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Slayer’s Kerry King Picks His Top 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

Rolling Stone has been going to some of heavy metal’s most important figures, and asking them what their favorite metal albums of all time are. Up until now, we’ve seen a wide swath of different artists, including Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Corey Taylor, and M. Shadows. The latest edition in this series of rockers revealing their favorites is none other than Slayer guitarist Kerry King.

It’s important to note while reading this list just how much King has seen in his career as a musician. Starting back in 1981, Slayer has survived many different scenes, creating a wide perspective on what’s out there for the genre. It makes sense then that King chose AC/DC‘s Highway To Hell to lead off his selections. He notes the fact the album is tight from beginning to end, not having any filler whatsoever, and is Bon Scott‘s final recorded performance.

From there, he makes an interesting pick in Black Sabbath‘s Sabotage, a different choice than what most would expect. Still, he justifies the album well, noting how heavy the album is, as well as songs like “Megalomania” and “Symptom of the Universe” standing out. He then leads into Exodus‘ Bonded By Blood, which makes sense why he’d want Gary Holt in the current lineup of Slayer.

Afterwards, Iron Maiden‘s Number of the Beast got a tip of the cap, with King explaining how the record and Bruce Dickinson made the biggest impact possible. Even cooler, he mentions Slayer themselves dabbled in covers of Iron Maiden, including a “Number of the Beast” rendition that never made it past the rehearsal stage. Maiden are followed up by Judas Priest‘s Stained Class and Mercyful Fate‘s Melissa. 

As one of the big four thrash bands, of course King would give props to Metallica‘s Master of Puppets. He says, “If you think Metallica is thrash, and they were at one point and stayed a thrash band for quite a while, I would say they were the first thrash band. They were more established than us. I remember seeing them early on in Orange County, in a place we later frequented called the Woodstock. Me and Jeff would go do homework, see what bands were popping, and what’s happening. We heard about Metallica and they played close enough to us that we went. And all I basically remember about that is watching David Mustaine play and ripping these crazy solos and he’s not even looking at his hands. I’m like, ‘That guy f–kin’ rocks. He’s awesome. He was a great talent.’ Unfortunately, his demons got the better of him and he had to go a different route.”

The list wraps up with Ozzy Osbourne‘s Diary of a Madman, Rainbow‘s Long Live Rock N’ Roll, and Venom’s genre defining Black Metal. It’s a great list that shows a lot of differences from the top ten lists we’ve seen already from the likes of Bill Ward and Lars Ulrich, a reminder of just how diverse heavy metal is.

Read the full explanation at Rolling Stone.

Kerry King’s Top 10 Heavy Metal Albums

AC/DC, Highway to Hell (1979)
Black Sabbath, Sabotage (1975)
Exodus, Bonded by Blood (1985)
Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast (1982)
Judas Priest, Stained Class (1978)
Mercyful Fate, Melissa (1983)
Metallica, Master of Puppets (1986)
Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman (1981)
Rainbow, Long Live Rock N’ Roll (1978)
Venom, Black Metal (1982)

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