Yesterday, Rolling Stone revealed an updated version of their ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ list. The new incarnation is pretty much what one would expect — a lot of Beatles and Al Green albums, Nevermind and Pet Sounds — but with an overhaul that includes a ton of hip-hop and pop previously unrecognized. There’s even some metal in there, too, with Metallica, Motörhead, and Rage Against The Machine showing up among the ranks.
However, a great number of obvious inclusions — at least what we think are pretty damn obvious inclusions — were left off. Whether they were modern classics that haven’t yet been canonized or metallic milestones that are just to earnest to feel hip to the mainstream, several incredible records were somehow bumped off of Rolling Stone’s list by every Who record and a Madonna best-of album.
Here are 11 albums that Rolling Stone blanked on…
Slayer, Seasons In The Abyss (1990)
Though not as widely regarded as 1986’s Reign In Blood, 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss sees Slayer as masters of their craft. The speed of Reign and the creeping menace of 1988’s South of Heaven are merged into a united front of tempered songwriting ability and dark, psychological fury. The album also saw Slayer at the height of their fame, which is usually what Rolling Stone seems to look for when making these lists. That said, it wouldn’t be Slayer if it didn’t scare off the mainstream, so while Seasons’ omission is ridiculous, it’s certainly on-brand.
The Misfits, Walk Among Us (1982)
Though Rolling Stone’s list features albums by Black Flag and the Ramones, it somehow forgot to include this classic by what is secretly everyone’s favorite punk band. The Misfits’ lyrics about midnight movies and Mexican gore magazines may not appeal to the intellectual record collector, but Walk Among Us is more fun to play — and, of course, sing along to — than pretty much any punk album in existence. Sure, this record’s teeth are dripping with popcorn and Milk Duds, but they’re very much bared — which is perhaps why it didn’t make the list.
Lamb of God, As The Palaces Burn (2003)
While metal is represented on Rolling Stone’s list, it’s all of the classic-rock variety; in the genre’s recent history, few if any albums can top As The Palaces Burn. Wielding unstoppable momentum and righteous venom, the record is a beautiful beatdown from start to finish, embodying everything awesome about both metal’s mainstream and underground faces. Perhaps it’s because Lamb of God so appeal to the camo shorts-clad festival kid that they weren’t deemed worthy enough to sit somewhere between Alanis Morissette and Herbie Hancock on the big 500 — a shame, because it would’ve shown some stones on the RS staff’s part to include them.
Alice Cooper, Welcome to my Nightmare (1975)
Alice Cooper will forever be rock and roll’s ultimate guilty pleasure, welcome at the bar but never invited to the party. Welcome to my Nightmare is the showman at his purest, not so much hard rock or metal as horror showtunes, with sweeping horns and strings adding Vincent Price-sized presence to his sound. In that respect, it’s not a typical album so much as a production, the kind of music that sonically matches the madcap Grand Grimoire of the Coop’s stage show. How this one got left off is anybody’s guess.
White Zombie, Astro-Creep: 2000 (1995)
It’s hard to choose between White Zombie’s druggy 1992 record La Sexorcisto and their pneumatic 1995 swansong Astro-Creep: 2000, but the latter wins by a nose. This is partly because the record was such a massive success, with singles like “More Human Than Human” becoming quickly unavoidable in the ‘90s. But it’s also because Astro-Creep shows off a band at their most fevered, so packed with thrust and stimuli that they’re ready to burst (which, soon after the album was released, they did). More than anything, this is a record you want to listen to, an exciting, enthralling chunk of chugging highway metal that makes feet tap and heads bob despite themselves. Sometimes entertaining is more important than important.
Mastodon, Leviathan (2004)
It’s amazing how much one album can influence the world around it and still go unrecognized. Leviathan lived up to its title, breaking the doom dam in rock music and flooding the world with carved-wood riffs and bearded yarls that seeped into everything from indie rock to hip hop. Mastodon‘s use of grinding, unorthodox stoner metal to tell the story of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick also reopened the conversation about how cool concept albums could be. A game-changer throughout metal and beyond, not to mention a riveting listen with every spin.
Strapping Young Lad, City (1997)
It sometimes feels like the world has forgotten about City. The magnum opus of Devin Townsend’s ‘90s cyberthrash project Strapping Young Lad, the record is about as front-to-back perfect as it comes, achieving both its desired level of crushing heaviness and widescreen scope of the man-made world. Every song is somehow primal and modern, venting the kind of bile that a rocker from the 1975 just couldn’t understand. Its influence across metal is also impossible to overstate, with bands around the world doing their damnedest to imitate Devy’s guitar sound on City on their melodeath and industrial metal projects. Those who know, know all too well.
Converge, Jane Doe (2001)
Jane Doe isn’t just an album, it’s a snapshot of extreme music’s history, an aesthetic, a color palette. With it, Converge proved that a monumentally heavy band making music that was too brutal to be hardcore but too heartfelt to be straight metal could define a generation of broken people. Not only that, but Jane Doe gave fans of both genres a new stark way to embrace the real world; suddenly, you could have a raven on a skull or a Hand Of Glory emblazoned on your T-shirt and still be deadly serious. Necessary for any list of albums that changed everything.
Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast (1982)
Let’s be plain here: how the fuck are you not gonna put Number of the Beast on that bitch? It’s Number of the fuckin’ Beast! While Sabbath will always be God and Metallica conquered the world, this is probably, if we’re being honest, THE greatest heavy metal album of all time. It’s got whirling, acrobatic songs about summoning the Devil and the plight of the Native American, without a trace of irony or kitsch. It’s got the greatest closing track in metal history. Leaving Iron Maiden‘s biggest release off that list had to be a choice, and to that whoever made it, we say BOOOOO.
Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar (1996)
While the mainstream likes to remember the ’90s as a wool cardigan, metalheads will never forget it as the era of blood-caked lingerie thanks to Marilyn Manson. Antichrist Superstar was a heinous gush of spleen that enthralled the bristling youth of the decade, redefining what it was to be heavy, offensive, and scary within rock and roll. That last one is important, too — rock music should be frightening to the pearl-clutching masses, and with tracks like “The Beautiful People” and “The Reflecting God,” Manson shoved his pockmarked worldview in the faces of the world’s shiny, happy people and proved that his music was ugly, uncomfortable, and hard to stop listening to. A scabby, honest masterpiece.
Power Trip, Nightmare Logic (2017)
Even if Power Trip frontman Riley Gale hadn’t passed away this year, Nightmare Logic should’ve had a place on Rolling Stone’s list. The record is excellent from start to finish, without a single dud track or dull moment, and has the kind of rousing message that elevates it to more than just a lot of loud chugging and banging. It would also provide an injection of modernity to the guitar-focused side of the list, which seems only to include recent releases if they’re pop artists so huge that even your grandma has heard of them. A landmark of modern metal that deserves to stand alongside the giants who inspired it.
Words by Chris Krovatin