Slipknot's Corey Taylor: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums - Rolling Stone
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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.'

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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. 

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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