people have forgotten how explosive and poignant Korn were when they hit the scene. To me, I would put that on the same level as Appetite [for Destruction] and Nevermind as far as albums that shifted things culturally. It’s just one of those “Where the fuck did this band come from?” kind of moments. They were that fucking pivotal for so many people in their lives. Especially me. And to this day, that album holds up.

There’s a fucking edge to it like nobody’s business, and it’s so different. You’ve got the darkness of “Clown” and “Daddy.” You’ve got shit like “Ball Tongue” where you’re just like, “What the fuck is happening right now?” It’s so crazy. There’s a reason why half their fucking set is their first album; it’s because it’s the shit. It’s pretty fucking badass, man. And I love the fact that I’m friends with all those guys. That makes me really happy. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the balls to tell them just how fucking important that first album was. But God, it is pretty fucking good. 

Megadeth, 'Peace Sells ... but Who's Buying?' (1986)

Megadeth, ‘Peace Sells … but Who’s Buying?’ (1986)

I know a lot of people go for [Megadeth’s 1990 album] Rust in Peace when it comes to Megadeth, and that’s cool. I just thought Rust in Peace was a cleaner production, whereas Peace Sells still felt like a thrash-metal album. It had a dirtier production to it, even in the remixes, which I can’t stand; the original just feels dirtier. There’s an edge to it that you didn’t hear anywhere else. So that whole album to me – which is honestly such a riff clinic, it’s so fucking dark and awesome – is probably the album that got me into Megadeth. That’s the album that’s the album that got me into the harder-edged metal.

Metal Church, 'The Dark' (1986)

Metal Church, ‘The Dark’ (1986)

That was one of the albums that somebody put on a tape for me, and I didn’t know who they were until I asked. I just remember listening to all the songs, especially “Start the Fire” and “Ton of Bricks,” and the title track is pretty fucking dope. I just remember going, “Fuck man, this is so badass. Who is this?” And they told me, so I went out and bought the album. And it’s got a cover like, “Ugh, what’s going on in there?” It’s a fucking killer album. If people haven’t heard it, it’s so fucking underrated that it’s almost critical how good that fucking album is. There’s a reason why Stone Sour did a cover of “The Dark”: It was just such a great song. To this day, I still listen to it. It’s just such a fucking dope tune, such a dope album. I feel like more people should know about it.

Metallica, 'Master of Puppets' (1986)

Metallica, ‘Master of Puppets’ (1986)

This one would be my number one, if we were going from 10 to one. It’s my favorite metal album. It is the perfect metal album. There is no fucking way that you could improve on that album. Ever. And I have gotten in fucking arguments with people that are like, “Well, what about Sabbath? What about this or that?” It’s like, “Yeah, but Black Sabbath wasn’t a fucking full album from top to bottom.” It was cool, you got into it later. But fucking Master of Puppets is perfect from the first strum of the guitar on fucking “Battery” to the last fucking hit of “Damage, Inc.” It is perfect! And I will fight anyone who says differently, and win! Because I will have the righteousness of God on my side [laughs], and just take no shit. 

The album is heavy and yet it’s so fucking melodic. It is badass and yet it has moments of pure fucking contemplative cool flow stuff. It is sludgy and yet will rip your fucking head off. And it has the best Metallica song ever written, “Disposable Heroes,” on it. That fucking song is a clinic, not only in alternate picking, but also down picking. I can’t play it, and I can play almost anything. That’s how good it is. 

So that to me hits everything. It’s got some of James [Hetfield’s] best performances, and the whole band is amazing on it. And it’s got some of his best lyrics on it. You listen to it and you’re like, “This is criminal, how fucking good this album is.”

Pantera, 'Far Beyond Driven' (1994)

Pantera, ‘Far Beyond Driven’ (1994)

That album is so sludgy. I loved [Pantera’s 1992 album] Vulgar Display of Power, and obviously everybody gravitates toward that one just because it’s got the songs, it’s got the whatever. But to me, Far Beyond Driven was the first example of what a modern metal production could sound like. It was so thick and the mix was a little angrier. To me, it was the first time that you could really hear how heavy they could go and how willing they were to just drive that shit home. And it’s got my favorite Pantera song on it, which is “Becoming.” That song alone wins. Just when you thought you had some shit figured out, fuck you. You’re done. 

Sepultura, 'Roots' (1996)

Sepultura, ‘Roots’ (1996)

That album … Jesus Christ. I mean, besides Iowa, that album is probably one of the thickest-sounding, heaviest-sounding albums that I’ve ever heard, from a production standpoint. It’s so gross and yet so fucking awesome. You can almost hear the hair on it [laughs]. Ugh. And some of the songs and the riffs are just so brutal that you’re just like, “Holy shit, man.” That, to me, that’s my favorite Sepultura album. I mean, I love all their albums, but that one… Probably everybody loves it, but to me, that one’s just really special because it was another evolution. That album doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how fucking inspirational it was for a lot of people and a lot of artists. So it’s a shame. 

White Zombie, 'Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head' (1995)

White Zombie, ‘Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head’ (1995)

That fucking album is so fucking dope. I don’t even know if people would even consider that a metal album, but I do, just for the fact that it’s so riffy. The “Electric Head” songs, parts 1 and 2, are so fucking heavy. It’s just a gorgeous, cool, artistic heavy-metal album. It’s got so many great songs on it. Never mind “More Human than Human,” “Super-Charger Heaven” is one of the heaviest fucking songs I’ve ever heard. And when you listen to it with the companion remix album, which is even cooler, you just get this whole sense of the potential that metal can have if you really open yourself up to all types of experimentation and no limits. It’s just such a fucking killer album. I still listen to it to this day. 

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